Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Clock Case No Longer

Today's post is NOT about guitar catalogs! I've almost sold them all thankfully and am moving on to more fun things. Today's post is about the clock case project I've been slowly working on. As you can see in the photo above it's finally finished.

For me, the best projects evolve. I can't usually just walk out to the studio and make something in an afternoon. It has to grow into something. With this clock case, I let it sit out for a month while I worked on other things and when I was out and about either in the trailer or shopping for my usual art supplies or junk...I  kept the box with so much potential in mind. Eventually I started collecting things I liked and then began to put them together until they evolved into a jewelry box.

I am not sure what happened to the photo of my before shot of the clock case...but, just to give you an idea, it was mildewy brown and black with an oxidized alligator skin finish....and smelled musty.

I first put a wash of green blue paint over it and continued with several coats until I liked the intensity. This sealed up the "stink" and was the beginning of the new finish. I love how paint works with old oxidation. The texture is wonderful visually and after a very, very light sanding it's considerably smooth.

For me the solid color was just too much of a good thing so I then gave it a light wash of linen white and let it seep into the grooves to highlight the design in the wood...SO much better.

Since I don't speak French I have no idea what the label is but to me it looks feminine and maybe like a powder box top. I got it from The Graphics Fairy after I had already painted the box. It was an almost perfect match, so that really sealed the deal.  I love how the graphics on the glass door frames it too.

I'm sorry this is horribly out of focus, but I wanted to show you the pull...it is part of an earring and I epoxied it to the door front.

This brooch came from the same estate and just seemed to fit the bill for some added oomph to top.

Inside behind the label is a piece of textured wallpaper I got from my Junk Swap partner a couple of months ago. It was the perfect solution to hide the holes where the clock fittings once were and also to brighten up the background so that you can see inside when it's closed. I am considering putting a tiny light inside for nighttime display. To the sides I've put in 4 coated hooks for necklaces or bracelets.

I removed the shelf supports from the top and moved them to the bottom of the case and added the shelf for the ring posts. They are simply dowels inserted into holes and glued up. I finished the top with nickle studs painted with gold leaf. On the front of the shelf is brown velvet ribbon which is the same trim as on the boxes below.

These were as much fun to make as the jewelry case. They are paper mache covered in paper and sealed with poly. The lids are painted and embellished with jewelry-like stickers for scrap booking or card making. the insides are also lined with paper and velvet for holding small pieces of jewelry or earrings.

 I am working on two smaller coordinating boxes to finish out the space inside the case. Since they have been such a fun project on their own I will be making more to sell individually. 

All in all this fancy froo froo jewelry case not going to hold a ton of jewelry but more likely to hold what someone wears on a day to day basis during the week. The basics. So, it's really intended as a place to put "regulars" away at night and find them quickly the next morning....or it could just be used to display treasures or family heirlooms.

So, did anyone guess correctly a few weeks ago when I showed the supplies? Did you know what it was going to be?

It will be for sale at our first open house sale this summer along with lots of other recycled items I'm trying to save from the landfill. I hope to see you then!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Collecting Vintage Catalogs and Ephemera

I never meant to get into the catalog business. We never know what will come our way do we?

In this trailer I keep referring to are many many boxes and in these boxes are things that haven't seen the light of day in 15 years. Before that many of these things were already packed away in plastic bread bags or old cereal boxes and even wrapped in 60 year old newspapers.

Among these items were catalogs. Quite a lot of music catalogs from the 50's and 60's as these people whom the estate came from were once the owners of a music store. I believe they closed in the early 60's and saved everything they weren't able to sell. They threw nothing away...or should I say...they wasted nothing. I have found myself reusing more of my recyclables as a result.

The first thing I noticed about these great vintage guitar catalogs was the illustration art. I'm a big fan of this style art and learned to draw by copying book and magazine illustrations. Some of these catalogs are genuinely beautiful....but, this is not why they are collected.

People that collect catalogs, I've found, actually are collectors of the items found inside them or have a professional interest. If the actual item is hot, then the catalogs too sell very well.

Buying catalogs is a good way to start your collection or even add to it, whatever your interest may be. If you can't buy the item or don't have anymore room for the actual collectible...look for the catalogs. Some people collect old department store catalogs, Christmas catalogs, car catalogs and almost anything you can imagine. I used to keep my old J. Peterman catalogs for the illustrations and stories. I wish I still had them now.

Good places to find old catalogs are ebay of course, estate sales, and old book sellers, such as AbeBooks.com. 

What do you collect? Are there catalogs? It's something to think about.

Here are a few of the catalogs and brochures we have listed this week on ebay.

