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Saturday, December 31, 2011

So long 2011!

So ends my first year of blogging! 2011 was my first year and at times although I felt like I was talking to myself, I discovered that was OK and also that a lot of people read and don't comment! I have had a good 2011. I had to watch some of my kids go through some life struggles which is never fun as a mom who's first instinct is to fix everything and make it better! They have come out on the other side as stronger people who took care of their problems or life issues on their own (OK..with a BIT of input from Mom! LOL) and I am proud of them. My Etsy shops have taken off a bit and I look foreward to what this next year brings. God has truly blessed me with my family and friends! I want to thank YOU all ( or as they say here in the South "y'all") for stopping by and reading my craziness. The door is always open and I love sharing what I have been up to!
This was an uber secret project that I did as a Christmas present for Sandy, one of the sisters that runs the antique mall I have a booth in, from her sister Sharon. It was formerly a workbench table and now is a French Chic coffee table! I had to take it into my booth with a sold sign on it and LIE right to Sandy's face about it! I am an awful liar and I told my husband who was helping me take it in, "Let's just get in and out of here as quick as possible!" Sandy told me the other day that she was totally fooled and totally loved it . (Yay!) She loved my last one I made and put in my booth and it sold before she could get it.This is one of a pair of lamps I am listing on Ebay this week...I love anything with prisms!(LOL..don't know why that text went blue..what a techno idiot I am!) Look at that sweet face and perfectly shabby paint job!
This is a fav faboo bowl I am listing on Etsy. It actually is an old oak industrial mold but look what a great modern bowl it makes! Selling this one will hurt!
This is what I was working on last night. Of course I forgot to take a "before pic"! These are vintage wooden sewing machine cabinet drawers that I painted and turned into storage boxes. Some got shabby white paint and a vintage metal number.
And one got a handle I made with old hardware bits from my workshop and my fav robin's egg blue paint. My daughter was studying at the table as I was painting and looked up and said, "Blue..who would have guessed?" Poo..I like it! So here is to you and yours..wishing you many blessings and health in 2012! Until next year! Julia

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I am on Design Sponge!

I got a late Christmas present yesterday. My ornament above was on the website Design Sponge! Thank goodness the lady that bought it told me where she saw it. I am not very good at checking my Etsy shop stats and abysmal at Google Analytics. Not only do I forget my password, if I do get "in" I hardly know what to do there! Apparently Design Sponge is a big deal fancy website/blog. I had vaguely heard of it before..I had to ask my Etsy Etc.teammates what it was and they assured me I should be happy! The best part is it was their final post for the year and they are not posting again until Jan. 2nd so my ornament will be adorning the top of their webpage until then! So yay! Thank you Lord! I know it isn't the cool thing to do to thank the Lord, (poor Tim Tebow has taken a beating) but I really have no other explanation other than that and sheer luck. So here is a link (if this even works..I am so techno challenged!) Blessing to you all..I hope you had a great Holidays and a blessed New Year! Til next time! Julia (once again..apologies for all the exclamation points)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Candy Memories

