Sunday, October 30, 2011

My West Texas

Just had to share this beautiful video of my home, West Texas.  Enjoy!

Wyman Meinzer's West Texas from Wyman Meinzer on Vimeo.


Monday, October 24, 2011

The Venerable Pincushion

Many of you know of my fascination with pincushions and sewing kits.  I don't know why I like them so well because it seems the best way to find a pin in my house is with your feet.  (so says my husband).  I found this article and contest and thought it would be of interest to many of you.

 This article and contest notice came from Traditions Today.  To sign up for the blog go to

The Venerable Pincushion
Karen Brock
Assistant Editor
In the corner of the kitchen windowsill in the farmhouse where I grew up sat a giant pincushion. You know, the big fat tomato kind, jammed with a motley assortment of pins and needles, the dangling strawberry emery long gone. I have the fondest memories from that kitchen—making dolls from hollyhocks, pitting cherries with a hairpin, mom putting my sister's knitted 4-H sweater in the oven to dry in time before the county fair—and the fat tomato pincushion was witness to them all.

Tatted, embroidered pincushion by Susan L. Keenan, 2008

Apparently, it was the Victorians who introduced the tomato pincushion to the world. At the time, it was thought that putting a tomato on the mantle of their homes would bring good luck. If tomatoes weren't in season, they substituted by using a round ball of red fabric filled with sawdust whose presence on the mantle evolved into practical use as a place to store pins. And the Victorians couldn't restrain themselves: multitudes of pincushions were displayed on parlor tables and hung from walls in the shapes of shoes, dolls, teacups, umbrellas, and fruits.

But the hardy little pincushion was around long before the Victorians. It's likely that their use goes back as far as the fifteenth century when very expensive metal pins that had previously been stored in ornate boxes were pushed into stuffed shapes, made of decorated linens or silk for safekeeping.

Stumpworked camel pincushion by Natalie Hart, 2008.

We love pincushions despite their having been around for 600 years or maybe because of that. PieceWork has its own tradition with the pincushion. We had our inaugural Excellence in Needle Arts Pincushion Contest in 2000; the number and quality of entries were astounding. We were dazzled by strawberries and camels, kittens and beehives, miniature purses, and dozens of other unique designs. They arrived ruched and beaded, knitted, needlepointed, and stumpworked; they were lovingly crafted with bobbin lace, shuttle-tatted lace, and bead crochet. Our second contest in 2008 produced an equally remarkable group of submissions. And now it's time again to invite all needleworkers to enter those dear items of practical whimsy in PieceWork's third Excellence in Needle Arts Pincushion Contest!

For our 2012 contest, The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) will award the grand prize winner $500 in cash. Colonial Needle, along with other sponsors, will offer additional prizes in five distinct categories. Visit the PieceWork website to learn more about the contest and to enter now. We're really looking forward to seeing your entries. You only have until April 2, 2012, to send photos of your entry, so get started now! We look forward to seeing your pincushions.
Reprinted with permission.

How to Make a Victorian Purse

This article was found on the Victorianna Online magazine.  This would be a simple craft for teens at an event. 
An 1833 dress is accessorized with a simple reticule of figured silk bordered in Valenciennes lace and attached to a belt of rose-colored taffeta ribbon. During the early 1800s, women carried small bags or purses such as this, called reticules, to hold money and small personal items. Introduced in the late 18th century as a replacement for the pocket, reticules were customarily in the form of a pouch with a drawstring. These round, hexagonal or lozenge shaped purses became a canvas to highlight a lady’s needlework proficiencies — from a novice’s modest stitches to the elaborate embroidered, beaded, and painted embellishments of the skilled needleworker. This simple pouch-shaped purse was easily crafted; instructions for two similar reticules were provided in an early nineteenth century book and are highlighted below. Add your own trimmings or embroidery to make your own period accessory.

Take a quarter of a yard of fine cambric-dimity (or any lightweight cotton, muslin or small-figured gingham) and split it in two. Cut the shape of a small rounded scallop or a point out of cardboard or thick paper. Laying this on the fabric, draw a row of points or scallops all round, taking care not to go too near the edge, and turning the corners handsomely. The drawing may be done with a lead pencil. Baste or tack the two sides of the bag together, and following the outline of the scallops, run them along with very neat short stitches; taking care always to stick the needle through both sides, as it is that which holds the purse together.

Read the rest of the article and see embroidery and braiding patterns at

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fort Stockton Living History Event

October 14 was a beautiful day at Ft. Stockton historical site in Ft. Stockton, TX.  This is a beautifully restored fort in West Texas where the Living History event was held.  The volunteers and site managers were very gracious with their hospitality and everyone attending had a great time.  I'll let you see for yourself with this video.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Story in a Dress

This lovely dress was part of an article in Pieceworks Magazine at  The article contains information on the fabric and construction of the dress and information on choosing a costume for reenacting.  At the bottom is a list of period sutlers with historic goods.

"Period fashions and fabrics today captivate all kinds of people: actors, costumers, restorers,
teachers, and scholars, as well as people involved with historic homes and living-history sites.
Fabric companies study them as source material, designers,for inspiration. An expert on all aspects of vintage clothing, quilts, and fabrics is Nancy Kirk, teacher, textile scholar, appraiser, collector, president of the Quilt Heritage Foundation, designer of contemporary and reproduction fabrics, and proprietor of The Kirk Collection inOmaha, Nebraska.
Kirk reads fabrics the way Martha Stewart reads a guest list, recognizing old friends, attention-grabbers, and delicatedarlings in need of support."   Read the rest of the article at