Tuesday, February 28, 2012

That Time of Year


Yes, it's garden planting time! Larry and I put in peas, lettuce, radishes, carrots, onions and spinach yesterday, with help from Clyde who loves to get in the way and see what we're doing. Thanks to my sister Theresa, we had plenty of lettuce seed--after I complained in a post about the local seed stores not having any seeds available yet, she mailed me some. What a sweet sister. (Behind Larry are the remains of the old shed that was about to fall over. He's salvaging the wood for re-use on his little cabin project.

All of the things we planted are early-season crops so cold weather won't bother then. Cold, drenching rain isn't helpful though, which is what happened last year. I am hoping that this year the spring weather will be more cooperative.

Gardening is all about hope and optimism, isn't it? Each year we start with high expectations that this year everything will be right--the sun, rain and temperatures will be favorable and all crops will grow like the pictures in the seed catalogs. How often is that really the case? Rarely, at least in my gardens. But the well of optimism is deep indeed, and each year we and hundreds of other gardeners start all over again. Each year brings some disappointment, but there are always those faithful plants that surprise us with bounty and keep us returning to the garden every spring.

Have you been out to plant yet? Or is the season still too early in your area? We're early birds here, always wanting to get those spring vegetables in the ground, but in some places it's probably still too cold to consider even planting lettuce.

Here's to a glorious year for all our gardens!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Blog Changes

Just a quick note to let you know that I have changed how comments are published. You no longer have to do the word verification step! The recent change in the way those are displayed has made it so difficult to comment, I know it has to be a headache for readers.

Instead I will be moderating comments and approving them for publication. So you will not see your comment display immediately but I will do my best to publish them as quickly as possible. I do love reading what you have to say!

I hope this change makes it easier for you to share your thoughts.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Life in the Eclectic Lane

There is nothing like variety, at least for me. I think I thrive on it.While family, storytelling, writing and gardening should have been enough to keep me busy in retirement, I seem to have added a part-time job: re-selling. But the rest of my life also continues and is just as interesting to me as it ever was. This weekend is a good example of how eclectic our days can be.

Friday was a "work day" for me--listing items on eBay, packing and mailing and adding to and rearranging my booth at the antique mall. While working on the booth, another vendor stopped by. She was complimentary about how it looked--and ended up buying the little green wicker shelf and the wicker chair, along with a few other items. That meant I needed to add another shelf for display and I also needed a place to stack linens for sale since I had them on the green chair. I noticed several other things had sold too, so I left feeling pretty happy about how things were going. We met two other vendors at the mall, and checked out the new booth that came in last week. This is a small mall with about 20-24 vendors; I'm not sure exactly because several of them have more than one space. The ones we spoke with seemed pleased with their sales and one lady was moving to a larger space. Even more encouraging.

Larry has been busy with his own list of work. He took a load of scrap metal to the scrapyard and sold it. It is amazing how much metal we can collect without really trying--my old washer of course was in the load, and Larry has been collecting the odd bits of copper wire and saving those to sell along with all sorts of other oddments. A load in our truck may bring between $50 and $100 depending on what's in it; not a lot of money but I like that this stuff that otherwise might go to the dump is now being re-used.

He has also been working on his cabin and has two more courses of logs to go before the roof goes on. He's been hunting for windows--then realized we had two from the cabin we took down in 2010 that would work just fine. He still needs to find doors; those may have to come from ReStore if we don't stumble on some freebies. On his way home from selling his scrap he stopped to talk to a man who had just replaced his porch. The old porch roof was out in the yard and the guy said Larry could have it for the hauling off! There's the porch for his cabin. The wood and tin are in great shape, not more than 10 years old. More recycling

While he was off taking care of those things, I had another project to try. Boy did I make a mess! But it turned out well in the end. I'm still not finished. Here's what I was up to: last summer at a yard sale I bought a grocery bag full of those complimentary soaps you get at motels. The whole bag was 50 cents--I guess the lady traveled a lot and took the unused soaps from each motel stay. Now those small soaps are a pain to use and generally a lot goes to waste because they get so small so fast they end up getting tossed. I decided to try making all those little bars into standard size bars. First I tried melting them in the microwave. NOT a good idea. They didn't really melt and they smelled so strong from the perfumes in them that I had to abandon that idea pretty quickly.

The next try was melting them in a pot on the stove. I put a bunch of them in the pot and added a little water, turned the burner on high and stirred just in case they might stick. I'd never cooked soap before! Well, they did soften but I had to add a lot more water. I kept cooking and stirring for about 20 minutes; then I decided to take some of the liquid out, cool it, and put it into an empty liquid soap container I had--just to see if it would work, you know.

It did! The soap came out foamy and just fine for use. I continued cooking the other soap until the liquid was really thick and most of the soap chunks had melted. Not all of them had, surprisingly--soap is made from fats or oils so it would seem to me that it would melt easily but that was not the case for some of it. I ladled it out into a plastic-wrap lined square pan and let it cool. I wasn't optimistic at this point, I can tell you--some of it was hardening but some was sort of gooey and stringy. But after 2 hours it all hardened and I cut it into bars.

