Tuesday, August 28, 2012

And Another Thing I Don't Collect

 It has been quite a while since I did a post about something I don't collect.  Tins definitely fit that category.  I never head out picking thinking, gosh maybe I will find a tin today.  You don't have to find tins.  They are everywhere.
 Sometimes they contain buttons or other sewing notions and many of those get emptied out and go straight back into the donate pile.  Sometimes they don't contain anything at all but seem too pretty to leave behind {pick me, pick me}.
 Sometimes I already have one just like it so I think I need to bring home it's mate.  I have never bought a pair of shoes because I had just a pair just like it at home.  Well, okay, I have, but they were a different color so that doesn't count.
 There is no rhyme or reason as far as age, maker or original purpose.  As I gathered them up, though, I noticed they are almost all floral. That should come as no surprise!  Looking them over, I realize I am pretty tolerant about condition.
A few are used for storage in the art room.  Most just sit on a shelf in the guest bedroom and wait for me to think of something to do with them.  An accidental collection.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

An Important Milestone And The S Word

I don't usually say much on my blog about illness, family drama or making a living .  We all have plenty of "real life" in our lives.  For that reason I try to blog about the things I do because I want to, not the things I do because I have to.  I feel very blessed that, because of blogging, I have been able to connect with a "tribe" of like-minded women who "get" me and what I like to do.  I debated about whether or not to write this post about life in the grown-up world but I am approaching a joyful milestone and who better to share it with than the tribe I share so much of my joy with!

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2007 (invasive ductile carcinoma cat.5, lumpectomy, 2 tumors 4-5mm ea, estrogen receptor +, node -, Oncotype DX 22, rads x33, letrozole 2.5mgx5 yrs. for those of you who have been there) and this coming August 31 is my 5-year anniversary so I can finally say that I am a breast cancer SURVIVOR!  I have been holding my breath for so long I am not even sure I know how to exhale but that magical "S" word is a good place to start.

You might be surprised to learn that I see BC as a blessing, in some ways.  I certainly would never wish it on anyone.  Not ever.  But it taught me some things about life, or maybe just forced me to stop and pay attention.  Nothing makes you appreciate what you have like the prospect of losing it.  You don't know just how strong you really are until you have no other course besides straight into battle.  You recognize that TIME is the most precious thing you have.  That one is double-edged because it is also easy to feel resentful when you perceive it being stolen away by things you no longer see as important. 

No, I don't run.  I don't even walk.  But I give.  And I give my ear and my encouragement whenever it is needed.  One in eight, you know.  Get your mammograms and get your exams!  I am here if you ever need me.

I have waxed on long enough.  The collage above is one of four I made during the four weeks between the lump being discovered and the surgery and getting my diagnosis and treatment plan in place. Those were the most difficult weeks of the entire time and the collages were a place for me to focus my energy.  When I finished the 33 radiation treatments I was actually sad about not seeing my rad techs every morning on the way to the office so I photocopied the collage above and made it into a thank you card for them and took them a box of white and pink champagne truffle "ta-tas". 

The collages have hung next to the door in my art room for the past 5 years.  It is time for them to come down and be packed away.  Time for that time to be packed away.  A fresh, bare wall ready for something new.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

One Estate Sale X 2 + A Caveman Thing

 I found one good estate sale this weekend.  It was good on a couple levels.  Not only did I score an avalanche of lace but I also had the pleasure of running into sweet Annette from Andy's Attic.  It is always nice to have a chance to visit with a blog friend in person!
So what is that wire thing in the picture??
I had to take it out to the driveway to get a picture because the camera looks through her.  She stands about 2 feet tall.  I added a few plastic flowers from my stash and she now has a new home as a faerie in Alexa's Secret Garden.
 I went back to the sale the next day and found a few more things I hadn't spotted on the first day, including a little bag of buttons for 25 cents.  This picture is pre-washed and some went in the trash but click it larger and you can see there were a few pretty neat buttons for the price.
One Dinosaur Food leaf had leaned waaaay over the path to the potting shed so we had to duck to get past it.  I asked The Husband to just go ahead and cut it off.  He got out the Ginsu knife we received as a wedding present in 1975 (I wonder if it could still saw a can in half??) and sawed it off.  I was amazed he agreed to let me take this picture.  He even smiled!  It must have been a caveman thing.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Treasure Revealed

