Thursday, December 22, 2011

White Christmas...Not Much!

Growing up in California, I always dreamed of having a white Christmas.  After decades of Wisconsin Christmases, I still love snow in December. After that -!  It appears that this year we will have a Christmas of gray skies and sorta-green grass.  Maybe that's why I've had a hard time getting into the groove this year.
I didn't get my entire snowman collection out, but did manage to pop a couple of the little guys into the antique apothecary jars in my kitchen, along with some tiny brush trees.  (In a fit of craftiness that shocked me, CJ took the little trees out and made card-stock bases for them so they would stand up better in the jars.  Will wonders never cease?!!!)
...and speaking of California, my dear sister-in-law, Jan, helped my 87 year old Mom put up her tree last week, and texted pics to me all during the process. Mom wasn't going to put a tree up this year either; "it's too much work". I'm blessed to have such a caring s-i-l  who is always there for her when I can't be. Here's Mom with her tree:

By the way, our 25%-off-everything-in-our-shop-sale continues through today!   Use the code 25off at checkout to receive your discount!

I'm linking up with Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday. Follow me over there. You are going to love it!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Shopping Columbus & Pardeeville...and a Big Sale!

First of all, the big sale!  25% off everything at Gracie's Cottage on etsy.   Simply enter the coupon code 25off at checkout to save on everything in the shop.  This includes our huge numbers and letters section, ephemera, antiques, fun finds..everything! 

Now for the shopping report!

This week I had a chance to go on a fun excursion with my friend Pamm from Fresh Eggs Antiques.  Check out Pamm's etsy shop - I love her style.  And while you're at it follow her blog.  (Pamm  needs to blog about her home;  she's transformed a suburban home into a wonderful "cottage".  Show us some pictures, Pamm!)  
We spent several hours exploring the Columbus Antique Mall in Columbus, Wisconsin.  As their site says, it's
*Wisconsin's Largest Antique Mall*
"Where dealers shop for their merchandise."
Over 82,000 square feet of antiques displayed and sold by
222 of Wisconsin's finest dealers in 444 booths in 18 rooms.
Open Everyday  8:15 am - 4 pm    
Don't you love those hours?  
The majority of dealers at Columbus don't stage their booths; merchandise is packed on shelves.  There are some that do a great job of showing off their goods, like the owners of the booths pictured above.  Prices at Columbus tend to be very reasonable; a reward for the fact that you have to do some digging to unearth the treasures. 

After a quick lunch, Pamm drove us over to the Pardeeville Antique Mall , where we immediately fell in love with the greeter.  Meet "Sully".
Look at those eyes; they look straight into your soul and grab your heart.

Pardeeville is about 10,000 sf of pure shopping bliss. 
Each dealer stages their room-like booth in their particular style.
There are no messy shelves, no rummage sale's all 'good'!
This shopping cart was a bit beyond my budget, but oh I loved it!
And what little cowpoke wouldn't look adorable in this shirt?
At the risk of dating myself, I remember watching Roy Rogers!
If you need a "shopping day" like I did, head on over to Pardeeville or Columbus.  You are going to have a swell time - I promise!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Repurposed Artist Palette Chalkboard Tutorial

This project couldn't be any simpler, (I'm almost embarrassed to call it a "tutorial"!)
I took a  used vintage palette,
 Coated one side with chalk paint and lightly distressed the edges.
It couldn't be any simpler!  
This would be a great gift for your favorite artist. 

(This palette is currently available in my etsy shop.)

Speaking of etsy, everything is 15% off this weekend when you use the code 
at checkout!  
And...we'll be listing great new things this weekend.  
We'll announce the new stuff on our Facebook page first.

I'm linking up to Get Schooled Saturday  - check it out!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Best Christmas Tree Ever

A couple of my friends have decided not to put up a Christmas tree this year. Having worked in retail for many years, I totally understand. Fifteen years of dealing with customers and deadlines and shipping and 60 hour work weeks turned me into a Christmas-hating Scrooge each December. But while my boys were growing up, I tried to put on a happy face at home and put a tree up. Here's why:

I was in 4th grade. Christmas was approaching and Mom had declared that we weren't going to have a tree. I don't know why. She's always been kind of a no-nonsense mother. Looking back, I imagine that she was just plain tired. (Mom was a nurse. She worked full time because she had to. Dad didn't earn enough to pay all the bills.)

On Christmas Eve, while the folks were at work, my brother and I got out the Christmas lights and began stringing them down the lamp pole.

We put the gifts we'd made at school at the base of the lamp and plugged in the lights. It wasn't as good as a real tree, but we were rather proud of it. We couldn't wait to show Mom!

When she saw our "tree", it must have touched her heart, for she decided that we'd go right down to Halsey's tree lot and get a real Christmas tree.

I couldn't wait to choose the perfect tree.

It didn't occur to my young self that at 4:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, there might not be much of a selection. We pulled up to find an empty lot. Empty. No rows of perfect trees. No trees at all. I'm sure we looked pitiful, because Mr. Halsey pulled a half tree off his scrap pile. Not half as in "short". Half as in "branches on one side only..."

We hauled the pitiful tree home and put it up in the corner. By the time it was lit and decorated, why, you couldn't even tell that it was barely half a tree. It was marvelous.

I have no idea what presents I unwrapped that night, but I'll never forget the most beautiful tree ever.

***(Sadly, I don't have any photos from that Christmas...please excuse me and the Penultimate app for a feeble attempt at illustrating this post.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Love Token for Christmas...-and, anyone near Schaumburg?

