Welcome to another edition of Monday Musings, and not just another Monday but Labor Day here in the states. Labor day holiday weekend is the symbolic final salute to summer before heading into fall.
Unless you’re in south Texas then its just more summer till like…January.
I’m ready to send summer on outta here as it’s been crazy hot, with nothing more exciting than work and more work.
A change of season might offer up something a little more interesting.
Ah, Fall. It’s hard not to anticipate those cooler mornings, milder days, and favorite fall weather meals.
Speaking of fall… Starbucks needs to seriously cool their heels on the pumpkin spice thing.
They released it in August this year.
I hate to say this but while I’m sweating just breathing I’m not wanting to cozy up to a warm beverage more suited to over sized cozy sweaters and boots.
They need to stop being so greedy and wait for their season to actually arrive.
Anyone with me on that?
And no, I don’t actually drink mentioned beverage as I find it to sweet.
I could be lured into temptation with a pumpkin spice scone though 😉
What beverage am I currently loving ?
The new nitro cold brew. I was informed I couldn’t get one larger than a grande due to the caffeine in it 😱
What is nitro cold brew you may wonder? It’s a cold brew coffee charged with nitrogen to give it a rich creamy head, similar to nitro draft beer like Guinness.
It’s chilled, rich and even black like I prefer, its smooth and almost creamy.
I pace myself though cause tasty or not, they are a little pricey.
Meh. So they butchered my name. I’ll still come when they call.
Speaking of work….
I’ve mentioned before I have a little vintage business with a large part of that flipping old, usually beat up, or discarded antique and vintage furniture. Not only am I doing pieces for my shop, I’ve been doing custom orders too. I did a rocking chair this week for a customer. It was her great grandparents and 100 years old!
I was privileged to work on this family heirloom.
This is what it looked like when I got it…
And then after…. Customer requested paint and finish and I was thrilled with how it came out…
I felt a connection with this piece and had to remind myself I had to give it back 🤣
I also got this cute antique half table this week.
It looked like this….
But then I did a little magic on it and now…
It looks sweet right?
Ok one more.
I scored this antique armoire today. It was a definite fixer upper. It had so many new things added to it…and things broken and needing to be put back together. At least she had all the parts.
This is what it looked like coming home…sad and needy…
I desperately wanted to jump into it but was committed to finishing a piece I was working on….so hubby jumped into it and…..
A couple hours later……
Doors glued together and put back on, mirror door rebuilt and mirror installed, and all of the added shelving removed inside.
The only thing long gone was the original back. We pulled off the cheap flimsy board on back ( which had lots of holes cut into it) and will replace with something a bit nicer.
I estimate this piece roughly turn of the century. I was happy it still had all of its castors (wheels)
Now it’s ready for me to do some magic on it. It just makes me happy seeing it more like it should be, closer to its original look.
In the world of health and wellness
Once again I noticed on a “health” product that it proclaimed to suppress your appetite.
Which kinda had me scratching my head. I never get that.
Can I make a wild statement here?
Your body gets hungry for a reason. Those hunger pangs are natural given signals to feed your body.
Food is fuel.
To ignore those signals or to attempt to suppress them is disordered thinking at best.
A healthy approach is to honor your body, it needs fuel. Eat an appropriate amount to satisfy your hunger with healthy foods and move on.
To ignore or attempt to suppress it will keep keep your mind on food and may lead to binge eating later.
Speaking of food
As I mentioned earlier, fall is coming and it’s hard not to think of tasty fall treats. I love baking so recently I went to my dessert file on Pinterest to see what treats might be a good experimental fall recipe.
So many choices! With pumpkin everything aways getting noticed I thought I’d dive into something apple oriented.
So it’s a dark and rainy night here tonight. I “feel” like I should be doing something “productive” instead I’m plopped on my sofa in oversized clothes drinking copious amounts of coffee.
I may or may not sleep tonight.
I decided I could be productive and write, but don’t feel motivated enough to have to think to hard writing on my usual health/fitness/lifestyle/nutrition mantra.
Yeah I do try and be on my A game when I deliver all that stuff…
Soooo…since I was goaded recently by a fellow blogger ( *cough * he shall remain nameless) that I hadn’t written a post recently on my other life….that of furniture flipping…vintage and antique kinds of goodies that is.. I decided tonight was the night.
That comes easy enough to chat with you over coffee Haha
Me: I literally just stumbled into it last year. Like seriously. I did a piece or two. It was fun. The visions came without effort. People liked it and started buying it and well…here I am
I always joked my mom had all the artistic talent. And she did. She could paint all kinds of things and it actually looked like…rose’s or scenery, tiny details or whatever…
She tried hard to “teach” me. Sigh…. my art work was less than stellar.
