Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hippy Chic and Naked Mannequins

The first local antique market of the season opened up today.
Considering the long, cold winter and
long, cold spring we've had here in Michigan,
I vowed that I was NOT going to go if it was cold....or rainy....or snowing for that matter.
No way, Jose.

The day dawned cold.
Like 40 degrees.
But it wasn't raining...or snowing.

So after rolling out of bed at 6am, 
I pulled on jeans, tee, heavy wool winter sweater,
woolly socks and tall boots,
grabbed a cup of hot, sweet coffee and headed out the door into the dark morning ~
leaving the Mister all snuggled up in bed with Maizie.

A half hour later after I pulled into a parking spot in the field and started walking toward the market,
it started to rain.
Not much, but enough to be irritating and turn a good hair day into a very bad one.
Oh....and did I mention it was blowing?
Really blowing.
Like blowing hard enough to flip my umbrella
(which had been tucked into my purse as an afterthought)
inside out?
It was blowing hard...and raining.


And the Mister was back home all cuddled in a nice warm bed...

You could have heard my moan of despair all the way to Wisconsin, I think.

So, there I was...battling not only my bad hair whipping around my head like a wild banshee,
but standing in the rain in midst of a wet, windblown crowd shaking my umbrella like a crazy woman trying to get it right side out again.
What FUN.

But...being the die hard shopper my momma brought me up to be,
I forged ahead with my shopping radar tuned on high.

The rain did stop after a while,
(thank you, Lord!)
but the winds screamed around the booths threatening to pick up the canopies
and swirl them away like Mary Poppins.
I really think I saw a cow blow by me at one point...
(or maybe it was one of those large metal sheep that one guy makes?).

I made my way past women wrapped tightly in a colorful quilts over their winter coats and hats,
and men with pink blankets around their shivering shoulders
attempting to stay warm however they could.
(Real men DO wear pink blankets, you know.)

I stared in disbelief at a crazy man in shorts (shorts....really?)
 taking photos of a bare naked mannequin
in all her cold, busty glory.
(Oh, I can just imagine the story HE was going to share with his buddies over Friday night beers.)

I sauntered slowly past the food trailers inhaling the spicy aroma of fried onions and sausages,
my stomach growling in dismay.
There was no way I was going to spend my money on food.
(Get over it, Stomach.)

My first purchase, appropriately enough,
was a queen quilt and sham set.
In perfect condition and softly worn.

 I hugged it to my chest 
and seriously considered becoming a blanket mummy like everyone else.
But at least the front of me was warm.

I continued walking...
a stuffed squirrel and deer antlers,
huge wooden vintage market signs,
wicker furniture galore,
rusty hinges and antique glassware,
painted and distressed cabinets and tables,
and garden trinkets
lined the aisles.

 Escaping the howling wind for a while, I ducked inside one of the buildings,
walking past walls of paintings, mounds of jewelry, and a pile of rugs.

A pile of rugs???
I stopped dead in my tracks when my eyes landed on this beauty
half falling off of a table.

It was small.  Only a 2'x3', but so beautifully worn with it's faded blues and pale pinks.
I knew instantly that it would make a beautiful pillow cover.
(Do they even make strong enough sewing machine needles to do that...?)

I also nabbed this rug off the same table for our kitchen ~
also wonderfully worn and threadbare in spots.

At a nearby booth manned by a cool, chic, hippy gal with carrot colored hair,
I spied this knife set, complete with cheese knife and cake slicer.
It was love at first sight when I touched those handles.

Beautiful, shabby chic, porcelain...
made in England nonetheless.
Hippy Chic gave me a great deal on them.
I could have hugged her!
I happily stuffed them in my bag.

I wandered through the throngs of half frozen blanketed people
(who were all mumbling about the miserable weather),
and almost stumbled over this sweet blue bench
sitting in the middle of the aisle.
All by itself.

It was destiny.

I picked it up and turned to find the booth owner
who seemingly appeared out of nowhere ~
which can be quite unnerving when shopping with an iced brain and contact lenses full of blowing dirt.

The tag on it said $15.
After squinting my eyes and asking my usual.... 
"Can you do any better on the price...?",
he replied, 
"How about $5?"
I think I shoved my $5 dollar bill down his shirt in utter joy
and danced away singing the "Hallelujah Chorus".

Yes, I was the crazy, wild haired banshee woman you saw singing her way down the windy road.

Three hours later,
I still couldn't feel my fingers or my nose, and I was ready to hit the road.
I was ready to leave the land of the frozen Blanket Mummies behind.
My sofa, cozy new quilt, and nice warm house were calling me.
So, I started back to the field where my SUV was parked.




my radar zeroed in on THIS little treasure.

Oh. My. Gosh.

