Fabulous Find

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It was impossible to resist this fabulous vintage Italian Olympic ski jumper.  Isn’t it wonderful? I got a figure skater, too!  She’s all dolled up in a hot pink skating dress with white fur trim. Her face has seen better days but then, let’s face it, so has mine. It’s ok – she will shine when she takes to the ice again.

I see a very special wreath in the future…

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Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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At some point while going down the path as an “artist” (a term I am still not comfortable with regarding myself), one must address the “why” of what one does.  In my case, it became clear after a while that the reason I do what I do is simply because my work seems to make the people who like it happy.  Not because it is the next “big thing” or what an art critic might call “great art.”  It just makes people happy.  And, honestly, to know that something I make makes someone else happy is about as good as it gets.

So that’s why I keep on doing what I do.  Because of you.

It, therefore, really pains me – people-pleaser that I am – when I don’t make you, or at least some of you, happy.  And that is the case in point at the moment.

As I embarked on the path I am on, it was pretty lonely for a while.  But, gradually, through persistence, my horizons widened. As a result of a series of fortunate circumstances and just plain hard work, it is considerably less lonely out there nowadays. I am cheered by you all who follow me and urge me along.  Even though many of you and I have never met, I am encouraged by your enthusiastic, friendly support of what I do.

Over the past couple of years, the audience for the Vintage Christmas in particular has really blossomed.  I am grateful beyond measure for that.  It is exciting for me that I hear from people all over the country (and some from overseas, too).

The spate of new wreaths that I have been working feverishly to make for the Country Living Fair has particularly grabbed a lot of your attentions.  I have had numerous inquiries about pricing and how to purchase them.

And this is where I am not making you happy.

When I sign up to do a show, I make a commitment to bring enough product to show.  The show management also has expectations that need to be met by the artisans/vendors they choose to exhibit at their venue.  This is especially important with the Country Living shows.

So, I am now in the unfortunate position of having to tell you – my faithful followers – that the wreath you would like to buy is not actually available right now.  Because if I sold all of them now, I would show up in New York with an empty van.  And that’s not good either.

And, thus, I have to write you back and disappoint you.  And I hate that.  I don’t hear back from most folks after that email so I am left wondering if you understand the situation, are crushed, or maybe even mad.  Or, worse yet, you have concluded that you will never get a chance to buy one of my wreaths and just move on.  I surely do hope not.

It also means that the old saw which was inscribed in my consciousness since childhood, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” is flagrantly ignored.  Is this a wise business decision?  How can I be sure?

All I can do is what I think is the best thing to do at the moment, hope for the best, and hope that you will understand and forgive me.  And still be my friend.

As you have heard me say before, it takes me a long time to make 1 wreath – usually about 9 hours, which is broken up into 2 or sometimes even 3 sittings.  I do not make them by rote – that would be incredibly boring and unfulfilling to me.  Every piece in every given design was carefully placed there after a considerable amount of thought.  Sometimes I spend 30 minutes or more trying ornament after ornament until just the “right” one slips into place.  Some people may perceive that as indecisiveness but I disagree.  It means that I put every ounce of myself into making the best design I can possibly make at any given moment.  And because of that and because I absolutely love the materials I work with, I am pretty attached to everything I make.  It is important to me, therefore, that a wreath, for example, goes to someone who really loves it.

When Mariah Carey ended up with “Pink Parfait,” in her kitchen that was incredibly thrilling.  Once the initial amazement wore off, though, it dawned on me that as exciting as it was, that wreath is probably nothing more than just another pretty bauble among hundreds of pretty baubles in Mariah Carey’s life.

At the risk of sounding really corny, it means so much more to me when someone buys a wreath because they have an emotional connection with it.  Maybe it reminds them of their grandmother, or their childhood Christmases, or maybe there is an ornament in it that has special meaning for them.  Whatever the reason, they buy it because they recognize something in it that makes them happy.  And that is what makes me happy, too.

So, that brings me around again to the point of this little essay (which has probably gone on for far too long!): I’m sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place.  I hope that those of you who were anxious to buy one of the new wreaths will hang in there with me. There will be more to come.  They won’t be exactly the same as these but I promise they will be positively the best I can make.

In the meantime, I would truly welcome your comments and suggestions.  Please do let me hear from you, whether it be in comments here, on Facebook, or by email.  I promise to respond to all of them.

And if you want me to do something custom for you, don’t forget that is an option, too.

A Trip to The Big Flea…and a little rambling, too

DSC_0311 - Version 2This past Saturday, my 2 antiquing girlfriends and I hopped in the car for the jaunt up I-95 to the Fredericksburg Big Flea.  The Expo Building itself is waaaaaay back inside the most twisty and turny mass of shopping development you have ever seen but at least it is right off the highway so you really can’t get lost getting there.  And if you are feeling hungry there must be 50 chain restaurants to stop at in about a quarter-mile area.  Not my cup of tea at all.  But that’s beside the point.

