Sunday, December 8, 2013

My Mom

My mom passed away November 25, 2013. She had been suffering from Alzheimers for years, so in a way, it was a release for her, and for me. It has taken me longer to put my thoughts down here than it did for my Dad, because there is a more mixed history with my mom. She divorced my Dad after 30 years of marriage. I was 18. She tried to explain, but I never really understood, it's just one of those things I learned to accept and live with. That was a difficult time for me and my family. Lots of hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and acting out.

What we each choose to remember about a person after they are gone depends largely on our own attitude. Are we a glass half empty person, or half full person? I thought about all the good things she did, and the good lessons she taught me. Death and grief are funny things, great clarity comes from great sadness. This is how I want to remember her.

My mom was 29 years old in 1963 when she had a stroke. She beat the odds to survive at all. The long term survival odds in 1963 were somewhere around 50%. She beat those too. The stroke left her with facial muscle paralysis and a severe speech impediment. She never considered herself disabled, and never let us consider her disabled either. When I think about the challenges she faced, with simple communication being so difficult for her, it amazes me that she did as much as she did. She was a very strong, determined person. She had 4 kids at the time, and they needed her, and she went on to add 2 more.

She raised 6 kids. Yeah, when there are 6 there is a certain amount of older taking care of younger going on, but in the middle of it all, amidst all the chaos, probably without her even knowing what she was doing, she raised 6 really incredible people. All the right parental lessons somehow made it through our skulls. There was no time or resources for indulgence in our house, and we were often left to our own imaginations for entertainment, so I owe my deep independent streak to her.

She was a very creative person, teaching me to crochet, and sew. I would watch her make cute little calico dresses for us, with no pattern, just from her imagination. She also loved to write short stories, paint, go antiquing, and play the organ. I remember her playing “lara’s theme” from “dr. Zhivago” over and over, among many other of her favorites. I remember her guiding me on my first furniture refinishing project- an old beat up desk- she showed me how to sand and paint it, and do the “antiquing” glaze that was all the rage at the time. I was all of 13 or 14 years old.

She had a wonderful sense of humor, and loved to laugh. She was precocious and sassy, often regaling us with funny stories from her childhood. Never one to sugarcoat things, or mince words, she usually told it like she saw it. She was only human, and far from perfect, but she was my mom and I love her dearly.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Thrift Store Art Makeovers

I love looking through the artwork at thrift stores. It is a treasure trove of good frames, mats, and artwork. I have bought some valuable paintings at thrift stores. I am the one you see standing in the aisle googling artists names to see if a picture is worth the price tag. Sometimes I am the one you see with the tape measure checking frame sizes for repurposing later.

I like buying original artwork if at all possible. I like that it is unique, and no one else will have the same thing on their wall. I have many watercolors, several oils, and a couple of etchings- all originals- purchased from thrift stores. I studied art history in college, so over the years I have developed an eye for what is decent, and what is not.  If something is a print, it must be a signed, numbered, limited edition for me to even bother with it.

My daughter and I found 2 cute little pictures the other day, and I thought I would share how I fixed them up and gave them a new lease on life.
This little work spoke to me, it has charm, but was looking very bedraggled in its current state.

   As you can see I paid a fortune for this! Haha. The backing was rotting away, and acid was eating up the mat.

I took everything apart, and cleaned the dirty glass, cut a new mat with a scrap I had hanging around. FYI- a mat cutter is one of the best investments you can make. I used a 50% off coupon at Michaels.

Now it is looking good again. I need to get some rub and buff to touch up the frame and call it done.

Next up is a cute little owl print my daughter liked. 

The print was nice, but I did not like the mat or the 70's gold  frame, and those wonky ribbons had to go. I was hoping that all I needed to do was to remove the ribbons, and paint the frame but when I took them off the mat was so faded that it could not be used as is. 

 I took it all apart, cleaned the glass, removed said ribbons, hit the mat and frame with spray paint, and stood back to admire. Light coats are the key with the spray paint, and let it dry completely before reassembly. 

Much better. And for minimal investment, it can go right back to Goodwill when I get tired of it. 

So look at those pictures in the thrift store with a fresh eye, and a little imagination, and you can have beautiful artwork for little money! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ready For Fall

I am unraveling cashmere today. $1 thrift store sweater. I will most likely quadruple the strands and make a hat.  Love giving old things new life!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Satisfy the creative urge

I had a burst of creativity this week. These are the result. Sometimes you just gotta go where the muse takes you.
Tigers Eye with Howlite and rhinestone necklace and bracelet set, and a red coral, howlite and rhinestone necklace and earrings. May try to sell them, may end up keeping them. Let me know how you like them.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mackenzie-Childs Farmhouse Tour

Here are the promised photos of my tour of the Mackenzie-Childs Farmhouse. A bit late, but worth the wait! I apologise for some of the photos being quite amateur. You can click any photo to make it larger.  First up is the Living Room-
This is a nicely styled bookcase in the Formal Living Room.

Check the detail on the fireplace, those are ceramic columns!

The chest is hand painted.

The Dining Room. Completely stunning!

It's hard to tell from photos, but the table is 3D. It was meant to hold fish, but they could not make it work, but it is amazing nonetheless!

Its easier to see the 3D here, it is a scene of the farm, and the lake where the estate is located, Cayuga Lake, in the Finger Lakes. It truly is one of the most beautiful places on earth!

Sitting room off the Dining Room. Sorry so blurry, but I loved the mix of fabrics, so I included it.

Breakfast Room

Beautiful tablescape!

Chandelier to die for.


Butlers Pantry

Powder Room

Amazing floor tile!!

This is ceramic tile on the wall.

The level of detail in every room was astounding. 

Upstairs Landing
stack of old silver serving pieces as sculpture


Goose is all ceramic


Everywhere I looked was an amazing room.

Upstairs Sunroom

My next MC purchase is going to be a lamp.

Now we know what to do with those old TV armoires. 

Master Suite

Master Bath

Stairs to third floor

third floor hallway- gorgeous mural! It is farm and lake scenes.

Another amazing armoire!

the detail is incredible- no surface is left untouched.

Detail of headboard- view of Cayuga Lake
Got to have the lamp!


Closeup of hallway bench

Large bedroom on third floor

The Courtly Check is all painted by hand. 

Back stairs laundry room

I hope you have been as amazed and delighted seeing these images, as I was touring the house and factory. It is truly an incredible and beautiful place, located in Aurora, New York, in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I highly encourage everyone to visit!