Monday, February 20, 2017

Catching Up!

Can you believe I started this post on November 2, and never finished it and have hardly blogged since. I really admire the big time bloggers who blog almost every day. I guess you now know something I will never be - a big time blogger!

State of mind has so much to do with it, not to mention schedules, energy level, etc. In reality it looks as though I took the whole Christmas season off. Not so. First there was Thanksgiving and all the prep that goes with that, when at some point during that gratitude weekend, we are blessed with the presence of the whole family all together in one place at one time. Some of you have seen the staircase photo before, but here it is again updated: This was on our MIT day, "Maggie's Institute of Tortellini", named for my mother. We usually make the tortellini for everyone's Christmas dinner. But those who fly in are unable to take them with them, and so, in order that all may share in the "work of their hands", we had tortellini and Pizza in our home the day after Thanksgiving and following our tortellini workshop.

The Gile Grands

And of course, Christmas, decorating and shopping, but on Christmas Day itself, the house is quiet and so we take a day trip and take turns bestowing one or two of our three in-state families with the "pleasure" of having us for coffee or dinner or dessert, whatever works out. This year we were in Morris, IL with Brian and family for coffee and breakfast pizza and then with Annie and family in Peoria for our Christmas dinner. So much fun to be part of their family Christmas celebrations. Always regret when I forget to take a photo.

Next Thanksgiving, another little one will be joining us. Elaina is expecting her baby the end of this month, so Andrew, Matthew, and Catherine will have a new baby brother or sister. I think they look pretty excited, don't you think?!?! And I am excited to be able to join them for this very special event!

Catherine, Andrew, and Matthew

Another blessing! 
One can never have too many blessings!


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Looking back...

Looking back through old drafts and came upon this one from 2012. I guess I never finished it. Looking at it now is a bit nostalgic since the shop is no longer there. It was taken for the widening of Illinois Highway 2, North Main Street. 

Redid the front porch, adding a white bench, window frame, pink instead of bright coral accents, (until the coral color hibiscus blooms). Love changing the whole feel of an area by just moving things around a bit.

Move forward to today, 2/18/2017, and again anticipating Spring. 

It's also funny to see that everything on the page is no longer with me either. All were sold! I guess that is a good thing.

Time marches on. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Picture (or two) Is Worth a Thousand Words

It's a workshop and a studio and a display center for items listed on Etsy and Craigslist. And as you look at the details, you can see that it's also a garage. Yes, those are our bikes hanging from the rafter.

I can consult with people looking for decorating ideas or chit chat over a cup of coffee. Note to self: Set up Coffee. 

Today I will be shipping a few orders.  The next day I may be painting signs or unpacking more boxes, so I can take photos and post more items. Or I may just sit and put up my feet and get lost in my favorite magazines so I can keep up to date on decorating trends (without being too trendy). I love touches of the new and lots of the classic. We are still all about Gifts and Decor with a bit of a Past.

That table will be a furniture platform for easier painting when it's too cold to paint outside. It will be a desk for writing copy and  a table for taking photos. It will be a staging area for setting items before finding the perfect place for them. And I think I need to paint that table!

I will try to list a new item or two every day and post them on Facebook and/or Instagram. Also I love visitors, so feel free to call or text and I will put the coffee on..or tea....or water...or.... I look forward to your visit!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Here We Go Again

A beautiful little family quote by Desmond Tutu - perfect for Thanksgiving
A few weeks ago I started fixing up my shed/studio in anticipation of inviting a few friends over to celebrate its becoming a warm cozy place to gather amidst antiques and decor and craft items. I was getting frustrated because the store has been closed during the months of August, September, and now October because of the remodeling. Everything I had been working on for Fall and Halloween was just sitting there.  

Because I couldn't sell from the closed store, I revamped my Etsy store and added more listings, and when I had to retrieve an item I sold that was still at the store, I had a little surprise waiting for me. I found out that the business model had changed, and it wasn't one that would work for me. I didn't fit in the new plan. I was going to have to move. Consequently, I went from staging cozy little vignettes to opening up space in order to be able to accommodate all the furniture and accessories from the store into the shed/studio.

Another nice pottery piece with leaf shapes left unglazed
Hand thrown pottery pitcher perfect for Fall

Hutch top displayed with some Fall and everyday and a touch of glitz
I worked all day last Thursday, moving most of the furniture and accessories to clear the space and then on Monday, John helped me move the antique hutch top, the last heavy piece in the way of opening up the room. He also moved a hanging light fixture and a chair so the movers wouldn't bang their heads in the moving process. Obviously those low hanging items didn't bother me.
Space ready to be filled by the movers

John moving light fixtures and a chair hanging too low from the beams

As you can see everything is piled up against the walls, leaving an open area in the middle of the room for the movers to fill up with all my inventory from Stella & Notte.

