Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!

It has been a busy time in our house with all the construction and getting ready for Christmas.  Things are looking better around the house and I will share pictures with you after the holidays.  For now, I just wanted to wish you a merry and blessed Christmas.  We start our festivities on Christmas eve with a nice dinner followed by church.  We had the pleasure of a friend joining us for the service followed by cocoa and cookies and games when we got home.  And as is our tradition, my girls exchanged their gifts to one another when we got home from church.

Sorry for the red eyes.  Not sure how to edit that out on my new computer.

So from all of us to all of you - "Merry, Merry Christmas!"

Monday, December 12, 2011

Santa and Other Vintage Goodies

Despite the crazy chaos of remodeling our kitchen, I have managed to carve out a Christmas zone in the living room, the only room mostly untouched by the chaos.  Usually the whole house sports festive and fun decorations, but it just can't happen this year.  We will enjoy the living room, though, as our happy Christmas refuge.  Here is a peek at the couple displays.

Here is my mantle all decked out Santa style, all vintage except the trees.

The Santa snoozing in the chair was in rough shape when I found him.  He sports lots of restoration work by me, but it was worth it.

There is a shelf unit next to the fireplace that showcases the vintage reindeer collection along with a couple other vintage trinkets.

The little tree came from my grandmother.  It is a small celluloid tree that you "build" each year by stacking the branches and separators on a center pole.  The tips of the branches have tiny hooks on them from which to hang these tiny glass ornaments.  My mother had it for a while and just passed it on to me this year.  Thank you, Mommy.  I had the original packaging for the tree prior to receiving it, saved because it had fun graphics.  It dates to the 50's.  I really like it.

Speaking of graphics, I love the graphics on vintage packages.  Here is a small display of some of my fun vintage Christmas packaging.  Most still have their contents inside.  Above, on either side of the little tree are also vintage packages of mica 'snow.'  One of which also came from Grandma's house, used sparingly over many years with still some in for me.

I close with a picture of my favorite Santa (and actually my favorite decoration in the house).  He is a clear reminder of the reason for the season.  It's not about Santa and gifts and hustle and bustle and stress.  It is taking the time to pause and remember that our Lord God so loved the world that He came to earth as PEACE in the form of the infant, Jesus,  so that we who accept His open invitation to know, love and serve Him, can experience His peace here on earth and one day know that peace in an everlasting form with Him in eternity.

Hope those of you who celebrate this happy season, are digging in, pausing often and enjoying some special times.  Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Progress on the home front has been a shaky start to the week.  Heidi has been sick since Friday and we have been trying to minimize germs and keep Heidi comfortable in our disheveled plastic encased world of remodeling.  Today, I had her out to see the doctor and hang out in the car with books and a pillow and blanket while I had my own appointment.  We returned home this afternoon to a new wall!  I have never been so excited to see a wall.  It means progress!  Of course it also has set my brain to spinning with ideas for down the road decorating and questions for the contractor for details surrounding this project.  Maisy, my older Golden, seemed stymied by the appearance of a wall.  She just parked herself in front of it and stared for 20 minutes straight, working her eyebrows up and down as if trying to process the new fixture.  Honey, on the other hand, was quick to sniff and dismiss it and then explore a new cupboard with Heidi.

She is still asking questions.  Yes, Maisy, the wall is here to stay.  Yeah!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Special Order Spool of Thread

Back at the October Market, I was telling a woman about an idea I had for making a giant spool of thread decoration for my sewing space in the studio.  She was intrigued and thought it sounded like a nice gift for a friend of hers who loves to sew.  I had enough materials to make two spools, so I took a special order and made one for her to give to her friend for Christmas.  I am very pleased with how nice it turned out.

I had picked up this vintage industrial size spool from an old textile mill at Brimfield this past summer.  Look at how big it is compared to a large spool of standard thread.

Here is the finished product followed by a couple of detail closeups.  To make it, I wrapped it with quilt batting to give it the appearance of bulk and then wound a great butter colored vintage string I have around and around (and around and around.....) to look like wound thread.  A large yarn needle threaded with some more string looks like a sewing project just waiting to happen.  For the top, I punched out a large scalloped edge circle from vintage paper and inked it to make it look old, as well as added little stitch lines around the perimeter.  I attached that as well as some vintage millinery flowers and a section of vintage measuring tape.

I will make up the other spool for myself and use in the sewing space of my studio as a fun decoration.  Hopefully, I'll be fortunate enough to find some more of these giant spools again.  Now that I see how nice they turn out, I'd like to make more to take to the Cooperage.  Here's hope'n.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sparkly Skates

I had a beat up pair of women's figure skates I picked up from one place of another this past year.  Last winter, I tied a pair together, tucked in some winter greens and added a bow and sold them like that.  I have also tied a single skate along with jinggle bells and a bow on a wreath in the past for a festive winter decoration.  This year, I was inspired to do something a little different. 

