Saturday, October 27, 2012

The One That Got Away
 He who hesitates is lost.  The aphorism is a twist on  a line from a 18th Century play - "The woman that deliberates is lost." In this case I was the woman and the loss was an Oshkosh for Macy's steamer trunk.  In very good condition and with no musty smell I should have snatched it up for the two hundred dollar asking price.  
The gentleman selling it had used it to store his vintage flag collection and it would have made a great storage /display piece for vintage linens.

Love the red leather drawers!

Some minor scuffs.   


Hangers and velvet drape for left side included. 
In my defense the trunk did not pass my Look-Before-You-Leap -Can-I-Buy-It? test.
  1. Is this  an impulse buy ?
  2. Do I have a place to put it?
  3. How will I use it and how soon?
Since the answers  were yes, no, and, God only knows, I decided to Think About It.  After all, not every great thing is meant come home with us.  Down the row and around the corner I walked.  The first flush of steamer trunk desire ebbed and I considered  the following a.) dedicated craft space was on the horizon, b) if  things just didn't work out between the trunk and me, the fact that it was in very good condition and available at a good a price meant that I shouldn't have too much trouble finding it a new home. c) Someone Else was willing to carry the trunk back to the car. I hurried back to purchase the trunk but was too late. I tried to be philosophical... I didn't actually know where or when I would be able to use it but a few weeks later the perfect spot  opened up and I spent a few days gnashing my teeth in regret. Especially after checking out  Inka Heaton's redo @ Altered Artifacts.

Fabulous Right?
The 'perfect spot for the steamer trunk'  is now occupied by these sweet little ladders. They work well for displaying linens and cost less than ten dollars apiece.  Who knows, someday another great steamer trunk  may come my way, and if it does I hope I'm ready to grab it.

Additional Reading:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

MARUYAMA - Repairing Porcelain Figurine

The figurine lay broken on the floor. The carriage and 18th
century couple are intact, but the jaunty white horses are
shattered and my heart is broken.
I love the story the figurine tells. John Coachman has the air of one who is trying to be invisible. He sits on the box, eyes forward, holding the restive horses.  The pair looks ready to be off, but one horse ear is turned back, listening. Standing next to the carriage is an 18th Century couple. The courtly gentleman leans slightly forward, one hand held out palm up.  In supplication? What is he offering? Excuses?  Apologies?  Tea? Is he begging Her Ladyship to stay, or to allow him to go with her?  Has her Ladyship just arrived or is she about to depart?
 Consider her, the confidence in the perfect posture, the charm of her swaying skirt, and the tilt of her head. My Sensible Voice says, ‘That’s not a carriage dress. She isn’t dressed for travel; this is just a social call. And shouldn’t you being folding towels, or washing your car, or, I don’t know… earning a living instead of standing here inventing drama???’ And the answer is yes I should, and I do, but thoughts of Georgian romance and intrigue go with me and later I’ll dig out one of my favorite Georgette Heyer books. These Old Shades, Powder and Patch, A Convenient Marriage .
The figurine sat on a shelf in my moms’ garage for years, occasionally unwrapped, admired, then carefully rewrapped while I silently promised myself that I’d unwrap it for good when I had a safe place for it and for me. I’ve lived long enough to have a few bruises where it doesn’t show. I’ve keep a lot of things wrapped up sitting on a shelf waiting for a safe place.
The figurine lay broken on the floor. The carriage and 18th century couple are intact, but the jaunty white horses were shattered and my heart was broken. It seemed like a bad omen to find it broken twice less than a week after being unpacked.  It was reasonable to assume that this time one of the Three Little Kittens had knocked over the figurine, and nothing and no one was to blame except me for not considering the route taken by a pot bellied cat traveling at high speed from window sill to door.
 I placed the broken china bits in a box but couldn’t bring myself to toss the box in the trash.  An online search confirmed what I suspected. A replacement was going to be costly - when I could find one. The loss felt bigger than just a pretty trinket and looking at the bits of china I felt more than a little sad. 
Sighing I set the box aside and turned back to the paperwork on my desk. A kitten twined its' chubby self around my ankles and settled on my feet as I sat at my desk. She looked up at me with wide eyes and blinked slowly. I felt my heart expand.  That silly kitten makes my heart full in a way a pretty trinket never could, or should.
That afternoon Someone Else begins reconstructing the china horses.  It is painstaking. Tedious. Large fragments first, then small shards, but Someone Else doesn’t seemed to mind  and I start thinking a little moss here and there might help camouflage some of the damage.  I am grateful to realize there is someone who, without being asked, is willing to help me pick up the pieces.
The figurine still has a story to tell.  In fact its' value has increased in my eyes. Patched up and imperfect like me, like most of us, it survives and I am glad.

