Monday, December 17, 2012

The cookie exchange to end all cookie exchanges!

Behold the table where we enjoy breakfast, and the wall adorned with white ironstone and mother/daughter Christmas aprons.  The favor had a name tag (a cookie award ribbon) and was a mason jar full of salt.  It was explained by Sandy, reading words from Ezekiel which reminded us that we are all called to be the salt of the earth

First we make breakfast.  Sandy of The Pink Cupboard, which used to be in what is now The Prairie Street Brewhouse, organizes the whole day, from breakfast to lunch to exchange.  We each bring a few ingredients and are assigned to various stations to put together a dish for breakfast or lunch. We had fruit, an egg casserole, and choice of quiche. 
The tree is in a corner of the breakfast room.  Check out the  window decor and the presents and the tree itself.

After breakfast we make one of Sandy's family cookie recipes, rolled round cutouts with jelly filling, little fruit tarts with crimped edges.  When we finish, we have our exchange.  I thought I took a photo of all the cookies, but must not have saved it.  The cookies are wonderful, from aqua (Tiffany style) tree cut-outs to ginger cookies to rolled pecan balls, to peanut butter/chocolate fudge etc. 21 varieties in all. 

Sandy posted cookie exchange photos, and I was able to copy it. YAY!

Then we had lunch - ham and wild rice cream soup accompanied by crusty bread and fruit.  Dessert was an individual apple pie. I took the pie home for later.  It was delicious.

In the living room is this old cupboard  topped with grocery signs and Watt apple pottery interspersed with Santa and trees and plaids.  Notice how the colors are carried through in the signs, the cupboard, and the pottery.

The tree to the left is in the front window of the living room.  It is all in pastels.  There were at least 7 trees maybe more, and each one has a different theme.  My phone photos don't begin to do them justice.

There is another tree in the porch, all with vintage ornaments and Sandy's collection of celluloid Santas and Santa mugs.  Another shot I apparently didn't save was an old lit Santa, sleigh, and reindeer often seen on rooftops.  Sandy hung it from the ceiling.  It looked fantastic.

This was the entry way scene, white tree, white bottle brush trees, white glittered cardboard houses, Sandy's sheep collection, little girl ballet shoes, white gloves, and more.

You get the idea.  What can I say, except that I love being a part of this group, and being awed by the setting, and enjoying all the other activities planned by such a creative group of girl friends.  Thank you, Sandy. We love you.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

On the Homefront at Christmas

It's taking me longer and longer to get the house decorated.  The shop seems to take priority, and the fact that we aren't celebrating Christmas at home until the 28th doesn't help.  But, it is getting done, and I will share a few of the "thus far" photos and some of my thoughts also.

The Nativity set determines the color palette on the mantle.  It is jewel toned as is the oriental rug.  Vintage glass beads are draped below the mantle.  I've added tarnished silver, real greens, little white lights and large size ornaments.  I kept the vintage cranberry glass vases.  Hoping to get sticks with the little white lights on them to put in the vases to add more height to the arrangement and to reflect in the mirror.   The jewel tones  dictated that I move the primary color and Santa theme stockings from the mantle to the partial stairway railing...not done yet:( 

In the dining room, added red shades and ornaments to the chandelier and embellished with chartreuse green vintage glass beads.

On the dining room table is a large tin snowman I've had for several years.  Sometimes he is outside, other years in.  He is surrounded by tarnished silver, mica covered snow balls (only snow he's seen so far this year), red ornaments, greens and other pewter and silver items running all along the natural linen runner.  When it's time for dinner, the tall snowman is moved to the sideboard dessert table.  He will go behind the center cake stand display, which will be full of Christmas cookies and other seasonal and decadent treats.
So thankful for friend, Sandy, and her cookie exchange. Come home having shared breakfast and lunch with a fun group of girlfriends, filled to the brim with "eye candy", as the saying goes, and bearing the fruit of everyone's loving labor - enough cookies for home and for sharing.  Love it! 
Also in the dining room is an antique cupboard with more red ornaments, cards with photos of the grandchildren (only some thus far), some pewter, favorite things from friends, and vintage George Briard Christmas tree glasses inherited from John's mom.
The reindeer tin fits right in.

I guess you can tell I love red.  On the kitchen counter, I use items which are around all year, then enhance them with some cookie cutters and favorite Christmas mugs collected through the years.

Finally, a vignette from the TV area.  I have a nice collection of vintage plaid picnic accessories, some of it lucky finds, others passed on from parents. It includes a picnic basket, 3 different size thermal canisters, plus a travel bag with thermoses, and sandwich box. The rustic deer is perched atop the basket, and he appears to be watching TV with us.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sharing pics of a few new old things at shop

Just walking around taking photos of the new additions to Just A Second. From an antique porch post embellished with a wreath and wool- like bow, accompanying our box full of greens and a shutter to an old sled with child's seat attached,

to Tina's hand done burlap pillows and stockings, Just A Second has unique and antique gifts and decorations.


