Better With Time

quilting

It wasn’t long ago I was visiting my mom on a cold winter day when she pulled out a long ignored quilt top that she wanted to finish. As we were looking it over we discovered that it was missing one side of a border, which presented a dilemma.  Mom no longer had the fabric she had used when she started the top, but we soon came up with a solution which began a search through the beautiful collection of fabric she has preserved over the years.

 mom's collection of quilt fabric

During the search I came upon a small scrap of fabric that I fell in love with and immediately knew I wanted to do something creative with it; so I set the scrap aside for the moment and continued to help mom with her project.

fabric sample recycled

The calling to do something with that small piece of fabric would be realized a few days later at my Dad’s barn.

Dad has transformed the old barn, used in years past to house livestock that helped support our family, into junk/treasure storage.

While some may see a lot of “junk” in Dad’s barn, we on the ridge see mostly treasures.  Dad was helping me gather some old mason jars, for another project stirring around in my head, when on the far back wall I spotted it; an old frame covered in the dust of time.It took both me and Dad moving boxes, hand saws and standing on whatever I could to rescue the fame from its hiding place, but once I had it in my hands I knew it would be perfect for that beautiful scrap of fabric I had been holding on to.

 Dad thought it was in too rough of shape but I knew it would be fine. The finish had lost a lot of its shine, it had chips here and there and a white wash from a previous era was flaking off, but the beauty was still there, even enhanced.

old salvaged frame

The frame and fabric have now been put together and I can only describe the marriage of the two as a piece of art, of history, and a poignant reminder of time moving on.

old frame with salvaged fabric

Through this creative journey I came to realize that the faded fabric and tarnished frame are much like the two special people from whom I had gotten them,  a little worn by time, a few chips and nicks here and there but more beautiful  than ever after over 65 years together.

This post was contributed by my sister: Thanks Edna for sharing your inspiration and insight.

 

Birds, Butterflies And My Garden

roseate spoonbillTwo mornings this week there have been Roseate Spoonbills in a lake near my neighborhood. They are beautiful, quirky birds; lovely pink plumage and long bills that flatten out at the end like a spoon.

I love to watch the birds that frequent my yard, especially around Blue Antler Studio; with a lot of cats in my Florida neighborhood, song birds tend not to hang around for long. On the ridge however, I have feeders and bird houses all around my yard, strategically placed for viewing from the windows and the porch.

I have always planned my garden with birds and butterflies in mind.  But over the last few years my perennial garden has suffered; trampled during cabin repair, ravaged by age and, sadly, neglect.  But the lovely pink visitors have reminded me of the pleasures of having our winged friends around, so I have begun plans to revive my gardens. I’ll keep you posted.

Butterfly Days

butterfly days book

During my recent organizing frenzy I stirred up more than just dust and memories. I rediscovered some of the fun projects and activities from my children’s childhood. One of my favorites took place over the summer of 2000.  It was the first time that my girls spent part of the summer away from the cabin, making their little brother a lonely boy. 

As a creative person I believe in the power of creativity to cure many ills, including a little brother missing his big sisters. That summer Mother Nature herself would provide inspiration – butterflies; colorful, delicate wings in unbelievable numbers, fluttered on the flowers of our garden, floated over the yard and gathered around mud puddles.

butterfly image

With a good butterfly book in hand we spent long days among the kaleidoscope of our colorful winged visitors, photographing, identifying, documenting and even befriending them.  Soon we were not only getting close enough to capture them on film, but with gentle coaxing they would crawl right onto our fingers; my then ten-year old son, still holds the record at five Great Spangled Fritillaries on one hand at one time!

nate with three butterflies

Using a small spiraled book, colorful markers, photo-corners and our camera, we created this scrapbook of our summer of butterflies.

butterfly scrapbook

 

pages of a butterfly watcher scrapbook

butterfly scrapbook

butterfly count listed in scrapbook

 

 

Cleaning My Empty Nest

empty nest imageThis week I finally found the time, energy and will to tackle a project I’ve put off far too long; cleaning out and organizing the closets of my house. As we transition from a full house to empty nesters we face the daunting, and often emotional task of paring down.  Rooms once filled with kids and the trappings of childhood are now quiet, occupied only by the shadows of the past and outgrown mementoes of youth.

 

kids memorabliaI actually tried to tackle this chore before, but as soon as I started sorting through the scraps of my children’s childhoods, their drawings, papers, photos and once treasured toys, I was ambushed, first by memories then by melancholy. So I abandoned the task, leaving the space in even more disarray than when I started, and instead I called the kids.

But over the years all our closets have slowly collected stuff, way too much stuff, so I decided it would be safer to start with my own space then work up to tackling, and facing, our empty nest.

