Angels Galore


I want to get started on a new wreath and I think it will be an angelic one.

I have lots of wonderful angels in my collection.  After narrowing it down a bit, I have decided that one of these four angel toppers will be the centerpiece of the wreath.

The one on the left is a well-dressed Italian from the 1970’s.  Next to her is an electrified plastic angel with soft blonde hair; I think she may be from the 1950’s or thereabouts.  She might be interesting to use if I can figure a way to hide the cord in back if you don’t want to plug her in.  Third from left is a sweet girl with a lovely ceramic head and a gold foil dress.  She reminds me a little of Marilyn Monroe. And lastly, is the darling on the right with the sweet face and cottony cloud at her toes.

Decisions, decisions, decisions…

Which one do you vote for?


Treasure Hunting

I mentioned in the last post that I took a few days to go home and visit my Mom. “Home” is on the beautiful Eastern Shore of Maryland and, though I have lived more than half my life in Richmond, VA, it is still “home” to me.  We live about halfway between Easton and St. Michael’s.

Just down the road a piece from us is a tiny little hamlet named Royal Oak.  And in Royal Oak is a king-daddy of a fab antiques/junk shop named Oak Creek Sales.  It’s been there forever.  If you are one of those people who like to poke around in a funky, dirty old place then this is for you.  Nothing fancy here.  But you just might find a treasure!  And then again, maybe not. This is the front of the store.

A shelf outside loaded with stuff.

The blue and white vase is a repro but it is huge and has a great look.You never know who or what you might see.

You never know just who you might run into.  I love how the frog appears to be genuflecting.

I have a thing for cast iron urns.  A couple of these were a little tempting.

Darling old wicker chair and distressed blue cabinet.  Love that color.

Let’s go in.

I always get a giggle when confronted with a bewigged head.  Pretty cool candelabra though and a nice little alabaster lamp behind it.

Kitschy owl clock.

Across the road is another building – a tin shed crammed with stuff.  It is hot as bejesus in there in the summertime.

Check out these fetching toy soldiers made out of flower pots.

Or this Victorian fainting couch with lovely inlay and a pretty needlepoint pillow.  I wondered whether it might be a nice thing in my hopefully soon-to-be-reality garden room but decided it might not be comfy enough.  It’s a bit short, to.  Still, reupholster it in a fabulous fabric and it would be divine.  Hmmm, maybe I should consider it for the bedroom..

I did purchase this pair of smallish/medium cast iron urns.  I want to put them in the garden room on a console table.  I love the patina.  Even though they look old, they are actually repros, too.  Amazing what they are doing nowadays.  I thought they were a good price.

Back across the road inside the store, look what is hanging near the cash desk.  They must have ten years worth of dust on them!  I bought 3 Polish ones and a few other ornaments that I found scattered throughout the shop.I said goodbye to Santa as I was leaving.

Here are my treasures!  Aren’t they fabulous?  I can’t wait to use them.

A Different Point of View

If you read my last post, “I Really Hate It When I Hate It”, you will remember the angst that the so-called Topiary From Hell was giving me.

I am pleased to report that the story has a happy ending.

I took a break for a few days and went home to visit my Mom.  It was a nice interlude.  When I got back to Richmond, I went out to the workshop to put my eyes on the topiary and see if I still disliked it so terribly.  Guess what?  To my pleasant surprise, I found that I kind of liked it!  Yay.

Here is the finished Topiary.  It is  just a smidge over 18 inches tall.

A view of another side:

And here is yet another:

In the end, I started wondering it if might not look even better if it is resting on a larger base.  So I experimented with placing it on this gold-rimmed plate and added a few loose red balls. 

I threw this together very quickly but I think it would be a great idea for whoever takes it home.  I could see it on a nice tray on a dining table with a bunch of stuff arranged around the base.  Like Santas, greenery, or ornaments.  There are lots of possibilities.

Here are some close-up detail views.

I love that old “Merry” ball – it has “Christmas” on the other side.  I had a hard time deciding which side should face out.I think the red and green Pin Art ball is fun.

Some more traditional holiday color and a great gold bell tucked in.

I guess sometimes you really have to step away from something that is troubling you and take a breather.  It worked for me this time.

Oh, and here’s the really great news.  As I was writing this, I received word from somebody who saw the previous post that she wants to buy it!  A happy ending indeed.

I Really Hate It When I Hate It

I’ve been working on making a new Glittermoon Vintage Christmas Topiary.

It’s not going well.  In fact, I’m hating it.  The idea was to try something a little different and come up with something that would be less pricey, too. I started with this vintage USA green glass vase, a topiary form, and some vintage garland.  So far so good.Then I started adding ornaments in a traditional Christmas palette of red, green, gold, and silver.  And I have added a couple of little Santa’s and tiny bottlebrush trees, too.  

Not too bad but I’m not feeling the love, honestly.

Several hours, a bunch of ornies, and gold beaded garland later, I should be finished.  But I hate it.

It’s.  Just.  Not.  Good.