Along the way I learned my gifts were more “active” and just decided I had no creativity.
So of course it came as a surprise to me when the furniture thing came so effortlessly to me. I’ve been asked by lots of people if I could teach them how to do it.
Yeah, I could do that. But what I can’t teach is the stuff that’s in my head. The way I get almost immediate visions for pieces. The way I can see the end result already in my head.
I can’t teach you that.
It’s at that point I realized it wasn’t that I didn’t have my mothers artistic abilities, they were just…. different….and that was ok.
Not only ok, it was cool. Cool to do something that took a piece from ugly and hopeless to updated, beautiful and useful again.
I cannot begin to say how satisfying it makes my “work”.
I like old things and I cannot lie…
My son asked me years ago before I was even into this why I liked “old junk”. I have appreciated, for a long time, older things. It’s just gotten stronger as I’ve aged. Perhaps I just have a different appreciation for it.
They have a life and story to them that modern day items do not have. There is a “feel” to them. They have somehow traveled through time, families, traded hands numerous times and somehow I get entrusted with it.
The pieces bare wear marks, scratches, missing parts etc of the life they’ve lived. I never try and make an old piece look “perfect”. It has lived life and should still have reflections of it.
I’ll show you some projects..…
I’ve done quite a few things now. I have literally a barn of cool things waiting for me….some personal…others to sell..
I picked up this 1930s radio cabinet last month for 25.00. I knew I was keeping it. I’ve repurposed it to use in my kitchen to hold linens and baking items
It’s pretty beat up from age. The top opens where the radio used to sit. We are putting a solid piece in so I can store linens. The details make me wanna weep they are so gorgeous.
Ok you wanna see it now?
The back isn’t finished yet…but you can see all the pretty parts. I hand sanded the paint back off all the details so they’d pop. I left the doors original for some contrast and because I always try and leave some of its former life if I can. This makes such a pretty piece in my kitchen now.
How about this old button box? It was so dark and dreary…I love how sweet it looks now!
That sold almost as soon as I posted it.
I found this awful, sad and crusty table at a thrift store but I could see its potential…
Look at how it transformed though!
How sweet is it now??
But then I found a vintage suitcase. Hubby asked what I was going to do with it. The corner was broken and crushed.
Me…with confidence…I’m gonna fix it up! Hahaha ( have I mentioned how much I love a good challenge?)
Let the repair work begin!
I dragged in some old weights to plop in corners while gluing damaged area….
Then the base coat after repairs.. can you tell which corner was broken down? you ready to see the end results?
Of course you are 😉
Not bad for a broken down suitcase right? I was soooo thrilled with how it came out.
Then I bought this old, brown antique table. Solid wood and heavy with gorgeous details, I couldn’t pass it up.
And it’s much brighter after pics …
Another piece that sold almost immediately:)
Ok I’ll show you one more…..
I got this cute vanity that was someone else’s better idea project they abandoned
And it’s transformed look….
I found the little bench a few weeks later and it was perfect for it.
I had been itching to do something in pink and black and this was the perfect set to work it out on. I had scored the black and white paper at the thrift store and wanted to use that too. It all came together so well.
It was all meant to be together ha
Do you love all things vintage?
Ok I’ll shamelessly plug my business page and you can follow all of my furniture flipping shenanigans there if you like.
It’s a page devoted to sharing with others my transforming work, selling some of it, and educating when I can on various pieces.
I do occasional posts here on it ( often in my Monday Musings posts) but my business page is all things vintage fun. Mostly furniture but I get other items as well. Currently bread boxes are the cats meow. They sell as soon as I finish them. Hubby was teasing me one week ’cause I had actually managed to get my hands on a few and I had one in my shop.
“you have four bread boxes.”
A week later they were all gone. 🙂
Ok so here is the page:
If this wasn’t enough vintage/furniture flipping reading find a couple other posts here..
“So, that piece you did. You just paint it, right?” I tried not to choke and laugh all at once and instead I did some kind of unladylike snort thing.
The person was asking about a cute chair I had recently finished.
Ok.. before I go on… if you’re just joining the party this is a kind of a Part 2 to my post from yesterday, The Art Of Flipping Furniture. You can find it here if you wanna catch up, if not, continue to read on…..
As I’ve ventured into this interesting hobby/growing side business, I’ve learned there are all kinds of interesting variables going on.