I started with the old skate and painted on glossy finish Modge Podge and immediately sprinkling the wet, gluey surface with German glass glitter (in clear).

I should also mention that I stuffed bubble wrap into the boot to help it hold a nice filled out shape.

Then I spray painted hydraangea blossoms that had turned a carmel color and dried out on my hydrangea tree.  I didn't paint the entire flower head, but rather sprized on some white paint to make them appear snow kissed but with the carmel color showing through.  While the paint was wet and sticky, I sprinkled on some more glass glitter.

I bunched up some strips of burlap with wire to make little burlap rossettes.  I gathered some fresh greenery and a vintage tin cookie cutter and then put it all together with a rustic bow.

Because of the lighting, it is hard to see the glittery effect, but it is there and so pretty.  I made two, and off they went to the Cooperage where one sold the very first day!  Yeah!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Winter Greenery

I had a fun time decorating the porch with evergreens this year.  With the addition of my birthday cubby unit by the door, I had new spaces to green up for the winter gray season.  I am pleased with how it turned out. 

The empty window boxes always need a winter green up, too.
Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Let the madness begin!!

My kitchen remodel project started yeasterday. Oy!!  It has turned crazy here!  I am a person who thrives on order and organization.  There currently is nothing even close to order and organization here; only partially controlled chaos.  Well, I can handle anything for three weeks, right?  Let's hope so.

Before pictures, although messy.  I had already started taking things down and putting it on the counters when I remembered to take my "Before" pictures.

It has been a very small kitchen to do LOTS of cooking in over the last 15 years.

Now we are officially under remodeling construction.

Keep an eye out for progress pictures.

Getting the Christmas Tree

Our family has always had the tradition of going for the tree (the Christmas tree) the Friday after Thanksgiving.  We returned home from the cottage Friday morning and headed out after lunch to the tree farm we have been going to for the last 15 years.  They have acres of beautiful treed land with carefully groomed trees just waiting for a family to come lay claim. 

Off we go up the hill in search of the perfect tree.

VOILA.  The girls found a good one!

It's Fritz's dad-job to cut it down.

Loaded in the truck and ready to journey home.

A second tradition we have had for the last 10 years is to have our friend Britney (almost a third daughter- she was my mother's helper for years when the girls were young, and we have stayed close all these years) over on the Saturday morning after the tree is up and lit, to help decorate the tree.  Christmas music is playing and hot cocoa and a yummy baked treat are at the ready.  It is a very special day for us.

So pretty, and we get to enjoy it for the coming month.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Firewood Box

Here is a super quick, one photo peek at a recent project.  It has been a while since I broke out the big power tools and did a wood working project.  I wanted a box for my firewood by the side of the wood stove in the living room.  Couldn't find a vintage one that was both the right size, sturdy enough and the right price.  So what to do?  I built myself one, that's what!  I had a bunch of old tongue and groove boards from an old carriage house my husband's coworker redid a while back.  I have used them for a bunch of other projects over the years and had enough still on hand for this one.  The best part?  From start to finish it only took two hours and I think it turned out great; just the way I had envisioned.

The wood inside the box at the corners is also from the same barn, but because it sports fresh saw blade cuts, it revealed its unweathered light color.  It will get beat up with a season of firewood passing through it and after leaving it outside next summer when it is not in use, it should all weather to a nice warm color.  I added the number on the side in honor of the old horse stalls in the original carriage house.  Hopefully, I'm not being too boastful, but I am quite pleased with myself.  And it was quite a refreshingly good feeling to make something for myself again without the burden of wondering if other people would like it, what to price it at and if it will sell at my spot.  Simply, a happy and productive afternoon. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Packaging, Again. A Special Presentation

I have showed you some special touches for wrapping packages in past posts.  Today, have a quick peek at two more.

For my niece's birthday, I wrapped this one by 'sewing' the edges of the package shut with vintage seam binding, as well at at the closure at the top.  I had previously color copied some fun vintage images onto sticker paper to have on hand for quick decorating.  I chose the images I wanted, cut them out with decorative edged scissors and did a quick peel and stick.  I added a vintage anagram letter for her initial and tied on a vintage key.  Lastly, using a vintage postal stamp that says "special delivery" I stamped the wrapping.  Something special for a special girl.