The longer I am married, the more bittersweet my Christmas baking becomes. I received these 2 cookbooks at my wedding shower almost 30 years ago now (Wow!) They are a bit spotted and shabby now but I love them none the less and truth be told, I may be a bit more spotted and shabby myself!(Word of the wise to all young girls..avoid tanning like a vampire!) They are filled with names of neighbor ladies, ladies that went to my church or my husband's church,and friend's mothers and grandmothers.
Betty was my wonderful mother in law and Barbara was one of her best friends. They are both no longer with us but their recipes still reside in my cookbooks and they reside in my memories. Betty always made us a Christmas "goody box"..a tradition I have taken over myself. My son lives many miles from us in South Dakota so I have been busy ready-ing a box for him and his girlfriend. My family here has been eating things as fast as I made them so I have to be specific about what is "saved" and what is "free range".
This year I made peanut brittle..actually mixed nut brittle. I learned that "a large pan" means a cookie sheet. The lady's recipe that I used is also now gone so I could not call her up and say, " large is a large pan?" I did remember to make a notation in the book so my brittle will be a bit thinner next year!
The chocolate covered Ritz cracker peanut butter sandwiches are a big traditional element to our "goody box". The first couple years I attempted these I burned the tar out of my fingers! I have now figured out you need your chocolate at the right temp and I use a fork to dip and remove, tapping the extra chocolate off by tapping the handle of the fork on the side of the pan letting the drips fall back into the pan before I transfer them to the wax paper.
The peppermint almond bark is an addition of mine. It has 2 ingredients..white almond bark and smashed peppermint candies. My 9 yr old son and 3 yr old grandson were in charge of the candy smashing this year and had a great time with the meat tenderizer hammer and the candies. I did tell them not to unwrap them until you smash them and not to hit each other or their fingers but I pretty much just let them go and they had a blast
These are chocolate covered gummie orange "slices". I love the taste of chocolate and orange together! This year my bag of orange slice candies were half gone before I got my candy made. I THOUGHT I had hid them well!
This is the fudge recipe I always candy thermometer necessary.It doesn't list how much vanilla in the ingredients, but I use 1 tsp. Susan was one of my classmate's grammas..a sweet white haired lady. I try to remember to say a little prayer for these ladies when I use their recipes. I still have to do the butterscotch chow mein noodle haystack candies and the jumbo marshmallows that I dip in melted caramel and roll in rice krispies and I better not forget the Chex Mix or the ranch oyster crackers..I need to hurry and get his box in the mail! Hoping you are cooking up some sweet memories too! Julia

Friday, December 9, 2011

Paint my house Pink

I have a soft spot in my heart for pink houses..especially as John Cougar Mellencamp said, Little Pink Houses.
My grandparents were farmers. When they retired, they moved "to town" into a small 2 bedroom house. I can close my eyes and still see every corner of that house, smell its smells and feel that moment of excitement as we ran up the 2 steps from the entryway into Gramma's kitchen where they always greeted us with delight as if they hadn't seen us for months instead of a day or two. My Gramma always had cookies for us, we had our big box of toys in the closet and there was not a drawer or corner that we could not "poke into" it Gramma's makeup vanity drawers or sewing caddy or Grandpa's cuff link box or desk drawers.
One thing that was pretty much a constant about their house was that it was always some shade of pink. My Gramma had 4 boys and no girls, but she was very much a girlie girl. She loved pink and sparkly. I remember standing by my Grandpa as he brushed another coat of pink on the siding. I asked him, "Grampa? Why do you paint your house pink?" (In my small child mind I knew pink was for girls and blue was for boys and couldn't figure out how my overall wearing farmer Grampa cottoned with living in a girlie pink house) He answered me without missing a stroke, "Because it is your Gramma's favorite color." Even at 5 or 6 that was a good enough answer for me. It wasn't until later I realized what a romantic answer it was. He was willing to live in one of maybe 2 pink houses in the entire town because it was his wife's favorite color. I am sure she didn't ask or insist on a pink house, he just did it for her.
Yesterday I drove to Birmingham with my 23 year old daughter on the way to her optometry school interview at UAB. It was 4 hours of uninterrupted conversation and it was marvelous. She had of course heard the story of my Grampa and Gramma and why they lived in a little pink house. We talked about how my mom and dad's bedroom is painted pink with a frilly bedspread and even one of those pillow dolls. My Dad is now the age I remember my Grampa Dad is his Dad! My daughter mentioned how odd it was that her Grampa ..a denim wearing farmer..slept in a frilly, pink bedroom. I reminded her about the story of my Grampa and Gramma's pink house.
She was quiet for a second and said, "You know Mom, Dad would paint the house pink for you too." I just smiled and realized she was right. I am lucky to be married to a man who would paint my house pink if he thought that would make me happy. (I am not THAT into pink at this point..maybe if we downsized to a cottage!) She then said, "That's what I am looking for..someone who will paint my house pink!" So we now have a new personal phrase in our house when discussing boyfriends..Will he paint your house pink? And that is all I want for my daughters..that they find that kind of partner for life..someone that will paint their house pink!

