Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Treasure Trays

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I've been having great fun with old wooden trays my hubby found. These were originally used for some sort of industrial storage purpose, maybe a product or a tool. He found stacks of them and then didn't have a clue what to do with them.  I cleaned them up, removed all but one divider, hit them lightly with sandpaper and then added color/paint and distressing. I was surprised to discover the sides were made of oak -- folks once used really good materials to craft even their utility trays -- how nice. I was delighted to discover there wasn't a staple to be found anywhere. I hate staples and fear someday our homes will be stapled and hot-glued together.  Good workmanship!!!

So here's how they look cleaned and heavily paint distressed.  The color on this one is apple green and I think it works elegantly paired with  rustic antique tones. This tray is filled with old golf collectibles -- books, golf balls and a trophy used for a vase. I thought it would be a change to arrange something that wasn't a bit more rustic than usual shabby chic fare.

Sooo, I can't make up mind which is my fave color tray. This deep turquoise pops out and is nice, eh?
 Needless to mention, this tray is filled with billiards/pool collectibles. Great for a man cave?

Tennis  or badminton anyone? I think trophies make great vases. That's the lid to an old biscuit tin in back. Any kind of plant arrangement seems to really add to tray decor. 

Same red tray but overflowing with just a few of my hubby's old marbles and a handful of his tops. Interesting that this one doesn't photograph all that well and in person, it's irresistible for the colors and textures. And it's tempting to scoop up a fist full of those marbles and play with them, maybe too tempting?

Same arrangement , different color trays  - I think I find  the dark turquoise richer than the softer aqua.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Coming soon: An online vintage mercantile with "A Lotta Vintage"

Hellooooooooo E'body!

It's finally happened. My dear hubby has buried us in vintage finds, all wonderful, but way too much for us to absorb and use. So it's finally come to this - I'm opening an online vintage mercantile, "A Lotta Vintage," soon.

And it's gonna have - well, a lotta vintage ...

I've always thought it was fun to run out and see what he had found and I've shared much of it with you over the years.

Who could forget this wonderful stainless steel medical cabinet? 

But now the man is making things. To-die-for "things" such as lovely harvest tables, with vintage elements in an array of sherbet and neutral shades.

And for months, he has been scrounging the countrysides to find old railroad workers willing to sell industrial carts. My hubby transforms these into coffee tables. I gotta admit, the "after" results  are really, Really, REALLY cool.

Still, the site is in the development stage. I'm pondering including a "library" of wonderful old books, including a cookbook section connected to the kitchen stuff. There will be fun things  from the seventies  and I'm considering a room of "Steampunk" My hubby's "before and after"  projects always win my heart, maybe others will love them as well. I'm looking forward to this and hope it will be as much fun as I think it will be.

Sound off about what you would like to find in a "vintage" online mercantile - all ideas welcomed and appreciated.  I'll update as we make progress on this site. 

My bests 'til then,

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My personal Mompreneur story: Unmask your hidden talents

How I ended up a mompreneur before it was cool: In the early seventies, my husband opened a retail floor covering store and stationed me on the front desk. I was miserable.
Bored to tears, I started playing with some of the scraps of carpet in my spare time and "The Hooked LOOK" was born.

My crafty escapism started off with simple designs as this little cover reveals; and grew to impressive contemporary full wall-scapes. Yes, you may have seen them in your favorite airport.

I was credited by the Dallas Times Herald as the creator of a new craft and featured in our local city paper. Then - I was selected to be the first artist/craftsperson featured in the Premier Issue of the Dallas Homes and Gardens Magazine. It was so exciting! The feature editor discovered my work at my first ever public  exhibit at Cottonwood Art Show in Richardson, Texas.

From that article, I received a commission to do a massive abstract logo for the decorator of a large bank in Dallas. Many commercial accounts followed. Soon my husband joined my efforts, and together, we developed an art manufacturing company (and closed that floor covering store!). Our contemporary wallhangings were distributed nationally through reps and in permanent showrooms in all of the major home furniture markets, including the World Trade Centers in Dallas, Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Las Angeles and conventions in High Point. Our accounts included IRS, Hilton Double Tree hotel chain, Armed Forces Commissaries and many, many exclusive decorator commissions and orders.