So from batch #1 I have nine big bars of soap and a bottle of hand soap. That "liquid" soap also set up and I thought I had a mess on my hands with hard soap in a squirt bottle, but it's more like gel and it still works fine.

We had a lot on our to-do list for Saturday. I needed to go to Sistersville to check out the theater and other arrangements for next weekend's storyteller retreat and I needed to take more things to my booth and replace the chair and the wicker shelf so they could go to their new owner. I also needed tires BAD--I was pretty much riding on air held in by thin, thin rubber. I have never been good about tires; I keep them until they are so worn out even strangers point out the fact to me. Last week I realized I'd pushed my luck as far as it would go, so we went in early Saturday morning to get them replaced. After leaving a painfully large amount of money behind we were riding in style again.

Next stop was the flea market that's been running a half-price sale all week. I've bought a lot from them but there was a cabinet I really wanted. They weren't open. Bummer. We waited a bit to see if they would open but no luck. So we left for Sistersville, and there I found a sweet little resale shop with all sorts of great stuff. Best find was a stack of 5 Tepco Banana Leaf platters. I remembered that this pattern was highly collectible so I bought them, a gorgeous modernistic blue glass bowl, an old jewelry box and several other really neat things. We went over to the Gold Derrick Gallery to meet with owner Terry Wiley, checked out the theater and made arrangements for the storytelling concert, then headed over to the Wells Inn for a delicious lunch. I checked with Kim Winslow while there to be sure we had the spaces needed for our retreat.

Then it was time to return to Ripley then to see if the flea market was open. It was--but the cabinet I wanted was gone. Bummer again. However, I did find a shelf that would work so we drove back to Ravenswood to rearrange my booth yet again. I noted more items missing which meant more sales. Happy dance! I got everything re-done and we added still more items. The booth is getting pretty full but I still see areas that could hold more so I'll go back this week and add to it.

By the time we got home, we were both tired, and tired of being cold! It was a bitter day yesterday and we were in and out all day so we were chilled to the bone. A nice fire and some peppermint tea fixed us up nicely. Some early daffodils were about to open so I picked them and brought them inside to bloom, afraid the night's cold would freeze their stems. Now the house smells heavenly and the daffodils are a delight for our winter-gray eyes.

Today we both had projects to do: Larry worked on taking apart the porch roof he'd been given and I worked on sorting some of the things we've bought recently. Two of the Tepco platters sold quickly on eBay and I also needed to pack the 8 amethyst plates that sold, as well as the Dansk placemats. I made a good Sunday dinner of ham, cauliflowoer and broccoli in cheese sauce, and baked potatoes. Then we took a road trip.

This time we drove to Spencer, a small town about 24 miles from home, to check on an antique mall there. I am thinking about opening another booth and this is the closest to home except for the mall where my first booth is. The drive was beautiful--the sun shining brightly and signs of spring everywhere. The mall is beautiful too, full of great booths and so much to look at. I talked to the lady who worked there and was surprised to hear that the city of Spencer actually owns and runs the mall. That's an unusual setup but it has worked well for them and the mall made it through the recession in good shape. Their arrangements for vendors seemed good so I agreed to start a booth there in April. That gives me time to find shelves and prepare my stock without feeling rushed.

We took the long way home because we needed to stop by my son's house on the way home to pick up his female dog. Larry will take her to the vet tomorrow to be spayed. She's spending the night with us tonight; Tillie is such a sweet girl she's no trouble to have at all.Larry built a fire and we all enjoyed relaxing in front of it at the end of this long busy day.

That was our weekend: junking, selling, organizing, recycling, road trips, experimenting, and cooking. I hope your weekend was just as interesting as ours was!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Vintage Thursday: Auction Aftermath

I mentioned that we went to an auction last week, and boy did we come home with stuff. I've been sorting and organizing it ever since. Here's what it looked like after I'd sorted most of it:

Totes and boxes were already sorted here: some to trash, some to donation, some to store away, some for the booth, and some for eBay. And of course, there was a lot of washing up to do!

and the counters were pretty much full:
I loved this little lamp. It's staying here in my kitchen!


The clutter spilled over into the living room too...


and onto the kitchen table...


 and pretty much all over the house. I've got it mostly under control now, but guess what I did today?

Yes, I went junking again, this time with Ronda of The Pauley Principle blog! We had a great time in Gallipolis (pronounced gal-a-pole-EES) Ohio, searching out some fine treasures. Now I have more sorting to do tomorrow. The booth will get quite an infusion this weekend. I'll try to post pictures tomorrow. After I get my car unloaded, that is.


This cute spice set was an eBay prize. I bid $4 on it and won--amazingly, it came with free shipping. This will stay at my house too, mounted on the wall right beside the stove. I feel bad for the seller, though; they surely made no money at all on this and in fact probably lost on the shipping. That makes me feel guilty for getting this particular good deal.

