Monday, December 23, 2013

Peace and Joy

Whether you are home or away, near or far, in a crowd or alone, may the peace and joy of Christmas be with you as you look for the little miracles in your lives. I am most grateful for all of you and wish for you the blessings of this grace-filled season. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It's not about the Money

As I am sure I have mentioned before, I am a member of "The Mending Club",started by Sandy, and made up of many of us who met through The Pink Cupboard, Sandy's beautiful shop of vintage and carefully selected new goodies, which used to be housed in The Prairie Street Brewery. Many of us have been together since then and a few of us have opened shops. The Mending Club exists to mend hearts, and lives, and friendships.

Last night was our annual one dollar, yes, that is $1.00 gift exchange and dinner party, this time at the beautiful log home of Terri, one of our most recent members.


I have to share the dollar gifts, purchased or created by our little group.  Among them are decor items like this stuffed felt snowman hanger and the glittered, stuffed embellished mitten, or the beautiful fresh greens and touch of glitz arrangement in a lovely detailed vase, plus mini silvery acorns used to surround the bleached, sparkly bottle brush tree with painstakingly, carefully created mini banner Christmas greeting. 

There are also the antique and collectible items such as this old tin film canister containing an actual film strip. Notice the label on the tin, Christmas Joys. How appropriate and special is that!

Then there are the kitchen items, from recipes, to cookie cutters and cookie mix to the mini cheese grater, to a pot and pan scraper (apparently necessary with said recipe) some with beautiful cards, or hand made tags, or creative packaging, all for $1.00, not including valuable time, of course.


Finally, there are the personal goodies from hand made pins, to everyday but essential emory boards (decorated of course), to a detailed felt mini-shoulder bag. Are you amazed? I always am. Let's hear it for the Mending Club and the joyful and creative spirit it embodies!

In conclusion, I wish a Merry Christmas to all, with a reminder to count the many blessings in our lives, one of the most important of which, is friendship.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Just Barely Making Do

We have always cut down a tree, but this year, it is out of the question because of John's recent open heart surgery. So I broke down and popped into the Salvation Army after our monthly "class of '62" breakfast, and there, hiding behind some stuff, was this poor little tree, not pre-lit but strung with lights. 

One string had a bulb missing.  I didn't have much hope that the lights would work.
I put the tree in the back of the van.  It is only 3-4 ft tall, but it was pretty heavy.
When I dragged it through the back door, I wasn't expecting a very warm reception, because John had not wanted a table top tree.  His feelings were better no tree than having no real tree, and certainly not a table top tree. Good thing for him, he did add that he was sure I could make it beautiful.

Lo and behold, the lights did work and I didn't have to add lights to our mini tree.  I replaced random white bulbs with color ones since John has to have some color. I describe it as colored jewels among diamonds. 
simple round ornament with band

I really didn't want to go up to the attic in this cold and bring down the ornament boxes when I needed so few ornaments. I did have a few vintage ornaments I had picked up at an estate sale, so decided to use just those. 
A really worn glass bell

glass grape cluster

Santa in fiber oval with flower and large tear drop

And, then I wrapped the stand in a bit of a skirt with a bell on it, to which I added another old bell and a small train engine.  Does it suggest The Polar Express to you?  It does to me.

Vintage tin Ohio Art tea cup
tree on top of tea table

The tree itself is sitting on the grandchildrens' little tea table, so I thought it only appropriate that there be some Ohio Art tin tea cups hanging on the tree. 

We did top it with our traditional cross.

But, all in all, there are not many more of our own traditions on this tree. However, for this year, it is our tree, and it does warm up a little corner of our living room. (John says it looks nice - for a nursing home)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Our Just A Second Sunday Social - November 2013

We just came off a very successful Holiday Open House, and we will give you a glimpse of what is in the shop right now.

A black and white tree is adorned with celophane bagged, excellent condition vintage ornaments. There are not as many as there were when our event opened, but still a lovely collection from Tina.