The first being, it could be assumed that I go buy a piece of cast away furniture, run home, and slap paint all over it.
That being said, there are people who do that. It makes me sad to see a gorgeous piece of furniture that has obviously been hastily painted, and before paint has even dried they have snapped photos to put it up for sale.
It’s usually still sitting on a trailer, the back of a truck, in a yard or garage on concrete blocks with random junk around it. But my favorite was a beautiful vanity piece ( originally it was beautiful) sitting in a dirt yard on cardboard with crunched up soda or beer cans behind it and a tire to the side of it. No hardware back on drawers.
I am setting myself apart with other furniture artists who invest ourselves into our pieces for the pure love and joy of it understanding we will on some occasions, not get a dollar amount equal to our investment of time and resources.
We love making things once tired, bland, broken and ugly, beautiful with a fresh new life to give.
So, I thought I’d kinda conclude this topic by sharing a little of what goes into the process so when you see a unique, old, hand painted piece of furniture for sale you can also understand the price that may be attached to it.
We just don’t take it home and slap paint on it.
Get comfy, it’s time to go on the journey.
The first time I called it that, my family laughed. But really, I do view it as a hunt. I have several places I stalk online and really, if there is something super cool, and if it happens to be a good price, it’s gone instantly. You have to almost see it the second it’s posted to get it.
There are so many things that I don’t want, or that are not that old or even that impressive. I know what I like when I see it. I also consider what it’s flip ability is. If it’s something I want personally, well I have a little more wiggle room ’cause I don’t mind paying a bit more for something I’m keeping.
Now I’ve learned the hard way, just because I’ve found an item I want, confirmed with the seller, set a time for pick up and got an address doesn’t mean I’ll get it.
Without blinking an eye people have sold things out from under me. I try to understand if they are that desperate for money from someone else who gets there an hour before I do… well they must need it really bad.
It is still ridiculously frustrating when that happens.
But when I find the item I want, and arrange pick up with seller it’s time to do what I call …..
Go bag the game
As a hunter, if you’re successful you get what you’re hunting for. But here’s the deal, once I score a piece of furniture it’s rarely close by. I’ve driven one way over an hour to get pieces.
All the cool stuff is a good drive away.
So, there’s time and gas going to get the prize. I’ve gone to some seedy kind of places getting stuff. I usually am the one helping load or doing it alone ( yay for girl muscles)
I take blankets or something to put down because the furniture has usually been stashed or stored somewhere, it’s old, total filth, sometimes it has an odor and desperately needs cleaned.
I’m thrilled, load it up and head home. That’s when I can officially let my ideas start forming.
I have it.
Nothing is worse than seeing a piece I want, having ideas, then not getting it.
Usually when I get a piece home I do an assessment of it, what it’s needs are. Some pieces are pretty straightforward and don’t need much more than a light sanding and washing down to prep them.
That is really, the rare thing.
Most pieces need anything from a lot of sanding, to sucking leaves out of the inside of a cabinet and removing years of dust, dirt and grime before I can even consider painting.
Sanding. I do most of it by hand. It’s off the charts messy.. for me and the furniture 😉
I’ve bought pieces with veneer damage so I need to set aside time to do repair work before anything else can happen.
Some areas have cracks and holes that require wood filler. Once that’s placed it has to dry, be sanded, and often filled again to the area is smooth and level.
Have I mentioned my carpentry skills have increased a 100% doing this work? haha
Old furniture is cool, but age has caused the varnish to get dry and brittle and it’s often flaking off. This all has to be sanded before any painting begins.
I’m going to use this chair that I’m currently working on as an example….
Sometimes, as in the case of chairs, the legs or connections are loose or separated and need glued and clamped to make them more secure. The seats are usually original wood and have become weak and brittle.
New seat bottoms need cut…oh but that means a trip to local hardware store to get some plywood for new seats. Time to spend some money.
Can’t have my potential customer falling through, can I ?
Ah! And now, we get to paint! The chair has been sanded down removing all old flaking varnish, I’ve glued and repaired legs and support bar, washed the piece, air dried then sprayed with a Matte shellac to prevent any bleed through from dark areas.
Once that set, the chair got it’s first coat of slate blue that I love. Once it dries ( chalk paint has a fast dry time) it will get touched up in areas that were missed, allowed to dry, lightly sanded, then I will clear wax it and go back with a dark wax that will accent and pop all of its unique details out. While that settles, I will take it’s new seat, add the new foam and fabric I purchased to make a bright cushion for it. All that will remain to be done will secure the seat back to the chair ( fortunately it had all it’s original screws)
After that, it will finally, be ready for a new home.
