Friday, February 16, 2018

Best Way to Wash Antique Vintage Lace, Doilies and Fragile Material

Having lived in New England for many years, we would frequent antique shops, flea markets and yard sales. 

I LOVED finding treasures when shopping in such a historic and old place. The antiques in the east are so much older than in the west as the country history started in the east. We lived near Boston and I loved that there were so many antiques in the area. 

I obtained many pieces of lace, lace collars, and hand worked pieces back then. It isn't often where I live currently that you see many antiques as everyone in our area is aware of the value of those items. 

I was thrilled to find these old lace / crocheted squares in a bag at a second hand store. As you can see from the pictures, there are all sorts of lengths and pieces that were obviously meant to be used for a project at some point but the artist didn't get to finish the work. 

Nearly every piece has staining on it where a drink got spilled while working on it or the person sewing the squares together had dirty hands and the seams were dirty along the stitching etc. 

One square had rust on it like it got sprinkled with water and then rusted to whatever it was stored in or on at some point. You can kinda see that in the blurry picture and the one below it, as it is still there with all my washing.

With all that experience with old lace and vintage items, I have a method that I use to hand wash stained items to hopefully get the stain out but not damaging the item with harsh chemicals and bleaching agents. 

For at least 20 years, I have been using a product called "Zout" that you can purchase in the laundry isle at Walmart. Years ago, they sold it in a concentrated form and it worked a bit better than the spray more diluted form you can purchase it in now but it is still by far the best thing I have ever found for getting out difficult stains. 

I have used "Zout" on my wool carpet to get out: grass, red dirt / mud, burgundy paint, black and other colors of fingernail polish, a 12 ounce jar or blueberries in juice, blood, grease, red popsicle, red punch and colored kool aid among other body fluids left by my children or friends kids if you understand my meaning there. ;-) 

It is the only thing I have found to get out grease marks from a tube of "chap stick" or lip balm left in the pocket and going through the wash and dryer! I immediately spray "Zout" on the grease marks and scrub and out they come! 

So, you will understand why I love the product so much! If the stain is stubborn, I then will try "Totally Awesome Cleaner" and I will test this product on an area that is not visible as it can bleach or take away some of the color in an item so beware using both products can remove color from the item. It usually happens more with the awesome cleaner than the Zout but  just make sure to test the article before using them on an item that is worth something to you. 

I wish I had remembered to take a "before" picture of this lace before washing it but as usually happens to me, I am mid project before I remember to blog. I spray with the Zout and then rub the edges of the item together and then if that doesn't take the stain out, I will use my fingernail to gently scratch and rub the stained area which usually does the trick. But if that doesn't work, I will then try adding the "Totally Awesome Cleaner" to the mix. If those two don't work, I will then add some citrus oxygen product that is dry made by "Totally Awesome Cleaner" as well. 

To wash the over all item and not just spot cleaning, I will use "Woolite" cleaner as it is gentle but works as a good overall cleaner for fine linens, laces and wool products. 

If the item is white and I still have some staining as I did with the rusty lace square, I will put a mix of 3% hydrogen peroxide into water at a ratio of about 9 parts water and 1 part hydrogen peroxide. Make sure all the fabric is below the water line as it will slightly bleach anything in the mix but the stuff above the water won't which will leave stripes of color and bleaching. So, make sure it is all under the water and you can check it every few minutes to see if the stain has been removed. I left it for about 1/2 hour to an hour and then rinsed it well and hung it to dry. 

When hanging things to dry, I have learned a few lessons. I used wooden hangers or drying racks but the staining or shellac over the stain on the wood has bled onto the item causing more staining. Using a metal hanger can lead to rust marks on the fabric as well. So, I only use plastic hangers and drape them over the plastic to dry. I also learned to make sure they aren't touching each other or the wall, paint, shower stall etc as they can collect dust, dirt, soap scum etc from touching anything while it dries. You can even end up with water marks if they are at an angle or touching. 

So, make sure they are not touching anything and are not dripping in a spot that would damage anything below. I hang them off the shower spout to dry. 

