Month: May 2012
After standing in a few feet of mucky pond water cutting water lilies with roots a foot thick, I sat itching my poison ivy, proud of the job I’d finished. Before I could start another project, I determined to reward myself. Time to go thrifting!
As I drove I daydreamed about getting a job sorting junk. I imagined being the only one to recognize the value of the stuff as it is being unpacked, and casually setting it aside for myself, not letting on to the thrill I’m having. This is not a dollar value I am talking about. More like the pleasure value. The sheer pleasure a little piece of someone else’s discarded stuff can bring. I pull up and park my car along the busy road. Everyone is driving past this place. There is plenty of parking. Out front fruits and vegetables surround one of the owners. Beyond him is a big sign that says, “Antiques and Stuff”. Walking around the sign takes me to a driveway with a back parking lot with a couple of tents set up. Behind the tents is a junkyard of old stoves, old furniture ruined by the rain, rusty bikes. Tables are set up and off to the side, a couple of women chat in low-sitting lawn chairs. They smoke cigarettes look bored by their surroundings. I on the other hand am about to jump out of my skin with excitement. I try to look casual as I start to browse through a big box of fabric and discover it’s not priced. One more reason they need me in a place like this, I think. I inquire about things not being marked, and she tells me to make an offer, claiming to accept anything reasonable. Reasonable offer depends completely on where you are. So I hold up a hefty hunk of fabric and say, “a buck?” She agrees. Now I know I can have some fun here. I keep staring at the fabric feeling all giddy and wondering what it reminds me of. I can’t decide if it will be a skirt, or a tablecloth, but it is a perfect start.
I find some wonderful vintage aprons. I have decided I collect these now. I so appreciate the fifties, when women kept home like it was the highest and classiest calling. According to the advertisements, they even wore pumps when they vacuumed. Although I have to admit, my mom was the poster fifties mom, and I don’t remember seeing her in pumps. Or even these aprons for that matter! But they have such a whimsical way of making me want to cook a turkey, or bake a pie.
I move back under the tent. I am overwhelmed. There is just too much good junk here, too much to see. I try to stop and fix my eyes on a small area and just take in what is in a few foot radius; wooden spoons, glasses, dish sets, and I spy a box on the ground under the table with a bit of blue peeking out.
Score! Blue jars; six of them. I rush over to the lady with my find and stacked it with my other things. Then it was indoors to see the three floors. Actually the basement was full but off limits. However the owner told me to come back on Monday mornings and help sort it out. I may just have to do that. Meanwhile, I found a great old tea canister, and a groovy bottle stopper, and a basket on the way out to carry everything in.
Then it was off to Salvation Army. I haven’t been to the one here yet, and it has been calling me for a couple weeks. I hit the jackpot with these sweet little curtains. I also saw a couple nice white pillow shams and have kicked myself repeatedly for not grabbing them.
Well, all the goodies have found a home, except the fabric. It’s too nice out to sew. I guess it will keep for a rainy day. Until next time….
This rickety old shed has too much potential to just house rakes and gardening gloves. I see wallpaper, curtains, shabby furniture, and an antique cookstove. Even a loft upstairs like the Ingalls sisters slept in while their parents talked about serious things beneath them. I have my work cut out for me however.
Notice the wood pile to the left of the window.
Apparently it had been there a while judging from the slant of the floor boards. My mind was racing. The place became an old abandoned cabin in the woods, and I was sweeping all the dust and cobwebs out to make it livable; putting on a pot of coffee and enjoying the rustic life.
The job was exciting. Just like when I was little and I would ask if I could have a space; in the attic at the cottage, or in a bedroom closet, or upstairs in the garage. It didn’t matter what it would become, just that it was all mine. And I could do whatever I wanted with it. We made dozens of forts when I was a kid. Nothing more than a place to take a bagged lunch, a place to bring friends, a place to plan things. The Cinderella play was dreamt up above the garage. Invitations were delivered to the entire elementary school, including the principal, and by the cars parked out front, it looked like that many showed up. My mother seemed a little overwhelmed. I probably hadn’t told her what we were up to. But she kept the popcorn and Kool-aid flowing. There was not enough seating in the driveway for all the patrons, but I am pretty sure the principal got one.
The shed hasn’t taken shape yet. For now, it’s just cleaner. But my wheels are turning, and in time, who knows what it will become.
I think this broom has been out here since the 50’s! I swear we had one of these when I was a kid. Till next time…
I’m lying here in this big old hammock looking at my little pond. Yesterday I attacked all the growth around it, to expose the rocks and cement edge. There is a hefty garter snake that lives in there. He was slithering back and forth as I worked as if to protest. What are you doing to my home? He would stay close by and tip up his little head and stare at me with unbelief. The gall! How dare you?
I told him if he tried any funny stuff, or startled me that I would not hesitate to kill him. I explained that he’s lucky I haven’t done so yet, and to be thankful for a place here by the pond at all. He may be gone this morning. The best hiding spots have been trimmed low. But back to the hammock. The past and present were jumbling together again as I press my bare feet in the grass and gently rock back and forth. Suddenly I see myself in my front yard as a kid, sunbathing on one of those yellow plastic lawn chairs. The kind that makes all the clicking sounds as you move the foot rest and head rest, and invariably discover you didn’t get it right when one of the legs collapses and your head crashes to the ground. But this was after all that. I was lying comfortably almost asleep, when I hear my brother call my name from up on the porch. I sit up squinting to see what he wants and notice he is whirling something around his head like a lasso, and just as he releases it and it comes soaring through the air in a circular motion, I realize it is a….…SLAP! It hits me around the chest and neck and falls to the ground and slithers away; a garter snake. I am stunned and my skin stings. I really didn’t freak out except to say, “That HURT!” I guess I was used to these antics.
