Friday, September 10, 2010

Mixed Blessings, Mixed Media and Woman-Eating Snakes in Tennessee

Cell phones. They fall into the "Mixed Blessings" category here in the Grinnin household. We finally bit the proverbial bullet and changed our T-mobile plan from one that offered unlimited talking to one that offers unlimited talking, texting and web stuff. The texting is actually for the grandkids and myself. It seems to be the best way to stay in touch with the under age 25 bunch. My eldest grandchild is 17 so I thought I'd better get into the groove of things. Wait, they don't say that anymore, do they? Basically, I decided to get into the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" texting movement. We traded our handy-dandy flip type phone for a Nokia Nuron. It had one of those touch tone screens that turned into a disaster. Both GrinninGrampa and I hated it. We now have a Samsung Gravity3. It doesn't have a touch screen; it has numbers on the front so Hubby can make his calls and it slides open to expose a keyboard so I can text the grandkids and occasionally play on Facebook from the phone. Half of us hates it. I, on the other hand, am getting used to it. GrinninGrampa wants the now outdated flip type phone we had before back. That's one thing about cell phones - they are outdated quicker than you can say "SIM card". Okay, now for the scary stuff! Look what I spotted when I was pulling weeds next to the house this afternoon: (SHRIEK!!!) A snakeskin! Thank God the snake wasn't still in it. To make things worse, Hubby wasn't home to save me from it. Yes, I DO need to be saved from a snakeskin. OMG, I am SO afraid of snakes! And, look how BIG this thing is! Hubby tried to tell me it's a Black Snake. I don't care if it's Black or White or Oriental or Swedish. A snake is a SNAKE! And, I happen to know that Black Snakes bite. One bit my friend, Steve, who lives in Nashville. It was apparently trying to get back at him for stepping on it. Anyway, I've decided to never even get near that side of the house anymore as I'm 100% convinced it's either an Anaconda or a Rattler. Either way, it's bound to be a woman-eating snake. Well, my cell phone experiences left me totally weirded out as I pondered all the things it is supposed to do. My brain needed a release and I ended up making this mixed media piece. Here's a closeup of the highlighted definition above the man's head - it defines "thinking" and regardless of how smart these phones are, I really prefer to fall back on the old tried and true brain power that the good Lord gave me. While I was feeling creative, here's another piece I did using a piece of house painter's canvas that I stretched and stapled to an old wood picture frame. The woman's picture I used is a vintage photo that I plucked off the net several years ago. I've used her image many times in my art; this time, I aged her somewhat. A more mature beauty just seemed to be more at home in this garden. Oops, gotta run - our dog, Frankie, managed to get sprayed by a skunk and Hubby and stepson are giving him a tomato juice bath. No, I'm not hurrying out to help. This is an event that HAS to be documented in photos! lol

Monday, August 23, 2010

Furniture, Forms and Funny Witches

You know what it's like to wander into a shop stuffed with all kinds of cool items but ONE thing jumps out at you, clings to the hem of whatever you're wearing and begs you to take it home? Good! I knew you'd understand! I couldn't refuse this sweet little child-sized wire dress form when it somehow attached itself to me this afternoon. Isn't this just too cute? It's sitting in our home office right now, in back of my chair on the credenza. Just look at that metal pink bow! (*Sigh!*) I love it! Something similar happened a few days ago when Hubby and I wandered into a little nearby shop. This plastic form spotted me and told me to give it a makeover. It really did need one, too. She had a few knicks and scratches, but bless her heart - she had a punctured booby. I knew that old Readers Digest book that was missing some pages would come in handy one day. So...out came more pages that I tore in various sized pieces and... here is what she looks like today, sitting in one of our booths in the shop. (I could have never gotten that handmade leather belt around my waist, anyway.) Did you notice that she lights up? She has another light above her waist but we didn't have another low enough watted bulb (Okay, there's no such word that I know of but this is how new words get coined) that we could use. Look what my Hubby dragged in brought in from a thrift store the other day: Thank Goodness he can look past the flaws and abuse some of these pieces have experienced and know they can be cleaned and fixed up to look like this: It had been left in a damp place, maybe a basement or barn, etc. and the wood was warped in places, making it nearly impossible to open and close the drawers. The color had faded, the wood itself was really dry but he worked his magic and customers have already shown quite a bit of interest in it. Finally, Halloween is a holiday I don't get overly excited over (unlike Christmas, for which I've been working on several weeks) but I did make a couple little decorative items. Here's a little witch I just finished: She is sitting on her broom which is attached to an old bed spring so she has a little "bounce" to her. I sculpted her head out of air-dried clay. As of right now, as I type this, I don't know whether to list her on Ebay, Etsy, or in the AB4B Marketplace OR put her in the shop. If you want her to come live with you, contact me and you can have her for $24.95 plus traveling fee. Thanks for visiting, see you again soon!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Frames, Feed Sacks and Frail Fruit