My feet were planted squarely in front of her.
I wasn't moving for anybody.
She was mine.
I swooned over the thin, worn, rose patterned fabric on her.
I loved her pink chippy legs.
I adored the way someone had tried to lovingly hand stitch the vintage fabric back together,
patching the holes with muslin.

I stared.
In love.

I touched the stitches and ran my hand over the thin, lineny fabric.
There was definitely horse hair under there,
which in my mind, made this little beauty quite old ~
and I loved the thought of having a little horse hair in the house.
(Strange, but true.)

But.....where to put her??
What room?
What corner?
What place....?
There had to be SOMEPLACE for her to fit in my house.

"That fabric is very vintage and very rare.
I can't remember the name of it, but Google it and you'll see.
Oh....and I can do better on the price, you know."

I looked up to see Cool Hippy Chic smiling in front of me.

"How much better....?", I tentatively asked,
not taking my eyes off of her
{the bench, not the Chic}.
The price had originally been $48,
cut to $35.

" does $20 sound?"

For 20 bucks, I'd wear her around my neck if I had to
{the bench, not the Chic}.

I quickly paid Hippy Chic before she changed her mind and went on my merry way.

And wouldn't you know it,
by the time I got home....
the sun was shining.

Go figure.

So, Rare Vintage Rose Bench is now happily living in our vintage farmhouse,
(which room however, remains to be seen)
and I'll be looking for more of Cool Hippy Chic's wonderful treasures next month.

Now...where to put her......?
{the bench, not the Chic}

Thus ends the first seasonal installment of "Blanket Mummies of Allegan".
Stay tuned for next month when I may bring you
"Drowned Banshee Rats Raid Allegan"
or maybe even
"Sweaty Banshee Poses With Naked Mannequins in Allegan".

In Michigan,
 you never can tell.

~  Eucharisteo  ~

Linking to the linky parties on the lower right of my sidebar.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Tying Love Around My Heart

The weather men say warm temps are finally on the way.
We smile at the prediction.
And God blesses us with a warm, sunny Easter weekend
filled with friends, family, and flowers.

A trip to the city to celebrate my mother's 81st birthday ~
unaware....or was a special day for her.
My dad wanted us to gather as a family,
and we did.
Seven of us ~ husband, wife, brother, sister, nephew, and niece ~
embracing love in the room. 

Bittersweet smiles.
Quiet laughter.
Warm hugs.
Kisses land on soft, wrinkled cheeks.


I tie that love in a bow around my heart during the next day
as I travel to the garden center.
Reveling in the warm springtime air blowing my hair in my face.
"When peace like a river...." weaving softly out of the radio.

 Closing my eyes in the midst of the sweet, earthy fragrance of watered soil
and blooming flowers...
I stand in the middle of the greenhouse.
Inhaling deeply.

Sinking hands deep into the warm soil.
Dark chocolate cake between my fingers.
Petals soft in my hands.
Warm breeze cooling a sweating brow.

As my hands cup young flowers,
my mind wanders to the mature gardens of last summer.
My heart waits.
Ready to clip and carry armfuls of peonies and roses inside once again...

June 2013

Ready to settle a tired, happy, body on the front porch swing.

Our front porch featured this month in the premier issue of Flea Market Outdoor magazine.

Photo credit: Mark Lohman

Maintaining my grateful gaze on God.
Tying more love around my heart,
and thanking him for sweet spring weather. 

~  Eucharisteo  ~

Linking to the linky parties on the lower right of my sidebar.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cultivating Moments

Her words crushed.
Hitting hard and sinking deep.
Stealing joy.

Breathing in surprise,
I exhale unwanted anger.

Staring at blurred letters.

"Strike back," Blackness screamed, demanded.

I instinctively wanted to.

"Turn inward," Soul whispered gently.

I reluctantly balked.

This world.
So hard and rough.
I wanted no more of it's darkness and biting ways.
No more of it's beating me down.

I said, "I can not figure things out."
God whispered, "I will direct your steps."

I said, "I can not manage."
God whispered, "I will supply all your needs."

I said, "I am frustrated."
God whispered, "Cast all your cares on ME."

He humbles me.

Quote from book by Rachel Ashwell

Resting in faith.
Relaxing in His Presence.

My heart moves toward Him,
in sync with His steps,
 embracing His love.

"What if the art we make – whether the work of our hands, the words of our mouth, the simple movement towards others in our ordinary days – 
what if these are the ways Jesus wants to show Himself to a weary world?
What if the art we make and live is a daily grace God has in mind for someone else?
And our way of living art is one of the million little ways God wants to show himself in the world?"
~ author unknown

No thinking.
No wondering.
No imagining.
No obsessing.
No apologies for being me.
I will make art
and live gracefully.
Not asking for nor expecting recognition or praise.
Shutting out the loudness of the world.
Inviting in the quietness of the Holy Spirit.

