Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sorting buttons

Thank you for all of your notes yesterday. It definitely cheered me up to hear that some of you have had contractors PEEING off your roof (so gross, but also so funny) and to know that many of you have found yourselves sitting in the same place I currently find myself.

I spent this morning starting to pack away my pottery so I can make room for Halloween stuff. It feels weird to actually "pack" it up and not just put it in a rubbermaid bin for awhile, knowing that the next time I see it we won't be in our little house here anymore.

But life goes on and my little boy wants to put a sign on our front door that reads "Halloween Headquarters", so I figure I had better get to gettin' on the Halloween front. (He's cute, isn't he? LOL)

He and Daddy spent Saturday morning working on the golf holes for his rapidly approaching number five burfday (mini golf in the yard this year), so I went yard saling by myself.

The pickings were slim. I was standing at the last sale when I saw a woman carrying around two strawberry containers full of buttons. I overheard the conversation, which went something like this:

"I have all these buttons and I don't know what to do with them. My girlfriend said someone would buy them."
"Yea, I think someone will."
(Insert me waiting patiently for her to drop the buttons already!)

As soon as they were on the table they were mine, all mine!

So, what did my $2 buy me?
A LOT of really, really, really filthy stinky buttons. Even Dave commented on the stench*.
See anything good in there?
This is only part of the trash I took out of them. Corks, popcorn, needles and needles and needles galore. (If you buy a big container of buttons do be careful. There are ALWAYS rusty pins and needles in there.)
This is my keep pile.
Just some of the extras that were in there. Somehow I think the "extra" stuff in button collections is more interesting than the buttons themselves. The skeleton keys are cool. Belt buckles are useful. Inside the red belt buckle is a tiny thing (no clue what it is?) that has a real opal on it. There were also some other small clip type things that are 14K gold. (And have been added to my scrap gold box to be sold.)
There were thimbles galore. An advertising thimble, an aluminum thimble, two old plastic thimbles, AND, drum roll please, a solid sterling silver thimble. (The darker one near the bottom. I haven't cleaned it yet, but it has a gorgeous design on it.)
TONS and TONS of mother of pearl buttons. And other white buttons, including old bone underwear buttons.
These are also mother of pearl, and my are they gorgeous.
These might be my favorite. Sorry the photo is not great. They have little bluebirds on them. Pity one is discolored.
I also have a weak spot for glass buttons. If you look closely you can see a clock face in there.
I managed to dig out a mega tiny pair of mother of pearl dice.
And just a few of the more interesting colored ones.

Now why didn't I take a photo of my button jar for you? Silly me. It is completely full now!

Not too shabby for $2, eh? (Sterling silver, 14K and opals more than cover the cost of the buttons.)

*Old plastic buttons can degrade. They become discolored and look crazed like old pottery. They also get brittle. Some of the older plastics really really smell bad when buttons are "diseased." (DO NOT confuse that smell with the smell of bakelite.) If you have buttons like that you should throw them away and not keep them with your button collection. I have heard it can spread to the other buttons. Googling isn't much help, but they ladies who told me that know their stuff, so I believe it. :-)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What I bought at the flea

Yesterday was a bad day.

A teary, I cannot stand one more single moment of all this confusion and constant tension and arguing kind of day.

Dave and I live a very quiet kind of life. We never argue. About anything really. Since grandpa died three months ago it has been constant arguing with everyone over EVERYTHING.

Arguing with relatives who are not pleased about what my portion of the inheritance was, arguing with relatives over the stuff in my new house, arguing with relatives over jobs to be done at the new house, arguing arguing arguing.

You get the idea.

And now that we are in the midst of the remodel there is constant arguing with everyone about what to do with the house, who to hire to do what to the house, blah blah blah.


To make matters worse Jack got himself into some poison ivy about 10 days ago. It started as a small bit on his arm and then he had some sort of immune overload reaction and he had hives all over which sent us scurrying off to the ped. He has been on the evil prednisone for a week now. Which makes him crazy. Screaming, crying, rolling on the floor, totally out of control crazy. For a week now. (And he still has the hives anyway. Pfft.)

And have I mentioned how badly the new preschool thing is going? He screams and cries about going there. He refuses to get dressed. He refuses to get in the car. He refuses to get out of the car. He has to be physically removed from my leg when we get there.

I am not sure what's worse - all of his crying about going or his new found love for trying to manipulate me out of taking him there. Every day it's something else. His neck hurts, he's too tired, it's too hot there, it's too cold there, it's too early to go there, blah blah blah.

I feel like I am locked in an epic battle at every turn.

So yesterday I cried. At the new house. Which, of course, freaked out the guy working for us. But come on people. There are cigarette butts all over the floor of my grandparents home! Even though I have said please stop turning my home into an ashtray.

