Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Some Fabulous Finds!

Hi, everyone! My last post came with a promise of Fabulous Finds from my last bargain-hunting excursion. Here are a few of my treasures (or, treasures-to-be).

I love vintage glass. This cake stand and cover sparkles like new but its weight and an up-close inspection reveals otherwise. The bowl isn't quite large enough to be a punch bowl but seems too large and decorative to have been meant to hold mashed potatoes. Do I care? Absolutely not; it's so beautiful it could make mud and coal look delectable. And this is the largest jar of this type I've seen; the smaller ones are rampant around here.

I've had my eye on this box of spindles for a looong time. Whether I use them for display or dress them up in make-do style, they were a deal at $5 for the whole box!
And - (sh-h-h-h, don't tell Margo aka RoboLady! She loves clocks and clock parts, too!) look at this group of treasures! Those glass clock covers will beautifully frame some of my mixed media artwork! And don't those hands look like directional arrows to you? Or maybe Cupid's arrows?

Check out this old dresser! It's an 1800's piece that someone started to restore by sanding the mirror frame. Personally, I wish they had left it alone. That chippy paint finish holds a lot of character. And look at its original glass knobs! Again, someone tried to improve them by (ewwww, ugh!) painting them. Since such a large area of it has been sanded, we'll end up painting it. Deciding on a color will be difficult...removing the screw that sticks out from the back will be easy; who in the world would put a screw in this beauty? And this chest needs to have a couple drawers repaired and wheels added. (I knew there was a reason I bought those old metal wheels a while back!).

I'll post more pix when these are cleaned up and repaired.
This is a short post (for me) but before I leave, just one another note: Last Friday was the day for my annual mammogram and I also had the doc work me in for a CT scan that reveals any blockages in my arteries. It's a fairly new test that isn't paid for by most insurance companies. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems or heart problems of any kind, I highly recommend that you pay $250 (or so) and have the scan done. I decided to have it done after my fit, healthy brother discovered he had blockages.

So long for now...


Thursday, January 24, 2008

My Workroom - Warning: Wear Protective Clothing!

I've recently had several people ask me how I stay organized in my work areas. Me? Organized??? (*Insert thunderous laughter here*)
Okay, I will admit to attempts to keeping things labeled and in the same relative space. But there are times that only pictures can truly provide those thousands of descriptive words.
Let's start with the space directly above my main sewing area. Note the frames to the right? You will soon see a theme of sorts developing. Okay, let's mosey over to my fabric stash... Hmmm. I don't remember it looking this disheveled last night...but wait - there is more fabric stashed in a closet within a closet. What's that above the metal closet, you ask? Candles, baskets, a pillowcase filled with sheep wool and frames, oh my! And at the foot of that closet? Old table and chair legs, a very rough old cheesebox, lots of dowel rods that most probably held flags at one time, more frames and more oh my. And you want to know what is beneath my wall stash of fabric? Did I ever show you that old library cabinet? Remember library card files? The drawers aren't wide but they are long. They're perfect for glue sticks, chopsticks (these have many other uses, not just as eating utensils), shorter dowel rods, miscellaneous markers - well, you have the idea. There are four large cubby holes built in beneath the drawers. These areas hold magazines and baskets with small electrical appliances (soldering tools, glue gun, etc.) and the like.
This next pic is of the wall space above an old 1960's Viking that I still occasionally use but won't show you right now. Why not? I have so much stuff piled around that machine that it's just plain scary. And it would be embarrassing to be invaded by the fire marshall. Included on and around that shelf: An old shelfsitter doll, a cloth sculpture I did of a pleading teenager (she looks like she's whining, "but Mom...!") a large Santa doll I started but never finished, more frames, an old margarine container I painted, an unused message board and a mylar balloon (the first my hubby gave me) that I use as a doily of sorts. Okay, on to more scary areas of the room...
This is the table that is supposed to be my cutting table. It is adjacent to my card file cabinet-turned-supply cabinet. I also sew here sometimes, but obviously not in the most recent days. Piled up here are vintage linens, doilies, etc. that I need to sort along with other sale finds that need, well, something done with them. Next to that mess, I mean, creative area is my main sewing spot. I can offer absolutely no excuses here. It looks like this all the time. Okay, it usually looks a little worse.
To my right is a vintage metal kitchen cart that is on wheels. I have more baskets on its shelves, stuffed with things like No Fray, paint colors that I most frequently use, small UFOs (UnFinished Objects) and such. Above the cart :
Lots of bins holding old jewelry pieces, whole and broken, hang tags, ribbons, trims, and a variety of items that I use in sewing, mixed media arts, clay sculptures, embroidery, doll making, or on and in my repurposing items.
In addition to what I've shown you, this room has yet another large shelf chock full of books, spindles, pregnant projects (projects in waiting); a Hoosier cabinet that holds the bulk of my paint supplies and another large work table with a Hoosier cabinet top sitting on it. The cabinet is one of my special finds. It has no doors, only shelves, but the metal flour compartment is still intact. Useless to me at this time, but still intact.
Of course, the shelves hold more bins and stuff. The very top of the cabinet holds bottles, jars and bins of items such as colored glass, marbles, and then there's the bin with the label that for some reason my husband finds hilarious:
If you can't read the label, it simply says, "Cool stuff I don't know what to do with yet".
That's it for now! Next time: My great estate sale finds!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