 I finished sorting the treasure chest of buttons last night and this is the booty.  It was a lot of work because this was an especially filthy tin of buttons but the results were well worth the effort.  There were quite a few buttons that I have never seen before, more leather buttons and shoe/glove buttons than I have EVER seen in one box before, very few modern plastics, a lot of glass and no metals. Not a typical button box. 
The buttons above are the most unusual and I am hoping someone will read this and educate me.  They feel like some sort of composite material and seem to be molded around a metal shank.  You can see the backside of one in the center at the very bottom.  Those N or Z shapes are sparkly and there are sparkles in the art deco fans.  A lot of buttons have passed through my hands but none like these.
 These look like wood but they are not.  The brown is a shell of what appears to be a thin plastic or celluloid that is molded over a metal base that holds the glass dome in the center.  Another unusual type I haven't seen before.
 These pressed milk glass buttons depict a raised gold accordion player.
 These black buttons are smaller but have the same design.
 Dyed pink mother of pearl ball-shaped buttons.  Love these!
 I should have put something in this picture for scale so you could tell just how teeny-tiny those MOP buttons in the center are.  I know they are diminutives but I call the MOP ones baby buttons and they get their own special spot in my collection. 
And speaking of diminutives!  These are not really buttons, they are very tiny, sew-on, black glass rhinestones.  The rhinestones had fallen out of every single one and it took me a while to put one and one together and realize they went together.  I rescued them all out of the dirt and debris in the bottom of the tin and will attempt to put them back together.  I have re-glued the rhinestones in buttons before but nothing so tiny so we will see how that will go!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


 Getting a tin of buttons is always like a treasure hunt to me, and even more so when they arrive in a tin that looks like this one.  As I unpacked it and open up the tin I realized I follow a little ritual every single time.  First I open up the tin and poke through it picking up this button and that button and getting an idea for what is inside.
 Next, I pour them all out into a shallow tray.  The size depends on the amount of buttons and sometimes it is a cookie pan or even a lasagna pan.  Just something shallow where I can comfortably dig and they don't roll away from me.
 I bring out several highball glasses, one for MOP, one for glass and one for the "special" plastics I know I want to add to my collection.  I also get out a colander for what I think of as "ordinary" plastic buttons.  I'm sure special and ordinary mean completely different things to different button lovers!
As I sort I have a seam ripper nearby to remove threads and I pick out the trash, pins, broken buttons and sometimes non-button treasures.  Sorting an authentic button tin can be dirty business, especially one with this may old shoe buttons!  In fact, I don't think I have ever gotten a button box with so many shoe buttons and leather buttons.  You just never know what you will find and it isn't done until you have picked up every.single.thing. and looked at both sides.
 I place two denture tablets in the bottom of each glass.  It works magic on buttons!  I add hot water and let them sit an hour or two then rinse in a wire sieve.  The colander gets set down in a dishpan of soapy water and swished.  I never submerge wood, two-piece metal, leather or tight-tops.  They generally get a wipe with a damp towel or sometimes a damp toothbrush if they are really dirty. 
Once everything is washed and rinsed I let it dry overnight and then start sorting again to match up sets and string them together.  Next post I will show you the "treasures" I found!
Do any of your collections involve rituals?

Monday, August 13, 2012

I'm Lovin' It!

Done and moved in!  I went with the wallpaper on the sides and top, as planned, then left the front edge white (thank you Renee!).  I sorted my ribbons, millinery flowers and bits and pieces into the trays.  Once I have a few more I think I will move some of the lace there, too.  Everything is sorted by color, except the trays.  The contents don't match the color of the tray so I used ribbon bows to identify the color inside.  My intention is one shelf per color.
The purge-o-rama is slowing down but I have a few more things to go through.  I have EMPTY spaces - Yes!  I have accepted that I will never have one of those beautiful color co-ordinated rooms because I am simply not able to limit myself in that way.  I am so grateful, though, for the inspiration from Where Bloggers Create that prompted me to get this room in order.  I am starting to feel like I can breathe again.  My goal is to bring nothing into this room that I do not believe to be beautiful or know to to be useful.  Yes!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Where The Wild Things Are

After I finished putting the primer on my new cabinet last night I was relaxing and catching up on my blog reading when I was startled by the sound of something running across the ceiling of the art room.  What the??  We get cats and squirrels and even herons on our roof from time to time but this was so loud I could hear it INSIDE the art room.  Thump, thump, thump.  I know what a mouse in the wall sounds like and this was no mouse.

I ran outside and looked on the roof and saw nothing.  I went into the living room where The Husband was watching television and told him I thought there was an animal in the attic.  He gave me a perplexed look like I was speaking some foreign language.  Back to the art room I went.  There it was again.  Back to the living room.  "Seriously, I think there is an animal in the attic!".

The Husband (aka My Hero) grudgingly got up and followed me out.  The charging around had stopped and it now sounded like it was doing back flips above the water heater.  The water heater closet is actually open to the attic in the top.  My art room is in what was once an attached one-car garage.

