Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I've Been a Crafty Lady!!

I have been having a blast lately getting to know a few new vintage jewelry creators by studying their work on Etsy, purchasing a few new/old items to either get organized or to create with, and organizing my work space.  In addition to that, I've been working on making my granddaughter some little cradle bedding (oh so cute!!) and decorating a little bag for my gift exchange at work tomorrow.  Here are the pics...

I absolutley LOVE this little metal cabinet that will house many treasures.  I lined the drawers with suede cloth and was amazed that I had picked almost the exact shade at the store before I even received the cabinet.  I ordered it from The Bountiful Bird on Etsy.  I see a few other metal boxes and such that I may have to get from that great shop in the future.  I really want to store my goodies in boxes, cabinets, etc., that have had a previous plastic cases for me.  At least that is my intention at this early juncture.  Isn't she a beauty???  She already houses some glass and crystal rosary beads I got from Bird Song Studio....also on Etsy.  Both of these Etsy shops have been added to my list of favorites.  I want them handy so I can visit them often!!   I already have a second order in with Bird Song Studio....such wonderful findings there!

As for the little bag I decorated for my office gift it is.  I took a plain brown sack and added a free downloadable Christmas picture, added a few stamps, a WISH ticket (for the receiver's special Christmas wish), a little funky ribbon, and some Distress Ink Vintage Photo stamp pad rubbed around a bit to give it an interesting look.  I topped it with a little ring tag that also got the Distress Ink treatment.  Add a pinecone ornament and a couple of vintage shoe buttons and it is complete.  Oh...and the gift...a wonderful big candle in a decorative sleeve.  Just what the receiver was hoping for (seriously...we had to submit a list of our five favorite things under $ was an awkward endeavor).  Hopefully my colleague will like her gift.  She will receive it tomorrow at our office luncheon.

Oh, and to add to this list of projects, I have been painting an old wicker and wood desk for my oldest granddaughter.  It is actually part of her birthday gift from last May that I am finally getting to (how bad is that??!!).  I am determined to give it to her before Christmas so she doesn't think it is part of her Christmas gift too.  I ordered a piece of glass for the top so she can slide photos of her and her friends.  She is nine.  I know she will love that part!!  Pictures to follow. I mentioned earlier, I have been so incredibly inspired by some new-to-me jewelry artists.  Please check out their shops and their incredible work.  I am awestruck by a few of their pieces.  You will love visiting Opaline 1214 and The French Circus.  Such talent, such artistry....I'm blown away!!

Did I really say "lastly?"  This is really my "And finally...."  I have a very special package arriving any day from my most favorite Christine Wallace.  I'll say no more until it arrives and I can share it with you up close and personal.  I'm doing a mini happy dance in the mere anticipation!!!

So that is all for this evening.  I have been enjoying a cooler evening in what we Floridians call winter.  The windows of the sunroom are open, the breeze is pretty strong out there, and the wind chime in the tree is singing to me.  Lovely.

Hope you are enjoying a lovely evening as well.  Until next we meet.....Carol

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Hunt

The hunt for cool vintage findings has started for the jewelry line I hope to create one day.  I scoured several yard/garage sales this past weekend, and I have a lot to learn.  Has it really been that long since I bargained for anything?  I found myself taking at face value the price either written or offered, and honestly did not even think to negotiate a lower price.  That, my friends, is the result of too many years of retail shopping!  I found one very cool item that I really loved.....a very old and very large silver framed charm.  The price was originally $300 (at a yard sale folks....really??) and the seller said I could have it for $100.  Still too rich for my blood.  My husband asked why I didn't offer her $25.  I have no idea why!  Because that was the price she told me it was, I guess. Then for the rest of the day I kicked myself for not at least trying to get a lower price.  And you can see that close to a week later, that piece is still haunting me.  Because the family was selling just about everything in preparation to move to Hawaii, they just might be out there again next weekend.  I think I will try to find them one more time to see if their prices are lower and if I can muster up the courage to offer a lower price. Wish me luck!

I did find a few lovelies though.  It is a start for what I hope will turn out to be a great collection of treasures and then incredible one-of-a-kind, wearable pieces of art.

