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!