Saturday, August 28, 2010

What I Don't Collect

I never really think of myself as a "collector" in the literal sense of the word. I am more of an accumulator. I think of a collector as someone who sets out looking for some particular thing and there are just a few things I collect intentionally. I have collected vintage canning jars for 30 years. I collect vintage porcelain birds. I like the old ones with the shiny glaze but I even have a few with the matte finish in my office at work. I collect lace-edge milk glass plates. These are all things I intentionally look for when I am out junking. I collect them. On purpose.
And then there are all the things I just seem to accumulate and sooner or later I accumulate three of them and then I think to myself, well crap, now I have a collection. But I didn't mean to collect that. You know what I mean?
So. I was inspired by Laurie's collection challenges on the Magpie Ethel blog right here and Dawn's recent post about Book Love on The Feathered Nest over there and decided I might do a blog post every now and then about things I don't collect.
So here we go. You all know how I love a good "poke sack" of sewing notions. I have never bought a poke sack based on it containing pin and needles. Not once. But I have straight ones, curved ones, flat ones, sharp ones, dull ones, ones with every size and color of head, ones on cards, ones in boxes and bottles, safe ones and even diaper ones. And I keep them all in a vintage jewelry box like they were treasures.
Corsage pins. If somebody brings me a corsage I'm set.
Shiny foil. Who doesn't love shiny things...
Looks like I've even got the family covered.
Cute kitties!
That Susan, she could really sew!
Someday when I am dead and gone I can just see my kids holding that jewelry box and looking at each other like... What? Huh?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Junking JACKPOT!

I headed out this morning for the VofA and then figured I would hit a couple of Estate Sales and see if there was anything good left. The Volunteers was my first stop and it yielded my find of the day - a bag of 50 Prismacolor, TRIA and Eberhard Faber art markers. The bag was marked $4.99. If you are familiar with these markers then you know how expensive they are. For that price I figured I could take a chance that at least a couple of them worked, plus the Prismacolor and TRIA are refillable anyway. When I got home and tested them 40 of the 50 were good and 5 of the dry ones were Prismacolor so I can salvage those by buying the refills - JACKPOT!
The sewing box below is another VofA find. The calligraphy book, the beautiful old ledger, yardstick and adorable little knife, fork and spoon were estate sale finds.
This mess on my desk is the contents of the poke sack I also picked up at the VofA. It was a good day at the VofA!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bi-cycle, Bi-cycle, I want to ride my Bi-Cycle....

Let me just say... Those are words I NEVER thought you would hear from me! But as they say, never say never!

My family has been pestering me about riding a bicycle forever. I did buy one about 6 or 7 years ago and I put on the brave face and I tried. I really did. There is just WAY too much stuff going on on those handlebars. Brakes, shifters, steering, dinging the bell, all with just two hands! Actually I liked dinging the bell except I was always too busy remembering which was the front brake and which was the back brake and had no time left for bell dinging. But the truth is I have absolutely no coordination. None. Can't dance, can't swim, can't do sports, even went to motorcycle school once and I crashed and broke their motorcycle and they didn't let me pass. Big sigh.
So last weekend the husband and a son were out cruising the bike shops and they spotted this. A friend of mine happened to be in the shop as well and they all decided this was just the bike for me. Uh huh.
My husband told me about it that night and I was intrigued. It is a three-speed automatic (!) and it has coaster brakes. COASTER brakes, just like when I was a kid! The only thing your hands have to do is steer and ding the bell. Oh. Ya.
So we went back the next day and I took it for a little spin and knew this was finally the bike for me! I got the basket right away and will be going back for the fenders as well.
I LOVE my new bicycle! Did I mention it's pale lavender? Watch for an update when I get the basket decorated!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Geiger Counter Encounter

I made my usual Sunday pilgrimage to the VofA this morning but it wasn't a stellar junking trip and I only came home with a couple of glass tops. I was hoping one of them would fit my largest terrarium and it did fit perfectly so the trip wasn't a bust.
Junking is total relaxation to me and really clears my mind. This was an especially brutal week at the office, including Saturday, so I really needed some rest and relaxation today.
The husband had a bicycle ride planned and then bicycle store-hoping with his buddies afterwards so I decided to take the "alone time" and roam around in the world a little myself. I decided to hit a couple of antique malls in a little berg nearby that I hadn't visited in ages. Sorry the picture is so dark! In the first shop I got some great old postcards, lace, rhinestone jewelry, buttons, rayon bias tape, an 1888 crochet book and all those gold things are actually stacks of gold stickers. They had lots of little bits and bobs so it was great fun to "excavate" for treasures!

The second shop (right next door!) was priced much higher and I only picked up a couple trinkets. The best thing I got there was a good story...