Above, a prancing glitzy deer is accented with hand crafted tea light lamps dressed up in red gauzy rosette ties.

Multicolor painted tables are accessorized with oil funnel trees, vintage mason jars, striped burlap ribbon, boxed vintage tree topper star and ornaments, and a cardboard Santa train engine.

Yes, we let Santa dance among our silver and crystal, but we also acknowledge the reason for the season with the lit 50's highly collectible, hard plastic church surrounded by gold and white made-in-Mexico plaster manger figurines.

Our displays feature primitive, traditional, whimsical, and industrial items as shown.


It's a lot of work getting a shop ready for an event, but ever so worthwhile when our customers enjoy and appreciate our efforts. 

I will conclude with a quote from one customer among many who comes in for a mini-break from the cares in their lives.

 "Can't wait to come! Thank you for your hard work. Your shop is filled with love and friendship and happy spirits."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

On the Home Front

It has been a month since I posted and oh what a full month it has been.  It began with Cider N' Cinnamon when I was on my own, because John had doctor's orders to lay low for the weekend.  I am very grateful to Devola who has handmade pillows, aprons, bags, and clutches in the store, along with her husband Chad, for pitching in and filling the gap. I could not have gotten through the weekend without them. By the way, Devola has expanded her line of goodies adding very rustic,industrial farm accessories and a few pieces of redone furniture. Be sure to visit. Some of her stuff is perfect for this fall season.

The next week was spent with John's seeing doctors and having tests and subsequently his having open heart surgery, which although very scary, went very well. Another thing to put on my gratitude list. 

Before and after surgery, days were spent going back and forth from the hospital, with daughters visiting and helping with the details. Gratitude again.

Finally home and getting used to a very new routine and role - that of caretaker- something I haven't done full time since our youngest, now 28, was at home.

That brings us to the point of this post: being home, and while there, adding fall touches, very often some of the old familiar elements, but always looking for new ways to arrange them.

Just adding a bit of bittersweet or leaves or both can turn everyday accessories into seasonal ones as is evidenced in this front hall photo. I again am finding that I want to simplify.

I love the warm wood tones of this chest in the living room.  The aqua pitcher picks up color from the chair and in the oriental rug below. I recently picked up the small oval dish at a sale and love it paired with the pitcher. Adding the white pumpkin says fall.

From the entry way to the kitchen is a walkway and along the walkway is a wall with the mirror shown below.  It used to be in the entry way, but when we picked up the "unfinished sketch" by Tom Heflin, I really wanted that to have the entry way spot, so now the mirror, which was a wedding present, is a bit further into the house.

Again, adding a fall "pick" is just enough. On a side note, you probably have noticed that I don't shy away from color. As much I love the whites and neutrals and pale whitewashed woods, I know it is not me.

Along that same walkway we enter the kitchen  at the end of which is another pine piece, a piece I picked up at a thrift store and was using as a kitchen island/buffet line piece for our family gatherings as well as every day extra counter space. After I refinished the kitchen floor, John and I decided we would try it in its present position.  It holds all the kitchen small appliances and anchors the large apple painting that daughter Faith did while in high school.  She is going to have to fight to get it back.:)

Close up of bowl of apples with 
bittersweet added for fall
We used to have a bench there which has now been moved to the gathering room where sits our kitchen table and the seating area (with TV, which I can watch from the kitchen while preparing or cleaning up after dinner.)


Now the bench is in front of the windows and is the perfect spot for the herbs and succulents brought in for the winter, along with a plant sent to John while he was in the hospital by our son DJ and family.


On both the kitchen table and the dining room table are other fall arrangements. I am not a big fan of Halloween.  I decorate for Fall in late September or October and we are set through Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, because it's all about family and GRATITUDE.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Never Bored

Let's see. It started Monday and Tuesday of last week.  I painted this cabinet and hutch top and, of course, had to move it from the back, storage, work room so we could use it to serve libations at the Churchill's Grove meeting on Wednesday.  (It is SOLD!) Had a  really good crowd at the meeting, and I did take quite a few photos.  Unfortunately, only one photo showed up when I went to import them to my computer. 