We did this show last year and had a lovely time so we had been looking forward to what this year would bring.  It was a beautifully warm day and after the past weeks of extreme cold I must have been feeling pretty giddy to get out because I never ever thought to take any pictures of the show for you.  What an eejit.

I will say that I think the name of the show is a bit misleading.  I tend of think of flea markets as bargain-land but not so, at least not here.  Still we had a good time.

Immediately upon entering the show, we went right and there was a booth with gorgeous antiques.  With crazy high prices.  He did, however, have the most beautiful Venetian mirror I think I have ever seen.  It was drop-dead gorgeous; a little distressed (but only slightly) and that, of course, makes it so much more appealing to me.  No price tag visible.  Never a good sign.

The dealer apparently saw me gawping and came up to me.  He explained that it was a Venetian mirror (yes, I figured that) and that if one were to insure it, the replacement value would be around $15,000.  Ok, no surprise there.  So what are you asking for it, I say.  He’s willing to let it go for $3500 which is what he says he paid for it at an auction plus the buyer’s premium.  A fire sale.

Honestly, that was probably a fair price. If I thought I was in any danger of winning the lottery that baby would have been in the back of my car in about 15 seconds.  I’m still pining for it.

So, we start working our way around the show – it is quite large – and quickly get separated.  It’s crowded and we tend to go at different paces anyway, each of us has different things that appeal to us.  I got sidetracked by a cool small Victorian metal sculpture of an animal (a dog? wolf?) but the dealer’s best price is not quite good enough to make me get my wallet out.

I’m not seeing much in the way of Christmas yet either so I keep going.  Finally, I spy a couple of tiny trees in the bottom of a box.  The dealer gave me a nice price on them.  Now we’re cooking.

Two tiny little trees

Two tiny little trees

But as it turns out it was quite a long time later before I made any more purchases.  What I saw in the way of Christmas was way more expensive than I can afford to pay.  And I mean, WAY more.

There was a booth with a gazillion of old ornament boxes all filled with goodies plus other treasures as well.  I got all excited.  But even after offering to make a bulk purchase (like a couple of hundred bucks worth), she was not able to offer a discount that I felt would work for me.  Sadly, I had to pass it all by.

And that continued to be the story until I found this charming fellow.

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A snowman in need of some love

Yes, he is pretty distressed and he has a hole in his shoulder but I know I can still do something wonderful with him.  He was just too adorable to pass by.  Who could resist that expression?

Eventually, I came to another booth with quite a bit of ornaments but again they were out of my reach.  She did, however, have a nice selection of the jumbo Poland ornaments and they always make me stop in my tracks.  Fortunately for me, we were able to come to an agreement and I purchased a nice selection of large balls – both Polish and German.  These were by no means the bargain of a lifetime but I think they ended up being a pretty fair price for what they are.

DSC_0315 - Version 2Here’s a picture so you can see the scale of these large ornaments.  They are bigger than my hand.  I adore the large teardops like this one.

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A few more.IMG_1271 - Version 2Four beauties.

IMG_1273 - Version 2Make that five.  All will be sensational in something yet to come.

IMG_1276 - Version 2I also got these three West German ornaments from the same lady.  These are highly collectible and I am looking forward showing them off in something I make.  The gold foil angels float around in their little world inside the glass.

IMG_1282 - Version 2The sticker on the back should place it in the time frame between 1949 and 1990.  I’m guessing these are probably in the latter portion of that period.

IMG_1278 - Version 2I love German candy containers like this.  I have wonderful childhood memories of getting the spring-themed ones in my Easter basket.

This lady, who was as nice as can be, also had some cool pieces that she had made using pieces from old glass garlands.  I bought several of them from her thinking that they would look awesome on a wreath.

IMG_1283 - Version 2Don’t you agree?  I love them.

At the end of the day, we were pretty pooped from walking for hours on a concrete floor but we each had scored some things that we were quite happy with.  We had bumped into folks we knew and had a perfectly pleasant time.

I’m taking a bit of a left turn now but did you all get caught up on Downton Abbey last night?  I’m going to assume that if you are following this blog we probably have some things in common and Downton is likely one of them.

++++ Spoiler alert!  If you are not up to date, don’t read further! ++++ 

The preview for next’s week’s episode freaked me out.  Honestly, I woke up this morning worrying about the Dowager Countess!  Did you see that?!?!?!  If they kill Maggie Smith off, Julian Fellowes better start watching his back cuz someone is likely to put a fatwa on him. And what about poor Edith?  Can’t she ever catch a break?  Poor thing.  I hate to think that her man fooled her (and me) and is going to turn out to be a charlatan of the first order.  Geez.

What do you think?

IMG_1286 - Version 2I think this sweet fellow cheers me up on a gloomy Monday.  And I like that.

New Old Treasures!

IMG_1178 - Version 2I’m pretty darn lucky in my friends if for no other reason than they are on the lookout for great stuff for me to use in my projects.

Today I got an urgent text message from one of my spies pals: Xmas alert! Call me!!!

