Monday, December 12, 2011

Beautiful Antique French Velvet..........thing

Is there anyone out there who can tell me what this is?

I bought it a French container auction many years ago and I've never known what it is for exactly. The center is padded as though to be used as a pincushion but it's very large, over 15 inches tall. It's velvet covering a hard frame and trimmed with ormulu and wax flowers. When I was in an antique mall twenty years ago there was a French dealer who often had these but I can't remember what they were called.
I've kept it on my vanity to hold jewelry pins but now I want to put it in my Etsy shop but I don't know what it is. I have looked and looked on the internet using every keyword I could think of and I can't find another one. Does anyone out there have any ideas?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Greetings

I thought I would share some old Thanksgiving postcards with you for the holidays. When I was in the antique business about 10 years ago someone came in the store one day wanting to sell three old old albums filled with postcards. They weren't cheap but I had to have them. I fell in love with the intricate designs and the variety and could never bear to sell any of them. Hope you enjoy them too!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Night the Lights Went Out in Alabama

All of Alabama had heard earlier in the week that bad storms were possible on Wednesday. We were watching TV all afternoon to see where they were, where they were headed. We were watching as it hit Tuscaloosa, then watched as the TV camera captured a live shot of the monster tornado, a mile wide , hitting Birmingham. We're thirty miles north east of Birmingham. And then the lights went out and the sirens sounded and we took cover.

We were blessed in that our neighborhood was spared. I mean there were not even any leaves blown off our trees. All of our family members are safe. We were so lucky that I feel guilty. We had no power for three days but that's not even worth mentioning. Some people in our community still don't have power; some don't have water. A half a mile away houses were blown off their foundations. Twenty miles away in any direction there is utter and total devastation. The scope of this disaster is beyond belief. The monster storm that hit Tuscaloosa and Birmingham stayed on the ground all the way into Georgia. Three tornados hit Cullman, a mid sized city twenty miles north of here. That whole county has no power and no water. Neither does the county north of there where a power plant took a direct hit. All over north Alabama small towns and communities are gone, just gone. One town has 80 percent of it's population unaccounted for. People from these places are coming into the store in our little town to find food and water and gas. I have heard so many horror stories that I am emotionally drained.

The help and support from people has been phenomenal. Anyone who has a chainsaw has been out clearing roads. Churches are gathering clothes and supplies and getting them where they're needed immediately. A restaurant in our little town is giving free food to everyone until the power is back on. I know it can't be enough, so many people have lost everything, but we're doing the best we can to take care of our neighbors.

Count your blessings. Pray for us.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Cottage Next Door and My Great Idea

This post turned out kind of long if you want to skip down to my idea that's OK.

Whenever you move you always worry a little about what your neighbors are going to be like. It's especially true in the country where you find nice houses next to not so nice houses next to rundown trailer/meth labs.
This is the little house that was next door, very very close, to our house. We never saw the owner when we looked at our house, but it was always neat and tidy so we weren't worried. Boy, were we wrong.

This was Joe's house. Joe was in his mid sixties but he looked like he was 80. He didn't work, he just sat on the porch and drank and smoked and coughed that deep smoker's cough all day. He called emergency services regularly when he was drunk and after the first couple of times we didn't even look out the window when we heard the sirens. All the drinking and smoking had given him a low raspy voice and Joe was a talker. The same stories over and over. We started sneaking in the back door to avoid him. He never really caused us any trouble he was just annoying and always there. Drinking and smoking and talking.

Joe drove an old Caddy, the kind with fins. The tag was three years old and he always took the back roads when he drove to avoid the sheriff. One day his drinking caught up with him, he had an accident, someone died, and he went to jail. So he was gone from our lives but some innocent person had to pay.
Joe was renting the house and after he was gone the owner sold it to us for a song. We donned coveralls and masks and rubber gloves and set about cleaning it out. We ripped up orange shag carpet, tore down cheap fruitwood paneling and pulled down the suspended ceiling. We threw everything away, including the stove and refridgerator (we recycled everything we could). The smell was awful. But underneath were the old board walls with their original paint, that gorgeous blue-green color you see on many things from the turn of the century. I fell in love with the board walls and with this tiny hundred year old house. I painted the walls and floor to bring in some light but I left the ceiling; you can see a tiny corner of it in the photo above.
This is just a spot I set up so I could get a photo of this group of pictures I'm selling on Etsy. They're 1896 Louis Prang. But let's have a little honesty here; the room really looks like this.
At first we had a little antique shop here and it was really cute but I wasn't blogging five years ago and I never thought to take any pictures. That lasted about a year. Having your own shop is not nearly as much fun as having a booth in a mall. Then I wanted to have my studio here but the light is only good for a few hours in the morning. Now we use it for storage and a place to paint things.