It is NOT just a "construction site."

It is everything tangible my grandparents left in this world.

And *I* am responsible for it.

And somehow cigarette butts pushed me over the proverbial edge.

So. That's where I was yesterday.

Today is a new day.

Somehow I am going to do today better than yesterday. I am going to bake a muffin or vacuum or take Jack to the movies. Anything that feels like what my life used to feel like.

Most importantly, I am giving myself permission to be really sad that I will never again find my grandpa's shoes by the couch at the other house or his cologne on the windowsill or messages from him to buy him some pickleloaf and bread.

Because *that* is where I am on this journey.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Come flea with me

It's Sunday morning and I actually remembered the camera.

Want to come to the flea with me?
These signs used to say "no dogs or pets on flea market grounds." They added "on leashes" because our flea market is full of animals every week. Perhaps it would be charming if it weren't so darn horrible to see hundreds of dogs out there every week. Ugh.

There are usually plenty of other animals too, just not this week. Chickens, roosters, rabbits, birds, and occassionally a goat. Just so you don't get the idea that my flea market is high class or anything. LOL

On to the better stuff.

What are you looking for? I am sure it is here somewhere.
A table of pretty (and cheap) silver perhaps?
An old trunk with the lid covered in costume jewelry?
Farm fresh local produce?
There is junk out here as far as the eye can see...
Maybe you are ready for some pumpkin fun?
Flowers for the dinner table? I quite fancy the pink carnations actually.
But the roses are nice too.
We flea right next to the train. It's a bit noisy. Don't try and bargain right then.
How about an old Hoosier cabinet? (An unusual find actually).
Or a super old tub? (Also an unusual find).
Books? Glassware?
She has interesting old hooked rug on that pink chair there...but they are hard to get clean.
Pretty porcelain? A perfect shade of green silverware caddy?

Whew. You made it. A full 2 hours of flea'ing fun. Too bad the quilt I REALLY REALLY REALLY should have bought last week was already gone.

And my finds this week are not that great. Boo.

Will show them to you tomorrow.

For now I am off to try and finish at least one of the gazillion craft projiks I have been in the middle of for months now. I am never going to get this place decorated for Halloween at this rate!

P.S. Spellcheck won't work. Ignore typos/spelling errors.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Junk, aka the tide might be changing

Ready for a totally disjointed post? LOL
I picked up a pile of sugar sacks way back on that 61 mile yard sale.

Yes, I still hadn't shown you everything from that yard sale. This is the last of it though.

This one is AFTER washing. I have no clue how to wash these things.
This one is BEFORE washing. Obviously the print is fading quite a bit with the washing.

I wish I could sort out how to wash them without that happening. I can't NOT wash them because they are stiff as all get out, they smell and they have burnt (?) bits.

I bought them because of the crowns (squeeeeeeeeee!).

I think I might use them on new dining room chairs.
After what seems like an entire summer of only buying quilts, I actually found some pottery.

I have planned a giant wall o' pottery at the new house and I was starting to worry that the pottery had dried up.

This might be my favorite piece *ever*. Never mind that chip on the back, the color is awesome, the design is so sweet and it set me back a whole buck.
I've also scored a small pot.
And a large white vase with a lovely curvy shape.
This morning after I picked up my new bathroom tile I found a few yards of this super cute vintage fabric.
Annnnnnnnd a new pair of doc martens for myself. She must have only worn these once. (Never mind the crappy too bright photo, those mosquitoes are out to get me I tell you.)

They are actually a really deep dark purple. Cue squeeing again. Price tag? $4. Get.out. (Those shoes retail for $100+ and they last freaking forever.)

Anyway, I only mention the shoes because Dottie Angel has put herself on a year long, buy nothing new challenge.

Now, such challenges are nothing new in blog world, and I really CANNOT do it right now given that we are bleeding $$$ left and right in the retail world redoing the house*, BUT if you have never tried such a thing before it is worth giving it a go. As most of you know I already buy everything we can secondhand, from clothes to toys to housewares, and it's a lifestyle I fully encourage everyone to try.

We all know the implications of everything made in china and made to be disposable go well beyond your credit card bills. :-) (Not that we are perfect, far from it. Ha.)

Ok, enough of that.

One last thing to note today, I am now the proud owner of a gorgeous antique bathtub. She was made October 23, 1910 and is wonderful! I cannot wait for the inaugural soak.

*I have been scouting the re-stores for things we can salvage/re-use for the house, but holy mackerel that is hard. Everything has to fit just so, there has to be enough of it to use and a lot of the stuff is completely not my "style". That part sucks a little.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Playing with persimmons & a P.S.

Jack and I went to a friend's house to spend some "not busy with new house stuff" time and we picked up a bag full of persimmons that had already ripened and fallen to the ground.

