Friday, July 30, 2010

Heavenly Day ~

Some days just get off to a great start, don't you think?  After a couple of almost sleepless nights, I had a good night sleep last night (only one interruption....not bad with a baby and three dogs in the house).  The hub had to leave before daylight for a day trip, Kloe took a bottle at 5:15, but went back to sleep until after 8!  That means Grandma did too.  It was heavenly.  Sleeping that late is a rarity these days.  It is the making of a good day.  It is my second-to-last Friday off and I mean to enjoy it!

I also remembered this morning that I got two magazines in the mail yesterday.  I guess it doesn't take much to excite me.  Vegetarian Times (can't wait to grab a couple new recipes for the weekend) and Country Gardens (my cover is different though).  Oh, how I love, love, love getting this one in the mail.  As I look out at my parched Florida backyard, this will help me get motivated to pamper it a bit and try to coax some plants back to life.  I can water morning and night, and there will still be wilted plants out there.  This summer is just so stifling.  No news to everyone, I know. 

What I enjoy almost more than all the garden inspiration is Karen Weir-Jimerson's Slow Lane article. I used to enjoy her monthly Slow Lane in the now defunct Country Home magazine and am so happy to see it again in Country Gardens...although Country Gardens is only out about four times a year.  So....guess what my Google search turned up?  Karen's blog:  Cat Crossing Farm.  I will jump aboard as a follower directly following this post and hope many of you do as well.  Maybe you are already familiar with her writing.  I find it very easy to relate to and enjoy hearing of the antics that go on at her Iowa farm.

I also had my first Etsy sale.  That was very exciting.  It was the lovely napkins that I loved so, but was happy to wrap them up for someone else to love now too.  I have some books that I just found in storage that I will put on there in the next few days.  They are so, so charming.  I had forgotten all about them, but now can't wait to take pictures of their delicate pages...a few of them are inscribed and are dated to the late 1800's.  That is pretty incredible, when you stop and think about it. 

I have added a direct link to my Etsy page - Provisions at the top of the page.  It is truly my "home-mader" as I wrestled with that thing for 3 days before I finally got it up there.  Yes...I know it looks a little rough and homemade, but I am proud to say I made it myself.  At some point, I'll dress it up a bit, but for now....well, there it is.

Well, I'm off to get this day going.  I feel a walk coming on....indoors, of course (off to the mall!).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New ETSY Shop!

I am excited to say that not only am I getting knee-deep in blogland, but now I have my toe in the water for my Etsy shop too.  I will be loading my few little goodies this weekend, but you get to have a sneak peak.

This great little side table was a great find.  It was mustard yellow when I found it and I knew I would change that.  What I did not realize was that it was solid mahogany!  A shame to paint it again, I know, but that yellow was a dickens go get off.  I usually do most of it with sanding, but it wouldn't budge.  So out with the paint stripper and a dozen coats later, it was finally at a point where I could work with it.  I feel this table is an antiqued aqua/soft blue, however in some light, it takes on more of a greenish tint.  It will be darling next to chair stacked with your favorite reading material or even next to a twin bed.  Furniture will only be going to locals, but don't worry.  There will be plenty of other goodies also.  P.S.  I will also be offering my services to "charm" a piece of furniture or architectural finding to your liking.  Something to think about!

I love this old jar with the tin lid.  Inside are ten little pears.  The glass has a few bubbles in it, which I think adds to the charm.  (Pears are included with this item.)

I fell in love with this old baby formula bottle filled with vintage shoe buttons.  I had never seen such!

Old dome flower frog for the garden lover!

I have to say that these napkins are my favorite!  I am a major cloth napkin lover and keep an old metal basket full of them to use every day instead of paper.  These lovelies are sweet.  Cream with a yellow jacquard banding.  It is hard for me to part with these six.

And lastly (for now) this adorable tiny cut glass cruet with stopper.  It is tiny and full of charm.  The swirled buttom makes it sit slightly off tilt, but I think it adds to the charm.

Measurements, prices, and more views of each will be included on the Etsy page.  I hope to have these loaded by the end of the weekend.  I have no idea what to expect from there, but I know I am excited (slump....BE GONE!)!.

For now....until I get a button from this page to that page, please use the link here:

I hope to see you there!!  (Sorry for the strange spacing on this post.  My granddaughter is fussing and my play time is over!!  ;~) )

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

~~ In the Clouds ~~

Here is where my head is at today (and for the last several days, actually):

Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.  ~Mark Twain

Sometimes you're the windshield.
Sometimes you're the bug.
~Mary Chapin Carpenter, THE BUG

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me,
Speaking words of wisdom, Let it Be.
~The Beatles, LET IT BE

I think it is referred to as a slump, right?  I know we all get in one from time to time.  Maybe it comes with my age, but we women all hate to blame things on that, don't we?

