Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!

It's time to rock out to the Monster Mash!!  Halloween is finally here!  And for your viewing pleasure, I've snapped a few quick shots of the decor I've got around the house.  As of so far, I've only been decorating the first floor (maybe next year I'll start moving upstairs a bit), but it's a big improvement over last year, where I only decorated the front hall mantel (the other rooms were under construction so-to-speak).  

The little teeny jack-o-lantern above was mine when I was a kid.  My brother and I each got one from the grocery store or someplace like that and it came with an air plant which promptly died (I don't think I knew it was real).

 Even Ben's old camera's get to dress up.

 The books aren't meant to be scary...but kind of are.

 In fact, much of my permanent display is quite Halloweeny in and of itself.  What does that say about my taste?

 Stacks and stacks of pumpkins and hats for everyone, er....everything!

The awesome chenille devil was a steal and I got the scary mask from a store in China town a few years ago...It was super cheap, but is one of the most realistic looking masks when you put it on.

Mr. Pumpkinhead Man...

 On the piano...again...strangely spooky in its own right.

 Even my reading spot on the dining room table got a little Halloween flare with a trio of vintage images I made a long long time ago.  I had lined the outside with milkweed fuzz...weird, but cool!

 And of course I put up my crepe paper Halloween tree.  Most of the ornaments on it are too big if you ask me...but I love it anyway!

 Love love love paper mache lanterns...but the repros were all I was able to afford so far...

An array of other goodies scattered about the dining room/library.

 Even the windows in the kitchen got a little something. 

I just love love love Halloween and I wish you all a very merry one!

I'm off to see my little niece trick or treat for the first time and then gorge on buffet in true upstate style with my dad and Andrea (who helped me decorate by the way!).  

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dead Horse Bay

When Andrea and I were in NYC the other week we paid a long awaited visit to Dead Horse Bay.  I had heard about it a year or so ago and since then have begged Ben to go with me every time we were in New York, but alas my begging was in vain and he never wanted to go.  When I told Andrea about it, her ears perked and her eyes sparkled...I knew I had to bring her! 
It.  Was.  Awesome!
 What is Dead Horse Bay you ask?  And why is so awesome you ask?'s a little known beach off the south shore of Brooklyn.  It's very well hidden (we passed it twice and had to go over a toll bridge and back...but still worth it), this beach has quite the history.  It's not a destination for most as it's essentially an extremely littered beach with trash everywhere. 

And I mean everywhere.  But it's not your average littered beach.  Luckily we didn't see any nasty syringes or toxic waste.  What we did see were tons and tons of antique bottles.  Back in the 1920's and 30's, Dead Horse Bay was NYC dump.  The dump got full in the late 30's and they capped it off (whatever that means).  The cap burst in the 50's and all the trash spewed everywhere and to this day the waves and the tide uncover and reveal new long hidden trash, or treasure, whatever your view point might be.  All paper and most organic waste rotted away and today glass bottles and rusty metal and old old rubber and porcelain pieces and dish shards and bricks and other building materials remain.

Andrea and I were on the look out for anything interesting.  She is getting married next year and was hoping for a nice stash of glass bottles for centerpieces.  I was open minded to all sorts of stuff.  Most of the glass is broken, so the challenge is finding something whole.

  Is this handle attached to anything??  Nope...

 Does this bottle have a bottom?  Yes!!  Full of sand too...

 An 1800's porcelain sink (or toilet).

A trash bin washed up on shore...irony at it's best.

 You're probably wondering where Dead Horse Bay got it's name.  That's an interesting bit of history too.  Before the bay was a dump, in the 1800's for many many years there were a dozen or so horse rendering plants near the shore.  Before cars were invented, people in the city traveled by horse and carriage and when the horses died, they were sent to the glue factory where they were processed into...well...glue.  The meat was made into fertilizer and the bones were cut into pieces and boiled to extract "glue liquor".  (Note: most glue isn't made this way anymore, but jello still is!)  The cut up bones are still found in great abundance on the beach.

 A solitary bench for when you need a break from searching.  Andrea and I only had about an hour at the beach before we had to head into Manhattan to get set up for American Made, but we both made it out with two huge bags full each.

