Monday, August 29, 2011

Furniture Re-Fashion Before and After

When it comes to decorating my home, I have difficulty looking at an empty space and figuring out the best way to fill/decorate it.
I am much better at looking at a piece of furniture, painting, or other item and figuring out how to use it.

So in my "den/living room" I have a wall with a fire place which helps me, and a wall with a large window that helped me, and a wall with our sofa and end tables, which helped me.
But the other wall was just a Big Empty.


I had a shelf of my Gramma's, but to me it was just empty, wasted space. And I was unhappy with the arrangement.
So after a lot of dithering about shelves, etc. I decided I wanted a low chest in that spot. So I started looking around at shops and yard sales and thrifts for a chest to re-do.

I never found one - I think people hang on to low chests of drawers and never donate/sell them!

Then, I recalled that there was another of my Gramma's pieces of furniture in storage in our 2nd "back house" (that is only used for storage because it's unlivable).


It is part of a set my mom had for years, and then my Grandmother kept in the house in Florida. Then she moved it back to NC and used it for a while; then it went back to's mate, a china cabinet, is painted white, and I use it in my dining room.

Mom had painted it purple in the 60s and avocado green in the 70s, and it remained avocado green in Grandma's house in Florida for years, until my Aunt Eileen started painting it pink, and then quit halfway through.


I decided to paint it barn red. I actually went to Tractor Supply Co. and bought barn paint. It is made by Valspar, and it is actually called "Farm Coat" or "Ranch Paint" or something like that. I like plain walls, but I like furniture that pops. :)
My husband painted it using our new paint sprayer - which I highly recommend! It gave such a smooth finish, and took a fraction of the time that it takes to brush a piece.



Here's the final result:


The prints are two nicely framed prints of American artists from the 1800s; that I purchased at a Goodwill store for $8.00.The shelf is an oak piece I got for a couple of dollars. The wood bowl on the top of the dresser was found in a barn on the property when we moved in; and the hand made, signed basket was another Goodwill purchase for a dollar.
It ties right in with the rest of the room, which is rich, warm blues and reds, decorated in a Americana/hunting lodge style. When one is married to an avid outdoorsman, one must have at least one room in one's house decorated to suit his tastes. I even allow his deer head on the wall. He is very happy with the results and it is such a cozy room for relaxing next to a toasty fire in the winter time. :)

The only thing I still need to do is replace the handles on it. I picked some out at Hobby Lobby that are cloudy glass antique looking knobs; but I am waiting for them to go on sale.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Earthquake Report

So I am sure you've all heard that there was a 5.8 earthquake on the East Coast of the US yesterday afternoon.

In fact, the earthquake was in my state of Virginia, 100 miles or so away.

I, myself, was standing in my kitchen preparing a bucket of tomatoes to can, when it hit.

Rest assured: everything is ok. I am ok. My family and friends here are ok, too.

Here's a little tour of the damage:


(Bottles came crashing down in the tub...)

(The whole china cabinet was rattling and I was terrified for my Blue Willow collection. Luckily, all that happened was this cup and saucer were a little dis placed.)

(This tree branch, several inches in diameter, just missed our new storage shed in the side yard.)

(Wrought iron birdbath in the garden, toppled right over)

We will get through this; because Virginians are strong and brave people.

Tee hee.............

(It was pretty awesome. I confess, however, that I didn't really realize what was going on till after it was all over. It lasted about 1 minute, and the whole time I was thinking something was getting ready to blow up under the house. My foremost thought was: "What have I done? Kevin is going to be so mad......" LOL)

(Also, all these photos were staged. I am just being.... goofy.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My "Where The Red Fern Grows" Moment.

Have you ever read "Where The Red Fern Grows"? I read it when I was about 14 and I think I cried through the whole book. And I was a blubbering, emotional mess at the end of it. If you've ever read the book or seen the movie, you know what I am talking about.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about - I'll tell you this: The main character has 2 dogs that he loves dearly. Towards the end of the story, one dog sadly dies. The remaining dog pines away for the dead one, and eventually dies herself. The boy buries them side by side. Later, the family has to move. He makes one last visit to the grave of his dogs and growing between the buried bodies is a rare red fern. (I am tearing up thinking about the story now as I type.... *sniff*)

Anyway. I said all that so that this post makes sense to everyone reading it.

As you may recall, earlier this spring, my sweet kitty "Spook" passed away in a tragic accident. We were heartbroken because we love and adore our cats (and our dog).



You can read about how I rescued Spook here
You can also read about Spook here.

We buried her between two walnut trees, that border our vegetable garden next to the house.
A few days afterwords, I had a bag of zinnia seed heads from my friend that I had planted in my flower/herb garden. The bag had gotten wet in a rain and was all soggy and the seeds, I thought, were rotten and worthless.

On a whim, I dumped the soggy, "rotten" seeds out all over the fresh dirt of Spook's grave, and forgot about it.