I am attempting to do my first blog link with this post..I hope it works!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fabulous Feedsack Fabric

Hi guys! I found a fabulous stash of vintage feedsacks at an estate sale a couple weeks ago. These are the printed midcentury feedsacks. A savy mid century salesman noted that housewives were reusing feedsack cloth to make utilitarian pieces of clothing and housegoods like quilt backs and underwear. He brilliantly deduced that if his company printed patterned fabric on their feedsacks that farm wives would tell their husbands to buy that brand (which they did!) Shortly other feed sellers followed suit. Soon there were also flour sacks and sugar sacks in these cheery prints.These were especially popular in the Depression years as money was tight. These feedsacks supplied about a square yard of cheerful fabric. The small yardage was used for a lot of children's clothes and smaller projects such as aprons and quilt pieces. I have seen feedsack children's clothes, curtains, feedsack table toppers, pillow shams, and feedsack trimmed dishtowels and pillowcases. I have an amazing feedsack quilt in my antiques booth that I am planning to list online shortly. It was made from large matching feedsacks in the same pattern but different colorways. If you bought a couple matching bags, you had enough for larger projects like women's dresses.
This lady was a quilter and had a large stash of feedacks. I almost hyperventilated! These are all opened full sacks except the ones from the red and white polka dot piece on down are smaller flour sacks.The blue one on top with rosebuds may be staying with me!
I have seen and sold a lot of feedsacks..I always look for them, but I am amazed at how many patterns crop up that I have never seen before! (The green one on the bottom may be staying with me too.)
These are a few favorites from the first dozen I took pictures of to list. Some of the bags have small spots and I will be selling those as is. Some have larger spots that I am going to try to soak out before I list them. This one is bright orange.
Mid green with purple pansies..or violets..
Cute aqua daisies..
A wild green and orange and tan floral..
A cute geometric floral in aqua and yellow and white. I think I have an apron in my booth in this same pattern in apple green!
This one is very intriguing..I have never seen one like this. I love the silhouetted black ferns and the red florals..sweet william?
This is a striking Deco pattern..I think these may be azaleas. These are going on EBay first with a starting price of what I usually ask for them on Etsy. Some patterns go a lot higher than I would think to price them and even though I love them, I really don't know a good pattern from a common one..I just know what I like! If they don't get a bid at my start price they will be heading to Etsy next. My Ebay ID is dakotakid59 (actually that is my husband but I list under his ID too) if you want to follow them. I probably won't get them on til Monday. Hope your week sends unexpected treasures your way too! Until next time! Julia

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stamped Grain sack Christmas stockings

Hi guys! Today I am show and telling some Christmas stockings I just made.
I went to an estate sale last week and found what I thought was a grain sack quilt back..not unheard of..I have seen several quilts with backs made of old grain sacks. I thought,"Perfect for those stockings I have been wanting to do!"
I got it home and figured out it was actually an antique linen ticking for a mattress or feather bed. It was hand sewn and I think the linen may have been homespun. Even after all the washes it had been through there were tiny bits of flax chaff still attached here and there.
I stamped them with my trusty antique store signage stamps ( I love those stamps!) The fleur de lis is from a new stamp. I used some of my vintage toile yardage on this red and white one.
The others used Waverly toile. The interiors are vintage white damask tablecloth yardage.They all have Paris and an address and number stamped one one side and Joyeux Noel on the other so you can hang them either way.

I have been trying to get to these for a month or more to sew! Other projects kept getting in the way. Now onto the next! Til next time! Julia

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Small Town Christmas in Sweetwater, Tennessee