Other stuff in the process
Sometimes, on furniture a piece of hardware or fixtures are missing so I have to hunt it down which depending on age is tricky, again another cost involved in process. The perfect piece has all of its original fixtures.
Oh speaking of the hardware… all that is usually tarnished and dirty from years of neglect so it needs taken off and cleaned. Sometimes, it’s an easy job, other times it’s time consuming and frustrating.
Some pieces have bad veneer damage and I’ve made the decision to take it off.
Can you say, work? It’s a ton of work scraping off glued on veneer. However, if the surface is especially bad it’s worth the time to get to a fresh smooth surface underneath it.
Other times, I’ve tackled the veneer damaged and focused on repairing it, especially if I’m painting it.
Some pieces like a desk I did recently, require being totally sanded down, which I do by hand.
One table I recently purchased, it’s so cute, it opens up and the closes back to a half table. I wanted to try and sand the top down and re stain it and perhaps do a color on the table. Hubby got a good start on it but I’ve been working on all the edges this week, Do you know how tedious it is, sanding those edges? Or how careful you have to work with the veneer so you don’t chip or crack it in the process?
This is just a slow, time consuming process, but the end result will be so worth it.
Some recently finished work…..
So back to that original question….
“So you “just” paint it, right?” Well, as you can see the painting, new stain, or whatever look it gets, is really the last part of the process.
It’s the fun part.
Picking up and purchasing the piece, cleaning, repairing, sanding, prepping, painting, then top sealing with wax or a poly top coat, cleaning hardware, making new cushions etc. are all a part of the unique process of renovating antique or vintage items.
Besides the cost of the actual piece, the time and gas to get it, the supplies needed to do the job, and the hours and labor the artist puts into it may help you understand better the pricing on a unique, one of a kind, piece of hand painted furniture that you won’t be able to find at your local furniture store.
Thanks for hanging out with me in this two part special! I hope this gives you a little more insight into the topic of “renovated” or “upscaled” old furniture. I hope that it has also given you a better idea of the labor of love it is for so many of us.
Do you have any hobbies or projects you enjoy that you do as a “labor of love” and enjoyment?
So I’ve been promising this post to you for awhile and I’ve got plenty of time on my hands and ideas in my head so I’m gonna do it. Back when I started my blog I sometimes wrestled with going off the beaten path of what my brand is, what I’m about, and what the blog ultimately is about.
But then I’ve got this cool published author friend and she said “you are more than just a health and fitness whiz. There is a whole lot more to who you are and what you do than “just” that. Your readers will want a well rounded version of you. Share life with them”
Since that time, I’ve heeded her advice and will often bring posts that have nothing to do with the overarching theme of what my blog primarily is. But I do bring life stuff. And I am well rounded haha and I do have fun letting loose on other topics… so for todays offerings… here we go…
I’ve shared tidbits with you about another part of my life, my obsession, or rather “hobby”.
Yes, let’s call it a hobby shall we ?
I have offered up some of my projects in my Monday Musings just because it gives me an outlet to kinda show some of it off.
It’s a hobby that’s turning into a little side business.
Hobby. Obsession. Business.
Where is the dividing line? Questions to be pondered….
If you’ve missed it, I’m referring to my flipping vintage and antique furniture.
I’ve shared photos of horrible pieces I’ve dragged home and transformed. For some reason, the worse it is, the more I like it.
I’m pretty sure it’s ’cause in general, I just like challenges. And believe me some have presented some challenges. It makes me appreciate an easy, straight forward piece sooooo much more!
Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a stunning old piece when it comes around. But if it’s a piece that I think I’d leave “as is” then that leaves me out. I just won’t ruin something that has made it’s way through time and is still in a beautiful, usable condition.
Other things though, they haven’t fared so well. Neglect, cheap wood, flaking varnish, sun exposure, veneer damage … the list can go on…. those items are begging for a fresh look.
I’ve said it before, just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s in the best shape to restore to some former glory.
And honestly today, many people don’t want bland, standard, varnished brown furniture. They want bright, crisp, clean looks in their homes.
They want something unique you can’t pick up at Ikea or Target. They want real, solid wood furniture and they want a piece that will enhance a part of their home.
Of course I also know the value of a beautiful piece, the wood quality, and that even if it stays in imperfect condition, it’s more beautiful in that look.
So what I do with it largely depends on what it is and it’s overall condition and how it can be given new life and function in todays world.
How long have you been doing this?
That’s a question I’ve fielded a lot lately since people who know me see it as a “new” thing.
