Sunday, September 30, 2012

Concrete Leaf Casting

A friend and I spent yesterday morning learning how to cast concrete leaves.  The class was given by the very talented Roberta Palmer (no blog). If you are local just email me and I'll be happy to pass along her contact information.
It was so much fun!  She showed us everything from how to make the concrete mixture, when and how to pick the leaves, casting in sand plus all about the curing process. 
My three castings rested overnight in the box I brought them home in, wrapped in plastic to keep them from drying too fast.  This morning I got to peel off the leaves and use a file to clean up the edges, then back into the plastic bag for 28 more days. Once they are completely cured they can be used as-is or painted.  Roberta paints hers in the most remarkable colors! 
You can see some bits of leaf are still stuck but she assured us that will come off when they are dry. The Hosta leaf and the other big one each have a copper fitting embedded in the back so they can go on a stake in the garden.  It doesn't show well in my photo but they are quite deep.  The smaller Begonia leaf has a wire hanger embedded in it and I think I will put it up in the pergola.
Thank you Maggie for telling me about the class! 

Friday, September 28, 2012

New Altoid Tins

Gosh, it was a busy Summer!  It has been a long time since I took time to make something.  Recent trips to the anitque malls yielded two vintage photos that whispered a caption to me so I made a couple of new altered Altoid tins for the Etsy shop this week.  It felt good.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My "System"

 I think I have it figured out, at least for now.  Many thanks to all of you who offered suggestions or just let me know I am not alone in my dilemma.  This is the brown/off white box.  I realize it might really make better sense to have the box match the color of the contents so that will make a case for me continuing to collect the boxes.  See how I can justify things...8+)
 This is the black/silver box.  This is my only box that isn't satin but it is pretty floral fabric and I do try to embrace diversity.  I sorted flowers, ribbon, non-lace trims and trinkets that don't fit into other categories in to the boxes.  Bigger collections like lace, buttons and hankies stayed in their current locations.  If the collection is big enough it would overflow the trays then it doesn't go in there.
 The jewelry stays in the jewelry boxes, sorted by color.  My criteria for jewelry is anything that can be worn, or could have been worn before it got broken.  Coins and metal game pieces are examples of trinkets that are out of the jewelry boxes and into the tray.  This is the black/white/silver jewelry box.
I still have a big drawer of lace for Etsy and projects.  My personal collection of favorite laces is separated in this little suitcase under the rule of like items together.  I still have a metal "junk" drawer for bigger pieces that are waiting to be something.  Tiny metal trinkets that drift to the bottom of the drawer and get lost get a home in the tray.
So, to summarize my "system"...
Big collections that would overflow the trays are sorted like items together.
Millinery flowers, special ribbon, non-lace trims and miscellaneous trinkets that don't fit into a category of their own go in the lingerie trays.
Jewelry (trinkets that can be worn) are sorted by color into jewelry boxes.
I hope I will be able to remember my rules!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekend Loot

 No big scores this weekend but I did get a few things and had fun looking.  These pictures are "pre-washed" so don't click them bigger - LOL!  I was very happy to find a gaggle of little glass bottles.  The ones with the red tops are going to be used to corral tiny things in the trays I have been sorting.  I was thinking I would repaint the tops to match the sorted colors but when I washed them the red paint came off!  The plain metal lids will be perfect.
 More glass bottles, old wallpaper, rayon seam binding and another satin box for the tray project.  Love that blue dresser scarf.  That will be headed to my bedroom.
 This is the Sunday stuff.  Another jewelry box (like I need that), apothecary jars and a new hammered aluminum piece for my collection.  That box on the left is filled with Spanish vocabulary cards.
I pulled one out at random to see what they looked like and the deal was sealed.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Welcome Autumn!

 Welcome Autumn!  Last Spring I never would have predicted you would hear me say those words but I AM READY.  The temps are cooling off and the garden knows it is time.
 The Hydrangeas are fading from blue to green and on their way to the dusty burgundy that signals the end of the season.
Even the sedums are taking on their Autumn hue.  Now how about a little rain, PLEASE.  Another word I never thought you would be hearing me say but me and the garden are so ready for a long steady shower!
(I think I have that sorting thing figured out, at least for me.  Stay tuned!)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sorting Is Harder Than It Looks

