Wednesday, September 29, 2010

~ A Study in Black & White ~

Old black and white photos.

There's just something so special about them.

They speak of history.
Of good times past.

Of memories held close to the heart.

When I came across some vacation photos of this past spring, I knew I wanted to use them around the house someway.
But I wanted that vintage look to them.
No color.
Just let the textures and images on the paper speak for themselves.

A little photo editing later,
that beloved aged look was born.

Vintage flower frogs acquired on Etsy from Jeannie at Old Ohio Farm Finds hold them perfectly.
The patina on them gently worn from some florist's hands from long ago.

The inspiring saying on this card I made came from Kerrie's blog, Sea Cottage
It held my heart the first time my eyes swept across it.

Kerrie has a gift of word.  
Beautiful words.
Flowing prose.
She has a gentle and loving spirit like her words.

The mantel piece on my new headboard was another perfect place for more black and white treasures.

My favorite one of Hubby with his childhood dog Sandy. 
He was such a farm boy....and still is.

And me....always the princess.
A little city girl....always craving the beach.
And still am.

Sweet, treasured memories
 black and white ~

never to be forgotten...

{ Hugs } 

~ laurie

(Oh, and I'm linking to Faded Charm today!)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

~ Canning Jar Trivia ~

Good morning, everyone!
Ever wonder where those beautiful aqua canning jars that you adore sitting on your shelf really came from
or how old they just might be?

Well, I did a little legwork for you.

So, grab your cappuccino, put your feet up and let me tell you the story...

Once upon a time in 1858, an inventor and tin smith from New York City, John L. Mason, invented the mason jar. He invented a machine that could cut threads into lids, which made it practical to manufacture a jar with a reusable, screw-on, lid. This was the  difference between his design and predecessors, the sealing mechanism:  a glass container with a thread molded into its top and a zinc lid with a rubber ring.  The rubber created the seal, and the threaded lid maintained it.  The jar included his patent: "Mason’s Patent November 30th. 1858."

Ball Glass Manufacturing Company began in 1880 when Frank and Edmund Ball of Buffalo, New York, purchased the Wooden Jacket Can Company. Originally the brothers manufactured metal cans wrapped in wood, but when John L. Mason's patent for his fruit canning jar expired, the brothers prepared to move into glass. By 1884 the first Ball jars as we treasure today were produced, and in 1888 furnaces were fired at a new plant in Muncie, Indiana.

Interesting, huh?

In recent years Ball jars have gained popularity, due in large part to the lack of intact jars. Some collectors try to accumulate as many jars as they can, from pints to quarts to half-gallons, in colors that range from standard clear, aquamarine, and green to less-common amber.

Me?  I adore the aqua colored ones.

Others try to acquire jars with various types of logos on their fronts. For example, when the first machine-made Ball jars were produced in 1896, the distinctive script on the front boasted "Ball IMPROVED MASON," with an extra loop after the last "l" in Ball that almost looks like a fifth letter. From 1900 to 1914, the script was shortened to "Ball MASON," while from 1910 to 1914, some Ball jars bore the words "BALL PERFECT MASON" in big, block letters.

I'll bet that you just ran into your kitchen to check your jars, didn't you?
I know I did!

Now, you're probably wondering about those glass topped beauties?

Well, in 1882, Henry William Putnam of Bennington, Vermont, invented a fruit jar that used a glass lid and a metal clamp to hold the lid in place. These "Lightning jars" became popular because no metal (which could rust, breaking the seal or contaminating the food) contacted the food and the metal clamps made the lids themselves easier to seal and remove (hence the "Lightning" name) . There were many similar glass lid and wire-clamp jars produced for home canning all the way into the 1960s.  Many can still be seen in garage sales, flea markets and on specialty food jars today. 


So, there it is in a nutshell. a canning jar, that is!

And the next time you want to impress your company with some canning jar facts, you know the rest of the story!  :)

{ Hugs }

~ laurie

(I'm linking with Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

~ Sweet Angel in the Garden ~

Good morning to you!

On this wonderful White Wednesday (at Faded Charm), I want to share with you 
my sweet little angel who resides on my deck.

He keeps a careful, loving watch beneath a pot of burgandy "Million Bells" silvery white Dichondra "Silver Falls".