Well, it kinda is. Meaning I really haven’t done this for long.
Actually, I kinda just stumbled into this arena and it turns out I’m good at it.
People actually like my stuff.
I never saw myself as the creative, artsy type. My mom was ridiculously talented in painting. I mean she could paint roses that looked like they were blooming off a plate. She had stunning penmanship when she was healthy before it became harder for her to write. She could paint outdoor scenery and all kinds of amazing things.
She tried with me. I remember one year she bought me this whole cool set on painting and flowers and all things lovely. She showed me some simple steps to making a rose.
Honestly, mine looked like those little flowers you doodle out in 5th grade art class. Why didn’t my rose look like it came off “Rose Month” magazine??
I yielded to the idea that the artsy gene skipped me. Just like the amazing green thumb my father had skipped me as well.
Plants come home from the store to die with me but that my readers, is another post for another day.
I grew up and accepted the talents and skills I had, even though my mom secretly believed I had it in me.
I do have a very creative mind. It’s just my creativity has always flowed in other directions.
I had done some creative “repair” work in the past on much smaller objects. In a post I shared about cardboard Christmas houses, I talked about doing some restoration work on a few.
Not tacky with big plastic modern day Santa’s but more of a desire to keep it as close to original form as I could.
That perhaps, was the breeding ground for where I am now. And maybe, in a different type of way, I really did get some of her art skills.
The thrill of the hunt
Part of what excites me really in this process is hunting for that piece that speaks to me.
Oh, and that I can afford. Obviously, flipping furniture I won’t pay the crazy amount some people want for stuff. If it’s a piece I personally want then I don’t mind spending a bit more.
So there’s the hunt. The looking for the right item, the right price, and then hoping I can be the one to swoop it up before someone else does. I want wood, not fake stuff and I overall prefer vintage or antique although I will take a modern piece if it’s super cool and I can see a vision for it ( I picked up a little carved table last month, did my magic on it, listed and sold it in under 30 minutes. I could’ve sold it 8 times. Go figure)
Nothing is more disappointing than starting to love a piece, seeing a vision for it, and then it sells out from under me.
I’ve told myself… “don’t start planning or celebrating ’til you’re driving home with it” then I can let my ideas out.
Ok so it sounded crazy to me until I read some other posts by people who flip furniture and they would get visions for how it should look. Sometimes, the idea is so strong and powerful in my head I act on it immediately. Last week, I swooped up this feminine sweet chair that had seen better days. I immediately knew how to do it, even stopping at the hobby store on the way home and finding the exact fabric I wanted for its new cushion. It has been one of my most favorite pieces so far.
I’ll let you take a look at it below….
I can’t tell you how vivid and clear the vision was for this. So much so that I bumped it to the top of my list to do it. I love having things come out of my head and seeing them come to life just as I imagined.
Ok I’ll share another project chair I finished this week too. I got it in a group of three. Chairs haven’t been something I had previously gone after but they are often old unmarried pieces and make fun, interesting and unique accent chairs. I love the idea each one can have it’s own look and theme,
When I saw this chair group I caught an immediate vision for one. I have a plan for a second and it is currently in the works.
I wanted to make one bold and fun. I went back for fabric I passed on when I did my telephone bench. I didn’t “feel” it for that project. But when I saw the chair I knew I had to go back for this particular material for it.
Check it out and you’ll see what I mean….
To paint or not to paint?
As I mentioned above I have a healthy respect for quality wood pieces and if they need to be left and oiled and preserved then I will do that. For instance I shared in a post about this cool, massive dresser/cabinet with a huge mirror. A stunning piece I got off Craigslist for 80.00.
After dragging all it’s parts home and researching I learn it’s made of quarter sawn oak ( such beautiful wood) and most likely early 1900 in construction. I was stunned that this piece was left behind and the other stuff he had for sale was gone.
Lucky me. I think it’s very unusual and perhaps a bit rare. I’ve found nothing like it at all in my searchings. Items similar, but nothing like this piece.
I’m carefully oiling it, cleaning it, and allowing it’s 100+ vibe to shine through. That’s it. I’d never consider painting it.
However, for so many other projects, paint is a improvement and help to it’s overall abuse and sad condition. Sometimes there are repairs that need done as well as various issues the piece may have and a lovely coat of paint and sometimes some wax or antiquing gives it a fresh new look ready for more years of service.
Chalk paint is my favorite medium to operate in. Not only is it super easy to work with, it’s extremely forgiving as well. Not only that, I make my own now so my colors schemes are endless and I can match a perfect color for a project as I did with my pink chair above. After sanding and topcoat the finish is silky smooth and beautiful.
