Sunday, September 29

Me at the Flea . . .

Today was a beautiful fall day in the midwest -- sunny, cool temps, not a cloud in the sky and the last Elkhorn Flea Market (in WI) for the year.  So a friend and I hopped in her car and off we went to see what trouble we could get ourselves into.  We were there by 9:30am and it was packed!  Booths, tents, buildings, tables of stuff for as far as you could see.  I knew that there had to be something there calling my name and needing a new home -- you know, the item that you don't need at all but can't live without?  Neither of us was looking for anything in particular but we both knew what the other liked and/or collected.  So with the GPS in her head, she mapped out the desired path through this maze of junk and we were on our way.

For years, we boated on Lake Michigan so nautical things always appeal to me.  I love the colors and the fact that someone has taken the time to make the wooden buoys, the glass floats and rope knots that hold them, the nets and the intricate knots tied with their lines.

I love English ironstone!  I have a lot of pieces but always look for more and today I found this very useful small oval bowl that will be perfect for veggies or even a salad.  I was surprised that there wasn't more ironstone available.  I was specifically looking for dinner plates but found none.  There were a few pitchers in a variety of sizes but they were priced higher than I was willing to pay.  In fact, I thought a lot of the prices were high but hey, maybe that's just me.

I have been looking for a narrow piece of architectural salvage to place above the entry to the dining room from the living room.  I have only 10 inches to work with so was delighted to find this old hand-carved piece of wood trim with flowers made to look like hearts (or maybe its hearts that look like flowers? -- whatever, hearts are another one of my favorite things.  How could I go wrong with this?  Now, it just needs a good coat of oil to bring out the color of the wood and then up it goes.  Hope I don't fall off the stupid ladder and break my hip trying to hang this!

And lastly, an old rake head.  I have one at the NC house but that home is being rented and I don't feel right going to the people and asking for some of my stuff back!  So, I have been looking for another one and today found it.  Of course, it was sticking out of a large floral arrangement that was for sale but all I wanted was the rake so I pulled it out and asked if I could buy it thinking the answer would be no.  I was pleasantly surprised when they agreed and asked if $4 would be okay.  Okay?  I could barely contain my enthusiasm or keep from jumping up and down with excitement!  I thought they were kidding so I quickly gave them the money before they changed their mind and walked away as fast as I could.  Later, I will post of photo after I get it decorated and hung up somewhere in my home.

It was a great day -- good friend, great finds and lots of new ideas to think about and repurpose to suit my primitive sensibilities.  I have iced my knees, taken Motrin for my hip and will now hobble into bed to get ready for another day.

Friday, September 27

Fixin' to paint the mantle . . .

Several months ago, a close friend and I were sitting in my living room talking about all the changes I have made since moving in last year.  I told her that I still wasn't completely happy with the fireplace surround because it seemed too formal for my primitive taste.  Then I realized that it was the dental molding that bothered me the most so she suggested that I cover it up.  Sounded simple enough so I figured just how hard can that be?  Next idea was that the white color wasn't working so it needed to be painted a deeper shade of the wall color.  I had several samples from when I was picking out paint colors so I got them out and started painting areas to get an idea of how it would look once this project was done.  Of course, once you begin spreading paint all over the place you know you're going to have to paint it all even if you go back to the original color!  All these ideas and we weren't even drinking!  This is the "before" picture.

I went to the local home store and had the paint mixed to match what I had pictured in my mind and bought all the necessary supplies -- wood to cover the molding, sandpaper, spackle to cover the nail holes, painter's tape, and a drop cloth.  I have a drill so didn't need to get that or borrow my sons.  And now that I had all of this stuff, I was committed.  Or maybe should be committed to a "special" place for people like me!

I held the wood trim up to begin drilling the nail holes (so the wood wouldn't split) and realized that the dummy at the store had cut it 2" too short!  After letting my blood pressure return to normal, I went back to the store and walked up and down ever isle until I found the same guy so that I could have him do it again.  This clown didn't even apologize for screwing up -- no "Sorry for your trouble . . . " ,  no "I have no idea how I did that . . . ", nothing.