There's one thing about working in or around antiques - you always have an abundance of "stuff". If you're one to frequent estate sales or auctions you know how easy it is to walk away with boxes loaded down with junk filled with wonderful treasures.
Such was the case a few weeks ago - okay, so it was about three years ago - that I ended up with about a truckload of wooden picture frames. It may have been more like 20 frames but when I got home and unloaded them it sure FELT like a truck load.
Anyway, my creativity instantly kicked into gear. Okay, so you caught me again. They've been shoved under my sewing table ever since I bought them. BUT, my creativity finally kicked into gear a few days ago and I basically decided to potty or get off the pot. Translation: They would have to be sent to another auction with all our other unwanted junk a truck full of our other really valuable items we no longer need or I was going to have to turn them into something saleable for our shop.
This is what I had to work with: Before you ask, yes, they are all the same. More than moderately ugly, wouldn't you agree? I had previously painted one black, added black and white toile and a few other things to turn it into a really cute bulletin board. It sold pretty quickly; I have no idea why I haven't made more since then.
Anyway, you may remember the pile of old feed sacks I have (several have sold but we have what seems like another hundred or so more to go). I decided an old burlap feed bag would make a really cool primitive style memo board. Here's what I ended up with: I'll try to make a long story a little shorter. Do you have any idea how BIG an old feed bag is? Well, I don't have the measurements here handy, but trust me - they're REALLY big! And, by the way, have I ever told you about all the lamp shades in my storage room that need recovering? Trust me (again), there are a LOT! (Are you beginning to get a grim idea of how packed our storage buildings are?)
Well, anyway, we have a lot of lamps, too. Here's one of them: Not necessarily ugly but not my style and probably not one that would quickly sell in the shop. So, a can of black paint and the remainder of that feed bag later...
Well, I think it's kinda cute. Ya gotta admit it's DIFFERENT! Now I have to think of something to do with the lampshade I took off of it. Meanwhile, I decided to paint another of those frames black... and give another a white wash... and hope that one of our customers will be in the market for a naked wooden frame.
When you have a couple thousand identical frames, you decide that selling one at a time might take awhile. So, I attached two of them together, decoupaged various papers and wallpapers to them, added some lace fabric and... ...ended up with a shadowbox of sorts. I like the look, think it's pretty but have no idea what to put behind it. Maybe a vintage embroidery?
By the way, if you are drooling over having an old feed sack, I have plenty left. Email me at if you want one (or more). They're $5.50 each (such a deal!) and I'll pay for the postage (such a better deal!).
You all know how hot it's been but it's been just as dry here in the south. The other night we had a pretty fierce storm. It literally ripped apart a tent my husband had put in our yard (he was going to use its shade for working on furniture) and everything under the tent found homes somewhere else in the neighborhood. This table was one piece he planned to work on: (Note the remnants of tent fabric hanging from shortened poles) And, of course, our peach tree suffered even more than it suffers every year.
Because of the drought here, this year's crop of peaches looks more like crab peaches (no, there wasn't such a thing before this year).
Pretty pitiful, huh?
That's all for now, folks! Stay cool and be a Blessing to your neighbor! Love you all!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A New Group Venture, Stupid Human Tricks & Gee, it's HOT!