Existing inventory and inventory added from the store all packed tight

Open area just waiting for the onslaught

That open space didn't stay open very long. Two Men and a Truck went to the store, and wrapped, and lifted, and loaded, and arrived with all the store inventory, and here we are with painted screens and painted furniture and boxes of ironstone and silver plate and wire baskets and woven baskets and whatever else strikes my fancy.

Boxes and tables and chairs and washstand awaiting a plan

Oil paintings and screen paintings and easels
Looks a bit overwhelming, but it will come together all in good time

Painted Hutch with its Fall array awaiting that special buyer
We did sell a nice big item and loaded it into a customer's truck instead of the moving truck. It was amazing how quickly it happened. When I found out I was no longer going to be able to sell from the store, I went home and immediately listed that lovely hutch on Craigslist. Within an hour I got a response from someone who really wanted it. Unfortunately, I couldn't show it to her, because Jeanine was concerned about liability with all that construction going on.  However, the buyer was there today as we were moving, and the hutch was just what she wanted.  

I didn't plan this new circumstance, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason, and I have faith that very possibly it is for the best. My business plan will have to change. I will be listing more in my Etsy shop and on Craigslist and in addition to pick ups, I will be having a few quiet gatherings and celebrations in my redone shed/studio.

So, hopefully, the next photos you see will be of a completely staged space with fall and Christmas and whatever else I have planned. I see a BIG sale coming on and some fun times and I am looking forward to welcoming you to Just A Second once again.

Welcome to Just A Second!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Falling into a Fall Frame of Mind

Light weight coverlet, pastel shams and pillow on summer bed
Wool throw and flannel shams

More pictures than words today as we transition to the cooler days of Fall. Even though I just checked the weather and it will be 80ยบ today! John couldn't wait for me to change out the accents on our bed. He doesn't care for pastels and loves the stronger colors and pattern of the buffalo checks and wool plaid throw.  

It does make quite the difference. Haven't switched out the curtains yet, because I had to order some new ones to replace the full size heavier fabric ones I use for the darker, earlier, cooler, yes much colder, days of winter. And with eight windows in our "sleeping porch" kind of bedroom, covering up all that glass is necessary for privacy (when I go upstairs early, cover up, and read in bed) and for warmth. The curtains were in a different room in the house when we purchased it 35 years ago, and after 35+ years, they were splitting at the sides last year. Can you imagine that!?! I had no choice, so I ordered very similar, "weaver's cloth" from  Country Curtains.They are well made and simple. My rods don't look like this photo, just simple tension rods within the window frame.

Country Curtains "weaver cloth" plain and simple!

Ironstone tureen with silver and faux fall garland

I did the table with a simple cream and grey runner topped by a vintage ironstone soup tureen, silver candlesticks and collected-over-time napkin rings, starting with my grandmother's engraved one. Then the touch of color - pumpkin spreaders and a faux fall garland. 

grandmother Irene's silver napkin ring

Touch of faux fall leaves with rust and neutral pumpkins and "g's" plus a painting

On the front hall shelf, actually a wood enclosure of a front hall radiator, is a collection of "g"s, and another tureen, this one pewter, purchased on our 40th anniversary trip to Italy, a gift from our children (an advantage of having a large family, plus they all contribute to our social security!), and another bit of faux fall, all gathered under an unfinished painting of a farm building by Tom Heflin.

Nesting time sign
Finally a couple of simple hand done signs - fall and rustic- one painted on an old fence board and the other on a board from Amish country in Indiana.(available in my Etsy shop along with that wicker bed tray shown on the bed)

Rough hand down "lodge" sign
Hope you are enjoying the change of seasons as much as I am as I look forward to being done with yard work, (at least here in the north), and cooking up some of those "comfort" foods that warm the body as well as the spirit.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Sharing Shipshewana

Just had to share a post about our little outing with the Mending Club. To recap, the Mending Club was started by Sandy (shown in the kitchen) who along with Cyndy had The Pink Cupboard located in what is now the Prairie Street Brewhouse before it looked as it does now. Many of us who were a part of that wonderful vision are still involved in antiques and decor and get together once a month for various activities, mostly dinners at each other's homes We try to escape once a year in the fall. This year we visited Shipshewana, IN, an Amish community.

And here is Sandy pointing out the red dishes. Could she coordinate any better ?!?!

Hall way from Kitchen to Living Room
Sandy and Sandi had already been there and they wanted us to experience it too. They had stayed in this delightful cottage I am sharing. It is decorated in all red, white, and blue. We walked into the kitchen, and you can see what I mean: blue countertops, red dishes, white cabinets, and so it goes. Not your usual lake cottage for sure. 