One down - 10,000 to go...

Remember this little dresser? It finally has been cleaned up and given a more feminine skirt, complete with top ruffle. It's now in Elizabethton (Corner Nest).

Okay, maybe it only seems like 10,000 repairs, cleanups, repurposes, etc. to go. I've had this old white coffee pot for several months and have finally put it to good use, too. I think it makes a really cute holder for this Valentine bouquet I made, don't you think? The silk flowers are part of one of my yard sale finds. I bought a huge box (the box came to my knees) of silk flowers and greenery last summer. Some had never been used, but most had been salvaged from past floral arrangements. All had been cleaned. I made some lace-and-bead-trimmed hearts, sewed them to stems and added them to the bouquet.

My studio is filled with various items that I've kept aside for absolutely no known purpose. The coffee pot is an example. These items linger with me because they're either pretty, interesting or just plain intriguing to me. I have no idea what some of them are. But I know that some day I'll discover a real need for them. Right now, I'm thinking that the some of the ones that could possibly be used to hold something will be turned into valentine bouquet vases and given to friends.

Now that the holiday rush is over, I'm hoping to devote some time to our Disaster Closet. No, it's not a closet stocked with first aid supplies, water, etc. It's a closet stocked with, well, things that someone else might deem as being disastrous to have in their homes. Here's a peek:

Look closely and you will see a child's vintage riding toy, an old medicine cabinet, a homemade storage box and probably some cobwebs. They're all waiting their turns to be picked up and somehow reworked by either my hubby or myself.

Here's an old side table that we're currently working on. Note the wooden pegs in lieu of nails. This is a piece that is in dire need of a good cleaning and oil massage. We won't do anything to ruin the integrity of the piece. I can't help but wonder what it's first home looked like and how many families it's gone through. One thing is for sure: It's outlived many of those people and deserves some respect.

Lisa Railsback once explained to me that Indians respect everything that has ever had life, as the spirit of that life remains behind. This little table is made from wood and is a descendant of a living tree. It would therefore be respected by the Indians.

I may not completely agree with that philosophy but unless someone shows some sensitivity or respect to such pieces, we could lose touch with such simple little bits of history except for those few times we may wander into a museum and marvel at them. What a sad thought.

By the way, here's a site you may want to check out: http://www.createanddecorate.com/RecycledTreasures/index.shtml The readers of Create and Decorate Magazine are sharing some of the ways they have recycled or repurposed items.

Tomorrow (Monday) will be spent restocking the shops from this weekend. I also get to have my monthly bloodwork done for my RA meds, do a little grocery shopping and a few other little errands. With some luck, I'll have lots of time this week to play in my studio.

Thanks again for dropping by! Your visits and comments mean a lot to me! See ya later!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

This time, it stuck

I woke this morning to the sound of tires traveling on wet pavement. My first thoughts were that it had rained during the night. I had obviously forgotten that a snowstorm was reported to be heading our way last night.

Bunny tracks:

We rarely get much snow here in northeast Tennessee. The people here go crazy when it snows. If an inch of snow falls, schools openings may be delayed an hour. I used to think it was sooo funny; but I now have a better understanding, as we may only have an inch of snow where we live but the school buses have to climb to higher elevations where the snow is deeper, the roads are curvier, and even a little bit of frozen snow can be treacherous.