Hi guys! Be prepared for lots of pictures of Sweetwater Tennessee's Small Town Christmas festival! It happens on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving every year. This young man is Luke. He is one of my son Jack's friends and here he is in the window of his Gramma's shop The Lily Pad. They sell marvelous ladies clothing among other items. (Grandchild abuse! LOL I am sure he was compensated if only by the knowledge he was helping Gramma..he is a sweet boy!)
This is how I arrived at the antiques mall I have a booth in, Main Street Antiques. I actually rode this scooter down the aisle and didn't even wreck. I was decked out in 1950's dress attire complete with hat and gloves, 3 tier necklace and matching earrings. They threatened to take a picture of me but I ran.
Here is Miss Heather the owner's niece hard at work at the register. It got pretty crazy at points. The lovely handmade snowflakes are courtesy of her mom, Sharon.
This is one of their lovely front window displays. That is one of my sheet music wreaths over the mantle. I made it a bit too large to fit in my shipping boxes so up to the mall it went!
The "kitchen" Christmas window.
There was live music in the upper gallery. The auto harp musician is my former shop neighbor Rod. He and his wife Rosie had the shop next to my former antique store. We still have a goldfish named after him by my son!
They were marvelous and must have played for 2-3 hours! People coming in the door would hear the music and look up and get a startled look on their face to realize it was live music! They had an appreciative audience with some people just standing and watching them play.
This is a view from the upper gallery of the store. This was a former hardware and general store. It still has some of the original built in shelving, the hardwood floors and central staircase. There is a huge back room and another floor above this one.
Sharon and Sandy(bending down) holding down the fort at the register.
A tiny portion of one of the dealer's automotive petroliana or as I call it "guy stuff". Even I appreciate this..the graphics are marvelous!
Another view from the upper was pretty busy. My one and only big piece of "furniture" a 20 drawer painted oak library file cabinet even sold!
I snuck out to take a spin down the street to get a few pics. Pardon the quality I was literally walking and snapping. There were horse and buggy rides, marshmallow toasting, cider, kettle corn and hot chocolate vendors.
They would not pose for me!
I took mostly front window shots as I was in a hurry. These businesses are much more wonderful inside! This is Miss Maudies cafe.
There were many happy customers inside taking a load off and eating.
The gazebo was the center of activity. There were choir groups and I think maybe even some dancers. The long silver thing is Sweetwater's train car. It is a permanent fixture next to the fountain down town. I guess now is the time to mention this takes place on Sweetwater's main street Highway 11. Sweetwater is between Knoxville and Chattanooga on Interstate 75 . Exits 60 or 62 will take you to the downtown which sits about 2-3 miles from the Interstate. I talked to people who happened upon the festival by accident and they were totally thrilled!
The front window of BobbyTodd's antiques, home and gift boutique. This place is amazing.
They even had someone blowing soap bubble "snow" out of their upstairs windows. The weather was hardly even needed a coat. (Last year it snowed!)
Some more window shots. I must say I think they win the best window award and there is tough competition!
These are all old original buildings that have been lovingly upkept and rehabbed.
Sweetwater's Main street is sort of bisected by the railroad runs parallel to Main. The last shop in this building almost butts up next to the tracks. You certainly know when a train comes through town. I talked to a lady once who's family ran a cafe in the 30's and 40's in one of these shops. She said the train would stop at the depot (now unfortunately gone) and everyone would come in for a quick bite or sandwich. I think she said they lived upstairs. I find that so interesting! Most of these businesses had families living above them at one time.
This is Sweetwater Antiques. They still have their old shelving fixtures too. They also have an upper floor. The lady that used to own it gave me a tour of the upstairs part that is not yet rehabbed. It was where the store owners used to live and where they stored their stock. (There is an original freight elevator in the back).
This is one of their front windows.
The store was divided for years into 2 side by side shops..a dress shop and a jewelry store, but they have both sides opened to each other now.
This is Hunter's Cafe on the end ..marvelous food and desserts!
The Robin's Nest. She actually had a robin that nested over her light next to her front door!
I like the faces of the 2 tiny girls inspecting the window display!
Cones Cupboard Antiques. Peggy is a great gal and has so many pretties!
Everyone had decorated so beautifully! Hey! I actually know the guy in the leather jacket! I saw him later..I didn't know I got a picture of him!
This is the newest antiques store on the end of the block. I didn't realize Peggy had moved to the larger shop next door until I was showing these to my husband later. He is always so much more up on the gossip/news than I am!
Vintage tinsel these!
So while I didn't catch the name, it was lovely!
Another shot of Main street..
There are people dressed in Dicken's garb and also Civil War re-enactors. You can get a picture made with Santa and small children can even make ornaments for their parents in one of the banks!
This is one of the newer shops in town, The Paris Apartment. It is a boutique which carries fab women's clothing, home decor and gifts, handmades and they also have a cafe. The local flower shop is set up next door in his new digs since his amazing store was a fire victim a couple months ago. It was a loss as his store had a large gift selelction and of course his fab florals. Glad he had someplace to land and he was back to business shortly after the fire in this shop. There are actually more businesses on Main and I may have missed some and I apologize!
This place is amazing too..I know...I use that word too much along with exclamation points!!! !
If you are close or passing through, you really need to stop in Sweetwater and check out these wonderful'll be glad you did!
And just when they thought they were safe! This is Sandy and Heather in their 50's garb wishing you a Merry Christmas and telling you to stop on by! Til next time! Julia