October 31, 2013

Found Objects

Happy Halloween, all! May your celebrations be fun and candy filled. We've not had much traffic at this house in previous years, but I bought a  bag of candy just in case there is a knock on the door tonight.

This is more or less a mini post. As you may have gathered from reading this blog, a lot of my time is spent reading, either books from the library or ones bought used. Here are  some of the things found in books to mark the place of previous readers:

There are postcards, old, new and foreign; a photograph, a holy card, a child's drawing, a child's homework that was mailed to  General Delivery, a boarding pass and a tiny paper bag. No currency to date, alas, so far. Over the years there have been a lot of pictures, the man with the fish is just the most recent, as well as multiple boarding passes, when they used to be large and cardboard, before people began to print them out at home. Clearly, what you learn from a book doesn't always come from the author. A librarian once said a book was returned with a slice of cooked bacon in it; so far I've not encountered anything edible, thank goodness. Do you find this kind of ephemera curiously intriguing, or is it just so much trash? 

Have a good one,


October 30, 2013

Day of the Dead 2013

Hello, friends,

In a timely twist today in the mail was a postcard invitation to the Day of the Dead reception this coming Saturday at Casa Ramirez, right after I started to pull things together for my ofrenda this year. Since some of the pictures used last year were put away so well they have yet to surface again, it had to be a fresh start.

Again, there are pictures of my mother and her brother, born in 1923 and 1920 respectively. My mom's 90th birthday would have been last week, which is hard to realize. They were both born here in Houston where their parents moved when they married after the end of WWI and for the most part lived in the same neighborhood or nearby to where we are now. They seemed to have a very happy childhood from all accounts. Both my grandparents were from large families, so there were literally dozens of cousins they spent a lot of time with whenever possible. Their names were Roy Jr. and Althea, but both went by nicknames all their lives, known as June Boy and Boukie.

Those pictures seem to  be when they were around 18 and 15, or maybe a  year or two older or younger. 

This is a closer view of Boukie. Included are other photos, a coffee cup because she loved to drink coffee, a coke because she liked those, too, candy and things representative of her interests. There are flowers, feathers, leaves and nature elements, because she was always collecting things like that to  bring inside, brushes and paint because she was an amateur artist, a cat because she always had cats and a tiny bottle brush tree. That makes me laugh, because after there were no kids at home my dad would ask hopefully every year. "So, you don't want to put a tree up this year, do you?" but to his disappointment, she always did. 

That is a  snapshot of her holding me as a fairly newborn infant.

A globe because she liked to travel, although she never got to  any far-flung places and books because she had a stack beside her chair and bed at all times.

I don't have a lot of her things to remember her by, some pictures and the baby shoes and a very few other items. I'm not sure what my dad did with her keepsakes. She liked to paint and plant flowers, fish and play cards. I don't think she ever got over the loss of June Boy in June, 1940. From all I've ever heard they were great friends and it was a terrible blow to all who knew him. It is very comforting to me to think of them finding one another after her death so unexpected in 1983. 

All Saints is one of my favorite church services of the liturgical year. I look forward to this coming Sunday as a time to remember my mother, the uncle i never knew, and their parents, the best grandparents ever. Before that we'll go to Casa Ramirez and look at the altars others made this year and hear their memories. October is a wonderful month, but a bit on the melancholy side. And that's okay. Remembering fondly and respecting our relatives is a fine tradition. 

Does your community celebrate the memory of loved ones this way? 

Till next time,


October 29, 2013

We have a winner.

Hello, friends, I hope your week is off to a good start.

If there is a contest for best $2.00 purchase, it seems like I'm a shoo in. Since putting a small rug from a yard sale in front of the door, it has been occupied non-stop. As evidence:

Three's company.

Mother and daughter, although you'd never guess it.

Another threesome. 

And then there were four.

It looks as if it's all paws up in favor of this inexpensive buy. How nice to be able to bring home something so satisfying with barely a dent in the wallet! 

Have you found thrifty items that even exceeded your own expectations once you got them home?

Till next time,


October 28, 2013


I spent the morning running errands and doing other chores. By the time lunch was past and I'd done this:
my brain was too tired to think of anything to blog about. Mr. B will be thrilled with pie and cookies when he gets home from teaching his class. That's an apple pie. I thought the fruit would cook down more, but it's pretty tall still.

See you tomorrow,

October 25, 2013

Dressing up

Hello, all,

I hope your Friday is as beautiful as it is here today!

