Thursday, June 28, 2007

the best laid plans

I didn’t mean to go to the yard sale. I swear I didn’t. The whole family was tuckered after a nonstop napless Saturday (music class, picnic, birthday party, dinner at friends’), so I had no bigger ambitions for Sunday than sleeping in and making blueberry pancakes. I told myself I didn’t need to spend any money, anyway.

But then. My mother called. She was at the sale, and she had a blister on her foot, could I pick her up and give her a lift back to her house? Oh, and while I was there, I might want to check out this lady’s stuff, because she thought I would like it.

And isn't mother always right? Turns out this woman who lives a few blocks from me once had a vintage shop in the Strip and now was liquidating all her inventory at her yard sale. If her stuff was this good at 4:00, I can only imagine what the pickings were like in the morning. I walked out with this:

Which my mother says is exactly the same as the one her parents got her when she was a teenager. I got it to replace a little table I don’t like between our two living room chairs. But it’s a lot taller in my living room than it was at the yard sale. Maybe I should live with the table a little longer and find another place for the old phonograph. What do you think?

Oh, and did I mention it works? Not that we have any records anymore.

I also picked up this very tall lamp

for the playroom

and this Plantation Jinglebits tin

from the Plantation Chocolate Co., Phila., PA, which I've decided has the world's coolest tins, based on my scientific sample of these two. The top one I got about ten years ago. It contained "Plantation Dainties" (well, not anymore when I bought it). Love the names too. I may just have to become a Plantation candy tin collector.

I also got this little shelf

and I put an octopus on it, one of several I have around (including the octopus skirt I stenciled last summer), because it is my favorite invertebrate and when I read this article* about the Renegade craft fair in Brooklyn, I was dismayed to see the cephalopod forecast as the up-and-coming "it" animal. Don't you feel robbed when you've had a passion for something for years, and suddenly it becomes all fashionable and your true love is indistinguishable from everyone else's trendiness? Or maybe that's just me.

* I was excited to see Sue of Giant Dwarf there in the lead picture. She was a Pittsburgh girl till recently. I heart my recycled sweater hat from her.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

in which there is a long parenthetical featuring bovine metrics

The sad news is, a good friend of ours moved away. Santa Fe will be lucky to have her – though Iris is not so sure. She worries for Theresa’s safety. She’s afraid she will live too close to Alice Nizzy Nazzy, a witch in a book, who lives there too.

The good, or should I say somewhat consoling, news is, Theresa gave us these wonderful iron sculptures to remember her by. Her artist uncle made them. (It always surprises me, the things people will leave behind when they move. When another friend up and left for NYC, he held a house sale and sold everything – including his kitchen equipment [doesn’t he plan to cook in NY?] and all the little, and I mean little, things he’d picked up at yard sales and flea markets over the years. I got a pair of very old wire-rim spectacles that used to hang on his wall and now hang on mine, and a cow tape. It’s like a long measuring tape used at county fairs to measure, you know, cows. Which J promptly broke by “seeing what would happen” if he put it on our ceiling fan and turned it (the fan) on. But I ask you, how hard would it have been to pack up and move a cow tape? It takes up no space and weighs nothing. I guess all those little things add up. I guess once the urge to purge sets in, people are ruthless. I guess as someone who does not intend to move for a long, long time, if ever, I have a different relationship to stuff.)

Anyway. The butterfly is for Iris, who, thanks to lots of artistic friends, already has an impressive art collection for one so young. The bird is for J and me. I love them so. Thank you, Theresa. Good luck out there in Santa Fe. Don’t let Alice Nizzy Nazzy get you.

P.S. Speaking of yard sales, I have something to report on that front too, but that post will have to wait until I can take some pictures.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

6 happy years

(updated with a slightly better scan)

"Mama, what is a wedding anniversary?"

"Well, six years ago today your daddy and I...."

"No! I don't mean when you got married! I mean, what is a wedding anniversary?"

"I'm telling you: our wedding was when we got married, and... OK, our anniversary is kind of like the birthday of our wedding."

"Oh! Did you get cupcakes?!?"

Monday, June 18, 2007

we're baa-ack

Whew, re-entry is hard. I'm not particularly suffering from jet-lag (too tired to wake up on German time), but Iris is, so we're all a little strung out.

I'm glad I posted some pictures while I was away because I don't think I have it in me to try and recap our trip. In a nutshell: it was great. Great to be with my dad on his birthday, great to see lots of other family, including my 91-year-old grandmother – it meant a lot to me that she and Iris got to meet. Great to enjoy a kaffeepause in the afternoons and the long, late northern European light at night. Great to explore hot spring resorts and cathedral towns with J while Iris hung with her Oma and Opa (like traveling before we were parents, right, J?). Great to sit up late with them, drinking my father's favorite Rhein wine and talking, after Iris went to bed. Just great. Okay, so much for not recapping.

But it's good to be back, too. Iris really missed my mom, so they had a joyful reunion. And I got home and wondered: what is this odd object in my house?

It wasn't until a few days later, after the dust had settled, that I found out. Why, it's a homemade sewing cabinet that my mom picked up at an estate sale while we were away, complete with lots of spools and other supplies still inside. It has a handle, so it's portable, and its sides are upholstered for sticking up fabric pieces (maybe I'll re-upholster them with something bright and funky... hmmm!).

Thanks Mom!

I also came home to a surprise package from my college friend Ellen, who'd gone through her craft closet and decided to de-accession a few things in my direction. I won't try to photograph everything that was in the box, but for me these were the highlights:

A piece of very thick, old flannel... just a small, sweet piece. Iris has already put it to use a doll blanket, but I'm not so sure I'm giving it to her for keeps.

And these. I can see the one on the left made into something Christmassy, the one on the right into some summery, picnicky napkins (yes, I'm still stuck in the housewares department), and the one in the middle as one of Erin's smocked sundresses. Thanks Ellen!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

last day

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Saturday, June 09, 2007

happy birthday dad

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

am Rhein

Sunday, June 03, 2007

an der Mosel

Friday, June 01, 2007

on the other hand, maybe just some photos

every day or so... better that than an exhaustive (and exhausting) travelogue when I get home.