Here is what I found...

I am not crazy about these porcelain beads, but I love the little
brass caps.  I'll be taking this completely apart so I can
look at it from a new standpoint.

I was thrilled to find these older rhinestone pieces.
Love the disco ball beads!!
While visiting my mother over the holidays and sharing this new venture with her, she was off to her bedroom to gather some old pieces.  Some of this stuff I haven't seen in years.  We had a great time reliving some of the treasures we found in her jewelry box.  I don't think she had even been in it in years.  But from that trip, she and my grandmother shared these items with me.  Yippee!!

What a great collection!  I'm so excited to add these
pieces.  Some will just be pieces of chain, while others
will be for their baubles.

I'll have to take some time to see if this awesome necklace
can be dismantled a bit so I can just use sections at a time.
I'm new at this, so the only way to see if it works is
just to try it....right??

I am so in love with this set!  However, it's days as a "set"
are over, baby!!

I have noticed that religious metals, rosaries, and crucifixes play a major role in many of the jewelry pieces I am loving these days.  I have my own collection of rosaries from growing up Catholic, and have acquired a few metals and such over the years as well.  I am really struggling with the taking apart of rosaries to use in my future pieces.  I know it is being done by others and honestly, I love the look.  I have asked a few people who know what a rosary is supposed to represent and mean, and I am getting a mixed bag of feedback.  Because I am using them in what I hope will be cherished pieces that ladies will hopefully wear in pride, I don't feel that I am being blasphemis.  One friend suggested I never take apart the ten bead section where one prays ten Hail Mary's, but otherwise did not feel it wrong to take apart the rest.  I think I can live with that.  I would love to have your input.  What is your opinion??  Please, please share it with me.  I really love the look these pieces add, but want to feel good in my heart about doing it.  I'm going to need your help though.

Here is my collection of rosaries and metals....

I love the back of this Virgin Mary piece. 
A little dap of "terra" from Jerusulem.
I've never seen that in a rosary before.
 And finally, here are a few of my own personal pieces that I've had on hand for awhile.

This pin is truly one of my favorite vintage pieces that I am hoping to include in a repurposed piece soon.  In fact, I love it so...I think I'll wear it to work tomorrow!!

 This old Paris souvenir bracelet is so very cool.  I picked it up at a local antique store a few years ago, but the clasp sticks so I don't really wear it.  However, it will really be beautiful taken apart and used in several pieces or a few in one Paris-themed piece.  Can't wait!!  Also included here are some of my Brownie and Girl Scout pins.  Not sure if I will use them, but thought their truly vintage look is great.  Did any of you feel what just happened????  I said something from my childhood is now considered "vintage." did that happen?  Also included here are two older cameos....will look lovely combined with some pearls I thinks. (Sorry for the sideways view here.)

As the weekend is fast approaching, I am already thinking of the neighborhoods I want to scour for new finds.  Then it is time to get my workspace organized.  I'll share that process with you also.  I feel I am ready to try a piece or two.  We'll see....

Wishing you all a wonderful rest of the week.....

P.S.  I forgot to mention....Adorn Me 2012 in Houston, TX at the end of February has been cancelled.  I am more than disappointed, but hope to go wherever it is in November.  Maybe I can find something similar to enjoy before then.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Where Oh Where Have I Been??

That is a very good question.  Where do I start?  Job frustration....I think that is where I left you all.  Talking about being moved from a position I liked (not loved, but I liked it a lot).  Well, much has happened on that front, but I no longer want to focus on that. 

Then the ever popular technical issues.  Blogging was cut from my work computer and my little home netbook was a challenge.  We just got a handle on that so I feel like I am creeping my way back into the blogosphere.  I have SO much catching up to do!!  Can't wait to visit all my favs again.

And then there was my decorating work.  I recently finished work on a 64 foot Hargrave yacht.  A total redo of furniture, accents, and softgoods.  I am very proud of the entire process....had a couple of firsts for me as a decorator as well.  I will share more on that soon (with pictures!).

So, I'm considering this a blog do-over!  Yay!  Don't you wish we could "do" that more often....a "do-over?"

