The Garden Begins

Yesterday at Faded Elegance, I transformed my space into a gardening retreat - though I'm not much of a gardener myself, I love having a garden, being outdoors, observing nature and enjoying the flowers.

My Garden Retreat will run until the middle of July - and I'll be adding new stock on a weekly basis.  Also Faded Elegance is having a store-wide sale -15% off all vintage and antique treasures this holiday weekend - be sure to stop in soon!


Chicken or the Egg?

It's the perennial question - which came first....

some days its one way...other days...

A couple of years ago, I went to a going-out-of-business sale of a local bookbinder.  In addition to office supplies, reams of paper and a stunning letterpress printer, I asked if he had any extra type...."why yes, but why would you want type if you don't have the printer?"  He was thoroughly perplexed - sold me several trays filled with metal type of all sizes and fonts for a pittance.
an aside...ok, I actually thought about buying the letterpress printer - I adore old presses, typefaces, the embossed paper, the entire process.  But where to put it...we don't actually use our dining room so it could go there...but then the floor would need to be reinforced so the 2000 lbs+ machinery wouldn't crash to the basement floor...and then how would we get it through the door...later found out from a friend of my sister's (who was in the printing biz) that moving these monstrosities is a huge expense...I guess I dodged a bullet...

Over the years, I have been selling off the type, letter by letter...by now it seems to be the dregs.  So I thought that it would be fun to compose words from the remaining type, in hopes of dispensing all of it...these inspirational words (and more) are available at my space at Faded Elegance
I still have a few stragglers of random letters as well as plenty of punctuation...these remainders and a whole lot of ephemera will be for sale at my booth at the Artist Garage Sale on June 5 in Everett.  If you are looking for a good deal on some great art, or are an artist in need of some art supplies – this is the place to be! There will be a smorgasbord of art that includes: watercolors, oils, pastels, acrylics, glass, found objects, cards, sculpture, ceramics, photography, garden art and much more. Seconds, old stock, new stock – all at fabulous prices.  If you stop by my booth and mention that you read about the sale on my blog, there'll be a freebie for you...hope to see you there!


Easy as 1 - 2 - 3

Here's a repeat of an older post...since I saw that Donna at Funky Junk Interiors was featuring vintage hardware in her Saturday Nite Special, I thought this past post fit right in...

One: discarded lumber board

Two:  collection of old bottles

Two & one-half:
Having the right tool makes all the difference when working on a project.  A number of years ago, I wanted to cut a single board in half but using the gigantic circular saw just made it too much of a production.  So I went to Lowes and bought this Black & Decker set - there's a cordless rechargable base and five different heads - drill, mouse sander, circular saw, jigsaw and flashlight - you just pop on the one you want and go!  I like that it is a compact, lighter tool so its easier for me to handle - perfect for small projects.  For larger tasks, I still need the power tools that plug in to get enough juice.  For this project I used the circular saw to cut the board in half and the mouse sander to smooth all the surfaces.

Two & three-quarters:
Whenever I am attaching a wire loop for hanging, I leave a tail and finish it off by wrapping it around a wooden skewer to make a neat little "spring" detail.

Three:  Rustic Wall Vases
First I removed the nails from the board and cut it in half; then I sanded all the edges and finished off the red painted front with a light coat of Johnson's Paste Wax.  To hold the bottles in place, I used old broom clips screwed into place.  With broom clips, its easy to remove the bottle, fill it with water, clip it back into place and add a bloom.  I finished it off with a wire hanger but you could just as well use twine or ribbon for the hanger, depending on the look you wanted.

There you have it...you will never look at scrap lumber again as garbage but as the backdrop for a beautiful vase!

Linking up to Funky Junk Interior's Saturday Nite Special - lots of great ideas for using vintage hardware...


The Viewing

My sister and I began a routine years ago...after each yard/garage/estate sale, we would spread out our purchases for all to see and admire.  Since we often split up at a sale, we didn't always see what the other was buying - so the viewing allowed the opportunity to appraise and gloat as desired.  Now that my sister has moved 3 hours ago, its not possible to have the viewing in person...but thanks to the wonders of the digital camera and email, the viewing can occur in cyberspace - though it is often a time delayed experience!

