Tuesday, September 25, 2007

So lovely you could stop by...

At the invitation from Karla to share a romantic room or corner of our homes, I'm showing my dining room - we've just moved here six months ago and it's the most done room. And my most favorite! It really isn't too prissy (in my humble opinion :) ) and we eat dinner in here most evenings. Yep, the kids eat their mac&cheese & nuggets here and you'll find a cat warming your seat most days.The furnishings are mainly thrifted and treasured. The funeral basket was from my grandparent's green house - I obviously didn't inherit the green thumb even for silk arrangements so I just stuck a bunch of fall flowers in for the photos! The perfectly shabby pink cabinet houses my ivory and gold Crooksville china collection. The painting was done by my dear friend, Dana and I welcomed it with open arms when she grew tired of it. Another fabulous find from another dear friend, Darla, is the huge French Provincial dresser & mirror. At my tearoom, it served me well as the counter for my cash register. The brass candlesticks had been lamps in a previous life. Now, it stashes quite a bit of my china. I've tried not to show the most dismal of light fixtures, a new (old, of course!) one has been purchased but hasn't been installed yet. The wrought iron bird cage was a $4.99 thrift store find that I haven't even hosed off or properly decorated, but I thought you'd enjoy seeing it! I just realized my table isn't in any pix! I'll try for more later...Thank you for stopping by... leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you! And here's a tote that the fall weather inspired...

Friday, September 21, 2007

It's fall y'all!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

I love, love, love the crisp air, the glorious leaves. And even though I'm a damn Yankee, I can say y'all - after living for years in both Virginia & Georgia. Autumn in Virginia was picturesque, rambling stone fences along country estates...One of my most cherished memories - going to a battle reenactment with Dana, wearing our matching Aigner riding boots, tweed blazers, turtle necks and the cool earthy air, pungent with the scent of gunpowder.

Yesterday, I tucked three huge totes of my sherbet LuRay dishes away until next year. Their pink, aqua and pale yellows seemed to be putting on airs of summer, and I'm ready to embrace fall. These sunflower dishes were made nearby at the Homer Laughlin plant. I welcome my time with them until my Christmas dishes come out to visit after Thanksgiving.

Update from last night... I had a beer, both Hugh and Colin ala Bridget Jones and put whining arse to bed!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

'cause I had a bad day

warning...truth in blogging... it ain't pretty but it is all pretty trivial:

The a/c is off again. And it's 85 in here at 10:37pm, but it's lovely and cool OUTside. Everything is worse when I'm hot and sweaty.

Like trying to fix the belt of the vacuum. After 1/2 an hour of trying to get it open, with what ended up being a stripped screwdriver.

Like my sewing machine making a clinking sound. And sticking. And needing fixed.

Like Liv screaming for 2 hours straight, until she lost her voice. Peeing her pants and the area rugs. Getting cut on the neighbor's swing. Drama. Like the neighbor's not even checking to see if she was okay.

Like Cathrynn asking 40 times to go back outside. Seems she didn't hear me say NOOOOOO the first 39 times.

Like looking for airfare for a gal's weekend getaway, knowing that the money is just not there.

Like being really motivated to decorate for fall. But instead, get half done w/ switching LuRay pastel china for cobalt & blue & white. And realize the groceries are still not put away. Dinner isn't made. It's 5pm. Like Frank not getting home for dinner until 8pm, not 7pm as he'd said and then mentioning how dry the chicken was. And not as tasty as last night's sesame chicken.

Like the dog's quilt not spinning even after 2 tries. And then putting down a load of CLEAN towels for a second, and it falling into the litter box.

Like listening to the husband bitch at me 'cause his favorite sleeping clothes are still in the dryer at 11pm because I obviously did nothing but sit on my arse in front of the computer and TV all day. Which is wicked wrong on a day when I did

Like the lawn stinks like d-o-g. And he was only here for 2 freaking days. I watered it all for an hour. Now it smells like a wet dog.

Like baking the Amish Friendship Bread. Again. And I didn't give 3 bags away sooooooo, I'm supposed to bake 8 loaves, and give away 12 bags of fermentation. Yeah, right. I'm trashing it. But first I'm going to eat an entire loaf of butterscotch chip bread. And ponder... Hugh Grant or Colin Firth?
Either. Beer or wine? Either...


At least I don't have pix to capture this day. Blech.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

knock-off or knock it off?

Sorry I've been MIA- this back to school schedule has already sapped my free spirit. I'm always rushing to get someone somewhere.

Yesterday, I was able to steal a few minutes for myself in between the preschool drop-off and after school pick-up schedule. A better woman than me would've raced home and cleaned their messy house, but not me - I made a trip to a thrift store we affectionately refer to as, the Junkyard.

