Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Get the Yellow Out!

I love vintage linens but I hate cleaning them. Most of them have stains of some kind and almost ALL of them have yellowed to some degree.  Some of them, like kitchen hand towels, had built up grease stains that would not budge no matter how many times I washed them.  After a lot of experimenting I found a method that works beautifully, even on badly yellowed grease stains.  It works so well I've been able to salvage almost all old linens and make them look beautiful again.  

It's very simple, it just requires water, OxyClean (or similar oxygen based cleaning product), a big pot,a hot stove and a pile of yellow linens.  

Start by filling a large pot with clean water.  Put it on the stove and bring it to a boil.

Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to a low level. Just enough to keep it hot.  Add one scoop of OxyClean to the water. It will turn white and get a little foamy.  Stir it around a little to make sure it's well dissolved and start adding your linens.  Push them down in the pot and make sure they are completely saturated. Keep the water very hot and let the fabrics "cook" for a good 20-30 minutes (more for very bad stains). Stir them around from time to time to make sure all parts stay saturated. 

The water will turn a nasty yellow brown color-yuck!

Sorry it's so blurry.  The steam kept fogging up the lens.  This is the gross yellow water. I know you wanted to see this.

When the items are done, you can pull them from the pot one at a time or dump the whole thing into the sink. Rinse the items under cold water until they no longer feel slippery from the OxyClean.  You can either put them in a clothes dryer or hang them to dry.  And Voila!  Lovely clean linens.

This is the BEFORE shot of a badly stained tea towel. Years of wiping greasy fingers on the towel left it saturated with old yellowed grease.
and this is the AFTER. Nice and clean after a short soak in boiling water and OxyClean!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Family Tree

I've had this old photo for years.  I used to have it hanging in my living room because I liked the antique look of it.  It belonged to my Grandmother, so I supposed there was a relative of mine somewhere in the picture, but I never really looked at it. So yesterday as I was cleaning it up, my son and I got to looking through the various characters. And, oh boy, did we have a lot of comments.  

So this guy, wow! Does he look dastardly or what?  He looks like a villian out of an old melodrama, twisting his handlebar mustache as the flailing damsel is tied up on the railroad tracks.  Seriously, he does, doesn't he?  

And then this guy, standing over him, looks like a scheming banker.  My son decided that this guy looks like the one that gave dastardly his instructions.

This guy looks like the goofy lovable inventor. Kind of like a 1906 version of Christopher Loyd.

This guy looks like Prince Charles.  Wonder if they are related. 

These two guys are the edge of the photo are down right creepy.  This end of the photo is a little blurry and there is something out of place about these two. They kind of look like eerie ghosts that don't belong in the picture at all and the shorter curly haired guy just looks evil.  

Then we get to this guy.  My son points him out and we decide that he looks like a drunk.  So this guy is the Otis of the picture.  The town drunk or the one in the movies that has the audience laughing as he falls of his bike trying to get home from the bar. HAHAHA we laugh at our cleverness.  

So now that we've spent a good ten minutes trash talking a lot of people who are long dead I figure I ought to see which one of this motley crew I am related to.  The photo is from my Grandmothers side of the family and I was raised on stories that I am related to Daniel Boone and that my great grandfather was a sheriff in Wichita and was in the newspaper many times and met Teddy Roosevelt etc.... So I started looking through the list at the bottom for a familiar name to see which of my illustrious relatives was depicted here.  

Is it the tall, dashing man at the top, or perhaps the well dressed gentleman on the right, or maybe even the goofy inventor?  I really hope it's not dastardly.... 

I found the name Boone, on the list, third row, 5th person.....uh oh, wait a minute, this can't be right.... maybe I need to start from the top and work down instead... oh wait, 5 rows, 3rd is the middle no matter if I start from the top or bottom...... yup, that's him, I am related to the town drunk.  Sigh

Monday, May 30, 2011

Time or Money??

Why can't I have both? Doesn't seem quite fair to me.  I was chugging along, doing quite well in my little vintage business with hardly a moment to spare. Between buying, cleaning, repairing, researching, photographing, listing and packing I had hardly a moment for anything else.   NO blogging, NO promoting, NO housework (ewwwww), NO socializing....just work, work, work but..... the extra cash was great.  

Oh but then I hit the proverbial BRICK WALL.  Everything crashed and burned in March.  Sales didn't just slow, they came to a dead stop!  But I had a lot of time on my hands.  Hmmmmm, time is good. 