My ol' rooster looks quite uncomfortable: In fact, he looks rather indignant, don't you think? A tuft o snow glistens against a yucca leaf.

Still, many celebrate the white stuff and eagerly look forward to its arrival. Although I've never liked driving in it, I have to admit to enjoying the look of newly fallen snow and its beautiful, graceful white tufts. It's the white roadsalt stains and the melted muck left behind that my adult mind soon begins to envision and I decided to shoot some pictures while I could enjoy the beauty. I began to also wish I could enjoy its cold, wet recreation as I did when I was a child.

Growing up, my friends and I thought it great fun to slide up and down the street using anything we had handy - cardboard boxes, trash can lids, our rearends...

It wouldn't take long for several of us to convene at Rhodius Park (yes, the same park I mentioned yesterday) at the "Big Hill" close to the swings. A few lucky kids would actually have sleds. However, the lack of a sled did not restrict our enthusiasm nor fun. In fact it seems those cardboard boxes, once flattened, could accomodate five or six of us. We likened the ride downhill to a rollercoaster. Trudging back up the hill wasn't as much fun unless the kid ahead of you lost his/her footing and we all would go tumbling back downhill.

Ahhh...to be a kid again!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Not much News...

It was just last week that we had temperatures here in the 70's. I was running around on my patio wearing jeans and a T, barefoot. Okay, the barefoot part is not unusual for me. That's something I never did growing up - go barefoot. But the adult me hardly ever has a pair of shoes on, especially when I'm at home. But, I digress. I was about to tell you about our recent temperatures.

I peered out the back door morning before last to witness the largest snowflakes whitening my view of our yard. Looking over at my largest garden, I wondered how the beautiful colors of Spring, Summer and even late Autumn turned into this: Notice the little cardinal sitting on the unfastened trellice-gate.

Someday, when you have about five minutes to look at nothing but pictures of my flower garden (hopefully, now) take a look at this slideshow I put together a couple years ago: Our place . All the pictures, except for the first one (a picture of the school my father-in-law attended) and of the cow pasture next to us, were taken on our property.
Things you don't know about me

I've been tagged to share five things that few people know about me. I'm pretty much an open book, but here are a few things I've never mentioned in this blog:

1. I'm Filipino-American, born in Manila.
2. My family used to live in an apartment across the hallway from Jimmy Jones (the Reverend Jimmy Jones - yes, the Cool-Aid king) when he was 19 years old and a Seminary student. This was in Indianapolis, Indiana in the early 1950's.
3. I'm 8 years older than my hubby.
4. I started writing short stories in the second grade. A neighbor boy and fellow student, Steve Worsham, illustrated them for me.
5. When I was 14 years old, a girl named Mary Mack beat me up at Rhodius Park at the "old" swimming pool there. This, too, was in Indianapolis. She was quite a bit larger than me and a much more skilled fighter, as that was my second and last fight of my life. I often wonder what happened to her. She has a brother named Larry (I think that was his name).
I'm supposed to tag some other people but I can't think of anyone who hasn't already been tagged. So, if you have a blog and are reading this, consider yourself tagged by me and let me know so I can read your answers.
Proud Mom and Grandma that I am, I just have to share this picture that was part of my daughter's family Christmas card. Now that you know I am Filipino (complete with the dark skin, hair and eyes), tell me how in the world this hazel-eyed natural blonde grew inside my body.
In the works

I'm back to my trash to treasure items! I got a call a couple days ago from Janet at the Corner Nest; several of my pieces had sold and I need to bring more furniture in. The call was excellent timing, as I've been working on a little (as in child) dresser and hope to deliver it and an end table tomorrow. I'll be sure to post pictures!

Here's something else I've been working on for Ebay:

I'm hoping to get it finished and listed Sunday. Until later, thanks for visiting! Let me know how you're all doing out there!mysig

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Something for all us Romantics, more antiques goodies and my RED tree

Somewhere in France...

Awww, c'mon! Don't most of us enjoy a good love story? How about an ongoing real-life saga in the world's most romantic country?