I plan on trying to make persimmon freezer jam with them (yes, I know making anything with persimmons can go badly, I am hoping that doesn't happen!).

In the meantime I thought they were lovely and might make some nice photos.

It's been so long since I sat down and enjoyed taking pictures, I hope you'll indulge me.
Spilling out of a silver creamer...
Maybe a vintage napkin will add some life...
Getting closer (What? you don't have animal skulls kicking around your front porch?!?! Welcome to life with a biologist)...
Ahhhhh, maybe something for a Halloween blog banner?...
Let's try just that creamer again with fewer persimmons...
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I think I'm in love. Will it creep people out? It's sorta Georgia O'Keefe, no?
And one more go at a Halloween theme.

Last year all of my fall blog banners were acorns. There are going to be a few with persimmons in our future here for sure. LOL

And my P.S.:
That cat on my not too thrilled husband's lap is grandpa's cat! And look how close she is to our other female cat.

We've taken to calling her "our little inheritance" and as luck would have it she seems to be fitting in just fine. Gone is the crazy, semi-feral cat who was hiding in the ceilings and trying to climb up the walls backwards. She is a lap cat 100% now. She follows me every where and lordy is she a sweetie.

I am not sure I mentioned it here (I know I did on facebook), but when I took her in to be spayed she was actually very close to death. When the vet opened her up he found that she had a very serious infection in her uterus (which was twice as big as she is) and it was hard to remove without spilling the infection. He said she only had a few days at best to live if I had not brought her in when I did.

I am very thankful I insisted on trapping her when I did.

Back tomorrow with some thrift finds. I hope. Happy Thursday!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rescue me

I am sure that plenty of you have/had grandparents whose homes were filled with old things, the things memories are made of.

My grandparent's home was totally the opposite. My grandmother always liked to have the newest/brightest stuff out there. She had no appetite for antiques, unlike my grandfather who loved going to auctions and picking up interesting old stuff.

Their home held precious little from our pasts. No toys from her children's childhoods, nothing from their own childhoods, no closets stuffed with memories or interesting old "junk".

In fact, there is a long held family tale about an aluminum Christmas tree. My grandfather brought the tree home in the 1960's, thinking it was the most wonderful thing he had ever seen. My grandmother thought it was the most beastly thing on earth and tossed it right into the yard!

Once I started to be interested in antiques my grandfather would tell me about that tree and muse that he was sure I would have loved it. (How lucky I felt when I managed to find one I could afford at long last, only two weeks ago!)

Anyway, I think the lack of stuff like that around me is why I really seek out old things now.

Cleaning out their house has yielded very few things that made me excited in that junking kind of way, but here are the meager few contributions to my own collections:
A vintage Ohio art sandpail. I always admire these in those country living photoshoots. I found this one in a box of garbage in the garage. (Literally garbage. There was 20 year old potting soil and trashy plastic pots in the box.)
A glass candle ornament. (Kind of hard to see there, sorry.) Also found in the garage, also amongst garbage. Actually, it's kind of miraculous that this thing is still around. It was on the garage floor, near heavy boxes of old tiles, in a pile of leaves and really faded fake flowers off my grandmother's grave. I bent down to pick up what I thought was just a candle clip and up came the ornament.
And the best find, a vintage doll quilt. It's actually the saddest find for me as well. It was in a box of my old doll clothes in the basement, and I squealed when I uncovered it.

Of all the quilts I have managed to collect I have NO doll quilts. And this one was clearly mine as a child.
But I don't remember it at all. :-(

Because my childhood was abusive and crappy in so many ways I have developed what I lovingly refer to as "swiss cheese head". Essentially I have very little memory of growing up. Even now, I find myself unable to remember a lot of things that "normal" people would remember. Like my husband's birthday. (If only I were joking.)

I filter things in and out like a whale filters baleen.

It was clearly a survival strategy for me as a child.

So, I dug this sweet little quilt out, and I *knew* it was mine, it was in *my* things, in *my* grandparent's basement, and yet, it is not in the swiss cheese head anywhere.

C'est la vie I suppose.

And that brings me to the last thing I have time to say today, I want to thank all of you who have been there with me and for me this year.

I am surprised every day that so many of you are still on this crazy journey with me.

Clearly I am working through a lot more than just my grandfather dying over here. I am finding myself in the middle of trying to really and truly digest my past. To accept it and move beyond it ONCE AND FOR ALL.

The swiss cheese head has not been enough to get me through this part. It has required constant pushing on my part.

Pushing to remember it. Pushing to forgive it. Pushing to focus on what was good.

Right now I am *this* close to being on the other side of that stuff.

This has, in many ways, been a real rescuing of Sarah. A time to truly make peace with the past so that it blends a little better with the life I know and love right now.

Perhaps *that* is the gift my grandparents truly left me.