Category: vintage

domestic sewing : confronting the throw pillow situation, a re-write and little paintings

vinatge and antique fabric pillows

ann wood's brooklyn studio

It’s pretty New Yearsy around here. I’ve got all sorts of plans and aspirations for the year ahead. Before the end of 2018 I made myself finish a personal project, I confronted some domestic sewing.

Like you, I wanted to start the New Year with a solid throw pillow situation. It has been kind of a mess for a while, definitely not bringing me joy. I had a bunch of ideas to make it better but they had been lingering on my someday list. For years. Deadlines are awesome. Making the dawn of 2019 the due date got me motivated to churn out some decorative pillows. Once I got going it was fun.

couch cover from antique grain sacks

And I made a cover for the seat too, from grain sacks I got in France last summer. They got super soft after I (machine) washed and dried them and I pieced my favorite parts together. They have lots of beautiful mending and I love the colors.

vinatge and antique fabric pillows

throw pillows

I made the pillow covers from old fabric from friends (including some glorious and ancient things my friend Ching sent me) and more things I picked up at French flea markets last year. By the way there is one spot open in each of my trips to France this summer  – click here for June 21-28  and click here for July 1-8. Come to France with me! And then go home and make some throw pillows…

ann wood in a mended dress

With the couch in happy condition my first official work project of this year was a long overdue re-write of my about page. Especially if you are a new visitor it’s a good place to start.

And also in the New Year’s department I re-committed to my daily painting and drawing project. So far so good. Daily practice is no joke, it’s brutal sometimes but I know I’m better off doing it in lots of important ways. The positive effects on my thinking, creativity, idea generation and focus are huge. I’ll scale back to drawing when traveling probably but if I flake on this again you should yell at me.

small art, made every day

The holidays were unusually happy and slow and peaceful for me. I spent a lot of it in pajamas eating cookies with a cat on my lap (I regret some of the cookies). It was pretty nice but I’m happy to be back to business as usual now. How bananas are you? I’m pretty bananas. I require huge amounts of time by myself to think and work and I like routine a lot. I’m luxuriating in time and space and ordinariness now, percolating all sorts of ideas….

handmade christmas

ann wood christmas tree

ann wood christmas tree

I had pretty much talked myself out of a Christmas Tree – one more thing to do- that sort of thing………  And then all of a sudden talked myself right back into it. I already had a tree so why not. Last year I got a living tree – a little Norfolk Pine – and it’s still here, a much more charlie brown sort of affair than it was when I got it last December but alive and pretty well. I’m so happy it survived – they often perish post Christmas and I’ve gotten very attached to it. I got it on a whim (down the street at a deli for 30 bucks) without knowing much about Norfolks; hot, dry, semi sunny New York apartments are not ideal environments for them. When it began to struggle last year I got a tip from a reader (thanks Sally!) to give it a cool shower once in a while and that did the trick. Decoration-wise I wanted to be gentle with it so I kept it simple – mostly things I made (pattern resources are listed at the bottom of the post) and a few heirloom treasures like my Mom’s pink glass beads.  It’s twinkly and festive and makes me happy.  I’m so glad I did it and I hope the tree doesn’t mind to much.

handmade boat ornament
fancy bird ornament
shooting star ornament

ornament pattern resources:

songbird work and an upcoming stoop sale

songbird progress

I wanted  to show you a little more songbird progress – she has fancy tail feathers. They take ages to sew but I love them. She’s made from beautiful plum Sri textiles.
songbird progress

And I’m having another annual-ish stoop sale! The virtual kind – I’ll put everything on Etsy.  I’ve just started photographing treasures I’m ready to part with. There is still lots more to sort though and decide about – I haven’t even started going through fabric and lace. There will probably be some antique garments too. It’s at least a couple weeks away but I’ll post the date and time as soon as possible and more previews soon. Here are a few things I’ve decided to let go of – they have been lovely for me and now they can be lovely for someone else.

antique mini frames

doll clothespins

I love the doll clothespins – most of them are antique and beautifully made – I hope they make some doll very happy.

stoop sale

Happy spring! I’m spring cleaning like nobody’s business  and preparing for the second annual ann wood virtual stoop sale. There will be a couple antique garments, some vintage fabric and paper (the usual suspects)  as well as some original art work and a truly odd assortment of  other things. The sale is happening on etsy : on Sunday evening, March 23rd, at 8 pm (new york time). As always  – you can refer to my calendar to know what’s coming up. There are some previews below and maybe more tomorrow if time permits – this is always more work than i think it’s going to be.

beaded cape

The beading on this  wretched antique cape is all black glass, hand done and super detailed – there are lots of different designs and cool dangly things.