I hope you've had some good finds this week!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Right Writing Day

Today the local library hosted a program for writers. I'm not sure what it was called and until I got there I wasn't even sure what it was or how it would go.

What it was: an opportunity for local writers to display (and hopefully sell) their work. Each was also given some time, completed unstructured, to discuss their work and anything else they wanted to talk about. There were 7 or 8 writers who came prepared (or unprepared, in my case) to talk. Among the group was a sci-fi writer, three Inspirationa/Christian writers, a poet who also wrote Christian fiction, a fiction writer who also wrote Inspirational fiction and poetry, and me (how to classify me? Folklore writer? Poet? Nonfiction writer? Non-Inspirational writer?).

What happened: the library staff set up tables with placards for each writer. Everyone set out their books, etc in front of them and people came in and browsed and talked to the writers. I did not set up right away since I wasn't sure of what was expected. Then at 10 am the first speaker, Barbara Cozad, discussed her books and how she got them published and why she writes. With her was an elderly woman who, as it turned out, was the great-grandmother of two little boys with a rare disorder. The author was donating some of her sales to the boys' medical fund. After the author spoke, her companion talked about the little boys who have something called Sanfilippo's Syndrome. Hers was a heart-breaking story, and one that spoke to her bravery and her love of her great-grandsons.

Following her was Nancy Merical, a poet and writer of Inspirational Fiction. Nancy is a down-to-earth woman; she was forthright about the difficulties of getting published and book marketing. Nancy has quite a few books in print and her honesty about her struggles to get her work out to the public was an honest look at the challenge faced by today's authors.

Next was Fred Harrington, a science fiction writer. His talk was lively, filled with stories and humor. To hear him tell of the 5 year old neighbor child who moved in with him when the grandma who was raising the boy went to prison (no joke) just made my jaw drop--especially when he said the boy is still living with him and his wife, 6 years later. Now that is a story. Fred discussed his writing process, where he gets inspiration for his books and the company he publishes through.

I left for a bit after Mr. Harrington because our writers' group meets on Tuesday and we had some work to do. I rejoined the meeting afterward and for my segment I discussed blogging as a way to build audience, social networking, and finding new and different ways to market our writing. I don't have novels like many of the others did, and what I do is a good bit different, but some of the methods I use for marketing can work for a traditional author too.

Last of the day's presenters (I missed one lady while at my writers group and don't know her name) was Mike Anders. Mike described his path to writing his current novel about horses, Voices on the Wind, and also gave specifics about publishing an e-book on Kindle. I had not considered doing that, but after listening to Mike, I plan to look into it as a way to sell some of my short stories.

It was an interesting day. The best part was meeting other writers and hearing about their work. I was able to promote our writing group too, and we may have gained a couple new members.

I had not planned to be away all day, but in the end it was time well spent. The company of writers--a pleasure and an inspiration.

Monday, February 20, 2012

What's Happening, and What Is Not

There's a lot going on around here these days. Here's a recap of what we're doing and what is not getting done:

1. We've been working away at sorting the auction items we came home with. That means sorting, cleaning, fixing, pricing and listing for sale. Some things go to our booth at the antique mall, others are to be listed on eBay. I was a happy camper when plates bought for less than $2 sold for $70 in one day. Researching the maker, an obscure company in Ohio that went out of business in 1958, paid off big time. The same was true for a vintage Pyrex casserole. It didn't look like much, perhaps, but apparently the piece with a pattern called "bar code" is in demand and it sold quickly. Research pays off for these vintage items. I learned that from the buying direction when I searched eBay for a particular kind of glass. When a seller doesn't know what they're selling, the buyer can get a great deal; I ended up with two pieces of Fenton for under $5 because the seller hadn't done their homework.

2. The log cabin Larry is working on is coming along. He had to cut some new logs to replace some that were not useable because of rot, and he has torn down an old equipment building that was really getting ready to fall down so he could reuse the lumber and tin roofing. Two birds with one stone, isn't it?

3. Bread-making with my KitchenAid mixer is a total joy. I love the way the bread comes out; it puts the electric breadmakers to shame. I've finally hit on the recipe I like best, one that is 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 bread flour. I am still using the 2 pounds of yeast I bought early last fall on Amazon. What a bargain that was! I hope the price is still as reasonable when I finally need to buy more. We eat very little bread these days; a loaf a week is about it. Which leads to #4...

4. Weight loss is still happening. We've both lost over the winter. I am now down by 22 pounds from a year ago; Larry has lost about 35 pounds. It's a slow process but I'm happy with the results. Larry looks great; he's about 20 pounds from his goal. I've got a lot further to go but the weight didn't get on me overnight and it won't leave that way either. We've made a big change in our eating habits. Breakfast is a good meal, lunch is usually a lot of food but light, and dinner mostly doesn't happen at all; if it does it's a salad. Talk about cutting food costs! Our grocery bill is under $50 a week and that includes all cleaning supplies and sometimes the cat food. Usually the bill is around $36.00, and I can sure live with that. We have so much food stored, and we have our own eggs too, that we just don't need to buy much beyond fresh veggies and dairy.