I drilled, hammered, spackled, sanded, taped and began painting.  I have no patience with anything so it was hard for me to wait until the first coat was dry before I was on to the second.  I was texting my girlfriend the entire time so she could see the progress and make suggestions (most of which I didn't pay any attention too!).  It took 3 coats of paint to get the coverage I wanted -- hard to believe that it took that much to cover up white!  Who knew?

Here is the "after" photo and I am very happy with the results.  The color is about 3 shades deeper than the wall color and not as formal as before.  All of this in less than 48 hours.  I probably should have waited another day before replacing things on the mantle and decorating it but just couldn't go to bed without it being done!  I like instant gratification.  Once it was completed I sent pictures to several friends and to my kids -- my daughter told me how nice it looked (what choice did she have?) but my son's comment was "Glidden is good paint, mom".  Really?  That's it?  I guess it's better than being told I'm nuts!  Or that he hates it.  

Now, it's all decorated for fall and I am happy with all the layers -- found bittersweet today so that is the final thing that I added.  Enjoy.

Thursday, September 26

Pickin' punkins

I decided that today was the perfect fall day to go select pumpkins and gourds for decorating both inside and out.  There is a wonderful pumpkin farm about 40 min. from home and they have a great selection of types, sizes and colors of pumpkins as well as huge mums, corn stalks, Indian corn and hay bails.  They have a corn maze and give hayrides on the weekends for the little ones.

I love all the varieties, colors and textures.  These are beyond the "Jack-O-Lantern" style of pumpkin.  But never fear, they have those too!  Some so big that it would take a front loader to move them!  Our rule when our kids were little was that they could only pick out a pumpkin that they could lift.  Our youngest tried to roll his to the car one year because he couldn't pick it up and that was the one he wanted.  Waiting to see what happens when he takes his boys this week-end to pick out their own pumpkins!  

Needless to say, the back of my car was full by the time I left.  Of course, I always forget that they have to be taken from my car, placed in a cart and taken to the upper floor of my building, carried in and then I have to decide how I am going to use them.  It's overwhelming standing in the field looking at all the choices -- seems so easy there!  

Ya gotta love punkins -- warts and all!

Wednesday, September 25

It's fall, y'all

Fall is such a great time of the year!  It's the time to celebrate the end of long, hot, humid summer days, the turning of the leaves from green to golds and reds, pumpkins growing in the fields, decorating with gourds, Indian corn and bittersweet, helping your children and grandchildren decide on their costumes for Halloween (because, after all, it is all about the candy!) and bringing in the harvest.

Last year I moved back to IL and decided to use gourds and pumpkins in my pots on the balcony instead of mums.  Little did I know that the squirrels would jump into the balcony from the near-by oak tree and feast on my decorations!  Who knew they were so industrious?

We were fortunate to have such a wonderful view from our porch in western NC.  I miss watching the colors change and the difference the light made as the sun set each evening.

This was what we saw as we come up the drive to the top of the mountain.  I changed out the flowers, etc. with each season but the rabbit stayed all year around.  He often had a bow on to dress up a little for the holidays.  This pumpkin froze to the ground and rotted so I left it in place until after the winter was over -- when spring arrived I noticed something growing and didn't think much of it until I realized that it was pumpkin plant!  That fall I had 3 pumpkins that had grown and matured from the seeds of the original one.  It was fun to watch and the squirrels, deer and bear were happy with the easy to reach food.  

Fall in the mid-west and waiting for the leaves to begin to turn.  Thanks for visiting -- I am enjoying finding new bloggers almost on a daily basis and learning things they have done to live in the country, primitive style.  

I love Bittersweet!  In NC I could load up the back of my car with it for about $30.  Here, in the midwest, it doesn't work that way.  Or if it does, I haven't found the right location yet.  Maybe it's just a well kept secret but no matter 'cause my search for this beautiful plant, that many consider a weed and nuisance, continues.