Okay, I'll admit that I've been slack at blogging but even more of a slacker at posting things on Ebay and Etsy for sale. So, I surprised even myself when I was super-excited to be notified that the one Ebay group I joined several years ago, AB4B (Age Before Beauty) was starting a new marketplace. (See the button in the right margin) The grand opening is August 1. This group of primitive crafters and artists are so sweet, so fun, and so talented! The new venture has me designing and sewing up new primitive creations. I do hope you check us out by clicking on that button - but don't expect to see a lot in the shoppes until August 1! I just listed this pumpkin patch nightlight:
And, did you happen to see the child's bed coverlet I added to Etsy? If you like pink or Scottie dogs, you'll probably like this! I hope you run over there and take a look when you get a chance. Okay, Stupid Human Tricks - no, we're not going to be on David Letterman's show. This is way too stupid for that. See this mess?
Do you recognize that it's an old door with glass - lots and lots of glass - scattered on and around it? Well, it was in our driveway. Why? Because the door was one that was "donated" to my hubby. It had so much damage that even we couldn't do anything with it. So, Hubby decided to saw it up and use the wood elsewhere. Trouble is, he didn't know quite where the glass that was in the upper part of the door started or stopped. One slight touch of the saw in apparently the wrong spot and *WHACK!* - glass was everywhere! I was indoors when my slightly red-faced Hubby told me what had happened. He managed to get most of the glass up with a broom and dust pan (it filled almost two medium-sized boxes) but when it came to the smaller pieces, the person formerly known as the Brains of the Family (that would be me) suggested that we hose-vacuum the remainder. Yeah, uh-huh. My bright idea was to hold the hose slightly above our graveled driveway and let the vacuum pick up the light-weighted glass. It may have even worked if the glass hadn't punctured a hole in the vacuum hose. (*Sigh!) Until those little shiny shards out of our driveway, we'll be parking our vehicles a little further up the drive. At least the temperatures were in the mid-90's (as opposed to being in the upper 90's) when this happened. It's hot everywhere, folks!!!! I don't know about you, but I'm spending most of this summer inside where it's air conditioned. August is supposedly the hottest month of the year and guess what? It's only a week away! Until then, keep hydrated with lots of liquids and try to keep cool!!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The End of Adventure Lane

Yesterday was our day to travel to Knoxville and see my rheumatologist. It's about a two hour trip one way so we generally stop for lunch or dinner and maybe wander into an interesting looking shop or two. We turned off the interstate to check out one of those tourist info places when we spotted this street sign:
Well, of course, we had to drive down Adventure Lane, which turned out to be a dead end street. But look what was at the end:
Can you make out those blue letters? It says, "THRIFT SHOP"! This is what I came home with:
This sweet little ceramic napkin holder has a tiny chip in it but it spoke to me and somehow ended up coming home with me, as did this wonderful 1950's Hull vase: The vase will go to the shop with me this afternoon. Of course the news right now is the heat. This is what registered on my van's thermometer as we were driving to Knoxville: Here in the South, it's not just the high temperatures, though - it's the agonizing humidity, which is hovering around 90%! Even the birds are staying in the shade of the trees. Until next time, stay hydrated - drink lots of water and stay healthy!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, U.S.A.!!!! ...and a Couple Easy Re-do's