There were 7 of us and we rented this 3 bedroom, 2 full bath bright clean cottage, and this is the unbelievable part. It cost each of us a grand total of $35.00 - yes! and that was for 2 nights! The hallway show doors to a bedroom and closet and a view of the living room. Note the ceiling and the floors. That TV was not turned on once. We just sat around and talked and laughed and shared.

Part of Living Room showing two of the three sofas

Red and white Bedroom

On to the bedrooms: the red and white one housed 3 of us and we had our own bath. My big fear was that I would drive them crazy with my snoring. Fortunately, both roomies assured me I did no such thing!

Bunks and Queen size beds with en suite bath

Twin red, white and blue quilts room

Here is another bedroom, again in red, white, and blue! And I should mention that on this trip we got to know two kindred spirits - past/present vendors at Country Cottage in Rockton, IL. We had openings so Sandy, who had been there also, invited them. Make new friends but keep the old...
At the theater showing the 1950's musical Plain and Fancy 

We shopped, ate, toured an Amish Farm which also held a theater in a barn with an unbelievable ceiling. We found out from our guide that this barn actually belonged to her family and was disassembled, moved, and rebuilt on the foundation of the original barn which was destroyed in a fire.

Shopping for jellies and Amish baked goods
The ceiling of the theater

Did I mention we ate? Oh my, just to describe one meal which was part of the dinner/theater package: Cabbage salad, bread with an amazing peanut butter spread (did not want to say with marshmallow fluff), bean soup, turkey, fried chicken, ham, beef and noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, green beans, and choice of pie for dessert - coconut cream, apple, lemon meringue, peach, pecan, etc. You get the picture. Just a FEW carbs.

And the finale - a fleamarket/auction venue that featured a three ring auction that was so loud, I could hardly hear the auctioneer right in front of me. The merchandise was amazing. Sandy told us, before going in, that the huge room would be absolutely cleared by the time it was over. If a bidder liked one wire locker basket, he/she bought the whole stack. It was a bit out of my league. 

The only things I purchased on the trip were some Amish jams which contained no sugar but were sweetened with concentrated grape juice - love that idea! and some salvaged boards for signs. The old barn wood and other salvaged boards were behind an amazing store with architectural salvage plus smaller antique items. I am hand-lettering them (the boards), and they are or will be in my Etsy shop, which I am updating (after a few years of neglect) because Stella & Notte is still closed for remodeling, and I need a sales venue.

I just love our little group and our always fun outings! Here's to faith and friendship and fun!

Monday, September 19, 2016

All Dressed Up and No Place to Go

Barrell, crate, and baskets, etc set for store

As some of you are aware, Stella & Notte  where I am located, has been closed for remodeling going on two months now. I miss seeing everyone and rearranging and taking in new/old things, and hope we will be reopening soon. In the meantime, I am working on items so I can change out my space for Fall and looking forward to Halloween.  

Before I could do that I had to work on my work space which is our garage/she shed/escape. It has been remodeled and insulated and equipped with a heater for those really cold winter days. It also has a ceiling fan, and I thought if I opened windows and turned on the fan, it would be comfortable. It is temperature-wise, but it is humid! So I paint outside and store inside and it had turned into a mess with moving so much of John's and my "stuff" from the shop which was torn down for the state highway (N. Main) project. To help me get into a frame of mind to create, I had to pitch, and clean, and sort and arrange, and here is a glimpse of the "getting there" space.

As you can see there are goodies being gathered which need to be worked on or embellished.  I had fun redoing this chair. It was naturally dark and shiny, but scratched wood with a musty icky leather cover that was scuffed and ripped. I tore it apart added wool batting and love the black with the leopard print fabric. It is very small scale and will easily fit under a desk or be perfect as a side chair with a little table. I will also be working on more very rustic and hand-lettered signs. Bought some fantastic old wood pieces in Shipshewanna IN, Amish country. But, that is another story

Leopard print adds a nice touch to so many settings
And I am working on Halloween in the style I prefer, more "haunted house" than cute Halloween decorations. Don't you love the way the black candles got melted. They almost look like crows. And speaking of crows, I added one to this wrought iron frame along with the skull hanging from a hook, some "dead" moss and a piece of old grapevine.

Wrought iron and chicken wire frame decked out for all hallowed eve

Silver mottled mirror with image plus rustic and glitz

Victorian light - perfect for haunted house look

tea light in cracked skull atop a metal candle stand

 I thought this old Victorian style ceiling light would look fantastic among some bats hanging in a hallway or entryway. John wired it to a plug so it can either be plugged in somewhere for the effect or used as intended-a ceiling fixture in a Victorian style home. Finally, a tea light lit skull perched on a dark metal candlestick wearing a dark red almost black leaf boa. Quite classy, don't you think? Hope we will see you soon when the store reopens. Maybe I should have a little open house in the garage.