Tuesday, July 31, 2012

More from the Garden...

Yesterday my mom called and said she really needed help weeding her garden. It was overcast right at that moment (I'm not a fan of weeding in blaring sunlight on a hot day), so I stopped what I was doing and scooted on over to her house for a few hours. As a reward I came home with a giant cabbage that I plan to combine with the two smaller cabbages my great aunt Em gave me to make sauerkraut for Ben.

In the evening I went into my own garden and snipped off the largest cukes. When I get enough for a batch of relish, I'll be chopping them all up. I've already made a dozen jars of various pickles...including dill, bread and butter, new garlic pickles and sweet gherkins. The gherkins take 4 days to make...but by the end they got a little shrively, so I'm not sure how they'll taste or what kind of texture they'll have...I've yet to try them and now I'm a little scared!
I also peeked into the dirt around the potatoes and accidentally snapped off a few small red potatoes...yum!

And I also picked all the ready green beans. I have two more generations of beans planted so I'll always have a little at any given time. I've been doing more freezing than eating though.

Another reward from my mom's garden...the brussel sprouts we planted were exploding! My brussel sprouts in my garden, which were planted from the same stock at the same time are just barely starting to form sprouts, but my mom's plants had sprouts so mature they were almost starting to form sprouts of their own! These sprouts aren't nice and tight like they should be...even the smaller ones. After a little research I've determined that we planted them too early. Brussel sprouts like cold weather and should be timed so the sprouts are forming in the fall. You can even leave them out in the winter and dig them up through the snow when you're in the mood for them...amazing! Ben cooked some of these guys up last night...not bad, but tasted more like bok choy than brussel sprouts. Regardless, I froze all the remaining ones for later enjoyment.

And lastly, my kale is never ceasing. I've been enjoying and freezing it for more than a month now. But just this morning I did my biggest freezing batch to date. I took my giant galvanized tub into the garden and filled it up. Afterward my row of kale still looks as if it hasn't been touched. But that's a good thing. I washed it all. And then when Ben and I were watching a movie, I brought it into the living room and spent about 45 minutes ripping all the stems off (I don't like the stems). This morning I blanched it all and put it in the freezer.

Yup...that's all of it...in that little white bowl. Unbelievable right?

And after squeezing out even more water, I formed baseball sized balls and they all fit into one gallon sized freezer bag with room to spare. Wow!

Another funny thing about kale... The other night Ben made spinach stuffed shells (an Italian dish). It was super delicious and the spinach had great texture. After dinner when I was cleaning up...I saw an empty freezer bag on the counter that I had labeled "kale". Yup...Ben unknowingly used kale in the spinach stuffed shells...not spinach. Needless to say it was awesome and in a lot of ways even better than spinach. And even Ben, who really doesn't love kale...didn't noticed the difference. lol We'll probably be making kale stuffed shells from now on. I love happy accidents!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Charming Antiques!

A while ago my mom and I went to an antique fair that's just a short drive across the river from us. It's one of my favorites because it's so close and convenient and they have TONS of great stuff! Plus they have it twice a year. Last year Ben and I went the day after we got married. Now that's what I call a honeymoon! (Speaking of which, I've finally got our wedding photos all sorted out and have decided to post them on our one year anniversary, August 6th! I know I'm terrible at being timely, but I thought it would be a nice nod to our big day :)

The cuties above just might be my favorite finds. The owl whistle, the tiny porcelain doll (to be used with a future spun cotton Christmas figure I think), and the bisque owl duo....love them all!

I found some wonderful Christmas stashed in a box for a buck! Not too shabby!! Everything is broken to one degree or another, and I had to weed out the ugly newer Christmas stuff (the lady said I had to take it all)...but with some work...these will be looking great in no time!

A trio of pom pom Easter chicks, some millinery flowers, and a pretty flowered hat where all there waiting to be found by me. The guy I bought the hat from is always there and always at Brimfield. He's a real miser. He piles his stuff up haphazardly without care. Half his stuff is dirty or in bad shape. You think everything will be a great deal for that reason...but then he wants $20 for a ratty old stuffed animal that's not even really that old. Or $85 for the ho hum scrap book my mom asked him about. He did have boxes of dollar items that got rained on though...and when I brought him the hat (a dryer item from one of those boxes), he tried to charge me more and almost didn't believe me when I said I got it from the boxes. Sheesh. He always remembers me and says hi very warmly every time I see him, but he stinks at prices! lol

One of these items was kinda pricey, one was cheap, and the other was free! Can you guess which is which??

The little wooden shelf thing was a buck and it's now employed as a divider in my narrow silverware drawer (my old ugly red plastic one was too wide, thank goodness, lol). It makes the forks and spoons look that must more charming against the old wood. The trivet matches the three others I found at a garage sale for 10 cents. The two cups were in a free pile at the end of the day...which was extremely surprising because they are really high quality and beautiful!!