This is what I brought home.  Andrea got mostly bottles, but I decided to take a variety of things...a lot of which I'm not sure why I took...but lots of which I had ideas for.  The old porcelain light sockets are very interesting and could be wired into small desk lamps.  I found many small milk glass makeup and lotion containers..the lids have probably long rusted away.  And old rusty metal pot (bottom left)...I'm thinking as a casual outdoor plant pot.  I also got a few broken jug tops that could be taper candle holders.  I got some other weird porcelain electrical doodads that simply looked sculptural.

I got two big bottles and lots of smaller bottles.  I gave most of the medium bottles to Andrea for her wedding.  I also brought a few bones...they're over a hundred years old and to some may seem gross...but I think they're a great example of natural history meets human history.

Big bottle with a weird texture that you can't see in the photo; a cool milkglass jar (can you imagine that all makeup and lotion came in these jars before plastic was invented?); a horse bone; two of the tiny jars.  (Can you imagine the people of the future digging for treasures in our dumps of today?  Weird to think about!)

All of this goodies still need a good scrubbing.  Hopefully soon I'll be able to post a few photos after they've found their place in our home.   

 Thank you so much Dead Horse Bay for your bounty!  May we meet again soon...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

American Made...

What a whirlwind week it was last week!  Craziness and excitement on top of craziness and excitement!  It all started on Monday after the car was loaded and I was off to NY.  I picked up my friend and helper for the week, Andrea, in Albany and we proceeded to Brooklyn, where we were staying with friends (thank you so much Todd and Elena!).  We got in slightly late, but Elena had a delicious fall dinner of acorn squash and salad waiting for us.  We arrived a day early because Andrea and I had a place we just had to have time to visit...Dead Horse Bay.  I'll be telling you all about that in the next post.    

After Dead Horse Bay we arrived at Grand Central Terminal with a giant suitcase and feather tree in tow.  We set the table up with all the fantastic little people and animals I'd been so so busy creating in the last several weeks and over the summer
 Andrea snapped this photo of me with the "children".  Martha's crew constructed fabulous tables that didn't even require table clothes...hallelujah!  (And my pretty white dress was 10 bucks at a garage sale!)

We literally didn't have enough room for many of them had to stay in a box until the second or third day, when space cleared up.  By the end we were working to make the table look full.  That's the sign of a successful show for sure!

There were only about 12 vendors, but boy did they have pretty things with pretty displays!  A gal selling cards held them in the bristles of up turned clever!  I made several new friends too...nothing better than that!!
In other areas of the event people were making things they could take home, like cards, pom poms, wooden bead necklaces and polka dot garland.  Simple but fun!  I did a short demonstration here too.  There was also a food area, tables and chairs to lounge in and a secret hidden area where Martha was giving her key note speeches to registered participants.  They also had a booth where they were making (on site) screen printed tote bags promoting the event and they were so pretty I really wanted one!  But the line was forever long.  :( 
We did have the privilege of having the best view in the house of the amazing United States of Pans, made by artist Alisa ToninatoMartha took a tour of the vendors booths several times throughout the three days we were there and purchased a good number of spun cotton animals.  She asked for more but I didn't make that many!  Maybe next year....

I met so many fancy people!  All the top editors of the Martha Stewart magazine (they all bought stuff and I didn't really realize who they were until I was processing their credit cards after I got home...eek!  How awful I am like that!).  The Fabulous Beekman Boys stopped by my booth and asked if I wanted to do a collaboration for their company...sure!  TV people and fashion people and other magazine people were all there!  Mayor Bloomberg was there too I guess...but I don't know if I saw him because I forgot what he looked like!  Arg!  I should have done some research ahead of time.  Gael Towey talked to me like I knew Hannah Milman, which I did, but I didn't know her name!  Ugh...what a dummy...

I did see some wonderful familiar faces again Hosanna Houser and Lenore Welby, both of whom worked on her show and now work on other projects for Martha...I love those two!  And I was tempted to buy another acorn charm from Hosanna's collection, but I didn't and now I think I'm going to buy it online. 

