Thursday, September 30, 2010

September's book pick~

From a young age, I have been fascinated by apocolyptic stories.  What would it be like, if the world as we know it, suddenly came to an end?  Would you know how to survive without today's modern convienences?  
Justin Cronin's, The Passage, explores that question, with the addition of genetically created vampire-like creatures tossed in for good measure!  It's one of those books that sucks you in, drags you through a hostile world filled with danger, sorrow, love and hope, and leaves you wanting more...  Luckily Mr. Cronin is working on the sequel, and let me tell you, I cannot wait to get my hands on it! 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bits of beauty...

I keep thinking my flowers are done, but closer inspection always shows me that they haven't given up quite yet.
My Asters are no surprise, this is their Season, afterall.

My Cosmos has been blooming all Summer long, but was kinda overlooked earlier, when my gardens were at their peak.  Now they can be more appreciated.
I've got Moss Roses scattered throughout my garden planted in various containers.  They thrive on neglect, so when I forget to water them, they just keep on going.

I love this brilliant splash of red, down by my chicken coop.  Zinnias are my all time favorite annual.

Last, but not least are these sweet little pink Baby's Breath blossoms.  A few weeks ago, this plant was complete dried up, so I was delighted to find it had come back to life to bless me with it's darling, tiny pink flowers! 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pearls for my teenager...

If you have teenagers, then you probably know how different their tastes are from that of their Mother's.  My 15 year old Daughter and I have a very good, loving relationship, but I stopped trying to pick out clothing or accessories for her a long time ago.  After hearing an abrupt "No", and seeing the eyeroll everytime I held something up and said, "hey, this is cute", I decided to let her pick out her own style, while reserving my veto power.  This method has worked out just fine.  Imagine my surprise, when Emily noticed a vintage simulated pearl necklace I had just brought home from a thrifting trip.  "OMG!"  At this, I almost dropped it...  "Where did you get that?  Can I try it on?  Oh Mom, I LOVE it!!"  Of course, I gave it to her.
It really does suit her beautifully.  My not so little Girl has a long slender neck and flawless skin, not to mention a cute hair cut that exposes the nape of her neck and the pretty clasp on her new, old necklace.  She wore it to school today, and made her Mamma proud!  I really doubt that She'll let me post her picture on here, but if she does, I'll let you know!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Who knew chickens could crack nuts?

Actually, I doubt if any of my Girls could crack a walnut, but I know this can...
Isn't it wonderful??  I discoved this solid brass gem at a yard sale today for 50 cents!  I just love the rooster head, and besides, it's actually useful.  Even my hubby was impressed.  Despite being broke, I just can't seem to stop junking.  Luckily, junky treasures can still be had for very little money, if you're willing to put some effort into it, and I am! 
With Halloween on the horizon, I've got spooky decorating on the brain.  I've been looking at some of the wonderful "altered art" online, and have decided that I really need to make something along the lines of a shadow box/shrine/witchy display, using bits and pieces of junk.  Old, crusty, rusty, ragged, torn and tattered junk.  My favorite kind, so stay tuned, hopefully between now and Halloween, I'll have a finished spooky project or two, to share!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Another Vintage Purse Wall pocket...

Having worked in the Photofinishing Industry for most of my life, I'm always looking for new, interesting ways to display photographs.  My first vintage purse frame/wall pocket was so much fun, I'm determined to do more.  Of course it is necessary to find the right old purses and then the proper frames... and we all know how much I love to treasure hunt!
This old faux snakeskin pocketbook fit the bill nicely.  I like that it's not quite as formal as the shiney patent leather, and called for a simpler style frame. 
My dear parents have once again made an appearance, this time in their baby portraits.  Handsome little Maurice (his Momma called him "Mossy") and sweet little JoAnn.  The frames I used are the simple little brass ones that are hinged together, so they can stand alone.  Kind of symbolic that these dear babies were meant to be married on day...

I added one of my lace flowers, made from handcrafted vintage lace and and old rhinestone button.  It seemed the perfect touch.  A dried spray of baby's breath would be lovely tucked into the purse.  I need to get may hands on some.  Now I'm on the look out for a big vintage handbag that will accommodate a large frame for a family portrait.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Have I mentioned how much I love old books?

I love books.  Big books, little books, fat books, thin books, fiction or history.  I love 'em all, but I especially love old books!  I found a couple of beauties yesterday while thrifting.
I really liked the look of this old Animal Husbandry text book from 1922.  When I opened it up and discovered that many of it's pages are loose, I decided I needed to have it!

Loose pages mean that I can use said pages for various projects, without the guilt associated with defacing a book.  I'm saving the poor thing from the landfill, and appreciating all it has to offer!

This wonderful blue book is one of a partial set of encyclopedias I discovered.  I only bought one, since I'm really pinching my pennies these days.  I didn't feel bad about breaking up a set, since somebody else had already done that.  My first thought was that this lovely tome would make an awesome "secret stash" book, with the center removed to create a hollow.