I finally got to work on all that stuff I didn't have time for.  I hauled out my dusty blog and started adding articles routinely, I blog hopped and reworked my graphics.  I read other blogs and followed back and actually got to know some people. It was a lot of fun.  So much time, it was luxurious, but.....the money..... O Dear! My checking account was gaunt!  So I quit buying, quit listing, and cut back everywhere I could (which of course created even more time) and then just when I was getting comfy in front of the TV.... THINGS PICKED UP! 

My scrawny little checkbook is starting to put on some weight  and I'm back to actually buying and listing and working into an exhausted frenzy but.... what about my blog?  What has happened to it?  It's left to fend for itself.  That's where. All that work and now my poor little blog is abandoned in cyberspace.  It seems I cannot manage to both blog and sell stuff.  Soooo for a little while at least, I guess blogging will have to take a back seat.

But I still have time for philosophizing.  You see, there is a space/time continuum and since time is money I guess that means there is a space/time/money continuum.  It appears there is a finite amount of "Timey" in my universe and it can manifest itself as time, OR money but not both (I could actually use some "space" too but I'll take what I can get).  It's just one of those fundamental laws of physics.  Whatever.   I'll leave this up to Star Trek to figure out. In the meantime I have stuff to pack.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Linda B's Etsy Find

What a nice surprise.  One of my items is featured on this weeks Linda's top Etsy finds.  I hope you'll take the time to stop in a cast a vote for my brooches made from vintage fabrics. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Big Spring Cleaning Destash Extravaganza!

Yup, you heard me, it's going to be big, big BIG! I've got tons and tons of destash supplies that really need to find a new home. I love crafting but sometimes I get a little carried away and buy things I never use (I know that none of you would do that).  I also have TOO many different hobbies and some of the supplies have got to go! I can't find anything I need. I can't keep it organized and I can't use it all! It's out of control!!!

OK, breath.......

Anyway, my madness is your gain. It's going to take me a while to list it all, but here's some of what I'm going to be listing. 

Beads-semi-precious stones, shell, wood, clay, glass, vintage plastic, antique trade beads, seed beads in tubes and strands and lots of turquoise

Jewelry Supplies-brass stampings, glass cut gemstones, chain, findings, vintage components, charms, cabochons, cameos, lockets and more.

Polymer clay supplies-clay, tools, books, magazines, texture tools, canes and molds.

Fabric and sewing supplies-Patterns, stabilizers, magazines and more.

Needlework supplies-yarn, embroidery thread, hoops, needlepoint canvas and other misc. 

Scrapbooking supplies-paper, card stock, stamps, inks, stickers, collage pieces, decals, tools and more.

I am also going to destash a lot of vintage craft supplies; ephemera for collage, linen and hankie cutters, game pieces and game cards, keys and misc.  I'm even going to destash some partially finished pieces in the hope that someone else might find a use for it, or finish it or...who knows what. 

Turquoise Zuni Bears and other fetish animals, amber bone and shell.

Large genuine turquoise donuts.

Polymer clay beads from Jon Andersen
Here's a few pics of some of the beads I'm starting with, but the list is going to grow and grow and grow.  Be sure to check back often, it's going to take me months to list all of the stuff I have and please let your friends know. There will be some terrific bargains here! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Nabbing the Great Grape Mangler

Weird things always happen to my son. It doesn't matter how innocuous the mission, he always comes home with some strange story about something he saw, or something that happened to him. It's been this way since he was a kid. I used to think he was attracted to the madness but these days I think somehow the madness is attracted to him! 

Anyway, last night he went to the grocery store to pick up a few things. He was in the produce section perusing the strawberries and mangos when he spied a man at the grape bin tearing open bag after bag of grapes and ripping off the best parts and stuffing them all into one bag.  In the process he'd made a terrible mess, leaving open bags and squished grapes and broken stems all over the place.
I don't think this really needs a caption. It's a bunch of grapes.
My son was astonished at this audacity and never one for subtlety (which has often gotten him into much trouble) looked directly at the grape Mangler and said "What the %&^#!".  To which the Mangler just stared at him and left with his bag of ill gotten grapes.

