Monday, November 17, 2014

The Blue Bathroom

I spent much of last week redoing a small bathroom off one of our bedrooms - Faith's old bedroom - the room which John has temporarily taken over as his work room. The bathroom is definitely dated as far as fixtures go, but, will have to remain as is for the moment.

The walls were white with a few royal blue graphics on them and they (the walls) really needed painting.  I was also tired of the random shapes I had painted on each wall. 

I decided to do all the walls blue and to paint the oak medicine cabinet and light strips white, as well as the towel bars, switch plates, and tp holder which were also all oak. I happen to not be an oak fan. I love old pine furniture, and, of course painted furniture, so I rarely hesitate to paint anything. The light strips are dated also, but so am I, and so is our house which was built in the 20's.

Paint is the least expensive means of changing the look of a room and can really make quite an amazing difference.

I am sorry I did not take a "before" photo. I was too embarrassed to have anyone see it.

I am very happy with the result. The floor is also old,
but it is ceramic tile in very good condition, and I actually love the way the gold goes with the blue, so it, too, will stay.

You can see the print which needs framing resting above the towels.

I really love the fact that I did not have to buy anything new. I shopped in the house and at the shop which is getting depleted as we continue to  move to East State, but it did have the fish which is now sitting on top of the medicine cabinet. The other large metal fish was in the adjacent bedroom.

I also had all the white towels, because that is about the only color towels I buy in order that I can bleach them. I had the royal blue hand towels which were purchased to add more color to the formerly white bathroom.

The print above is by Rockford artist, Ann Remington. It is one of John's favorites, and we have never had it framed, so that is now on the agenda. With a white frame,  it will be perfect above the towel rack on the largest wall, the rack on which it is resting in the photo above.

The title of the print is "Coming Home", which I think is very appropriate for this time of year when the kids, in fact, come home.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Adding items to my Booth

 I am enjoying having the freedom a booth allows. I can come and go and yet my booth remains open everyday from 10 - 7. 

I went over Sunday evening to add a few items and noticed that I have been painting with a lot of shades of grey lately, ( funny how a simple phrase can make you think twice - no reference to that awful book:) from charcoal to very light, from silver to bluish. 

I added a small candle stand Sunday evening. I was amazed earlier, to see that depending on age and style and condition, the price of candle stands can vary in price, from as little as $20, to more than $1500. 

The one I brought in probably dates to no earlier than the 1970's. It was dark pine and had seen a little bit of  wear so I decided to paint it a pale grey and then distress it a bit. 

I also brought in some silver-plate. When I found it, it was beyond nicely tarnished. It was so black that it was difficult to determine the condition and whether it was just plated or better. 

After a lot of polish and much elbow grease, I was able to see that most pieces were indeed plated, but one lovely piece was actually sterling! 

As I start to think of Christmas, I am drawn to more ornate pieces and love to put them in a rustic setting and then add a bit of color. Ordinarily, I do not like to rush Christmas, but since our Holiday Open House is November 8, I have no choice.  So the pumpkin gourd to the right will soon be replaced with a vintage ornament.

I don't know if you can see it in the photo or not, but the pine cone looks as though it is tipped with frost or snow. It is actually sap.
When I was returning from my walk last Friday morning I noticed many of these pine cones, so, of course, had to gather them up. Many had long dry pine needles stuck to them, and by the time I got home I was stuck to them, also.

I put them on the patio table hoping the sap will harden and be less sticky so I can use them for my Christmas booth.

I hope you can join us for our holiday event - "Everything Old is New Again". Several vendors, myself included, will have demonstrations in our booths on repurposing vintage items for decorating, or wrapping packages, or adding to newer goodies to give your gifts and home a special touch.

Our "tea lady" will serve tea and home made treats to make you feel welcome and help get you in the mood for celebrating the holidays.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hoping to get back on track with Posting

I apologize for the long pause in posts. Our lives are not our own. Since our shop on North Main has been purchased by the state of Illinois for its Highway 2 widening, we have been trying to figure out where a shop full of books and store inventory and workspace for painting, and space for consulting are all going to go. 

My store is now in the East State Antique Mall, as many of you may already know, but, of course I went from 4 rooms in the shop to one booth in the mall. Obviously, there are many items left after the partial move. Fortunately, a few small tables have sold, as well as my large breakfront, and most recently my black hutch. So, I have been able to move more items to my booth.

I am happy to report that many of the "Halloween" items also sold, the portrait, the candelabra, some tarnished silver-plate....all items which get "repurposed", as Halloween decor. I love using what I have or finding something which isn't specific to just one holiday. 