Once they are fully dried, I stack them on top of each other still hanging so they don't wrinkle and also, if put into a bag or tote and they are even slightly wet, they can mildew or mold. That is super hard to remove once it is in a fabric or item and can discolor them permanently so I just leave them hanging on the plastic hanger until I use them or can store them properly once they are fully dry. 

Never machine wash these type of heirloom articles as they can twist and rip causing you to lose the item or some or all of the value of the item. 

I wasn't able to get all the rust out of the one square that had it but as you can see, it was mostly clean and I couldn't even tell where the red punch spots were on three of the squares and the peroxide took care of what was left of any dirt and grime on them. 

One warning, don't leave the peroxide on for a long time on fragile items as it is a type of bleach. Check your item often to make sure you don't ruin anything! 

Have a Blessed day!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Best Valentines Day In Years - Wonderful Family

 I shared with you yesterday how I finished the "life quilt" I made for my father and his wife. 

I don't live near my dad and mom (step mom but I love her like a mother) but really wanted to give this quilt to them for Valentines Day as I didn't get it finished for Christmas with everything going on. 

I called them yesterday and asked if I could take them to dinner for Valentines Day. They didn't want me to make the long drive to their home just to take them to dinner but I told them sometimes they need to let others do nice things for them so I told them I wanted to take them and my step-mothers mom and Princess Two out to dinner. 

In honor of Princess Four being in Japan, I thought it would be fun to eat dinner at Benihanas as they said they had never eaten there before.

I couldn't get last minutes dinner reservations but I was able to get some for lunch so we adjusted our plans from dinner to lunch and Princess Two said she would be able to take a "half day" at work to go with us as well. 

We enjoyed a wonderful meal. It wasn't as exciting as I remember it being when I went on a date in high school but it was the lunch crowd verses dinner so it could have been that. I loved that our Chef was actually from Japan so we enjoyed visiting about that! 

I have a niece that just had an adorable baby girl and that was about the size of Princess One when she was born, and had just about as much hair also. I have to say that it brought back so many memories of having my first beautiful Princess. I loved that my niece and her husband were willing to allow us to visit and hold her sweet angel! 

We then headed to my dad's home where I gave them their Valentines gifts and had them open the quilt and other gifts. I think my dad was a bit shocked or overwhelmed at first as it seemed like he was confused as to what he was seeing but as I showed him the order of the squares and what they represented, he seemed excited about the quilt. 

We had a good laugh at some of the quilt squares and my dad mentioned he didn't want to use the quilt. I shared about the quilt his mother made for me when she went blind and tied the quilt blind. I never used the quilt because I didn't want it to get ruined but then not one of my children even recognize the quilt because it has been in the linen closet their entire lives and none of them ever remember using it.

I told him I think it is better to create memories with the quilt and enjoy using it as that is the purpose behind it! 

He asked me if I gave him the quilt and it was "his" now? I told him it for both of them, but yes, it was! He then told me he got to decide what to do with it then! This was said with a wink and a smile but I understood what he was saying. 

The best part of the entire day was that he allowed me to video tape him sharing many stories about his life in his own words and I heard about five stories I had never heard before! Princess Two said it was really neat hearing those stories from my father so I am super grateful that I was able to get up there today. It was also wonderful to videotape my dad and his wife sharing their "meeting and courtship" story.

I was also able to videotape my step-mothers mother who is 96 who lived on the island when Pearl Harbor was bombed. She shared her story with us on tape. I wish I had taken an external speaker but I have to be grateful for what I was able to get today and so grateful to be home and headed to bed now that it is nearly 3 a.m.! 
My dad and his wife were so sweet to get Princess Two and I flowers as well and I loved bringing them home and putting them out to enjoy the rest of the week!

I hope you all had a wonderful and Blessed Valentines Day!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine Gift For Dad and Mom - Finally Finished

I started working on making a life quilt for my dad way back in October this past year while helping a family member during a surgery. 

I had time on my hands and I was able to cut out these squares from T-Shirts and start to get all the squares into an order of his life. I worked on it that week but when I got home, I didn't have time to work on it with the holidays and I have been so tired for the past few months, I wasn't able to get to it. 