So in my constant search for peace, I came across this:

by Robert M. Hensel
Cool morning spit on bladed grass.
A thousand silky fingers tickling toes.
The strong scent of natures freshly cut hair.
Mans spiritual stamping ground toward inner peace.

Sounds nice, I think.  Walking barefoot in the cool grass.  Imagining being rooted to Mother Earth.  Thinking peaceful thoughts.  Good stuff....

A walk here would DEFINITELY do the trick...

(Picture of Jordon Pond, Shore Trail, Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine taken by David Patterson of Stories From Home.)

In my effort to SNAP OUT OF IT, I am working on an Etsy shop.  I have laid the groundwork.  My next step is to take pictures of my little goodies and get them loaded.  Much more on that to follow.

Meanwhile, I believe a nice drive by the beach on my lunch hour is in order.  It has always worked wonders!!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lucky Day!

I have been so, so inspired of late thanks to the likes of d.reyne and Rebecca Ersfeld.  Look at their lovely booths (not to mention their lovely blogs) at a recent French Flea Market in Indiana.  I have since been sketching out a couple different ideas for what my next booth would look like.  That is a big statement for me right there.  I did a booth or two when A Bird in Hand first started three or four years ago.  One was wildly successful and one was wildly unsuccessful.  It is all in know your market.  The failure of the second show really drained me.  Followed by some unfortunate family issues back then, I put my business on hold indefinitely.

When it felt safe to start coming back to life, I slowly started to immerge in the form of decorating.  I presently have three different project in the works right now.  (See STOKES Revisited for one of them.)  Many of the items I had in my former booth found themselves either on my own shelves or on the shelves of others in the form of gifts to them. 

Fast forward to today.  I happened into one of my favorite antique malls on my lunch break today.  I was SHOCKED to see a "Going Out of Business!" sign on the door.  What?!?!  One side of my brain said, "Oh, no.  How sad.  Another one bites the dust."  The other side said, "Hellllooo, Carol.  Do you see the 50 to 70% off everything sign?  It's your lucky day, girl!"  I entered through the back door as I know that is where my favorite booth is located, first booth on the left.  I browsed through, picking up this, checking out that, making mental notes to come back to such-and-such if I don't find anything else like it.  Just as I was walking out of the booth, a little note grabbed my eye.  "If you are interested in these doors, please call Marie."  Doors?  Why, yes.  I had just made a "my booth" decision that I would be incorporating some doors.  What doors?  They were hidden.  Oh my....they were perfect!!  (Please use your imagination as I did not bring my camera!!  So sorry...)  Two white, very cool, chippy doors....hinged together.  Within seconds I am speaking with Marie.  She said she just can't part with them after all.  I SO understand (remember my old secretary top???).  We got to chatting and she mentioned a show she was doing in November down in Delray.  She said I would just love it if I love vintage.  Well, I 'bout I have a booth in it also??  She sounded interested and I sounded interested.  That sounds like a good combination to me!!  More research, information, and decisions to be made, but that just might be the perfect venue for me to put my big toe back in the water.  Hmmmmm....the creative juices are flowing like crazy!!  I will definitely keep you posted. 

In the meantime, won't you please check out Marie's Etsy shop here?  She has some great vintage pieces.  I love her name too....A Vintage Revolution

So as I strolled through this giant Going Out of Business sale, I put an old set of eyes on the merchandise.  The ones I've used lately, that of collector for me, were put away.  I had to brush some dust off the eyes of the shopkeeper, keeping in mind items that I would love to represent, that would shout "A Bird in Hand ~ vintage and whimsical furnishings to feather your"  I walked away with five such items whose pictures I will share.  Meanwhile, I have two more weeks before this mall closes.  I will be back!

(Photo from

P.S.  For those of you who love vintage photos, please go to Margaret Roach's delectable gardening blog, A Way to Garden.  She has a slideshow of some gorgeous vintage plant prints that the Boston Public Library has just put online.  She will tell you all the details.  Her's is THE MOST informative gardening blog out there, in my opinion.  You remember Margaret, former gardening editor and editorial director for Martha Stewart Living??  You will when you see her home and garden.  Just beautiful.  Please enjoy visiting her gardens and all her slideshows.  

Meanwhile, I have a booth to my head!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Books and Birds

I mentioned in my last post that I had a credit at my local used bookstore.  I went there this past weekend.  What a beautiful and well-organized store.  I had never been to this particular store before.  My husband took the stack of books I had pulled from my bookcase and said I wanted to get rid of.  Maybe he thought if he did not run put them in his truck that I would change my mind.  Anyway, he brought back a nice little credit.  I had forgotten about it until I was working on my little project last weekend.  I was pleasantly surprised.  This store had some beautiful collector's editions behind glass for hundreds of dollars.  It was not what I was looking for, but I enjoyed the browse. 