My heart...and my blog...will continue to be a garden where faith is grown.
A place to continue to cultivate friendships.
A place to gather words...

and to spread His Word.

East garden 2013

"You are exactly where you are supposed to be.
If you are happy...revel in it.
Appreciate the moment.
If you are unhappy...take note.
Try to figure out what you are supposed to be learning from this moment.
For each and every moment woven together over time
is your life.
Each moment matters.
Each moment has something beautiful to teach us."
~ Simple Daisy

~ Eucharisteo ~

Linking to the linky parties on the lower right of my sidebar.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Boho-Funky Prairie Shutters

As early spring sunshine filtered through the studio window,
sitting amidst pretty roses and prairie curtains...

RA curtains in my studio. These are staying here.

I brainstormed.

I drew sketches.

I played with pieces of wood.

The Husband and I trekked to Home Depot and spent hours sorting through planks
and picking through hinges.

And then we started playing.
Visually laying out the plan.

Prairie shutters were on the docket for the day.
Another dream was coming to fruition,
and I could barely contain myself from doing the happy dance ~
while The Husband threw numerous raised eyebrows my way.

However, we had to finagle these shutters.
Get creative.
Really creative.

Since our sofa backs up against one window and the chaise arm is close to the other window,
we had to rethink having full planks
because we wouldn't be able to open them all the way.


So I decided to design a 3/4 over 1/4 shutter for these windows. 
Something different.
Something a little funky bohemian.
Something that could be opened up behind the furniture.
The top double 3/4 length planks would move as one piece.
The bottom tri-fold planks would fold in together to clear the furniture
and then could be folded out again to lay flat against the wall. 

I stained them with Minwax 'Early American' first
followed by a light coat of homemade chalk paint in the same creamy white shade I've used throughout the house.

Of course, I didn't have any of my favorite 'prairie pink' paint that I used on the kitchen and bathroom shutters (that you can see here and here and here).
So, I pulled on my creativity cap and mixed and stirred and mixed and stirred
like a mad scientist.
Adding a little brown, a little black, and a little white to a base of bright pink "oops" paint that I nabbed at The ReStore last month for $10.

(I never said I was a neat painter, you know....)

The soft lilac-pink shade that I was waiting for gradually appeared,
(in the bottom can above)
and I swished it haphazardly all over the shutters.

At one point, I thought I was finished with painting them and was ready to move into distressing mode.
But just to be on the safe side, I thought I'd haul one inside to see if it was "pink" enough for me.

Not by a long shot.

I lugged it back outside to the work room,
and as I retrieved my pink-covered paint brush,
I mentioned to The Husband,
"They aren't pink enough.  Gotta add more."

The Husband:  "I kinda thought that myself."

Thank you, Lord, for a husband who doesn't mind pink!

Palm-sanding and random distressing revealed a vintage look,
followed by a waxing and buffing of clear Annie Sloan Wax to seal it.
I let them set overnight.

After church service on Sunday morning, we had a very quick lunch
(because I was so anxious to get these beauties up).
I don't think I've eaten a piece of left over seafood pizza so fast in my life.

While refraining once again from doing the happy dance,
we used t-strap hinges that I had painted with Rustoleum spray Chalkpaint
to attach them to the wide vintage oak trim that surround our windows.

We installed the bottom shutters first,
and my toes began to tap....

and then we tackled the top set.
My legs were now twitching to the music in my head.

You can see how the top shutters can swing open freely,
while the bottom sections tri-fold in on each other
clearing the arm of the chaise.

They kind of remind me of a little picket fence.  :)

Ok, I can't stand it any longer.
I'll take a moment to do the happy dance
while you take a look at our work.

{Cue happy feet!}

Thinking of moving the RA banner to the other side of the sofa by the lamp.  Thoughts...?

A peek through the shutters at the springtime decor on the front porch.
(The snow is just about gone now, thank goodness.)

The large tri-fold door filled with rose prints that stood in the corner behind the table the alabaster lamp is on was finally moved and stored in the attic for now.
The absence of it made the entire room feel larger.

I wanted the prairie shutters to take center stage now.

And even though the grocery store brand sheer drapes that hung on the windows previously weren't heavy or stifling by any means,
without them, the room felt lighter.

The shutters will provide privacy at night,
and are the perfect shabby prairie chic way to keep out the cold winter winds
and hot summer sun.

I love the clean, airy, prairie look they lend to the living room.
There's just something homey and comforting about opening them each morning
and closing them up at night.

The Husband:  "You know...they're even cool when they're not closed all the way."
Me:  "Really.  Who are you and what did you do with my husband...?"

A little pink.
A little boho.
A little funky.

A lot prairie.

And Husband Approved, too.

~  Eucharisteo  ~

[Thank you, Tausha, for your barn-room inspiration for these shutters!]

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