 I have been slowly sorting things into the new cabinet I told you about in this post.  Sorting is harder than it looks.  When I see things all beautifully sorted and organized on other blogs it looks like it makes sense and all so organized.  Not so easy, at least not for me!  I thought I would show you some of the trays I have filled so far and reach out for some advice.
I read a post once, Kari Meng I think, where she said she orgaized everything into drawers according to color.  Well that seems easy enough.  I have read the Where Women Create Book of Organization.  Rebecca Purcel sorts according to some numbering system that exists only inside her head.  Easy for all of them to say. 
So let's say you have a blue hankie.  Does it get sorted to the hankie stash or to the blue tray?  What about game pieces, do they get sorted by color or stay in the jar of game pieces?  Vintage rayon seam binding - the seam binding box or by color in the tray?  Clearly all of the white lace cannot go in the white tray because there is too much.
I am slowly sorting and have a few boxes filled.  I love how inspiring they look but will I know where to look to find what I want??
Please share your strategy - I would love to hear!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Smelling The Roses

 We took a play-day today with a trip to Staples to stimulate the economy with a new printer, a stroll through the Stars and Splendid Antique Malls and then a late lunch and micro-brews at Hopworks Urban Brewery.
 When we got home I indulged myself with a 45 minute cat nap then I decided to take the camera to the garden and smell the roses.
 We have had such a hot and dry Summer that the garden is pretty crispy by now but I did find a few click-worthy roses to share.
 Next year we are moving the side fence forward and will be "remodeling" the rose garden.  We are going to try moving some of them but others are so old and raggedy I think they will be replaced.
 You notice most of these pictures are pinks.  Reds are one of the colors to be replaced and oh, there is an orange that is my favorite and I really hope we will be able to save that one.  We have a very mature garden and some of the roses are so crowded out that they hardly have a chance.
When my eyes see the "big picture" of my garden it just looks so dry and done.  I am glad I took a close-up look because there is still beauty when I just look at the details.  Look closely, good to remember.
I hope there is some beauty in your weekend!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rhinestone Rescue

I finally stopped procrastinating and got around to fixing those tiny, vintage sew-on rhinestones I told you about in this post.  Even though I salvaged all of the loose rhinestones that were in the button box, the gold foil was gone from the undersides.  I tried re-gluing a few and they didn't have any sparkle.  For once, I had the sense to realize that wasn't going to work and stopped after I ruined just four of them.
I do replace missing rhinestones from time to time so I have a stash of new ones.  I went through them and sorted out 50+ in the correct size. I used Aleene's Jewelry & Metal Glue.  Oh, my goodness, these are so tiny!  I picked up a tiny bit of glue on the tip of a toothpick then touched it to the glass and then picked up a rhinestone by pressing my fingertip on it hard enough so it stuck for just a couple seconds and pressed it in to the indent.  Eeee!
Once I managed to get them all set I discovered yet another problem.  Aleene's is a Super-Glue formula so it gives off a white "smoke" as it heats up and sets.  That white haze covered the tops and did not clear when it was dry.
I don't know why I am so determined to make it work, but I am.  I Googled around for ideas to remove the white haze and finally landed on trying Goof-Off.  I poured some into a little dish and then used a cotton-swab to scrub each and every one.
Between the Aleene's fumes and the Goof-Off fumes and holding them about 6" from my face, I'm pretty sure I'm brain damaged.  Not to worry, I doubt anyone will be able to tell and the rhinestones are rescued!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Faded Memories

 I only had time for one sale this weekend but came away with a nice little pile (wash, rinse and repeat) for a Sunday.  This was far and away my favorite find.  A vintage "something blue" bride's garter, still in it's original box.  The crispy blue vintage lace and millinery flowers are just so sweet.  But wait, there's more!  I also found this pretty little velvet covered box.  The bottom is gold and the top is covered with crushed velvet that has been carefully cut and folded to reveal the gold on the corners.   It didn't have a price and the gentleman at the checkout took a look and just tossed it my bag for free.
When I got it home I opened it up and found this lovely blue velvet on the inside.  I am guessing the velvet on the outside was once the same color and, like memories, has faded with time.
The label on the inside feels like brass.  I Googled around about the name and was able to find out LaRoco made costume jewelry but I found few examples.  The insert rocked like there was something under it so I lifted it out. 
 There is a small pop-out easel so the insert can stand up for display and a tiny envelope is attached to it.  Wouldn't you love to know what was in that little envelope!
This is what I found under the insert.  Dried flower petals and a newspaper clipping about the wedding of Miss Frances Madlyn DeFrance and James Phillips.  They were married beneath a pergola covered in woodland ferns and a wedding bell made of pink and white rose buds.  The bride wore a power blue costume suit with matching accessories and her corsage combined white rose buds and freesias.
My heartstrings are aching.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Tweet Surprise

Sorry I have been absent this week.  Vacation ended and took all the spare time with it.  I have one last picture from those glory days to share.  We were able to get together with some friends that we haven't managed to hook up with all Summer.  My sweet friend brought me some belated birthday surprises and this pot was among them.  I already had a pot of Hens and Chicks in a basket on the front porch and quickly switched it out to this "tweet" new pot.  She knows me well and this delights my eyes every time I come or go!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Now About That Big Jar Of Buttons