I don't even remember how I found this blog, but the writer (Corey) is playing match maker this weekend. She has somehow successfully introduced a young woman from the U.S. to a young man in France and has drawn many of us (I'm starting to feel a little like a Peeping Tom) into what we all hope is a budding love affair. Her captivating updates have me addicted. If you're a hopeless romantic, you'll probably want to take a look at this blog: http://willows95988.typepad.com/tongue_cheek/ . Have fun enjoying it. If you leave her a note, tell her Sher sent you! ;-)

Another location for our wares

We have another new booth! We were fortunate enough to be able to get a spot in Willow Creek Antiques here in Bristol! Willow Creek is located in the heart of historic downtown Bristol. The building was built in the 1860's. Sadly, we had to make the decision to leave the Shop Around the Corner in Elizabethton. It was strictly a business decision; Linda (owner of Shop Around the Corner) and I are still good friends. I just felt it was better to have a few miles between shop locations and her shop is very close to the Corner Nest, which is our main location. Bristol is also much more convenient for us and receives a lot of business from Nascar fans during race months.

Willow Creek currently has 18,000 square feet, all on the main level. There is a mezzanine and second floor that is not yet open. My guess is, Carol and her hubby (the owners) are at least a year away from moving any new vendors into those spots.

Here's what our space looked like this afternoon:

I took pictures of many of the booths but there are so many I didn't have time to shoot all of them. If you want to take a look at my new Willow Creek album, here's the place to view it: http://community.webshots.com/user/GrinninGramma .

and finally...

I haven't forgotten my promise to show you my very red Valentines Day Tree! Whether you love it or hate it, it's getting a lot of attention. I have to admit, it certainly stands out.

Here's another something special I want to share with you: No, it's not one of our pieces (*sigh!*); it's sitting across from one of our spots in the Corner Nest. I just think this is simply the coolest looking old mirror. I didn't get a chance to sneak a peek at the price, but it doesn't matter. We couldn't squeeze another piece of furniture into our home with a shoehorn. In fact, right now, the shoehorn wouldn't even fit.

Drop me a note and let me know how you are enjoying 2008. I appreciate each and every one of you who take the time to read this blog and do enjoy hearing from you! Thanks again for visiting!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Resolutions, Valentines, etc.


I think not. Not for me, anyway. I stopped making them years ago, about the same time that I finally realized a truth about myself. I'm lousy at keeping them. Instead, I set a variety of goals for myself throughout the year and give myself a specified amount of time (or a certain date) in which to accomplish the goal. Do I succeed? Not always. But at least at the end of the year I'm not beating myself up because I didn't accomplish any of the resolutions I made 364 days previously.

My hubby cheats. He refuses to look at it as cheating, though. He simply makes the same resolution each year - to do better this year. He admits that it takes into consideration every aspect of life and is a somewhat generic proposition. Me, I'm a "name it and claim it" person who refuses to set unaccomplishable (probably not a "real" word, but one that works here) goals. For example, I might have a goal to clean and try to organize my studio. I know I can accomplish that one. But to set a goal to keep it clean and somewhat organized? Not only unattainable but laughable. Others might be able to do it for their personal areas but not someone who has been a multi-tasker since 'way before the term was made a term. Within the course of, say, five minutes in my studio I may be sewing on one of my three machines, painting, beading and embroidering. Scissors and fabrics are flying, things get pushed aside, pushed over, spilled over, tossed to another table...

It's my world, meant only for me, my imagination and the processes that I put something through before it is carried out of the room as a finished piece of work.

...and on to Valentine's Day

Ah, yes! The day we honor for Lovers! Or, is it the day Lovers honor? Whichever it is, I started working on some things for this special day a couple months ago.

We yesterday removed all our Christmas trees from the shops and all Christmas-y type items (except for a few items remaining from our mark-down sale). Tomorrow (Monday) I'll return with Valentine and other romantic-looking items. We have a red (yes, red!) tree that will hold smalls. It should be cute - pics to come!

...and other things

We have a wonderful photograph (we think it's the original) signed by wildlife photographer David Shepherd. It's dated 1967, so it would be one of his very early works. We sent info on it to Christy's Auction in hopes of finding out what the value is. It is one of my fantastic finds from a sale I went to a few months ago. I'm embarrassed to say how much I gave, so I won't. But, I love it and it's hanging here in my office where I get to see it every day. If you know anything about his mid 1960's work, please let me know. I'd love to have some history of this piece.

This is one of my shorter posts, but I promise to be back soon with lots of pix for you to look at and updates on our trash-to-treasure work. As for this moment, I need to crawl into the depths of my studio and get some things accomplished.

Thanks for stopping by; you know I love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a note!