What I am hoping to do from this point forward is some new things...a new focus.  I had lost interest in my artful self for a while.  I guess disappointments can allow that to happen.  However, I attended the Country Living Fair this past October in Stone Mountain Park, Georgia again and started to feel the flicker of the flame start again.  I didn't even take any pictures.  Remember all the posts and pics from the 2010 show?  I almost felt guilty that I was strickly indulging my own personal whims and fancies, and not taking pictures or getting business cards or talking to the artists.  That is, except for Shari Replogle.  I knew where she was situated last year and held out that she would be there again.  I was not disappointed.  Plus I got a beautiful treasure from her as well.

I found I had a common interest throughout the show.  It is not completely surprising that I love jewelry.  I know my taste is not right for everyone. I love the funky, the chunky, the vintage, the unusual.  I am often told "Only you could wear that."  I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I tell you, I'm starting to wonder if I am surrounded by really boring people (and I don't mean that in an ugly sense) or if I am just really strange!  I like to say different.  Some use the word artsy.  I don't know.  When I was walking around the Fair, these words popped into my brain more than once that day...."These are MY people!!"  I felt like I was with my true kin (and I was figuratively as well), but I felt it spiritually too.  My experiences over the past eight months or so keep driving home the message to me that I must stay true to myself, to my style, and to be who I am.  So that is going to be my focus.  Doing what feels right to me. I know you know what I am talking about.  It feels right to be in your own skin when you are following the right path for yourself, be it artistically or otherwise.

So since that show I have been consumed with finding a purpose and the creation of my kind of jewelry keeps floating to the surface.  Remember the Magic 8 Ball of our youth??  When I shake it and turn it over it says.....Make Some Awesome Jewelry!  I have been studying the works of Shari Replogle, Diana Frey, Amy Hannah, Christine Wallace (oh my!) and my extreme favorite:  Deryn Mentock.  I am truly enamoured.  I am hoping to attend Adorn Me! 2012 in late February in Houston, Texas to take an all day workshop entitled The Alchemy of Objects with Deryn Mentock.  That will truly be an awesome experience! I have some money to save, some equipment to gather (how does one fly with all one's tools?), some vintage goodies to gather.  I am so psyched!!  This is where I want to start leaning....with my work and with my life.  It feels good in my skin and in my head to even think it.  I long for the quiet creativity that I anticipate it will bring.  I must make time to do this....for my sanity, if for nothing else. 

So I hope you will like the subtle changes my blog will bring.  I hope you will still want to follow along with me through my little transformation.  I am praying it will be interesting for you and that I will still feel as strongly about the choices that I feel are forthcoming as I do right now.

For this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday I am most thankful to live in a country where I can actually undergo this metamorphosis.  I am thankful for the family I will see and spend time with this coming holiday, and I truly wish you all the most incredible blessings a holiday can bring.  I have so much more to share....the ideas are really starting to go from a mere simmer to a low boil.  I think they are going to keep growing.  Hope you to find you there along the way....

Wishing you a peaceful Thanksgiving...

P.S.  I just ordered this great book and sprung for the overnight shipping so I would have it for the long holiday weekend.  Can't wait to get it tomorrow!!  I will read every word and study every picture.  Plus I couldn't have a totally pictureless post!!!

Order it HERE.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Vintage Inspired Memories

It is Friday, and a Vintage Inspiration Friday, at that!  I haven't played along in awhile.  Crazy times of late....adjusting to new schedules and such.  However, I was going through some old photos in my computer hoping for something to inspire me and thought I would plug them in and play along.  I know you've seen them before, but I just couldn't help myself.

They are all from the Country Living Fair I went to this past October in Stone Mountain Park, Georgia.  They are coming back this coming October as well.  I'll get the 3-day pass this time so I can relax, take my time, enjoy it at a slower pace, shop, shop, and shop some more!

Spring wishes to you all! 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Desperately Seeking Carol

Do you remember that '80's/'90's movie:  Desperately Seeking Susan?  Well, I know it was about a girl looking for a girl she saw or thought she saw or something like that.  I am in search of myself.  I need to make some time for myself without feeling like I am slighting someone else in the process.  How does one do that?