I'm not one to take a lot of photos and certainly not one to be obvious about it...but when I saw Martha being Grandma to her little granddaughter (with an assistant of course), I couldn't help but snap a sneaky pic (can you see them?).  So cute!
They had two super huge tall screens that were projecting all sorts of stuff throughout the event.  Very futuristic of you Martha!
But a little more down to earth were these amazing wood slab tables.  I wish I could have dragged one home with me...but alas, I'm not that strong and it would probably be stealing anyway.

Hip hip hooray for American Made!  They are hoping that this event will be the first here's to next year!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Christmas/Halloween Update!

Pumpkin Garland Girl - SOLD
The Autumn Juggler - SOLD

The Carrot Picker - SOLD

With autumn in full force and the holidays just on the horizon, now is the time where Halloween and Christmas co-mingle, if just for a moment...  Spooky and icy-sweet both preside here today and I'm completely engulfed in both holidays at the same time.  Weird, right?  I've been watching super scary movies and singing Christmas carols (Ben says I'm not allowed to until after Thanksgiving, but I still sing them to myself).  The vegetable people in the garden have yet to hibernate, yet the icy frost of winter already visits from time to time.  I've been collecting colorful fallen leaves for a fall display and at the same time, pine cones for a Christmas garland.  This time of year might just be better than any other and the characters here today are well in agreement.  :)

As usual, blog readers get first dibs on my new spun cotton one-of-kind figures. If you see something(s) you love, just email me at and I'll let you know if they're still available. First come first served! I'll update item statuses in this post as often as I can to make it easier for you to know what's available. Items often get scooped up quickly, so make your selection as swiftly as you can, you can always add available pieces to your order later.
Also feel free to include second choices in case your first choice is unavailable, but make sure you label them "second choice".

Shipping is $3.50 for one item and $1 per additional item up to $6.50, then additional pieces are free. All paid orders will ship out immediately and should arrive within a few days. I send Paypal invoices via email unless you specify that you'd rather pay via check. And of course email me if you have any questions! Happy Shopping!

The Spider and the Fly II - SOLD
Frank N. Stein - SOLD
Miss Peggy Leg - SOLD

Miss Gives a Hoot - SOLD
Miss Ghoulie Gumdrop - SOLD
The Snake Charmer - SOLD

The Coffin Count - SOLD
Miserable Mummy - SOLD

Frightening Freida - SOLD
The Haunt (on box) - SOLD
Witch of the Realm - SOLD

Sissy Scardy Cat - SOLD
Smokey Scardy Cat - 28

Oliver Owl - SOLD
Opal Owl - SOLD
Norman Owl - SOLD

Miss Candy Cane - SOLD
Miss Kate Skate - SOLD

Belle - SOLD
Miss Festive Folly - SOLD

Pink Angel (ornament) - SOLD
Bunny on a Cracker (ornament) - SOLD
Miss I Want a Cow for Christmas (ornament) - SOLD

Tommy Sugar Plum - SOLD
Miss Honey Comb Christmas Tree - SOLD
Pink Star Santa - SOLD

Miss Reindeer - SOLD
Bundled Up Betty - SOLD

Miss Winter Wonderland - SOLD
Miss Spearmint - SOLD
Miss Blue Bell - SOLD

Snow Mom and Snow Babe - SOLD
The Winter Wanderer - SOLD
Mini Santa in Boot (ornament) - SOLD

Clowning Around Santa - SOLD
Miss White Poinsettia  - SOLD

The Ice Princess - SOLD
Bunny and the Bell - SOLD

Candy Cane Kitty - SOLD
Christmas Balloon Kitty - SOLD
Angel Kitty - SOLD

Girl with the Pink Balloon (ornament) - SOLD
Willa Wreath (ornament) - SOLD
Santa's Elf (ornament) - SOLD

Billy Snowman - SOLD
Jack Snowman - SOLD
Leon Snowman - SOLD

Clara and the Nutcracker (ornament) - SOLD

Hanukkah Garland Girl - SOLD
Miss Star of David - SOLD