Amy’s Blog

Vintage Notions Book Club: A Fresh Start

VN_Book Club Header


The theme that resonated most with me in the January Chapter was that do-overs are allowed, and that our happiness is not contingent on getting things right the first time. I believe it is the process that is important. With January resolutions we have a chance to create fresh starts for ourselves.

The determination to try again is without doubt the greatest factor for success in the lives of all whose achievements are noteworthy.”

Another lesson I’ve learned this month is that we can focus on big goals, but we can also focus our energy to find happiness in everyday efforts.

contentment_is_happiness For surely, when we are happy, we are successful, at least in that little domain where we are queen. No matter what our environment, no matter what our circumstances “ a singing tea kettle, a cozy fire”

I certainly find myself getting so distracted in the big stuff that I can miss those small moments of happiness.


This is one of my favorite soup recipes, from Noah’s a famed Italian restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa. I served this over the holidays and friends were stunned to hear that Campbell’s cans were the secret to my soup success!







This chapter also discusses do-overs as they relate to remodeling clothes. Be sure to check out the man’s shirt apron project in this chapter it’s one of my favorites! Our modern day recycling revolution is also evidence of the notion that what is old is new again. This is one of my passions when it comes to my work with Indygo Junction. Ever since we produced Jacket from Jeans back in the 1990’s, I have loved the idea of creating clothes with cast-offs!






That’s all for now. I can’t wait to read try some of your soup recipes & see your recycling ideas in the comments section! Please encourage your friends to join us for this monthly book club. Send them a link, share on Facebook, or start a group of friends in your community  Let’s find joy in the journey!



  1. Amy Cavaness

    I’m only a little late to the party—my book arrived today and I’m really looking forward to digging-in and participating in your Book Club!

    My mom LOVED soups and I grew up eating all kinds–from oxtail to gazpacho.

    Recycling and upcycling are passions of mine—inexpensive and always a creative challenge! And using vintage textiles WITH the pre-loved garments is the ultimate!

    Love your work, Amy!

    • Amy Barickman

      It is never to late to join the party Amy! I have been traveling the last few weeks to sewing and quilt shows and see recycling really taking off!! Have some great new ideas for Indygo Junction pattern…

  2. Sherry

    I read about your book club a few weeks ago but did not have the chance to get my Vintage Notions book out and start reading through it. I read half of the January chapter last night. It was just what I needed, I plan to join in, it was fun to read everyone’s comments.

  3. Karen Miller

    Hi Amy! I would love to join in your Vintage Book Club. Can you help me? I have loved this book from the first time I saw it at my library. I loved it so much that after checking it out so often one of the librarians suggested I buy it…so I did! I am looking forward to joining in!

    • Amy Barickman

      Wonderful Karen! I know you will be happy you made the purchase and enjoy the club!

  4. Barbara

    I bought your book when it first came out and love it! I like what you are doing here with your blog. Lately, I’ve been recyling wool fabric and making wool flowers. I made a wool flower arrangement and framed it in a shadow box frame as the flowers are dimensional. It was so fun to do and I will be making more. I have had many compliments on it.

    • Amy Barickman

      Thanks Barbara! Yes I think this will be a fun “club” Please share it with friends and family that might enjoy the discussions!! Your flowers sound wonderful. I would love to see a photo. You can email me at amyb at
      Also wondering if you have seen my latest book Indygo Junction’s Fabric Flowers? We have a book tour running now. Visit Indygo Junction’s blog to check out the tour.


    Love this project. Are there any direction available?

    • Amy Barickman

      The instructions for the apron are in the January chapter of Vintage Notions.

  6. Patricia Dorwin

    I have owned “Vintage Notions” since I saw you on Nancy Ziemans television program. What fun to go through the book with you. I am looking forward to future bolgs.

  7. Rachel Delgado

    hi the recycled bit is such a good thing that i have recycled pants as “ugly” quilts for a wile and i have had laffs from them that at least things that are brakeble have a good chance stay in good shape when i move so i can say they may be “ugly ” but they are goood : )

  8. Barbara Thibeault

    I am going to love your Blog….Thank you for starting it….Have a great weekend…

  9. Nina Christman

    I just wanted to let you know how much Vintage Notions means to me. When the book first came out, my husband was starting cancer treatments. As I sat each day in waiting rooms, the book took me away to another place and time. It was exactly just what I needed. Unfortunately, my husband died; but that book helped save my sanity.