I've spent the better part of the last week stealing moments with my dear mother.  Lunch here, shopping there.  She leaves for Georgia in the morning.  I will see her again soon and will start thinking of when I will make my next journey there.  I've seen her more in the past few months than I have in recent years....her trip here at Christmas, my surprise visit to GA in February for her birthday, and her "tax trip" here this past week.  I know I will be in ATL in October for the Country Living Fair, but will make it up there long before that, I'm sure.  Thank you, Mom, for still being my mom.  Even at 48, I feel like a little girl sometimes who longs for her "mommy."  Maybe we never outgrow that.  I know I am blessed to have you. 

My Aunt Claire came over from the west coast this past weekend too.  I was so happy to see her and will have to make the 3 hour drive to see her new haven.  Lake "dreamy" does that sound??

I am feeling taken advantage of, of late.  I need to get a grip on that and find time for me.  I vow, this week, to take care of the things I feel I need to...feeding and bathing my sweet granddaughter, but maybe letting her daddy put her to bed as I venture out to the shop to work on a dresser a dear friend has entrusted in me.  Yes....that will make me feel that I am using my time wisely, accomplishing a goal, and doing what I love.  I longed for time in my garden this weekend, but did not find it....or make it.  At some point, I need to make time for me.

Maybe this week?  How do you steal moments for yourself?  I could really use your advise.....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

End of Book Remorse

Do you know what I mean?  You spend time really enjoying a book......and then it is over?  That is where I am today.  I just finished And I Shall Have Some Peace There by Margaret Roach of A Way to Garden dot com.  I mention her and her site often.  If you garden at all, hers is a must read and visit site.  Even though I am in a Zone 10 garden and she in a Zone 5B (or A....can't recall at this moment), and our gardening is so very different, sometimes it really isn't.  I gleen tidbits here and there, and truly just enjoy the visit.  If you don't garden, just enjoy the beautiful pictures in her many slide shows.  Did I mention the wee bit of envy I have over how Ms. Roach escaped the big city to dwell in the country?  Her home and garden are her life's work now, and I find the idea of that absolutely wonderful and peaceful. 

Hopefully, you also saw her bird article in last Sunday's Parade.  There are so many of us bird lovers out there.  I know I do not take advantage of seeing and searching for the many different birds that are still in my neck of the woods.  But, if one more of my friends tell me a Painted Bunting visited their feeder.....!!!  I may have had a quick sighting of one last spring, but not the many that some of my friends get year after year. I must make my yard more inviting for them.

I failed to mention that I read Margaret's book on my NookColor.  If you have one, I encourage you to download it there as there are beautiful bonus pictures that the regular book does not have.  You will love them as much as I did, I know.  (I believe it is on the iPad version as well.)

"Did you ever just want to walk away?" asks Margaret Roach in her newest book. 


Friday, March 18, 2011

Late Irish Blessings to You

It is late on Thursday, March 17....St. Patrick's Day, that I finally have a few moments to finish a post I started earlier in the day.  It has been a pleasant and productive day at work.  After having been in my new job for a month now, I am feeling like one of the family.  This feels good.  And so....I will continue with my post....

With a maiden name of Schmitz, not many would ever know I have Irish blood in me.  I am proud to say that I do though.  Actually, more than I thought.  With a paternal grandmother whose name was Marie Madeline McQuillen, there is no denying it.  She was born in Canada, but her father and grandfather, both named Mathew McQuillen, were born in Ireland.  Even with my research, I know not where in Ireland.  But I recently learned that my mother's kin...the Davis', were Irish too.  We always thought they were English.  So more Irish blood....  With green eyes and natural blond hair (at least it used to be) and fair to medium skin, I would appear to lean towards the Irish. (And a sweet granddaughter with big blue eyes and red hair!) That pleases me.  As proud as I am to call myself as one with Irish decent, I know the Irish were not looked upon too highly when they first came to America.  I will have to brush up on some historical facts before I misquote myself, but that does sadden me.  However, today I have enjoyed perusing some Irish blessings, toasts, sayings....  Here are a couple that I am particularly fond of:

Like the warmth of the sun
And the light of the day,
May the luck of the Irish
shine bright on your way.

and then there is...

