Thursday, June 28, 2012

Finds & Fun

Last weekend I was lucky to host two of my best girlfriends for a fun weekend in New York City. We dined al fresco in the back yard (in the rain), shopped until we dropped on Fifth Avenue and drank enough St. Germain to choke the entire French Foreign Legion.

On our excursion to our favorite places we also hit up a few new destinations including the lovely Laduree.

Now, I know macaroons are all the rage but I have personally never had one. To me they look like meringue which I don't care for. I know that is not what they are made of but still, I'm not supposed to eat a lot of sweets away and this was a good excuse to stay away. Well . . .

Pardon the fuzzy on this, we were delirious with happiness. (and the camera was on the wrong setting) These are probably the best treats I have ever had. Those above would be green apple, pistachio (my personal fave), black current and violet & rose. OH. BOY. I'm a true convert and an addict now. It is good that Laduree is not too close to my office or I'd be sneaking over there at lunch. I can taste the pistachio now . . .

We also happened by MacKenzie-Childs. It is like walking into the Mad Hatters ome. I was in love.

I only managed to take this one photo of a chair but I about died when I saw this cake carrier:

Pricey yes, but divine. Now imagine all that flower enamelware mixed with black and white check pottery adn those divine brightly striped chairs, pillows and foot stools. That is what is like inside the store. :)

On Sunday we went to the Elephants Trunk Flea Market. Here are my finds:

A sweet pair of Japanese Kokeshi for my collection. There are about 6 inches tall where all of mine are only 3 inches or so. I love their colors.

Vintage books including two Bobbsey Twins and this one:

I love the cover. I also snagged another enamel flower pin for my collection and feww doll house goodies.

I hit up the flea the week before, too, but never got around to posting the goodies:

Two sweet satin flower dresser boxes, I always pick these up. Both pretty and functional.

And a lovely 1950s pink bird pitcher. I know I spotted this on a blog recently and I was tickled to find my own. So far I've been enjoying my trips to Connecticut to dig through the junk but this weekend will be a scorcher so I think I'll take a week off. :)

I was sorry to see my girsl go but the weekend was divine. Until the next time mes amies!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

You've Come a Long Way, Baby (Doll)

So (or sew) does anyone remember Charlotte Ann? Yeah I didn't think so. She was originally created back on July 14th 2008. She also got hair in that month. She received a face (and her name) in September 2008. Then she sat, naked, waiting. Finally she got some bloomers in May 2010. And now in June 2012 she is, dare I say, finished.

It has taken me 4 years (can you believe that?) to finish a doll from an original pattern. Yeah. I KNOW.

I really wanted to make her clothes you could change but that wasn't working out so well. Instead I sewed them right to her from scraps. The dress is made from a remnant bin find and the apron overlay from an old thrifted valance. The felt flower is from a Martha Stewart kit found for a $1.00 and the button is from my vintage stash.

I am really happy with the way she turned out and now, of course, I want to make another. Hopefully it won't take me nearly as long.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Flea Finds: The Big Reveal

Okay, that title is overly dramatic but that is how I am feeling today. After actually putting some thought into where the camera might be I quickly found it. So without further ado . . . the big reveal. ;)

First, a bit more detail on that St. Marta statue which may be my favorite find of the day:


I didn't even notice she was on a blanket marked "everything $1.00 each" before I scooped her up. Also rescued from that same blanket:

A sad little piper pepper shaker without a mate, one of those sweet angel bells from Japan and an old diary:

Not much is written in the diary (and I can barely read the writing) but still a fun find for a buck. In fact, I only paid $3 for all 4 things as I was cracking the guy up but picking and putting down the diary several times while murmuring "no more books, no more books."

I also snagged a fabulous chippy aqua compact, gorgeous brooch style necklace, enamal flower pin and feather headband style hat.

Maybe the compact is my favorite find? Or perhaps the necklace?

Or maybe it is this? What is that?

Why it's a gorgeous round silk rose covered boudiour pillow. The epitome of shabby chic. And last but not least:

Yes, I know it is an oddity but I just love it. It is a charcoal portrait of someone's beloved dog "Jingles." It is dated 1956. I saw in some magazine where someone did a wall collage of all dog portraits.

I already had this one which was found at this very same flea market a few years ago. It is a photo but I think will go nicely with the new one. Quirky but unique, no?

Happy hunting!

Monday, June 11, 2012

St. Marta

Finaly this weekend I made it back to the Elephant's trunk flea market in New Milford, Connecticut. For the record my husband DID NOT go. He also did not wear a straw cowboy hat and pull a granny cart. Ahem.

I found a few treasures though I felt a lot of the vendors were priced pretty high. I saw blue mason jars with zinc lids for $85 a piece. Yeah, not for me. I'll share the treasures soon as I seem to have misplaced my camera. I really don't like seeing all of the blogs covered in Instagrammed iPhone pictures so I refuse to do that here. One of the reasons I started blogging was to improve my photography. With that said, I adore the convenience of taking a one off shot with my phone and sending it to someone. In this case, to myself:

This is one of my treasures, a chalkware statue of St. Marta (Martha) that I scored for $1.00. At the base is says St. Marta though I believe she is St Martha of Provence. I loved her red and turquoise robes and her "well loved" appearance. If you look at her feet she is standing on a winged monster who I believe is the Tarrasque who St. Martha charmed with hymns and prayers. You go, girl.

