Tuesday, September 28, 2010

So Much To Tell...

This past week or so has been so crazy. It started with attending a quilt show in Oaks, PA. Seeing so many beautiful quilts all under one roof makes me realize that I have got to get back to sewing my fish quilt. So much inspiration!!! Modern quilts, traditional quilts, retro, antique... you name it, it was there. My favorite designer, Kaffe Fassett had a whole display. I just DROOL over his designs. *Sigh*... some day I'll be rich enough to afford his fabric and make a quilt. A girl can dream... can't she?

Our Used Bookstore, Glen Echo closed it's doors this month... so we had a HUGE liquidation sale this week of the books on the lower level of Chicklet Books to make room for their inventory. The same people that did my whole house sale handled this sale. If anyone need their services do not hesitate to contact Rob and Diana at We Make It Go Away. They travel to Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Our sale was extremely successful. One customer thought they were clever and could out smart Rob and Diana. He came to the sale in the middle of the week... but found out that Sunday would be 'fill a bag for $5' day. So he grabbed a box, filled it with his selections, hid it somewhere and walked out... intending to return on Sunday and purchase it then... saving himself $25. Diana found the box and put it in the back room. I don't feel bad that we lost the opportunity to move another bunch of books out of the downstairs... the man had excellent taste and pulled all the classics like Romeo & Juliet. I can never have enough copies of those. Ha, ha... his plan back fired.

Saturday found me in Washington, DC at the National Book Festival taking notes on what to do and NOT do at The Princeton Book Festival that Chicklet Books is holding this spring in the courtyard of The Princeton Shopping Center. Keep a watch out for more information about this in the future.

Can't you just see me wearing this pink polka dot shirt? Don't worry... I didn't buy it. Thrift shops have become my newest fascination. Finding bargains is only half the fun... meeting some of the wildest people is the other half. I was amazed to see who shops in these places. Young professionals, young families, older well dressed women and more. I bought a pair of black slacks from Talbots that I KNOW had a price tag of $129 when they were in the store... for $6.99!!! They are in PERFECT condition. A Banana Republic shirt at $4.99 rounded out my ensemble for the day. It doesn't bother me that someone else wore it before me... just think of it as borrowing something from your friend's closet. 

Not everything is so fabulous... but you do have to wonder who bought some of these things in the first place. Take this dress for example... 

In a typical Bride-zilla tactical move, I imagine she told her bride's maids that this dress was perfect for the wedding... and that it was simple enough that they could wear it again at another function. I doubt anyone really fell for that line.

I met a young woman trying on the most horrible looking shoes... that were way to big for her. Purple pointed stilettos with a poof of purple fuzz at the toe... in a size 12W. As I watched her struggling to take a picture of her foot with her camera phone I stepped in and offered to take the picture for her. As it turns out she writes a blog and since these were Frederic of Hollywood shoes in a super huge size she felt compelled to take pictures and write about them. Not because the shoe looked so wild... but because of the size. Why is the size important I hear you ask? Because only drag queens and transvestites fit in them. 10 minutes later I saw what she meant... a group of 5 transvestites swarmed around the aisle trying on all of the vampy stilettos... and they fit perfectly.

Sunday was spent peacefully at the beach. No, not in a bathing suit soaking up the rays... rather with my camera slung around my neck waiting for the perfect wave to break so I could capture the moment. I waited all day... but I didn't get the photo I wished for. I got many others that are just as nice... but the PERFECT photo in my head still eludes me. 

My beautiful, wonderful weekend finished up like this...

Yup... that's my car being towed... AGAIN! This time it's the turbo charger that went. Do you think it's trying to tell me that it's tired and wants to go to pasture??? I'm dressing in a 'power outfit' today and talking to the Vovlo dealership manager to see what my options are. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words...

The local Sheep Breeders Association... yup, you read that right... held their annual Fleece and Fiber Show this past weekend. You all know I just HAD to go and see what it was all about. The weather was gloomy, over cast with a hint of drizzle. I felt as bad as the weather... but that didn't keep me from driving out to Hunterdon County Fairgrounds... no sir... not me. My intentions were to do a 'drive by' and decide if this was an event to go to next year.  Apparently there is no such thing as a 'look see' in the country.

First of all you couldn't see anything from the road. You had no choice but to drive in. Once I paid the $5 parking fee then I just HAD to get out of the car and take a peek. The event was held inside 4 gigantic barns. I told myself I would just go poke my head in the first barn... and a goat stared back at me. He was so cute. I stepped inside and saw more goats, tons of sheep, alpacas, angora rabbits, llamas and more. The baby alpaca was the most adorable thing I have ever seen!!! Ahhh.... this is the country. I inhaled the fresh scent of sweet hay, sheep lanolin, and... manure!