With different candles and some greens, the candelabra could be perfect for Christmas. (if I still had it)

The task ahead is to finish redoing furniture at the shop, while I still have the space to do it. 

Meanwhile Halloween is fast approaching, and we have to get into high gear for Christmas.

Example: two ads, same event, minor changes, but whole different feel. First step ads, 2nd step, redo the booth. I love that part.

Hope you can join us. I will be there and hopefully be able to see some dear, familiar faces.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Talk about Labor Day!!!

I thought moving to a booth would simplify my life a bit. And I guess that, since we are still in the relocation mode, we are not yet in the simplification stage. However, not only have things not been simplified, but selling one BIG piece that took up almost all of the back wall of the booth, has put me in the fast forward mode.

I have learned very quickly that I must find and redo more furniture so that I have more of a back log, items ready to fill in when something sells.

Yesterday and the day before were spent getting at least a few more things ready to go.
I have had the items in the picture below for a while, but decided to give them a face lift and update.
light wood kidney-shaped table and hairpin-back chair

Painted chairs

First step was to wash down the chairs and remove the seats in order to paint the frames. I used a spray enamel (much easier with all the small curved surfaces).  I didn't take a photo of the table-just plain black. I was probably focused too much on what I was going to do to embellish it. My thought was basically a starburst (sonic, atomic).

computer generated star embellished

Then I started the painting. First I had to make stencils out of stiff, coated paper.
It is basically a free hand design, I laid out the varying sizes of "points" and stenciled them in turquoise, being careful to do opposite sides so I didn't smear wet paint. Of course, I did smear wet paint. The points are not perfect; neither am I. (I am sure that is difficult for John to believe:). 

I then tried to cut out a circle but could not get it smooth enough, so I ran up to our trusty Dollar Superstore and found a geometry stencil with two different size circles on it.

I stencilled circles on the star points alternating red and gold, and today I have to varnish the top, so the surface and painting will be protected. It will be fast-drying varnish, so that I can get the three pieces over to the antique mall, before the big breakfront is removed. 

Then, of course, I will have to rearrange the booth with a new centerpiece on the back wall. Can you guess what theme will take center stage?

No, it is not real.  It is actually a vase. How cool is that!
What do you put in a skeleton head?!?

After all that,  I will be set for the BIG event of the weekend. Yes, it's the same link as above, but be sure to click to get the details on the "flea". And, while you are there, please "like" their page, so you can continue to get these announcements. Also be sure to "like" Just A Second,  so we can stay in touch. 

Looking forward to your visit!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Two Men and A Truck

I was at the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK storefront Monday, where I also locked my keys in the car. While I was talking to AAA, the woman asked where I was...and what I was moving. She highly recommended TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, and she asked why I was there. She also LOVES antiques. I guess I can still have fun conversations, even if I do not have a store front.

The truck is arriving Wednesday AM to move as much as will fit in my booth, since my booth contract starts Friday. Now, imagine emptying breakfronts with all that "stuff", and trying to find a place for all that, while you are removing most of the pieces that can hold it, and you are having a sale to sell quite a bit of those goodies, which you want to be displayed somewhere other than the floor. 

Such is the confusing situation at Just A Second this week... and that is what is waking me up even earlier than my usual pretty early wake-up time. 

AAA came, and it's a bit disconcerting to witness how easy it is to break into a locked car with just a couple of simple gadgets. It is important to remember that It takes just one call in distress to pay for the membership - well worth it!

Before I left, I showed the office person, I was working with, Ann's artwork and suggested they might want to change their logo to the art Ann Nellie's Barn Sale provided, at which point I heard the story of the grandmother of the guys who started Two Men and a Truck, providing the logo for the business.  And another reminder...that friendly conversations are everywhere. 

Don't forget our sale, inside and out (weather permitting). It is Saturday, August 16, 9-4, at Just A Second, 1710 N. Main St., and starting this afternoon, you can also visit the East State Mall at our new location. See if you can find Just A Second.  It would also be nice if you "liked" my new location. Yes, right now we have two locations. Aren't you impressed!

Monday, August 11, 2014

A New Chapter Begins

We woke up this past week to a different sky - very apparent from the vantage point of our "sleeping porch" room. Our bedroom has eight windows in it, and this summer, with its cool nights and no need for the air conditioning, has been wonderful, like sleeping under the stars, in the fresh air minus the bugs.

I wake up without an alarm between 5:30 and 6:00 AM, and every morning this past week, I have thought it was going to be a rainy day, in spite of the forecasts to the contrary. 

Yes, the days are getting shorter, and the 7:00 walking time will be more difficult, just because of the later sunrise.

