Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It's About Time! Redux

I received my swap package from my partner, Marilyn, in the It's About Time swap. It arrived via the cutest little bird on the box, and contained so many fun things!

My favorites are the interior square box, which is covered with hydrangeas and vintage motifs, and the decorative keys, one which is shiny and ivory metal, and the other which is sparkly green!

I also love the "Once Upon a Time" stamp, the large vintage motif tag, and the way she decorated/wrapped the items in vintage seam binding!

Thank you, Marilyn! And, thank you to Mary from Vintage Patina, one of my favorite blogs to read, for being the helpful hostess!

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Literary Surprise!

We're home from St. Louis after a long, long day of driving, and were welcomed by two very happy dogs, an indifferent cat, and a pile of mail. Among the post was a surprise: several lovely copies of my college's literary journal containing one of my works -- a play that I wrote for a class I took in my next-to-last semester.

My instructor had encouraged me last winter to submit it to the journal, but I'd heard nothing more until about a week and a half ago when the instructor told me it that it actually was chosen for the journal and printed. I'm pleasantly surprised!

You can read Aurora Magazine, and my play, Barren Courage, here!

I've missed you all, and all your blogs, and can't wait to begin catching up tomorrow!

Blue Monday

If all goes well, we're on our way home today!

Meanwhile, I took some photos recently and noticed their common thread: beautiful blues! Here they are, and I hope they inspire you:

Shabby blue Harker Ware (available in my Etsy shop.)

Rescued from Auntie's garage...

aren't the floral handles precious!

Two fantastic Vera plates!

Close up of majolica plate by Jay Willifred (available in my Etsy shop.)

Detail of a colorful pair of vintage bark cloth drapery panels

I think these prove that, sometimes, it's just fine to have the blues!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

New in the Shop

I recently put some new, fun vintage items in my Etsy shop; here are just a few:

I love this vintage plate showing Surrey, England! It's squarish, rather than round, and has the greatest detail. The green is spectacular!

A different, but also lovely, green on this plate, with it's awesome clock!

This print is antique, and mounted on silk which, despite the stain, is wonderful in it's original frame.

I'm selling a set of two of these beautiful aprons, that are small enough for little girl's dress up, but big enough for an adult. The handkerchief pockets are precious!

Click on the photo to go to the shop listing for a closer look!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Honeymoon in Hermann

While we're in Missouri we plan to visit the small wine town Hermann, which is west of St. Louis, where we honeymooned 18 years ago. We'd decided that after our wedding we would visit all of Dennis' family to celebrate with (and for me, meet) them. The only drawback to that plan was that I would, literally, be spending my honeymoon with my in-laws! So, after a few days with them, we took a trip alone to Hermann and stayed at a bed and breakfast. The scenery in the area is just beautiful!

The highlight of the visit was dinner at a restaurant named Vintage 1847, at Stone Hill Winery. Stone Hill was then and still is an award-winning winery. I know, I know, you're thinking, winery in Missouri? Well, the town of Hermann was settled by German settlers because it reminded them of the Rhine river valley in the old country, and some of them started raising grapes and continued the tradition they'd been born into.

At the time, Vintage 1847's claim to fame was that it was John Ratzenberger's favorite restaurant (they quoted him in their promotional materials!) We were Cheers fans so that was enough of a recommendation for us! We ate schnitzel with sour cream dill sauce paired with their Norton wine -- it was such a wonderful dinner that we went back the next evening! I bought their cookbook in the gift shop and have recreated that meal about once a year since, to rave reviews! We're very excited about getting back, and taking Ben.

Of course, the town also boasts antique and souvenir shops that I'll enjoy exploring again!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Help, I'm Becoming My Mother!

The best thing about Ben's trip to his week long Scout Camp is Family Night, where we get to visit him there, have dinner, and hang out for the flag ceremonies and awards. This past Friday we did that, and everyone in the Troop -- the leaders, the kids, the parents -- was celebrating their difficult experience.

Not only did they survive this tornado, they survived four others, I learned, that were in the vicinity that same day.