In the next barn animals were looking at me, women were offering spinning lessons, men were talking to everyone about raising their animals, kids were hauling pails of water. Bags of fleece were judged and up for sale. Some animals were being prepped for competitions, others were being led around stretching their legs. Demonstrations of dogs herding... fascinating! Two little naked sheep were just sheared and looked cold. I wandered in to the next barn without even knowing it. This world is so foreign to me I felt I was floating in a dream. People really do this for a LIVING?

Whoa! Pay dirt! This barn is filled with vendors!! (Thank you for visiting the USA... please exit through the gift shop). Every where I turn I see fleece, yarn both in its natural state and technicolor, handmade soap, spinning wheels, felting needles, knitted scarves and hats... you name it! Some of the yarn even had the picture of the animal it came from... and you knew you just saw him/her in the first barn. Speak about giving your yarn a face!!! Lucky for me I didn't bring my wallet... I would have been in Trouble... with a capital T.

I found out why angora sweaters are sooooooo expensive. It would have cost me $35 just to buy enough angora yarn to make a thin scarf... but oh how soft and elegant it would feel against my skin. Perhaps next year I'll bring enough money to buy some... just for me. A teddy bear made from Alpaca was another thing I drooled over. If you haven't had the pleasure of feeling how soft and silky an alpaca is, you just haven't lived. The 'button lady' taught me how to tell a bakelite button from a regular plastic, celluoid, or lucite button and why they are so prized by collectors... and I topped it all off with a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade. Imagine if I decided to really go to this show? Remember, I was only going to do a quick 'run through'.

The bad part of this whole thing, was that I didn't have a camera. So many wonderful photo ops passed me by. I even left my cell phone in the car, so I didn't even have THAT to snap pictures with. I guess I really have to go back next year after all... and bring some money for the angora yarn :-)

I had the day off today and spent it cleaning and organizing for a move in the not too distant future... and photographing some items to upload on to Etsy. I concentrated on BUTTONS... now that I'm a pro at detecting bakelite ones. I got a lot of buttons from an Estate sale a few weeks back, plus I already had some that I was DESTASHING, in addition to a few more I found at a thrift store. Put them altogether and move them out the door!

One button I particularly am attached to photographed so well. I stuck it in some sand (that I took from the beach a few weeks ago) and snapped away. The angle I used makes it look like I was actually at the beach. I was really on my back deck... no where near a beach.  Take a look for yourself...

And since I don't have any photos of the animals at the Fleece and Fiber show to share... I will leave you with a picture of my mother's fig tree... and a pretty sunflower patch I saw growing by the side of the road. That's about as 'country' as I get.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I surrender!!!

OK... OK... OK... I've been off-line for a few days. I hear ya! That doesn't mean I haven't been busy uploading destash items and handmade jewelry on to Etsy... it just means that I haven't had a few spare minutes to get them up here on the blog. So.... to make my life easier I have been playing around with getting a mini Etsy slide show that will be on my side bar in this blog... BUT as I am sure you all understand... it has not been easy to make this happen. Why is it that things that are suppose to streamline your life cause so much frustration??? In a few days you will either see my Etsy shop... or an actual store. I haven't quite decided yet.

For the past few days I have had a sore throat, tender and slightly swollen glands, and a very low grade temperature. Not quite sure if I'm coming down with something, or if it's just going to hang out for a few days and go away. I've been 'laying low' just in case. Tuesday on my day off from the store I got a much anticipated FedEx delivery... a huge box full of BUTTONS!! I was like a little kid on Christmas morning!!! Since I was cleaning the house and had a full day planned I decided I wouldn't play... er sort... the buttons until after dinner.

My reserve lasted only about  an hour. Those buttons were calling out to me from the other room. "Look at me... aren't I pretty?" "No, no... look at me... I'm special... I have rhinestones and sparkle." It was worse than having all 3 kids in a swimming pool shouting, "Look at me!", "Watch me jump in the water", "Look I can hold my breath". I didn't know which jar to open first.

A jar the size of 5 pounds of peanut butter caught my eye. The bottom half was filled with white buttons, the top half with black. OK... I'll start there. I unscrewed the lid, lifted the carefully wadded up turquoise tissue paper that kept the buttons from rattling around during shipping, and noticed a hint of metal. Hmmmm... what could THAT be? Flicking black buttons to the side I reached in and pulled out a smaller jar.  Orange and yellow buttons sparkled in the afternoon sun. What a surprise!!! Kind of like a present within a present!