Ok a peek at one I finished up this past week….
I bought this from a guy who was older and said he had found it in his grandmothers attic and was cleaning out. Solid wood, 2 tiered, and cute little clawed feet I was immediately drawn to it, a fun antique piece.
It also felt “masculine” to me so I felt an immediate connection with what I wanted to do with it. I mentioned enjoying straight forward pieces? This was one of those. I love how it came out… I’ll let you take a look….
Yeah, blue with black wax to pull out all of it’s lovely details. It was a good combination for a masculine table.
It’s always so satisfying seeing something drab, dirty, tired and left and forgotten about turn into a usable, fun piece for years ahead.
Well, let’s just say, I’m not at a loss for projects. I’ve got several things in the works and several in the wings waiting.
Of course, that doesn’t stop me from hunting for good deals to still drag home.
I’m working on coming up with a separate name and a separate identity for my “hobby”. I am learning new things all the time and am blessed to have connections with a few talented people who do this as well.
Tomorrow, stay tuned for the final part of my sharing on this topic. ( I was trying to not write another War and Peace novel 😉 )
I’ll share a bit more on a question that’s been posed a couple times… “well, don’t you just put paint on it?”
Well.. kinda…eventually… yes.
But what happens before the fun part of painting? This is where any creative artist earns their money… and that’s all I’m gonna say… you’ll just have to come back and find out the rest in the final part of this project 😉 Check in tomorrow….
Tell me.. do you have a favorite hobby? Have you ever started something randomly and seen it grow and take off in your life?
As the old Christmas song goes… “it’s the most wonderful time of the year….”
This is a disclaimer before you proceed reading anymore :
I’m gonna get all kinds of nostalgic on you so either buckle up and grab a fresh cup of coffee or abandon your computer for higher ground .
You’ve been warned.
I’ve always loved Christmas but I’m pretty sure my mom and grandparents had a lot to do with making that impression on me.
My memories of childhood were of fun, festivities, and family. Of course there were always lots of delicious baked goods and candies, and everything was always beautifully decorated. Christmas music was on and I remember my mom and grandmother singing along with various songs. There were special table linens and candy/cookie trays that were brought out every year to be filled again.
Cookies. Can you say… cookies? Of all the ones to be chosen, the cut out cookies still have my heart. All of those fun Christmas shapes in sugar cookie form … is there anything better? That is one thing today my kids all still love doing. Piling in at the kitchen table and decorating trees, Santas, reindeer, angels, sleighs, snowflakes, gingerbread boys and girls. My mom had tons of cool cutters that I enjoy using as well along with the ones I already had.
The season was steeped in many traditions for me.
As a family we always went together and bought a fresh tree. I’m grateful no one had any issues that kept us from having one because to this day it’s one of my favorite things to go do… pick out the biggest tree I can get my paws on… thank goodness I have 12 ft ceilings now! As a child our ceilings were much shorter so we were limited in the height we could drag home. This years specimen comes in right around 11 ft and it smells soooo amazing. Some years the fragrance isn’t as strong, this year, beautiful AND fragrant.
No, I don’t mind a real tree, and no I don’t mind cleaning up at the end of the season. It’s all worth it to me.
My children are adults now ( good heavens… I can’t believe that sometimes) and they too continue to expect a real tree and the married ones plan to carry on the tradition.
So we had the tree covered in bright lights ( remember those big C7 lights you could line a run way with?? I do have those on my tree but they are the more modern ones that stay cool and wont burn the tree down) and family decorations, amazing homemade treats, beautifully wrapped packages, family, special meals, worship service and of course the celebration of Jesus birth.
I simply grew up immersed in the beauty of Christmas, and not just the beauty, the magic too. The magic of waiting expectantly for Santa on Christmas Eve and the inability to fall asleep from excitement. My family always worked to make sure that the magic was a part of Christmas.
My mom was such a child at heart about Christmas till the day she left this earth. I’m afraid I’m no different. I still get excited at Christmas and I have a hard time sleeping sometimes.. only now I’m Santa and my kids and grandbabies get to experience it.
It was a sobering moment to me thinking this year that I’m the only one left to carry on all these traditions that have become precious to me. To pass them on to my children and their families.
Let me say I’m fully aware that Christmas isn’t fun for many, especially when they are acutely aware of loved ones that are missing from their lives.
Nothing brings that loss home more than Christmas time and I can fully speak to that.
In the last 5 years I’ve lost my brother, my mother, and this past year, my dad. At this time of year there are moments that the pain and anguish strike my heart and spirit so hard it almost takes my breath away.