Quietly reflecting.  Serenely guarding.


and { hugs } with prayers that your guardian angel is watching over you today...

~ laurie

Monday, September 20, 2010

~ Butterfly Kisses and Wings of Change ~

Heaven's Walk garden has been just filled with monarch butterflies lately.



soaring over my head

as I stand mesmorized by their beauty.

The butterfly bushes are heavy with fragrant white blooms, and the butterflies land with airless effort to take in the sweet nectar before they begin their long trip south.

 The monarch goes through a complete metamorphosis from egg, caterpillar, pupa, and adult. Did you know that when they migrate (which in SE lower Michigan is from September 6-19) they must navigate to a place they've never been to before, because they are three or more generations removed from the monarchs that overwintered in Mexico during the previous winter?


Monarch caterpillar

Traveling in a southwest  direction, flying roughly 50 miles per day at 12mph and fluttering their wings at 300-720 times per minute, they encounter storms, predators, human's cars, and simple fatigue.  Those that make it follow the gulf of Mexico in a continuous stream toward their final destination in the Oyamel forests in Central Mexico.  
As many as 300 million spend their winters there.
It must truly be a sight to behold...

It amazes me that these delicate creatures of beauty, who weigh only about a half a gram,
fight their way over 3100 miles to their overwintering home in the high-altitude fir forests of the Transvolcanic Range of Mexico.

They roost in clusters on the oyamel trees, which unfortunately, are valuable lumber sources which provide local people sources of income.  Even here in the states, milkweed, the monarchs' host plant, is a concern. Farmers consider it a nuisance to crops and often use herbicides to control it. More roadsides are being planted with grass instead of being allowed to overgrow with wildflowers and weeds.  In Canada, it's been declared a noxious weed. As a result, the butterflies have fewer places in the wild to find nectar and lay eggs. It's been reported that this year's migration is 100 million less than last year.


So, it's up to us to come to the aid of God's wings of beauty.
We can do that by stopping the destruction of their precious habitat. 

Plant some milkweed! 

Canada has already taken steps to protect the summer homes of monarchs.  Hundreds of thousands of them spend their summers along the shores of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie in southern Quebec.  Three sites along these lakes have been designated as butterfly reserves.  

Planting milkweed is very easy, and there are many groups and websites out there willing to send them to you for free or a very small donation, or check with your local nursery. It takes a minimum of 60 days from seed to a plant large enough to support caterpillars' food needs.

 If you live in a northern climate and see snow, then request the 'Speciosia' variety of milkweed seed, as it survives the winters cold. You can save your seeds till next year and start them early inside, then transplant outside when the weather warms up. Your goal should be to create a refuge of lush milkweed for the migrating Monarch. Once you have a good supply of milkweed, you can also purchase eggs, small caterpillars or chrysalis and ensure there are butterflies in your area immediately. Just one mating couple and a good supply of milkweed could produce many healthy fluttering friends for your community. Check with your local plant nurseries if you have questions about when to plant seeds or when to buy plants or transplant.

Funniest thing....I never meant for this post to be an ad for "Save the Monarchs".  But the more time I spent out in the garden with them this week, I realized how happy and calm my spirit was when I was surrounded by them.  I wanted them to get to know me, to feel safe and secure in my yard.
I wanted them to know that Heaven's Walk acreage was a safe haven for them.

I knew that I wanted to do something to ensure they would bless my garden again next year.

And I wanted more butterfly kisses...
So....I'm planting milkweed.

And lots of it.

Will you help by planting some, too?

It's the least we can do for these little miracles that bless us in the garden....

{ Hugs and butterfly kisses }

~ laurie
for some interesting facts on monarchs -
and "Live Monarch" tells you how to grow milkweed!) 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Closer Look

I'm joining Kathleen at Faded Charm today for White Wedneday! 
Hope to see you over there!

If you remember my post from this past Met Monday where I shared my latest flea markets finds with you,
I was naughty.

I left you all hanging.

Such a big meanie, I am.

Sorry. (hehehe!)

Well, fear not.  I'm here to make nice.

Remember this birdcage that I got for free?
A nice lady threw it in with another purchase I made?
And you didn't know what purchase that was?
And it was my biggest (literally) purchase of the day?
(It was verry French looking, I might add.)