Not to be deterred my son went in search of a manager and told him what he had seen. It seems this man had been mangling grapes at this store for some time and although they had issued an all points bulletin to store staff,  so far they had never caught him in the act.  My son pointed him out to the manager, police were called and they nabbed the Great Grape Mangler.  The mastermind of greatest grape caper in store history. He was a hero!  (well OK, I exaggerate a little) So, he filled out a report for the police because apparently it is against the law to mangle grapes.  It's called product tampering or something like that.  
The is the Grape Mangler being arrested. He looks just like Karl Rove!

Then he grabbed the coffee filters and crackers and milk and came home.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Hug Your Mom

Before I left work on Friday my boss came by. I looked up from my work to see her standing at the door of my office. 

"Enjoy your Mother's Day with your Mom", she told me. 

I began to respond with the standard response but inside thinking, well it's Mother's Day for me too and what I really want to do is just lounge around and I don't want to have to drive across town and spend my day hanging out with my Mom talking about all the same stuff we always talk about.  After all I have a busy weekend I have to put up the new booth and I have stuff to ship and listings and it's only two days and it's never enough and......then I remembered. 

My boss lost her Mom last year....and I realized what she was really saying....and then I felt ashamed. This was her first Mother's Day without her Mother. I bit back my tears and nodded and told her "yes, I will".  

When I got to my car I burst into tears.  I knew my boss would give anything to be able to spend Mother's Day with her Mom, to hug her, to hear her voice, to laugh with her, even to talk about the sames things one more time.  I realized how much my Mom meant to me and how much she has always done for me and how sad and lost I would feel if she wasn't there on Mother's Day. 

Suddenly the drive across town didn't seem so far and everything I needed to do was quite unimportant. I couldn't think of anything I needed to do that was more important than giving my Mom a big hug and telling her "I love you". 

Five New Lovely Blog Award Winners

Good Morning! Time for five more Lovely Blog Award Winners.  There's a lot of variety here and some beautiful, interesting blogs. I hope you enjoy!

Red Nomad Oz

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A New Vintage Booth

I'm very excited to talk about my new vintage booth at a local antique mall. A friend of mine from work and I went in together on renting a booth and today we got it all set up.  I remembered to take my camera because I wanted to take pics but what I didn't remember was to use the flash. duh.... So the pics didn't turn out very well.  I guess the back wall of a mall doesn't let in much sunlight.  
Apologies for the terrible picture. I'm so excited about the booth I wanted to show it off.  There's a lot of work but I think it's a good start. 

As much as I enjoy my Etsy store and Ebay selling it's a lot of fun to work on a booth because I get to decorate and arrange things and I guess play around and show off my treasures a bit more than I do online. We still have a lot of work to do. We just kind of threw things in there to get started but I have a week off coming up and I plan to get it all in order then. 

Lovely Blog Award Winners

Now it's time for me to choose 15 people to receive the Lovely Blogger Award. It's a tough choice because there are so many beautiful creative blogs out there. I decided to divide the awards into three posts of 5 each so everyone will get the attention they deserve. 

The first three are brand new bloggers and I think they are all off to a terrific start. It's so hard to write that first post!  

Hello Beautiful

Sew Saviore Faire Creations

Partridge Designs
The other two are newly discovered favorites of mine and very deserving.

Studio Tau

Tribal Times

I hope you enjoy these as much as I have and check back for five more winners tomorrow and Monday.

If you are on this list,save the picture above and place it on your blog and tell us 7 things about yourself.  Then share this award with 15 other "Lovely" blogs.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Lovely Blog Award!

I'm so pleased to announce that I have been awarded The Lovely Blog Award! Thanks Sher.  If you haven't visited her blog, you really have to. She has the incredible job of rescuing and rehabilitation exotic animals.  Seriously, that's incredible.

Anyway, she chose my blog as one of 15 to share the Lovely Blog Award so on to the next step, seven things about me.

1.  I work full time at a company that manages Homeowner Associations. Yes, I'm one of the bad guys that gets booed and hissed on TV nearly nightly. Even so it's a terrific company and I love my job.

2. I used to live in one of the most beautiful towns on the planet, Sedona Arizona. I lived there for about 10 years. 

3. I got my start as a jewelry designer working for Robert Shields.  Robert was a big celebrity in the 1970's and even had a TV show for a couple of years. He and his wife were mimes, dancers, comics.  He started designing jewelry in the early 1990's and when I was in Sedona I worked for him and he incorporated many of my designs into his line.

4. I'm a cancer survivor.  I had stage 3 cervical cancer in my mid 30's. I'm doing well now but the experience completely changed my life. I think it made me a better person and a happier one. I learned to better appreciate what I have.