Another line of designs were offered direct to the public in highly juried art exhibits through out the nation -- so many that it was necessary to have seven to eight trucks on the road at all times. We were overjoyed to see how very popular our wallscapes were and to meet many celebrities who took more than one home with them.  If you look very close, you can see one of our tree wall hangings on old reruns of the "Three's Company" set!
Alas, earth-tones and contemporary furnishings were replaced with country kitschy, owls and mushrooms. My husband wasn't willing to go there and I had more  little ones at home by then and just wanted to stay home. But all of that work and effort, only good while it lasted, and then,

WOW! I've Never Thought of Painting Clothes: My son was modeling at a Lee Jeans runway show at the Dallas Apparel Mart. The dancers and models were outfitted in Lee Jeans and the wildest painted t-shirts imaginable. I was totally blown away by the possibilities. Though I loved staying home, and being with my kids was my first priority, I needed to contribute financially. I thought I saw a chance to do both.

With prayer, faith, and much struggle to conquer a new learning curve, I developed a line of ten fashion painting patterns; presented them to MJ Designs and my Painter Friendly Designs by Devonia patterns were soon sold nationwide.

That was a fun, kitchen-table career that allowed me to stay home with my kiddos - the second stage of my  mompreneurism. Before the craft industry began it's tragic crash, my pattern lines swelled to more than ten with more than a thousand designs and were marketed in all of the major craft stores across the nation, including Michaels, MJ Designs, Ambers, Hobby Lobby, Garden Ridge Pottery and many mom and pop stores. I worked very hard at my kitchen table - things always sound easier than they are.

Life was wonderful while the craze lasted and my sons grew to be teenagers.
Occasionally I find a Designs by Devonia pattern packet offered on eBay and I feel a bit nostalgic.

Here's one currently available on eBay.


Maybe it's time I get a REAL job:
Another creative cycle had ended. My kiddos were
nearly out of the nest and I was again looking for something to keep my mind and fingers busy and contribute financially (I was already finding out that older kids are very expensive) - this time I looked outside my home, uncertain I had anything to offer that would benefit any company.

A local adult education facility, Fun/ED, advertised for an art marketing director with heavy experience in publishing, marketing, art and public speaking. I applied and was shocked that the job was mine!

I felt as if I had been dropped to float on a creative cloud. An extra perk, of course, was that I could attend any of the more than 350 classes - FREE! plus as co-ordinator for for all major "happenings", I rubbed elbows with many renowned authors in events hosted by our facility. It was a fast-paced environment aptly named Fun/ED. I wore many hats and though he responsibilities were daunting , I was happily very busy. I couldn't believe I was being paid big $$$'s to do this job while someone else had all the worries. I loved it!

In my spare time, I designed all of the four-color covers for our class catalog, chose the models, set up and oversaw the photo shoots and edited the magazine, placed all advertisements, etc. The classes were presented in a full color magazine form - mine to create from concept to final print sign-off (often at three in the morning). One of my favorite covers is shown at the left- tagged "Unmask Your Hidden Talents!".

Eventually the owners of this private institution, Fun/ED, serving DFW more than twenty years, wanted to retire so another change loomed. I was heartbroken, yet...

I Had Always Yearned To Paint ROSES: Just about the time that Rachel Ashwell's book, Shabby Chic, set a new trend for home decor - eBay was new and exciting! I picked up a paint brush and realized I was right back at my kitchen table. My art began to travel to homes as far, globally, as eBay could reach and I fell in love with the many wonderful customers. This has been a personally rewarding time and I've enjoyed it since 1997 , however,

If you have read this far, you must have noticed a pattern. Life changes - art changes - we change. Once I forced change myself, but most of the time, change was forced upon me. A part of me always feared changes because I liked things just the way they were. I was happy and not eager to change nor did I always trust what the newest open door might offer. Someone recently asked a group if we believed that everything happens for a reason. I don't know the answer. I just know that change is inevitable; yet, by reviewing my own experience, I have to believe if we tap into our hidden talents, change can open new opportunities. It's up to us to explore the possibilities. What's true in a Dallas lifestyle is true anywhere. Sooo tell me your story.

And sooo, while I give this some thought, I bet blogging and writing might be fun!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A traditional Dallas wedding with a Texas twist: Bluebonnets, boots & baseball


or Texas Traditional?

