Just Look What Those Vintage Calendar Towels Started!

Remember a few weeks ago I posted pics of a bunch of vintage calendar towels I found at a thrift store?  I waffled between preserving them or repurposing them, and received many nice comments encouraging me to turn them into something new. 

Gosh, did this kick off a whole new obsession for me!  Actually, more like, it rekindled an old flame. 

I used to love sewing.  Before I had my gals I used to make quilts – bed size, wall hanging, you name it. When dear daughter #2 came along, I happily converted my sewing room into a nursery, the sewing machine ended up in a closet, and I was in mommy-mode for a long time, only pulling out the machine occasionally to make some placemats, Halloween costumes, or water bottle bags.

Lately the kids have needed me less, what with one of them driving now, and I’ve been moping on the couch every night surfing Pinterest with nothing to do.  *sniffles*

But lo! I found a whole slew of vintage calendar towels in a thrift store and a new idea was born: pull out the sewing machine, wreck one corner of the kitchen, and try my hand at making small projects. You know, zipper pouches, grocery bag dispensers, dish drying mats, things like that.

And where are we now, a few weeks in?  I’ve opened an Etsy shop!  What?  Where did that come from?  I know, another one of my kicks and we’ll see how long it lasts, but for now I’m having fun and that’s what matters.

So here are the first few creations from the vintage calendar towels, the first of which I didn’t feel bad about cutting up because it had a few spots.  I just cut around the spots and came up with these zipper pouches:

vintage calendar towel zip pouch zipper bag repurpose ideas

Here’s the flip side of these two bags:

vintage calendar towels zipper pouch zip bag repurpose ideas

They’re about 6″ x 8″ if I remember correctly.  Those two are listed in my Etsy shop, but this next one is just for me:

vintage calendar towel zip pouch zipper bag repurpose ideas

This one is tiny, about 2″ x 3″, and is very cool because it includes my birthday πŸ™‚  I use it to keep earbuds in my purse from getting all tangled.

vintage calendar towels zip bag zipper pouch repurpose ideas ear bud

Next I made a lanyard from the 1990 colonial house towel, but it came out awful.  Really awful.  It ended up so thick because of all the layers that are inherent to making a lanyard that it wouldn’t fit under my sewing machine’s presser foot.  I had to finish it by hand and ugh.  I’m not even showing it to you.  I do still have the little houses and trees from the bottom of that towel and will turn them into something, so not a total loss.

Moving right along, one of the peanut butter towels became a much-needed plastic bag dispenser that now hangs inside my pantry:

vintage calendar towel plastic grocery bag holder pouch dispenser repurpose ideas

And that’s it so far for the calendar towels, because guess what happened next?  I rediscovered a favorite, fabulous haunt which I’d not visited in many, many years.

The fabric store.

Oh! The fabric store!  I’d forgotten how lost you can get just looking at all the beautiful fabrics.  And y’all, there’s a Joann Fabrics not far from my office, a Hobby Lobby near my home, and a quilt shop in between!  I’ll even confess to letting fabric shopping cut into my junkin’.  Gasp!

Here are a few other items I’ve made from some of the new fabrics I’ve been unable to resist:

palmetto dawn etsy shop fabric accessories zipper pouch zip bag lunchbox napkins dish drying mat book sleeve

Clockwise from top right we have:

  • a dish drying mat
  • flannel lunchbox napkins (which are my new favorite thing in life because I NEVER remember to buy paper napkins at the grocery store so we never have any)
  • a zipper pouch with foxes wearing scarves… foxes wearing scarves!
  • a book sleeve
  • a grocery bag holder with surprisingly realistic chocolate-covered strawberries

I’ve made a few pencil cases for my gals and their friends, a wallet for myself, and today I’m going to try to knock out some more of those flannel lunchbox napkins. 

One of the best things is that DD#2, the one whose nursery used to be my sewing room, asked me to teach her to sew and now she’s cranking out the cutest stuffed plushies you’ve ever seen!  (That’s stuffed animals in teenager terms)

But what about junkin’ Dawn?

I have nothing to show you, sadly.  I have hit the thrifts a few times recently but found nothing of interest, and am doing better about not letting empty-hand-syndrome get the best of me.  Hopefully I’ll have something cool and olde to show you soon.

Until next time, y’all stay safe (at the time I’m writing this there are hurricanes, earthquakes, and major fires happening here in North America so prayers and blessings to all those affected!) and hey, if you’d do a sister a favor, visit my new Etsy shop and maybe share something on Facebook or Pinterest for me? 

And as always, happy junkin!

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10 thoughts on “Just Look What Those Vintage Calendar Towels Started!

  1. I use thrifted clothes for quilting. Men’s shirts are great, either flannels or regular dress shirts. If the colors are right but the fabric is too lightweight, I use fusable interfacing on the back and cut what I need. It’s cheaper than you think and very fun. Glad you found your sewing mojo!

    1. Terrific idea! I was thinking of getting some plaid flannel shirts for some wallets or zipper pouches or something. Would be a lot cheaper than new fabric I’ll bet. Thanks Lois!

  2. Congratulations, Dawn, on your new venture!! Will you take “requests” for certain colors on your items? We’ve just had a new granddaughter, and I’m looking at your triangle zipper pouch and wristlet for holding an extra pacifier, but I’d like it in a more “little baby girl” motif. What do you think? I still look forward to your “junkin” finds and historical buildings info, but I’m glad you’ve got such a special outlet for your creative energy!

    1. Thank you Rosie, and yes I’ll absolutely take a custom order. I’ll send you an email about some fabric options soon. Congrats on the new granddaughter!

  3. I think I’m getting addicted to thrifting, because it seems like I must go every few days AND something must be in my hands. Is there a cure? I don’t know, but I have plenty of stuff, so I need to wean myself off it, and make it more of a treat. We’ll see how that goes.

    Your pouches are a fantastic way to use something that isn’t quite useful any more. I love them, and I might think about purchasing some myself if I come across some for a good price. I especially like your special August pouch. My birthday is in August, too β€” the 19th. So happy birthday to us!

    1. My birthday is just a couple days before yours πŸ™‚ Junkin is addictive, especially when you find a great deal on something unusual or rare. Thanks Fonda!

  4. Dawn, Congrats on your Etsy store! The little mug mats for Halloween are super-cute! I pinned them to my Halloween decor board. I have been meaning to leave a comment on your posts for a while. It seems that I like to look but haven’t been good about leaving a note to say that I was here. I mostly work on stuff for my doll blog now, although I am hankering to do a pretty tablescape. Maybe soon. I just don’t have the energy like I did a few years back.

    I did see your fairy garden post. Very cute. Fairy gardens help me fulfill my desire to work with plants and my desire to play with toys! I took pictures all summer as my fairy gardens progressed and the plants matured. I am thinking maybe to put them together and crop them to do a post for Susans Metamorphosis Monday link party.

    It has been good to see you are blogging again. I had been missing you.


    1. Thanks for pinning those Candy! I know what you mean about the blogging and commenting, it all takes so much time and it’s harder if you’re surfing blogs on a mobile device like I often am. Thanks for being here and yes you definitely should share your fairy gardens on BNOTP I think πŸ™‚

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