Monday, December 31, 2012

Puttin' on the Glitz

What will you be wearing to your New Year's Eve gala tonight?

Believe me, my days of freezing my toes off in strappy high heels
while slipping and sliding on icy sidewalks are a thing of the past.
I probably won't even be awake when the clock strikes twelve!

I'm not much into shopping for clothes, which is surprising,
 because as children, my sister and I spent years dressing up our Barbie dolls
and fantasizing about their glamorous lifestyle.  We created houses from
cardboard boxes.  Their purses were the plastic containers used to hold
rain bonnets.  Their telephones were the little trinkets meant
for a key chain and given away by the telephone company.
We used our imagination.

I've got oodles of old junk that belonged to complete strangers, but
very little of my own.  The one thing that's been stored away in my closet
all of my married life is my Barbie collection.  The four dolls and their clothing
were in pristine condition until I let our girls play with them.  They had
plenty of their own dolls, so I packed mine away to save for future generations.

*Still waiting for the name of our newest granddaughter.  :@
Update:  Her name is Maggie.  :)

I think my bubblecut Barbie was manufactured around 1962.

Other than the swimsuits the dolls came with, most of the clothing we
had for our dolls was sewn by my mother, with the exception of
a few pieces I'm featuring today.

This satin gown shown above was stitched up
by our very glamorous neighbor, Lila.  She was a single woman who looked
like a movie star to us girls, with her platinum blonde hair and beautifully
manicured fingernails.  Of course I can't find the photo of her
 I planned to include in this post.

 * New Year's resolution:
Organize old photos!

Just look at the sequins and beads she painstakingly hand stitched to the bodice
of the gown!  The threads are almost a half-century old, so a few have 
come loose from the straps. 

The dress has a pretty lace embellishment at the waistline and Lila even made
 a matching shawl and handbag.

Now, Midge is more of a casual gal.

She's wearing a hand knit sweater and skirt.

I myself am a knitter, but imagine our neighbor knitting 
this snowflake designed sweater and pencil skirt for a doll this size!

Barbie also has another ball gown stitched by my mother.

She's decided to wear this floral print gown,
 because it goes so well with her winter coat.

Look at the quality of this coat, also made by our neighbor, Lila! 
 Fine wool fabric, covered buttons, satin lining, and hand-knit mohair collar and cuffs.
 The knit hat has the same embroidered detail as the collar.

I guess that's the extent of my dressing up for New Year's Eve.
In reality, I'll be toasty warm in my flannel jammies, but if you're
heading out into the cold winter's night, be sure to bundle up because......

Baby it's cold outside!!!

Happy New Year!

I'm joining the parties at:
Knick of Time Tuesday
Common Ground Be Inspired Friday

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Stork Report

It's a girl!!!
Apparently she (no name yet) didn't want to share a
Christmas birthday with her mama, so she arrived today at 11:54
weighing in at 8 pounds 8 ounces and 21 inches long. 
We'll be on the road bright and early tomorrow to see her in person.  :)
Congratulations Julie, Jeremy, and Mack!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry & Bright: My Dining Room Reveal

When I realized that once again our girls wouldn't be home for Christmas,
I decided to make good use of the time between Thanksgiving and our belated Christmas celebration to transform at least one of the rooms on our main floor into a space that's
merry and bright.

I chose our dining room.

In a perfect world, I would have repaired the plaster walls first, but since it's
taken us years to repair the foyer, stairwell, upstairs hallway, and guest bedroom plaster
(including the ceilings), I've come to the conclusion that the dining room and
living room walls may not be repaired in my lifetime!

Our house is 90 years old and her plaster is cracked only because some foolish DIYer
removed a small load bearing wall in the basement in the 70's.  Like a gracefully
aging movie star (are there any?), she's going to accept the lines and cracks in her walls.
No botox.  No plastic surgery or collagen injections.  Just a little lot of primer
 and flat wall paint and the transformation is complete!

I painted the formerly depressing green walls with Benjamin Moore contractor grade paint in
 Palace White.  It covered the walls beautifully and camouflaged the imperfections.