5. Writing is not happening as much as I'd like. I've been so busy with getting the booth set up that I've almost stopped writing. I'll get back to it this week, that is a promise to myself.

6. The greenhouse will not happen this year. Larry has so much on his plate already that this project will have to go on hold. We'll still get to work on it, and may get it built but it will be too late for this year's garden crops. We'll have to suck it up and buy plants this year. That doesn't make me happy but I'm a realist and I know what we can and can't get done.

7. And I am sad that there is no lettuce seed available in our town yet. What??? It's almost the end of February and the local feed stores still don't have lettuce seeds! We have the bed ready and waiting and it's so frustrating. I should have ordered my seeds by mail but it never occurred to me the local stores would be so far behind the curve. Ah well... patience is not a virtue I possess.

8. I have been working on the plans for the Sistersville Storytelling Retreat and the evening concert of Irish/Celtic stories at the Gaslight Theater. This all happens the first weekend of March. We had the retreat last year and it was so successful we're planning to do it again, and adding a concert for the public to the mix. Plans are pretty much in place; a few more things to do, a trip to Sistersville this Saturday to check everything out and we should be set.

9. Cadyn is coming! My great-granddaughter is coming once a week now, and my goodness do we have fun!

10...and I got to see Ronda of the Pauley Principle blog this week! That is exciting and I am so looking forward to it! Meeting blog friends is a real joy and I know we'll talk a blue streak.

So that's what is and isn't going on around this place. What's happening in your neck of the woods?

To My Followers--Google Friends is Ending, But You Can Follow with Linky!

You may have heard that Google is retiring Google Friend Connect; after March 1, 2012 many blogs will no longer support the Google Friend Connect community. You can still follow my blog though, through Linky, which is a new service that many bloggers are switching to in place of Google Friends.


To follow me via Linky Followers simply click "Follow Me" under the "Be a Follower" heading on the right side of my blog. If you've never used Linky Followers before it will prompt you to signup--don't worry, it's a free service.

Once you have access to Linky Followers you can browse other blogs by topic and even see when they were last updated, who owns it and begin following them all in one place!

It seems that as soon as we get used to something, it changes, and the best we can do is hold on for the ride :) I hope many of you will make the changeover and continue to follow my ramblings through Linky.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Life

It is a strange journey we take in this world;
often I wonder at its meaning.
There is joy--a birth, a love, a laugh.
There is excitement--a goal met, a victory won.
There is sadness--a loss, a grief, a sudden departure.
There is love--for child, parents, husband, lover.

Yet in the end, it is loss that rules,
for all must come to a certain end;
there is no happily ever after
after all, just a venturesome journey
toward a predictable end.

Still, is the journey all in vain
if the ending is known before we begin?
Would we, given the choice,
choose not to take the path
and end before we traveled on?

I think these thoughts reflecting
on the losses in my life, the grief
that came and lives on in my heart
with each and every one.
But then

There are the memories of voices and kisses,
triumphs and surprising victories
that make the struggle worth the while.
It is memories that sustain the heart
and in time, provide the balm for wounds.

Journey on, my friends. Gird your loins
for the future will bring certain sorrow.
Bare your heart too, because
with the pain there still is joy
in seeing younger faces stretch
toward the sun. They venture forth
and the path continues on.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

More Booth Pictures

Finally, I have some time to post more pictures. We went to an auction yesterday and I've spent today cleaning up the damage. Lots of great stuff, but also lots of not-so-great things that are now boxed up for the donation place. But here are some pictures of the rest of my booth at the antique mall:

This is looking in from the aisle.

 
And another view from outside the booth. I want to hang some things on the gray shelf's end panel, but first I need to figure out what I want to have on it. Pictures? Posters? Something else?

This is what I call the "primitive" corner. The table is an old deal table, pretty rough but I've had it and used it for many years.

Here's another view of the same table, taken a day later. See any changes?
A couple things sold so I rearranged and added more.
 
I added this glassware Friday to the top of the gray shelves:

This old wicker chair holds linens for sale. 

A corner look--after adding a little more on Thursday. You can click on any photo to enlarge it, btw.

The back side of the white shelf holds books and vintage glassware and baskets. I think I can do better with this area for display. 

That's all for tonight's virtual tour!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Whew!

My camera is safe! What a relief!

I can't tell you how happy I was to find it, right where I left it in the booth at the antique mall. Thankfully I'd laid it down in an inconspicuous spot, but I like to think that anyone who visited would not have taken it anyway. My faith in human nature might be naive but it's been supported numerous times over the years by good people doing the right thing.

Right now it is buried in the truck under a load of boxes. We went to an auction today and my goodness did we find some good stuff. Photos will come later, after I unearth my camera.

