Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Block Island bound!

This is my first attempt at posting from my phone, but I couldn't wait to share my news.

I've been in Rhode Island for the last 10 days visiting friends, including a few days on Block Island, a tourist island off the coast where I used to live.

While I was there, I visited some gift shops and showed some pics of the jewelry I've been making.

It's one thing to show your handmade pieces to friends and family. They love you and always say such generous things. But when we take that step out into the world and show other people what we do, what we lovingly spend our time crafting, pouring our soul and heart into, it becomes a totally new adventure.

Remember the first time somebody commented on one of your posts? It's such a great feeling. It spurs you on to the next project.

If you are already in the retail business with your handmade creations, maybe you know what I'm talking about. Anyway, here's how it played out.

I walk into this adorable shop on Block Island. The proprietor is a lovely woman named Mary who has filled her shop with beautiful over-sized beach bags made of oil cloth or woven from jute, coastal accessories for vacation homes sitting atop old distressed wooden display cabinets and tables, and bright print sun dresses and summer scarves gently blowing in the breeze all around the front door. A gorgeous little shop.

I approached Mary to talk about the jewelry I've been making. I showed her a few pieces I had brought and she didn't seem too excited. She was polite though and said I could send her some pics by email and she'd let me know.

Then I showed her the pictures you see here of my new coastal-themed ceramic pendants, and I could see her expression change and her eyes get wide. She said her customers would definitely be interested in them.

And I found myself floating on air. It was all I could do to stay focused and talk with her further. But she gave me some good ideas on how I could complete the necklaces for fast sales in her shop and we are going to communicate further about how many pieces she wants and how much she'll pay.

I left there feeling like a million bucks. Me and my little ceramic pendants! In one of the nicest shops on Block Island! What a great feeling!

I'm going to clink glasses with the women who command the following:

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Takin' this show on the road

It's gray outside, drizzling a steady light rain, and pleasantly hovering at around 63 degrees--a typical Spring day in New England, and I could not be happier!!

I'm out in Rhode Island visiting friends. I've been here many times and actually used to live on Block Island, a small island off the coast. So I've seen many of the tourist-type attractions. I've been to all the beaches, I've seen several Newport Mansions, lighthouses, etc.

What else can I possibly find to do in Rhode Island on a rainy, foggy day?

Really?? Do you really have to ask??

What are vacations for besides thriftin', antiquing, and shopping secondhand stores?!

So, the minute I landed on the ground on Sunday at around noon, I asked my friends to take me to a flea market in Charlestown, R.I. at the old General Stanton Inn. This flea market has been in existence for probably 30 years. I remember coming to it when I lived out on the Block in the 80s. It's a big one, chalk full usually, but it's a little early in the season here so there were a moderate number of vendors.

Fewer vendors means fewer customers, and we were there at the tail-end of the day on a Sunday when people are ready to cut some deals. My kinda thriftin' as you know! I got a few pieces of china there and, if I had driven out here instead of flown, I'd have been going home with a couple of pieces of wood furniture that were begging for a little chalk paint love. But alas, another time perhaps.

Closet Revival vintage clothing store
Then yesterday, we spent an extremely pleasant, albeit overcast day in Newport traipsing around from Salvation Army store to vintage clothing store to antique store and hitting other retail establishments along the way. The vintage clothing store was really adorable and I'm planning a feature on her some other time. The shop was extremely browsable (yes, spellcheck, I just made up that word) and the proprietor was a delightful young woman who, surprisingly, did not yet have a web presence for her shop.

Here are my finds thus far on my Rhode Island excursion.

I picked up the china and the pale pink glass candlestick at the flea market in Charlestown on Sunday. The other pieces of glass came from the Salvation Army thrift store.

See how the pale pinks are pulling these pieces together? Me likey!

This Nippon plate has pale pink around the edge. Yeah baby!

I love how this cup has ridges and dimples like a pedal. Isn't she precious?

Then the contemporary lines of this little demitasse cup just made me smile. Not as pale on the pink, but equally sweet.

Then, just inside the door of a really, really, really upscale antique store--we are in Newport, after all--was a tray full of random crystals from vintage and antique crystal chandeliers. The shop was full of chandeliers and I'm guessing the proprietor collected all manner of crystal chandeliers in order to replace crystals on the ones he had hanging in his shop. My mind started to wander and I started picturing how I could incorporate some of these crystals into pieces of jewelry. And so . . .

Imagine how that will look dangling from your neck? Can't wait to get started making some jewelry with these. I might have to go back and get more before the week is through.

I'm on vacation so I am ready to PARTAY!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Free-style pickin' in rural Ohio

I love this time of year in Ohio. The trees are green. The wildflowers are still blooming. The temperatures are moderate. And everybody is doing spring cleaning and piling up their leftover junk outside on their driveways, lawns, in garages or at their local churches to sell to garage sale pickers like me. Woohoo!

After a few weeks apprenticing with the garage sale experts, the boyfriend and I are now feeling confident enough to venture out on our own and do some free-style pickin' in rural Ohio.

We picked a route that would take us to a small state park where we could do a 2 mile hike with the dog and then end in Waldo, Ohio for the famous fried bologna sandwich.

The boyfriend spotted the first sale. It was at a well-kept old farmhouse with a medium-sized barn and another small outbuilding. Only a few things were in the driveway, but as soon as I pulled in, I spotted something I needed a closer look at.