This Birthday Candles box was a real box of fun! Full of old cupcake picks and things...and not to mention the box itself. A-dorable with a capital A!! The tiny matchbox had to come home with me as did the card with the girl and bird in a nest. Too cute!

I'd love to hear about what you all have found recently in your own treasure hunting pursuits! :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sophie and Paper

Sophie is often quite naughty...finding the most inconvenient (for me) places to lay and stretch her furry little self. Right now she's tucked neatly on a nearby window sill. But the other day she found the perfect spot right on top of my work table.

But who could kick her off? Not me! :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

On the Worktable Today...

I've been working on a host of different things this week, and my worktable is getting pretty congested with completed and partially finished creatures and characters. Right before I step out of the studio for the weekend and get ready for family game night, I wanted to show you a little of what I've been working on...

The snail riders are quite in contrast with the Krampus above...but Krampus is only interested in naughty little children (and these guys take good care of their snails).

A custom order blackbird is drying and the clown riding the sheep is just like the one I made for myself.

Getting ready for Halloween...

Boston terrier cake top for a Cape Cod wedding next month.

And lots more for Christmas, Halloween, and custom orders. Fun fun fun! :)

I also wanted to thank everyone who picked up a piece or two or three at my update the other day. Summer is a laid back time where the great outdoors and vacations are constantly calling. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy summer day on Tuesday. There are still lots of cuties that are searching for a home. Take a look if you missed it! :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Owl Vignette

I was just looking through Flickr and found this adorable little vignette a collector put together featuring a pair of fuzzy owls and a lone fox, leering up at the little owls, licking his chops no doubt. I love the little round shelf! It's perfect and I couldn't help sharing it with you. Thank you so much Zoe! :)

(Click photos for source)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Everyday Update!

Miss Party Cake Topper (on antique marbled paper box) - SOLD

Boy do I have some cuties up my sleeves today! These guys are all one of a kind figures that you can leave up all year round! (Not that I would ever encourage storing away any of the people or animals that come out of my studio, be they holiday specific or not...lol) The gal above has been in my possession for a number of years. I made her for a shop on the west coast and fell in love with her and just couldn't send her away. I kept her and made them another (just as good of course). The box she's on was an extra special find. It's made of paper mache and covered with really wonderful marbled paper that I can only assume was hand marbled. It has an excellent patina and color and opens and closes with perfection. But I finally decided that it's time for her to move on to bigger and better places where she can stand out more.
The other characters have charmed me as well...as I hope they do you. The cowgirl and her herd of horses...the fledgling girl who looks as if she's popping out of her nest for the first time...the foodies who employ an adorable array of miniature delectables...the little boy and his onion being cajoled by garden flowers...etc. etc. etc. Enjoy! :)

As usual, blog readers get first dibs on my new spun cotton one-of-kind figures. Click on photos to enlarge. If you see something(s) you love, just email me at vintagebycrystal@yahoo.com 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 Fisher Puss - SOLD
Miss Leopard - SOLD

The Fledgling - SOLD

The Phoenix Rider (on vintage chenille stem bird) - SOLD
The Dover Flyer - 38

The Black Butterfly - 28
Rolf - 25
The Rose Pink Butterfly Princess - 28

Miss Movie Goer - 28
Miss Crazy for Coffee - 28
Cotton Candy Kitty - 23

Hop Along Bunny - 28
Miss Flower Sprout - SOLD
Miss Prima Color - 28

Miss Cake and Candy - SOLD
The Birthday Friend - SOLD
She Comes for Cake - SOLD

Miss Bouquet - 32
Lemon Drop Butterfly - 28
Ginger Butterfly - SOLD

Rainbow Butterfly - SOLD
The Circus Act - 28

Miss Yellow Gerber Daisy - 28
The Boy and his Onion - SOLD
Miss Pansy - SOLD

Miss Dovecote - 28
Miss Gladiola - 28
Miss Pirouette - 28

Ocean Blue Mermaid - SOLD

Miss Woodland Rider - 38
The Owl and Friend - SOLD
Humpty - SOLD

The Brown Steed - 25
The Blonde Mare - 25
Miss Cowgirl - SOLD

The Monarch - 28
Miss Queen of the Treetops - SOLD
Miss Mustache - 28

Chiyoko - 28
Akemi - SOLD

Update Sneak Peek...

11:00 am EST Today! :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Creatures around the Studio...

Everyone (that is, everyone who is made of cotton, and me) is excited about tomorrow's update! It's hot and summery here and they are ready to move on to a place with AC! ...or at least out of this hot house of a studio. :)

A tiny toy gun inspired a silly cowgirl...

I spent two days at the county fair last week where my sister was showing cows. This little kitty brought home a balloon and cotton candy...yum!

Most of my work is European or American in style and theme...but these pretty Japanese geisha's were quite fun to make and prove to be very elegant.

And then there's the crazy coffee girl. I'm sure many of you can relate to her! She even has a tiny spoon to stir the sugar in!

Come see these characters and all the rest tomorrow morning at 11 am EST. Preview to precede. :)