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An Old Blanket Gets a New Life – Felting Pure Wool

It’s Christmas Time! (Swipe and Click)

    Handmade Gift Tags using Paper Aged with Tea
    Vintage Paper Part I : Christmas Cards

    Ten Years Later – Woolen Blankets Washed at Home and Other Thoughts

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    Hello! Well, I've been creating this blog for over a decade now. That amounts to one thousand and four hundred posts (so far).

    One of my first stories (found here) published on November 30th, 2011, was about the first time I washed a vintage secondhand woolen blanket at home in our washer and dryer. This old nugget has turned out to be the third most viewed post to date, continuing to be read by someone somewhere every day.

    Before then, I'd not tried to home clean the blanket because, as do all pure wool items, it came with the recommendation to "dry-clean only" unless you want to risk ruining them. But my blanket was already old, hadn't cost very much to begin with (I got it on ebay) and wasn't being used because it was quite scratchy and needed a clean but I didn't really want to spend the money to have it dry-cleaned (today, it costs $40 to $50 to do that). Well, I say it wasn't being used, but that was until one day I saw that my mister Nick had found it pushed to the back of the linen closet, where it had been lingering for a few years, and pulled it out only to plunk it down onto the cat's bed.

    That's when I decided this beautiful textile was not yet ready to be deemed a pet blanket, and I was going to try washing it in our home washer and dryer. I'd read up on felting wool and seen that it could be softened by agitation in hot water and drying on high heat. Certainly, this came with the guarantee that the wool would shrink, but I didn't mind if this blanket shrank. So, I did it.

    And since then, we've been using it every winter and cleaning it at home for a decade now. You'll see by these photos, that it still looks great. I really quite love it, actually. It's warm and cozy and always smells fresh and is perfect for a cold winter's evening on the sofa.

    So, I thought it was time to revisit that early post and to show people what this blanket looks like now. A couple more vintage woolen blankets have since joined it in the "wash-it-at-home" regime and have done just fine.

    Now, knowing they can be cleaned at home, please don't hesitate to pick up a woolen blanket at the thrift store or to pull an old one out of the cupboard because of the cost of dry-cleaning it.

    Disclaimer : Only try this on blankets that are not valuable nor precious to you.

    Here's a short video about the process ...

    https://youtu.be/rZnZmzVbFUY

    Speaking of our dearly departed Eddie Boycat and this blanket, check out this post of his Christmas portrait photo shoot with the blanket as a back drop. We miss him so much.

    Also, here are a few shots of these blankets being used during an outdoor "socially distanced" visit with my friend Meghan, on a cool November afternoon last year. Oh, how misconceived we were, believing that the pandemic would soon be over and we would be back to sitting inside, side by side on the sofa watching movies together. We all know how that has turned out.

    Decorating for Halloween, with a Video

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    Hi! Here are a few areas of our home decorated for Halloween.

    Compared to other vintage collectors, who have awe inspiring selections of cool old blow-molds and mid-century figurines, my specific Halloween things fit into one bin. But, what I lack in "real" items I've tried to make up with things we had around the house, which I arranged in such a way that they tell a Halloweenie story.

    Below these photos, you'll find quite a few details about what you're looking at and links to other related posts, but if you'd prefer a look around without all the written chat, please check out the video tour I made of the displays, all set to spooky music. Certainly, pictures are good, but I think the video might be more interesting. Then, if you'd like to know about the details, you can find them written down below. Thank you in advance, if you do watch the video.

    https://youtu.be/Q3DXnBS7TRM

    ↑ Click here to watch the video or go to YouTube and find me here, or search the site for Loulou Downtown. ↑

    Recipe : Grilled Polenta “Cake” with Spicy Mayonnaise Sauce

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    Hello! I mentioned in a previous post (found here), that we served this grilled polenta with a spicy mayonnaise sauce at a recent barbecue. Nick, our resident chef, has been perfecting this recipe for a savory side-dish or appetizer for a couple of years now, and it's time to share the recipe with you! I love it and think you will, too.

    A Look at Something Rare : Antique and Vintage Paper Things – Thanksgiving and Autumn

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    Hello! It's Thanksgiving Day here in Canada, so Happy Day to those who are celebrating.

    This post began with a desire to show you some really old postcards that were specifically made to convey Thanksgiving wishes, (albeit for the American Holiday, which falls a month and a half later than ours). Then, it grew to include some other autumn themed pieces from my collection of vintage paper items, which, without a doubt, is my biggest collection, made possible because paper things don't take up much space.

    Vintage and Antique paper pieces are called Ephemera, defined as "any transitory written or printed matters that are not meant to be retained or preserved. The word derives from the Greek ephemeros, meaning "lasting only one day, short-lived".

    The reason I love it so much is because these were not meant to survive this long, so I feel lucky to be able to hold them in my hands. It boggles my mind that these were saved by generations of people, kept in such good condition, to eventually make their way onto ebay and ultimately land in my mailbox.

    We'll begin with the oldest items, which are, in fact, the oldest pieces I have in my collection and perhaps the oldest things I own, period. These are antique postcards which were sent in 1909, 1911 and 1912, so they’re over 110 years old.

    Birthday Barbecue with Meghan

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    Hello! It was our dear friend Meghan's birthday recently and we celebrated with a bbq in our backyard. We love this lady and want to do everything we can to make sure she knows it!

    It was the first time in two years (thanks, Covid) that we've had someone over to our home for a meal so nobody except us had tried the grilled polenta recipe that Nick has been perfecting over that period. Of course, he and I have had it many times as we usually cook outside once a week, from spring to fall. We use a charcoal Weber barbecue, so once he gets it going, he likes to grill a bunch of different things in one session, which we eat in different ways throughout the week. And, this grilled polenta is my request every time! We were happy to have the chance to share it with our friend, who also thinks it's delicious. So, it seems the recipe, along with the special sauce to serve with it, are ready to share online -- watch this space next week!

    Follow Up : The recipes for the polenta and sauce are found here.

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