Monday, May 28, 2012

From Small Things...

...big things one day come.

For someone who loves vintage, antiques and wishes she had lived in the 40s and 50s, I have um...eclectic musical tastes  :)  My holy trinity consists of Nick Lowe, Warren Zevon and Neil Young.  A close 4th is Dave Edmunds (it's a bit difficult to be a Nick Lowe acolyte and not love Mr Edmunds as well).  My post title comes from this Edmunds tune:

Anywho - here's my first real attempt at transforming something icky to something kinda Frenchy.  It's not as successful as I would have liked, but it's a start (my lack of photography skills aren't any help, either).

I had a 4-piece set of really ugly copper canisters circa 1985.  They weren't the real stuff - if they were, I would have been guarding them with my life instead of spray painting them antique white.  They were from S&H Green Stamps (all you bloggers under about 40 - run go Wikipedia that phrase...I'll wait) and they were just really ugly.  I don't have a "before" picture of them, but they kinda look liked this - only really hideous:

My first step was to spray paint them antique white (apologies again - I didn't take step by step photos).

I then used some label graphics from the goddess who is the Graphics Fairy.  I simply photocopied them in reverse image and used Modge Podge to transfer them using that method.

After letting them dry overnight, I dampened the paper and rolled off the excess.  I scuffed the labels up a bit with some finer grit sandpaper.

Finally, I painted on/wiped off MinWax stain in #2716 Dark Walnut.  

I know these photos are execrable, but after I finished the work, I took the set to my friends' house.  It was Easter Sunday and she had a houseful of women.  I prevaricated (coff) and told them I bought them at a flea market and what did they think?  I had 2 of them offer to buy the set from me on the spot ($45) and the others thought they were really great.  When I explained the origins, they couldn't believe it.  Until you pick it up and feel how light it is, you'd swear it was very old stoneware.

Anyway - there it is.  I wish I could devote more time to spiffing up my blog and doing more of these crafty things but I have a 100-mile a day commute to a soul-sucking job I was fortunate to find after being laid off for 11 months.  Some days I come home, walk the dog, pour a glass of wine, run a bubble bath and collapse.  Dave Edmunds - take me away!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Few Of My Favorite...


A favorite childhood photograph

My brother and I in North Carolina - picking cotton in front of the old cabin in which my great-grandfather was born.  I just love this photo - I know it wasn't posed (we wouldn't stay still long enough for that), and it just always seemed so magical.  I guess I was around 6 or 7, and my brother would have been 5 or so.

My beautiful niece, Mary

My biological clock barely ticked, and thus I never wanted or had children.  My brother and lovely sister-in-law were kind enough to have the most glorious daughter, thus giving me all the fun and none of the hassle of having a little girl.  She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's in social work, and she's engaged to a very fine young man


The winter view from the deck of my former home

In my "previous life", I had quite a home.  It was on a private lake in NW NJ on 7 acres.  While it was gorgeous and the views were breathtaking, it has a lot of sadness associated it with it.  Perhaps I'll write about it some day.


Lefton china frame.  
The pattern is #1919; my mother kept my baby picture in this frame, and over the years I've collected about 2 dozen of them in varying sizes.  I just think they are charming.

Very, very pale pink roses

The paintings of Giovanni Boldini -
most particularly this one of his muse
Marthe de Florian

Read the incredible story behind the discovery of this painting - locked away for 70 years


My Maggie

We "found" each other at the animal shelter in Fort Lauderdale around 1994.  She was of indeterminate age and breed, and she was the shyest dog in the facility.  She moved with me to NJ in 1995, and ran away the 2nd day I was there (happy ending - we found her safe, 2 days later).  She was my sweetest friend and I had to say good-bye to her in September of 2008.  I miss her every day, and I know she would have loved my new little house.

Friday, May 25, 2012

We Now Pause For A Message From Our Authoress

I am having a lot of fun writing this blog.  I've met a lot of really neat people who have been so kind and helpful to a total stranger - it makes me smile to think that the very first contest I ever entered (on Rosemary's Villa Barnes blog) - I won!  I have those pieces proudly displayed in my home.

So I hesitate to bring anything remotely political into this world of mine, but I am going to do so in a manner that is hopefully devoid of mouth-frothing and knee-jerking.

As you know, I've written about how much I miss my mother.  She died in 1977 when I was 15.  As is the case with a lot of people, I miss her more as I age.  Last year, I turned 50 - I've now lived to be older than my mother was allowed to become.  That was quite the epiphany.  

I have photos of her and many memories of a beautiful woman who smelled of Chanel No. 5 and always wore Avon's "Carnation Pink" lipstick.  She had an infectious laugh and could get totally plotzed on one lime daiquiri. In addition to the photos and my memories, I have her "things".  I know that "things" are just "things" - but sometimes they take on added importance when they are the only link to something we've lost.  These "things" include her wedding china, silver and crystal.

While I've always known her silver pattern (it is still manufactured), I was in the dark for many years about her china and crystal.  She was married in 1948, so while some of the china pieces are marked "Noritake", there is no pattern name as is more common on modern pieces.  The crystal didn't even yield that much of a clue.

Back in 1995, I learned of Replacements, Inc.  According to their website, they could identify patterns by a photograph.  In those Dark Ages of the intarwebs, I didn't have a digital camera, a cell phone camera (what the heck was *that*?) and was still using CompuServ as a provider!  So, I carefully took a piece of china and a piece of crystal to Staples and gingerly copied the front and back of a plate, and a water glass (you should have seen the look on the face of the copy clerk!).  Confident I'd never receive an email, I snail-mailed the photocopies off to Replacements.

It turns out I was right.  I never got an email.  I got a phone call - from a human - less than 7 business days after mailing that envelope.  I wish I could remember her name, but the woman was almost as happy as I was when she identified Noritake's "Lynnbrook" and Tiffin's "Cherokee Rose" as the patterns.

Because of this wonderful company, I've been able to work towards completing my mother's wedding service for 8.  When I use the pieces, I smile when I think of how she would use them for holidays and birthdays and other special occasions - like when the preacher came over - and how proud she was of them.

What I would like to ask is that you read this article on the New York Times website.  If your beliefs align - please consider purchasing something from them.  They are "job creators" - a term that is woefully misapplied much too often, and they truly offer a wonderful service.  *And* they let you bring your pets to work - win/win in my book!

Thank you for your consideration.



Disclaimer - I have absolutely ZERO affiliation with Replacements, Inc - none...nyet...nein...nada.  However, if the would let me come live in their warehouse, I would probably say yes!  :) 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Color Conundrum Concluded!

Finally!  Thanks to everyone for their suggestions!

I've decided to go with Benjamin Moore #1515 - "Natural Elements".  Connie suggested I contact Amy @ Maison Decor and ask about her selection.  She responded almost immediately with the BM color, and I promptly bought a sample.  Here's how it looks in Amy's house (which, of course, is a look I can only dream of achieving...hee!):

I think it's going to be *perfect* with my pink things!