While there I saw a cutest floral canvas purse by Ralph Lauren. I almost bought it. 'Cept for the stain inside that I truly hope was a chocolate bar gone bad. So, I did the next best thing and tried to make my own version. I know RL's people won't be coming after me... the only things similar, the tied handles and a vague resemblance to the shape, if you squint your eyes. And hey, I know it's not perfectly even - I did this without measuring at 1:00am. 'Cause that's how & when my creativity flows...
Another find - a huge roll of vintage wallpaper for $3.49:
And a big 'ole chipped up teapot for $4.99 that now keeps more of my kitchen utensils at hand in the worst laid out kitchen in suburbia:More stuff in the car. Hidden until I clean up this place so the husband doesn't freak. Or trip over it.

Keep crafting & thrifting girlfriends...! Ciao!

Friday, September 14, 2007

picnic in the park

I want to warn you all that the husband must've slipped some espresso in my coffee this morning, 'cause I'm not usually this wound up until about 4pm... You know that line in As good as it gets when Melvin Udall says, "you make me want to be a better man? Well, I'm on a mission these days. Be a better mom. Be a better wife. Maybe it's just the seasonal thing... I have grandiose goals, then get sucked into the daily grind pretty fast. (way back in the beginning I talked about goals, hmmm...can I cross any of those off my list yet???)

Or maybe it's just my obsessive compulsive nature talking... I read once that the best bloggers had OCD/ADD tendencies - wanting to constantly mix things up, improve, shuffle, shift, create, invigorate their little slice of cyberspace... Nodding and agreeing, are ya?

So, yesterday I was in the shower at 2pm, yeah, yeah...I visited your pretty tea parties and made witty banter in my sweats. And I had the not the least bit original and borrowed from a recent visit to so many pretty blogs - thought, "I should take a picture of the girls having a tea outside today, won't that be pretty?" 'Cause that's what you think when you procrastinate every little detail and live in an adrenaline rush.
Jumped out of the shower, and yelled to Olivia that we were going to surprise Cathrynn with tea in the park. How's that for being a better mom, huh??? So I decided once again that I could just skip the make-up & hair routine, and as we tossed watermelon, goldfish crackers & pretzels in the basket - I realized this was actually a picnic I'd put together. Still a very good thing. Maybe someone should host a picnic-y event...Ladies get your baskets!
Can you believe these two? I say smile and they pose like little camera pixies! I was going for a pix of them less posed...but this will work. :D

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What makes me Junquey, you ask?

Not Junk. Not Junky. At least not by my definition!

Junquey: Rescued, redesigned, reclaimed, salvaged, reused.

Treasures, old stuff, vintage, antiques, castoffs.

Yep, that's me and everything that I love. I love vintage clothes, but find it's too hard to wear them without at the very least a girdle, but more than likely liposuction! So I remake them into something functional for today.

A pale pink gorgeous beaded sweater was loved & worn for many years before I found it. Unfortunately, there were also signs of real use - some not so delicate stains. I gently hand laundered, & it passed the ultimate rule - no smelly, yucky old stuff. For a season or two, this sweater was casually tied on the back of a chair. Now, it's been given a new life as I salvaged the best bits & pieces and added it to some 1940s icy blue drapes, newer upholstery fabrics & brocades and voila -

a stylish tote for an afternoon of antiquing, book club, lunch with the girls...

I love to take stuff apart and make something new. I'm not a seamstress - more a junquey visionary! :D The straps were the drapery hem. I stitched the loose edge but left them a bit ragged - in true shabby chic style. Raw or selvage edges of fabric - a perfect fringe or edge in my sewing world. Not too perfect, embracing the imperfections along the way. Just like me!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

chocolate tea cake & earl grey


'Another novelty is the tea-party,

an extraordinary meal in that,

being offered to persons that

have already dined well,

it supposes neither appetite nor thirst,

and has no object but distraction,

no basis but delicate enjoyment.'

Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.


I love how pretty these tea leaves are:
Spring Blossom Green Tea
Organic White Peony

As the Make Mine Pink ladies host their tea parties this week, I thought I'd offer a cup here as well. I decided against formal. As many of you may already know, I closed my tea room last year and I gave up all that starch - in the linens and in the decorum - my tea is simple these days. I still love my fancy little pastries & good china, but this dense loaf of chocolate tea bread on my every day blue&yellow mismatch is even more appealing to me. This cake is unbelievably good - especially since I searched high & low for something exactly like this - Nigella's chocolate loaf/cake exploded in the oven, even after reading every tip on the message boards.

When sweet little neighbor Mallory stopped by on the September 1st with a bag of Amish Friendship Bread starter, I was reminded of the Herman cake starter from the 70s. (yikes, I've slipped & dated myself as middle aged, huh?) . This called for all the usual - mush the bag of fermentation. Add milk, oil and flour. But the cake itself called for instant pudding mix ('cause you know how much the Amish like that, huh? ;) ) . Luckily, chocolate was all we had in the pantry. Dense. Chocolate-y. Moist. Have a piece, or at least let me send you a bag of starter!

Tea alone is good. With friends is even better. Do leave a comment if you stop!