Stacey's cache from a recent yard sale- we both love dogs and she has a wonderful collection of children's books so these dog books will fit right in.  The black iron bracket and the other interesting metal piece will most likely end up as part of the decoration of the garden shed she is putting in her backyard.

My gems from this past weekend Assistance League of Everett sale (my favorite - I love this group of older women who sponsor these estate sales - and the money goes to a great cause - helping school children.)  I will use the sugar tin to organize supplies in my studio (love the typography!), the paintbrush and ruler will be objects that will embellish a future mixed-media collage, the aluminum molds - look like a flower project of some kind to me!

Do you have any interesting finds to share?  The high season of junking is just beginning...I'll keep you posted on future viewings


The Weekly Fluff


I did quite a bit of "fluffing" today at my spot at Faded Elegance.  First Street in Snohomish will be closed on Saturday for the Antiques and Arts Faire and I'm sure that many people will wander into Faded Elegance as they ramble down the street.

I brought in many vintage linens.  Vintage Tablecloths can add a spark of personality to your spring or summer table. Though many of the old tablecloths have been “well-loved” – meaning that they may be stained, they may be tattered or they may be faded, if you use 2-3 tablecloths, laying each cloth at a 45 degree angle from the cloth underneath, you will find that you can easily disguise these faults – and have a lush canvas for setting a fabulous table!

Vintage Handkerchiefs come in many floral patterns and colors. Their petite size makes them perfect as napkins for a tea party or summer afternoon cocktails.
The intricate details on these vintage linens is astonishing - how did women years ago find the time given all the other duties of the household - and none of today's technology?  It is humbling to me that I have discovered two bloggers who still practice this time-intensive art - 1thread and A Note of Friendship - both fascinating blogs.

I also tied up a few wallpaper rolls with these fabric belts.  Most likely they were from 1950's shirtwaist dresses - I picked them up at the Goodwill outlet in Flagstaff, AZ a couple of years ago.  We went on a family vacation to the Grand Canyon in March (an ideal time to visit the Grand Canyon since no one else was around) and got caught in an early spring blizzard.  Grounded in Flagstaff for an extra day, visiting the Goodwill outlet was the perfect way to spend the afternoon.  I stashed these fabric belts, thinking the best use for them would occur to me someday - I love how the color of the belts complements the wallpaper.
And finally, here's a photo of one of my newest collage notecard designs -these sets of 4 flat cards are great for sending a quick "hello" or "thank you" note - and more personal than an email.

There's lots to see in Downtown Snohomish - this Saturday would be a great time to check it out for yourself.


A green solution

Making do with what's at hand is my forte.
I love the problem-solving aspect of trying to figure out a situation while making the best use of the resources I have at my disposal. 

"substance from a solution" 
Amy Duncan  2009

One recent night I found myself with a big bag of fresh spinach that needed to be eaten sooner rather than later and no other prospects for dinner.  I love pesto but since it is early spring, there is yet no basil growing outside my back door.  Basil is a leaf - spinach is a leaf - couldn't one substitute for another?  I went to work.

I had plenty of spinach leaves and fresh garlic; Patricia Well's pesto recipe in her Trattoria cookbook is my favorite - very simple and easy.  I minced the garlic in the food processor, added the spinach leaves, slowly poured in the olive oil.  By the way, I always have a glass of wine when I am cooking...its usually 5pm...its happy hour...I'm relaxing...and cooking...all is good...

An aside - I am not a big fan of many gadgets - I like to keep it as simple as possible - but I love my Cuisinart.  Got my first one in 1983 - used it 20 years until the plastic housing cracked - now I'm on my second one.  It is a great time saver plus does things (like making pesto) that would just not be the same done by hand.

After the pesto was done, I sauteed some onion and mushrooms to give the final pasta dish a little more substance.