My well-organized closet; it feels so spacious!

my organized closet

And my beautiful quilt closet; now I can enjoy my treasured textiles!

my organized quilt closet

A work in progress, yikes!

messy closet

Even though my closet clutter was hidden behind doors, the mess still weighed on me. Getting them clean and organized lifted the invisible weight that I wasn’t even aware I was carrying; I might even be ready to start on the kids room, or maybe I’ll just give them a call and visit awhile.

Success At The Antique Fair!

our renninger's booth staged and ready for buyers

Our first big sale at a retail venue was a great success. We sold a lot of merchandise and had a great time. It was however a lot of work and we couldn’t have gotten through the loading and unloading and running back and forth without my hubby’s unfailing support; he was our truck driver, our delivery guy, our fix it if it got broken guy, our deal with grumpy neighbors guy, he did it all. Thanks hubby!

setting up our booth at renninger's 1/12

hubby helping with setup

Many of the folks that stopped by our booth asked about our shop location and our plans for future shows, and of course we had neither, but we did direct them here to Blueantlerstudio.com; so if you are one of our new creative friends, welcome. Many of our buyers encouraged our creativity and urged us to considered doing more shows, but we’ll see. After a little down time Lisa and I will decide what direction, if any, we would like to take and, of course, once we have decided, you all will be the first to know.

running low on merchandise at the renninger's extravaganza

merchandise at the extravaganza

beautiful heart pine table and table top wine rack

Most of the items featured in the following photos sold!

most of the things in this photo sold!

all the jars and the wire stand sold

items that sold at the extravaganza

kathy and lisa in renningers booth

Wow Our Booth At The Antique Extravaganza Looks Amazing!

Wow! What a great weekend, hot but great, we are having at the extravaganza.  We sold so much stuff on Friday that after we closed up for the day we rushed home and picked everything we could from our homes to refill the booth space; then today went even better! But as for our grumpy neighbor, yesterday he proved that my theory that he was nicer than his first impression was wrong. But we are having too much fun, and sangria, to let a grumpy old guy bring down our spirits.

Today we met some great folks, dealers, collectors and delightful young people.  We also had some friends stop by for a visit, a little shopping and a sip of sangria.

Our Booth Of Eclectic Home Furnishings And Collectables!

 

booth at renninger's extravaganzaAfter a very long day our booth is ready and we are so pleased with the way it looks.  We had a lot of positive feedback and several sales offers. While our closest neighbor comes across a little abrasive at times, I think the elderly man and his wife are probably nicer than their first impression would indicate; we certainly hope so, but tomorrow we’ll have a stash of sangria on hand, just in case we need to calm our nerves and shore up our patience.

booth at renninger's extravaganza

Check back to hear how it goes.

I Love Old Dishes! Even Broken – Mosaic

vintage dishes in cabinet

I love old dishes, the time mellowed hues and crackled glaze gives them a commonality that makes my miss-matched collection work beautiful as a setting. Vintage plates and bowls can be found everywhere from yard sales and flea markets to antique shops; and they are often inexpensive. Even if broke, which happens from time to time at my house, their beauty can still be enjoyed and appreciated through repurposing.

table setting of vintage mix-matched dishes

After one of my favorite plates broke, I used the broken pieces as tile and created a sweet little lazy Susan.         Broken plate mosaic lazy susan  broken plate mosaic as lazy susan

 I used the decorative center of a broken saucer as a design element in a mosaic top I crafted for a mid-century wire stand.

mid-century stand with saucer mosaic

Remember that some of the glazes used in vintage dishes may contain lead so test them before using. I sometimes use the old dishes like chargers, paired with clear dishes so their beauty is still visible while food is kept safely away from possible lead contamination.

http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Metals/ucm233281.htm

Happy collecting!

Repurposed, Refinished, Created and Found Treasures

Today I loaded up the truck (well hubby loaded it for me) with treasures I’ve been working on for months.  Lisa and I are now in the process of collecting together our merchandise for the extravaganza coming up a week from today.  It’s exciting to see the collection of repurposed, refinished, created and found treasures finally all together and we are very pleased with our eclectic mix of treasures.

Here’s a sneak peek.

Collection of pretty tins. 

Refurbished antique bed, tractor seat stool, quilt crafts.

indian River painting, acrylic on woodOriginal painting of Intracoastal Waterway, acrylic on canvas.

 Vintage quilt remnant pillows and end table cube on wheels.

Lamp shade made from vintage hankiesLamp shade made from vintage hankies.

 Old tractor seat stool.

elephant ears, acrylic on canvasOriginal painting of elephant ears, acrylic on canvas.

  Lamp shade made with vintage post cards, chenille room divider and refurbished rocker.