My son described being under the storm. The words, "What tornado, there's not even any hail?" were just out of his mouth when he rounded a bend on the trail and saw the huge twister just on the other side of the small lake. I asked him what everyone was doing, and he imitated the frantic waving of the leaders to get them all in the storm shelter. He said that once inside the shelter, which was under the mess hall, the leaders sang and tried to play games to keep fear at bay. Needless to say, they lost some of the younger campers to phone calls home that day! There were two other tornado watches that week, but no more touched down. I think the kids that stayed should get a special "Tornado" patch, don't you?

That was their second day at camp, Monday. On Wednesday, my son's troop looked up from their campsite to see a new furry camper had joined them: a brown bear. According to Ben, he nosed around the big red dumpster in back of their campsite for the next several nights.

From a parent's perspective, the tornado scare was bad enough. But when I heard about the bear, all I could think was, Thank goodness I didn't know about it. Because, sincerely, that would have put me over the edge.

Okay, now here's the other scary thing: when I heard the bear story, I remembered that on Wednesday night I had the most frightening, vivid nightmare about, you guessed it, being chased by a 7 foot bear. (In my dream, I was in a large building, like a dormitory, and I looked out a glass side door and saw a bear about 20 feet away from a girl on a bench. I ran, opened the door, and yelled at her to get in. She did, with the bear following her, and we slammed the door in the bear's face. Then he got in and chased us up the several flights of stairs, until we escaped by getting on the roof.)

When my son told me about their bear I remembered my creepy dream and told him about it. Then I gasped, because that's what my mother always used to do: tell me she'd dreamed about something that had happened to me! I used to roll my eyes and think to myself that she was making a big deal out of a coincidence, as if she thought she was psychic or something. And now here I am doing the same thing. Life can be so cruel.

At awards time, my son's Troop had the unwanted distinction of having been one of the two whose members spent the most time in the Medic's Cabin. They had one broken bone, several sprains, and a kid that had to spend the night in there because he was homesick to the point of being violently ill. My son described how he'd twisted his ankle badly but refused to go for medical attention because, after a certain number of injuries in one Troop, they get sent home, and he didn't want to add to their overall count. He also got elbowed in the eye and came home with his first shiner!

But the thing that made me the most proud was the award my son was given from his own Troop. They choose two campers to distinguish and he was one of them. The Scoutmaster relayed to me privately the story of Ben's fear of a certain, underwater Lifesaving merit badge task he needed to do. That, coupled with the fact that he had been sick to his stomach the day before after being in the 62 degree pool (the heater had broken) added to his fear. (He couldn't avoid getting medical attention for dehydration that time.) Although he was given the "out" of waiting to get back home and do it in the heated pool, he stayed with the group. He waited to be the last one to go, and the Scoutmaster said he looked like he was still making up his mind whether or not he was going to do it the whole time. Then, he jumped in, did it, and passed the requirement.

When the Scoutmaster told me about it, I had tears in my eyes. We all know our kids, and when I heard about this I knew that Ben had taken several more leaps on the road from boy to man during this week at camp.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pins, Tags, and Packing Bags

Rie over at Simple Pleasures was my pin cushion swap partner. She's a very talented quilter, wife to a soldier deployed in Afghanistan, and mother of two. She just posted that she'd received my package over on her blog. Her style is primitive, reproduction antique quilts, and so I tried my hand at that. I'm so glad she liked it!

I've been working on some tags for gift bags that I'm taking to St. Louis. As I may have mentioned, there are few in my "real" life (as opposed to "online" life) that like the same vintage things that I do, and that includes my in-laws. So, I don't often share much of this side of me with them. I decided I need to change that! So, I'm going to give out these tags with the coffee gifts we're bringing.

Here I used one of the cool paper flowers I made;
the one on the right was my try at a patriotic tag

Here I used some of that great wallpaper I bought in Nebraska;
these are way more "frou frou" than my usual style, but I think they're sweet!