Soon, though, the seed sprouted, and began to grow! I had a lush bed of zinnias and merrigolds growing right on top of her grave, next to my veggies.


My other cats like to go and sit down there; and beautiful butterflies are always fluttering around the bright pink flowers. I even put up a little wire fence around it, to protect the flowers and give it some "structure".




The other day, however, I noticed that there was one, single white flower blooming among all the pink ones..... just one.


Chance? Maybe. But to me personally, that single white flower was like a message straight to my heart; a message of comfort, and knowing that my Heavenly Father knows and cares. Yes, he even cares about a little white kitty that broke my heart when she went away.

I just thought I'd share; especially for all you pet lovers out there.

Have a blessed day!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cat Photo Of The Day

Actually I was thinking that if my flowers were brightening my day they'd brighten others' days also. Then Brutus showed up. He has taken to napping on mantle pieces and tall shelves and anyplace "lofty".



Have a wonderful day, everyone! :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Coming Soon To An Etsy Near You....




I am so excited about the stuff I have collected for this fall!

Who doesn't love vintage coats? Wool, brushed wool, textured wool, fur, fur collared wool, velvet..... and I have a stash of them! I love them, but I simply can't wear them all. Unless I wore a different coat for each day of the week. But I figure it's better to spread the vintage awesomeness around. :)

I am doing little button repairs and dry cleanings and will start listing them in the nest couple of weeks.

(I confess, I am looking forward to fall a teeny tiny bit......)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Help

I see a LOT of movies but don't always "review" them here.

But I have to say something about "The Help".


My sister and I saw it last evening and we both adored it! I have not read the book yet; that's on my books to buy and read list for very soon.

I highly; highly recommend seeing this movie; and seeing it now and not waiting for the DVD, if at all possible. It's just that epic.

I was expecting to enjoy it; but I was not expecting to be so moved by it. I laughed so hard my sides hurt, I cried, I was angry, ashamed, I identified, I laughed a lot more, I was shocked, surprised, annoyed, I wanted to punch some of the characters in the face a few times, I laughed some more, cried some more, and when it was over I just wanted it to start all over again....

It is not often that every emotion and feeling are stirred by a movie; but this movie completely touched every corner of my heart and mind.

Yes, the costumes are amazing. The sets were perfect. Sissy Spacek was incredible. Bryce Dallas Howard blows me away every time I see her in a movie (even though she needed a good spanking in this one).

If you can, spring for a babysitter, take an afternoon off from work, or whatever you have to do and go see this movie with someone you love.

I promise you won't regret it.

(I plan on taking my parents and husband to go see it again soon.)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My 1940s "Katherine Hepburn" Attempt.

I have always been fascinated by Katherine Hepburn. Though certainly not the most stunningly gorgeous of the 1940s era Hollywood actresses, she always struck me as being very elegant and extremely talented.

Her style was never over-done or blindingly glamorous; without the gobs of make up or tons of jewelry. She was basic; plain; and as I said above: elegant.

I recently got interested in the history of women and pants wearing in this country; and I've noted that is kind of got started in the 20s and the 30s; with the occasional wearing of pants outfits that were more like harem pants or split skirts than actual "trousers".

But it seems that in the 40s, with women entering the workforce in great numbers as the men marches off to war in Europe, pants became more commonplace.

I found this photo of Katherine Hepburn rocking a great pants outfit in the late 30s - 40s in a stage role:

Image by Brettmann/CORBIS

The pants women wore most often were "trouser" type, with wide legs and high waists; often cuffed at the bottom; as Katherine is wearing in this photo.

I knew I had a pair of slacks like this so I dug around and found them to put together my own 1930s - 40s pants outfit.



My pants are NOT vintage. They're GAP and I got them years ago in a bag of clothing someone from my church was tossing out that I got a hold of. I was probably 19 at the time. (I must say, I am pretty dang proud that I can still wear clothes I wore at 19.... 10 years ago.) They might as well have been made from a 1930 - 40s pattern, they look so vintage. They're chocolate brown.

I have no clue where the blouse came from. I do not recall ever buying it. It's a tan-colored rayon with full sleeves and shoulder pads. I think it is from the 50s but it has a clear 40s vibe.


I came close to tossing these pants so many times but I am so glad I didn't - they're keepers!

And to conclude - here's a great photo of my Grandmother wearing pants in the 40s; somewhere in Michigan, I believe. Maybe Lake Michigan? Note the wide leg style.


Friday, August 5, 2011

"The War Bride" Movie

Last week I discovered a new "favorite movie"; the Canadian film "The War Bride".


I love everything about it. The story, the characters; the period sets, and the costumes - which are perfect.

 As you know I love the WW2 era; I have a special attachment to this period, because of my special attachment to my Grandparents, who lived during this time.