Tuesday, September 24


My 6 yr. old grandson decided that he wanted to grow his own sunflower this summer.  He watched it grow, kept it watered and waited patiently for the flower to form.  As you can see, he was very successful and was thrilled when his plant bloomed!  Good job, big guy!

Step-Back Cherry Hutch

In my first photo that I posted I said that I am a collector -- truer words were never spoken!  I was raised by parents who were both collectors.  My mothers parents collected vintage glassware and my grandmother had glass shelves running the length of their sunporch and each of the 3 shelves were filled with glassware some of which turned purple from the sunlight action on the slag in the glass.  They also had a huge collection of milk glass -- the original pieces manufactured before the 1900's.  Their home was filled with Victorian antique furniture and I swore that I would never own a single piece as long as I lived and so far, I have kept my promise!  My fathers mother kept many family pieces -- no so much because she was a collector but because she appreciated the family connection.  She didn't have much money but she understood the importance of using what her own parents, grandparents and great-grandparents had owned and used every day of their lives.

When my husband and I began collecting, we were both drawn to the simple lines of primitive furniture.  He loved the patina of the wood and I loved the clean utilitarian design.  We have been looking for and buying things that we loved and have things from his family as well as mine.  Our last home was built specifically for these wonderful pieces that brought us so much joy.  And the fun was in the hunt!  Flea markets, auctions, antique shows and shops all over the east coast as well as some great things we found in the Chicago area.

Today's picture is of a cherry 2 piece step-back hutch with the original glass made in 1846 in southwestern VA.  My great-great grandfather had an account with the cabinet maker and the ledgers from him are in the genealogical library in the county.  So I know when he made the purchase and that after his death, it went to one of his sons who gave it to his daughter.  She then gave this to my grandfather, her 1st cousin and when my grandparents passed away, this was left to me along with everything they had in it.  This was always my favorite thing in their home and they knew that.  I am so fortunate to have had this and to be the 5th generation to own it.  When my husband died and I moved back to this area, I gave the hutch to my daughter so it is now proudly displayed in her home and another generation is able to use and enjoy it.

Thursday, September 19

In The Beginning..........

Collecting is part of my DNA
For a long time I have wondered why anyone would feel the need to express their ideas, thoughts or opinions and why they might be of interest to total strangers.  It seemed arrogant to me.  But that was then and this is now and like so many others, I have come to the conclusion that I will gain much more from doing this than I can give if I do a blog of my own.  Not that I feel anything I say or do is all that important but more so that I can find out from others, who might find this blog, their suggestions, share their talents and learn about people who may share my hobbies and interests.  I have recently become friends with a lady who does a blog and I love the things she posts!  She, like me, is an avid collector so I love to see what she had found at local flea markets or antique shows she has attended.  And because I look forward to her posts, I have discovered others who have blogs of things I also enjoy and go back often to see their new findings.  Perhaps someone will find that same joy with something that I post.

I'm not a total virgin at this blogging stuff -- remember back in the mid-1990's when ER was a huge hit on TV?  A small group of us got together and formed a online fan club that allowed us to express our likes and dislikes of each episode (what's not to like about George Clooney?) and how plausible some of their episodes were.  Because I am a RN, I was asked to write a column each week discussing one of the medical conditions featured, or the legal vs. ethical situations that were shown, mistakes that were obvious and things that would never actually happen in your local Emergency Room.  Because 2 of the supporting cast were from Chicago, several of the actors would come each summer during their hiatus and appear at a fund-raiser that was held in conjunction with Mt. Sinai Hospital who were raising funds for their new ER addition and renovation.  There was a silent auction and dinner and dancing at one of the large hotels in Chicago and everyone had a great time.  The cast were very generous with their time and always spent time talking to those who attended not to mention items from the show that they donated to the auction.  So my blogging began long before the term ever became a known word!

As time progresses and I post photos of meaningful things in my life, projects I am working on, special occasions, etc., I will go into more detail about these things and how they affect my life.