Monday, August 31, 2009

Wash Your Hands!

I just learned from a friend that the first death here in Colorado from H1N1 was a woman who lived near me and was about my age. Her husband is also ill with the flu.

My friend who, like me, loves to frequent the thrift stores, told me that she was donating stuff to our favorite thrift store a few days ago and had a chilling conversation with the volunteer taking donations.

He told her that the man in the car in front of her was the widower of the woman who had just passed away. The volunteer pointed to the large pile of the deceased wife's clothing the grieving man, also ill, had just dropped off and wondered aloud if it was safe to touch. Think about it!

I know we are all careful to clean what we get from thrift stores, flea markets, and other recycled outlets. I have always kept a canister of Clorox wipes in the car and use them when I come out of any thrift store, and especially before I drink or eat.

This year, more than ever my friends, be especially vigilant!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Once Upon A Morning Dreary

When I woke up this morning, far too early for a Sunday, in my opinion, here was the sight outside my window:

That's fog outside my window, so much so that you can't see the house across the street! Fog of course always makes me think of my hometown of San Francisco, and seems drearily out of place here in Colorado, where there's no ocean and thus no foghorns moaning in the distance.


Foghorn Leghorn

No foghorns, but ATV's. My sleep was interrupted last night at 2 a.m., exactly, by kids on ATVs who like to drag race up and down our perfectly straight side street. You never get that good sleep back -- you know how that is. I tossed and turned for 45 minutes afterward.

When I came downstairs just now my eyes were assaulted by the incredible mess on my dining room table where, despite the fact that I have an office, is where I prefer to do my crafting. It is literally spilling over with scrapbooking paper, trims, and ephemera. That's because I've been working on all these tags for the last few days. Here's some you haven't seen yet:

Then, yesterday I made a few ATC's:

Different, huh? I had a lot of fun with those!

But here's the thing: when I have all the paper stuff out on the table, and I know I'm going to be making more, I can't seem to bring myself to put it all away and clean up the mess. It seems to interrupt the flow of creativity.

I may actually have to put it all away later on because I want to get back to some sewing. I thought I might make more crazy quilt pillows, but in Christmas colors -- because, by the time they're ready, it will be holiday selling time! I don't normally create many holiday-themed items, do you? I don't normally sell at craft fairs, either.

Yesterday afternoon I used the handy Picasa program to create a "movie" of our summer activities, complete with music. I've made a few now, usually of vacation times, after challenged by my son a couple of years ago when he said, "We didn't do much of anything this summer." I put a slideshow together and after he saw it he said, "Wow! We really did do a lot, didn't we?" I load it on a thumb drive and play it on our digital picture frame in the family room.

I thought of posting the summer movie here but then realized it would be redundant, as I posted about all that stuff all summer long and you've seen the photos!

Maybe that's why I'm feeling a little dreary this morning. Maybe it's not the fog, the lack of sleep, or the mess on my dining room table. Maybe it's because it's August 30 and a Sunday...and summer's just about officially gone.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Better Living Through Creating

Last night I argued with both my son and my husband. It's a rarity anymore for Dennis and I to argue; not so much with my son Ben and I, since he's 12 and already exhibiting teen aged behavior. Still, it was very upsetting and I awoke this morning feeling upset and frazzled.

The only thing I thought might make me feel better was to enjoy some craft time, which I haven't had much of this week.

So, after spending a few weeks admiring it all, I finally got around to creating some tags of my own using some of Karla's wallpaper:

Now that I look at them, you can really tell I was having "the blues", eh?!

I used lots of vintage seam binding, pages from sheet music and dictionaries, old buttons and jewelry. Most of the pieces are completely vintage!

I really enjoyed myself! I think I'll keep one or two for myself, and put the rest in my Etsy shop.

Which is your favorite?

Enjoying Karla's Cottage

I am a huge fan of Karla Nathan, who has a boutique, an Etsy shop and a friendly and delightful blog called Karla's Cottage. If you love vintage everything like me, you'll love her blog and her wares and you'll wish she was your next-door-neighbor, like I do.

I recently purchased my first package from Karla when she offered her readers a sale, and I adore every bit of it. Initially, I was going to just get this wonderful little blank "album" made from antique and vintage wallpaper:

Don't you love the details?

She included some scraps of wallpaper in the package, so that when you began to fill the blank pages you can use them to coordinate! She also left the binding "loose" so that you can fill it with heavily embellished pieces.

I've been taking the album with me to friend's houses, because I'm so in love with it, and also to show them exactly what I love (since it can be so hard to explain why old wallpaper makes me giddy!)

But while I was shopping her store I also had to buy... of Karla's finished tags (it's sitting on some open pages of the album)...

...and some of her vintage millinery.

Then, to my utter and complete delight, when the package arrived she'd included these goodies! (All of them are shown against the backdrop of some of the different album pages!)

It doesn't get any better than this, does it? Karla rocks!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Button Heaven

You know my friend Linda who I introduced you to at the bottom of this post? WELL, I recently received my most recent purchase from her and I am in Button Heaven! Join me!

She included bonus buttons because she's so wonderful and she knew it would make me swoon:
And as if that wasn't enough, she also sent some amazingly fabulous vintage rick rack packages! And this tiny framed quilt scrap (with buttons!)The gift was the frame, which she said made her think of me! I love it when someone "gets" me!

The tiny frame now lives on the shelf above one of my bookcases.