My Great Idea
I've taken a long time to get to how this little house inspired one of the best ideas I've ever had. As I said, I loved the way the board walls looked in this little house. It came to me that we could take down the paneling in our house, saw it into 6" strips and nail it up crosswise, back side out, and it would look like boards. (You need access to a table saw for this.)
Hubby was skeptical but we tried it and it worked! We didn't fill any nail holes; they just make it look more authentic. So the material was free and it was easy to put up. Especially if you have a nail gun. We ran short of paneling so we bought 4 x 8 sheets of luan plywood at $10 each and sawed them into boards to make up the difference. Still cheap, and we love this look.
The first time I took the picture you could see dust on the shelf so I dusted the furniture and took another picture but I forgot to dust under it. So my floor is dusty. I'm not doing it again.

Oh, and I always liked this photo JD took of the back and photoshopped to look like a painting.

Linking to -
Very Merry Vintage Style Share the Love Wednesday
No Minimalist Here Open House
My Romantic Home Show and Tell Friday

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Easy Way Out - Hanging Drapes

The first time we looked at this place we fell in love with these old industrial type windows that open with a chain. So loft-like. Sure, drapes were going to be a challenge because the windows tilt inward but we thought we could figure something out.

The living room has two windows on three sides for a total of six and the light is beautiful but the sun gets pretty intense in the afternoon. We finally splurged on some fairly expensive rods that swing open from the middle allowing the drapes to fold out of the way so the windows can open. That was before we tried to hang the first picture on the wall. What we thought were plaster walls turned out to be cement. Cement troweled over rock. When we realized it took approximately 27 minutes to drill one hole in the wall (yes we had a special drill and bit) and we had 8 holes to drill for each window.....we both bailed on that project.

So here's what I came up with. I just stapled some plain cream colored fabric (OK, they're sheets) to the crown molding.(I also started hanging pictures from the molding, I think that one may be a little low)
I really like the way they look and the room needed the height.
I always meant to go back and add something decorative over the staples but you really can't see them unless you get really close so I never got around to it. They're the same color as the walls so they just blend into the background anyway. Yes, I know when I need to wash them I'll have to do it all over again but it only takes about five minutes per window to put them up.

So that's my true confession for today. I am a mature grown woman and I am still using sheets as drapes and declining to put up curtain rods.
Mary may be my most favorite find ever. She has glass eyes that look real.

Linking to-
No Minimalist Here Open House Party
Very Merry Vintage Style
My Romantic HomeShow and Tell Friday
French Country CottageFeathered Nest Friday
Funky Junk SNS#77

Friday, April 8, 2011

He said She said

We've accumulated a lot of furniture and things over the years, being in the antique and junk business.

Here's what He likes. Real antiques. A continental look.

Here's what she likes. Painted shabby furniture and china with bluebirds and roses and funky chalkware lamps. A little bit of lace. An old farmhouse. Your grandmother's house. Maybe your great grandmother's house.

So decorating around here involves A LOT of compromise. On both our parts. So we don't do a lot of it. Our living room has looked pretty much like this for about four years now.

It's nice enough but something about it seems boring to me. So I changed out the table in the middle of the room and persuaded himself that lots of people have stacks of suitcases in their living room so it's ok.

I think I like it better but now that dark screen above the sofa has got to go. Something about the room still doesn't look right. I think we need a couple of big upholstered chairs to fill up some space, the room is too big.

But first I have to go see if I can find something else to go above the sofa. I know we have some old windows lying around.....

Linked to My Romantic Home show & tell Friday
French Country Cottage feathered nest Friday
Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Night Special
No Minimalist Here: Open House

Monday, April 4, 2011

Things Are Not Always What They Seem

I don't get to go thrifting very often as I live in the middle of nowhere and the good stores are too far away. But when I'm in town and have time I always make the rounds. I don't find much because as everyone knows you have to go regularly to get lucky. But look what I found for a couple of dollars Friday.....don't laugh.

I know. It's awful. And big. Like a blowup party doll from Little House on the Prairie. But look what she has on underneath.

A perfectly preserved crinoline slip from the fifties!

Here it is freshly laundered and laid out to dry. If I were young I would so wear this with a little cotton sundress. But I'm not so off it goes to my Etsy shop.

This sold the next day. It's going to Finland.
I also bought some other things but they were all boring household things. Except for the white dishes which are going to be interesting when I have enough of them.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lace and Linens on Etsy

I've got suitcases full of lace and linens to sell on Etsy and here's my starting point.
The first group is six pieces of crochet trim, each about a yard long, except for one which is over four yards long. You can see more at my shop, Red Lilly Vintage.

I've been looking for a chance to use this mannequin as a prop. Don't you love her haughty face? She's a miniature mannequin that once modeled a miniature girdle. She's in bad shape, both legs are gone and one arm is missing which is why she's always draped. I found her in a closet at an estate sale; I paid a quarter for her.

More crochet, wider pieces, 17" to 40" long, all in beautiful condition.