I was very pleased with my catch, though.  Aren't they lovely?

Look inside The Courtship of Birds.

Isn't he gorgeous?  The book is filled with beautiful illustations such as these.

And now The Gardener's Bug Book.  (I just love pictures, in jewelry....not so much in real life though.)

I can't wait to use some of these beautiful photos in some kind of project!  What to make is the question.

A page from the little book of Emily Dickinson poetry will make a lovely backdrop for something, don't you think?

And finally....a bird update.  Can you believe the little hatchlings I posted about a week or two ago are already this big?  Momma Bird has been coaxing them from the nest up a branch or two.  They are really too big for this little nest now and have many of their real feathers.  When I went out there with my camera this afternoon, many of the other "momma's" joined me in oohing and aahing over the babies.  I would not expect anything less!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Maiden Voyage

This is my very first "challenge."  Mary Green of Green Paper offered a free collage sheet.  The mission....should I decide to accept "create" something, long as I use the three images (or parts thereof) that she provides.  Now since I've been back in blogland for the last month or so, I have been studying hard.  That is me....a student at heart.  I've been buying and reading the Somerset magazines.  I've been reading and re-reading my favorite blogs/artists who create the neatest things.  I stand in the same isle of Michaels for what seems like hours on end, absorbing the goods.  I decide on only the basics, as I feel that anyone can create from pre-created packages.  Maybe not, I don't know at this point.  I see some good things, even still.

I decide it is time for me to accept this challenge.  So I run off the collage sheet on several different color, in black and white, on vellum, on decorative paper.  Again....still studying.  Finally, I decide to make some notes.  It's the 25-plus years that I have spent as a secretary and at various times as a student that makes this seem like the place to start.  I start looking at some other free images I already have on hand and start making a mental story board.  The aspiring writer in me feels like if I have a story to tell, I can make this happen.  Again....out with the books....Somerset Life and Anna Corba's VINTAGE PAPER CRAFTS.  Yes, it is starting to come together in my head.  I decide to use some of the black and white, some color, but the real kicker....Miss Mary herself on vellum.  Then I decide to color her sash and now she looks like a hand-colored sepia negative and I love the effect.

Here is her story.  The pleasure of Miss Mary's company has been requested.  Oh my!  What will she wear?  More importantly, what will she pack as this means a voyage.  Since it is her first, it is her "maiden voyage."  The trip is long and there are many stops along the way.  She gathers little momentos along the way....a violet she will press in her bible, some downy feathers that showed up one morning on deck even though she has not seen birds overhead for days.  Where did they come from?  And a pretty shell and little pieces of coral she found at the shore.  Can you see it all come together?

My first mixed media collage came together.  To my own delight, I love it and the story I hope it conveys.  I used the sepia, hand-colored version of Miss Mary.  I tucked the three color-printed "Will's Cigarettes" florals in a little glycene envelope and tucked in some downy feathers from my chickens.  The pressed violet is one my Aunt Claire dried many years ago and stuck in a birthday card to me.  The little pieces of coral from my walks on the beach.  I have a couple of old books on hand that I love to tear pages from.  Two images are from those. 
(And I just remembered that I have a credit at the nearby used book store, so I will be there tomorrow to see what I can scavenge for future projects.)  I used half of a manilla file folder and cut it into a somewhat fancy tag shape.  I tea stained it a bit, but also used some Jim Holtz Distress Ink in Vintage Photo on it as well.  Oh, I failed to mention.. first time using Mod Podge as well.  And.....I LOVE IT!!  Finally, I added a couple of stamped images and I felt like Miss Mary's Maiden Voyage was recorded and complete. 

For my first project....I am very pleased.  Oh, and did I mention????? 
Miss Mary had the time of her life!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

From My Little Corner...

I have mentioned our sunroom addition on several occasions.  Here is one favorite corner.  I don't get to enjoy it very often.  It seems like I am always running, but it is MY GOAL to spend 15 minutes least.....a day. 

The item of most interest right now to me is the secretary top.  I found this beauty a few years ago in a shop that refinishes and paints just about everything they get their hands on. I guess I do too, but not in the same style. They had not gotten to this piece yet and I said I love it as it is!  Even though I instantly fell deep and hard for this piece, it was intended for my booth.  I was excited to be offering it as I found it so unusual.  I intended to give it a good sand, then repaint it, giving it the A Bird in Hand treatment.  The first sanding got through some of the grime.  Inside, it is still the original wood and varnish finish. The store where I found it offered it on this old iron stand.  The hubster said it looks like an old fish tank stand.  I said it looks perfect to me!  (Oh, did I mention, it is now a keeper?  I just can't part with it!)