Today is the day Americans celebrate the 13 colonies who came together and signed America's first treasonous document, overthrowing King George III. I'm paraphrasing, but this is how I heard it described on the History channel this morning. Did you know that Benjamin Franklin's son was imprisoned for two years afterward? He continued to support King George and, apparently, Benjamin Franklin and his son never reconciled. It was an interesting documentary. For a little history refresher course, check this out: Sparknotes
Meanwhile, have a safe and happy Independence Day. I would also like to thank everyone, past and present, who has ever served in our U.S. military for keeping our country FREE! I have several publications from the National Education Association (the one below is from April, 1945) that I have for sale. Can you see the writing on the front cover? It is a prayer written by Stephen Vincent Benet, read by President Roosevelt at the United Nations Day Ceremony at the White House on June 15, 1942. The bottom caption next to the photograph states, "This prayer may well be used at every commencement program this year. Here's my political statement for the year as well as for the rest of my life: I SUPPORT THE RETURN OF PRAYER IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS! And now, completely changing the subject: This now shabby flower pot used to be a very boring looking terracotta pot: All it needs now is a cool looking plant to go inside. I'm kinda leaning toward a fern - what do you think? But, before I get sidetracked on choosing a plant, let me tell you how easy this transformation was! It was really a simple decoupage project involving spare paper pieces (wallpaper and craft papers), glue and glaze. I had some of this textured wallpaper that I think added a little special something to it. (Don't pay attention to the pot-in-progress in the background. It's not the same pot. In fact, after I started attaching the torn pieces to the background pot, I decided I didn't like the direction it was taking and tore the pieces off.) After I attached the papers and made sure the glue was thoroughly dry, I glazed it. Glazing isn't really all that necessary. I did it to protect the papers because I know myself - I will, at some time, either spill water on it or leave it outside and forget about it until a torrential rain beats the paper to bits. In other words, if you're like me in this sense, maybe you should also consider glazing. Modpodge would probably also be a good choice. Cost to complete: Next to $0. On to Simple Project #2: Sweet Hubby found this GLASS and MARBLE lamp curbside!!! Someone had thrown it aside because the shade was trashed - the fabric had dry rotted, was dirty, torn - you get the picture. But, the lamp (except for the finial part being a little bent) was in great shape. I ripped every shred removed all remnants of the old fabric and simply hand stitched strips of eyelet lace (I've had the eyelet lace for at least five or six years) vertically on the frame. Voila! The lamp is now in one of our spots at the Corner Nest (Elizabethton, TN) and sits in front of an ornamental metal thingy stretched across the window that separates this booth from the one next to us. Cost to complete: Next to $0. Until next time: Wishing you and yours many Blessings and happiness!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

This is OUR World!

(Photos taken in my garden) The first time my precious son, not yet three, saw the ocean he stood still as a statue for several seconds. Finally, pail and plastic shovel in hand, he looked out at its vastness and proclaimed, "They should have made a baby pool." That was just three short years before we made the move to California, where we would live for several years before moving back to the midwest. Yesterday was his 32nd birthday. I posted a picture of him on my Facebook page - tall and handsome, and on the eastern shores of our nation he stood on pristine sands as he enjoyed a vacation with his family. Little did any of us know at the time that, due to bad decisions of CEOs , our own government, as well as the greed of many, ocean shores would be covered in thick black goo and that the majority of us would look on helplessly as innocent, beautiful sea animals would be suffocated to death and families depending on the sea for income would have similarly have their livelihoods smothered. Many of us may not have the physical ability to help and may be limited financially but all of us have the greatest power of all - the power of prayer. Please join me in praying for a resolution to this mess that has been created. Pray for all the families affected and for their futures, for the animals and our environment and then please - let us all be diligent in making better decisions for our earth and its future and in electing officials who have similar commitments.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Absentee Blogger