Since we had to go back in search of my camera I took two more totes of things to add to the booth. It's certainly filling up nicely. I'll take more this weekend, I think--I want to visit on a Saturday to see how busy the place is on a weekend. I did notice a few more things were gone so that's good.

It was a full day, and I'm pretty tired. But I am happy and satisfied too. My camera is back with me, the truck is full of some amazing things, and I will have a fun day tomorrow sorting it all out and deciding what to put in the booth, what to list on eBay, what to store for later, and what to take to a donation center. Box lots can provide a lot of interesting and useful stuff that I might not want to keep, but that someone else can use. I'll also be busy listing on eBay because I need to earn back what I spent and that's a faster route than selling in the booth. But I promise to post the rest of the pictures, along with a few of our finds today.

Best find today: a late 1800's-early 1900's lamp that was buried in a box of linens. I don't think anyone else noticed it! It looks like it was a kerosene lamp that was later retrofitted to be electric. Two other lamps are favorites too--they are alabaster and I really like them. I need to learn about cleaning marble, though because they sure can use a cleaning.

More tomorrow after I totally destroy this house unpacking and sorting!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vintage Thursday: A Peek at the Booth

Here's a look at some of my new booth at the antique mall. It's not a complete look because I left my camera behind. I am so worried that it will be gone when I go back tomorrow. I sure hope someone honest finds it and turns it in. I have loved this camera and will be very sad if it's gone.

As it turned out, the memory card got full as I was snapping photos so I changed it out and that is how I happen to have a few photos to show you even though the camera (and the bulk of my photos) is AWOL. So here's at least a peek at what it looks like.

This is Shelf Unit 1. I tried to arrange like with like as much as possible, keeping colored glass and white glass grouped--but the yellow honey pitcher had to go beside the Pfaltzgraf bee-themed pitcher and went okay with the flowered retro plates too. I don't like the color of these shelving units; we'd intended to paint them but the weather turned too cold for that so we opted to use them as they were. I'd like to replace these one day with white wood shelves. On the plus side, the shelves are adjustable and they have a baked-on enamel on steel finish that is pretty tough. Maybe I'll learn to live with them as they are.

Second shelf is green and clear glass alone with a little amber. There was some Capri dot glasses on this shelf that must have sold. I noticed several things were gone so that was good. This has some retro 70's glass, a Pyrex casserole, some English hobnail grill plates, some fan-shaped snack plates and some other odds and ends. We took another full tote over today and still have space to fill. I'd like more light on these shelves, another future project.

Lots of room on shelf 3! I do believe some things were missing here. As my friend Joy said, take pictures on each visit so you can see what's not there when you come back! I need to work on this shelf, and will bring more things to better stock it later this week, I hope. The English soup tureen and matching underplate is pretty nice; there's a large cobalt glass bowl not showing to good advantage here. The bottom shelf has mostly metal trays and tins, along with some Oriental-look items and that random basket that had so other place to go.

Shelf Unit 2: on the top is a set of wood nesting boxes (handpainted fruit designs on the lids), baskets, a HUGE beer stein and a tall glass Blenko vase, along with a set of 6 black and white checked woven placemats. This shelf is mainly kitchenware, and mostly 30's to 80's vintage. Green handled Coke glasses, a coffee grinder that works but is really for decoration I think, Hazel Atlas Ovide cream and sugar, a stovetop toaster, French mustard pot with a wooden spoon, a Pyrex bowl full of kitchen gadgets, a square mirror clock and a chrome clock, salt and peppers, egg cups, and a huge glass fish platter made in France, among other things.
Shelf 2 holds a small graniteware roaster, juice set, a metal bucket with red-checked napkin filled with kitchen gadgets, a beanpot and a few assorted items.
The bottom two shelves are still kitchen items, a lot of metal things, like stainless pots, icetrays, etc. Some nice syrup pitchers too.

Then there is the "lady" corner! Lots of pink and pretties here.
Hankies! I remember buying these for my mother when I was a girl--they were sheer, beautiful and useless really as a hankie. But so pretty! Back then they cost 59 or 69 cents; that was 50 years ago.
I used a garland of pearls as decoration in the booth, stringing it across and around this feminine area. The lighted lamp adds a soft glow through a flowered shade.

Aprons hang on wood ladders above the "primitive" table. I took more photos of this area but alas, they are on my camera, wherever it is :(  I hope it is in safekeeping and that I will be able to share more photos with you tomorrow. So far I have not covered half of the booth, so there is a lot more to show.

Send good thoughts to my camera and tell it to come home safely!

Linking to these friends today: A Vintage Green, Colorado Lady, Apron Thrift Girl, Her Library Adventures and A Coastal Charm. Check them out to see lots of great thrifting finds and vintage items!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

A belated Happy Valentine's Day to all my friends.

I hope your day was surrounded with love, good memories and many laughs.

