October 31, 2012

Wednesday Wins

Happy Halloween! I bought some candy this year in case we have anyone come by to Trick or Treat, which hasn't been the case the past four years, but just in case. 

Thrifting has been kind of skimpy lately, but I've found a few things.

A couple of picture frames; the black one has a pretty inlaid pattern around the edge, the other one is fun and cheerful. Some Ralph Lauren sunglasses in the case, new sugar cookie scented canclle for the holidays,  four bright cloth napkins and a vintage poinsettia handkerchief. We found the napkins and hanky at a yard sale we stumbled upon while out for a walk. In the back, a large twig ball that should look good twined with lights during the holidays.

Two Starbucks mugs with a Twelve Days of Christmas design.

A new Vera Bradley mouse pad.

This book is always popular.

Has yard sale season ended where you  live? Here it's newly revived since it isn't 100 degrees round the clock anymore. Are the thrift stores near you putting out holiday stuff now? Here it seems as if people clear out after Christmas, making January a good time to score. Does the availability of bargains go in cycles where you live? 

Happy haunting!

October 29, 2012

Day of the Dead

Hello, everyone. I've been working on a post but slowed down by technology issues, this time with an off-again, on-again camera. For several years I wanted to make a Day of the Dead altar for my mother, but this year it finally happened, although it turned out to be for her and her only brother too.

They were born in 1920 and 1923, here in Houston. Both of them went by nicknames. Roy was named after his father, my grandfather, but after his summer birth went by June Boy all of his short life. My mother was Althea Estelle, called Boukie by her father, a name that stuck.

Another reason for the delay of writing this was my failed search for marigolds. Those are the  flowers, real, dried or paper, that are used on an ofrenda. Could any be located in our neighborhood or anyplace near? Nope, not a one, hence the yellow silk ones from Goodwill that will have to do for now.

I don't know a lot about my mom's brother except that he was considered to be exceptional by everyone who ever talked about him to me, and he was greatly loved. He died a few days after his twenty first birthday, when thrown out of a car that was hit by a drunk driver. There were no seatbelts in 1941. There are several pictures of him. He wore the baby shoes and the little pocket Boy Scout diary from 1933  was a Christmas gift that year. 

My mother liked cats and flowers. She was an amateur painter and always had things from nature in the house, feathers, shells, framed leaves and other elements. She liked to fish and play cards, work jigsaw puzzles, and was always a night owl, staying up late to read and watch tv. She read all the time. We went to the library at least twice a week when I was growing up. She died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1983. It seems impossible that's nearly thirty years ago now. 

My mom was around three in that picture. The one under it was June Boy's graduation photograph. There is a bottle of coca cola there and several pieces of candy because she loved sweets. In fact, when grandchildren arrived it proved a real problem. She'd be pleased to be prepared for an upcoming holiday, then dismayed to find she'd eaten all the Easter or Halloween candy herself before the day arrived.

I love the school picture of June Boy's class in the front. It was taken at Harvard Elementary, a grade school near where we live now. He must have been in second or third grade in 1928. Imagine little boys  wearing ties to school now! The picture to the far left of the picture is a family of circus performers who lived near the family during the months they weren't on tour. They allegedly originated the act where members jump from the  shoulders onto a seesaw and send the person on the other end flying, to be caught by another. Mother said their grandfather trained the group and was very mean. He used a whip to punish poor performance.

Here are some loose snapshots. The long photo is my grandfather during the 1920s. That's very rare because he loved to take pictures, so was seldom the subject. There is June Boy aged around two, a more formal one in a studio. My grandmother with both children by an old car. Love the 1920s short dress with a big hat. My mom as a toddler, running from the camera, then when she married after WWII. The lower left one is down by the water somewhere, not sure who is with my grandmother and the children. My grandmother was one of a family of ten and grandfather a family of seven, so June Boy and Boukie had lots of cousins they spent most vacations and holidays with one family or another.