And how about an old Red Cross metal first aid kit?  Could see it stuffed with greens and an ornament for your "junk" style decorating.

Same goes for the old metal cedar lined trunk - great for storage, and it makes a wonderful end table or night stand.   Never know what you'll find at Just A Second where you can always enjoy a taste of chocolate!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Working on the Window at Wired

 I draw John into some interesting adventures.  The latest involved one of my impulsive volunteer tasks - offering to do the Christmas window display for Wired, the downtown coffee shop. I sketched the design, confiscated cut branches from walking buddy, Reggie's yard, borrowed silverplate coffee service from Just A Second,
bought large red ornaments, lights, and a glitzy prancing reindeer and was given more glitz in shiny red ribbon from Doran's, our local floral and accessory wholesaler.

John figured out a stand for the branch which I had adorned with little white lights.  We found the perfect sized and narrow enough table at home.

While daughter Elaina was visiting, she recalled a post on her friend Jamie's blog (don't you love blogs!) about where to get burlap coffee bags. Elaina made the call and we picked them up. 
It all came together quite well with John only having to go there 3 separate times to climb the ladder amidst the coffee shop clientele in order to first wire up the tree and wire fence "chandelier", and to plug lights into ceiling outlet, second to add spotlight and unplug cord from ceiling outlet and plug it into wall outlet since all the existing ceiling lights were turned off at night, and that also turned off ceiling outlet. He must have been quite the sight because he was photographed in the process at least twice, once by the mayor, and another time by a woman who wanted to copy the branch idea despite her husband's nay saying, and third to change the bulb in the spotlight because picky (or should I say bitchy) wife wanted it brighter.

Finally, John and I drove back downtown to see the effect of the new light and get some photos, including one of me getting photos.  He does have a sense of humor.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Catching up and looking back

 When I charge my phone, it syncs with my computer uploading all the photos to it. (The phone is another hand me up from the kids, this time DJ) I needed an iphone to be able to take credit cards at Polly's Vintage Market and was offered one of son DJ's, after he upgraded to the latest version.  As I was charging it, I came across photos I had shared with my Rhode Island sister.  Was telling her about having my mending club for a tortellini-making session the week before Thanksgiving. 

The mending club is a group of girls brought together by Sandy B. of The Pink Cupboard, located in what is now The Prairie Street Brew House. After the store closed, Sandy found a way to keep us together.  We don't mend, except for hearts and lives and friendships.  We do outings, projects, and meals at each others' homes. 

Making tortellini called for an Italian theme - red and white tablecloths, wine, antipasto tray, etc. 

Was looking at the photos and seeing a few items purchased at antique stores, like the wine rack above.  Got that from Polly of Counting Your Blessings Fame.

Photo below shows one end of our mantle on which I had arranged old books, tarnished silver, pewter, and a photo of my mother and father in the early days of their marriage.  It was a gratitude theme for Thanksgiving, and I am certainly grateful for their love and guidance and the many lessons they taught.

You also catch a glimpse of an aqua "scrolly" mirror frame, again a purchase from Polly.

I love items with a history and which bring back fond memories.  I hear so many people who come in to Just A Second reminiscing about their mom or grandmother as they see something they remember from their homes. 

Lest I get sad getting too wrapped up in the past,  thinking of items with a history, I remind myself that those items are also just right for so many of today's styles of decorating.  

In analyzing little shops, I become aware of how they reflect the personalities and styles of their owners; so the more shops, the more chances of finding just the right item to fill your heart with joy and your home with memories.  Happy shopping.  Looking forward to your visit.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

While the cat is away, the mice will play:)

Tina is doing The Three French Hens Holiday Market this weekend in Morris, IL, and she left me with a bare and somewhat tattered dressmaker's dummy. (what a degrading name for such a marvelous prop.) At any rate, I had fun "dolling" her up.  Tina left burlap wrapped around her feet (base) and I had just succumbed to the purchase of some old costume jewelry. So, voila, here she is dressed to the nines in her burlap wrap embellished with vintage pins and necklaces, some of which were marked with names like ART©, Monet, and L/N, an early Providence RI 
jewelry manufacturer as well as some vintage Avon pieces.  I'm still learning so much, being in this business and researching goodies.  She also is sporting a small Kate Spade bag over her shoulder adorned with the obligatory "little white gloves".  And her chapeau is a couple of glitzy lamp shades.  Do you ever feel like this?  All dressed up and no place to go?

Friday, November 16, 2012

All I Want for Christmas is YOU...

First, you may notice our window all set to welcome you to Just A Second. 

Then you will notice a wonderful old beer crate with a hinged lid full of Christmas - a wreath, an evergreen, and a wool plaid bow.

You will proceed to the porch where this mounted old rusty green window box with its very important signs, its festive red ornaments, and its vintage style lights will all assure you that you have come to the right place.