I deeply miss my people.
I miss the ones who shared those long ago memories with me. I miss taking out certain decorations or ornaments and reminiscing about them. Oh, I still do on many items as I share stories of various treasures with my kids but they don’t have the memories associated with it.
In this last year I’ve also been busy cleaning out my parents entire house and going through years of….life. It has to be done but there have been so many days it’s been an agonizing road to walk. There were times I went in with the intent to work and only found myself sobbing on the sofa longing for those I loved to be there again.
However, in the cleaning process I’ve found some beautiful treasures that I have brought home to enjoy and to share with my kids. One thing I finally felt emotionally strong to do was go through the various boxes of carefully wrapped ornaments that had been my mothers and my grandmothers. I tried last year but opening the box that she had last carefully packed away was a bit more than I could handle at the time.
This year, I brought everything out. I laid them all on the table smiling, laughing and sometimes crying looking at all of the years of Christmas treasures in front of me. I pulled precious old ones from the mix, ones of my grandmothers that date back to World War 2. There were treasured delicate glass ornaments that have always gone at the top of tree to protect them, now in my care to treasure. There were silly ones that for some reason I always loved, like these colored glass balls that had big fake eyes and a foam mustache. When my brother and I moved out my mom gave me a blue one and my brother a red one. Two years ago mine fell from the tree and shattered in a million pieces. Yes, I cried. Going through my brothers ornaments I came across the red one… somehow it was like an old friend was back as I settled it into a position on my tree.
Speaking of trees….
I realized that one poor tree, no matter how big, reaches a point of holding all the memories of Christmas past. However, I can have several other trees that are fun or have a theme. Of course my kids might secretly be wondering if I’m turning into a crazy old tree lady… 😉
So many treasures are vintage collectibles now. Not just that, it’s the history they hold as well that means so much to me.
AH! I’m vintage.
Ha well in the life of Christmas decorations when they are up and over 50plus years that’s pretty old. I’m fascinated with the Christmases they have seen and sometimes wonder how they’ve survived so long.
My cardboard Christmas houses, so delicate and fragile and originally only pennies in a dime store are now worth hundreds of dollars depending on the era it came from, style etc.
I am completely enthralled with them. However, my love again, was started as a child when my grandmother would place her little village out with the Barclay skater people. It was one of my most favorite parts of Christmas. I was thrilled when my mother let me have the beat up old village when I found it in the back of the loft long forgotten. I took them home and carefully restored them. It was only when I began digging into their history that I found the ones I grew up with were actually the end of an era of these unique houses. The first ones had been produced in the late 1920’s -early 30’s into the 40’s and 50’s and were last made in the mid 60’s a far cry for the original grandeur they had been crafted in.
Today, I have my grandmothers original set I still put out for that is where my childhood memories are.
But I’ve also carefully collected some beautiful, unique houses by shopping carefully and skillfully on Ebay. There are some I have to look wistfully at and let go as they soar in price zones I won’t participate in.
All of the houses in my collection are 70-80 years old. How they have withstood the test of so many Christmases gone by always amazes me. Some I’ve purchased and carefully done some restoration on. Others, I’ve purchased knowing they will stay “as is” in my collection mainly because the coloring or materials would be impossible to find and replicate now.
I guess I should say for a more modern, trendy girl, I absolutely love and adore vintage Christmas. The new cheap modern day stuff doesn’t have the same appeal to me. I think though, it’s more because my heart is connected to the times gone by with the old items from the past.
But life moves forward, and memories are sweet and dear and keep us connected to those we’ve loved and have been privileged to share the journey of life with. As I’ve decorated this year it has been a sweet treat to incorporate so many things from the past that are old and beautiful with newer things I’ve collected with my family over these past years.
I love being able to create a magical, special season for my family like I knew growing up. It blesses me that they appreciate it so much and enjoy being there. I want them to have memories of special times and special things that they can share with their children.
Traditions. Simple or elaborate I want them to have the history of traditions.
But Christmas is so much more. It’s a time in the year when we should be more mindful than ever of peace, love, and joy. To be mindful of those we hold dear and the treasure that they are to us. To give those gifts freely and generously back to them. To embrace some of the simplicity of the season and not be swooped up in the commercial money train it has become. To enjoy the presence of each other because that isn’t always granted to us.
I hope that you make your own traditions with those you love. I hope you value and embrace the simple things that make Christmas so beautiful and magical. I pray you know the peace and joy that this season is about and that it stays with you all year long.