...and there's more to come.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Weekly Shop Update

Last week's news of the metal siding order being completely messed up took a turn for the better. After witnessing a 2 day tantrum by a 47 year old man and wondering how he handles mulit-million dollar projects at work...????...he finally figured that it would be a lot easier to borrow a metal break from our neighbor and fix it himself. Soon thereafter he had 3 sides on, the attic vents bought and the door frame in place...

I'm amazed at what that man can do in a weekend.

 I'm really liking the view from the back porch...(those dead vines on the rocks were from ivy we are trying to get rid of. They are finally brittle enough to tear away, but I've already seen a couple of snakes and am a little leery.)

So, as he gets his new shop closer to being closed in and the floor poured, we are both closer to getting what we want! In about 3 weeks we will be able to start unloading  the trailer and get all of Rick's stuff out of the studio and moved into his shop. That will be the staging area while we get Ranch Dressing ready for our first Open House Sale. Some day...it will all be organized and that will be a... great day!

This day, I am working on a small project for the shop...I've already started painting and working on the interior of this old Victorian clock case.  

The case will get a white wash over the blue...you know me, I can't be happy with solid color.

I'm only using one piece of the jewelry on the card...Aren't they fabulous with the paper?

The little blue pieces of wood were originally inside the case as support...I removed them and am adding them back for the same purpose but in a different position.

Can you guess what it's new purpose is? If it will help, there are some hooks going in there as well, I just haven't found them yet.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Displaying Your Collectibles

 The shelf above our tv holds a collection of similar flea market items.

Some of the comments I hear most often about collecting is, "I don't know what to do with these things when I get home with them. How should I display them?" or "There is no rhyme or reason to my collecting...I just buy what I like then I don't know where to put them."

Truth is, we all feel this way in the beginning until we start grouping like with like. Like object, or like materials, or even things that are just the same color. Then we begin to see that we do have a system in place when we are buying. We just need to get organized.

I went around my house and snapped a few photos of some of my collections...I don't have a lot of time or money tied up in these but I sure have had a lot of fun both buying, digging, and displaying.

 Conch shells from Rick's many trips to Portsmith Island

More shells

You've already seen some of my soda bottles in the dining  room....I have bottles everywhere!

 Bottles over the bathtub

...and bird's nests. I especially love the ones made from our horses hair. 
...and even more so the ones made from Ginger's mane...she's been gone for 2 years now and it's such a sweet day when an old nest blows out from somewhere near the barn made with her hair.

This old metal cabinet came out of the trailer. I love, love, love it! Rusty inside and out.
The door fell off and I'm using it as a shelf in the shop.

...and some of my old readers have seen my advertising tins already too. I have completely run out of space here and will be filling up the rusty green cabinet with any additions.

These little Mexican chairs sit at the foot of the stairs. They took me a long time to place for some reason...like 10 years...but I love them here.

And lastly the mason jars.They came out of the old homeplace that was still on our property when we bought it. The lids I found in the old hog lot which is now part of the rock garden behind our house.

Just remember, like with like.  What can you re-arrange today? Have fun!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mary's Spring Checklist

Had enough pollen yet? This is the most beautiful Spring that I can remember in a long time. Everything here is already green and blooming. Late last week the dogwoods and redbuds were at their peak complimenting their lush green background. Usually they are in bloom way before the leaves are on the trees. It's gorgeous...but the tree pollen is killing us all.

 Redbud Tree
I have to clean my indoor cat before she can come back in. Her white belly gets covered in the yellow dust that has clung to the picknic table she lays on. As much as I love to have the windows open I have vacuumed and dusted every surface and closed up the house until this mess is gone.

Doesn't look like somewhere I'd like to have my lunch today!

I posted a similar article last year on the other version of this blog with my spring cleaning list. It comes from my hero, Mary Emmerling, and her book, Mary Emmerling's American Country Collages. 

Mary is my icon you know. She's my Julia as Julia Child is to Julie Powell, from the recent book and movie Julie and Julia. But, who doesn't love Mary's timeless and innovative style. I've loved her work for two decades and can still find inspiration in even the oldest of her books. Our house is very cottage-y by default from my husband's love of the beach and fly fishing in the mountains....and from my love of hand-me-down furniture and western art and accessories. I used to laugh with joy when someone would tell me they felt like they were in a vacation home here. I knew then I had been a good student of Mary.

Okay...here we go....

Mary's Spring Checklist
Pick a sunny day to throw open windows.(this will have to be in a week or two here) Take down curtains and strip the bed linens, then wash them and hang them outside to dry in the fresh air. When they're damp but not wet, bring them inside to iron...(.I remember my mom and grandmother doing bed linens like this weekly when I was very young.)