This is what I should rename this blog. I've been a terrible blogging slacker lately, although I do have an excuse - err, reason. I hate to complain (but will, of course) but my rheumatoid arthritis has been giving me tremendous problems. My rheumatologist has switched me to Orencia and I am looking forward to great positive changes from it. However, it sometimes takes several infusions before enough of it is in your system to make a difference. I've been having problems doing daily chores. He added Prednisone to my drug cocktail and at least now I can raise my arms above elbow level and can walk to the mailbox. I'm on a self-imposed driving restriction because I still have problems and a lot of pain using my hands. I'm afraid that, if there is an emergency, I may not be able to properly handle the steering wheel. I've been looking forward to an upcoming all-year high school reunion next weekend in Indiana but am fearful that I may have to skip it. Maybe the Prednisone will kick in enough by then that we can still go, but I'm apprehensive. Well, enough of that. The Ebay/Etsy group I belong to, AB4B, is having a special altered art swap with a theme of "Let Freedom Ring". The very talented Sandi Ramirez ( was my partner. It was her first time to make altered art and the results were simply outstanding. She made this altered journal for me as well as the sweetest scrapbook: Here's a closeup of the journal cover and its inside cover as well as the scrapbook: See what I mean? Lucky me!!!! In turn, I sent her an altered tobacco tin and a felt window valance. I forgot to take pictures before mailing them out so I swiped the ones Sandi posted! And now for the big announcement: I've decided to suspend my monthly giftaways, at least for now. I can't rely on myself to post regularly right now and don't want to mislead anyone so I've removed it from my sidebar and hope you understand. So, until next time - lots of hugs! Sher

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hubbies! Yard Sales and Yard Finds

MEN! You can't live with them and you can't live with them. ; ) That's okay, I'll live with mine, anyway! *Hee* I just had to share this with you: We have a primitive-type cabin birdhouse living outside and he apparently discovered that the wind whipped three of the decorations on it off. Missing were a butter churn, a chair and a barrel (probably would have been filled with moonshine if it was real). He found the items (yaaaay, Hubby!) but instead of handing them to me or simply placing them on the kitchen counter or table where I would see them, he put them in one of my candles: Now - what I want to know is, would anyone else's husband have done this? Would your husband have secured them back to the birdhouse, given them to you, left them on the ground, etc. I'd like to know whether any other man in this whole world would have stuck them in the middle of a candle. Okay, moving along: I found these two table covers (that are large enough to fit on a youth bed) at a yard sale this weekend. There are some minor stains (most washed out) but I thought they were pretty enough to share with you. The covers, not the stains. Saturday was beautiful enough to hang them outside in the sun. Problem was, so was Sunday when I washed them. I broke my Sunday rule and hung them outside. Don't look at the stains on the vintage dish towel. They obviously didn't wash out. BTW, the covers were $2 each. Remember my Peace Garden I showed you last post? Look at the difference a few days have made: My lillies of the valley have really started springing up. They'll probably be fully grown and maybe in bloom in just a couple weeks. I uncovered this little angel in my largest garden: Notice that she's broken but her unbroken arm is still raised in praise! She didn't just "appear" in my garden - I remember putting her unbroken body inside one of the glass garden decorations I made last year or year before. I'll now recycle her where she'll be more safely tucked into another creation. Lastly, my daughter's birthday is the 23rd. I don't think I'm allowed to tell you that she'll be 39 years old. Amazing that she won't tell her age but I always share mine. And why not? We're the same age! Okay, maybe I'll be 62 in July but I'm still shocked when I pass a mirror and see that I'm not. Anyway, I can't tell you what I got her (just in case she decides to read my blog) but I can show you the wrappings. I covered a tag with green vintage wallpaper found in the attic of an old home. The large middle tag says "Memories" and the little glass bubble reads, "Baby of Mine". She may grow to be older than me but she'll always be my baby. I made her a pink felt "envelope" and put a little note inside. The envelope fastens on the other side with a piece of vintage lace and an old button. It can be reused later for probably absolutely nothing, as I failed to make it a pouch that she could have used for makeup, etc. Nope, it's just a flat envelope that she will probably hate to throw away but really has no other good common use. (*sigh*) ...and I'll never know why mothers do these things. Have a blessed week!