Remember the love token collection I posted about earlier this year?  (Click here to read the original post.)
I hadn't found any of these romantic coins until last week when one very special token appeared.
Love tokens typically have one side that was filed down so that they could be embellished with initials.
This one  had both sides filed down... that the occasion could be noted.  "Xmas '90".  That would be 1890.  While I'm not a fan of "Xmas", I can certainly understand how it would be difficult to include "Christmas" on the surface of a dime!

(Sad isn't it, that the only Christmas photo I can show you is this beautiful old token.   There is nothing else in my home yet to indicate that the season is here!  Pathetic!  The past two weekends included out of state trips for family events and my weekdays are just flying by. Tomorrow has been designated for a long awaited trip to Ikea.  I'm up after midnight because the refrigerator is howling like a banshee and I've just transferred everything that matters down to my little freezer...just in case it gives up the ghost tonight.  I suppose Christmas will come whether my home is looking lovely or not; it wouldn't be the first time!)
I'm linking up with Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday because, my goodness, there isn't much that's thriftier than was the 19th Century gent that turned a humble dime into a beautiful token of love.

(Remaining love tokens are available in my etsy shop

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Fleabags Are Back

Just in time for the holidays, we've re-stocked our etsy shop with The Great American Fleabag.
 Made in Wisconsin from vintage American grain sacks, fleabags make terrific gifts.
The last ones we made sold out quickly, so shop now for the best selection.
Click here to be taken directly to Gracie's Cottage on etsy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Little Road Trip

 I hope that each of you enjoyed a fabulous Thanksgiving.  Ours was a bit unusual.  We left at 5 a.m. on Thursday and drove 10 hours to Knoxville.  (CG's Dad lives there and had just been moved from a hospital to a nursing home.)  Not knowing what we'd find open along the way, I'd  made sandwiches; turkey and cranberry sauce on  cranberry-walnut bread.  Delicious.
The weather was just beautiful.  Rather than fighting crowds and spending ourselves silly on Black Friday, we spent the afternoon touring the historic Mabry-Hazen house with CG's brother and his wife.  
The home was occupied by the same family from 1858-1987 and nearly all of the furnishings are original to the home. Since we were the only ones there, we enjoyed a private tour from the museum director.  
The Mabry Hazen  house served as headquarters for both Union and Confederate forces at times during the Civil War. 
Flash photography is not allowed, but my little Canon soldiered on as I tried to capture the beautiful details of this home. 

This day was a gift; a tranquil afternoon in the midst of uncertain happenings.  Sixty-seven degrees of sunshine hugs, (over twice today's temp here), to be remembered during the long cold days ahead.
The rest of the photos of this glorious home are posted on my Facebook page

I'm linking up with Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday.  Follow me there to see all the fun posts!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Countdown Is Over - Cyber Monday Sale Has Started!

 Countdown is over and our Cyber Monday Sale has started.
Simply enter the code
at checkout to receive 20% off everything in our

Sorry - does not apply to prior purchases.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish each of you a joyful day of Thanksgiving!
For my hubster
my Mom
my two sons and their wives,  (my "daughters")
five grandkids
good health
wonderful friends
those who serve to keep us safe
for those who write the blogs that inspire me
and for those who read my musings
my customers
my dealer buddies
and most of all
thankful to be 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

This Annie SloanThing Has Gone Waaaaaay Too Far

I know it covers everything, but it's really time to put the brushes down and leave the deer alone!


(Photo from jsonline and this article gives all the details - click here)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Is Four Years Too Long to Wait for Annie Sloan?

Well, if I'm being honest, I'd never heard of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, (ASCP), four years ago when I bought this little wicker desk. Ive been meaning to cover the horrid avocado paint ever since.  The desk was just the right size for my tiny sunroom/studio/office and has provided a hospitable home to my laptop.  But really, this room needs to be pulled together.  Someday I'll show you the before & after of the entire room, as soon as there is an "after".  The walls are a soft green and my vision has always been to have this room furnished in a mix of the calming greens & blues of the sea.
Enter ASCP in Duck Egg
I carried the desk into the kitchen and started painting it this morning.
 This paint thickens up quickly once opened. I found it helpful to have two brushes handy. One in use and a second one "on deck" for when the first one started to stiffen up a bit.  I also found that covering most of the open can with Glad Press'nSeal really slowed down the thickening process.  I left an opening just large enough to slip the brush in easily.

Painting the wicker was interesting; I soon learned that a circular motion with the brush worked best. If I was doing it again I might pull out a stencil brush to use.  Here's the desk after the first coat.

The second coat is on and looking good, but it's too dark for pics at the moment. I've got ASCP wax on order and can't wait to finish it up..stay tuned, or check our Facebook page for updates


Estate Sale Finds

Last Friday I was up at 4:00 to attend an estate sale here...
Getting up early isn't my favorite thing to do, but I knew that this sale would be worth it.  As Time Goes By Estate Sales is owned by my friends Pam & John.  Pam's son Cody and my pal Margaret are among their very knowledgeable staff.  These guys spent weeks at this home, cleaning, sorting, organizing and pricing the multitudes of merchandise.   There was high-end silver, early furniture, fine glassware, homespun fabrics, ephemera of every kind, tables full of old hardware.... 

I'm still sorting through my finds; here are a few of my favorites:
If it's got letters & numbers you know I love it. This box is divided inside for holding type.

An almanac...nearly 200 years old

Blanks...lots of possibilities for these!

 Pages & pages of calligraphy and pen work samples

 Unusual keys

 1860's checks

Great advertising piece

Putz stable, complete with horses
...and more
To see more from this sale & elsewhere, check out the album "November Finds" on my Facebook page.