Whoa, now hold on there a second, partner. There's no need to haul out a shotgun to run your caterer off because they don't get the idea of a  traditional Texas wedding.  

A local Dallas gal, Jenni Pryor, shows how to bring off a Lone Star style wedding plus she blends the Texas theme with her fiance's love of baseball wrapped up in all of the trappings of a  traditional  wedding. (Baseball!?!?! Ahem, a sure sign the groom is not from these  parts.)

Texans are wild about wildflowers: Here's Jenni showing off her wedding dress in a field of  bluebonnets and paintbrush wildflowers.

Bluebonnets are  the state flower of Texas  and no true Texas spring wedding is complete without at least one photo that includes Texas' pride.

Whoops! -- What's that peeking from Jenni's petticoats? Sure looks like a pair of leather cowboy boot ! Shucks, there goes the image, eh? It's no surprise that Jenni is a bit sassy. That's the reason the only wildflowers in Texas bloom in fields. 

Ever since Lady Bird Johnson  sowed wildflower seeds across the prairies and byways of Texas, wildflowers can be found in every direction come springtime in Texas. 


And then there is this... What do you do if your honeymoon starts two days after the wedding?

Well,  in this case, the entire wedding party plays baseball the next morning - and who bothers to change clothes?

Jenni is at bat and that's her husband catching the ball behind Jenni.

Well, it may not be football, but, one thing is for certain; that little gal  knows how to hit a home-run, eh? 

Does it get more fun than this? 
Bluebonnets,  baseball, boots, a wedding --Texas style! 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Texas gift baskets are a Christmas winner for out-of-state friends

There's never a need for Dallasites to worry about what to send out-of-state friends for Christmas -- a Texas gift basket is always a sure winner. Although Texas  baskets can be pretty expensive to just buy outright, Goodies from Goodman, over on Grissom Lane, offers five different sizes ranging from a low of $54.95 - $119.00. Better call 'em up now though to allow  time for shipping. If you prefer to make your gift basket yourself, and why not, we ask -- there's no end of Texas items to select from in Dallas.  

Texas Treasures at the Dallas Galleria  is a wonderful place to start. Texas Treasures is about all things TEXAS and that includes items perfect for a gift basket. Check out the Texas  t-shirts, spices and chilies,  children's cowboy hats, candies, cookie cutters in the shape of armadillos or longhorns, Texas playing cards and a whole lot more.  Since you are making your own baskets, don't forget the kiddos,. Buy a box  or several boxes of the really tasty  animal crackers in the shape of boots and stars.  Don't wait, check out the Texas treasures online.

Your container should be part of your gift. Consider a child's cowboy hat, or just a plain basket trimmed Texas style. Think about cutting slab  of cheddar in the shape of Texas or even making your own sugar cookies with a Texas cookie cutter.  Lone Star bandanas are plentiful and make great wraps for the cheese. Tex-Mex is always a winner. Think jars of salsa, hot and mild red and green chilies, and don't forget  the pralines and Texas trail mix.

A Texas cookbook is always welcomed and if you were on the watch-out, local Dallas schools and churches generally offer Dallas community cook books chock full of trusted-and-tried Texas recipes for everything from tamales to  Texas chocolate sheath cake. Below is a the Dallas Junior League Cookbook, which will include recipes from the movers and shakers of Dallas.


Following is a wonderful video that shows you how to trim a gift basket as quick as Santa can wink. Just remember to change that sunflower to a Yellow Rose of Texas. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

3 ways to start a sentimental collection for the girl in your life

Gifting girls/women is easy if you begin a collection for them -something feminine, sentimental, affordable and something that can be "grown" one precious, thoughtful gift at a time. Look at these very feminine collection possibilities -sure to have any female in your life drooling!

Pin Money Banks make such a sweet collection. Now what could be more feminine than pin money? The banks are usually in the shape of a sweet purse and decorated with applied flowers in pastel colors. The banks are now relatively inexpensive, because the collectors have yet to really find them, and would look so lovely grouped in a small cabinet as the collection grows. This might be ideal for a young girl or graduate, but even grandma has a tender spot for sugar jar savings. Since money may be removed from the bottom, it's much nicer than a gift card if you want to actually include some pin money. eBay is a always a good source for pin money banks.