I could not believe all the treats which arrived with the neighbors for the meeting. Churchill's Grove neighbors are certainly a most generous and gracious crew. Thank you all. 


Then Thursday, it was finish a few painting projects, pack up, and set up for the fabulous, fun Vintage Market. I was not able to stay for all of Friday nor be there for any of Saturday, but fortunately, after John put up the tent and unloaded, Dee was able to help me set up and be there after I left on Friday plus all day Saturday. The market went so well...a huge crowd, wonderful neighbor vendors, and great sales. The shop is looking quite spacious, since I haven't had a chance to get out and fill the holes. That's the challenge for today. 

And why couldn't I be there? Because there was a wedding in Indiana, and our daughter from S.Carolina was a bridesmaid for one of her closest friends, so after leaving The Vintage Market and packing up, we headed to Midway airport to pick up Faith whose flight was delayed, as were we, with bridges out along our customary short cut route. We didn't get to Culver, IN until after 11, but look at the sight which greeted us the next morning. 


Then came a bit of shopping in the cute little Culver business district, because, of course Renie forgot a few things like a toothbrush and ear rings. And we got to hit a yard sale and pick up a couple of goodies. Then was the wedding.

And here we are with our lovely daughter, Faith, and the gorgeous bride, Caitlin.  It was a beautiful nautical theme wedding (notice the sails on the ceiling) and so nice reconnecting with Faith's friends from college and their parents, and visiting with Rockford people we don't get to see that often.

Sunday, it was up, and pack, and hit the road by 8, since Faith had a noon flight out of O'hare. Then back to Rockford to pack up the Vintage Market tent and remaining goodies, and a big thank you to Kay and Polly for letting our tent be set up until we returned. And of course Mass at 5 PM, the Bears at 7 (couldn't stay up).

Was feeling a bit exhausted yesterday, Monday, but impulsive Renie started on the kitchen floor which has been driving me crazy for months. Another coat of varnish this AM, and we will be set to move things back in tonight.

And how was your weekend? 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Signs of the time before The Vintage Market

 having fun 
                    making a few signs 
                                                  for the Vintage Market...

                                                                                 for fall and everyday

                                            including this painting on an old screen

celebrating the farm 

and enjoying our homes

and being together.
Be sure to join us at the Harvest Vintage Market 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

Clearing the Back Room and Garage

I have been trying to get the back room and garage stash of furniture, painted and ready to display and fill your decorating needs. Furniture hauling, painting, distressing, waxing, and buffing take a lot of energy. Who needs to go to the gym when we do what we do. 

On Labor Day, I painted a table (appropriate to labor on Labor Day?) On Tuesday, I worked on the Louis XIV chair that I had started a year ago. I spray painted the fabric with special fabric paint which is permanent and leaves the fabric soft  - wonderful if the upholstery is in good condition and has the detail which I do not have the skill or patience to replicate. 


Then the trim was painted with CC Caldwell chalk paint.  I had picked up a couple of samples while a few of us were on a day trip. I posted previously that the color was Seattle Mist. It is actually Smoky Mountain Grey.  Notice the paint names are American as is the paint. CC Caldwell is the American version of Annie Sloan chalk paint. The photo to the right shows the chair before the wax was applied. It looked chaulky and pale grey. 

Today, after distressing lightly then applying and buffing paste wax, the detail of the wood stands out, the color is deeper, and there is a light sheen on the trim. Looks like it's been that way forever.

The crowning touch is the lovely felted wool pillow beautifully done by Tina.  More of her creations will be coming to Just A Second as the season progresses and the weather gets cooler.

Because Just A Second will be closing a bit early on Saturday, we will open at 10 instead of 11, and we will be serving treats from the Farmers' Market. We are gathering and combining items in preparation for the Vintage Market coming in just 2 weeks - September 20 and 21. Have you marked your calendars?