We recently hosted a craft night for some friends from church.  Teens did one project together in the dining room while moms gathered in the studio for something different.  I wanted the guests to feel special, so special invites were in order.  I fashioned the envelopes from vintage sheet music and ephemera with typed names attached.  Inside, a large packing tag tied with seam binding listed the invitation information.  I am planning on using the same format to make gift card holders for holiday gifts.  I'll be sure to show you a few when they are done.  In the meantime, happy crafting to you.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Free Range Chickens

I love living in a small town further out in the country than most city lovers would find comfortable.  I don't mind the smell of cows (and the corresponding cow pies), or the critters that make noise in the night, or the longer drives into the neighboring towns or cities to get what you need from the store.  I love that there are no traffic lights in town, save for three small flashing caution lights.  I love that the store clerks at the grocery store and the librarian know me by name.  I love that I can take the dogs out for an hour long walk on the neighborhood streets and only see a half dozen cars pass by.  I love that when the stars are out, you can really see them, without any distortion of city lights.  I love the quiet that surrounds me when I work out in the garden (provided the neighborhood barking dog is not out).  I love that I wake to birds and fall asleep to night peepers when the season is right and the windows are open.  And I love that I can be driving down the road and have to brake for free ranging chickens trying to guessed it.  To the other side!  Had my camera with me, so I stopped to snap a couple photos.

This strutting rooster was out with his three best gals.

For kicks to see what he would do, I started making very quiet cocka-doodle-doo sounds.  He stopped dead in his tracks, puffed up his chest and let out a big "Halloo" of his own.

Then it was right back to busines of watching his girls and flicking up the dying grass in search of the almighty grub, and just looking handsome.  Thanks for stopping in.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Kitchen Nook

I realized today that I never showed you my new breakfast nook.  Remember when Heidi and I got to redecorating at the end of September?  The big cozy chair moved to where the 'nook' table used to be creating a new and different cozy nook.  That meant that where the chair used to be in the kitchen, we were ready to have a small breakfast nook take it's place.  I've always wanted an eat in kitchen that did not involve bar stools pulled up to the counter, which is what we've always had.  Well, with a little rearranging and a table purchase (old of course) we made it happen. 

Now that Kayleigh works so many nights, it is often just three of us for dinner.  This is a great, intimate space to come together at and share a cozy dinner.

Want to know a secret?  My kitchen is about to change again, but this time involving moving walls and adding a new cabinet and shelf section.  I have wanted to make changes to this room for 15 years to accommodate my love for baking.  Time has ticked by without any changes coming to fruition, but not any more.  By Christmas, I should have a new kitchen!  Yeah!!..I'll keep you posted as we move along.  Wish us success and calm under construction-during-the-holiday season pressure.  Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I wanted to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.  What are you thankful for?  There are so many, many blessings bestowed on us.  What I am most thankful for?  My family.  They are a loving, happy, healthy, faith filled and good natured bunch.  I thank the Lord for them every day!  Enjoy the blessings of your day and those a head.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Home Collections

Well you've seen my collections that decorate the cottage, I thought you might like to see some of the ones at home.  There is something about collecting that just kind of seems to creep up on a person.  You have one item, like it  and one day add another.  A third finds it's way into your life and Voila, a collection is born.  We have had many "births" in our house!  I guess in one way, it's a form of creative therapy.  Amassing a group of items and coming up with a creative or eye catching way to display them, keeps the creative brain cells regenerating.  And with all the things I seem to forget these days (the opening up a cupboard and wondering "why am I here?" syndrome) keeping some brain cells regenerating it a good thing!

More vintage tablecloths and vintage kitchen and pantry items add nostalgia and warmth to my dinning room.  The three tea cups above the linens are the only remaining three from my childhood collection.

As do a few vintage rolling pins displayed on a rack I built for them.

My grandmother collected blue plates for years.  I can remember looking at them and talking about them with her as I grew up.  Dozens graced her kitchen wall.  After she passed away, I was fortunate enough to receive several of the plates.  I display them in my dinning room in a fashion similar to how Grandma did in her kitchen.

I love vintage glassware.  I keep these glasses out on an open shelf in the kitchen so they are quick to grab for a drink.  I store them in these vintage caddies so I can quickly grab and tote a whole bunch of them to the table or counter when we have guests over.  It is fun for everyone to pick their own glass and easy to recall which one is theirs when they put it down and walk away from it.

I LOVE vintage aprons.  I wear one almost every day to clean, cook, garden or just feel good.  They hang in a stairwell leading to the studio.  They are right outside the kitchen for a quick grab to put one on.  And the ones left hanging make great eye candy every time I pass through to the studio.

I have just a couple of these vintage apron patterns and they hang up with the aprons.  A reminder of simpler days, when a house wife would fashion her own aprons according to taste and need.  Maybe one day, I'll make one from one of the old patterns to add a personal, but vintage touch to my collection.

And last, but not least, is my happy vintage clock collection.  My parents gave me the vintage homemade woodworker's display shelf as a birthday gift a couple years back.  I happily gathered all my vintage clocks from around the house and contained them all in a one place display.  I was actually surprised at how many I had amassed till they were all together.  Guess it's a good thing none of them work anymore or the ticking would drive me crazy.

What do you like to collect and why?  I wonder what the next collection may be.  Hmmm....