How happy I was to be able to get back to working on it this week! I had to exchange a few squares as I found a few more that I liked better than some I originally had. I also had to "size" the squares to make sure all the lines of the quilt are matching up and the same length. 

Your rows can be either short or tall but all the squares in each row need to be the same height. You can have as many shirts in the rows as you can fit but then all the rows need to be the exact same width so when you are organizing the quilt, it will be squared.

Also, if you are going to have a shorter row and several taller rows, you may want to center the shorter row. Or, if you have one tall row and several shorter, you may want to center the taller row. I have done both ways and it has worked both ways. I have links below to some of the quilts I have done but by typing "quilt" in the bottom search box, I have many, many more posts about quilts I have made. 

Here is a link to a Sesame Street Quilt where I had a taller and shorter one as well. 
Here is a link to an Avengers one where I stuck the taller shirts at the bottom.
Here is a link to a Snoopy Quilt where I alternated the short and longer rows.  
Here is a Pooh quilt where it is every other is short or longer. 

Once I have all the rows as even as I can get them, I start by sewing row by row but have learned that if I pin the entire row, it is difficult to manage and gets heavy and pulls. I stitch one square to one square and then one square to the two squares and so on. 

Once I have all the rows sewn, I check the length again and sometimes I sew a larger hem / seam as the square is cut weird or something so sometimes I have to take in a row or the bottom of the row is wider than the top of the row so I have to sew in the bottom a bit more etc. Just try to line up all the rows to make the quilt square. 

I then sew the top row to the second row. I sew the third row to the fourth row etc. I then sew the first and second row to the third and fourth row etc. In making so many of these, it has been a learning curve on the best way to sew it. 

Once the top is square, I put the sheet or backing material down, then the batting and then the quilt top down. I use the backing fabric or the sheet and cut it to 2 inches larger than the front of the quilt and then fold it over an inch and then fold it again over an inch onto the front of the quilt.

I cut the batting to match the top of the quilt top before folding the backing over to make the binding or edging of the quilt. I make sure it is all tight and smooth and then once I have the edges all pinned, I tie the quilt row by row and roll it as I finish the row just to keep it tight and smooth as I don't have a piece of floor open enough to lay out a king size quilt. A quilt frame would work as well but I don't have one. 

I was so happy to get this finished so I could give it to my dad on Valentines Day. I'll post some pictures of that tomorrow hopefully!

Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Cute Decor Ideas - Thanks For the Ideas My Friend

While I was on my road trip with my friend, we stopped at her brothers home. His wife had recently retired from working and was working on decorating her home now that she had some spare time. 

I thought many of their ideas were cute and thought I would share them. I wish I had thought of some of them when my children were younger as I think them using their kids talents and heirlooms to decorate their home is brilliant. 

In almost every room of their home, they had some piece of art that was homemade or created by someone in the family. 

In the family room, they had portraits of each of their children that one of their daughters did in art class in middle school. They have a bit of a Picasso feel but she was a teen at the time so how fun is it that they have one of each child to frame! 

In the bathroom, which has a beach motif, they had a few beach / ocean paintings that she did. Of course they aren't masterpieces but it really doesn't matter as they are fun and artistic and hold some fun memories for the family.

It made me think that perhaps at the next family holiday, I may just pull out some oil paints and some canvas and let the girls go to town. Oils may need dry time so perhaps even acrylics could work. Wouldn't that be a fun activity? You could give them themes to choose from so they could have options but still in a theme you could use to decorate. 

Another fun thing one of their daughters made recently was this grandparents clock. She took black and white pictures of the family and cut them into circles and then painted the clock to match some of their d├ęcor and put a clear coat on it. How fun to see the family pictures while looking at the time.

I loved how she had little handprints in plaster of each of her kids hanging on the wall. Such a cute idea. I know we did that when we were little but I haven't seen anyone do that in years. Fun that she has all of them. It wouldn't work if you only had one or two of the kids prints. 