The more I sanded, the more this little feature was revealed to me.

Look at the aqua blue trim!  It was under the creamy white and I was thrilled!!  I knew right then and there that this piece was already close to perfect to me.  So I continued this plan, sanding, cleaning, and revealing its special qualities.

After having perused Where Bloggers Create II and Where Women Create, I had a brain storm.  Why not make the sunroom my place to create?  It has to still be functional as a room in our house, so I can't have too much out in the open.  This piece is full of little nooks and crannies perfect for all my art supplies I had stowed away in the bottom of my bookcase.  While I love my bookcase, for me to do any project means lugging out everything just to see what I have....not very user friendly.  This past weekend, we finally brought this beauty home from our storage area as I was just itching to get my hands on all my goodies and get them organized.  Here is what I did....

I had forgotten I had some (most) of this stuff!  I'm so excited to have these goodies at my fingertips now.  I have been going over a few things that I want to play with.  I really like using my stamps and tags, and am looking forward to playing with them.  I also have what used to be an old kitchen work table that I want to bring out next to be my work table.  It will be under the main windows of the sunroom creating the most perfect view!  I always think of Diane Keaton's view from her writing desk in Somethings Gotta Give.  Can you imagine?

This picture does not do it justice, but I know you remember.....just lovely.....

Anyhoo.....when not in "art" mode, my little corner looks like this:

Everything all neat and tidy, and in its place.

The only thing missing here is me!!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

From Sea to Shining Sea

My husband and I had the honor of attending the most patriotic of events last night.  Lieutenant Joseph B. Abeyta of the United States Coast Guard (my husband's second cousin's husband, who we know as "Bert") took his first official post command at the Coast Guard Station in Miami Beach.  We were invited to attend his Change of Command ceremony.  Can you think of a more appropriate way to celebrate the 4th of July....Independence Day?  I thought it was perfect!

We arrived in Miami about an hour early and drove down by South Beach.  It was surprise for a holiday weekend.  The sights, as always, did not disappoint.  We rolled down the windows to take in all the music being played at the road-side restaurants.  Beautiful art deco designs were everywhere.  I hadn't been down there in a few years, so I whipped out the camera and played tourist.  Check out the pics.

Mango's is owned by Gloria Estefan and her husband.  It was jamming!

This was once a hotel.  Gianni Versace bought it and turned it into his home.  It is right on the main drag of  South Beach on Ocean Drive.  He was shot one morning, after having gone for his morning coffee, right on these front steps of his house. For a long time, the blood stains remained as a reminder.  So sad.  It is now owned by his sister, who has turned it back into a hotel.  It is really beautiful property.

I told you there were "sights" to be seen.

Wonder how they keep these hedges trimmed?

Art deco styling at its best.  Just beautiful.


Okay, time to get to the ceremony. I was awestruck!

That is Lieutenant Bert on the left.  We are under a large tent, it was raining, about 85 degrees, and very, very humid and sticky.  These gentlemen must have been baking in their dress whites, but they did not flinch.
After several speeches, Lieutenant Corbett (on the right) hands off command to Lieutenant Abeyta (on the left).  The official Change of Command.

These are just a few of the men and women who will serve under Bert.  These young people put their lives on the line for us by patrolling the waters off the coast of Florida protecting us from pirates (yes, they really exist), drug traffickers, and other illegals.  Other duties include monitoring controlled burns being used on NCIS Miami and Burn Notice, checking out every flare fired from the water (can you imagine how busy this weekend will be?), and every distress call in any kind of weather (even a hurricane).  This post is one of the busiest in the area as this is the waterway corridor often entered by boat people fleeing their homelands and drug traffickers. There was an "on duty" crew sitting in another area who were ready in a seconds notice if a call were to come in while the ceremony was going on.  I was half-wishing for something ever so minor to be called in just to watch them do their thing.  I was honored to be in the presence of these men and women who keep us safe.  We really will never know all that they do.  I'm proud of myself for not crying through the entire thing.  That is my usual reaction to being so close to such patriotism.  I'm a sap....what can I say?

A reception followed at the Miami Yacht Club.  This was the cake to honor the outgoing commanding officer.  At this point in the evening, our own Lieutenant Joseph B. Abeyta of the United States Coast Guard is in command!  We wish you a successful stay in charge of our shores.  We feel safer already!  Godspeed.

And certainly not to be forgotten....welcome back to Florida cousin Layla (Bert's wife), daughters Savannah and Madisen, and son Jackson.  We look forward to your presence at family events very soon.

Thank you forefathers and all the men and women who keep us independent every day. 
Enjoy a most special and wonderful Fourth of July!!