I was never really afraid of snakes. Brothers on the other hand…..
Another great trip! I am moved that my kids are so incredible. I got off the plane and walking into baggage claim I see two people there that could be my people, but mine should be waiting out in the cell phone lot in the car until I call them from out front. But that surely looks like Adrienne. And is that her fiancé with her? Or someone else? As they rise to greet me, I realize it surely is my people. My son and daughter approach me with flowers and a package of my favorite Mint Milano cookies. All I can think as I hug them, besides how very good it is to hug them, is what great kids these are. What great thoughtful little people to bless my socks off. Not only with an hour long drive to the airport, but to surprise me inside and bearing gifts! How very humbling. I seem to be in the habit of getting humbled again and again lately.
On this trip, Adrienne and Kenny and I were off to Fripp Island to scout out a wedding venue. The island was incredible, and the wedding vision is coming together a piece at a time. We got to put our toes in the sand and smell the salty air and enjoy the warm breeze in the lowlands.
The island deer wander around lazily crossing the street, while the residents bomb around in golf carts. We were sorry when we had to head back.
My soap was calling me. It has been curing at my sister’s house for well over the month necessary. She loaded me up with goodies once again, and gave me a tour of the property.
It’s always fun to wander around the grounds of someone else’s house and get inspired. I grabbed my camera and we strolled around seeing what new things were growing, and what new projects had been completed. The sun was going down, and we were surrounded by the quiet. A bit later we heard the wild calling of two owls hooting at each other, and sound of the chuck widow’s will, not to be confused with the whippoorwill which makes a very similar call minus the chuck. My sister and I have to have this conversation every time we hear the sound and we must wait in silence to determine which one it is.
Her little display of enamel ware reminded me of Walden’s Pond when Thoreau spoke of how happy his belongings looked out of doors on the lawn when he cleaned out the cabin. “It was pleasant to see my whole household effects out on the grass, making a little pile like a gypsy’s pack, and my three-legged table, from which I did not remove the books and pen and ink, standing amid the pines and hickories. They seemed glad to get out themselves, and as if unwilling to be brought in. I was sometimes tempted to stretch an awning over them and take my seat there. It was worth the while to see the sun shine on these things, and hear the free wind blow on them; so much more interesting most familiar objects look out of doors than in the house. A bird sits on the next bough, life-everlasting grows under the table, and blackberry vines run round its legs; pine cones, chestnut burs, and strawberry leaves are strewn about. It looked as if this was the way these forms came to be transferred to our furniture, to tables, chairs, and bedsteads- because they once stood in their midst.”
My sister’s belongings were quite jovial. Especially the red ones.
The next day we were off to visit her friend Jayne for more home touring inspiration. Amazing what happens when a landscaper and a garden center worker get together. Their property was great fun to explore, and her home had charm and character to boot! Unfortunately I was not thinking properly, perhaps my coffee hadn’t fully kicked in. I forgot my camera and had to take photos with my cheap ass phone. I have to call it that, because I got a big laugh once before when I did.
Jayne is one with a style and taste that I see in magazines or restaurants, but can not figure out how to do myself. Obviously she gets it, as her home has that groovy modern shabby older look that just casually says, “Yeah. I know what to do with that.”
These are her little finds from tilling the soil for the garden. I wanted to snag them and collect them and make a tile table.
So with gratitude I return home with my heart loaded up like my suitcase. How can it be, I wonder again and again. How can I be so blessed and fortunate? My sister and my daughter and I talk ninety miles an hour until we are all exhausted. My son lets me hug the heck out of him, even if he doesn’t need them. And my future son-in-law has a uniquely calm presence that puts at ease even the most high strung of us all. That would probably be me, but Adrienne is running a close second.
Before the move, I spent countless hours browsing and dreaming about the details of the new place. I came across this quilt on ebay and sent the link to my daughter. What the heck. Mother’s Day, or a birthday, or Christmas would be here eventually. I really thought she would chuckle and dismiss it. But when she was here for her visit she gave me a huge gift bag with wonderful housewarming card and sure enough; the dream quilt was mine! What a gal!
The chairs were a gift too! A beautiful set of four from the new “step mother-in-law” (?) .
What a difference sixty four pictures can make!
The kitchen: I didn’t think I liked it, but it’s quickly becoming my favorite. If only I could find those Cape Cod’s to fit!
These are garage and basement finds! The oak table doubles as an island for now, and the shelf sitting on top has been pretty happy where it is! But it will find a wall somewhere after it’s painted WHITE!
The basement is awesome. Check out the Christmas lights. Weird what can make me happy. I was so glad she left them!
And for those cold winter nights…
I see wallpaper in this room’s future.
And this is my favorite little room. For now, a guest bedroom, just as soon as I spy a old white metal bed frame.
Found a whole box of these in the basement. Score.
Front door has some old hardware too.
Even found a home for those groovy curtains that reminded me of a quilt I had on my bed as a kid. Gotta love ebay.
Found a whole box of Atlas jars to fill with bath salts!