The Husband put his hand on the doorknob and, not being a hero myself, I immediately retreated out the back door to the relative safety of the patio.  He came to the back door and looked at me.  I replied to his look with "Oh my gosh, what are we going to do about this??".  That is the Royal We, of course, meaning him and not ME.  Trying to be helpful, though, I said "What would Clark Griswold do?"

"Clark" armed himself with the big garage broom, used my new rolling cabinet to block the stairs to the kitchen, and WENT IN.  I propped open the back screen door and stood outside offering words of encouragement like "eeeeek" and "don't let it get up the stairs".

He opened the closet door and commenced flailing about with the broom.  Whack, whack, poke, poke and out runs a very dazed and confused squirrel.  Panicked racing around in circles ensued.  The squirrel, not The Husband.  He used my folded McGuiver light box to block it's path and herd it out the back door where I made my contribution by clapping my hands and saying "shoo, shoo".
Today he will be checking the screens on the attic vents.  My Hero.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What I'm Working On Tonight

Several months ago I asked my son, Andy, if he would be willing to build me a custom cabinet that could hold my collection of vintage hankie and glove boxes so I could use them like shallow drawers.  He is the one who made my beautiful desk that I have blogged about many times. His Spring and Summer seasons are always busy because he is a Geologist and that is when he travels for field work.  He has been home for several weeks and last night THIS arrived in my art room! 
I just finished giving the outside and the bottom shelf a coat of primer.  I am not going to paint the shelves because they are Masonite and made so I can pull them out and change it for deeper shelves if I want to.  I asked for it to fit the space, not the number of boxes I currently have so I have plenty of growing room for my collection!
 I am thinking I will cover the outside and the bottom shelf with this same wallpaper I used on The Husky Girl. Most of the wallpapered part won't even show because of where it is going to sit but I think I will like the wallpaper better than just paint.  What do you think about the front frame edge?  I don't want it to exactly match The Husky Girl since I am really not that fond of red.  Should I keep it white or what do you think about black?  The wallpaper does have black lines on it.
Here is some of the collection that will go inside.  Yes, much sorting and the purge-o-rama rolls on!  Maybe, just MAYBE, I can be disciplined enough to keep the top of the new cabinet for some pretty displays to inspire me.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Okay, I Admit It

I have been in denial about collecting needles.  I keep saying I don't collect them, I just accumulate them from the poke sacks.  Well, I did go to the nice, cool, antique mall on Sunday and I did buy a poke sack.  I bought it because this needle card and those five buttons were inside.  There, I said it.  Poke Sack Kathy collects needle cards.  But can you blame me??  I have never seen this one before and it is so appropriate to find it during the Olympics!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Picking Overlords Made Me Work For The Junk Today

 I did followed all of the rules.  I did my housework last night.  I planned out my route in advance.  Got gas.  Got cash.  Headed out this morning for some much-anticipated junking.  Big sigh.
 I did not come home empty-handed, as you can tell, but the Picking Overloads did not make it easy for me.  In fact, it felt sort of like they were kicking over trash cans to slow me down every step of the way. (First new flamingo I have added to my collection in several years.)
 Maybe it is because Portland was anticipating the first 90 degree day of the Summer.  It seemed that no matter which route I took I encountered a street fair and road closure.  (Brand new vintage, with tags, Little Jane organza full apron.)
 Now, had I been headed to street fairs, I would have been quite delighted to find there were so many, however, I was headed to estate sales. (Carded buttons, patterns and a pair of sweet crochet hot pads.)
 My car proclaimed it was not 90 degrees, it was 99 degrees. Thank goodness for air conditioning.  I did not know Portland has so many "unimproved" roads. I did not know a Scion xB could blow through a quarter tank of gas in one morning of junking.  (Nice pile of lace, trims and ribbons.)
 Just the sort of morning that "gets it out of your system" for the rest of the weekend.  If I go anywhere tomorrow, it will NOT be picking.  It will be a nice, clean, air conditioned antique mall!  (I haven't added a new jewelry box to my collection in a while, either.)
Peek-a-boo!  (Turquoise train case complete with the key!).
I hope the Picking Overlords are smiling down on your weekend!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Postcard Swap

Whoa - where did this week go?  Where did July go, for that matter!  I realized I got so busy with Where Bloggers Create and then the great art room purge-o-rama that I still haven't posted the cards from the postcard swap I mentioned in this post.
I mailed out 10 postcards and these are the ones I received in return.  The Singapore card in the center is from my blog friend, Cathy, at Ma Vie Trouvee.  She and I were both participating in the swap but we didn't get matched up so we did our own little swap on the side. Her card was so clever!  Even though it said "surprise" along one edge, it took me a few minutes to realize it was really an envelope and there were some treasures inside.  She is so sweet and talented!
The purge-o-rama is slowing down but I'm still removing some things and looking forward to refilling the blank spots with something I love.  Like I need a reason to junk - LOL!