I'm glad I spent the time to gather these things to honor their memories. It is  sad that June Boy died long before my birth, so I never knew him, and that my mother left us before she was sixty. With the many moves made during my adult life and the destruction wrought by Hurricane Ike there aren't a whole lot of mementos left, which makes these pictures doubly precious.I want to link this to Susan's Met Monday party at Between Naps on the Porch here http://betweennapsontheporch.net/.

Dia de los Muertos is widely celebrated here. A store in the neighborhood has altars built by a variety of people each October, including one for the parents of both the owners. We always go by to see them each year. There is a reception open to the public with food and music which is always fun to attend. Is this custom common where you live? Have you ever built an ofrenda in your home?

Take care,

October 25, 2012

Dallying with Doilies

Hey, everyone, how's it going? I'm drinking coffee, gearing up for a busy day featuring laundry and errands. If the latter are successful, a project will be finished up and make it possible to take pictures for another blog post. Meanwhile, here is a gift made for a friend's birthday this week. It started with these:

All during this year I picked up single doilies at thrift stores whenever they showed up. Eventually I sewed them together lengthwise to get this:

It's a long runner for my friend to use on her dining room  table. Her table is longer than mine, which is why it's laid out this way for the photograph. A few weeks ago her adult daughter was visiting, so I took advantage to e-mail and ask for her to measure the length. She did and let me know, so I was able to calculate how many doilies to use. They were laid out in a variety of configurations to find the most pleasing order, then safety pinned  till they could be hand sewn together. 

Flossie had to give it her seal of approval before it was finished and wrapped to mail. Tricia has all sorts of dishes, mats, vases and other items to set beautiful tables, which she does often, and chronicles in her blog, The Dull and the Dutiful, found http://thtolbert.blogspot.com/ here. Happy Birthday, Tricia! 

Do you make gifts often, or seldom? Have any of your handmade items been extremely successful, or less so? Sometimes the idea seems like a perfect fit for the recipient, but that's not always the case. Are there high points in your memories of  handmade gifts you've made or been given? 

Have a wonderful day!



October 23, 2012

Inspiration Books

Do you all have favorite books you get craft and decorating inspiration from? That's probably a silly question; you've got stacks and piles of well-thumbed tomes. Here are a few of my best beloveds.

This is the most recent home decor book in my library, a gift from my dear friend Tricia.It's different, because it doesn't have photographs, instead, the illustrations are painted. However, the text is wonderfully written and informative.

An old friend to many folks is:

I like it all right, although it doesn't exactly match my own style, but I love:

I have adapted many ideas of gifts to give from this book, as well as imaginative wrapping.

Because we've mostly lived in small houses, this is a great resource:

This is another used as a resource more than once:

And now to my all-time faves:

These by Mary Randolph Carter are re-read frequently. Something about their attitude and expression speaks to me; there are many rooms in both volumes I could move into with delight, never wanting to change a thing. 

These are mostly old, not current in the world of decor, but I don't buy coffee table books often. Mostly the library gets my business, then note is made of ones that are special enough to own and I ask for them as gifts. My adult children love to be able to order a book for me from Amazon that's sure to be a winner. 

What are your favorites in this genre? Do you find them soothing to flip through when life has been hectic or scary, the ultimate comfort books? Will you be giving or asking for home books this holiday season? 