She also took out all the nick knacks that she had on the book shelves and painted the shelves and frames in the room white and then put frames and pictures all over them. She had matching bookshelves on both sides of the room and had pictures on both sides with all mismatched frames. It was fun to see her family grow through the pictures.

Her husband loved clocks so they made a clock wall which is so popular currently. It was nice that he felt he had some say in the decorating as well. 

They did the same thing to the brick fireplace painting the bricks and mantle white and putting frames there as well. I have always avoided painting over natural wood or brick but I think sometimes the colors are so ancient that they will most likely never come back into style. The harvest gold of the 1970's for example, or the lava rock of the 70's, I truly don't think those colors will ever come back into style so restaining the wood or painting over brick inside the house may be a good option. 

I still love my natural brick and have thought about updating my cabinets but there is so much I would have to shift. I don't like the layout of the kitchen but need the cabinet space so I forgo doing anything as I don't want to spend a bit of money shifting it as I would really like to update the entire kitchen. Bumping it out making a larger more functional family room / open kitchen but with no kids home, I can't see it being worth the cost as I don't know how much longer I will be in the home if all my kids end up elsewhere. 

The last thing I thought was fun that they did was to print all the places their kids served as Missionaries in fun multi color prints and then a map in the center showing where they were serving and times they moved within the areas. I think I would probably put a smaller map within the same matted frame with the dates of moves or dots on the multicolored map with the dots representing dates of moves and towns within the same frames as to avoid just having a map on the wall so that when the kids take the framed "art" with them, they have the dates and cities on the framed art rather than one map for all the kids. Just one idea that could work! 

It was fun to visit and see the fun ideas people come up with and getting ideas for things I may want to do bouncing off of what they have done. I appreciate them allowing me to take pictures and share them with you! 

Have a Blessed Day! 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Snow Festival Fun in Sapporo - Princess Four

Princess four had a fun experience this week, she was able to attend the Sapporo Snow Festival that has been around since the 1950's. 

Not all missionaries get to see this so she was very grateful that she was able to go to this. She couldn't send many pictures but she did send a few. Here is a link to some of the pictures someone posted online.
The beginning of his video is a bit strange but I liked the pictures at the end showing all the workers on the sculpture. 

There was another guy that has a travel channel, and he also talked about the history and the food as well as showing some of the ice sculptures as well as the snow sculptures. I found his video interesting as he talked about the food and how a place in Hokkaido is famous for a specific type of ramen and Princess Four has a picture of that type in her pictures this week so that was fun to know what it was she was eating. Here is a link to his video. 

Here is her current letter! Enjoy! 

Konnichwa to the most B-E-A-UTIFUL children of God I know! Wow. Genki? Hisashiburi desu ne. Long time no see! This week was full of CRAZY MIRACLES! Are you ready? I just have to start off with the biggest one. It's crazy.

A little bit after the new years, on the 10th of January to be exact, we went finding way hard! Streeting and housing everyone! Two appointments fell through so we had a lot of finding time that day. We pinged some houses, and we met the "amazing" family. The family was Protestant. They had a Book of Mormon from an old friend, but they never read it, but they knew a little bit about the Book of Mormon. They had the cutest daughter. Her name means light. But with the character from the bible. So her name is Hikaru. So cute! So we gave them cookies we were going to give to the people who canceled their appointment. They weren't interested, but it was just a tender mercy that they let us talk about Christ, and our beliefs, and let us stand in their Genkan out of the cold. We saved their address, but didn't plan on going back due to the lack of interest............

Cut to this Tuesday after we get home late from Mission Leadership Council.... The elders asked us if we knew of an "Amazing" family. We thought it sounded familiar, but didn't remember. Well. Turns out they remembered us!!!!!! The elders pinged the same 3 exact houses as us in a very random area. They "Amazing" family opened the door right away, and let them in. The family had run into another areas missionaries at a restaurant. Shout out to those elders.  And then on Tuesday the Elders just so happens to be guided to their house again. CAN YOU SAY MIRACLE?!?!?!?!?!?! 3 different sets of missionaries all being guided by the spirit in less than a month to find this family. The elders talked about different things, but on the way out the dad asked what we thought about life after death. They found out what he believes is pretty similar. He knows a lot of Christians think you die then go straight to heaven or hell. But he thinks that everyone dies, then once everyone dies they get judged to go to heaven or hell. So then the elders taught a little bit about the Plan of Salvation. Then he told them to come back..... they didn't even have to ask!!!!! He has noticed that his church is different than when he joined. Luckily our church is the same since the beginning. Policies may change, but Jesus is our Lord and Savior, and His Gospel will never change. 