This morning a horrible chore was tackled, cleaning out my closet. Ugh! It isn't that small for an old house, yet something about how the door is positioned makes it hard to get in and out of. When you factor in cats who think it's a great place to choose for a snooze, it can get ugly fast. In the midst of sorting and organizing I came across a hanger full of things that seemed could be better housed elsewhere. It contained an assortment of dresser scarves. Why people used to dress up their dressers and bureau tops is a bit of a mystery, but there is no doubt a lot of time and effort was expended through the years to this end, resulting in some beautiful pieces. Here are a few:

I have several others, but they are white on white and it's not easy to see the detail in pictures. 
This one feels vaguely Swedish to me, for some reason. I like the ball fringe on the edges. It often gets put out in January, after the holidays are over. 
This cheerful floral one can make an appearance when Spring comes.
This is one most often put out in December. The red flowers remind me of poinsettias. Right now we have:
This is where they're utilized, on my religious table in the living room, like a runner.

Do you keep a lookout for these archaic, but still delightful pieces, too? If so, happy hunting!

Have a great weekend,

October 24, 2013

Deals and Steals

Hello, folks,

A friend of mine used to call this day "Friday Eve", so may it be a good one for all those still working and straining towards the weekend.

Here are a few recent purchases:
A vintage tin box and one like a bus, two striped mats for the pair of us, a Boston mug and a Christmas tray, some glittery greens for a holiday spray. A magnifying glass and a floaty red shirt that will go with a skirt, already owned-wait, who is that checking stuff out? Freddie the cat!
Oops, I knew something didn't get in that picture. This cute pail was impossible to resist for .99 cents, ditto the new, unopened roll of cork for $1.99. 

Last, this isn't a new purchase, but I figured out how to display these plates:

They won't fit in the little wooden cupboard with the others, but can sit in a black holder with a curly design and fleu de lis right next to it.

That's my story for the past few days; what's yours? 


October 22, 2013

A bit of outdoor whimsey

Hello, peeps,

I hope your Tuesday is going well so far. It's lovely here today.

I thought I'd share a bit of back door color with you. 
I strung this up to give a little color and distraction from this area, which features trash and recycle bins, Mr. B's barbecue pit and ugly concrete steps. This is papel picado, which came from here: http://houston.culturemap.com/guide/shops/casa-ramirez/., located near us. We attend events there several times each year, in addition to regular trips to shop.

If you want to know more about the subject, you can check out http://www.melissaguerra.com/blog/papel-picado-a-brief-history

Here is another view of ours:

Have a good one!


October 21, 2013

Monday Mini

Hi, Friends,

I hope your week is off to a good start. I've been mildly productive so far, may it be  the start of a trend. What isn't good? Freddie the cat has decided the best place to sleep is on my laptop keyboard. So far that has meant the loss of the 0 key, not to mention when I got in here a few minutes ago he had started a Google search on 0, had something being narrated aloud, the task manager open and another screen I've never seen before up. Bad Freddie!

Here is a very minor effort:
 One rusty spring picked up from the street while out walking 
used as a handy little stand, possibly the easiest upcycle in history! 

Not much, but remember, Freddie is keeping me way busier than I want to be!

Have a good evening!


October 18, 2013

Under Construction

Hello, are you all TGIF this afternoon? I thought I'd get a head start on my Days of the Dead altar today. Except. . . there is no memory in my tired old brain to remind me where the things used last year were put away. Nope, not an inkling. Therefore, until that surfaces, we are stuck with this:
 Wish me luck on my mental journey to 2012 and the location of the other pictures and items. Meanwhile, color me embarrassed. 

Have a wonderful weekend!


October 17, 2013

Always useful

Hi, friends,

How are you this lovely October afternoon? Doing well, I hope. 

This is a quick and dirty post, to experiment with trying something out. Before we got the cabinet and hutch, all our plates were on the counter. Since they're stashed in it now, there was a plate holder without a purpose. I shifted things around on top of the chest where the wine glasses are and came up with this:
 It offers a place to put the new bird set, plus get a stack of salad/dessert size out of an upper cupboard where they're hard for me to reach. It takes up some of Mr. B's wine bottle real estate, but there's still plenty of room for the glasses, corkscrew and stoppers. It's always useful when you can reorganize and make better use of very limited space, so this may be worth a few days trial, at least.

Do you shift things around endlessly, looking for the perfect solution? More importantly, have you figured it out? If so, we need to talk!

Till next time,

October 16, 2013

How cute is this?