The little frame now shares space with: a photo (taken at a Christmas party a few years ago), a Tim Gunn (from Project Runway) bobblehead (he talks: "Fab-u-lous", "Make it Work!", "Carry On"), my service award clock from my last job, some vintage books, and a cup without a saucer that's still too beautiful to throw away. Behind it all is a collage I made to honor my father's Navy years.

As Linda's buttons arrived, I was working on making new button bags for my Etsy shop:

I made some of the bags smaller with 30 buttons, a few larger, with 40 buttons, and some different, smaller mixes for scrap booking and crafting needs. I love playing with my buttons!

Most of all, I love all the wonderful friends I've met along the thrifting, selling, blogging way!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Never Too Busy For Thrifty Finds

It's going to be a busy week for me, but I must still take a few minutes to show you some of the thrift store goodness I've been finding lately:

I have several other small pieces of blue glass in this color, so I was glad to find this little basket to go alongside them on my bathroom windowsill. And, I was thrilled to finally score this little revolving rubber stamp holder! It will be perfect as a display if I ever decide to do a craft fair again; for now, I think I'm going to use it for my small ATC collection! I found these both at my favorite thrift store.

I have always wanted one of these round sewing baskets. Even though the rest of the beads are missing on top, the large, purplish round handle is in great shape! And what's more...

this one came filled with all kinds of charming crafting stuff! It was a great $2 buy at the flea market.

Here are some fun linens, including a needlepoint and some crochet and tatting. I just adore the pattern and color scheme on the strangely shaped apron!

Remember when I blogged about my Market Day? Well, I'd forgotten to post what I bought there:

Isn't this fun? It's a length of antique or vintage trim, wrapped around a piece of embellished cardboard, and then tied to a painted dowel so that it looks like a flower of sorts...

The rich ribbon in two colors makes it really sweet, don't you think?

For most of the day today, and for the next couple of days, I'll be making phone calls on behalf of my former employer; they're compiling a mailing list and I get to gather the information for them. Best of all, I get to do the work from home!

In other news, I've been to see my friend the Physical Therapist over the weekend and am now on a time-consuming regime of exercise and posture improvement. If it works, I'll be healed from my painful heel spurs in 3 months to a year. From here, it feels like a long road ahead and is pretty depressing, but I'm at the point that I'll do just about anything for some relief.

So, what are your challenges for the week?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Trifle Recipe

Here's my trifle recipe, in case you, like me, find yourself with an abundance of raspberries -- and, it's the easiest thing to make, because you don't need to fuss with quantities. Add more, add less, leave something out -- it will still taste great!

1 10 oz. angel cake
1/2 cup sweet sherry
1 cup of berries - raspberry, strawberry, or blueberry, or any combination

fresh vanilla pudding (recipe follows)

1 cup heavy cream
slivered almonds
toasted sliced almonds

Cut the angel food cake into 1 inch pieces and put them in a glass bowl. Pour the sherry over the cake and toss.

Add the half the berries and half the slivered almonds, then pour the vanilla pudding over the mixture.

Reserve a few berries, then add the rest of the berries and slivered almonds.

Spoon the whipped cream over the top, then sprinkle the toasted sliced almonds over the cream and a few more berries for decoration.

Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Vanilla pudding:

1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp. margarine or butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Gradually stir in milk. cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Gradually stir at least half of the hot mixture into a bowl with the egg yolks. Pour back into pan with the rest of the hot mixture and boil; stir 1 minute.

Remove from heat. Stir in margarine and vanilla. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours until chilled.

You can also get real fancy and arrange the trifle perfectly, like this (they used lady fingers instead of angel cake.)
But I think it looks pretty just jumbled in there, too!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


As one can tell from my blog's name, I'm a big fan of showing off trifles on any surface that can make a shelf, like the top of my cabinets in the kitchen:

I took this photo to celebrate the McCoy pot in front, the green one in the middle, which was a gift from my mother-in-law when we were in St. Louis. It was on her shelf, I admired it, and she was happy to pass it along.

A few weeks later I happened upon a tea cup "cabinet" at a very good price. So, I was able to clear off a crowded shelf of my china cabinet and put it to good use:

That pink pottery piece on top is Coors.

I thought you might also like to see part of my bumper raspberry crop:

I cut the plants WAY back this year, but they must have liked it because we literally cannot keep up with the abundance!

I used some of them to make a summer trifle, with homemade vanilla pudding, toasted almonds, and real whipped cream:

(That's the trifle, our good friends who moved (sniffle) and my husband and I, toasting friend's retirement from the AF -- which is not a trifle.)

I decided that evening that I needed some prettier glass dessert plates if I was going to make trifles in the future. Luckily, I happened upon these at the thrift shop:

So, next time I'll be all set! I also found these that same day:

One can never have too many footed dishes, can one?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Posies for Sale

This flower cart reminds me of Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady." Here's the Before:

And here's the After:

Now, this one I love!

Looking In My Window

Remember the antique window I blogged about? Here's Before:

And here's After:

I have about five cuts on my poor little hands from all the wire, staples, and various other rough edges! Ouch!

I attached a piece of ironwork and two pretty glass doorknobs on the bottom...

I like it, but I don't love it, and I need to love it because it's in my line of vision on my bedroom wall when I'm laying in bed!

I'm open to suggestions!

Update: When I was out swimming laps, I got a brainstorm for how to make the window look better. The solution involved a shabby old white drawer front and the same blue paint that is on the bottom of the walls of my bedroom:

Now what do you think?