 I have a fascination with women in the War Era and all they endured and how they lived while the world around them was in chaos.
 I love the fashions, the hair, the hats, the cars, the music, the dancing, the home decor, the Victory Gardens, the crafts projects, the objects, the movies, the magazines - everything. And I have made it a little hobby of mine to research and sometimes emulate the ladies of this time. It makes me think of my beloved Grandma and Grandpa. (Grandpa was in the Army and fought in Europe; Grandma was a WAVE and tracked weather.)

Anyhoo, back to the movie:

 It is a story of a young English woman, Lily, who meets, falls in love with, and marries a Canadian soldier in London during the height of WW2. They get married in a hurry, and soon enough he is rushed off to fight on the front; leaving her alone.... and pregnant.


 The Canadian Government sends for many of the wives of the Canadian soldiers and brings them to Canada to be looked after by the soldier's families. I suppose it was some kind of patriotic, "boost the morale on the home front" kind of political scheme. So she, her young baby, and her BFF decide to travel to Canada and  get away from war torn London.


Lily's bff "lucks out" and finds out her hubby's family is wealthy and welcomes her with open arms; but poor Lily and her baby are met with cold indifference by her husband's mother and sister - who are poor and live on a farm in the wilderness.

 Instead of welcoming Lily and her baby with warmth and affection, they resent her and her strange English ways; leaving Lily feeling alone and miserable.


 As the months drag on, Lily learns to cope with farm life and she struggles to form a decent relationship with her new family, and the community, who do not care for her much either.

 (I love the scenes in the 40s farmhouse kitchen and farm; it's just so adorable.)

 Lily loves to sew and soon starts sewing pretty little things for the ladies in the community.

 Soon, Charlie (her husband) arrives home - but he is a changed man. The horrors of war have made him sad and bitter; and he is not the man she remembers. Still, she is determined to start anew,  and in time he unloads his feelings and his heart begins to thaw.


 The mother and sister also begin to accept Lily, and the community as well.

 By the end of the movie, the War has ended, and  all is well between Lily and Charlie. The family is beginning to form a  bond and everyone finds peace with each other.

 It is definitely a new favorite of mine and one I can watch again for sure! It is available on Netflix to watch instantly; and in segments on You Tube as well.
I highly recommend it.

(However; if you are sensitive to kissing/make-out type scenes, you may have two or three to skip. But there is nothing R rated in the movie. It's actually rated PG)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Little Black Retro Shoes



 I found these at Goodwill for $3.50. They're in like-new condition - and leather - by Madden Girl. They're comfortable, too! They're a tad too large for me; which is probably why they're so comfy. The heel is a perfect height! (Not too high)

 And they're so retro! I love them. I am going to have to  throw out some of my old stash to make room for all the great new shoes I have found this year!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Saving Flower Seeds



 As the blooms on my flowers and plants dry up, I've been collecting them for their seeds. I keep them sorted out in these old jars and make sure they're labeled so I know what is what next spring. I'm hoping to expand my "cut flower" selections next year. I've not been cutting a single one; so I have all the seed I can get from them. 

 I especially love the zinnias!

 The hollyhock seed I kinda stole. I'm a board member of the Preservation and Beautification Society in my historical hometown; and we plant and maintain large concrete flower "barrels" along the sidewalks in the town. The members of the society take turns watering the plants, and on my last rounds, I happened upon some hollyhocks that were growing along the sides of one of the old shop buildings that is up for sale. Someone had come along and cut them all down. But I scoured around the area and found a good hand full of the seed pods.
I am so looking forward to a lovely batch of old fashioned hollyhocks next year!

 Do any of you save seeds for replanting the following year?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back To School Bags

I've been "saving" some goodies for fall, but I decided to go on and list these, as they're great for what is left of summer also. And since all the Back to School promos are going full throttle right now I thought it was as good a time as any to break out some new items for the shop. Starting with some new handbags.

 Buy It Here

Buy It Here

Buy It Here

Buy It Here

I am blogging on my old Dell desktop that I dug out of retirement; as my HP desktop crashed ...... with all my photos on it.
The day following that crash, I accidentally slammed my laptop against a wall and then onto the hardwood floor and I think the jolt smashed the hard drive to smithereens. Not sure on the lap top; as I have not heard back from the computer repair man.
 So my desktop, which was under a warranty because I have had it less than one year, got sent off and the repair person discovered that it was full of cat hair and basically fried itself. And my photos.
Long story short: I am getting a custom built computer to replace the other one; though it breaks my heart, because I loved the other one.
I guess I can learn to love another.
 I had forgot how sloooooow my old Dell is; slow, but trusty; and enabling me to keep up with my business and not put my shop on vacation.

 Speaking of vacations  -  I really need one! I have been working every single weekend for a month and I work this coming weekend as well and I think I will go mad.
A beach trip is in the works so I think I can endure until then.

 Enjoy your day, lovelies!