Hi, everyone,

As you may know, I sell books on Amazon and ebay. It's time to think about the holidays, so I dug out a darling Advent  calendar picked up at Sand Dollar ages ago.
Although it has a cover like a regular book, it actually unfolds to present the story and offer the windows to open each day:
This woodland bestiary by Marie Angel is a delight of rich colors and engaging scenes.
The pictures behind each door are adorable, too.
The animals find this perfect tree, which sparks their idea to take it into the village.
This is a charming way to count down the days till December 25th. A small child would find endless fascinating details of the animals, birds and their adventure of festive fun. 

Do you have someone who would enjoy this richly detailed but simple account of the animals' celebration? 

Take it easy,

October 15, 2013

It's the little things . . .

that make me fear for my sanity sometimes. We have a lamp on the buffet in the dining room and one on the counter in the kitchen. For ages they have been thus:
Why did it take me so long to realize the proportions were wrong on both lamps?
Much better switched around! A friend of mine used to say her husband was "dirt blind". It looks like for a while there was a case of "shade blind" going on at our house. Again, sometimes it is the little things that make a big difference.

Have a good one!

October 14, 2013

A New Week--Eek!

Hello, Peeps,

How can it be Monday again? It was Friday, looking ahead to the weekend and what? Did a blink make me miss 48 hours? I hope yours was pleasant. We had some lovely rain and Mr. B got his car back, better than ever after a fender bender the week before. That constitutes lots of excitement here in Geezerville.

Last week I picked up some cheerful, folk-art look plates at Family Thrift. They are not in perfect condition, and there is no maker name on the back, but the pattern is nice and the price great, $1.91 for four. 
The colorful bird in the center is sure to be a hit with Mr. B, the birder. The table has a plain white runner instead of a cloth this time. 
Here is a view  from one end. With it are yellow napkins with silver rings, blue goblets and the silver plate from Mr. B's parents.
There are sterling salt and pepper shakers from a yard sale, glass candlesticks and the Mercury glass bowl found recently at a thrift shop.
From the other end.
In the middle.
Here is a close up of the design on the plates, pretty charming, don't you think? Rest assured, I'm aware that this is a puny effort compared to the Gold Standard of table settings, like the ones my friend Tricia at The Dull and the Dutiful http://thtolbert.blogspot.com/dazzles the blogosphere with, but this is the baby step of a beginner, remember. One who hopes someday to have sufficient room to add to  her stash of dishes and move on to more impressive offerings.

Till next time,

October 10, 2013

Bits and scraps

Hello, again,

Do you all save bits and pieces and scraps and leftover odds and ends? I do, totally against the advice of the clean house/non-clutter/how to stage people. Their points are clear and easy to understand, except. .  . I really do use stuff over again. While in the process of trying to wrap a gift or set up a vignette or frame something the memory of that small piece of ribbon/fancy border from a calendar/bright green envelope would be exactly the right touch to ramp up the present, presentation or display. It leaves me feeling vaguely guilty much of the time, yet triumphant when the odd bit is just the extra oomph needed to make a project special. How do you all cope with these warring, persistent themes?

Color me confused.


October 9, 2013

One of a kind

Hi, folks, how's it going halfway through this week so far? 

One of a kind certainly describes this item, bought at the local Sand Dollar. 
It is a handmade coat in a toddler size, made out of a vintage quilt. Here is a picture of the hood:
It was half off the marked price  of $2.92. That's what people who never go to thrift shops or yard sales don't understand, that it's the thrill of finding things that are utterly unique. A friend of mine who only shops retail once argued that if I won the lottery, then I'd never have to darken the doors of Value Village or the Salvation Army again. She didn't get the thrill of the hunt aspect of thrifting, that the surprise of what might be out there is what makes it fun. No trip to the mall can compare to stumbling upon an item like this little coat. Of course, all the people who turn up their noses at such behavior leave more goodies for the rest of us to find; there is  that to gloat over. 

I hope your excursions have found you lots of wonderful treasures.

Till next time,

October 8, 2013

Partial to red? Who said?

Hi, all,

Today I was contemplating color. Red is my favorite, although surely no one who came to our house would ever guess that--would they?
Just because there's a clock in the kitchen
and a dish drainer too
a kettle
a stove and a tray
coats, scarves and hats all out on display;
a sturdy floor lamp
and a big glass vase
a home for a saint
a can for laundry with bright red paint;
a handmade rose as a teapot top
and vintage pyrex that makes a pop. 

Problem? There isn't a problem. I can quit. Why, any day now there may be something in that color in a thrift shop that I walk right past. Addiction is such an ugly word! Do you have a shade you can't resist?

Till next time,