As I’m concluding this post, and thinking of peace, I can’t help but mention it has been snowing here now for over an hour. I’ve watched big white fluffy flakes tumble from the sky and blow through the air, silently beautiful, peaceful.
It’s kind of a big deal for a girl who lives in south Texas… we rarely ever see snow.
It’s peaceful and quiet… it’s been reflective for me. I pray you know and experience all of the things that matter most in this Christmas season and that you have eyes of a child to still appreciate the magic and a spirit that receives the peace and hope of the Christ child.
Do you have special traditions or things that make Christmas magical to you? What are your favorite childhood memories?
So this is just gonna be a fun post. I’d say random, but it’s not really “random” as I’ve had the idea on my list for awhile…. 😉 ( Yes, I have this idea list for when my brain refuses to produce something for me when I demand it or the day hasn’t inspired something, or there aren’t loose thoughts begging to escape my mind… I go to the “list”…)
Todays topic : old junk.
Also referred to by serious people as “antiques”. I guess I loosely think of it as old junk when one of my sons gave me a hard time years ago wanting to know why I wanted “old junk” when I could get new stuff ?
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I like new stuff. I have no trouble buying it. But what I tried to explain to them was the fascination I have with the “old junk” … how I wonder about it’s history, where it’s been, who’s had it, the “life” that it’s seen. I especially love being able to restore, clean and salvage something that otherwise might not see another day. It can be a rewarding project.
You may have read my blog around Christmas time on my collection of cardboard houses ( go find it ) , a definitely antique Christmas village with the “youngest” piece being 50ish years old, to the oldest pieces coming in around 85 years. It’s amazing to me cardboard pieces have survived that long.
So I thought I’d share with you some of my collection of “old junk” … some of you out there might relate and even have an interest in it yourself.. if so please share with me .
I’ll start with this… what I just mentioned… the village… you can still go find my blog on it 😉 All are pieces I’ve scraped and fought for over the past few years( and by that I mea outwitting big collectors with lots of money on Ebay) The orange church in the back was an Ebay purchase for 9.99. My family teased me unmercifully about it as the windows and part of the back had been chewed out by mice and I had to rebuild the structure around them it had no steeple and I had to make that as well as make stained and aged cotton for the cotton roof. I wanted to maintain the integrity as much as possible of the original look and not change it. The steeple I painted… the church is original color. I think I got it pretty close. Most of the pieces have just required careful cleaning or some window replacement as those don’t weather so well.
I have bigger pieces in my “old junk” collection. Like a trunk I got at a garage sale for 15.00. The lady told me her dad had used it in the service… she didn’t think it was a big deal.
I googled it up when I got home, found someone who dealt in old trunks and found out it was a steamer trunk made in the 1880’s! Score me. I cleaned the moth eaten paper out of the inside, cleaned it up somewhat and left in as original as I could. It works great holding old photos for me now.
My son dragged home for me one day a Coca Cola ice box someone had given him. He knew I liked “old junk”. It turns out the thing really is a pricey antique. Again, score me 😉
One of his friends had a steamer trunk and didn’t want to mess with it… guess who got it ? 🙂 This nicely holds the various exercise equipment I use when I do quick workouts inside.
Oh and then there’s this cool little table with a glass tray that lifts off. It was supposedly used when guests came. You used the top as a serving tray.
I’m fortunate to have my grandparents bedroom set. I refinished it and have repurposed various pieces around my house.
One great find was an old table and chair set my neighbor was selling for…5.00. Yeah. 5 bucks. It was water stained, dusty, dirty, and had one leg off ( I felt pretty confident my amazing hubby could handle that part of repair) it had been her mothers, she had grown up with it, and was tired of looking at it. I loaded it up and took it home. With a little hard work it is a fun usable piece in my home now. She couldn’t believe what it looked like when I showed her the finished result.
And my recent acquisitions…. I was coming home last Sunday from a road trip and my neighbors down the road were cleaning out their barn ( the family has lived there for years) and they had a big “Free” sign by it all.
Of course… I had to stop…. after 3 1/2 hours on the road… of course I had to stop and look 😉
I couldn’t drag to much home as I had my bike and other stuff still loaded up. What I did walk off with ? Yet another Coca Cola ice box that desperately needs cleaning, an old croquet set, and a cool window frame ( I secretly hope Pinterest offers up some clever ideas for me to resurrect it with 😉 there were a few other things I wanted… of course when I went back later they were gone…. oh well 😛
Anyway, that’s a little of my favorite “old junk” now tell me if you like stuff like this (antique) ? Do you have any favorite finds ?