I'm really partial to Raphael's angels. Here's the front...

and here's the back
The coffee thing's kind of special, too: a local roaster, Pike's Perk, has generously allowed my son's Jamboree Troop to sell bags of their coffee as a fund raiser for their trip to D.C. next year. (My son is very privileged to be going on a 2 week trip to attend the 100th Anniversary of Scouting Jamboree! I'm so happy for him, and a bit envious. He's going to have the BEST time!)
For every $9 bag of coffee we buy, $5 is credited back towards the trip's cost, which is ~$3,000 per Scout. I think the coffee makes a lovely, exclusively Colorado, gift for my coffee-loving in-laws!

So, we're leaving early this morning for St. Louis and will be away about a week. Since they have Internet at their house, I'm hoping to be able to keep up with reading your blogs in free moments on the trip. And, I've scheduled posts to run while I'm gone so I hope you'll keep visiting! I'll be back with, hopefully, some great vintage finds to share with you! Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Memories of a June Wedding

June 21 is the first day of summer, and in 1991 it was the first day of the rest of my life, when I married Dennis Jackson. What a huge, life-changing decision. Looking back, I think I took it a bit too lightly. I'll always be thankful that it has worked out, and that Dennis was the right man for me. We've been happy together all these years.

A little over 3 months before, Dennis proposed over dinner at our favorite little Italian restaurant.I wasn't surprised by the proposal, as we'd already been to chose my ring, but I was surprised when he suggested a June wedding -- I'd been thinking September. We didn't have a lot of time to plan the wedding, but since it would be small that wasn't a problem.

We were married on a Friday, and that wasn't the only "unconventional" thing about our wedding. I don't like to be the center of attention, and so I just was not into having a wedding in a church in front of a lot of people. (There were also religious differences between our two families, so I felt that if I couldn't get married in my Catholic church, I didn't want to get married in a church at all.) We decided to get married in Crystal Bay, Nevada, about a 4 hour drive from each of our homes, at a famous hotel on the shore of the bay. Here's Dennis having cold feet on the balcony (not really, he's smoking, a habit he kicked in our first year of marriage) -- can you see the blue of the huge Lake Tahoe just outside the window?

We held our wedding in a secluded corner suite of rooms, where the minister came to us! Originally, we planned to have no guests at all! But, Dennis' mother was heartbroken at the idea so I relented and invited them as well as my parents -- but no one else, not even siblings!

I loved my dress -- it was designed by Jessica McClintock and it was the only gown I saw that I could even imagine wearing. She was well-known at the time for her over-the-top lace, and had a new line of wedding gowns that were famously affordable. My dress cost $200. I wish I had a photo of my beautiful shoes, also by McClintock. They were double damask pumps.

Don't we look scared?

Ah -- much better now!

We decided to be married in Nevada because it was so much easier: no blood tests, and no wait for the licenses -- they have a drive-through window for marriage licenses in nearby Reno!

If we had wanted a California wedding, all we had to do was go downstairs with the minister into a room in the lobby of the hotel which was on the state line between CA and NV and have him pronounce us man and wife on the CA side! The swimming pool at that hotel is famous for having a dividing line through it so you can swim in both states.

After the ceremony we had champagne and snacks with our parents; then, they went to dinner and a show together while Dennis and I went for a romantic seafood dinner at the area's nicest restaurant.

Videotaping weddings was "the new thing" -- we actually rented this camcorder!

The following day, Saturday, we drove home leisurely, and rested. We got up early the next day, had our photos taken (like the one at the top of this post), and went to a lovely new Senior Center facility we had rented and for a Sunday brunch reception! We served champagne, coffee, tea, orange juice, and all the usual brunch buffet stuff. We had a pianist playing background music. It was lovely. My color was theme was lavender, and I had pots of New Guinea Pink Impatiens on each table. We had about 50 people attend.

The irises in my bouquet were my "something blue."

I can hardly believe it's been 18 years. We did it our way, and I wouldn't change a thing! (...with the possible exception of my uninspired veil and headpiece...)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Full Speed Ahead to Summer!