    • Amy Barickman

      Nina, so so sorry for your loss.. I am glad Vintage Notions provided you some comfort. Glad you have joined and shared!

  10. Diane Standish

    Right now I am upcycling sweater sleeves into leg warmers for a friend of mine. First time I have done this so it should be interesting!
    For a soup recipe I will share my
    7 Bean and Ham Soup
    (It is hard for me to give recipes because I never measure!! LOL)
    1/2 lb to 1 lb of beans (depending on how much you want to make)
    bone of a left over ham(with some ham still on it)
    1/2 lb bacon
    container of vegetable stock or even chicken stock
    carrots, celery, onion, garlic as much as you want to use
    I soak beans till they are partially softened. Put in pot with the ham bone cover with water and stock. Chop veggies and a couple cloves of garlic and add to pot. Fry bacon till crispy in skillet and add to pot.Cook 2-3 hours till beans are nice and soft, and ham falls off bone. remove bone from pot, take meat off bone and cut into bite size pieces. add back to soup. in skillet melt 1/2 to 3/4 stick butter and then add several tablespoons of flour to make a roux. Make sure soup is to almost a boil and add roux with a whisk, stir and then let simmer till thickened.
    The roux is the secret to really excellent ham and bean soup

    • Amy Barickman

      Awesome idea for leg warmers Diane!!! They are making a comeback from the Flashdance days. I have a ham bone in my freezer from Christmas and will give it a try.

  11. Rene'

    I adore Vintage Notions! After I read it, I bought my mom a copy too so we could go through the months together. I love your idea of being part of the online community going through it. Sign me up 🙂
    Thanks, Amy

  12. Amy Barickman

    Thanks for sharing Karen! There’s a restaurant in northern Michigan called Brownwood Acres that I remember having a wonderful broccoli soup. I’m eager to try yours!! -Amy

    • karen

      This recipe is from a restaurant that was in Frankenmuth–perhaps they used similar recipes??

      • Amy Barickman

        There may be a connection!! Now I will need to take a trip to Frankenmuth for a taste test!

  13. karen

    One of my favorite soups is the Broccoli Soup recipe I got from the restaurant I waitressed in many years ago. I have changed it a bit (of course, who doesn’t from time to time) as it was a restaurant sized quantity!
    Broccoli Soup
    4T finely chopped onion 4C milk
    4T butter 2C shredded cheese
    6T flour 3C chicken broth
    1tsp salt 20 oz (1 2/3#) broccoli
    2tsp pepper
    Saute butter and onion until tender.
    Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Add milk. Stir constantly until thick. Add cheese (I used whatever shredded I have-it gives the soup a bit of variety), stir until melted. Meanwhile, heat broccoli in chicken bouillion 5 minutes. Add to milk/cheese mixture. Stir.

    I guess one of the reasons it is a favorite is because prior to trying this, I was not a broccoli person (or tomato person, but that’s another story!). But after this, I became more adventurous in trying ‘new’ foods and found many that I now cannot believe I used to turn away from.

  14. Joan Mitchell

    I love the idea of recycling clothing rather than see so much good material go to waste… can’t wait to try the man’s shirt to apron project. Too bad I’ll have to get ahold of someone else’s cast-off shirt to do so. My dear husband doesn’t have a shirt to spare.

    As for the soup… I’ve not developed a recipe good enough to share… probably due to the fact that I so rarely cook anything.

  15. Mary Gross

    The man’s shirt to apron is so cute!!!! Love that idea.

  16. Kitty

    I love your apron idea. how do we know how BIG to buy it. is it whatever shirt fits us? thanks, Kitty

  17. Dee Bratcher

    I upcycled several of my dad’s clothing items after he passed away – purses (from jeans and also from dress pants/shirt/ties), bookmarks and cosmetic bag from Jeans, lap quilt from jeans and fabric and two aprons from one pair of bibbed overalls. I have more of his clothing left to make things -just waiting for the right project.

    • Amy Barickman

      Dee, thanks for sharing! I agree that it’s so meaningful to preserve memories by sewing with family textiles. -Amy

    • Nancy Goldstein

      I love this idea!!! Thank you ❤❤

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