Once I started looking at the lovely illustrations inside, I'm rethinking that notion.  Now I really wish the entire set had been there, and I'd had the money to purchase it!  I can probably salvage the best of the artwork, and still create a hollow within it's pages..., time will tell! 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blue and Brown!

Actually, for me it's Turquoise and Brown, but I'm joining Cindy's Cottage Instinct's Blue and Brown Blog Bonanza!  Here is what I've got today-
I assembled a vignette of some of my favorite items.  The vase was a lucky Goodwill find and the old beaver print was purchased on my way home from a visit in Kentucky.  The little deer has a mended ear, but I love him anyway!

A small, rusty portion of my old turquoise washing machine that sits outside, planted with Nasturtiums.

An old brown bottle with that same vintage washer in the background.

An old wooden shingle decorated with rusty nails and copper flowers wearing a lovely patina.

A little closer shot of some of my favorite things.  I found the little carved rooster for 29 cents recently!

And last, but not least, a collection of vintage vases!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

~Zinnias... and a Sunflower~

Zinnias have got to be my all time favorite annual flower.  Their colors are so delicious and varied.  They bloom just when most everything else is fading and they are simply the happiest flowers around!
This year I scattered my Zinnia seeds in two intervals, about 4 weeks apart, hoping to extend their bloom time.  I'm really glad I did.  The first plants to mature were disappointing.  Perhaps it was the nasty heatwave we had mid-Summer.  My poor Zinnias just didn't look good.  Some were only half developed, and the few that did bloom properly only stayed pretty for a day or two.
My second wave of Zinnias has done much better!  Their blossoms tend to be a bit smaller, but I think that is just the variety of seed I grabbed.  Their colors are just yummy!
This one is interesting.  It's petals haven't fully unfurled, giving it a "candy cane" appearance.
I had to add this Sunflower to the line-up... it is actually one of many blossoms on one stalk that recently came down after a rainstorm.  It happened to land in front of my old turquoise washing machine turned planter.  I just love the bright turquoise behind the sunny yellow.  To add to the picture, a big fat bee showed up just in time for the photo.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Double Trouble

I went down to Chicken Hollow to visit my Girls yesterday, and didn't see two of them.  Usually when one disappears, I find her sitting in the nest box, inside the coop, preparing to lay an egg.  Most hens don't just run inside, pop out an egg and run back out.  It's a much more drawn out affair that involves settling into the nest box, arranging the straw just so in a tidy, circular depression and much purring and cooing.  Since I only have one nest box, there is often a second hen, pacing and complaining below, as one of her Sisters takes her sweet time in the nest.  So I opened the coop door, expecting to find the missing Girls, and I did...
...sharing the nest box!  You've met Harriette and Betty already.  They have always gotten along very well, but this was a bit of a surprise!  My nest box is plenty large enough for two chickens to use at one time, but they both wanted the "sweet spot".  There they were, snuggled together, cooing and purring encouragement to each other.  I left them in peace to finish their business.  The rent needs to be paid, don't you know? 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pet Politics

My 24 year old Son moved back home this past Spring, bringing his little dog, Bradley with him.  It has been interesting to watch the ensuing "pet politics" as our cat, Pansy and Bradley became aquainted.
Initially, Pansy's attitude was, "What is this creature, and why have you allowed it to invade my domain?"  Of course, being a dog, Bradley's was more like, "Hold still so I can sniff you..."
Bradley is half Pomeranian and half Dachshund with an ear span that measures 10 inches.  He's a very smart little guy whose greatest desire is to make his people happy.

Pansy is a long haired "mutt" kitty, who is terrified of thunder and thinks she is a Queen.  She does her best to ingnore Bradley's presence, in her most dignified manner, though when they pass each other, she simply can't resist batting at his happily wagging tail.

Bradley uses his cuteness blatantly, and has managed to wrap everyone in the Family around his furry little paw, except Pansy, of course.  She looks on with disdain tinged with smugness, since the silly dog was reprimanded for chasing her.  He's a clever one, though.  Instead of chasing the cat, he'll "block" her by running up and stopping in front of her, making her retreat or find a way around him.

Not to be outdone by a dog, Pansy will abandon her dignity occasionally, and wallow around like a rag mop.  They have a very interesting, competitive relationship, much like brothers and sisters.

This is Bradley, doing his fox impression.  It's no wonder my chickens were terrified of him, when they first met.  Of course it didn't help that he gleefully chased them around the yard.  He quickly learned that chasing was not allowed, (did I mention that this dog is extremely smart?) and now my flock tolerates him quite well.

Pansy is still Queen of her castle...

and Bradley has assumed the role of Court Jester.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

~White Vases~

I've aquired a few more vintage vases and planters in shades of creamy white in the past few months, so I decided to display just those for awhile.  I'm especially fond of the cornicopea with it's graceful, swooping lines, and the art deco-esque pitcher.  So soothing...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Decoupage project... W.I.P.