May joy and peace surround you,
Contentment latch your door,
And happiness be with you now
And bless you evermore.

I know many are familiar with the "May the road rise up to meet you" blessing.  I enjoyed reading many others.  As the Irish have a history of being happy and mischievous, and sometimes is toast I thought was funny:

Here's to our wives and girlfriends:  May they never meet!

My work week is over.  It is Spring Break for our school district, so the 12-month employees work four 10-hour days.  Coupled with daylight savings was torturous.  I'm glad to see the week come to a close. 

My mother is traveling from Georgia tomorrow (Friday) for a visit.  I am looking forward to seeing her.  She will enjoy seeing her great-granddaughter walking and talking up a storm!

I will start on a dresser that I am refinishing/painting for a friend.  I wish I could work as fast as Miss Mustard Seed, but I don't.  I know I take more time than is needed, but it is a labor of love. I will take pictures along the way to share. (She has finally revealed the secret the link to learn more.)

I got my Country Homes and Gardens magazine in the mail today.  I have been non-renewing all my magazines this hoo, but it is time to scale back financially and spatially.  However, I will renew this magazine as I love it so.  It only comes a few times a year.  I am enjoying a beautiful article on Tovah Martin and her Connecticut garden.  She lives in a converted barn!  How cool is that? It has low ceilings and windows that do not pose a problem for her as she is under 5 feet tall.  I did not know that.  And....she only gardens in vintage dresses and owns no jeans.  I like it!  Anyone who truly stays true to his or her own style appeals to me greatly. 

I invite you to enjoy the journey of one of my favorite blogs:  Stories from home by David Patterson.  He and his eldest son are in Ireland at this very moment....his original homeland....for St. Patty's Day.  He is an incredible photographer who lives with his family in Maine and the pictures coming from this trip so far are fabulous.  Please stop by and follow his journey.  You will not be disappointed.

I wish you all a wonderful it with green beer (not for me, personally), corn beef and cabbage (again, no thank you), or just a quiet evening at the end of a long week.  I say to you....Erin go Bragh.  One interpretation of that phrase is "May I go back to Ireland forever."  

May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day.
May songbirds serenade you every step along the way.
May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue,
And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.   

P.S.  I am finally getting this post out as my computer kept losing its connection last night.  Talk about frustrating!!  I know we've all been there.  Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

White Wednesday ~ I Want to Play!

It's been 14 days since my said confession....a childhood flashback!  It is Ash Wednesday, after all.'s been just too long ago since I found (made?) the time to visit.  I am settling into my new job pretty well, I think, and have so incredibly much to learn.  I am eager to do it, which helps. 

White Wednesday is one of my favorite linky parties (along with Vintage Inspiration Friday), so I had to rumage through some of my pictures to find some whiteness to share.  In no apparent order.....

An odd entry, I know, but look at these
SWEET slipcovers!  Never would have thought
that one up on my own, but am loving it
(and needing it in my own vehicle).
If I brave this activity, you'll be the
first to know!

I love the hints of green in this lovely
white bedroom....and that ceiling - LOVE IT!
So peaceful...

These two pictures are of The White Garden at
Sissinhurst Castle in England.
I have gardening fever these days, so I took
a lovely stroll through this one today.
White clouds, white qualifies!
My neice, Hannah, with Tim Tebow, taken
last week at the Honda Classic here in Palm Beach Gardens.
She is beaming!!!

Does black and white count??
That's me in the striped top and chubby cheeks
being held by my mom.  My dad and older
brother here too.  I'm guessing this is around
1966 or 67. It's one of my favorites
and I just had to share!
Hope to be back before another two weeks pass. I got the go-ahead to start a new garden in my backyard....can't wait to start planning and taking pictures!  I'm in the search of the PERFECT garden gate! Enjoy your Wednesday...

P.S.  Top two pictures from House Beautiful.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

~~White Wedding~~

What could be better to play along with Faded Charm's White Wednesday, than a beautiful wedding dress?  How gorgeous my new daughter-in-law looks in her beautiful dress.  I only wish I had gotten some close ups of the beautiful beadwork.  (Word of the day:  beautiful!!)