From primitive glitzed up with tarnished silver, to burlap used as window dressing,to a mannequin wrap and wreath bows embellished with vintage jewelry, Just A Second has put on her holiday finery just for YOU.

SOLD this whole display, window, wreath and burlap valance!



Every Day is Treat Time at Just A Second with a bit of Chocolate and something warm like tea or coffee or even hot chocolate.

Looking forward to your visit so we can celebrate this festive time of year together!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's official!

It's official!  We'll soon be an outlet for these wonderful letter press pendants. Here is Jeannie's description: 
VINTAGE LETTER PRESS PENDANTS on hand oxidized brass tags embellished with a vintage jewel...16" antique brass bead chain.
"Express Yourself!".....add a name, a little inspiration or a 'claim to fame'
You will be able to see what they look like at Just A Second very soon. (I'll be wearing mine!)  Each one is unique because you are. You may want one for yourself or as a very special gift for someone else. Jeannie of The Gilded Junque Yard will execute your request and ship it to you FREE.  We have a little sign at the shop that says, "YOU are worth it", because, if you are like me, you are constantly buying for someone else. Maybe it is time to put yourself on your gift list.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ready, Set, Go....Let's Entertain!

Are you ready?  The entertainment season is upon us, and you don't have to spend an arm and a leg to make you and your home look like a million bucks.

It's the little touches that count. and look what Just A Second is highlighting.  Don't know how many of you get the Crate and Barrell promo online with the grandfather, grandson feature, but I was struck with how we have so many of the items which convey the same feel as their promo.  

We have a couple of wine racks, one redone.  it was missing its top and we added a marble one, and it looks fantastic, and at a fraction of the cost of a new plain one.  It holds 17 bottles of wine.

We also have a tall wooden one which holds 48 bottles of wine while it stands tall and fits in with any number of styles...from primitive or industrial to mission and traditional. It's very versatile and has a very small footprint.  Would fit in a kitchen, dining area, den, or living room.

Do you see the glitter behind the tray with the decanters? 
It is a new, never been worn, evening dress, with straps and an easy flowing, slim sillouette.  You'll have to visit to see it in all its splendor.

And talk about embellishments and accessories - these absolutely gorgeous felted wool blossoms by Tina will really set you apart - Add to a coat or a purse and watch the compliments flow.  Tina has been really busy, so we have a varied but, of course, limited, one of a kind assortment right now.  She has also made a great selection of felted wool and silk scarves as well as purses exclusively available at Just A Second.  We are so blessed to have a world class felter and fabricator right here in Rockford.
Don't forget our book nook - new signed books by John Gile, vintage children's classics,
as well as almost new with dust jacket hard cover novels, a few audio books and many decorating magazines including back issues of Martha Stewart.

So, again, from gift books to bar accessories to hand crafted unique accessories, think of Just A Second first.  Looking forward to your visit

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fall treats at Just A Second!

Greeting you right now at Just A Second is this feed sack filled with twigs.  We have so many interesting items waiting to be embellished to fit the season.  Whether we do the embellishing or you do, it is sure to be one-of-a-kind.

On the potting bench resides a vintage beer case filled with real bittersweet from our neighborhood farmers' market. Adds such a WOW autumn touch to your porch or patio, and it will carry you through Thanksgiving.

Inside the shop are everything from glitz to rustic to handcrafted, including paper embellished candles and small bags of lavender, displayed on a silver toned tiered plate and sitting on a chair all redone with a French script burlap-covered seat.  

There is a special little something waiting to be discovered by YOU at Just A Second.

Oh and remember Saturday is treat day, We will have hot cider and something special from the farmers' market to warm you inside and out. 
Looking forward to your visit.   

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Shop photos from John's camera including a real Rockford, real original piece.


John came over and took some shop photos after we reset the front room for fall.  We changed our cover photo at that time, but haven't really focused on the vignettes in the store.  It was a bit difficult to select items because John had taken photos which took in so much of the room.

To the left is a cottage look display which includes an oval framed reverse painting on glass. All is original, including the chippy pink frame. In the foreground is a 70's lamp with metal leaf appliques on its lusterware shade.  The bottom globe of the lamp provides a night light effect when lit by itself.

To the right, is the black wood and metal chandelier with glass detail which John wired so it would light up the silver and crystal items on the server.  If you are looking for glitzy items to jump start your holiday decorating, we have a pretty good selection, and the silver is nicely tarnished.  (Can be polished of course.)

Finally, the simple server shown below.  It was manufactured in 1955 in Rockford and was originally a light colored wood with wood veneer I hesitated to paint it, but its simple lines and white porcelain knobs plus ceramic insets on top dictated a black redo. I love it.
You just can't beat the quality construction of earlier pieces with dove tailed drawers and all wood components.  Rockford was known for its furniture industries and its fine Swedish craftsman.

These are just a few of the reclaimed and repurposed items featured at Just A Second.

More items are constantly being added, so the shop changes frequently.