Take care,


October 19, 2012

A Friday Few

Hello, all. Last week got away from me when we suddenly couldn't connect to the internet for the better part of three days before  the problem was finally fixed. What to do when you can't check e-mail or read blogs online? The only thing that springs to mind is get out of the house and shop to forget. Here are a few recent finds:
Here you see  Flossie seemingly unimpressed with my booty. There is a new package of travel related scrapbook pages, half a dozen books, a candle, some Taylor and Ng mugs, a little French hook and a large tin box. The box will be used for snack mix to give over the holidays. Its colors of brown, orange and cream may not seem December-ish, but it has a couple of good points. First, it's large, so suitable for either the folks at the post office or the library to share; secondly, on the inside of the lid is the word: "Enjoy" which delivers  exactly the right message. 
Here is a close up of the candle. It's got a pattern like brown gingham checks on it  with the head of a deer, which makes it a perfect fit for the brass deer holder picked up last year.
Also found a new box of Fossil post cards in a vintage style and a variety of places.
At a sale at a neighborhood church last Saturday I picked up a bunch of Hallmark Vera the Mouse boxes and candle holders. They are pretty cute. The boxes have a rubber stamp inside the lids.
This Starbucks mug says Inspire on the side. Flossie seems to be looking to see if that's located on the bottom.
Lastly, among several other scarves picked up recently is this long one that says Hermes on the label. I know nothing at all about these and suspect it's not genuine, but it was still fun to stumble upon.

Other recent highlights include finding a delicious recipe while visiting Susan's blog party, Met Monday and at least making a start at cleaning in this room, beginning with the table where the laptop is and the area around it. There's still tons to do, but something is better than nothing. Several boxes of books donated to the neighborhood branch library sale held last week help, too.

Are you starting to think about removing clutter as the cooler months approach? It seems to me  a good idea to shift out things this time of the year, when we'll be indoors more, so I've been working on that lately a few minutes at a time.

When AIT gets fifty followers there will be my first giveaway, so I'm busy trying to figure out a fun surprise for one lucky reader. 

Have a wonderful weekend!


October 10, 2012

A Few Finds and A Cat

Hello, everyone, how is your week chugging along? Good, I hope. I thought I'd show you a few modest scores found recently:
This is a nice fall rug from last year,  before the blog began; since I just remembered to put it out Monday, it didn't make the pictures in the earlier autumn decor post.

The three small dishes in the middle were found today  at Manna for $1 each to add to my modest red pyrex collection.

Flossie checked them out for me first thing.

So far this is the only turquoise one I've found.

This is my favorite purchase today. It is made of wood and cost $1.50. No marks or labels on it, so I don't know what it is, but I really like it!

These two scarves are in very good condition and were .50 cents each.

Flossie never shirks her duty. The scarves got a thorough inspection, too.

This little pink mat with dainty crocheted edging was a quarter. Otherwise all I've found lately has been a few books, both for us and to resell, and a few tee shirts on discount day Tuesday.

I'm hoping for a  burst of energy to follow through on a few small painting, before-and- after projects. In the early morning it's not too hot and the back of the house is shady then. I'll keep my fingers crossed to have something to show you soon.

Have you ever bought a mystery object? Did you like it anyway, despite not knowing its true function?

Till next time,

October 3, 2012

A few of my favorite things

Hello, friends! I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying October so far. Today I thought I'd share some of my favorite thrift shop finds of all times. 

This Daher tray is 17 inches across. It is hung on part of an artist's easel on the wall by the front door. 

It amazes me that this chest of drawers was made by my grandfather with hand tools. 

I've always liked wooden nesting dolls and have found several sets and partial sets for very little in different thrift shops over the past twenty years.

This old bread box is my favorite red:

An old doll's dresser was less than a dollar. A couple of savvy looking pickers followed me around the store and asked me if I was sure I wanted it. The answer was YES!

I found this wheeled basket at the Sand Dollar for around $7.00. It had an aluminum handle, but I found wicker twisty wire and covered it, so it looks much better now.

It stays in the corner behind the front door filled with umbrellas and walking sticks. 

Of course, none of these things are as precious as others, like Trixie

or Flossie, or
Butterball and Junior and the rest of the furry residents here.

That table is 33 inches across. Junior, even with his tail curled is nearly as wide as it is. The smudge on his nose makes it look bigger than it really is. Sometimes we  call him Junior Durante. 

I hope you're  all enjoying these first golden days of October as much as I am. What are your special treasures, whether they're elegant and fancy or old and battered?

Till next time,