A lovely gift is the old stand-by, a charm bracelet. Begin with one sterling silver link bracelet and one charm, (silver goes so well with denim) perhaps a silver heart, maybe engraved with entwined initials or the date. To make it really special, add unique or antique charms, great for a birthday, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and anniversaries. I especially love these handcrafted sterling silver sortered charms, shown in the photo and created from vintage ephemera and hymnals, swarovski rhinestones and glass glitter, available from Katie's Rose Cottage. Charms are a very inexpensive, yet personal, way to say "I love you". Perhaps your mom or grandmother would love one with snippets of their favorite hymn while a friend or girl friend would treasure a sweet sentiment. Meet Lori, the owner of Katie's Rose Cottage , up close and personal on her blog. Vanity Items - Perfume atomizers or antique apothecary bottles (to be filled with bath salts, powders, etc.) are lovely, soooo feminine and make a beautiful presentation on a vanity or dresser. Even giant size old crystal salt shakers can be added. Just one is eye catching and a grouping will make all tke it really special, antique hearts may be added to it, great for a birthday, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and anniversaries.heir friends envious (and that's definitely part of it!). It is so gratifying to be able to respond to compliments about the collection, with "My ___ started this collection for me. Each one was personally selected by ___ and I treasure them". The neat thing about vanity items is the potential to grow to include mirrors, jars, brushes, - antique or new - the possibilities are unlimited. Price ranges from inexpensive to outrageously costly. Available new & retail or for vintage, check eBay.

It is truly "the thought that counts" and your gift would be special for girl friends, wives, and moms and grandmothers. It doesn't matter if the gifter is male or female - a daughter, friend, mom, can start a collection to be treasured as easily as a man can start one for his wife. Flowers or plants have short lives, a collection lives on to become heirlooms.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Antique Bandboxes: Beautiful Decorative Accessories for Shabby Cottage Decor

You probably already know that bandboxes, commonly known now as hat boxes, were once a staple when women carried reticules hardly large enough to store but the barest necessities. If you think about it, you probably can conjure a vision of a young lady walking down an avenue, gaily swinging a bandbox.

Today, bandboxes are highly collectible and a romantic nod to the nostalgia of another time. The faded, muted colors are perfect for any shabby decorative accessory. One great pamphlet, now out of print is shown above, and sometimes available on eBay auction is, Hat Boxes and Bandboxes at Shelburne Museum, by Lilian Baker Carlisle.

Good Manners & Bandboxes
Most women felt at least two or more bandboxes were a necessity for travel, in addition to trunks.

If train seats were unavailable, a gentlemen was forced to stand and offer their seat to a lady while bandboxes occupied what could have been a seat for him.

Many embarrassing moments were caused by bandboxes - the bottoms were prone to dropping out, spilling the contents for all to see.

To avoid embarrassment and to keep seats clear for passengers, etiquette soon demanded that bandboxes should never visibly travel.

To keep white velvet or silk bonnets white, it was suggested that a cake of white wax (available at an apothecary's for sixpence or a shilling) should be placed beside the bonnet in a bandbox, the bandbox then be tightly closed until the next season, in order to keep the bonnet as white as ever. The cake of wax would be much discolored; not the bonnet.

A bandbox lining of the coarsest brown paper was far preferable for preservation of colors or whiteness of any article stored within. The chloride of lime used in manufacturing white paper was considered injurious to the colors of silks - frequently causing spots and stains. The very coarse, thick brown paper made of old ropes was considered far better; as the tar remaining about it partook somewhat of the turpentine, protecting the colors.

Before storing a white fur muff until the next spring, the muff was saturated in a large quantity of pulverized warm powdered starch and put into the box with some lumps of camphor tied up in thin white papers.
Bandbox Construction:
Today, antique purists insist all true bandboxes are made of thin layers of wood; however, renowned antique collector, Leigh Keno, of Antique Roadshow fame, collected a colorful group of at least 53 bandboxes, made of printed paper on pasteboard between 1820 and 1840. He offered the group, which took twenty years to assemble, for sale at $125,000 in 1992.
Wallpaper was terribly expensive in the days of bandboxes and scraps were saved to cover bandboxes.

Hannah Davis Bandboxes, are highly collectible today - sometimes available on eBay. Her boxes are always signed. To learn how Hannah made her bandboxes and traveled to factories, sometimes in a sleigh, to sell her wares - click here.
Hannah Davis Box , 1840-1860