Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fugitive Fungi

There's fungus among us! Yesterday I ventured down into our dark and musty basement and found this little guy hiding at the bottom of the stairs!! It's a little scary that our basement proves to be a good habitat for fungus and mold alike...

This little toadstool had fallen over so I picked him up and gave him a new home in one of my terrariums! He looks quite dashing among the moss and ferns. I'm not sure how long he'll last but for now he's making me quite happy! :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Working hard or hardly working?

This is what I've been working on lately...phew! :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

One afternoon I was a mermaid...

When I was a little tadpole, my mom would tell me stories about the time she was mermaid. She lived in the ocean until my grandfather, a scuba diver, found her and took her home. I was skeptical but still enchanted by her tall tales, for I myself, like so many little girls, longed to be a mermaid.

So when Heidi of Birds of a Feather and Janet invited me to Mermaid Cache, a wonderful workshop/tea party at Heidi's gorgeous home, I jumped at the chance! It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon under the trees. They had a gorgeous spread complete with old bottles, seashells, glitter, sand and delicious treats. There were 15 or 20 of us and we happily decorated these old bottles with said seashore materials. She also supplied wonderful mermaid images to use as the focal point of the piece, but Heather and I were a little rebellious and did monograms instead.

Photos above were taken by Janet and Heidi.

Al dente! We also did a little contest and mine won "Most Unique"! Yippee!!

Rosie helped us out a bit.

Now my pretty bottle lives in the bathroom with some of my other seaside treasures. Thank you so much Heidi and Janet for a wonderful little party!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Harry and Larry the Infamous Owl Twins!

Who says ornaments are just for Christmas! There are plenty of nuetral ornaments that look charming hanging from a cabinet knob or lamp switch all year long...especially coveted Dresden ornaments, like Harry the Owl! So far I've never seen new handmade dresdens, but a gal named Sally just opened her Etsy store called The Dresden Cottage, featuring Dresdens! The dresden ornaments I'm mentioning are a little different than the fabulous metallic dresden pieces that are so popular for crafting. They both were largely produced in Germany around the turn of the last century and both were made using a sort of pressed paper technique. The dresden ornaments I speak of however are much thicker, sturdier and made as an ornament in and of itself, not as an embellishment. They often are 3D, made of two or more sides glued together, like Harry, to create a more sculptural piece. The original dresdens are very rare (due to it's delicate nature, not many survived these 100 years) and are highly sought after. Most dresdens go for $200-$500 each. They really are great little ornaments and I drool heavily everytime I see them at an antique show. I'll show you my small (very small) dresden collection this Christmas when I put my feather up. :) Read more about dresdens at

Well...Sally now offers handmade versions of these old pieces for, let's just say a little cheaper than their old counterparts. We did a fabulous swap (thank you so much Sally for swapping!) and she surprised me with her owl ornament. I knew I loved him when I saw him in her store and was just tickled when I opened her package. It took me quite a lot longer than it should have to realize why I loved him so much.... I already own his twin brother in metal! Sally uses old German sculpts to make molds for her dresdens and I just happened to have the same exact owl! You can see him sitting on top of the shelf in this post from last year.

I couldn't be happier with my cuties sitting side by side. :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Amazing Finds!

The past two weeks of treasure hunting have been very fruitful to say the least! And I'd love to show you all about it!

All of my recent treasures have come from one of three places. A couple are from ebay, some are from a fabulous road trip Ben and I took last weekend through the Berkshire Mountains, but most are from my trip to the Brimfield Antiques Show a couple of days ago.

Above is a collection of old celluloid animals. I love their brilliant colors! The canoe with Mr. Easter Bunny is actually a bright fushia, but my camera thought it looked better in red. I even found a little Santa with an antlerless reindeer (maybe one day we'll find those darn antlers).

This chubby paper mache Santa was a steal from a very preoccupied and snooty dealer!

I enjoyed chatting for a bit with the lady who sold me these Santa heads. You'll see my spun cotton characters happily holding them come December.

This lot of fabulous old Christmas goodies came from all over. A great selection if I don't say so myself! I can't wait to use them in my work!

I have such a thing for crepe paper. This bundle of old stock was too great to pass up. It will make fabulous clothing for my figures. :)

I managed to scope out tons of millinery too. Most will be used on wedding cake toppers and pretty little girls, but some of it I'll be selling in my Vintage From Crystal Etsy store.

Great millinery also comes in hat form. Although I buy them for the flowers, I can hardly bear to tear them apart. They'll end up hanging above my studio window for quite some time before I put them to use. And some I'll be selling in my shop. :)

These pretties were found in a set in the Berkshires at a little shack of an antique store. They are so delicate and feminine...just gorgeous! One of them is mink however...fur trapping was horrible in it's heyday and still horrible today. Thank goodness it's out of fashion!

And these wonderful puzzles were such a find!! A Brimfield dealer sold them cheap because two of the 7 puzzles were missing pieces. That leaves 5 intact puzzles for framing and hanging in my future children's bedrooms (maybe if they're good I'll even let said future kiddies play with them from time to time). :)

And these puzzles have treasures hidden within them...animals and people shapes!! At first I thought this puzzle contained only two shapely puzzle pieces, but then I kept finding more! The details toys had in the past are rarely matched in today's play things.