I know summer doesn't officially begin until June 21, but as far as I'm concerned, Memorial Day weekend signals the beginning of the season. It's right around the time my son gets out of school, our neighborhood outdoor pool opens, and the cookout season begins!

When I was a child, summer was a lazy season. The only real activity was the dreaded swim lessons at the high school pool, and the only nice thing about them was stopping at our neighborhood soda fountain, Shaw's, for ice cream afterward. I liked to get vanilla hand dipped in chocolate shell, on a sugar cone.

Shaw's single scoop of pistachio

Beyond swim lessons, my summer activities as a kid consisted of following my mother around on her errands, and reading. I would go to the library several times a week and bring home books by the armload. I loved to sit in my backyard on a blanket under a gangly old tree and read.

The highlight of every summer came at the end, when our town had it's Labor Day weekend Art & Wine Festival. Everyone in town attended, and it was where you met up and caught up with all your friends from school. It was also where I got to see and appreciate tons of hand made art!

My son's having a very different experience of summer. As we moved to Colorado when he was turning 5, his memory is just of our mountain summers. Living at the foot of Pikes Peak means summer days begin warm, then cloud up for afternoon thunder showers and rain, then clear off again to warm, mild evenings. Every now and then we nervously contemplate heading to the basement when funnel clouds are reported -- but they rarely touchdown.

(By the way, this one did touch down and did some damage on Monday in the town my son is camping in! I haven't talked to him, but heard from some of the leaders that the boys spent some time that afternoon in the camp's storm shelter. I am remaining calm.)

There's no humidity at all here in the high desert, and on the plains we live pretty much bug free -- I think I've seen 2 mosquitoes in 7 years at home. No fleas either! But lots of moths, which keeps my kitty busy!

Who, me?

So, summer here means get out to the pool for a lovely morning swim and leave when you're hungry for lunch, before it clouds up. I try to get my son outdoors as much as possible, which isn't always easy with all the fun technology that entices him to be constantly in front of a screen.

We walk the dogs, work in the yard, and catch all the flea markets and garage sales we can! We used to camp a lot but since my son goes on so many trips with Scouts, we seem to do that less as a family now. We love to catch Sky Sox games -- for me that's a highlight of summer!

This year, we're not traveling much; as I mentioned earlier, we're going to visit family in St. Louis next week but no beach vacations or trips back to California this year (*sob*)!

From my visit to SF last summer

I love summer for the gastronomic delights: berries and melons in season, grilled meat, and the fact that I try not to turn on the oven at all, which means creative thinking in the kitchen!

Where I grew up, we had 70 degree weather just about year 'round, and the Bay kept it from ever getting too warm. There was no need for air conditioning, and maybe 1-1/2 weeks TOPS that it was truly hot enough to swim outdoors.

That's what I love about living here in Colorado: we get all the seasons, and you can count on there being several sweltering hot (but not humid!) weeks in the summer, where you can sit out on your patio all evening with your friends, and listen to the sounds of summer -- crickets chirping, kids running around outside, and the random firecracker.

What means summer to you in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Etsy Spot: Lazy T Crochet

I have a fellow Etsy Bloggers Street Team member to tell you about: Lazy T Crochet. You have to check out her Etsy shop by the same name, full of knit and crochet fashions and accessories - wearable shawls, shrugs, sweaters - all which are one-of-a-kind designs - hats, headbands, scarves, and more! She takes custom orders, too. Right now she has a huge summer sale section in her shop.

As you can see, she has a way with needles and yarn! Here are two of my favorite of her items:

A knit wrist cuff with a carved bone "bead"!

Chunky knit bangle bracelet

For more fun and also traditional knits, go visit Lazy T Crochet's blog and shop!

Paper Flowers

A while back, Julia, aka The Spotted Sparrow, blogged about this paper flower tutorial from a blog called "It's In the Details." It shows how to make flowers from old sewing patterns!

I got excited right away -- I just loved the look, and the way the flowers are finished off with buttons! Unfortunately, I don't own a Sizziz -- that cool tool that perfectly cuts paper from a template. But I thought, how hard can it be to use scissors? First I made a stencil, then I traced it on, and then I cut. And cut. And cut.