Tea & Tidings,

You can't tell, but my walls are periwinkle... here's a much better use for a pot rack:

Pinks, Greys & Blues

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Elegant Eggplant Brocade

When you're crafting something, do fall in love with it and want to keep it?
Do I?
Yep, every time I end up fashioning myself something very similar - not exact, cause I can't do the same thing again - I'm much too easily distracted - I just follow the flow of the stuff I gather.
Do you?
It's been said that I sew like I scrapbook - which is a funny and quite accurate description - although I do NOT glue unless it's a millinery piece that requires it! But I do select my pile of fabric, trims and buttons just like I do a scrapbook page - not sure where I'm going but a broad idea in mind. When I recently started rubber stamping on my totes and considering some photo transfers, I knew I was in a new comfort zone, not quite at home like when I'm scrapbooking & journaling - but ending up in a happy place with a pleasing result.

Friday, September 7, 2007

an over thrift'ed world

Menswear. The last place to get deals.

Anyone else miss the good 'ole days? Circa 1998... ebay was still a newbie idea - the thrift stores were giving away their vintage stuff. Sure, some antiquer-s would come and buy some dusty stuff from behind the counter, but the rest was fodder for us Junquey Gals - the shabby chic linens, Paris Apt. lamps - I was known as the Lamp Lady for a while there... cases of china for a song.

And we bought, sold, bartered, pouted over lost treasures, traded and bought more. You could make a killing on ebay - the market wasn't flooded yet. Collectors would pay dearly. And then the thrift stores got a clue, and started charging retail prices.

A vintage dress at the thrift store these days - if it even makes it to the store rack without being cherry picked by some employee- may go for the very least $9.99, but I've seen them for $49.99+. That's crazy talk!

So, on my last thrifting excursion (cause I am not so jaded as to think that I might not find a great old deal for a steal!) I veered off course and ended up in menswear. Vintage wool sports coats with silk lining and great label - $2.49. A nubby silk coat with the $450 price in the pocket - $4.99. Shhhhhh... our secret, okay?

So, I snatched up a few - paired them with some vintage & new fabrics, and the lowly tote bag is reformed. Perfect for your next antiquing day! I call this one the Henrietta & Harry Tote. Of course, all her friends called her "Hen" because she doted on her family so much...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Stella & Stan

That's what I think of when I look at this tote. Stella - a tough old broad of sensible sturdy stock, with just a hint of her feminine side showing in a tasteful floral tapestry. And Stan, well, he was as solid and sturdy as his suit coat. A marriage that lasted decades. Her leather glove tucked into his suit pocket... Classic. Timeless. Real romance without the fluff... offered on ebay:

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

my brown eye'd girl

She is so shy. Just like me ( I swear). I noticed we were both hanging back at the preschool orientation today. But she didn't cry, just seemed a bit lost. She's so original - she picked this outfit - nice with her big brown eyes, huh? I don't think Cathrynn even owns a brown piece of clothing! Her haircut, well, the bangs were butchered at Sports Clips, where Frank took her w/ him even after they told him they don't cut girls hair! A trip to another salon yesterday at least leveled them out, but the one inch chunks she cut in at the temples...only time will take care of that...
Poor quality cell phone pix will have to do until I get the film developed.Olivia - Age 4

Urban Chic... Vintage Redesign

I'm calling this tote "Caitlin" because it I think a college age girl would like it :D
For more details, visit ebay

Gotta run - my baby starts preschool today!! Sniff, sniff...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

shamless self-promotion

Ebay, etsy, or here? I haven't decided but I'll have some handmade goodies like this tiny tote for sale. Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Good Stuff

Went to Home Depot for the kid's project & out to lunch & made sundaes from an ice cream bar with Grammy & Pappy.Took Vince & Caitlin with us to a church fair and had pierogis, halushki, funnel cakes, & fries loaded with malt vinegar (yes, I joined WW this week! ) . Had their faces painted & won the prerequisite silly little prizes from the ducky pond, including a really inappropriate noise maker that Cathrynn had fun with while walking through the crowd.

Decided to stop at Dana & Fred's 'cause you know, we were only 20 minutes away, and Fred & Frank both saw this as a ping-pong opportunity. Even Vince & Caitlin played a few rounds, the girls enjoyed the freedom run & explore their verdant oasis & found - among other things - a prickly caterpillar. Caitlin & Vince were all over the kittens & cats, especially the blind purr-ball named Ashes. Fred delighted us all with a bonfire at dusk, & Dana brought out the marshmallows. Laughter & reminiscing about the annual bonfires Mom & Dad used to host every October. Toasted marshmallows (did I mention I joined WW this week & have the willpower of a gnat on rotten fruit?) . Cathrynn fell asleep on the ride home happily murmuring, "my first bonfire".

I didn't cook one thing all day. I didn't plan any of it. It all just fell together. Good stuff.

Pretty in pink...

Cotton shirts.  Love 'em. Usually can't wear 'em.  Too tight. Pull at the boobs.  Or, shrink in the first wash.  And being a plu...