 I know those button-lovers among you want to see what was in that big gallon jar I bought at Pirates' Plunder.  Caution - I took a lot of pictures!
The jar is what caught my eye.  The buttons were so colorful that my first reaction was it was not a "real" button box and just a bunch of already picked over modern buttons.  I spotted a few interesting ones and figured the bright colors would be nice in the button lots for my Etsy store so I went for it.
 Once I started poking and sorting it quickly became apparent that what I bought was someones button collection.  All were clean, few threads and little button box junk.  Yes, there were many sets and what I consider ordinary plastics but there was also an astounding variety of interesting plastics, metal, glass, china, MOP, etc. These pictures are the buttons I picked out for my personal collection.  There are a lot of pictures so I will keep the commentary to a minimum.

 I rarely find china stencils so I was thrilled to discover these.  Those two metal buttons are fire department uniform buttons.  One clearly has a broken shank but gets to stay anyway!  That white button above the turquoise rhinestone is rubber and quite flexible.  I occasionally find black rubber buttons but this is the first white one I have found.

 You can click these pictures bigger for a closer look.  There are three really pretty paperweight buttons and on the far left there are two whistles.

 I am trying to figure out if there is a way to rescue those black glass buttons at the top of this picture.  They have fabric inserts in the center and the inserts are in very bad condition.  I tried washing one and the fabric came out.  Future project sitting right next to those tiny black rhinestones I'm trying to rescue.  Someday I will accept that I cannot save everything.  Really.

 The square green button is a hollow cube shape.  The glow bubble below it is one of the nicest I have found.

 That white glass button has a scuffed up little black bear on it.  This was a fun lot to sort and a break from my button "ritual" since no denture tablets were required - LOL!
I hope you are enjoying your Labor Day weekend.  Be safe and have fun!


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Three Days And Two Nights

 We returned last night from a little visit to the Oregon Coast.  The weather was beautiful which is a real bonus.  You don't really go to the beach in Oregon, you go to "the coast" and you always take your winter coat no matter the time of year.  It was sunny and warm with no wind.  PERFECT!
 We stayed in Lincoln City but, as is our habit, we drove south to Newport.  This is the view looking west from the bay.
 We enjoyed a stroll along Bay Front and a visit to the sea lions resting on the docks.  These are male California sea lions that migrate north in the summer.  Silly boys.
 No trip to Newport is complete without a stop at Pirates Plunder.  I definitely found some treasure!
 A view of Newport Bay from the bridge.
 Driving north again, we stopped in Depot Bay. 
 Their claim to fame is being the smallest harbor in the world.
 It is hard to imagine that 65 foot fishing boats can make their way through the tiny channel and under the bridge to the harbor in good weather much less stormy weather!
 We always make time for some refreshment at the Sea Hag.  If you are lucky the bartender will "play" the bottles for you!
 Cursory seagull picture.
 We stayed at the very quaint Ester Lee Cottages.  No, this is not luxury living but it suits us just perfectly.  It is comfortable but retains it's vintage beach cabin vibe.  As long and you aren't too tall, that is.  I am 5'5" and that picture is me flat-handing the ceiling in the hallway.  The bedroom and bathroom were that low as well.  My husband is just 5'9" tall and he had about an inch to spare in those two doorways.  The living room and kitchen are normal height.  Motel for short people.
 The trip was certainly not without shopping, in fact, out last stop was The Little Antique mall in Lincoln City and I commented to someone that I had shopped until The Husband dropped.  More about that gallon jar of buttons in a future post!
 A sweet little magnifying glass I plan to put on a chain and a very unusual postcard.  It is clearly old and was marked as celluloid.
 Just a few of the buttons I picked out of the jar on my first pass through them while we were still at the cabin.  I couldn't resist!
 This is The Husband's loot.  He collects Budweiser steins and elegant depression glass in the Baroque pattern.  This was the first time he found blue and not one, but two pieces!
 Our younger son collects vintage woodworking tools, especially planes.  He actually uses them for, um, woodworking!  This Stanley Plane No.79 was in the original box and beautiful condition.  We tried calling him to make sure he didn't already have one like it but the cell phones (his and mine) were cutting in and out so we finally just gave up and took a chance on it.  Hope he likes it!
Laurie, I told you I would keep my eye out for a giraffe for you to display your vintage paper leis and here you go!  Sadly, it was marked sold.  There is no way it would have fit inside my car but would have been a sight to behold tied on top!  8+)