Well, it was a little messy, but it did work with scissors!

At that point, it was actually very relaxing -- because, once you get all the flowers cut from both the tissue pattern and the instruction sheets, you get to separate the thin, wispy tissue flowers and alternate them in little piles with the thicker instruction paper!

It was fun choosing buttons for the middle of the flowers, and sewing through all the layers of paper. I decorated one with beads, but actually preferred the look of the buttons alone.

I actually liked my flowers better than the ones in the original tutorial -- they're imperfect and that's more my style!

What I liked most of all about this project was that I cut twice and got four flowers! It's one of those crafts that gives you a good return on your time investment.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Must-See Saint Louis Thrift Stores?

We're going to visit my in-laws in my husband's hometown, Saint Louis, Missouri, and I plan to visit thrift stores! I have very happy memories of visiting shops in Alton, Illinois, just over the bridge, on a visit -- it was there that I discovered my first button tin and there's been no going back ever since!

I'm going to arm myself with a GPS and I'm looking for suggestions of "can't miss" antique malls and second hand stores! Or events. I'm not looking for clothes -- just fun, vintage items and especially textiles (you know how I am!)

If you have any to recommend, please let me know as soon as possible!

It's About Time!

I got word from my partner that she received my swap package today in the It's About Time swap, hosted by Mary (thank you, Mary!) and she really enjoyed it. I'm so glad! It was my first-ever swap!

Here are some photos of what I sent, to go along with the theme of time -- clocks, numbers, letters -- and in keeping with things my partner said she loves:

a button collage, with samples from my collection,
sewn onto an antique white double damask napkin;

some ribbon and lace on tags;

some paper things she likes, like postcards and seed packets;

some pretty things in her colors;

and an antique sewing machine drawer with sewing notions, linens, and one of my pillows:

I had the time of my life putting the package together for her -- it's all shabby and vintage and everything I love. How wonderful to find someone who loves it as much as I do! I'm waiting to receive my package from her; I just know I'm going to love it!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday Blues

My son left yesterday afternoon for a week long summer camp and I miss him like crazy. I don't remember feeling this forlorn when he went last year, but I think that's because he went in mid July and, after his being home on summer break for a month and a half at that point, I was a little more "ready" for him to be gone if you know what I mean.

I have it as a goal this week to do some writing. During my last semester at college, I wrote a short story of about 25 pages that I am very fond of, and that my instructor suggested I let sit for a while before editing. It's been sitting now for 2-1/2 months and I'm ready to take another look at it. Honestly, if I only accomplish editing it to prepare it for submission to some journals, it will be enough for me for this "free" week.

(My husband already started to put pressure on me last night, though, when he walked through the door after work and asked, "How was writing?" Yeah, I gave him a withering glance.)

On my agenda for today: write a little, go get the dreaded mammogram, visit the thrift shops in the clinic's neighborhood, come home and write a little more. But before I go, I have to share a few photos of things I rescued from Auntie's garage:

Isn't the roll of shabby vintage wallpaper to die for? (I actually found that at Auntie's Goodwill for $1, not in her garage...) I am so inspired by the beautiful tags I see some of you making on your blogs! And, since participating in the It's About Time swap, I'm drawn to things like these cool old rulers!

I love this old pressed glass dish!

And the pie server -- I'm sure that handle is Bakelite. I will probably decorate the old ladles with bird nests.

Then, while at the library choosing some books-on-tape for the drive to Nebraska, I wandered into the Friends bookstore and found this charming book:

It's loaded with great drawings:

Also: here's a sneak peek of some very charming drapery panels for a child's room that I'm going to part with and list in my Etsy shop this week:

The theme of the print is "dancing" -- notice the dance card, and the faded lettering with phrases like "Cheek to Cheek", "Bunny Hop" and in other spots, even "Rock and Roll"! These draperies are A*M*A*Z*I*N*G!

Have a lovely day everyone!