Soon it will be time to "cozy" up our room, but not yet. It is August, after all, and still summer.

The view from my desk/nightstand
Here is the other side of the room and a bit of the 
wicker settee where I sit when, John, (Carson to all 
you Downton Abbey fans) sometimes brings me my
morning coffee.
Here is the view from where I sit, down to the back yard where summer 
is in full bloom.  Can you tell the photo is taken through the screen?

And this August, August 15 to be exact, there will be more changes than just the shortening of the daylight hours. That date is the kick-off for the relocating and downsizing of Just A Second from our shop on North Main Street to a booth at the East State Antique Mall. The booth is the size of just one room at the shop, so our having to relocate is to your advantage. 

Saturday, August 16, we will be having a relocation sale in our parking lot where many items will be priced as you would expect at a yard sale. Other items in the store will be greatly reduced to facilitate vacating by October - all part of the state's plan to widen North Main Street (Highway 2), and to add a recreation path to the west side of the highway.

As you can imagine, it is a mixed bag of feelings I share.

Change is scary but also exciting. I am excited to be in a new and different location and to have a different space to make my own, but I will miss the shop and the one-to-one interaction with all the friends I have made during the five years the shop has been open.

I love that I can keep my "hand in the game" of antiquing and decorating, and do it all - the picking, and the staging, and the personalizing on a much smaller scale.

I am looking forward to having more free time to visit our children and their families scattered across this vast country. 

I also love that, once again, I will spend more time at home to take care of the long overdue, refreshing and repainting of our house.

So, please spread the word, my friends, by sharing this post through your social networks.
I am looking forward to your visit.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I am closed for the month of July to paint. I have been looking at our house with a very critical eye.  Sometimes taking photos really helps.  We get so used to seeing things that we don't really see them. 

And, it has been quite a while since some rooms have been painted, including the living room and dining room, which really needed freshening up. I had no desire to change the color, because I didn't want to have things reupholstered or have to buy furniture because the walls no longer worked. As boring as it sounds, I just wanted to use the same wall color, so one coat would do the job. 

I could remember the name of the color and the brand of paint we used when we had it all painted several years ago.

So, I went to our friendly Ace Hardware store and told them the paint colors.  They were able to look them up and reproduce them and bonus!!!, they did it in Benjamin Moore Paint which they sold to me at the same "buy one, get one free" sale price of their house Kensington and Clark paint, which FYI, is rated #1 by consumer reports. 

And because I needed 2 gallons of wall paint and 1 gallon of trim paint, I could get another gallon FREE, I ordered the paint shown in the bedroom photos above.  It is called Lucky Charm by Kensington and Clark, but it is almost identical to Benjamin Moore's "Smoke".

If you are like our children, you are probably incredulous regarding the size of our bed. Yes, it is a full size. On the other hand, I am the only one who can use the bed spread which was my mother's. It is muslim with chenille crewel work embroidery. It is a bit fussy for me, but nice and summery, so it will work for a while. 

Since painting is the chore of the month, any blogging I do will be about, what else?, painting!

The shop will be open today, Wednesday, July 16, from 11-2, since I have books to ship, and some customers coming in by appointment: 815-978-3071. Then it's back to painting an upstairs bathroom. No rest for the wicked.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Full speed ahead

So much going on, as has always been the case when we approach May.  And the end of April, beginning of May, 2014, even with children all grown, is no exception. 

This weekend, April 25 and 26, is the Vintage Shop Hop. And so we have been getting ready for that, although not nearly as ready as I would like to be. Thank goodness Devola and Tina are part of Just A Second and have provided some terrific goodies for garden and home.  

You can see a few concrete garden goodies, and there are plenty more out on the deck.
There are also some wire pieces and rusty industrial items which can accent garden areas. Can't you see that tractor light sitting on your patio amongst some purple and orange potted plants?

We have adorned some beautiful, made in the USA birch twig wreaths with burlap and vintage pins, etc., for your front door. We even sprayed a few in aqua, gray, or white to give you a bit of a choice. And we have this large barbed wire wreath that would look absolutely terrific on a barn or the side of a garage. It's heavy, so it needs a sound structure for its home.

And speaking of barns, it look like Bessie here escaped and is peeking in your screen door!
She would be perfect on your porch or hanging on your kitchen wall - nice and light so easy to put anywhere. Warning: the screen is pretty rusty and full of holes, but still looks terrific.

 As is often the case, most of our items are one of a kind, although there may be two "Bessies" if time allows.