I began to sort shank buttons from regular ones with holes... metal from plastic and mother of pearl. Some looked like teeny tiny hats, others looked like glass.  So intent on sorting, it was hours before I raised my head and stood up and stretched... but all of my buttons were sorted. At least from that ONE jar... I have 5 more to go.

Tonight I'll take some pictures and post them so you can all share in my excitement. I know you are all jealous... come on, admit it :-)

I also realized that my days of living in the house will soon come to an end. For those of you not up to speed... I surrendered my house to the mortgage company. My husband, Stan had always wished that I would remain in this house. Between the medical bills and the gigantic economic hit we have all taken it was just not meant to be. I kind of came to terms with it. In as much as I would like to stay, it is so totally out of my reach money wise. To be honest,  everything is out of my reach right now. I take each day one at a time and am always so glad at night that I made it though 'yet another one'.

It has been about 6 months since the mortgage company and I came to the agreement, so I am thankful for the last mortgage free months. The worse part is not knowing when Lauren and I have to be out, but assume it will be soon. Hey! Does anyone out there need any house sitters??? Do you own a second home and want it 'guarded' and deep cleaned over the winter??? You know where to find me if you do... I'll be at my mom's :-)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 3

Well folks... I was so busy yesterday having a good time that I didn't get to post my blog. That's a good thing, right? I did however get to post my destash item and both days of handmade jewelry on Etsy like I was supposed to, so at least I'm not already behind after only 3 days :-)

The weather was so beautiful today... a PERFECT day. Not too hot (finally), with a cool breeze. I spent the day out on the Navesink River in Red Bank, NJ on a committee boat to watch the Sunday boat races. Monmouth Boat Club has been holding these races for years, and years, and years. The wind was a bit much for one boat and it flipped over... the mast got stuck in the mud... ick... I'm so glad I don't have to clean that mess up. There is nothing worse than river mud!!

The fresh air was so relaxing. A few ideas popped into my head for my 365 daily jewelry item. Making a daily item is actually kind of fun. It makes me think outside the box. For example... There is a jar of vintage buttons just begging me to make a bracelet out of them. So I grab the computer and go to trusty google and Etsy, type in 'button bracelet' to see what others have done.... I was not impressed. I want my buttons to 'dangle'... most of the ones I saw were made flat. The buttons that DID dangle were hooked with jump rings to a chain... not the look I was going for. So...... I took out my teeny tiny crochet hook and thin, thin thread and started to make a base, then pulled in the buttons... but the buttons were too heavy looking for the thin thread. Hmmmm.... back to the drawing board. I can't wait to see what I think up next to try. Eventually this bracelet will become a 365 item and you will have opportunity to purchase it... knowing I created a OOAK (One Of A Kind) .

Destash day 3

The DESTASH item for Day 3 is a group of 36 clear glass ornaments to use the paint from Day 2 on.

Day 2 jewelry item is a pink beaded memory bracelet with a dangling silver heart. This is a GREAT bracelet for a breast cancer survivor... or any one who loves pink.

Day 3 jewelry is a macrame bracelet with off white beads... and one white bead. There is a reason I chose to make it this way. Go to my Etsy store to find out why.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 2... Destash

Today I am 'destashing' 12 jars of paint. Air Dry Perm Enamel to be exact... plus a few other goodies. This grouping includes 2oz jars of the following colors: white, mediterranean blue, red red, chocolate, azure blue, 14k gold, true green, silver, citrus yellow and 3 jars of ultra black. In addition there are 2oz jars of retarder and thinner... and 8oz jars of surface conditioner, clear glaze, and satin glaze. I only used a few colors to paint some polka dots on 6 small ornaments... so I would consider all of the paint to be 'like new' and full bottles. The surface conditioner is about 1/4th used.

You can use this paint on many surfaces... however it is mostly used on glass. No heat set needed, just let it air dry. Creative ideas would be to paint cute wine glasses or martini glasses for your next celebration... or paint snowflakes on glass ornaments. Paint dries shiny. Go for it!
Available for sale in my ETSY store for $10.00 with FREE SHIPPING!

As far as the daily jewelry offering is concerned... the piece is almost finished, but it will be too late for me to post it tonight... so you will have to hang in there and be surprised tomorrow. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 1... 364 to go

Lime Green Cord
As promised... here is my first item up for 'destashing'. It was really difficult to choose. Not because I'm attached to these things and don't want to let them go... oh no, not me... but because there is so much to choose from that I didn't know where to start.

