Wednesday, August 31, 2011

End of August

Since mid-month I've been thinking, The best thing this month can do is end.  Yesterday, thanks to my buddy Rebecca, I spent the better part of the day here:
It was like a mini-vacation.  I like to lay by the pool in my community, but this club she belongs to has a real "resort" feel at mid-day on a hot Tuesday.  I'm slowly beginning to come back to myself after what has been a really trying few weeks.
The other day, I managed to finish up a journal I'd begun months ago.
I especially like the back cover (above.)
It's filled with the usual...
and playful touches.
It's available now in my handmade Etsy shop.
I'm looking forward to something tomorrow night: I'm planning to attend Jeanne Oliver's Summer Soiree; she lives about an hour north of me is and such a sweet, fun person as you may know if you've ever taken a class from her or even if you just read her blog!  What should I wear?
How about this?  (Wink!)
(See?  I'm beginning to feel better.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Brass Armadillo in Wheatridge, CO

I recently made the 90 minute drive up to Wheatridge, Colorado to meet my buddy Suzanne at The Brass Armadillo. It's the first time I've ever been to one of the Brass Armadillo antique malls.
It was huge.  The store is so big that I couldn't see it all in the time allotted, but that's okay.  I wasn't really trying to see it all, just the best stuff.
The first thing I saw that I found really inspiring was this wonderful embellished dress.  It was hanging near the snack bar they have in there, which serves very good coffee drinks, snacks, and lunch.  How convenient is that?
This store's aisles are named for states; the store is a co-op, so all the booths are by different vendors.  This one specialized in Pyrex and vintage kitchen items.
There were a lot of pretty displays, like this wicker chair that would have looked right at home on my back patio...
and this lovely print, which reminds me of the art you see engraved on coins.
This gal made cute button bouquets, and kept her things in one of the many glass shelved cases near the front of the store.
I think I only spent about $20 at the Brass Armadillo that day -- mostly on ephemera -- owing to the fact that Suzanne and I hadn't see each other since Birdsong and did more talking than shopping!  But I will definitely be returning to the shop the next time I'm in that neck of the woods.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Take a look at some of the sweetness I've received in the mail lately:
This twine on a lovely old wooden spool was a gift from Hope to celebrate 200 posts on her blog!
This sweet little pink box was a little surprise from LuLu, another button lover!
LuLu has recently discovered my other blog, Button Floozies!
And I've loved receiving cards and notes from so many of you, to cheer me after my recent loss.  It means the world to me -- you have no idea.  Thank you.
I wanted to show you some of the unique antique wallpaper I was lucky enough to find at a recent estate sale.  The sellers had an inkling of its value, so I didn't get it for cheap -- but isn't it wonderful?!  It has a great texture and is quite delicate.  I'm selling a large roll of it in my Etsy shop.
Then this one: it's scenes from what looks to me like a New England coastal village.  I love the little boats!  Jeanelle mentioned that you hardly ever see old wallpaper that's really masculine.  A big roll of this is also for sale in my shop.
Last weekend I visited an auction that was way out in the country, on a farm.  It was a blazing hot day, and there was no AC in that big old barn!  But it was a fun time.
Isn't this little stove adorable?  It was in such great condition, too.  It sold for $600 -- I have no idea if that's a good price or not.
This, though, was the sweetest moment: I noticed that a fez was up for auction and no one was bidding.  Remembering that Ben wanted a fez ever since one of his favorite TV characters, Dr. Who, has taken to wearing one, I snatched it up for the minimum bid of $10.  It came with its own round leather hatbox, and then we found a pretty fantastic brooch in the box, too!  Ben is in fez heaven!
Honestly, I think my Ben wears it better, don't you?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Longing for the beach

Summer's been over at our house since Ben went back to school on August 1, but I'm having trouble letting go.  Luckily, the weather's still been great around here.  It's Dennis' last few days at his old job, so he agreed to go out to a Sky Sox baseball game Saturday night, even though he knew we'd get home late and he'd have to be up very early for work.  How's that for a short -timer's attitude?  I love it!
Dennis and the Garlic Cheese Fries
Here we are all ready for the 3D fireworks show after the game!  Unfortunately, the game went into a tie-breaker inning (we won) and by the time it ended, the rain had started and the fireworks were cancelled.  Boo!
I thought mascot Sox the Fox's little rain suit was so cute!