We kept it simple: dinner out last night with our son (a nice treat from him!), a phone call from our youngest son to send his love, and tonight, a good fire in the fireplace, Cook's Extra Dry Champagne and strawberries dipped in chocolate. It was perfect. No cards, no gifts, just time together and time remembering those we love.

Quick Fix--If You Have Snow, That Is

A good snow means a good opportunity to clean rugs. I do not remember where I learned this trick but it certainly works for giving rugs a quick scrub in the winter. This time Larry did the honors.

It's as simple as carrying your rugs outside, dumping snow on them and then scrubbing them with a broom. It is amazing how much dirt is removed in the process. I use this for rugs that can't go in the washing machine and the results are very similar to using a rug cleaner.


There's not been much snow here this winter, and the 3 inches this weekend was the most we've had at one time, so it was a good opportunity to get the rugs done. No snow ice cream this time, though--I just forgot to make it. So let's hope for more snow so we can enjoy that simple treat.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Soup Kind of Day

It's been that kind of day. After working hard Thursday and Friday getting our booth set up, we settled in Friday evening to watch the snow fall. Yesterday we tried to get motivated to get something done, but it never worked out--both of us were just plain tired! I had a small performance last night too, that I needed to get ready for.

So we watched the snow, piddled around and then left for Charleston in the evening--thankfully the snow had stopped. And what had been predicted as 4-7" of the white stuff only ended up amounting to 3 inches here on the ridge and about an inch elsewhere. Big letdown after all the hype! But up here, it was beautiful and it was nice to see after such a snow-less winter.

Today we got to work. The house was a mess after all that moving of stuff; there was hardly a flat surface clear for sitting. So we worked on picking up and putting away before moving on to other projects. My main project today was paper--sorting out receipts from last year and getting them filed. I had been pretty good about keeping up with them until the fall, then I got so busy I just let them pile up. It's amazing how much paper can accumulate. Now I have them all rough-sorted for the storytelling part of my life; the household part is organized and filed away. Tomorrow I will tackle the storytelling receipts and get them into the spreadsheet. And call an accountant to set up an appointment. There is just too much involved with our taxes for last year to attempt to do them myself this time. Next year, I think I can get back to doing it alone, but with retirement and the land sale it just gets complicated.

I took a break in filing to make soup. It was definitely a soup kind of day and I had a hankering for a soup with barley--and tomatoes. What I ended up making was Tomato-Turkey-Barley Soup with cornbread.  Here's the basic recipe:

Tomato, Turkey, and Barley Soup
1 quart canned tomatoes
3 cups water (or more, depending on how thick you like your soup)
3 cups cooked turkey, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup dried celery leaves
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon dried parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried chopped garlic, or 2 cloves, chopped
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup pearl barley

Turn on the stove; pour the canned tomatoes into a 4-quart or larger pot and add the water. Add all the est of the ingredients to the pot in the order listed. Cook for about 45 minutes, or until the barley is tender and ready to eat.

I served this with yellow cornbread and pumpkin butter. It was a feast, perfect for a cold winter's day. There's enough left for tomorrow too. Now that just makes me happy. You can find my cornbread recipe here and my pumpkin butter recipe here--both so simple to make and so good, especially together.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Back to the Booth

We spent yesterday starting up our booth at the antique mall.

We hauled in the shelving and tables, wiped them down so they were good and clean, and got them arranged. There is less space in 8x10 feet than you'd think! We brought a round table with us that ended up coming back home--no space! I also have an old kitchen cabinet that I want to bring, but decided to paint it first, so we'll be rearranging again when it's done.

What we ended up with looked pretty good. But would you believe we completely filled my SUV and Larry's truck--but barely filled the booth? So when I got home last night I packed more things to go. One thing I realized as I was setting up was that I had lots of small-dollar items but not too many things over $20. That means I'd have to sell a lot just to pay the booth rent. So last night I concentrated on finding things that will sell for more $$$. I like having the lower-priced things, because as my sister said, those are the booths she likes to shop in because she can afford a few things. But I need a better mix, so that's today's challenge.

Larry has been a real packhorse. He's moved boxes and boxes, moved furniture, run back and forth to the hardware store and just been a great help. He was so tired he was in bed before 9 and slept like a stone all night.

Thanks to Joy's good advice this has been a lot easier than it might have been. I grouped things as she advised, made the booth look full even though it needs and will get a lot more stuff in it today, and got some good compliments from the owner and the cashier. The young cashier came in and looked around and said, :I love this! You've got your girlie corner, your primitive country corner, your snooty corner and over there's the kitchen. You've got a great decorating style." That made me feel good. The "snooty" corner, by the way, has a silver service and vintage china and dishes along with an older ginger jar lamp.

I will post photos soon, I promise. I'm trying to take them as I work but keep forgetting. And yesterday I had my little great-granddaughter for the last hour we were there--she was so much fun and so interested in everything, so I spent some time looking around the mall with her. Maybe she'll get the vintage bug early.