More to come on my treasures soon. Stay thrifty my friends.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Review: Scotch Greener Masking Tapes

I was fortunate to receive samples of the new eco friendly Scotch Greener Masking Tapes from 3M for review. I received one roll each of the basic painting tape and the performance painting tape. They happened to arrive before a trip to visit my parents so I turned it over to my Dad to do the tests. For those of you who do not know my father owns a hardware store in Baltimore that has been operating within the family since 1932. I figured he had a prety good grasp on what works and what doesn't when it comes to painting.

Go greener on your next DIY project with Scotch Greener Masking Tapes.

The new tapes are made with 56% renewable resources, including paper backing made with 30% post consumer recycled content and adhesive made with natural, regenerating latex harvested from rubber trees. The tapes are manufactured using solvent-free and water-based processes. The tape core contains 87% post-consumer recycled fiber and the shipping cartons are made with 100% recycled fiber. The idea is that the new tapes work as well as the other Scotch masking tapes but use less paper and create less waste.

My Dad put the basic painting tape to the test and you can see his comments right on the photos:

So these show that use of the basic painters tape does allow for bleeding when using acrylic paint. The same test was done with oil paint (photo one) and there was no seepage as oil paint dries much more quickly. My Dad suggests using the ScotchBlue painters tape when trying to acheive crisp lines but the Greener Tape is a very good basic masking task that will work well when painting trim and window sills. The high performance painters tape performed better with a tighter seal and less seepage again performing best when used with oil based paints. If you are looking for a greener masking tape this is the way to go.
As always Scotch makes fine products for your crafty needs. Go forth and paint, my friends.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Guest Post: Flatware on a Budget By Molly Mulvaney, Bering's Hardware

Flatware on a Budget
By Molly Mulvaney, Bering's Hardware

Choosing a flatware pattern that compliments you and your home can be a daunting task. The following information is intended to make the selection process a little bit easier and also budget friendly.

To begin, I'd like to go over a common misconception about flatware. Not all flatware is sterling silver! I know, I know. This one may seem obvious, but many people believe (or at least tell their friends) that their flatware is silver. Thirty-years-ago this might have proved true, but with the average cost of a sterling silver five-piece place setting hovering around $1,000, silver is not as commonplace as it once was. If you currently own or are in line to inherit sterling silver flatware then you're in luck! If not, you'll most likely have to keep dreaming at these prices.

So, now that we're aware of sterling flatware's high price, you may be wondering whether you will ever get an opportunity to own your favorite pattern. One way to adorn your table with sterling is to purchase only the serving pieces of the pattern of your choice. While the sterling serving pieces are still very expensive, overall they are a more affordable way to collect sterling pieces without having to purchase multiple place settings. Serving pieces like a meat fork, cake knife, cake server, serving spoon, slotted serving spoon, etc. are beautiful and also practical pieces to own even if they are the only sterling pieces you will own. Also, because of their larger nature, owning a few serving pieces doesn't look as out of place as a owning, for example, two and a half five piece place settings. Most sterling silver serving pieces will run from $150-$400+ dollars.

Another more affordable option is to go the stainless steel or silver-plated route. When browsing through the stainless patterns they may all start to look alike. Don't be fooled! If you flip one of the pieces over, you will see small numbers divided by a slash. While there is some disagreement, my advice is to go with the 18/10 stainless patterns. The "18" refers to the amount of chromium present in the piece.

Le Perle by Jean Couzon Five Piece Setting, $75

Chromium contributes to its strength and hardness. The "10" represents the amount of nickel content. Nickel adds to the piece's shine and resistance to stains. You may come across patterns that are 18/8 and even 18/0. Although the 18/10 pattern may cost a few dollars more, over the next decade or so its quality will pay off in the long run. As opposed to sterling silver flatware, most stainless manufactures and retail stores price stainless flatware by the five piece place setting, not by individual pieces. One of my favorite patterns is Valcourt by Gorham. At $50 for a five piece place setting, it has the traditional, romantic look of some sterling patterns and the quality of stainless patterns double its price.

Silver-plated flatware is another style to consider as well. A five piece place setting will cost anywhere from $100-$200 dollars, but the shine that the silver plating adds is worth every penny! Just remember that silver-plated flatware will need to be polished periodically in order to maintain its luster.

After you've selected a flatware pattern that you love, try to remember to not overextend yourself when purchasing. If you're goal is to have eight, five piece place settings then maybe start with four, then add one each month. The best purchase that you'll make is one that's pleasing to the eye as well as your wallet.

About the Author
Molly Mulvaney is a sales associate at Bering's Hardware in Houston, TX. Bering's is well known for a broad range of carefully selected home goods such as kitchen products to grilling products and accessories, as well as fine crystal stemware. They also carry silver and stainless steel flatware like the pieces shown in this article. Molly enjoys spending time with her family and friends, attending graduate school, doing crossfit, being outside, watching movies, and eating sweets.


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