Check out these state line vintage shops in Illinois and Wisconsin who are all Punch Card Participants. If you get to a least 16 of them over the two days and get your card punched, you will get entered in the drawing for a $500 worth of gift certificates for a vintage shopping spree. See you this weekend! Looking forward to your visit.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Inspiration, lots of work, and transforming a table

Picked this up (literally) on a very cold winter morning before my walking buddy and I went for our morning walk. She helped me get it into the car (spider eggs and all), put up with my stopping at home to unload it, and helped me get it into the garage.

What follows is the tale of what we vintagettes must do to bring an item to the point where we can sell it.

This is what it looked like when I brought it in, (minus the spider eggs and nicely aged and worn hardware). Then it was sanded and the drawer was removed and the first coat of paint was applied.

What is not evident are the slightly water damaged wood feet (under the curved part of the leg), the drawer bottom, which was in 3 separated paper thin layers that would not support anything, the bottom layer of which caught under the drawer when opening and closing.

Then, when I looked more closely at the drawer, one side was completely split from front to back.

I think you get the picture:  imagining a finished product is easy (sort of). Attaining that finished product often requires much work and/or money  before it is ready to be shown off. I (or John, or someone) must glue the side back together, cut and fit a new drawer bottom into the existing grooves, fit the dove tails back together, (some "tails" of which are also split), paint and sand lightly, and paint again, etc.

My inspiration, in this case, is a table I found on a blog (and I cannot find it again:() when I was browsing.

It, too, has damaged feet and a scuffed and imperfect finish, and this is the feel I want the finished table to have (even though it is nowhere as ornate as the table pictured.)  I am hoping it will be at Just A Second this weekend while Stella & Notte's Spring Celebration is happening, March 28 and 29. You can be sure I will post it if I am successful.  Looking forward to your visit.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Change of Scene is a Good Thing

Yes, a change of scene is good, but what makes it really special is the new little person who joined our family on February 19.  Catherine Ann arrived as the first little girl after two boys, and it is a good thing.  

When the oldest, Andrew, was told there would be a new baby in the house, but that it could be a baby brother or sister, he proclaimed that it would be a girl, because he already had a little brother and didn't need a another one.

 And obviously, they think this tiny little person is quite special.

Nana put a sign on the door of the shop, packed up a few girly outfits, and a bit of nursery decor and headed west to Salt Lake City.What a nice change of pace: cuddling a new baby, and cooking for a family of five instead of for just the two of us, walking outside in sometimes 60 degree weather, visiting with daughter Elaina and being around a couple of very active little boys, who actually couldn't wait for papa to arrive because he is a lot more fun.

And, of course, we had fun dressing little Catherine.


And did we mention that she has shoes. One of Elaina's friends has a girl who has outgrown some shoes and she sent a couple of bags of them to Elaina for Catherine. Apparently people love to buy shoes for baby girls. 

It was certainly a full 10 days and we were a bit sad to say goodbye. We won't see them again until May, and there will be such a change by then. 

I do wish families were not so separated from each other. It was really nice to grow up and raise children in the same city as our parents where we could just drop in, as could they, have coffee, go to lunch, etc., but, we will be grateful for messages and emails and photos - until we meet again.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Giving a new look to the shop, Happy Valentine's Day!, and Cabin Fever

I have been working on setting the shop and getting ready for spring. Using a headboard as wall art is easy when it is aluminum - nice and light. This one is for a full sized bed. It was shiny gold, but I spray painted it, so it resembles copper with a bluish green patina. Would work very well in a garden as a focal point and as a structure for climbing plants.

Also, on the wall (beside multiple nail holes) is this old shadow box with vintage satin and lace baby shoes. The shoes are a pale peach color as is the rose in the plated sugar bowl and some beautiful, never-used note cards that were issued by Avon as part of its President Club series. They have delicate embossing around the edges and are over-all very sweet. I wish I were better at note writing. It means so much to take the time to communicate with the special people in our lives. 


Speaking of special people, Happy Valentine's Day to you all.  In the valentine spirit, this terrarium was transformed from a shelter for a snowy evergreen and vintage brass reindeer to a display of valentine treasures: a vintage red, velvet-lined, silver tone trinket box; a heart ornament; and a red and white transferware creamer with twigs, all perched on a white paper doily.

Speaking of twigs, we have a few twig arrangements. 
Cups and vases and pitchers have become miniature aviaries attracting at least one bird. They help us look forward to the end of winter and to the possibility of spring.

And finally, speaking of spring, let's welcome it with a great vintage market coming February 21st and 22nd, at Stella & Notte, 1416 N. Main St. in Rockford. 

 How's that for trying to tie together a few non-related themes?