Monday, July 24, 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017


My new book was published this week and is ready and waiting for you!

Sounds faded into silence as Louisa gazed into a mirror, a mirror in time.  She stared at the photograph of a young woman and baby, every detail of their clothing and hair and jewelry period-perfect. Who are these strangers—and why does the woman look exactly like her?

Secrets from an unknown past collide with Louisa’s dilemma over her own future as she unravels the story behind the vintage portrait. But can she stay one step ahead of the enemy dogging her footsteps?

Bay in the Dark is available on Amazon both in paperback ($15.95) and ebook ($2.99) formats. If you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free. (Such a deal!) And if you don’t own a Kindle, no problem: you can put the free Kindle app on any computer, tablet or phone.

The grateful author thanks you for your support!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Textile Mania

I swear to you, I do not go out looking for cloth. My watch-for list includes things like plant-support grids (found some once, keep hoping for more), specific sizes of picture frames, unvarnished wooden beads, padded envelopes. In fact, I even put on my list in shouting capital letters NO CLOTHES OR FABRIC!!!

Hmmm. Guess I should actually read my list more often, and then pay attention to it. But really, how could I not bring these things home? I swear, a bundle forced its way into my hands at an estate sale, with a vintage fruity tablecloth, 

an appliqued & embroidered guest towel, 

a parrot embroidery, 

a vintage laundry bag,

and the cutest dish towel ever.

How could I resist three large pieces of this amazing, vibrant floral fabric 

or a pack of four brand new cloth napkins at a dollar each? (That's a dollar for the three fabric pieces, and a dollar for the four napkins.)

Or a big coffee can full of thread for another buck? 

Especially since it held 3 dozen spools of thread, 

including vintage wooden spools with cool labels, 

plus needles (yes, I did find the first one the hard way, ouch!), 

hooks & eyes, 

beading wire, 

and a seam ripper.

Then there were the pieces of cloth from Japan priced at 25¢.

Millie likes them.

She also likes the wire basket I found at our first stop. 

I'm happy to say I have an upcycling idea for it that involves some of the cloth I keep bringing home.

Lest you be tempted to paint me with the “hoarder” brush, I hasten to add I'm actively using up some of the fabric stash. This week’s project was a little art quilt.

As with my mending project from last week, everything to make it was thrifted. Oh, the freedom of thrifted supplies! Fabric scraps from free boxes, gold and silver metallic thread from the Baptist rummage sale, 

batting and fusible web from driveways a few months ago. Bunny was cut from a little scrap of cashmere.

I think the world needs more dancing bunnies, don’t you?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Week That Was

As it says below, I really do love the comments folks leave here. And I thought this one from Betty was especially good – the coincidence of the week:

We went to a sweet little estate sale Friday where my third-grade teacher daughter found great things for school – two chambered nautili (one whole, one sliced half), and a 72-bar percussion chime (think sound effect for magic wand). But when I went out into the charming backyard, there, hanging on the post of the pergola, was your bell! I was so excited, dashed over to ring it (and it was just like you described it), but ... "not for sale." But at least I got to hear it. 

Don’t you love that? Of course now I really want a 72-bar percussion chime as well. Maybe that will magically appear next week - though it would only be poetic justice if it did show up and then was not for sale!

The loot of the week fell back within normal spending parameters after last week’s splurge (ten bucks for everything…I think a morning’s fun is worth ten bucks). Most of it came from my neighbor up the street, who revealed they are selling their MCM house and moving to Florida. (Anyone want to become my neighbor??) This large, heavy, shallow glass bowl says “put me in the yard somewhere to become a little reflecting pond” to me. 

To Millie it evidently says something along the lines of “Come on up here and writhe around!”

I love this little rug in my kitchen.

These hooked wool pillows were way too cute to pass up at a dollar each. 

Please, everyone, keep your fingers crossed – they have been in the house, on the sofa, for two days now and neither dog has taken a nibble. I hardly dare hope that I might become someone who can put sofa pillows on her sofa without a repeat of this sad event. 

Zoƫ thinks they are hers.

I don't think she is planning to share with her sister.

I must have been deprived of wind-up toys as a child, because no matter how ridiculous they are I must wind them up.

 And if they cost ten cents, I must buy them.