The hardest decision was whether or not to paint the original dark walnut
crown molding and windows.  The tall base molding had already been painted over
by a previous owner, so that helped seal the deal for me. 
 Since I'm keeping the dark wood finish on the interior doors in our house,
 I left the window sashes dark and painted the trim and crown molding
with a creamy white gloss paint.   The crown molding throughout the house is designed to hold
picture rail hooks for hanging pictures, so I'm going to order a few and give them a try.
Maybe I won't have to pound quite so many holes in the plaster walls.  :@

While I had the paint can out, I also brightened up this old window
 which was previously finished with a dark stain.  Years ago, I mounted a mirror
 to the back side of the window and screwed wood brackets and fluted molding
on top to hold my favorite plates.  The vintage red & white transferware cups and saucers
are a recent purchase to add a little Christmas cheer to this wall.

The flip side of this large church window has a pretty maple finish, but I'm trying
to limit the number of wood pieces in the room.  The dry sink may get a
coat of paint in the future, but these hands are tired of painting right now!

I didn't want to muck up this post with dreary before pictures,
 but if you'd like to see the gloomy room as it looked a few weeks ago,
you can click on the green dining room photo to the right on my sidebar.

I found the vintage bottle brush wreath and deer ornament (and the cups and saucers) at
Annabella's in Bovey, MN.  Since the deer is missing a foot and kept toppling over,
I wired him to the wreath where he seems quite content sniffing out dust mites.

If you're ever in that neck of the woods, be sure to make the shop a destination!
  Two main street buildings are filled with wonderful old  junk and a charming cafe where they serve
regional favorites like sarmas.  Last year I was even serenaded by a polka band while I shopped! 
 She's too fat for me.  Too, too fat for me.......

Since I seem to be going with a candy cane color scheme in the room,
I set my Iittala ( ee' ta la , Finnish glass manufacturer)  candlesticks topped by
 red velvet ornaments and an old white pitcher on top of the secretary.

The kitschy deer thing-a-ma-jig is resting on top of my red & white kitchen scale.
 A vintage pop bottle holds a flame shaped ornament like a candle. 
(We call it pop in these parts, but you probably call it soda or coke.)

The vintage silver bottle brush tree next to the bottle
 was only 25 cents at an estate sale a few years ago.

I kept the mantel pretty simple.
(That's part of a living room window reflected in the glass.)

I've got lots of vintage ornaments that I've collected over the years......

and plenty of old Santas in every shape and size!

I had some fun setting up a snowy scene.

I stitched up a table runner from red & white ticking.

The rug has been rolled up and the window treatments, too.
The mismatched pressed back wood chairs will be painted
before they make it back into the room. 

A simple arrangement of old glass ornaments is the centerpiece.

Can you think of a better way to fill the big black firebox than with a small red piano?!
( I borrowed the idea from the very clever Jenny of Everyday is a Holiday blog.)

To the left of the dry sink is a recently installed antique, unsightly and leaky radiator, a fact I discovered just last night!!   I'll be calling the plumber back pronto to do the job right! 

 The radiator is topped by a double-hung window which received the same paint finish
 as the other two.  I've got a craftsman style rad cover which needs a few adjustments
 and a coat of paint before it's installed. 

So, that's what I've been up to while the rest of you have been busy
baking, and shopping and getting ready for your holiday visitors. 

 Now, I know I said
our girls won't be here for Christmas,
 but who knows.......

A special delivery could change everything!

Merry Christmas!

*I'm joining the holiday parties at:
Savvy Southern Style Wow us Wednesday
Cedarhill Ranch Cowgirl Up
Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Nite Special

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Sneak Peek and a Winner!

I'm on my last day of vacation today and I'd like
to give you a sneak peek at what I've been up to these past 8 days.

I did manage to fit in a few quick trips through the antique shops in town where
I found 3 of these little elves.  One is hiding in the rear, one has gone missing, and
this one is still wearing his price tag!  Oops.

But the majority of the week was spent climbing up and down a ladder with
paintbrush in hand.  I finally made the decision to
paint our dining room!!!

The room is far from done, but even at night when I took this photo,
it is so much brighter and provides a neutral backdrop to add seasonal decor.
More to come in a later post.

It's time to announce the winner of this year's
Ranger 911 Christmas Giveaway!

I used a random number generator, but since I couldn't figure out
how to post it here, I simply took a picture of the computer screen.

It seems Nurse Sandy will be hopping on the next
Greyhound Bus to visit her new home in the Midwest!

The welcome mat has been laid out.