When we had the whole house sale I was thinking more about the furniture, kitchen items and anything LARGE that I didn't want to move. It never dawned on me to weed out all the craft stuff. I just stuffed it all in a closet and said I would          
                                                         go through it at a later date. That day has arrived!

Turquoise Cord
Today's destash item is 2 bundles of cording. The first one is really more of a LIME GREEN. 25 yards is neatly wrapped on the original cardboard tube. The second part of the destash is a beautiful bundle of TURQUOISE cording. However, my son's dog, Chase got a hold of it before I could stop him and tore the cording off the roll. I promise to detangle it and wrap it up nice and neat. I kind of like the picture though... it looks like wild spaghetti. There should be 25 yards on this roll too, but I see 4 ends instead of 2 so Chase must have cut it in to 2 lengths for you. How considerate of him :-)

Both bundles of cording is selling for $4 total with FREE SHIPPING!!! Go to my Etsy store to purchase... or drop me a line.

Beaded Beauty!!! Wear as a bracelet, or necklace!
And now... for the moment you have all been waiting for... the first item I made with beads and such is... a wrap bracelet. I crocheted it using black nylon string called C-Lon which is fade proof and water resistant along with size 8 seed beads in black, brown, tan, pearl white, and rust. It measures about 30" long and easily wraps around your wrist 4 times. OR... if you prefer... wear it plain as a simple necklace. Either way looks GREAT. Bracelet will come wrapped on a display card, dated and signed by me. Selling for $20... also with FREE SHIPPING!!! Purchase through my Etsy store or drop me a line. If you would like directions to make one yourself... drop a note in the comment section and I'll write a tutorial. It's really very easy... especially if you already know how to crochet.

This 365 day process ought to be interesting. I learned how to crochet a rope using thread and beads today. Once I perfect the technique I will choose an item to put up for sale. Learn along with me. Ask questions... I'll be happy to share how I do it!

56 years in 365 days

There is nothing more eye-opening at 6:30 in the morning than a hot 'cuppa joe'... unless it's a huge banner spanning the back door proclaiming your age in black and white. Just another reminder from my darling dear daughter that today I am another year old. I need to remind her that pay backs are a bitch!

My son needs the same lesson. He found an iPhone App that allows him to scan old photos and upload to his facebook. Let's just say that I didn't look my best 24 years ago... not even 'for the day'. Of course he was only 6 months old and adorable. I was an over tired wife and mother of  3 kids. Trust me when I say I plan to retaliate some day when he least expects it. Life can be cruel... or fun, it all depends on your view.

When asked what I wanted for my birthday I replied... "organizational things to clean up my craft craziness".  Both girls followed my wishes and bought me bins and shelves to fill with colorful beads, fabrics and paper. My upcoming Labor Day weekend will have me 'laboring' over how to clean and organize my 'studio' space. However... while looking around the room I quickly realized that I have an over abundance of 'treasures'. 56 years worth of collecting (Okay, okay... hoarding) simply doesn't fit in a few bins and shelves... so the decision has been made to DESTASH!  For those of you not 'in the know'... destash means to downsize the amount of craft supplies hiding in every drawer, under furniture, crammed in closets, and flattened out between the mattress and box springs by selling it to some other unsuspecting  fool.... uh, I mean to say... talented crafter.

My plan requires daily attention. Each day I will do 2 things. First, I will upload one item (or group of similar items) for sale on Etsy and/or Craigslist in hopes that someone will decide they can't live without the item and buy it to add to their stash. Secondly... since I have a lot of beads, fabric and jewelry supplies I plan to design and create a piece of body adornment each day and put it up for sale. One day it might be a bracelet, next day a felted flower pin. It will depend on what side of the bed I get up on that day. I will date and number each piece for 365 days until my next birthday. Now here's the kicker... the one rule I have to live by is that I can't purchase any other supplies for these projects. I MUST USE WHAT I HAVE ON HAND.

I will post a photo of the item I made each day along with the item I have decided to DESTASH on this blog so you can follow along with me. If you want anything you see... just let me know. The jewelry items will be on my Etsy site and in the bookstore. Since each item will be dated wouldn't it be great to purchase the item I make on your birthday, anniversary or other special day??? Hint, hint.

Does anyone out there know what else is special about today? The date is the name of a hit TV show... 90210.

Check out my blog tomorrow to see what I decide to make.