The rest of the tenner went for a pair of owl socks, 

and this vintage planter. The puppy section of my Museum de Me is getting crowded but hey, dogs are pack animals, right?

The project of the week (a very little project) was all about yard sale finds. To wit: one lavender linen napkin (from a driveway) had developed a hole (there may well have been canine intervention involved). 

I could have tossed it, or used it with the hole, but I was in the mood to mend. So out came a piece of fabric from the bag of free stuff of a couple of weeks ago, and the Stitch Witchery from an estate sale to anchor the patch, and variegated metallic thread from another estate sale, and voila. 

I have a feeling this is my new favorite napkin!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Big Splurge

What can I tell you…sometimes you just fall in love.

Friday we did our usual rounds, found some great deals. Like this little plate with the great glaze to hold the scrubbies by my kitchen sink

or a screaming-purple spatula for the spatula collection.

Got a whole box of fabric for a buck, just for the fun of finding out what was in there.

I confess: I literally gasped with delight when this piece came out of the box.

Surfing puppies and kitties! Too wonderful!

And how about this Curious George gumball dispenser. Cool, right?

It’s going to live in the children’s literature room, next to one of my prize possessions, the Curious George flashlight (like this one). I'm sure it tells you everything you need to know about me that a Curious George flashlight is one of my prize possessions.

And then there was the estate sale.

It was only two blocks from my house, but I could tell from the ad that it would attract every dealer in town, so we went to a couple other sales first to avoid them. It was still quite crowded when we arrived but the most obnoxious group had come and gone. The house had belonged to a man who collected pottery, and masks of all kinds, and paintings and lithographs. And chickens. The single most expensive thing at the sale was this giant chicken, which was priced at a whopping $450.

Why yes, I did find a few things there. A cherry pitter like the ones I’ve used for years – except this one has a suction base instead of the kind you screw to the edge of the counter. Big improvement!

I've never owned popover pans before. I got two so I can make popovers for a crowd.

I thought these glasses were fun enough to bring home,

and I've had on my watch-list a small stool for the closet.

Another shopper helped us pluck this piece off a storage shed in the back yard. It's called Bird Watcher.

We actually went back to this sale after lunch, when it was quieter. As I went through the house again, I saw several pieces of pottery I really liked. And a big metal bell on a stand that had the greatest tone when it was rung. Completely mellow.

I'm a sucker for mellow. But the bell cost a lot. I left it behind.

One reason to be frugal is so that when something comes along that is more expensive, you have some money saved. I thought about that bell all night. Saturday was their mark-down day, so I went back. I was third in line, waiting for them to open, chatting with the other ladies waiting with me. When the appointed hour came I headed straight down the stairs, heading for the room with the bell, right behind the woman who was in front of me in line. Who said as she went down, “I think the bell was in this room down here.”

What! No! MY bell! “That’s what I came back for,” I said. I'm sure there was a note of dismay in my voice. We reached the bell side by side. “Well, you were in front of me so of course you’re first, but I do really want this,” I said.

She carefully inspected the bell. Took a measuring tape out of her purse and measured. Engaged the guy running the sale in figuring out how much it would be since it was discount day. Got out her phone. Called someone. I said again I did really want it. The estate sale guy had his roll of masking tape and was writing sold on it, ready to slap it on the piece. She talked on the phone. I waited, holding my breath. Finally she got off and said, “She doesn’t want to pay that much, so it's yours.”

I cheered. The ‘sold’ tape went on the bell. Whew! It seemed so ironic that having decided to actually buy something spendy, it might have gone to someone else.
Having bitten the big one with the bell, I picked out a few pottery pieces. I love this teapot, the shape, the contrast of the rough glaze on the outside with the smooth interior. (Anyone know what this kind of glaze is called?)

This vessel was something else I thought about all night. I think it's large enough and heavy enough to be safe from Millie.

I own another piece by the potter who made these lidded jars.

So I fell in love, and splurged, and don’t regret it all. But interestingly, my very favorite piece of the weekend was free. Judy gave it to me after she rescued it from a neighbor who was putting it in the trash. (Yes, I am shuddering.) Isn’t this little tin box just wonderful?

Dated 1946, made in England by The Metal Box Company. 

The illustrations remind me very much of Garth Williams’ early books. Wish I knew if he’d done them!

So I had a big splurge and a no splurge. Does that change my big splurge to only half a splurge?

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