So then yesterday, we had time and the elders had time after our youth testimony concert to go visit them....... BEST LESSON OF MY WHOLE MISSION!!!!!! He knows the bible SOOOO well. He thought our church started with Joseph Smith, but was very surprised to read from the Book of Mormon back to times before Columbus. And when we read scriptures about other sheep, and the stick of Judah, and lots of deepish doctrine stuff, he just understood, and everything clicked in his brain! He had no idea that another book of scripture containing Christ's Gospel existed! It was such a tender mercy! And he said we could come back, and that he would read the Book of Mormon. His wife was half listening half taking care of the daughter, but she accepted it too. She isn't as well versed in the Bible, but she still knew a lot! they were connecting things and asking deep questions. It was beautiful. I love this Gospel, and am so blessed that God is giving me a chance to help this work, because really, he doesn't need missionaries He could do it all himself. But I am beyond grateful that he is letting me grow, and letting me see others grow as well. GAH. I love this gospel. And Jesus Christ. And God. YAY! 

So sorry that was so long, but not sorry because I love MIRACLES! But yes. So we went to MLC this week. That was great fun. Also. Found out my trainer broke her collar bone... um.. Odaijni... This week is just full of surprises! On the bus ride back my bean. Oh my BEAUTIFUL BEAN! Her and  I just talked about all these things we could do to become more consecrated. All of her suggestions were SPOT ON! The guilty taketh the truth to be hard. That is the easiest way to know we aren't doing things the way we should be. She just addressed the old culture that I was used to, and brought up new ways to do things more effectively! We are not bad missionaries at all, but we just want to be MORE consecrated! So we made a lot of plans goals and changes. We just want to be better! All the time! We are really trying to be like Alma and Amulek. #companionshipgoals

We finally met with Hikari chan. Her name also means light. We are supposed to visit her every week, but it was just not happening. We FINALLY caught her, and she said to go back on Saturday! Yay! Shout out to Minamide shimai. She is our dendo mom. I love her. She visits so many people with us. And gives us rides. And gives us food. And I just love her.  The lesson on Saturday went well. She hasn't progressed very much if at all these last 3 transfers, but my bean swooped in to save the day. We asked if we could call her everyday to read with her! She said Yes! Everyone pray she will answer her phone! So yeah. 

We helped another person our ward is focusing on. She cant read due to her eyes. So we helped her download the gospel library app, and. She could read! I hope she progresses as well!! Please everyone just come back to church, and find the joy you once had. It will make you happier I promise! That's not even my promise. It's from GOD! Anyway....

We had a youth concert yesterday. Shout out at my comp for playing the piano with very little notice. The songs were difficult, but she rocked them. Mom, I promise when I get home I'll practice the piano.... sorry it took me 10 years to finally choose to practice! Everyone. Strengthen your talents. @suzuki shimais lesson this week. 

We get to meet with our beloved yuka san this week ,and then have Valentine's Day, and go on splits, and all that good stuff! Life is so fun here in Happy Hokkaido. I love Asahikawa with all my heart. I love the people, and the missionaries, and the gospel, and just EVERYTHING!!!!!!

Sapporo's Yuki Matsuri(Snow Festival)
Ice cream in the middle of winter. Yes.
So that is snow. Go YouTube it.
Don't you wish you were here to see this! I couldn't hear them, but I bet they were fabulous!
They looked great. 
Yay mission leaders! 
So that is snow.
We heart the temple!
Same ramen. Same.
Oh. We made chocolates. And Asuka chan came so that we could go too! I love her. Please be baptized. 
The concert. YAY! 