I put this groups together thinking of spring crafts. There's some embroidery and six pieces of crochet trim. My favorite is the piece with pink roses. It was saved from an old pillowcase. I just know there's something wonderful to be made with it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Woman With Excess Baggage

Inspired by a post at Beatrice Banks last week about finding vintage suitcases, I wanted to show my collection. This is about half of them. I could never resist buying one if the price was right. I once bought one at an estate sale for a couple of dollars and hidden in the side pocket were two sterling silver evening/compact bags from the twenties. Suitcases make such good storage, easy to move around, and have been stacked as a side table, used to fill the empty space under a long sofa table, and used as part of an arrangement on top of an armoire. But this post isn't about decorating with suitcases, I wanted to show you what's in them.
The little one on top is full of lace, lace and more lace. Handmade lace, crochet lace, lace collars, lace cuffs, old cluny lace, vintage Valenciennes lace,; pieces yards long and pieces only a few inches. All of it old, pieces I collected over the years because I thought I might use it (I used to sew for my girls)or just because it was beautiful and I enjoyed looking at all the different patterns.
The next one is storing some vintage things I've already put on Etsy.
Then I have three that are full of crochet and embroidered doilies and table runners, vintage fabric and evidently at some time in the past I bought a box of embroidered hankies and there's tea towels and pillowcases and oh yes, here's a crocheted bedspread I forgot I had.
I had plans for things I would do with this stuff but I have more projects than one person could complete in a lifetime.
I'm going to be putting all this for sale in my Etsy store.
Because there's so much I'm going to make groups of several pieces. I'm going to start with the lace. I should have some of it listed by this weekend so check my Etsy store, Red Lilly Vintage for some super buys.

I'm linking this post to White Wednesday at Faded Charm
and Share the Love Wednesday at Very Merry Vintage Style

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sign of the Times

A couple of years ago when we went to the county fair we were captivated by this fabulous piece of folk art. Although it was the size of a billboard, we wanted it. J.D. took this wonderful photo of it.
                                                           "The Rat" copyright Duncan McKinnon

He made big copies of the photo but I got the bright idea to recreate The Rat as a sign. I drew the outline and cut it out of a salvaged piece of old plywood. It's pretty big and we thought it would be an amusing piece. Turns out it scares little kids.
I know it's kind of weird but we think it's funny. The sad thing is, we got distracted and never did go in and see The Rat. The next year it wasn't there so I guess we'll always wonder. Was it really green? Did it drink gallons of water daily? And why is that scary?

Linked to Very Merry Vintage Style  Share the Love Wednesday
Funky Junk Interiors:SNS #74

Wordless Wednesday

Friday, March 18, 2011

Clothes That Don't Fit Anybody Anymore, #2

Back in September 2009 I wrote about cleaning out my mother's house after her passing and my frustration with her inability to throw anything away. I actually found a box of clothes in the the garage labeled "clothes that don't fit anybody anymore". Now I've seen the reality show "Hoarders" and it was a revelation to me. To have a name for this.....condition. Mama was a hoarder and she couldn't help it. Just to know how many people there are out there dealing with this has made me feel better.

Now it's almost two years later and I am still trying to get the house cleaned out. Some other family members continued to live in the house because they had nowhere to go. Turned out they were hoarders too. I finally got everyone out in September last year then I broke my wrist and was unable to do anything, now the weather is nice and I'm back at it helped by my wonderful daughter without whom I couldn't do it. Hoping to get the house up for sale (finally) in a month or so.

This whole thing has made me take a long, hard look at myself. I mean I collect things too. But how much is too much and when do you cross the line between collector and hoarder. Do you not realize what's happening? When I was a child Mama was an immaculate housekeeper. At the end you couldn't walk through her house. So I've been destashing and selling tons of interesting little stuff on Etsy and taking tons of ordinary stuff to the thrift store to be recycled. I feel the need for an uncluttered life.

Here's something I found today when we were cleaning.

It's my grandmother's purse. And it's stuffed with ephemera of ordinary life in the 1930s - receipts and driver's licenses and wage statements and here's where Grandpa bought a mule in 1936 for $240 which seems like a lot of money in the thirties seeing as he paid $75 for his car. It's trivial and fascinating at the same time. And now as the eldest I am the keeper of the purse.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I found this at the thrift store the other day. For $35!
This is what it looked like before. Not attractive and the hardware was all broken and the back was missing. But it was solid wood and best of all, the drawers all worked smoothly. I love antique furniture and that's all I have but sometimes you just want something functional, especially if you use it constantly. I really had my baby grandson in mind when I bought it because he was fast outgrowing his white nursery furniture but his mom (my daughter) didn't like it. I thought it was too masculine for a white finish so I painted it black and distressed it. I got the cast iron bin pulls at hobby lobby on sale, I think it was $12 for all of them. Now she wants it.

Linked to
Shabby Nest Frugal Friday

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