We're off again to take another load  before the snow comes. I expect to be housebound tomorrow if the snow arrives as predicted.

I was absolutely exhausted by the time I dropped in bed about 1 am this morning.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Vintage Thursday: Gettin' My Irish Up

I have been so busy with getting ready to set up shop in my booth that I haven't been taking a lot of photos. But this week at Goodwill, I got so lucky. The luck of the Irish, I suppose because I found some beautiful things that make me think of Ireland and St. Patrick's Day. My heritage is mixed, like most Americans--my father was half Irish and half German, my mother 100% English. But the things I found spoke to my Irish blood for a change. (Usually I'm more in touch with my English heritage, and given the difficult relationship between Britain and Ireland, it's a wonder I'm not running a fever all the time.)

 
Like this Marcus Notley tea set that includes the teapot, sugar bowl with lid and spoon, creamer and six mugs.

I also found 4 more matching mugs to this set, so I listed them on eBay separately. And there was one extra mug--that one will be for me to toast my Irish heritage on St. Pat's Day!

That wasn't all, though. I also found these 2 glass mugs with concise instructions for making Irish coffee etched right on them. How much fun is that? A little research revealed that these were made by "Eamon" for QVC. Pretty sure it's not my nephew Eamon they're referring to.

Then there was this lovely little basket at a little thrift shop that I passed up the first time but when it was still there three days later, well...

Are you planning ahead for the green month? I know Valentine's Day hasn't even come but that is never a really big deal for me. And usually St. Patrick's day isn't either, but this year I'm in the mood for it for some reason. So I might be doing a little more greening up around the house in preparation.


If you feel like reading up a bit on Irish history, mythology and folklore, this site is a good place to find what you're looking for. And you can listen to podcasts of Irish history here, or share the story of your Irish-American heritage here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Work to Do

After renting that booth, I had to take a kind of inventory of what furniture I had for display. Result: trip to ReStore for shelving. We found some good steel shelves, plus a rolling unit with shelving on both sides that actually used to belong to the library where I worked. For less than $100, I came away with some good stuff.

Next step: paint. I hope tomorrow is a nice enough day to do that. Joy advised that all shelving be the same color so I bought paint on the way home. I also have things that need to be cleaned up so I can use them--you know how it is when you store things in outbuildings. So tomorrow will be a busy work day.

I've been sorting through the things I want to sell, trying to envision how I want to lay them out. I expect this first time will take a bit of time; I'll probably be over there every day for three or four days as I get things situated. And labeled. And entered into a spreadsheet. I also picked up some things to help make the booth more attractive--a few candles, some chocolates to give away the first few days, etc.

It occurred to me that this booth gives me several opportunities I had not considered. Like selling my CDs--it's a good outlet for them. And displaying my storytelling brochures. And selling my West Virginia/Appalachian books--they don't sell very quickly on Amazon and many I don't even have listed there because there is no record to attach them to, but I know there is a market based on my experience with the library book sale. So the booth is a real plus on that score.

Oh, and today's trip to town yielded a lot of great finds! I'd just been to Goodwill yesterday but today I came out with a whole shopping cart full of cool stuff. And it was Senior discount day too :) More for the booth and a few keepers for me.

In between working on the booth will be a recording studio session, an open mic night, and a performance for an arts fundraiser, reading my poetry. Busy days ahead!

Monday, February 6, 2012

New Project: Granny's Place

Well, I did it. I rented a booth at a local antique mall.

I've wanted to do this for a long time, and even looked into it 4 or 5 years ago, but at that time, well, there just wasn't time to pursue the idea. But now that I am retired and have all this stuff I've bought to sell on eBay, I realize that I've bought way more than I'll ever get listed. I had heard on the radio that a new flea market was opening in a town about 50 miles away so we went to check it out.

That one, not so much. All downstairs space was rented, there seemed to be no heat in the building, and there was no elevator to the second floor. On top of that, the second floor has to be accessed through a separate entry that's not too visible to the first-floor flea market, so it would be pretty simple for anyone to walk out with anything. I do wish the new owner luck, though, and perhaps all the issues I noted will be resolved somehow. The location was good, and as we all know that's important. But carrying everything up a very long flight of stairs? Not for me. And I wondered about customers too; many who are into collecting are over 40 and those stairs were pretty intimidating.

We took the longer way home, winding along the Ohio River through small communities, a very relaxing drive. As we passed through Ravenswood, we noticed that the Riverbend Antique Mall was open and stopped to check it out. We've been in before, and I know the mall has suffered through some hard times. The aluminum plant, the biggest employer in this county, had shut down a major portion of the plant a few years ago, laying off 650 workers. That and the generally bad economy hit Ravenswood hard. Now it seems the community is making a comeback. There is word going round that the plant will be re-opening in some areas very soon, and a few other job opportunities have come to the area recently, most notably a large Army Reserve Center just south of town.