Here is my kitchen helper...whenever anyone is in the kitchen, Calvin is there...you just never know what might fall
on the floor!
I stirred the cooked rotini into the pan with the sauteed onions and mushrooms and then added a healthy amount of the spinach pesto - topped with parmesan cheese - it was the perfect green solution for a quick bistro dinner.


Greens from my garden

I love having fresh flowers in my house - but a trip to the floral market on a regular basis can be expensive!  I often look around my yard and see what interesting combos I can concoct.  My parsley survived the winter - and with the spring weather, it is already overflowing the planter.  I snipped off some of the shoots that had bolted, combined with a just-bloomed dutch iris and a few stems of bee balm.

Happy Mother's Day to moms everywhere!


Fabric + Buttons = Floral Fun

I'm doing another creative workshop at Faded Elegance - Fabric Flowers and Button Blossoms on Thursday, May 27 from 6 - 9 pm.  Using fabric remnants and vintage buttons, you’ll learn to create fun and funky flowers to adorn a lapel, brighten a bag or prettify a present. A little needle & thread with a dash of chic and you’ll have all you need to make a bountiful bouquet of style.  I'll supply all the fixin's but if you have some special treasures you'd like to incorporate, bring 'em along. 

Whether your style is Farm girl...

or Sophisticate...

...there'll be lots of supplies to make as many posies as you desire...while enjoying a nibble of this and a sip of that.  Please RSVP by May 20th by calling Faded Elegance at 360-568-5333.  Class fee is $24.00 and includes all supplies and refreshments plus...
a 10% OFF after-hours shopping discount.
Hope to see you there!


Patience & Perseverance

I spruced up my spot today at Faded Elegance in anticipation of Mother's Day.  I added a few more treasures that might be the perfect trinket for Mom.  I brought in several of these "tramp art" pin cushions made from tin cans...yes, I said tin cans!  The sides of the can are cut into narrow strips and then curled/bent/contorted into these beautiful shapes - each one is a work of art; each one exemplifies what mothers do best - have patience and persevere.

I also brought in these "Remember Mom" collage jars.  Using a small, straight-sided jar, I filled each with a color coordinated collection of threads, buttons and trims and then inserted a vintage photograph.  The assemblage in the jar keeps the photo flush against the glass for viewing.  Don't they look like the sweetest moms?

Don't forget to honor your mother this Sunday.


Ode to Ted

I first met Ted Kennedy Watson in 1999, when I was just starting my company, four corners design.  My first greeting card line were 24 designs that were all handcrafted, encasing different natural elements under a shealth of organza.  Ted had a showroom at the Seattle Gift Center as well as a fabulous shop, Watson Kennedy Fine Living, in Pike Place Market.  Ted represented my line in his showroom and carried my cards in his store.  The first time I visited his shop, I knew that we were simpatico - he treasured the same quirky things that I did - old keys and clocks, vintage papers, birds, Paris/London/Europe, fine soaps and exquisite candles.  He needed additional sales help at the store on weekends so I helped out on a regular basis for a time.  Over the years, I learned alot from Ted that I have put into my business:  Do what you love and your enthusiasm for your product will be infectious to others.  Treat everyone with graciousness.  Quality is the standard.  Life is too short not be enjoyed.

A couple of years ago, I worked with Ted on a special project - he has a small studio adjacent to his weekend cabin and wanted to add interest to the large interior wall.  Armed with my vast numbers of old books/documents/maps and my Elmer's Glue concoction, we covered the wall with torn pages.  The ochre/cream/ecru tones blended seamlessly with the decor.

Yesterday, I was in Seattle so I stopped in to see Ted.  He now has two stores in Seattle - a second shop south of downtown in addition to the Pike Place location.  He has a renown reputation to pinpoint the perfect gift - he is cited in the May issue of House Beautiful magazine.  His ability to display his wares in the most interesting vignettes is a source of fascination...

still love those birds...

and Paris is always popular...


Votivo candles are my favorite - the Rosemary Garden scent is wonderful

Bailey, Ted's canine companion

So if you're in Seattle, stop in at one of the Watson Kennedy shops - or visit the website at www.watsonkennedy.com - it will be a delight for your senses.

worth a look...

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