Her new owner shares her quirky sense of humor.
(Deer mount and the license plate of the truck that hit it.)

Congratulations Pam @ House of Hawthornes!
Please email your shipping address, and she'll be on her way!

Thank you to everybody who joined in the fun.
  I tried to reply to all the comments, but a number
of bloggers were listed as noreply so I was unable to respond.
All the comments were entered into the drawing.

Thanks for stopping by today,

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ranger 911 Christmas GIVEaway

It is better to give than to receive.
This year's Ranger 911 Christmas Giveaway is all about

With the recent disaster of Hurricane Sandy, we've once again witnessed volunteers in action. 
 Click here to view and read a very personal account of the immediate aftermath of the storm
 written by Jersey Shore resident Jenny of Everyday is a Holiday blog.

Photos courtesy of Everyday is a Holiday.
Carnival animal among the debris.

Jeep from carnival ride.

This is just a sampling of the destruction they're dealing with.  There are many
more photos to view by clicking on the link above.

 While you're there, check out
 Jenny and Aaron's fun and funky original art for sale and
 see how they've gone from despair to hope in a very dismal situation. 

  There were and still are volunteers from every walk of life and many organizations
 helping victims on the East Coast and all over the world, but I've chosen the universal symbol
 of the Red Cross as my jumping off point for the design of this year's prize.

    If you've followed my blog, you know by now that I collect vintage
 sock monkeys (you'll meet them next year) and I make new vintage inspired
 sock monkeys from the original Rockford Red Heel Socks.  Our country's
most recent natural disaster is also the namesake of this year's monkey
 I'm offering for this giveaway.

Meet Sandy, a volunteer nurse for the Red Cross.
She proudly wears her starched white cap which was
bestowed to her upon earning her nursing degree.

She dons the traditional blue cape with red lining to keep
her warm when the weather turns cold.  Her only jewelry is the
vintage WWII pin she's clipped to her cape.

Nurse Sandy's white pinafore with a red cross on the bodice makes
her easy to identify in a crowd when her medical skills are needed.
Underneath she wears a red and white thrift store dress.  Thank goodness she found
 the dress so we could get this giveaway post up and running!

She carries a leather bag filled to overflowing with magical potions
to cure whatever ails you.  Let's take a peek inside, shall we?

Life Savers, Kisses, and Hugs.  :)

She puts in long hours and never complains, but at the end of the day
she likes to relax and escape from the troubles she's seen.
She hangs up her hat and pinafore wherever there's a room to be had and snuggles
 under a warm blanket with her night cap pulled down tight. 

A cup of coffee warms her right up.

A good book and she's all set!  It is rather difficult to find a classic book
in her size on such short notice.  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
 is a classic, isn't it?   It is for us Baby Boomers!

Darn it!  Her vision just isn't what it used to be! 

Much better. 

There are so many ways to give to those less fortunate than ourselves.

You can donate articles of clothing you no longer wear to the Salvation Army or Goodwill.
Craft supplies are always in demand at nursing homes.
Of course, there is still so much to be done for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Animal shelters are filled with dogs and cats in need of food, blankets, and a loving home.
The local food shelves can't keep up with the growing number of people in need of food.
There are Meals on Wheels to be delivered and soup kitchens in need of volunteers.
Soldiers who can't be home for Christmas would love to receive a letter, or better yet,
a care package to brighten up their day.  The list goes on and on.
  So, please, do what you can.  Every little bit helps.

Now, let's party!!!

If you'd like a chance to win Sandy, all you have to do is leave
a comment at the end of this post.  No Facebook, tweeting, standing on your head,
just leave a comment!  Simple as that!

She may not be your cup of coffee tea, but perhaps you've got a friend
who could use a little TLC this time of year.   Sandy comes complete with her
nurse cap and cape, leather bag, book, coffee cup, night cap, and reading glasses.
I hope to put a smile on the face of whoever wins this hard working monkey.

 If you're reading this post, you're eligible to sign up!
The winner will be picked on Sunday, December 16 by a.......well, depending on
 our sketchy rural internet service, a random number generator, or as a backup,
the tried and true "pick a number out of a hat method".

Merry Christmas!

While you're out shopping this holiday season, don't forget to toss some
change in the bright red kettle or maybe pick a name off the Giving Tree in
your local mall. Your donations are sure to be appreciated!

I can't wait to meet my new roomie!!!

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