I’m a card-carrying perfectionist and I despise turning out work that does not come up to scratch.  My super-ego is kicking in and kicking my butt. I go off and leave it for a while hoping that when I come back it will look better.  I come back.  It doesn’t.  I fiddle some more, add some more stuff, and leave it again.  Over and over.  I take a break for a couple of days and design some new cards.  It still doesn’t look good.  By now, I have enough time and $$ invested that my original idea of a less pricey piece is pretty well shot to hell.  But how can I charge a lot of money for something so….bad?

This is honestly the first Vintage Christmas piece that has given me this kind of a fit.  All the other ones have been creations that excited me as they went along and I loved them.  Like the one I made for Scott in Texas.  I would certainly hit rough patches when I felt that I had taken a wrong turn but by the time I had put the cherry on the top I loved them.  That’s important to me.  Before I put my name on anything – be it a card, photograph, or one of these – I like to be proud of it.

But you know, it finally occurred to me that this is one of those little life challenges where you need to decide if it is worth all the angst – or not.  I’m thinking that if I try to let go of my attachment to a perfect outcome things may just fall into place.  (My yoga teacher would be so proud of me.)

I believe I’m going to put this one on the back burner for a bit and start on a new wreath.  I’ll let you know when or if I finish the Topiary from Hell.

Back to Smithfield…

If you read my last post, “I Took a Day Off,” you will know that my friend Chris and I made a little jaunt to Smithfield, VA last week.  It is the home of the:

When I left off, we had toddled off to have lunch after a lovely morning spent nosing around some of our favorite haunts.  So after we finished, we made a beeline for some of the antiques shops along Main Street.  Our destination was Return Engagements and we popped in a couple of other places on the way there.

Apparently I was stupefied from our big lunch because I forgot to take any pictures to show you.  Return Engagements Antique Gallery is in a building listed on the National Historic Register. Built in 1826, it was known as Atkinson Storehouse and is constructed of handmade Virginia bricks. The building was used to store dry goods and crops such as peanuts.  It has three whole floors of great vintage stuff to rummage through.  It is owned by Carla Mingee. Carla is another one of those angels whom I have had the good fortune to have come into my life.  Last Fall, knowing what I do, she introduced me to a collector who wanted to divest herself of some of her enormous vintage Christmas collection.  Now this lady has previously supplied Return Engagements with Christmas ornaments that Carla has sold in her shop.  But instead of taking them for her own shop last autumn, Carla sent her to me.  How nice is that?

But it doesn’t stop there.  Recently, Carla let me know that she had a bag full or ornaments for me.  Well, I thought that was very nice and I was anxious to see what she might have for me to buy.  And then she told me that it was a GIFT!  

Here is my bag of goodies.  I just know there is going to be some very cool stuff in there.  I mean look at that wonderful angel on top!  She may be a little distressed now but she will have a glamorous resurrection once I am finished with her.

Of course, I found some wonderful little treasures to buy there, too.

And here they are.  Look at that great little diorama ornament with Santa coming out of it!  I love the boot, too – so cute.  Can you make out the glass Indian Chief?  He is pretty unusual.  I can’t wait to get busy making something with these!

Oh, and I forgot to mention that  Carla and I have never actually even met each other!  She was not in the shop the day we stopped in.  The kindness of strangers.  I am so lucky.

Think I’ll head on out to the workshop now.  Thanks for stopping by!

I Took a Day Off

One of the “perks” of working for yourself is that you “get” to work every single day of the week, week in and week out.   But last Friday, I played hooky and took a little day trip with one of my pals to charming Smithfield, VA.

Of course, you have heard of the most Southern of staples, Smithfield ham, right? Smithfield actually has a lot more to offer than ham and bacon – like good shopping!  For the last several years, my friends and I have made the pilgrimage from Richmond to Smithfield during the first weekend in November for their bustling Holiday Open House.  We look forward to going all year long.

First stop is the Isle of Wight County Museum to say hi to old Mr. Gwaltney and his pet ham.  Here they are:

Mr Gwaltney and his “pet” ham

I kid you not.  You’ll have to go visit yourself to learn the story.  The little museum is quite charming with a mock-up of an old country store and displays with the area’s history.  I love these old posters – such terrific graphics.

Then it’s time to get our shop on.  Guess what the next stop is?Yup. It is called The Christmas Store and it is a lollapalooza.  Aren’t these toppers fabulous?  Makes my mouth water just to look at them.

The place is enormous and pretty nutty, actually.  Look at these displays!  Love the big flamingo.

And the crazy big giraffe with his tie-dyed pants.  Ooh-whee!

I want to hug the polar bear.

I confess that I did not come away empty-handed.  I fell for this little Eskimo peeking out from his igloo.  He will go on my tree with all the other North Pole creatures.

After we left there, we made our way to one of our other favorites haunts: Wharf Hill Antiques.  You would not believe how wonderful the shop is when it is all decked out for Christmas.  They have it all – antiques, a million Christmas trees (all with a nostalgic flair), and great gift shopping.

It’s a lot different in the summer. This room has wonderful antique toys and other treasures.

A gorgeous huge chunk of coral in the “sea” room.

This is my friend, Chris, rummaging through the shells looking for just the right ones for a project she has going on.  What a lovely day we had.

After we left Wharf Hill, it was time for lunch so we crossed the street to a new eatery combined with an expanded Smithfield Ham Shoppe.  It was yummy.

With our stomachs full, it was time for some antiquing!   Stay tuned. To be continued….