 Repairing a figurine using Super glue tips:

Use the glue sparingly. Dab a small amount on each side of the join.

Gently hold the pieces of your ceramic figurine in place for a few minute to give the glue time to set up.

Use masking tape to hold the piece together while the glue cures. Carefully tape across the glued portion of the figurine. Let it set for at least three hours.

 Clean your hands or any surfaces of glue before it dries.

Wipe any glue in excess on the ceramic figurine away with a cotton swab - you can dip it in nail polish remover.
Repair Tutorials -Suggested Link:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Another Blustery Day!

Another Blustery Day!

The garden looks cold and wet and the sky is dull as tarnished pewter. Not at all inviting, so I decide to take my coffee up to my office/ craft room.

The next couple days will be devoted to craft projects so I begin my settling in ritual, topping off my cup of coffee, choosing an audio book. Elizabeth Peters seems perfect company. I love the stiff upper lip humor and the melodrama as heroine Amelia Peabody, to her husbands’ chagrin, foils Criminal Masterminds, engages in matchmaking, and finds a nice tomb for serving tea.

I recently embarrassed myself by asking my daughter who had
 just passed her ipod on to me,
 ' Does this play books-on-tape?' 

I am presently working on some Hallloween projects using  purchased downloads from Altered Artifacts, some of my own work, and free downloads from My Fanciful Muse, and the Graphics Fairy. These are some of my favourite resources and I am a devoted fan of all three artists.

side 1

side 2

 A closer look at the Counts Castle .

Thank you to My Fanciful Muse for the Regency Fashion Plate Ladies and the Ballerina.

Halloween ballerina - My Fanciful Muse 
The Graphics Fairy moon is my favorite to date. Moon Man Vintage Graphic .

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Homegrown Blueberries

This month's flea market find : Vintage Sunbeam Waffle Iron.

For  crisp on the outside tender on the inside, TEFLON coated wafflemakers can't compete with vintage models.  This like-new vintage Sunbeam  waffle iron was bargain priced  ($10.00) at a local flea market. After examining the cord for any sign of damage and a good cleaning it was time for a test run.

 My Waffle Secrets:
1. Whip the egg white and fold in gently before cooking.
2. Use a carbonated beverage like seltzer or champagne for some of the liquid. 
3. Patience. Allow iron to heat before applying oil. I prefer to apply using a silcone brush rather than a spray oil.

Finding this picture from early summer reminds me that there is a big bag of homegrown berries in the freezer.

I'm going to add some to my batter and make a batch of blueberry waffles. I'll let you know how they turn out!
 New Jersey is famous for it's blueberries and there are lots of pick your own farms. The bushes are easy to grow, like well drained soil and take up about as much room as a rose bush. It was great to walk out into the yard in the morning and pick a handful to enjoy with my coffee!

Speaking of coffee... it's time to refill my cup and get back to work.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Autumn Arrives 2012

Sunday Morning, the 2nd day of autumn. The cardinal is scolding me but all I have to offer him is some stale whole wheat. The grass is wet, and looking for a couple late tomatoes releases that pungent earthy scent that says 'Don't kid yerself lady, this is a FALL garden.'      

Potpourri Secrets to Success: Pick flowers when they are dry and at their peak. Store in cool dry place with good ventilation.  A brown paper bag  sealed at the top but with lots of space for the flowers works well. Give the bag a gentle shake once a day. 
The marigolds are lush and the petals feel velvety. I'm going to collect some to dry for potpourri. I'm going to pick some sage and oregano too. I love having fresh herbs, and these two perennials like sun and well drained soil.  This little corner is planted with rosemary, thyme, oregano,and sage.
Once the plants were established they have required very little maintenance. The bed is cleaned out in spring and the mulch is refreshed. Little bouquets of rosemary, thyme and sage tied up with garden twine are easily dried and smell divine.

Focus on the positive means morning inventory of the yard.  Rose hips are starting to form. Sprays of millet sprouted from birdseed is almost ripe and soon the cardinal will be at it. The little pot of pink impatiens is a dainty counterpoint to the brash colors of fall 

The morning glories are luminous, the coffee has just the right amount of cream, and there is a funny face pair of kittens watching me from their favorite window.There is just enough time and coffee for one more turn around the garden.