Small Fry Sewing Circles


Over a year ago, I picked up this vintage sewing circle set from a local thrift store. The colors and graphics inspired me! I wish more kits were made like this today. It is just so adorable.

I’ll prob. just use this more for something to prop up. I did think about making a garland out of the circles. I think that would be pretty sweet! Here’s some cute detail photos of the set 🙂





Until next time Swellions!


Swell takes on the 127 yard sale!

This weekend I went to the US Highway 127 yard sale right outside Frankfrot. I just went to a couple of hours (we actually tried going the other way, but couldn’t figure out what way to take 127 through Frankfort)…I didn’t make a weekend trip of it like a lot of people do, but I got a taste of what they had to offer on the yard sale route. I’m really not that much of a yard saler, but I figure that the people during this yard sale bring out all the stops and it’s a neat, little slice of Americana that was practically in my backyard, so it is totally stupid for me not to go. I saw the cheap, the tacky, the kitschy, the weird, and the lame. I also had a funnel cake for good measure. Here’s some funny pics from my experience and what I ended up picking up!

a swell seal of approval

I was so excited that I had to do a dance.

I saw some really swell things…

Well, this actually scared me a bit. I like 1950’s stuff, but I would rarely ever want to dress that way. Looking good back then was so hard to maintain…here’s evidence in this product:
this makes me glad I'm not from this era

Some cool paint by number and retro paintings…
right up eartha's alley

Why didn’t Bruce Willis become a huge singing superstar like David Hasselhoff?
forget die hard, he should be known for this!

Hey look! It’s me in a sea of stuff!
in a sea of junk or should that be treasures

Oh my! My family had this vacuum cleaner. I hated that thing. It was so hard to take apart. I actually think my mom still has it.
my mom still has this vacuum

Here is what I bought:

Look, I added 4 new raisins to my collection!

I actually bought these Magnum P.I. cards to give away to my friends as fun lil’ gifts.
this is what I bought

I saw some neat retro jewels, but for $5 for the whole bag, I got quite a bit for my buck with these…
beads and baubles

Oh, and here’s one for all the ladies (it is rare that you will find half naked men coming from me, but I couldn’t resist). I bought this calendar. The pictures were sooooo cheesy and the notations inside cracked me up (by a 16 year old girl who documented a new kid’s on the block concert, her driver’s license test, and Patrick Swayze’s birthday). Click on the pic to see more funny stuff inside it if you dare go there!
ladies, eat your heart out!

Well, gotta go get ready for another week ahead, Swellions. Agh. Weekends really do go by too fast!


A visual & vintage cookbook smorgasboard

pancake mix

I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while, but recently while on a trip home I got out my mom’s old cookbooks that she used back in the early 60’s…and boy was I in for a treat.

If there was one thing I wish I could do art-wise, it would be to know how to illustrate in the 1950’sesque style. I love the kitschy linework and adornment along with the colors they infused into their work…just love it. I’m sure there are plenty of artists out there still doing this style (I met one named Suzie Millions at the CHA show last year who replicated this look to a T and had them featured in her book Retro Crafts.) But there’s definitely something to be said for the unadulterated whimsy and fanciful shapes and designs and linework. I guess it goes back to it be a simpler time…when it was much easier to hire an illustrator to do a cover than to have it photographed. I would def. love to meet one of these illustrators today and hear about their craft. It just amazes me.

Well, I’m going to post a whole slew of photos below of covers, quirky foods, and those beautiful illustrations. I guess back then, the domestic housewife had a lot of time on her hands and could utilize it by ‘whipping up’ a 5 layer cake or several batches of homeade cookie bars. I know very few people today who even attempt a daunting task like that even once a year (actually my sister Angela does around Christmastime-must applaud her for that effort). It seems like Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only real times we actually cook. It’s kind of sad that we don’t “play” as much in the kitchen cause our lives are so overwhelmed by work, kids, and social obligations. I do notice a lot of people have been doing more simple baking like cupcakes which are relatively easy and pretty and are rather quick craft of sorts. I guess it’s all about finding the time to create something – even if it is a 30 minute meal. hope you dig these illustrations and retro foods as much as I did!

sorbet fantasy


coconut layer cake

wagon cake

table talk

practically cookless cookbook

frozen assets

do ahead party book

Until tomorrow Swellions!


Season of Swell Photo Ornament

So my online friend, Margot Potter put in her post on Tuesday that a group of bloggers were having a “Virtual Ornament Gathering”, so I got inspired and whipped this one up…

season of swell

The idea was that I wanted to create something one part kitsch + one part digital mixed in with a little whimsy and this was the result.

I used my own personal image, but this idea could be transformed into funny ornaments for the entire family or a gift for a special friend with a message that relates to them. Here’s how I made it:


1 wooden shape – 2.5″ x 3.5″

– Computer with printer and photo-editing software program (I used Photoshop 7)
– red paint
– foam brush
– small craft brush
– textured white printer paper
– pop dot
– tacky glue
– silver craft wire
– variety of small beads
– 1 small pom pom
– 12″ piece of green glitter sequins
– green fine glitter
– glue gun and glue stick
– scissors
– Preserve Your Memories II Spray sealer

1. Paint your ornament with red paint using foam brush. Let dry.
2. Open up your photo editing program and layout a new page 2.5″w x 3.5″h.
3. Fill in background with a solid color. I added a shape layer to mine with a psychedelic starburst background for added pop in a slighly lighter shade than my background image.
4. Layout text over top of background. I used the “warp text” tool using the font, Magnum (downloaded from the internet), to achieve my look.
5. Open up the image you want in the center of your ornament. Using the magnetic lasso tool, I went around my image to define it. Make this selection active and copy>paste this into your ornament document (note: I modified this image slightly by making it look that I had “flipped ends” on my hair for fun).
6. Transform this image to fit just inside you text.
7. Open up a new layer and draw a cartoonish santa hat. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just fun and whimsical. Also add any other embellishents over your photos (I added faux earrings).
8. Now open up a new 8.5″w x 11″h document. Go back to your ornament and click off the background layers and words to just reveal the face and hat. Flatten the image. Cut and copy this image into your 8.5″w x 11″h document. Go back to your ornament image and select edit>undo to unflatten the file and show the layers once again. Now click off all the face and hat and make the background and words active. Flatten this image. Also cut and copy this image into your 8.5 x 11″ document.
9. Load your printer with lightly textured cardstock paper. Print your images onto the cardstock and carefully cut out around ornament and image.
10. Use tacky glue to glue paper to ornament. Let dry.
11. Lightly brush glue onto areas you want glitter to cover on image (I chose the hat). Over paper plate, lightly sprinkle glitter. Shake off excess onto plate.
12. Place pop dot in center of ornament and position image on top.
13. Carefully glue gun sequin trim around edge.
14. Take craft wire and wrap around pencil to form wire coil. String beads and pom pom randomly onto wire. Glue ends of wire to back of ornament with glue gun.
15. Spray ornament with Preserve Your Memories II Spray sealer (it keeps glitter from getting on everything and gives a nice matte sheen). Let dry.

That’s it. Enjoy!