Wash down the cottage (wood paneled) walls with a liquid cleanser, such as Murphy Oil Soap.

Sweep out the house from one end to the other. Rent a commercial waxer to polish the wooden floors. (Thank goodness for polyurethane and we don't have to wax our floors!)...I will use my artistic license and change this part to...Vacuum out the house from one end to the other, wet mop and touch up any scuffs on your wooden floor with a new coat of poly.

Clean out closets, installing cedar liners to store your woolens.

Clean out kitchen cupboards and shelves and reline them with fresh paper.

Take down all your books from their shelves and dust them. Replace them systematically. (I have books everywhere in the house, studio and barn so I a do well to vacuum the tops.

Hose down your porch and garden furniture, baskets, window boxes, and bikes.

Strighten out the garden shed, cleaning and reorganizing tools and equipment, and make up a shopping list for the garden center.

Plan your early plantings in the garden for your window boxes and other containers.

Make up a list of the fix-its and the chores that have accumulated over the winter...paint touch ups, screen and window repairs, mending loose steps and wobbly chairs etc.

...to be continued....in June with the summer checklist.

I'm hosing off the porches today...what are you doing?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Update on the Progress of the Shop(s)

We have had a beautiful start to Spring around here. I spent 5 full days outside working around the farm spiffing things up, building a rock border, and completely moving one herb garden to a new spot and replanting the old one with only kitchen herbs...as I had first intended...but, you know how that goes...someone gives you a plant and you stick it in the first empty spot you see...or at least that's what I do.

I have blisters, poison ivy and a head start on my farmer's tan, but I'm feeling pretty good about all we accomplished over the last few gorgeous days!

 Sam was such a big help with this project. He drove the skid steer all over the farm as we collected rocks from every corner. I am finally learning to love having big kids and not grieving quite so much over them growing up.

 Looking a little sparse for now, but the seeds are in the ground.

I've already torn out the old walk making ready for the new board walk.

Things are starting to come together but there is still a lot to do before the first open house sale. I want everything to be as near perfect as possible...and too, it's easier for me to be creative and happy when things are in good order.

Rick's workshop is coming along slowly. The walls are framed and the roof is on, but when he picked up the metal for the sides yesterday it wasn't the right sizes. So, now this little incident probably will add another 2 weeks to our opening date...whatever that is right now? It's not May 8th for sure. I am just hoping to be in my space and at least painting by then. Oh, the walls are going to be red trimmed in white...totally different from any other building here but I think it's going to look nice.

All in all things are going well though despite the delays we've had. My studio is full to the brim with things I've taken out of the trailer. I'm in the process of sorting and deciding what will go in the shop and what will go online. I've added several really cool things to my Etsy shop this week that I either have duplicates of or that I think will sell better online. On Saturday I will list a few things on ebay just to see if this works better for me...the fees are so stinking high, but I've been selling too low on Etsy only to see my same items going for 3 times as much on ebay...with my photos and descriptions no less! Live and learn.

I have sold a lot of the vintage guitar catalogs and other memorabilia and am learning lots. This is a fun business to be in! I really need to be painting but the studio is so full I hardly have room to wiggle much less work....so I am listing as much stuff as possible to go ahead and get it moving out the door.

 Here is a peek of some of the unique finds from this week....
This sold over night...very cool piece from a pick card display with an imprinted Marathon pick

 Another piece from a pick card display

Black Diamond guitar strings in original box...a dozen envelopes of stings still in cellophane
A Bobby Lee concealed banjo strap

A box that once contained banjo strings....

 and another that is full of guitar strings....

8 Black Diamond strings 

....and this is just the tip of the iceburg....lots more great items to come. Please have a look at all the great old things in the Etsy shop  and on ebay for now and hopefully very soon I can open the doors to my "real" shop here at home.

Now I'm out the door to get the horses ready for the farrier. Busy day again.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Suncrest Sign Had My Name on It

I scored a nice little rusty sign yesterday to compliment my bottle collection. My friend, Lisa at Homethrown Pottery...just down the road a piece...put up some pics on her Facebook page with some new/old things she was about to put in her shop.

 See my Suncrest bottle...with the blue label.

I commented that I loved the sign and by the time I got up yesterday morning I had decided that I really loved it so much that I needed to have it on our wall in the dining room.

I had to rearrange things just a bit because I hadn't had anything on the walls...the Coca Cola girls were on either side of the window propped up on the plate rail. I think they look nice there together in their new arrangement now.

Looking at the photo makes me notice how much I need to get cracking on a new floorcloth for us. I will put that on my list of "to do's".

Thanks again Lisa for posting the pictures...I would hate to think I had missed out on this little piece of nostalgia!