Below – another detail form the cape beading, paper mache flatware, a drawing of a  ship, a celluloid flower pin from the 50’2 and some art deco chandelier crystals – they’re lovely and I have a bunch.

stoop sale items

tiny theater

I think I’ve mentioned before – I had a pretty serious puppet phase in the  mid 90’s  – the little theater and odd little cast of characters  has been in a box forever – maybe someone will enjoy it. I also made tons hand puppets and gave them away, the remaining spare parts and almost finished puppets will be in the sale on Sunday too.

puppet parts

shells And shells – lots and lots of shells – some I collected, most I purchased.  So many possibilities……….

a remarkable collection of vintage greeting cards

Thanks so much to everybody who turned up at the Surplus Sale on Sunday. I’m gathering things for the next sale and   I photographed my collection of vintage greeting cards today.  It is mostly 1970’s, some older and it is spectacular. And huge – more than two and a half pounds.

I got this collection 5 or 6 years ago at the park slope flea-market – it was part of someones estate.   This lady was a pioneer – she was scrapbooking before it was invented – some of the cards are  very carefully cut -I guess to be part of a collage or  gift tags or maybe new cards populated with mismatched characters ( I love that idea).

The vase has glitter on it. So good.


seashell folkseashell folk, off to celebrate

Thanks to everybody who showed up for the shop update yesterday – I’ll be packing everything up this weekend and getting things on their way right after the holiday. I’m working on things for Tuesday’s owl and ship update ( there will be one more songbird too) – here are some things in progress:

pale pink songbird

This is the bodice it’s made from- I bought it years ago and have been using bits of it ever since.

antique pink bodice

A  grey owl – fabrics courtesy of Sri Threads.

sri grey owl

And a pair of turn of the century wool swim bloomers I’m about to turn into an owl.

antique swim bloomers

I got them for next to nothing – the seat is terribly moth eaten. The fabric is wonderful- weight, shade, fading , texture – everything ideal.  Also, in the unlikely category,  technically, I’ve just posted a picture of myself on the internet in a bathing suit.

flea market report 6/26/2011

Acquired this past Sunday at the park slope fleamarket:

ceramic hand with flowersA vintage ceramic hand- I don’t know exactly what it is, what it’s for but I like it. There’s a hole in the palm – for flowers maybe?

ceramic hand

A tiny purse /wallet- just fits in my palm. It has a coin purse and a space just big enough for bills. I like the oversized clasp.

apron and tiny walletAnd a  vintage apron – I love the  print. It’s a smock really that snaps down the front. I have it on right now. It is not sexy. It has a whole other effect.



I picked up  a piece of an old fountain glass on dead horse beach earlier this summer ( I have lots of other treasures to show you soon) , it’s edges are  soft and the surface is  frosted – all seaglassed out. I think the shape is interesting, it’s lovely  in general and  makes an ideal toothpick dispenser – I use a ton of tooth picks for various tiny paint and glue situations.

The little tornado we had last week knocked out my internet and I’m using my neighbor’s wifi ( I asked). The signal comes and goes, everything interweb related is taking me forever but  it is a perfect opportunity to sew bats ( which also takes forever)  while I wait for shipping labels and other stuff  to load, it (almost) completely eliminates the frustration.



Mudlarking – I like the word very much, I first encountered it here.  That’s me in the photo below, mudlarking my ass off at Dead Horse Beach.  I’ve been getting wonderful little bits and pieces found there from the bottle man at the park slope flea market for years, last Saturday I finally got out there myself with my friend Craig.  The history of the place is fascinating,  you can read more about it here and there is an article about the Barren Island fire of 1906 here.

photos by craig duff

ann wood at Dead Horse Beach looking for stuff

We were there when the tide was out revealing  a crazy  blanket of old  glass bottles  and all sorts of  other things  – everyday sorts of things – old timey trash.



I had a marvelous time.


I’m working on lots of  things for the shop including  a small collection of sweetheart birds, one of a kind things, detailed and intricate, elaborate and self indulgent – couture girls, la belle epoch. I’ll post progress photos here and if you’d like to be notified when they are ready you can join the shop mailing list.



I was working on this girl last night and she reminded me of a story I read as a kid. I must have been about nine when I first read it and I still have the book, a collection of stories, “The Doll That Was Rich” was read so frequently that the book falls open to the exact page I was thinking of: ” On the table in front of them were two dolls, one dressed and one partially dressed. Beside them was an open parcel, full of bits of bright colored silk; and beside that again was a work basket.” I still love the idea of a basket of fancy scraps and somebody to dress up.

More shop news: Just for fun, I’m adding a new section of found things, very small collections of very small things, flea market treasures, stuff I love- like this mini iron and trivet.


The first collection will be up within the next couple weeks – just six little things .