The gift-store gene runs in our family. My grandmother operated a gift shop, The Wishing Well, out of her house. I was pretty little at the time, but the sight of drawers full of wrapping paper and shelves filled with Holt Howard angels and pixies makes an impression that lasts a lifetime. My mom worked for several years for our hometown gift-and-office-supply store, where people could walk in with their favorite pen, and my mom, or someone like her, would search tirelessly for the proper refill. From my mother and grandmother I inherited a love of proper stationery, the perfectly wrapped gift, and the occasional well-chosen knick-knack. Finding a box full of never-used greeting cards was a happy event.
And there were many Christmas cards. Probably hundreds. All of them unsigned, with envelopes. (And none of them stored in a damp basement - nothing comes into this house without undergoing a rigorous sniff test.)
A gift store? No, I don't have one. Just a head start on the inventory for one.
A little bit of a busy day today. I'm picking up my aunt and driving her to my cousin's house, and from there they'll head to our homeland in Pennsylvania, and I'll head home. Normally this is the kind of errand that makes me a little crazy - all that driving - but if you knew my aunt, you'd know why I don't mind.
She has a puff of curly white hair that is brighter and whiter every time I see her, like the puff of a dandelion. She also gets a little smaller every time I see her, and she has always been petite. One of these days, I swear we're just going to be able to tuck her in our purse and carry her along wherever we go.
Like many people with Alzheimer's disease, she remembers some things but not others. I called her a couple of hours before we went out to dinner with her last week, and when I showed up at her door, she exclaimed "What a nice surprise!" On the other hand, she's been counting on this trip to Pennsylvania for weeks and won't let any of us forget about it.
She has great recall of her years growing up on a farm and going to school at a two-room schoolhouse (kind of the slicker version of the one-room schoolhouse), and I love hearing her stories. So we'll talk about that today.
Before I pick her up, I'm going to try to get a couple of Etsy listings done, and this sweet little tablecloth, marked "Danish design" is among them.
This stack of boxes illustrates the wisdom of taking another pass through the premises even though you're pretty sure you've seen everything at an estate sale. These were sitting on a table in a dark room, waiting to be discovered.
Still working my way through the weekend purchases, but that's enough tweetness for today.
Want to see the fabric I bought Friday? Great! Want to hear about my foray into plumbing Sunday morning? Well, it doesn't matter what you say, because I can't hear you, and I'm going to tell you anyway.
But I'll show you some of the fabric first. There was quite a range, including this toweling, which made me think about how at one point in time women could just go to the yard-goods store and buy this kind of thing by the yard and sew up some kitchen towels. Men could do this, too, one supposes, but one kind of doubts that they did.
So as not to stack up too many stories, let's talk about plumbing. First of all, I have some sad news to relate. My husband has injured his shoulder. Or his elbow. We're not quite sure. One of the reasons we're not quite sure is that his arm hurts so badly he couldn't get the MRI he was supposed to get Friday because it proved too painful. Because my husband is a good sport - in fact, he is the walking definition of Good Sport - he's doing as much as he can without using any part of his right arm or jarring anything attached to it. That doesn't leave a lot. It most certainly excludes crawling under the bathroom sink to reattach the mechanism that opens and closes the drain stopper. Which came off in my hand Sunday morning.
He assured me it was an easy fix, and he was correct. It would be an easy fix if one was an experienced plumber or was only 18 inches tall but possessed of superhuman strength so as to be able to remove a rusted bolt on a part tucked behind a variety of pipes and hoses. I know you don't know everything about me, but I am not 1) an experienced plumber 2) 18 inches tall or 3) superhumanly strong.
However, I am tenacious, and after 45 minutes, a can of WD-40, a variety of wrenches, an unseemly amount of cursing and the (highly recommended) This Old House web site, the faucet was repaired. I came downstairs, triumphant and feeling like I'd earned a beer. However, it was only 10:30 a.m., so I decided to wait 15 minutes or so.
And everything to do with the tag. There was a tag on every piece. New old stock. There's nothing better. I had never heard of the Onondaga Silk Co., but Onondaga is the name of the county where I live, named after the Iroquois nation native to this area. I have some research to do, but I did find out that in the 1940s, the Onondaga Silk Co. hired well-known artists to design some of their fabrics, and there are examples of their work in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
And yet, all this silk and barkcloth and kitchen novelty aside, this cotton print is probably my favorite. It's the kind of cotton print that could be made into a sensible housedress. The kind of housedress you'd wear to go out to collect the eggs in the morning, or to wash up the breakfast dishes at your farmhouse sink, or, perhaps, to crawl underneath the bathroom sink and repair the drain stopper assembly. And that's my kind of fabric.
There was a pink ceramic sleigh, a drinking glass with red flowers, a chalkware peach and two Swanky Swigs. There also was a length of vintage fabric that was a pink cheater cloth, and it served, briefly, as a tablecloth for a display.
Well, for now. There's more.
I've never bothered with making an inspiration board. I've liked the ones I've seen on blogs, but it never seemed to me that I'd find making one worthwhile. So this isn't really an inspiration board. It's just a bulletin board, and as I've been rearranging a workspace (my reward for all of my recent decluttering) I've been tacking up things that I like.
An idea for packaging feedsack squares and trim, my all-time favorite greeting card, another drapery pinback and a paper housedress I made. (I made another one for my mom's Mother's Day card, and I'm not sure she even noticed the gift I bought her. All she talked about was the card. Moms are great that way.)
A dollhouse cup-and-saucer wall pocket, and a card for making a toy out of a spool of thread. (You've probably seen these - rickrack and trim was wrapped around the card, and when the trim was gone, there was a little toy for a child to make. The card had the front and the back of the animal, and an empty wooden spool made the body. They're the sweetest things.)
And even though I had no intention of making an inspiration board, I ended up with a board that certainly inspires me. It's really pulled into focus the things I love - old toys, colors that are clear and bright, floral prints and checks, humble relics from times gone by. It makes me smile - and wonder what might end up there next.
Today began with a long to-do list, and at the top of it were all the things I didn't get done yesterday. I've made enough progress, though, to stop and smell the roses - or admire the zinnias, as the case may be. I am almost positive I did not order orange zinnia seeds, because I'm not a huge fan of orange flowers. Correction: I once was not a huge fan of orange flowers. I love these. They're perfect for adding a little touch of fall. They've gone from the 'mistake' category to 'must have.'
One of the items on the to-do list that I was hoping to get to was pulling out some fall fabrics to make fabric bundles for my Etsy shop. This is a hunt scene from a piece of feedsack. Very fall-like.
And the OTHER item on my to-do list is picking two winners for the Halloween giveaway. The magic random number generator selected Pattie Ealy and Melissa's Antiques. Pattie and Melissa, e-mail me your address, (my e-mail is brstith ((at)) verizon.net) and I'll put some scary stuff in the mail to you. Thanks to all who left a comment!
Can you use them? Leave me a comment by Tuesday night, and I'll choose a couple of recipients.
(Congratulations to Pattie Ealy and Melissa's Antiques! You're the winners!)