Yesterday was the first day since I started this blog, that I failed to post something... I'm not sure if that is a good, or a bad thing, but I do have an excuse.  I started a project that consumed most of my day.  I started out with this-
I've had this cute little cabinet for years, just waiting for the right inspiration.  Then I dug out these-
An old, 1952 High School Dictionary, in pretty rough shape, and this roll of adorable "Flower Fairy" wrapping paper that has also been in my crafting stash for years.  Not pictured is the bottle of decoupage medium, a Goodwill find...  After much snipping, trimming, tearing and gooping (not necessarily in any order) I came up with this-
This little chest of drawers is destined to be my "Seed Saver" storage, at least for the tiny seeds that don't take up lots of space.  I'm not done with it, mind you.  I intend to add a few more Calendulas and Hydrangeas, and patch a few thin spots with some relevant definitions and illustrations.  The beauty of decoupage is that you can just keep layering and layering!  I have to watch the thickness around the drawers, though.  I want them to slide in and out properly.  It's kind of hard to see the little fairies on the face of my cabinet, since I had to cut them apart to make my drawers operational.  Here are some shots of the side panels-
and Hydrangea!  Aren't they sweet?  I'll post more pics soon, once I've finished...
And here it is!  I am fortunate that there were a few actual Calendula's still blooming in my garden for the photo shoot...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Autumn has arrived...

We had a long, slow Spring, then Summer just seemed to zip by, and suddenly it's Autumn.  I'm hoping this Fall season takes it's time, like Spring did, and just lingers...  Anyway, I bit the bullet and started decorating for Autumn.
This is the display I set up on my front porch today.  I want to put Mums in the old minnow pails, and the old wooden bucket (which is actually part of an old ice cream churn).  I also need some black birds, in honor of Sage, the baby grackle we raised two Summers ago.  I'm sure I'll be tweeking this display quite a bit between now and Thanksgiving, so check back to see my updated photos! 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vintage purse turned Wall pocket

I discovered this project on one of my favorite blogs-
and had been on the lookout for the components for awhile.  I found the little Italian frames a few weeks ago, and then the perfect old shiney vinyl purse last night.
My handy dandy Dremel cordless drill was used to put little holes in the frames in order to wire them to the purse.  I used old buttons on the inside to reduce the stress on the old vinyl.  The hardest part was getting the holes punched through the purse in the proper spots to keep the frames centered and straight.  Threading the wire through was a bit tricky too, but needlenosed pliers made the job a little easier.

These are my Mom and Dad's Graduation pics.  Aren't they wonderful?  I inadvertantly discovered a great way to create the perfect sepia toned prints with my inkjet printer.  I had some old mailing labels, designed to be used on an inkjet printer.  I figured I could just stick the lables directly onto the frame backing board.  So I converted my images to B&W (I'm out of color ink, as usual) and sized them to fit my frames.  Once they were printed, I peeled one up, only to discover that the labels are actually transparent with a matte finish.  Hmmmm... what to do?  I dug out some gold tone parchment paper and applied the labels to that, and bingo!  Perfect sepia tone images.

This particular purse has a flat bottom, so it sits nicely on a table top, which works well if you want to put a short vase with fresh flowers in it.  The water filled vase makes it hang funny when on the wall, but dried flowers would work well.  On a side note, the pickin's are pretty slim in my garden, but I cut some Lavender foliage as filler and they smell almost as good as the blossoms do!

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Flea Market Cart

Every flea market I've ever gone to, I've found myself lugging some heavy or awkward item around, wishing I had a better means to transport said found treasure.  There were always other, wiser folks flitting around the place with these cute little wire hand carts.  Where on the Earth did they get them??
Imagine my sheer delight when I spotted this baby at... you guessed it!  Goodwill!!  Not only is this hand cart sturdy, light-weight, and fully functioning, it is also vintage.  It folds flat for easy storage and for a mere $3.99, I couldn't pass it up!
It has obviously seen good use.  The black paint is chippy and the wheels show some wear, but nothing is broken and the wheels turn easily.  I certainly don't want to drag a broken down cart around the next big flea market I attend.  I almost always end up with various sized items, including little bits and pieces of junk, so in order to avoid loosing any of my small treasures, a cart liner was in order.  I already had an old woven coverlet that was damaged beyond repair in one spot.  I love the colors and the pattern, so that is what I used to sew my liner.  Four broken sewing machine needles later, this is what I came up with...
Look!  My flea market cart is smiling!!  I am by no means an expert seamstress, but I can fake it fairly well with the right vision in my head.  This project is for my own use anyway, so perfection isn't the point.
I put deep pocket "saddlebags" on either side, which helps to hold the whole shabang in place, and provides easy access storage for my wallet, camera, water bottle and snacks.
Vintage embelishments include this wonderful old pom pom trim, and a couple of big bakelite buttons.  I will probably do some more tweeking before I'm done.  I have enough of the trim to add some to the pockets...