Sending beautiful wishes your way...and special birthday wishes to my sweet hubby...

P.S.  Please stop by Margaret Roach's A Way to Garden.  It is publication day for her!  Congratulations Margaret!!!!  (I've already downloaded my pre-ordered NookColor version and can't wait to jump right in.)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Who Moved My Cheese??

Do you remember this book that came out some time ago?  I have not read it, but it may be a good time to get it.  Ten days ago, I was told my job would be eliminated in the department I had worked in for the last seven years.  While my boss (and best friend) worked hard to find me a new home prior to her breaking the news to me, it was and has been a bit of a hard pill to swallow.  Not only was I being moved, I was loosing my Sanctuary.  That is what I called my office.

That news was delivered to me just as I was leaving for a surprise trip to my mother's in Georgia.  My older brother and I made a very quick, but wonderful, trip to visit my mother for her 70th birthday.  I now got to carry this new heavy burden with me on the trip.  It was a wonder the plane got off the ground.  (The trip to my mother's was wonderful, however.  We've never surprised her so!!)

When I returned, I came in and started deconstructing my work haven.  I had some big items....a large picture (my last official purchase while at Ethan Allen), a chair, a cabinet, mirror, pilaster, plants, etc.  It did me a bit of good to come in on a Sunday, when no one was there, and spend some time in control of my situation.  (pictures above)

I find it in interestingly quirky.....that I am brought back to reality by movie lines.  Let's go back to one of my favs.  We've visited here before, but I just had to go back again....

"People are always saying that change is a good thing.  But all they're really saying is that something you didn't want to happen at all....has happened."  Kathleen Kelly (aka Meg Ryan) in You've Got Mail.

Here is one more.  It came crashing into my brain this very morning when I had to go visit my old department only to see a former co-worker's daughter playing on the computer in my now empty office.  Ouch!  Many other changes are still happening and will continue to happen for the next six months or so.  In the course of conversation regarding some of the upcoming changes, I said I wasn't sure if "they" would want me in one of the supposed new positions, I was told, "Of course they would.  This wasn't about you personally.  It was just the position."  Maybe so....but it feels personal to me.

Joe Fox: It wasn't... personal.

Kathleen Kelly: What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn't personal to you. But it was personal to me. It's *personal* to a lot of people. And what's so wrong with being personal, anyway?

Joe Fox: Uh, nothing.

Kathleen Kelly: Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.
You got that right!! I sit in my new cubicle, with all my favorite things surrounding me, with not a clue of what to do.  I've been told I will be trained, but so  So I will write to you instead.
Blessings do abound here.  I know.  This could be a wonderful change, to a new office, possibly even a new career path.  I know I am one of the lucky ones.  There will be many in the months ahead, who will not have a place to go and will be jobless.  I am thankful.....really I am. 
I even clipped a tiny version of this little picture to remind me what I should be doing and concentrating on:
I'll work on it.

So between getting canned (I mean moved); a whirlwind trip to see my mother in Georgia; moving my office to a cubicle; running around from fabric store to tile store to workroom for two projects I am working on; keeping abreast of my husband's neice who, out of nowhere, became gravely ill; to learning of an old friend's sudden passing; I have not made it to blogland in a while.  As a nice turn of events, however, I spent my birthday (this past Saturday) at a lovely wedding aboard a yacht in Ft. Lauderdale.  My husband's youngest son, Todd, married his sweet Lisa aboard the Caprise.  The weather-incredible, the scenery-magnificent, and the company-full of love. 

This picture was taken from the hotel balconey
where everyone gathered to get ready prior
to boarding.

All five of my granddaughters in one shot!!
From the left:  Brianna, Reagan, Taylor, Kennedy
and Kloe (in the stroller).  That's me in black behind her.
The groom is the man on the left.  My son in the middle
and my son-in-law on the right.

Mr. and Mrs. Todd Bass

Todd and Lisa.
Beautiful homes on the water in Ft. Lauderdale.

Hopefully this will start an upward swing and things will begin to settle. I'd like to catch up with my favorite blogs and even throw a couple of posts out there myself.  I promise to be much more entertaining in the near future!  If you've made it this far, thank you!!  No more wallering for me!!!