She was passing along yet another friend’s message about an estate sale with quite a lot of vintage Christmas.

Lucky me!  And lucky for me that I was able to hop in the car and head on over to the sale. It was a cold, nasty, rainy day today here in Richmond but that did not deter intrepid estate sale shoppers.  I ran into a bunch of folks who were our customers when I was working for a local antiques dealer who did estate sales.  Old home week as it were.

And, yes, there was quite a nice lot of Christmas in one of the upstairs bedrooms.

I looked it all over, went downstairs to talk to the boss, and we made a deal.  I bought it all. Whoopee!

I’m happy with the price I paid. Having worked in the estate sale business myself, I believe in offering a fair price.  What people often don’t stop to think about is that the client (the family whose house it is) actually needs that money.  Most times, an estate sale is actually a transition for the person(s) from a larger home to a retirement community or some such.  And they need the proceeds generated from selling their possessions.  It troubles me when people forget that.  But I digress…

Here are some of my treasures.IMG_1179 - Version 2

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IMG_1181 - Version 2IMG_1182 - Version 2IMG_1183 - Version 2I am itching to get back in the workshop!

Sadly, first I need to take care of a bunch of other things on my plate.  Not the least of which is taking down my Christmas decorations; doing the bookkeeping that I neglected for the past few months because there were simply not enough hours in the day to get to it; and on… and on.  Blah, blah, blah.

The workshop is also so crammed with stuff right now that I can hardly get in the door.  I pretty much just dumped everything when I unpacked from the New York show back in December.  And since Christmas, I have been accumulating new inventory (boy, has that been fun!)  It, too, has been plunked down willy nilly.  I desperately need to get some order restored before I can do one thing in there.

Here’s how bad it is.  When I unloaded the rental van after New York, I put my pair of gloves down in there somewhere.  They seem to have vaporized.  I can’t find them anywhere.  How sad is that?

But, getting back to my friends, a couple of months ago one of them sent me a picture of this fellow whom she had spied in an antiques mall.  She thought I might like him.
IMG_1186 - Version 2I’ll say so!  Unfortunately, I felt he was priced beyond what I ought to pay for something to use in a wreath or topiary.  Plus, I was out of town at a show at the time so I could not see him in person.  I’m particular about Santa faces and I was concerned that he might be one of the creepy ones.  So she sent me this one:

IMG_1187 - Version 2Nothing creepy about this guy.

Lo and behold, a few days later she messaged me to let me know he was on sale!  So, guess who is now waiting his turn to adorn something wonderful?

I think he’s very cool.  Don’t you?

So thanks to all my friends for keeping their eyes peeled for me.  I surely do appreciate it.

What’s It Worth?

People either “get” my wreaths…or they don’t.

Every now and then I will overhear someone muttering to their companion that they can’t believe the prices on my wreaths.  “You can get all that old stuff for nothing at yard sales,” is a favorite saying.

Sorry, folks.  Not.  At least not anymore.

Take this ornament for example:

Madonna and Child OrnamentThis is a really old German Madonna and Child ornament.  She’s about 5 inches tall and pretty darn rare.  In fact, I had never seen one before until the day I actually scored a box of ornaments that had three of these in it (oh, happy day!).  I have used 2 of them in the past 2 years on wreaths.

One of them was the one I made for my mom at Christmas last year after she had a stroke.Angels Watch Wreath ©Glittermoon Productions LLC

So you can see, it has to be a really special project for me to part with one.

Now this one is not in the best of shape, admittedly.  But I don’t really care.  She’s elderly after all.

This past week on eBay, I saw one of these sell for $46!!!!!!!  You read it right: FORTY-SIX DOLLARS!  And that was a “Buy It Now” – not an auction.

I didn’t pay $46 for her but she didn’t cost me nothing either.

And then there is the time that it takes me to make them.  For a 20 inch diameter wreath I usually spend about 9 hours in the making of it.  So it is a far from slapdash job for me.

I made a ginormous wreath this week, pretty much the biggest I have ever made.  On it, I used 3 very large and very special pieces.  And lots of other, smaller things, of course, too.  My cost for those 3 big pieces alone was $50.  But it was worth it; that wreath is a stunner. I’ll show it to you as soon as I get it photographed.

I love finding the unusual vintage pieces that you don’t see everyday.  That’s one of the things that keeps me searching all the time.  Because I love sharing the really good stuff with you.  It makes me happy.

So, what’s it worth?

A Glittermoon Video Sampler

I have put together a video sampler of many of the designs I have made in the past couple of years as a sort of portfolio.  This is so folks can see what Glittermoon is all about in just a couple of minutes.

So, without further ado, here ’tis!

It always drives me crazy how my nice crisp photographs degrade so badly by the time they have been transferred through several steps into a YouTube video but, hopefully, you can get the idea of what I make despite the less than stellar quality (can you tell that I am a perfectionist???)

Oh, and by the way, that is none other than Frank Sinatra singing “The Christmas Waltz.”  Now that is something that cannot be improved upon.

Hope you enjoy!