This is another piece from that shabby shack in the Berkshires. It's an adorable little "cook while camping" kit. Some lightweight metal tins are used for cooking over a fire. There's even a little plastic cup and a pot with a lid. They all stack up and fit into a smallish canvas tote. So cute! It almost makes me want to go deep woods camping! You'll find this in my shop soon too.

These cuties I found on ebay. That little rabbit planter is so crazy with his bug eyes it makes me laugh every time I see him! I'll have to find a real special plant for him to take care of. And these tiny African folks are made from crepe paper! They were handmade way back when and are just charming. I have a huge crush on crepe paper and just had to have these.

I haven't shown you my Wade England collection yet...but I will one of these days. These little guys are my newest additions. The horse and piggie are from the 50's. They are made in England by the same company (Wade) that makes the figures for Red Rose Tea. I've been collecting them since I was a kid and have quite a few now!!

I am a terrible sewer, but now I have to make a cute stuffed animal of one species or another to wear these adorable tiny shirts. I believe they were both made by hand and each have ric rac sewn here and there.

A few weeks ago Ben and I were riding our bikes on the minute man trail outside of Boston. We stopped off in Lexington for some ice cream and I spotted an adorable antique store a few doors down. I peered through the window and saw this topper. Unfortunately the store was closed right then. I memorized the name of the store (Fancy Flea Finds) and called them the next day. I paid for it via credit card over the phone and it was mine! That store was our first stop on our little road trip last weekend. Not only did they have the amazing cake topper...everything in that store was very much to my liking!

And last but certainly not least. This was my very last find at Brimfield. It was nearing 6 pm and most vendors had closed up for the night. One guy was still packing up and I spotted this endearing couple in his messy showcase. Two dollars he said. Sold! A little tip when antiquing...grisly men give really great deals on girly things. :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

How to make a Moss Terrarium

Last weekend while camping in upstate New York, I decided to take the opportunity to build a couple of little moss terrariums to take home with me as a souvenir. I don't normally like to take things from the wild, but with the exceedingly rainy summer, there was no shortage of moss and I took only a little.

The woodscape was gorgeous and so lush. The ground was still damp after a rainy night and moss and ferns greeted me in fields of green. I climbed a muddy dirt path (normally used for rowdy boys and their four wheelers) up to the top of a shady hill. The huge patches of moss took refuge under the pine trees and when you pressed your hand on top, it sank down a good 6 about billowy!

I brought two jars with me...a medium sized vintage canning jar and a pretty and tall apothecary jar. I forgot my trowel and had to improvise with a flimsy camping spoon (don't forget your trowel!!).

Start out your terrarium by putting a layer of pebbles in the bottom for drainage. A thin layer of charcoal will help keep it healthier. Then add an inch or two of first. Finally...add moss! Try to get some dirt with your moss when you dig it up. Moss doesn't have roots, but they anchor themselves to the ground and you'd like to keep some of that ground with them. I also transplanted a tiny fern. Lastly, I added a neat stick and some pretty rocks. Normally you would need to sprinkle a little water in too, but with all the rain, there was no need this time. When you bring it home, make sure there's not too much condensation or else the plants will rot and maybe even get moldy (hopefully the charcoal will help prevent this). Make sure there's some don't want your moss to dry out. And don't put in direct sunlight. Moss likes shade. Finally...enjoy!! :)

I was able to find several different kinds of moss, including some snowy reindeer moss!

And now I'm enjoying them on the front porch! :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What did you do this July 4th?

I hope you all had a wonderful July 4th! I'm a little late in sharing my photos, but better late than never, right? I just had a few decorations out to celebrate...I really need to work on building up my patriotic collection, but above is a little peek...

Laurie and I did another wonderful swap. I think this little spun cotton head girl is my favorite of hers so far. I just love the vintage plastic ribbon pinned to her chest and the fabulous staff she holds. Of course it doesn't hurt that she's also a brunette...just like yours truly. :) I also had a few of my little characters out and about. I made a pretty display of overturned milkglass vases and pedestal dishes on top of my little curio cabinet...but the higher I stacked them, the less stable the whole thing became and I am still mourning the loss of my eagle clad pedestal dish...oh well! And then of course I had to bring out my shabby July 4th feather tree. This mini tree is a real vintage beauty...put together lovingly by someone long ago. It has mini patriotic ornaments hanging all over it and a tiny gold star garland. It was the first piece of my tiny patriotic collection.

Then of course there was the actual celebration...complete with amateur fireworks and a giant bonfire. The photo above is amazing isn't it? Note: All of these fireworks photos were taken by camping friends, not me.

Every year Ben and I travel 5 hours from Boston to just north of Utica, NY. There lies a wonderful 70 something acres of gorgeous woodlands surrounding a bizarre sand dune. One of my best friends, Pete, owns this parcel with his family and every year invites everyone and their brother to camp, eat, drink and just be merry. Pete's brother is a bit of a pyro and can't help but entertain himself and everyone else with a massive hour long fireworks display and gigantic bonfire.

This thing was 2 stories tall and very hot!

It was an amazing celebration. In my next post I'll show you how I took a little bit of Pete's parcel home with me! :)