5. I have a VERY eclectic taste in most things and it really shows up in my music choices. I listed to everything from hard rock like Rob Zombie to old time Blues like Blind Willie and Lemon Jefferson to bluegrass, Motown and folk.  I love it all!

6. I'm a gamer nerd. Well sort of. I haven't played in a long time because I won't let myself. It's an addiction I don't have time for. I played Everquest for years and then played Everquest II.  I am a level 80 Rogue (don't turn your back!)

7. I'm a Gemini and a typical one at that. I have sides to my personality that don't seem to go together very well. Sometimes I even confuse myself. But it's always a party when I get together with another Gemini! 

OK, now it's on to try to narrow it down to only 15 people who deserve an award. This is going to be hard!

The Pete Cat

So I'd planned to go to another auction tonight but I'm really tired today.  I didn't sleep well last night and it's all Pete's fault.  Last night when it was time to go to bed, the Pepper cat was in his favorite sleeping place in my office chair.  So instead of sleeping he wandered around and knocked things over and made noises and generally made a pest of himself.  When he finally settled down to sleep it was in the very middle of my queen size bed. It's amazing how a little cat can take up so much room on a queen size bed. So after spending the other half of the night kinda sidewaysish in the bed I woke up all stiff and cranky and not at all interested in the auction.
Pete he doesn't know what I'm talking about. He's a perfect angel and he has the picture to prove it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Introducing Ella!

I've never been totally sold on my banner image for my Etsy shop OR my blog, but when I got started things were moving so fast I didn't have time to work on it.  I love the pic because it's kind of weird, but it seems a little sleepy and strange sooo... I started looking around for a better image and reading and digging and trying to figure out what kind of image would best suit my somewhat eclectic and not always cohesive style. It was quite a struggle and I can't say it was going well at all. I just couldn't seem to settle on anything. 

This is Ella after a lot of clean up.
Anyway, to make the story a little shorter because that part of it is not really that interesting.... I was sorting through some vintage books and papers when I was working on my ephemera give away and I came across an image of Ella and I knew right then she was going to be my new spokesperson. She had a perfect mixture of childlike glee with a little sass thrown in and a lovely art nouveau/deco charm.  Perfect!
This going to be my Etsy banner

It was a lot of work because the illustration was old and cheaply printed to begin with, but I think Ella cleans up nicely.  The illustration was black and white so I added a little color, simplified it a bit and voila! Ella is ready for her big debut.

Ad box

I'd love to get some feedback to make sure I'm on the right track before I spend the rest of the day working her into my marketing materials, blog banner etc... Here's what I have so far. Please let me know what you think.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Auction Hangover!

Hello, my name is Elise and I am an Auction Addict!!! O my I get such a crazy ridiculous rush from bidding.  I guess some people need skydiving to get their heart pumping, all I need is to hold up that little card with my number on it.  Boom, boom, boom I feel my heart just thudding in my chest, my eyes are wide. My vision blurs at the edges. I feel a little woozy.  Oh and that's just when the card goes up, if I win?? Well forget it, I'm gone! I can't even hear the next bid, all the voices in the room are muffled and sound like they are far, far away, my heart pounds I hear a roaring rushing in my ears and a warm flush creeps up my neck and into my ears. My head feels all warm and kind of swirly....and ...and (come back Elise!)   And that was over a box of magazines!
The box had 10 issues of Life magazine from the 40's and 50's. I'm a sucker for old magazines.

One of these days I'm going to buy something really amazing and I better have paramedics standing by! 

This is my favorite lot I bought. It's a collection of vintage stick pins and a few other misc. pieces of vintage jewelry.
So with all that adrenaline surging and the excitement and the thrill of the treasure hunt and the fact that the cheap stuff doesn't sell until the end (10:30-11:00PMish) I don't usually get home until after midnight and THEN I'm so hyper and pumped up and I have to look through my boxes and bags and bins and see what I got and look stuff up and ...... well I think you get the picture.  I'm bouncing off the walls when I get home so sleep is completely out of the question and then sometimes 2-3 hours later I finally crash and then I wake up the next morning exhausted.  I mean wiped out. I feel like I've been hit by a truck and then backed over and run over again!  I need my sleep I'm too old for this crazy party lifestyle!  
I call this a bonus. I didn't even notice it in the box I bid on.