An old knee-hole desk was sitting in the driveway. I glanced at it but not for too long so as not to appear too interested, and then headed into the outbuilding to see what else she had. The woman of the house said it was half off everything today. They had started the sale last week and were ready to get rid of everything else. Just the deal-making attitude we're looking for. I told her I might be interested in the desk.

I went back to the desk, looked it over real good: nice dovetail work, nice details, a little scratched but nothing major, lovely curved front drawers, just a smidgen of veneer missing off the front of one drawer and replacement hardware. I started picturing what I could do with this desk immediately. I offered her $20, she took $25. Next thing I know, boyfriend and I are puttin' it in the back of my Jeep.

First stop and I scored a great piece! Now I was totally psyched.

One church rummage sale and several garage sales later, we stumbled upon a flea market/junk shop. It didn't look like much at first, didn't have a sign, just a few kids' toys and a couple old bikes outside of it. But once we got inside we discovered it was a long building with room after room of junk. Some of it looked like dealer space in a flea market. I started hunting and pickin' my way through it til I came to a room with mostly china and glass in it.

Turns out this flea market is being run by three siblings, all under 16, who started selling stuff from their own collections and are now buying and selling from garage sales, auctions, flea markets, and craigslist. Their dad was on hand to supervise at the shop and he told me this was all his kids' idea and he carts them around, driving from sale to sale to pick things up. But he made sure I understood that the kids do all the haggling, buying, pricing, selling, and organizing.

I was so impressed that these three kids are creative, ambitious, and driven enough to run their own flea market. They rent out space and take things on consignment, as well as stock the place with stuff they purchase themselves.

Here's a picture of one of the daughters (there are two daughters and a son) who was working the cash register. Absolutely adorable! They call the place All Stuff Flea Market & Trading Post. They have a Facebook page. I LIKE it! Hope you will too!

And check out the other great finds I bought there and elsewhere on our Saturday free-style pickin' outing.

I'm gonna link up and do some partyin' now:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Where's Waldo?

Waldo, Ohio, that is.

The boyfriend and I were out free-style pickin' yesterday. Yesterday was the perfect day for a drive. The sun was out, the temperature was moderate. We decided on a general route, a 2-mile hike to take halfway through the journey, put the dog in the back seat and headed out.

Our route was dictated by our lunch destination.

The sleepy little town of Waldo, Ohio is not much more than a spit in the road. It's located alongside what is considered the main north and south route running right through Columbus, Ohio--state route 23. Travel north out of Columbus, through the sprawling bedroom community of Delaware, Ohio, en route to Marion, and--if you blink you'll miss it--Waldo, Ohio lies between Delaware and Marion, Ohio.

Why Waldo, you ask?

Because if you Google Waldo, Ohio, the second thing that pops up is a review of Waldo's G&R Tavern, a humble little tavern, much like many other taverns in many other small towns in our state. Humble outside, humble and unassuming inside.

(buffetbuster photo)

One significant distinction puts this tavern on the map in Waldo, Ohio and is the reason for the food review on that pops up when you google Waldo, Ohio.

The fried bologna sandwich.

Oh yes, you heard me. Fried Bologna Sandwich. And this is not the pathetic little fried bologna those of us who grew up in Ohio had to eat in our school cafeterias during the 60s and 70s. No, this is the G&R Tavern's house made bologna, sliced 3/4 inch thick, topped with cheese, sweet pickles, and onion.

So before I regale you with photos of all my great free-style pickin' finds yesterday, here's some mouthwatering pics of G&R Tavern's famous FRIED BOLOGNA SANDWICH.

Plus, fried pickles and fried cauliflower on the side. If you don't like deep fried sides, this may not be your kind of place. They also had some pretty hefty pieces of cream pie, but we'll have to do that another time. We were both completely stuffed once we devoured the sandwiches, the cauliflower, and the pickles.

Stay tuned for pics and tales of free-style pickin' in rural Ohio.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chalk is cheap!

Or . . . put your money where your chalk is . . . or . . .

Anyway, when I stumbled upon Sherry at No Minamalist Here and her post about making your own chalk paint, I knew it was the beginning of a life long friendship between me and my homemade chalk paint.

I picture me and my homemade chalk paint walking into the sunset . . .

I see us growing old together . . .

I see us retiring to Florida together . . .

And this is not a one-sided relationship. Oh no, just look at what I get back from my adorable chalk paint . . . the little things it does for me . . .

Remember the washstand I bought at a garage sale?

Just look at her now!

I used the Plaster of Paris option suggested by Sherry because Home Depot is just down the street from me. I added 1 part Plaster of Paris to 3 parts paint, although Sherry's suggestion was more like 1 to 2. And I still had to occasionally add a few drops of water to keep it from thickening up too much. It is plaster after all.  

The color is actually more cream than it appears in morning sun.

The beauty of the chalk paint, as many of you already know, is how easy it is to cover and distress. It covered that awful faux-cherry stain in two coats with no bleed-thru of the stain. No more priming! Yay!!!!!!!!!!!

After I let it dry til the next day, I sanded down the surface lightly all over with 220 grit sandpaper. Then I used 100 grit to distress it. Ending with 220 again to smooth it over. Then I applied a clear paste wax to give it a lustrous finish, smooth to the touch, and oh so purrrrrrty!

I heart my homemade chalk paint! Thanks Sherry!

And for those that are interested:

Project Cost Total $27
Wash Stand $10
Plaster of Paris (plenty leftover for other projects) $8
Leftover paint and sandpaper $0
Wax  (again, plenty leftover that will be used for other projects) $9

The only question that remains is . . .
Your place or mine?

I'm gonna party til I drop at the following sites: