Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's not how long a star shines, but the brightness of its light - A picture from the past

I was looking through some old photos today and came across this one of my Mother. 
The orb of light in the doorway is the flash of my camera today when I took the "picture of the picture".

I'm not sure how old Mom was when this was made, but from the dress style, I'm thinking it was the early 1960's and that she was in her mid 50's at the time.  Old photos are fascinating and I love the play of light and the shadow of the porch bench on the right. Do you see in the far right bottom corner - it's my cat and his shadow - probably the only photo in existence of this cat.  Tom was a fixture in our family - born when I was about two years old and died when I was twenty - a ripe old age of eighteen - not bad for a cat.  He was my heating pad in the winter as he loved sleeping at my feet.  His full name was Samuel Thomas Sylvester Ray - Tom for short.  My sister Martha and I fought over his name for years and finally decided to give him this extremely long name because we liked the sound of it.  Maybe that's why he lived so long - trying to live up to his lengthy name.

This photo of Mom brings back so many memories.   Mom was middle-aged at my earliest memories .  Since she was forty-two when I, her youngest of seven, was born, I never knew her as young.  Dad was forty-five.  The down side of being born to older parents is that I didn't have them in my life as long as my siblings did. They passed away when I was in my thirties.

Mom was a great storyteller and she loved weaving her spells on us with her tales of adventure.  She had so much to tell - growing up in the beginning of the twentieth century and seeing so many changes in her lifetime.  Each of her stories was told over and over again with great relish.  Traveling was her passion and always came back from her trips with the most incredible stories of her journeys that would keep us entertained for months afterwards. 

There are so many things in our genetics and in our home life experiences that make us who we are.  I see myself reflecting some of Mom's ways, and I find myself lacking in so many others.   I found a frame today to put this photo in - one that is very fitting for the play of light and the way she lived her life.  The message on the frame says, "It is not how long a star shines, but the brightness of its light."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The week in review - from flowers to vintage Saturday Flea market finds

This past week has been a little chopped up since we stayed a few days longer at the coast than we normally do.  We did a little fishing and I had my chance at the "big one that got away".   He gave me a run for my money though - it was exciting just to have the big guy on my hook for a while - but  alas, he broke my line and away he went back out into the deep blue sea.  Little did he know I would catch and release anyway (unless he was a giant flounder - my favorite fish to eat). 

It was a nice relaxing week.  When we got back home, I had lunch with some girlfriends one day and carpooled the grandkids and the foreign exchange students around here and there.  My youngest daughter now has two exchange students - one from Spain and the other from Germany.  They are both such sweet girls.  Nadir, from Spain has been here since mid-August.  Sarah from Germany had a difficult host family, so now my daughter has taken her in also.  Now Nadir and Sarah are part of our family until the end of the school year in early June.  My daughter now has four girls - and three of them are teenagers - to shuffle around and schedule their many activities.   It's a wonderful experience to have these girls in our family - it's like instantly adding two more grandchildren for a while.

My Knock-out roses are knocking themselves out for their last big hurrah before the frost gets them.  Look how pretty they are!
Another wonderful thing about the week is that my husband took pity on me and went down to the coast on Thursday alone to work - leaving me here to do many needed things around the house.  It's a feeling of freedom! 

I also got to visit the local flea market today and found some good buys as usual.  I found some glassware that will look good for the holidays coming up.  I got these pretty glasses for $6 for all 6.
Then I found these pretty goblets that were made by Libby Glassware in the 1980's for the fast food chain Arby's as a give-away with the purchase of a combo meal.  I love them and will use them at Christmas.  I got ten of them for $1 each.

I also found some wonderful Department 56 village pieces to add to my Christmas village I started last year.  I already own plenty of of the quaint little shops, houses, churches, etc, but not enough people and trees.  These were all in their original boxes from the 1990's and the retail price stickers were still on the boxes for a total of $232.50 for all the pieces.  I paid $55 total for all the pieces which was a steal!  One of the pieces is hard to find and I think I can sell it on Ebay for the amount I paid for all of them.  I sometimes do that sort of thing so that I can justify my purchase (smile).  I can't wait to start setting up my village and I will...right after Thanksgiving.  I love decorating for Christmas!
Some of the "Christmas in the City" Department 56 village pieces I found today.

The large "Town Christmas Tree".  It's sticker alone was $45.

I also lucked up with the vendor who buys department store closeouts / overstocks.  He let me buy several purses by Fossil and Jessica Simpson for a paltry sum!  Here's a couple of the Jessica Simpson ones that I'll be carrying.
This one is a small clutch

This is a large tote

All in all, it's been a good week.  I even found the time to list some things on Ebay and in my Etsy shop.  If you like vintage jewelry, take a look at my Etsy shop which you will find if you click the link "Etsy" on the right-hand side of my blog.

Hope all of you have had a good week!  Mine has been splendid.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Violence begets Violence - Moammar Gadhafi is dead

This is not my normal kind of post.  I usually do light, fluffy kinds of posts, but that doesn't mean that I always have light and fluffy opinions or that I only ever talk about light and fluffy topics.  As Life Happens is my blog title and world news is a part of life happening all around us.  It seems lately that we've been ridding the world of terrorists, one at a time and today is one of those days.

Moammar Gadhafi is dead - a violent death at that.  He lived by the rules of violence and that's how he died.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not much for the "vengeance is mine" theory and never have been.  It's God's job to do the punishing His way, but the Libyan rebels thought otherwise - that killing seemed to be the only way to rid this world of this man's insanity.

It is said that Gadhafi had a very high IQ, but intelligence is wasted when ruthlessness and violence is all you know.  From what I've read, he had visions of grandiosity - with himself in the center of it all.  He had a high opinion of himself which few other people shared.  Through life, I've found that people who think so highly of themselves are usually not well thought of by others and this man was no exception.

Violence is a way of life for some cultures.  I'm glad we live in a country that is not identified by it's violent behavior.  We're not immune to it by a long shot, but at least we're governed by laws punishing those who exhibit it.  The bloodless coup that ended the reign of Libyan King Idris I in 1969 began Gadahafi's illustrious claim to fame.  The bloody coup that ended his reign today marked the end of an era - the end of a terrorist regime by a wishy-washy kind of guy who could not decide who he wanted to be.  A guy that kept most of the oil money his country produced within his inner circle of friends and family, but who also put in place a pipeline under the Sahara Desert to supply Libyans along the Mediterranean Coast with life saving water.  He was the guy who was behind the bombing of PanAm Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, but also the guy who eventually made monetary reparations to all their families - as if money could buy forgiveness and good will.  A strange, twisted sort of fellow.

But no matter how many times Gadhafi tried to re-identify himself, he was still a terrorist - a cold blooded killer kind of terrorist who died a cold blooded killer kind of death.  He lived the majority of his years as a ruthless, powerful man....and he died in a drainage ditch today - beaten to death by those over whom he reigned.  A fitting kind of death some would say, but a death nonetheless.  Who is to say whether it is right or wrong that he died that way, but I'm thinking the world may be a better place without him.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Saturday Treasures - Yard Sale, Thrift Shops and Flea Market Finds

Since I've been bragging about my little treasures I pick up at yard sales, flea markets and thrift and consignment shops, I'll start showing these on my blog each week.  Saturday I got all these vintage treasures (except for the leopard brooch) at a consignment shop while we were in Shallotte, NC this weekend.

The leopard above is a vintage Hattie Carnegie brooch.  The red and green festive clip earrings with rhinestones are vintage Trifari, the glitzy amber clip earrings arevintage Kramer and the black lucite with pave' rhinestones are vintage Weiss.  They're circa 1950's and 1960's.  The lamp / candle shade is beautiful etched irridescent glass made in Romania that I plan to use on a large vintage candle stand that I have.  I'm pretty sure the beaded shade cover was added later.   I was excited about my jewelry purchase.  I love to collect and wear vintage jewelry, but I'm thinking this will be sold in my Etsy shop online. 

And I did get a bargain.  I paid $10 for the Hattie Carnegie at the open air market (hope it will bring about $60) and I paid $15 for everything else (hope the Trifari will bring $15, the Weiss $18 and the Kramer $20.

Not bad for a Saturday morning, is it?  Do you like looking for treasures?  It's my favorite way to spend a Saturday morning! 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall Tablescape 001 - My Dining Room decked out for the Fall Season

My first blog on tablescaping

I did a little teaser on Sunday's post about the Fall Tablescape I've been working on.  A tablescape is sort of like staging a scene for your dining room, kitchen or outdoor dining area - setting the table as if you were expecting guests at any time.  You'll find entire blogs dedicated to tablescaping with the decor ranging from formal / elaborate to casual / simple.

Last year I lucked up and found twelve 5-piece place settings of Copeland Spode (old mark) Buttercup pattern at our local flea market.  I paid $50 for 60 pieces of this china and it's in excellent condition.  Each place setting is worth what I paid for the entire set - like I said, it was my lucky day.  With the right setting, this china can be used for Fall, Spring or Summer by just changing the tablecloth, napkins and accessories to match the season.   When I saw it, I knew I wanted it for my Thanksgiving table.  I always go all out for Christmas, but never do much Fall decorating.

I have a mixture of old and new in my dining room.  My table and buffet are new and made from cherry wood, the small little tables are probably walnut, and the main pieces are late 19th century oak.  The mantle in my dining room is original to the house and is oak also.

This tablescape was done on a shoestring budget - most of the things I already had - a few things I've picked up over the years from flea markets, auctions or yard sales.  I like old things and love to give them a second chance.  I did make a few seasonal purchase from our local Home Goods Store - I find that I can find just about anything I want there.  The only thing I didn't find that was on my list was seasonal napkin rings - but I found those on Ebay - a vintage set of 8 for a total of $4 including shipping.  I spent a total of about $50 for my Fall themed decor to supplement what I already had.

One thing I regret is not getting a new camera when I ruined mine this summer - my little "point & click" just doesn't capture how warm and inviting my little room really is.

 But, here goes - I'll give you a little tour surrounding my tablescape.
This is my buffet with an antique brass oil lamp that has been converted to Electric.  The conversion was many years ago.  I love this lamp - It has a fabulous glass shade.  It's a leaf design so perfect for my Fall theme.

Close-up of lamp
Notice these great old metal curtain tie-backs. I picked them up at an auction years ago in a box lot of stuff.  I think I paid $5 for the whole box.

Even my Fleur de Paris picture is of a Fall decorated storefront.

My little antique marble top washstand holds my International Stainless serving pieces.  I don't remember the pattern but they are silver with an outline of gold. A vintage iridescent vase that I bought for 50 cents holds some eucalyptus leaves.
 My pictures are all out of order - our power went off three times as I was trying to load them this morning - finally staying off for about five hours.  It's a miracle I got them loaded at all.  Below, we are finally getting around to the table.  My glassware is vintage amber Indiana Glass.  I found those also at a flea market for $5 for all six glasses.

See the cute little funky napkin rings.  They are made of wood an I think probably from the 1970's.

Real gourds add such a nice color to the table.  The silverplate candlesticks are part of a pair that I picked up at a consignment shop at the beach this past weekend for $5 for the pair.
I picked five beautiful needlework pictures made in the 1950's framed under glass this summer for $1 each at the Barnyard Flea market in Fort Mill, SC.  I fell in love with them - so sweet and homey.  It's sitting on the table on the marble buffet in the next picture below.  There are two more hanging on the wall over it.
 Below, you will see my old oak buffet with a marble top.  The orange Royal Doulton teapot you see also came from a yard seller this past weekend.  It's in perfect condition and I paid a big old $1 bill for it.  The bowl underneath the table holding baby pumpkins is Lenox - Butler's Pantry pattern - and I paid $3 for it at a yard sale this past weekend.  See why I love yard sales and flea markets?
A vintage Hyalyn white vase holds grapevine pumpkins and a small gourd.  The pretty mosaic glass candleholder has a lid that holds scented oils.  It was a gift last year from my daughter.  They are sitting atop an antique oak linen chest.  Tall and slender and one of my favorite pieces. 

I don't know how I got this photo so off-center!
 As I mentioned, I got the pictures all out of order - so some more of the tablescape photos are below.  I bought the tablecloth & napkins at TJ Maxx and the table runner at Home Goods.  Some of these pictures were made at night and some during the day.  The night ones have a warmer glow. I may have a few duplicates - I'm sorry to bombard you with so many photos, but I wanted all angles.

This is a very large antique brown pottery jug that I picked up in Pennsylvania on an antiquing trip about 15 years ago.  I love it.  It's perfect for holding arrangements.

.   Here's the pattern:

An antique oak hutch holds a matte green McCoy cornucopia vase, a plaque of The Lord's prayer that belonged to my mother.
...and this great metallic candle holder that lets the light shine through the leaf design.  It came from the Home Goods Store and puts out such a warm glow!
 And finally - one last look at the tablescape.  I hope you enjoyed your tour.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

I've been busy working on my first Fall tablescape. Stay tuned.

I love looking at tablescapes.  A tablescape is the overall look of your table, and the area around the table. It includes the table centerpiece, the place settings, napkins, decorations, flatware, stemware  and anything else used to set the mood of the table.  It's all the rage in the decorating world right now.  There are many blogs that cater only to decorating the table for holidays, dinner parties and all sorts of events.  Posting a tablescape is like an invitation into someones home - "come on in", they're saying.  "Make yourself at home."

 I feel a little like a voyeur sneaking a peak through the window of a dining room while they prepare for a party.  I can even feel their excitement and love looking at their little mementos they display making it all the more personal and inviting.

I spent several days last week turning my dining room into an Autumn dinner party waiting to happen.  All I need is someone to bring the food - I'm not cooking just yet.  But wait until Thanksgiving.  We'll have a good old Southern feast. 

Stay tuned - in the next few days I'll be posting pictures of my transformed dining room.  I've decorated it in warm Fall colors - dressing it up in a "Fall" inspired theme.   And also posting how I did it on a budget giving you details on items I picked up at flea markets, yard sales and items I purchased on sale at home goods stores.  I'm waiting on my napkin rings I bought off Ebay - if they don't come in the next few days, I'll improvise.

Meanwhile, slip over to one of the blogs I follow.  Susan at Between Naps on the Porch does a tablescape for every holiday and showcases other bloggers tablescapes also.  You'll love visiting her blog - she has a beautiful home and shares a lot of her decorating ideas.

Don't forget to watch for my Fall tablescape.  It's coming soon....I promise.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sunrises and sunsets - How many are we guaranteed?

This morning was all a Fall morning should be. A golden glow on the horizon as the sun opened its sleepy eyes greeted me as I drove over the country roads to Faye’s house. My mind wandered to all the beautiful sunrises I had seen in some of the places I have traveled.  Sunrises along the Carolina's coastline; Breckenridge, Colorado; and especially over the Danube River in the Bavarian town of Neu-Ulm are among my favorites.

A sunrise from our 2007 vacation at Holden Beach, NC

I don’t see sunrises quite so often now that I’m not working, but they’re something you never grow tired of. This morning’s was one of those extraordinary ones that make you want to get out of bed early to see it every day of your life.  Then I thought about where I was headed this morning. Faye, my sister-in-law has terminal cancer and it’s necessary for someone to be with her at all times. My day is Tuesday… As the sun rose over the trees, I wondered how many more sunrises she would see. I wondered how it must feel to her knowing that her sunrises are limited. I wondered…..I just wondered.

Faye has always been the type of person that every minute of the day is a sunrise for her. She loves life and has lived it to the fullest. She’s a kind, gentle and intensely giving person. I thought about what I would do in her situation. She’s limited in her ability to take care of herself fully now. She still walks, but with a walker. At the time, she is still able to take care of her personal needs and maintain her dignity. Even though she doesn't often get out of the house now, she still gets up at six a.m., bathes, and gets dressed in her beautiful wardrobe of clothes. She puts on make-up and lipstick and puts on one of her many beautiful hats to cover the little bit of new hair growth.

She still loves to be surrounded by beauty. She’ll ask us to help move around her flower arrangements and re-arrange the little decorative items on her mantle. A couple of weeks ago, I cleaned out her flower bed because she didn’t want the neighbors to see a neglected sight as they drove by her home. Her home is full of beautiful things and one room is set aside as a doll room for her doll collection. She often walks in it so that she can see, touch and feel the dolls that she has so carefully selected as her collection has grown over the years.

Today, the sight of the hospital bed in her bedroom was bothering her. She wanted to know if there was any way we could hide the stark metal and the wires underneath. I found a frilly bedspread in one of her closets that was just the right size, and “dressed” the bed with it, making sure that the exposed side was covered all the way to the floor. “That’s so much nicer”, she said, and was satisfied that it was as pretty as a hospital bed was going to get.

Would I handle my limited days that well? I can’t say that I would. I do know that none of us is guaranteed another sunrise. But I also know that Faye’s sunrises will not be over when she’s gone. They’ll only be just beginning. Her faith has kept her going and it will get her to her final destination someday – the place where sunrises begin - and with the One who makes them.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fancy Schmancy Gidgets and Gadgets on blog posts - Do you like them?

You know what drives me crazy?  Okay, you've twisted my arm to get it out of me.  When I find a blog I like and I really want to follow it and I can't find the "follow me" button anywhere.  That's what bothers me.  Some of the blogs I follow have a "subscribe" link.  What am I subscribing to?   I just like to blog - I just like to read blogs - so why should it be so difficult.

I don't think I'm alone on this.  What do you like seeing on your favorite blogpost?  Do you like seeing all kinds of fancy schmancy buttons.....or do you just like to read the blog and get on with your life?  Do you like to see ads (I know that some people blog just to make money, and I understand that) - or do you like to see two or three personalized gadgets, an easy way to "follow me", and some good reading material?  Do you like to comment and then when you try, it makes you write funny words and get approved by the author?  I've had several people lately tell me they could not comment on my blog.  I have the free "blogger" from Google - should I get a "paid" blog so that you can comment easier?  I would love to get advice from some of you seasoned bloggers.  I had no idea that my blog was hard to comment on.

I don't know about you, but my life is too complicated already - I don't need more complications when I'm trying to read all these wonderful blogs.  The reading material is way too good to be thwarted by cluttering up the page.  Sorry- it was just my day to vent.  For all of you out there that I follow, I follow you because you are interesting, entertaining and/or informative.   The ease of following you played a big part in my decision to follow as well - so, don't worry - this blog wasn't meant for you.

Am I alone here?  Tell me what you think?  If I get more comments than not saying you like that kind of thing, maybe I'll fancy mine up a bit, smile.  Or if you can't comment, use the email address associated with my blog.