These are what I was bidding on.  All of these are from the 1960's. The astronaut Snoopy was made to commemorate the 1969 moonwalk!
So a little of the hair of the dog that bit's a few pictures of my newest treasures.

Monday, April 25, 2011

And the Winners Are!

Hello everyone. Thanks to all of you who entered my first give away and helped to make it a big success! I'm please to announce that the two winners of the give away are Julia L. and Alex W.  I hope you enjoy your vintage papers and I'd love to see any projects they inspire.  

This was so much fun and I met so many wonderful new people. Thanks to everyone for helping me to promote my blog. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day Treasuries

In honor of Earth Day I have curated two new Etsy treasuries

Aunt Martha's Workbasket

Sales have been slow, so shopping has been slow, but despite that I still managed to squeeze in a few estate sales and even a visit to the McKinney Trade Days! Now that was fun. I went with a couple of friends on a nice sunny spring day and had a blast sifting through booth after booth stuffed full of vintage and antique goodies.

I picked up a collection of vintage Aunt Martha's iron on transfers and I'm excited to share them, but even more excited to share what I learned about Aunt Martha's and the company's publication, The Workbasket.  I am always interested in vintage home crafts because of course, I'm a crafter, so I feel an affinity with those women of yesterday, also sharing their creativity and in the process attempting to make a little extra cash for their families.  

Aunt Martha's earliest transfers were for quilt blocks. 
Later she added the familiar images we find on vintage tea towels, pillow cases and more.

After doing a little digging I found out that "Aunt Martha" aka Clara Tillotson, was a real entrepreneur and played a big part in making home crafting what it is today! Not only did she create a very large line of popular iron on transfers that are still in production 70 years later, but she also started The Workbasket Magazine.
This is a monthly feature for women to share their ideas for crafts and money making ideas.

Just a few weeks prior to my transfer purchase I had picked up a couple of 1950's copies of the Workbasket. They're full of lovely needlework projects, but what really intrigued me was the focus on crafts that could made and sold to make money.  It's not  a new phenomenon for homemakers to search for ways to bring in a little extra cash,but the Depression made this a much wider phenomenon. I guess this was Clara Tillotson's way to spread the entreprenurial spirit to other women and help them to find a little independence and pride in their accomplishments.  

These are cute! I might have to try this.
Aren't these adorable?
Of course women's lives have changed a lot since the 1930's, every bit as much as our crafts.  But what hasn't changed is our need to express creativity and our desire to improve our families lives. Certainly with the recession we face today we can all relate to the struggles of our foremothers. So the next time you browse the glossy pages of Belle Armoire or Threads or Bead and Button, remember it all started with the humble Workbasket and one hard working woman named Clara Tillotson. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Create New Art with Old Paper

I listed my first give away last week and decided to write another article with some ideas and images of terrific art made with vintage book pages and other ephemera to help get your creative juices flowing. Of course I turned to my fellow Etsy artists for inspiration so I wanted to share some of their art work. 

The first artist featured is Kim Tedrow of Mixed Media Arts. I love her whimsical, playful style. She has a wonderful range of subject matter from antique sepia toned photos, to cute mid-century children's images.
This is one of my favorites. Isn't he adorable!
Kim also make beautiful mixed media canvases like this cute little guy. 
Paper Annie is the next stop on the vintage paper train.  She has a fun, quirky style with a splash of sass!  I especially like her paperweights.
Ya know, this is where a picture is worth a thousand words.  B Girl funtastic!
One of the best things about vintage ephemera are the CRAZY images and subject matter.  Paper Annie really pulls it all together in this whimsical collage. 
Another wonderful mixed media artist is Nouveau Nancy who uses vintage ephemera to create beautiful, one of a kind, greeting cards.  She has a lovely, soft, dreamy romantic style that is classy and timeless. 
Is this a greeting card or a work of art?  It's BOTH!  What a wonderful gift for someone special.

Simple and classy with a beautiful color palette.  The vintage book page is a perfect background.  More interesting than a plain background but not overwhelming to the image.
 One of my favorite uses for vintage book pages are these wonderful artworks printed directly onto the printed page.  With an eye for detail and a focus on quality, Formed by Fire has a terrific selection of art prints on vintage book pages and maps.

Moon and Lion is our last stop and one that is sure to leave an impression.  I think "Art with Attitude" says it best.  I love her sassy, bold, crazy fun style.

There's still time to enter my give away for TWO different winners to get a packet of over 30 items of vintage ephemera. Find out more at My First Give Away.