This couple walks in and goes straight to the front counter and they pull a large orange Fiesta ware tray out of a paper bag and demand their money back. The clerk politely pointed to a sign saying all sales are final. At that point, okay get ready, the guy pulls out a GEIGER COUNTER and points it at the plate. Well the Geiger counter goes off in a beeping racket, just like in the movies and the guy starts going off on the poor clerk that this tray is radioactive and it's illegal to sell things that are radioactive and on and on. The poor clerk was taking it all in stride pretty well considering the place was packed with customers and the Geiger counter was, well, going pretty berserk. They eventually took their plate and their receipt and left with the understanding that the clerk would contact the proprietor of the booth it came from and give her their number. Once they left I complimented the clerk on keeping her cool in an unusual situation and said I'm pretty sure most people who collect vintage are aware that some Fiesta ware used uranium in the glaze and you shouldn't eat off it. Or sleep with it under your pillow.

But it left me pondering... who has a Geiger counter at their house for crying out loud and I wonder if we should be worried about some wacko-o amassing an enormous collection of Fiesta ware dishes. That Geiger counter sounded just like the ones in the movies.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Playing with Photoshop

Ahem. This doesn't look like anything I usually post - what's up with THAT! I think an explanation is in order...
I did make my weekly pilgrimage to the VofA last Sunday and I scored a great poke sack but somehow never got around to posting about it and now here it is, Tuesday already. Summer is like that. An outing to the drag races, a birthday party, puttering in the garden. Summer. Ahh.
The poke sack contained about 20 sewing machine bobbins, all filled with thread. I wanted the bobbins but I didn't want the thread so I sat and pulled it off and tossed it aside. Once I was finished I realized I had accidently made a little thread collage right there on the table. All the different colors looked so pretty together!
I gathered it up and popped in in my scanner tonight, just to play around. I know pathetically little about all those special effects in Photoshop so I thought I'd just experiment and see what they do. I got the one above using Filter>Distort>Spherize>Polor Coordinates. I don't know why it created multiples and I don't know what's up with that line in the center but still think it looks kind of neat.

This one is just Filter>Distort>Spherize. I think it looks kind of like a felt Easter egg.

This last one is my favorite and it was made using Filter>Distort>Polar Coordinates. I think it looks kind of like wings. I might have to play around with this some more. I wonder what would happen if I scanned some lace.
Just thought I'd share my doodling. Sometimes inspiration comes from the strangest things - even a pile of thread!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Terrarium Fun

I told you about my terrarium "inspiration" in this post so I thought I'd show you the finished result. Gosh these guys were hard to photograph so I'm posting a few to try and give you a look.

I put gravel in the bottoms so water could drain away from the roots and then added a layer of sifted compost on top of the gravel.
The moss, lichen, fern, sedum and hen and chick (should that be hen OR chick since there's only one??) are all things I took from around my yard.
It's been my experience that moss grows where it wants to grow so time will tell if it will thrive here. I have been putting tops on the terrariums at night to raise the humidity.
These giant snifters didn't come with tops so I use a glass saucer on top of the largest one and I found two small headlight lenses (no kidding!) at the VofA and they fit nicely on the smaller ones. They look kind of cool, too, in a funky headlight kind of way. If everything thrives it won't take long to outgrow these little homes but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. I've only got $6 in the whole she-bang and I'm loving them all for the right now.
I have them sitting on this little table next to the hot tub on the patio. I made the mosaic table several years ago. If you look at the first picture you can see the pottery shard mosaic on the top and the bottom edge is decorated with key "fringe". The granddaughter loves to run her hand across the keys and make them jingle. It's a happy sound.

Monday, August 2, 2010


I just read a wonderful book by Randy Florke called RESTORE. RECYCLE. REPURPOSE. I loved it because, in addition to calling out things like compact fluorescent light bulbs, energy efficient appliances and sustainable building products, he gave ample nod back to core values the generations before us embraced. He appears to be a young man but he credits his grandmother with bestowing him with those values from her generation. Yea for Grandmas!!
He encourages using what there already is and how that translates to "green". He poses the question, why would you buy new "throw away" furniture when you could use vintage furniture that is built from trees that were already harvested and made with craftsmanship we have to pay top dollar for today. He points out the flawed attitude of throwing things away (landfill) and buying new (materials, manufacturing, energy, transportation).
This reminds me of a story I read somewhere. A woman purchased a new mattress, which included delivering the new mattress and hauling away the old one. She got up that morning and stripped off the bedding to get ready for the new bed. While she was waiting she started admiring the beautiful old ticking on the mattress and thinking about what she could make from it. Before long she had her scissors out and had stripped off all of the old ticking. Now she was left with springs filled with fluffy old batting. Well, that batting would be perfect for stuffing pillows and stuffed animals. She carefully removed it from the springs and stuffed it in bags. When the delivery man finally arrived and came inside to haul out the old mattress he took a look at the bare springs, looked back at her and said "Boy, lady, you really did need a new mattress!"
Obviously we can't all use vintage every time and there are, after all, people who make those new things and they need jobs. But it sure doesn't hurt to stop and think!
The thing that especially struck me about this book is that somebody needed to write it. When so many of us grew up with "wear it out, use it up, make it do or do without" how did we manage to skip a whole generation who needs to read it in a book? Maybe they need someone young to say it to them. He is young and he listened to his Grandma. Good boy. You tell 'em, Randy!