The antique mall has a new owner and she just happened to have a booth available. It's in a good location in the store, on the left side (which is the direction I always start out in such places) and fairly close to the front. It's only 8x10, which is big enough for me right now. The mall is attractively arranged and on a late Sunday afternoon still had customers. There are several other antique shops on the street, the main drag through town. And I liked the hours too--Tuesday-Saturday 10-6 and Sundays 12-5. Some places are closed on Sunday, or close at 5 on weekdays, effectively cutting out anyone who has to work 9-5.

Now I have some work to do, deciding what to put in the booth and how to arrange it. I'll be taking notes from my friend Joy at A Vintage Green, who runs several booths in Canada and has a great blog about it. I've got a lot to learn, and Larry thinks I'm nuts for taking on yet another project. Once it is set up, though, I think it will be a lot of fun. I'll post pictures as soon as it's done.

And of course, should you ever happen through Ravenswood, please stop by!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Museum of American Glass

I met my sister Judy in Weston, WV this past week, to finally exchange Christmas gifts (a little late!) and just visit.

Where did we do our visiting? At the West Virginia Museum of American Glass! This beautiful and fairly new museum is located in the heart of Weston and is thriving. They have paid off their building and have started a campaign to expand. New donations come in regularly; donors of collections also donate the cases to house the collection. Recently a woman from Washington state donated her entire, large collection of sherbet dishes. She drove the collection across the country, paid for the case and stayed to help with the arrangement of the collection! Hers is one of many stories the museum represents. While we were there a gentleman came in to donate scale models of a plate glass making operation.


There is a lot to see in the museum from the large mural donated by another museum to the marble collection, glass making equipment, and aisles and aisles of beautiful glass. If you have a piece and wondered when it was made and by what company, this is the place to find that information. If the piece isn't on display, the friendly, knowledgeable staff might be able to identify it. And if they can't there is a reference library lined with books.



We browsed slowly along the aisles. I was thrilled to finally identify a butter dish I had as being made by the Cooperative Flint Company in the 1880's. My dish had no lid but I loved it for its design. Judy saw a plate like one she had at home and was astonished to find it was also made in the 1880's.

We spent a lot of time in the museum's store. Not only do they have many books for sale, they also sell glass! Dean Six, a museum staff member and author of several books on antique and vintage glass, told us that the museum sells duplicate pieces or pieces that were not made in America as a way to raise funds. We were lucky enough to be there on a sale day, and bought several pieces for only $1 each.

In the sales area is also a collection of mis-matched lids. The collection included older and newer, some vaseline glass and colored glass, tops to sugar bowls, casseroles, butter dishes, etc. And would you believe, my sister found a lid that matched my dish! What are the odds on that happening? Very slim, I would say.

This pattern is called Budded Ivy, or Ivy in Snow, I suppose because of the stippled effect on the glass. I am learning a lot about Early American Pattern Glass and learning to recognize it when I see it. The glass looks different--I'm not sure how to describe the difference, but it stands out to me now. It's surprising that there is so much out there still in thrift shops; I suppose unless you happen to know its age, glass just looks like glass?

The Museum identified the lid as a "honey dish lid" and it could be that what I have is not a butter dish but a honey dish. I don't know the difference in the two, so I still have more to learn about this piece. And a whole, whole lot to learn about glass in general. It's a fascinating study. When I got home, I went online and ordered several more glass books, adding to my very slim library. I expect I'll be back at the museum soon, with pictures of all the pieces I can't identify.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The New/Old Bed

The old bed: a good one, I'll admit, and one that served well for, let me see...43 years?



So here's the new bed:

No my bedroom isn't THAT crooked--it was just difficult to get a good angle with the camera! But don't you love this old bed? I think it's from the 1930's; that's what the lady I got it from said. I bought it at a yard sale and I'm just in love with it. Best point? It doesn't squeak and squonk every time we move! (Now, go wash your mind out with soap--that is NOT the kind of moving I'm talking about!)

Footboard,

and headboard.
Yes, I love this bed and my bedroom. Quilt by eBay, pillow shams and throw pillow by Goodwill, dresser by hand-me-down (my childhood dresser), picture by library auction, wild hair wreath by moi, quilted hanging by yard sale, water bottles and cups by flea market, pitcher and bowl by Salvation Army, lamp on left by old cabin we tore down (Larry re-wired), lamp on right by Dollar Store, vases, etc by thrift stores.

Here's a funny thing, though: I am so used to my old bed and the post at the end of the bed where I would toss sweaters, nightgown,  pillow sham, etc, that I am constantly finding myself trying to hang things there. Not quite as easy an option on this bed! So the bedroom is staying a lot less cluttered because I have to put things away. That's a good thing, right?


It seems odd to make such a change, to tell the truth. I've been so used to the old bed that it feels funny to go to bed in this one. And yet, it's more comfortable, quieter, and just plain prettier. I'll get used to it, I'm sure.

Now, to find a new dresser with a mirror and the same amount of drawer space.

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