We never made it to the beach this summer.  So, the other day I had the idea to put out some of my favorite beach souvenirs, instead.
The candle holder in the middle is something I found at Goodwill -- it looked brand new.  Before putting in the candles, I filled each of the votives with decorator sand (that I also found at Goodwill!)
I put out a small cake tower and arranged some of my favorite shells on more of the sand; they were part of my late grandmother's collection from her San Francisco seaside days.
I covered that with a cheese dome.  I also arranged some estate sale shells around the edges of a pretty antique seafood plate:
The star fish on top was a gift from our friends, from one of their beach vacations.
I love the little wicker platter, which was a souvenir from Mexico found at a thrift store; I placed a large sand dollar on it, as well as a pretty packet I bought at a very quaint gift shop in Pacific Grove, California the last time I was there.
(Sigh.)  It's not sand between my toes, but it's the next best thing I guess.
A sampler designed by Charlotte Lyons that I just finished
Of course, nothing beats home sweet home.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My shabby lampshade

I bought a very beautiful but very plain, vintage silk lampshade at the thrift store a while back:
As you can see, it had a couple of tears on the inside and was a bit discolored from age.  I decided that I wanted to re-cover it, and have been working on it for about a week.  I just chose some vintage fabrics that I've had, cut it into rectangles, and began sewing it on by hand to the shade.
After I got all the fabric sewn on , I embellished it with vintage doilies and needlework.

For every other rectangular panel, I used the same vintage-look Martha Stewart floral fabric.
Over the whole lampshade, I trimmed the top and bottom with vintage lace, and sewed vintage floral trim in between each panel.
I'm very happy with how it came out!  It is now a fixture in my blue-and-white master bedroom!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Keepin' it real: the good, the bad, and the lovely

August has been a tough month for us.  But finally some really good news: my husband Dennis has been offered a new job!
Dennis has been under-employed for the past 7-1/2 years.  When we moved to Colorado 9 years ago, his job fell through and he ended up unemployed for the first 18 months we lived here.  It was a very tough time.  When he finally did manage to get a permanent job 7-1/2 years ago, he started at his company in an entry-level job.  He worked the overnight shift, 7 pm to 7 am, and was grateful for it.  But of course he had high hopes of advancing.

He did get promoted eventually, and was able to get onto the day shift, too.  But he was still very under-employed.  Then, he was demoted again when his company (famously) laid off hundreds of people 2 weeks before Christmas.  That was a couple of years ago.  But at least he didn't lose his job.  He has been utterly miserable at work all these years but has never been able to find something better...until now.

Dennis' new job isn't hugely better in terms of salary; in fact, since the health benefits they offer are more expensive, it's not a raise for him at all.  (I'm afraid to look too closely at the money and discover he's actually earning less.)  But it is a big improvement in working conditions and potential for advancement.  So, it's definitely a reason for celebrating.  I'm so happy for him.
Ben and I goofing around at a baseball game a couple of weeks ago
That's the good.  The bad is that I spent most of the day yesterday in the emergency room, on oxygen and hooked up to an IV.  I have a mystery ailment that has occurred 3 times this summer; it wakes me in the night with a severe burning sensation throughout my body.  Up until yesterday we have thought it was an allergic reaction to something -- especially because it improves when I take an antihistamine.  And also because the first couple of times it happened I had eaten some of that incredibly rich All American Chocolate cake.  I mean, if that isn't full of allergans, I don't know what is.
All American Chocolate cake
But the night before last, I awoke once more with the awful burning and got up to take some Benadryl.  Then I passed out and fell, hitting my head.  And I hadn't had anything unusual to eat, much less cake.  So yesterday I decided it was probably time to talk to my physician about the situation.  She was concerned enough to have me transported by ambulance to the hospital for testing.  That was Not Fun.  The tests were inconclusive, but I did feel much better after the IV fluids, the oxygen, and a few hours of rest in the hospital bed.  I have an appointment next week for brain MRI.  I hope that somehow we can get to the bottom of this.  If you have any wisdom about my strange medical situation, I'd love to hear it.

Enough about all that!  Here's some lovely for you:
I rescued this crazy quilted pillow from an antique store, where it was on clearance.  It's trimmed with beautiful old lace, and made from colorful silks...
many of which have shattered.  Do you know why fabrics shatter like this?  It's because, in early days, some silks were treated with metallic salts when dyed, which cause them to disintegrate with age.
I don't mind.  I think it's so fun to see the fabric that was used as a base begin to show through.
I love how they used just one color -- sunny yellow -- for all the seam stitching.  It's a wonderful addition to my collection of antique hand work.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tami's Creative Button Swap

Are you ready for a little challenge?  Tami at Vintage Connections is having a Creative Button Swap!  It's a very fun idea: she's having us create a piece of art from buttons mounted on paper and decorated however you like.  She has a few examples on her blog here.
It's a great chance to get out your buttons and play!  I hope some of you will join in!