Friday, February 9, 2018

All You Can Eat Sushi and Road Trip

I took a road trip a few weeks back. I haven't gone on that long of a trip in a car since Princess Five was five!

I couldn't believe it had been that long since I went anywhere other than on a few plane rides for funerals and the like, I really haven't done any traveling forever!

I really didn't realized that until just now. Even on the trip and after, I didn't remember how long it has been. The furthest away I have been by car in that time was 6 hours each way I think....

Wow, I need a real vacation! Anyway, I had a dear friend call me on Wednesday and ask me if I wanted to go to visit her family for the weekend.

I don't like sitting for long amounts of time but I have a sister in the same state near where her family live, so I rushed to get everything packed and ready as she wanted to leave the next day.

We visited with her dad and step-mother and I had a great time meeting them and they were so kind to give me a bed and he cooked a wonderful breakfast every morning for us which I may share tomorrow. They run a catering business and I got some great tips on food prep I am excited to try.

They were so hospitable that they even had a charger that matched mine by the bed so I didn't have to get mine out. This was an issue because in my haste to pack, I forgot it was not mine and had to overnight it the day I got back! lol

I was able to take my sister and her daughter out to dinner, fill up their suburban as they picked me up and help them pack up my nieces room as she just left to go serve as a missionary for the next 18 months so we packed everything into storage bins and hauled them to their storage unit!

My sister has health issues and couldn't manage moving them all down the stairs and out to the car so I was glad I was able to help her do that!

One thing I thought was so cool, but not,  was "pay at the table" credit card machines but it was a bit annoying having it on the edge of the table and I guess they want to sell your kids play time on the device but I was frustrated I paid a waiter when most everything was done at the table.

They then "asked politely" while telling me how to fill out the survey for their service if I would give them a good review but I thought I finished the survey only to find out when leaving the table I needed to hit one more "submit" button so I shared with our server that if they are going to ask for people to take the survey, they need to make sure and tell them to wait and hit the submit button. She said, "Oh, that would explain why everyone else has more comments on their tables than I have!"

She thanked me for sharing that with her but truly, even though I enjoyed her limited service, I didn't like that it automatically calculated exactly 20% onto my bill as I sometimes round up so they lost out there, and that the device was taking up table space and that I felt watched and obliged to fill out the survey and it removes the option for the customer and then they don't have to offer incentives for you to fill out the survey.

I really didn't like that as I had used my credit card and the survey is then linked to my name, and personal information so if the server felt gypped in any way, they could retaliate. Also, how can the company be sure that the waiter isn't filling out the survey's after the customer leaves as I had already paid when the survey came up, truly not the best idea in my opinion! 

I felt that it wasn't a good option and way for the situation to be handled and frankly, I would avoid that restaurant again due to that situation. My sister picked the place but I have enjoyed their food in the past but if the machines are nation wide, I would pick a different place to eat as it isn't food I couldn't live without! 

I loved this little town on the way that reminded me of many little towns in New England with several white steeples and windy snowy roads. 

I smiled when I saw this cute license plate, "Snuwpee" driving in front of us. It made me think of Princess Three that collects fun Snoopy items. Cute vanity plate. 

My favorite thing on the trip was the "all you can eat" sushi place. I laughed and laughed when we finished there and drove all the way back to her parents to call my sister to come get me and she lived the 30 minutes drive less than 2 miles from the sushi restaurant where we had met one of her brothers for lunch. When we approached her house, we came from a different direction as we stopped for gas and I recognized the grocery store in a strip mall and she said, "and yes, there is the all you can eat sushi store three doors down!" If we had come from the other direction for sushi, I would have known she was only a few miles away! It was super funny but the place was heaven! Just look at the plate at the top, that was half of my meal and the presentation and food was amazing!!!!!! 

It was kinda nice not having anyone to worry about at home. I have never had that kind of freedom in 30 years! It was GREAT! I think I need to plan a few more vacations now that I can! I may need to visit my sister again just to eat all you can eat sushi! 

Have a Blessed Day!