This is what I carted home hanging out the back of my SUV. was a little more than this, I guess.

And a little more than this....

And a tad more than this.

Oh, yes.  Lovely, isn't she?

In fact, Debbie and I BOTH took one of these beauties home with us.  
You should have seen our faces when we spotted them - 
behind my free birdcage that was sitting on a little table.

I had my eye on the sweet little birdcage.
I failed to see the beautiful panels right in front of my face, behind the birdcage.
I started bartering for the birdcage.

But....then.....we noticed the panels.

Our chins dropped to the floor....
our eyes got as big as saucers....
and we did this strange, zombie, trance-like walk, side by side, over to them for a closer look at the price -- thinking there was no way we could afford them, 
much less get them home in one piece.

"Forty dollars a piece", the nice lady said. 

Our saucered eyes and now-drooling chins turned toward each other in awe and amazement.

"Forty?............That's it?" 
we whispered in quiet unison.

"Yes!" she sweetly replied with a huge grin on her face.

She must have thought we were a couple of nutjobs. 
I'm surprised that we didn't scare her darling little daughter who was there with her.
(She's probably still having nightmares about the look on our faces...)
Well, we couldn't get our last dollars out of our pockets quick enough.
We practically skipped out of that building... well as we could carrying two 50 pound wooden tri-panels 
and a birdcage.

It was soooo worth a closer look, wouldn't you say?

If you want a look at Debbie's panels in her lovely cottage, be sure to skip over and see her here!

Blessings and { hugs } to you!
~ laurie

Monday, September 13, 2010

Flea Market Treasures

Ok.  I know that you have all been breathlessly waiting for me to share some of the treasures I crammed into my little SUV the day that Debbie (from House at the Lake) went gallavanting around the local "once-a-month-during-the-summer" flea market a couple Sundays ago. She's been a good blogger and has been sharing her goodies with you.  I, on the other hand, have been a bad blogger, and have not

Today is your day!
So, sit back, grab that cappuccino - and be prepared for some eye candy, girls!

How about a trio of vintage mixing bowls for only $25?

I love their warm, white chunkiness and worn interiors.
Debbie said, "Put them on your bottom shelf.  It looks too empty." 
She was right.  I adore them there!

A great old time milk carrier for $12. Instead of paying the high price at one dealer's booth where he was asking $20-50 per bottle, we scrounged different booths for each bottle.

Did you know that they price the bottles according to the colors of the insignias, whether the letters are raised or not, and whether the bottles are square or round? I love learning new facts about the things I collect!

Naturally, my little carrier wouldn't take the cheaper round bottles. But after hitting a handful of booths, I paid no more than $4-10 for each one.
Oh, the thrill of the hunt....!

This birdcage was actually my first purchase of the day.  It was a dirty, black rusty color when I brought it home.  I didn't have any white spray paint on hand, so I grabbed some paint with real zinc in it that I had in the basement. Krylon makes a 'cold compund' spray paint "for the repair of metal" and it has 93% zinc in it.  It gave the birdcage a real neat look. 

But it didn't stay that way for long.  I really wanted it white.  
A coat of Heirloom White later....

Ah, yes.  That's more like it!

I had been looking for an old soap holder for my tub.  
And $15 later, I was a happy huntress!

It's perfectly imperfectly rusty, and I adore the way it looks on my tub with the lavender handmade soap bars.
(My neighbor, Heide, who really doesn't get in to my "vintage" world, sweetly said with her neat German accent, "Are you going to keep it all old and rusty looking, girl?") 


My Hanson scale (which I actually found on eBay for $7), found a home in the wire garden basket that I brought home from the flea market last month.  It rests next to some vintage linens.

And this birdcage?  This birdcage I got for FREE.  Yup.  Free.
I bought something else from the dealer and she threw this in for nothing. 
I wanted to hug her.
But seeing it was 95 degrees with 95% humidity and we were all hot and sweaty and dying for a shower,
I didn't. 
She was probably happy about that.

Wanna see what my big purchase was of the day....?  
The treasure that I bought with the free birdcage?

Hmmmm......I think I'll wait til the next White Wednesday to show you.

{ Hugs! }

~ laurie