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Saturday, February 28, 2015

There is Fine Art in the Thrift Shops

This amazing acrylic on canvas by Fred Draper has me stunned.  A gem from the great Thrift Shop Beyond that has found its way to me. I immediately hung it up on our living room wall.  It is almost criminal that I paid $6.25 cents for this high quality piece of art, marked $12.50, it was half off day at hospice thrift.  

Acrylic Glendole Grange #168 Moumouth Cty

Link to my i-dearly-love-maxfield-parrish find.

Included with the Draper delight were these clothes (the lot for less than $20). I score at these types of sales because I look for offbeat or professional suit type pieces.  A three piece black Pendelton suit/pant set, an unmarked beaded sweater (detail shown below), Studio Collection houndstooth pants, and a Woolrich gray shirt.  

I will replace the yellowed buttons and affix the loose beads on this sweater.

The second stop thrift shop finds were remnant material in a little black office cube with a ladies cape and two retro sewing books (images from those will find their way into my AtoZ posts).  

Other recent thrift shop finds were a Christopher & Banks embellished sweater and a Coldwater Creek plum knit top.

A to Z preparation continues for the April event.  As of this blog post, there are over 2,000 bloggers participating with the sign-up list now closed.  

Saturday, February 7, 2015

I heart YOU

First up is Beverly at How sweet the sound for her weekly Pink Saturday linkup.  I have been image gathering, and as always with Beverly, I promise to behave myself (and am not always successful).

Continuing with the pink theme, I am showcasing my recent thrift shop finds of this embellished silk/cashmere sweater labeled Suzabelle Resurrected Couture ($2.50) and Luna Claire knit skirt ($3.99).  One reason I so enjoy shopping thrift is finding unique pieces like these for just a few dollars.  Helloo to all of my Visible-monday visitors!
The Leaning Tower of Tami

Finally, I Heart with Anne of Spygirl-amb.blogspot.com and her 52-pick-up weekly prompts.  

A body positive shout out link on a Huffington Post article about super-women-super-models-fashion-ads.  The focus being on models who are not the "usual" models, one being Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  

1987 Pink pattern of the day

Two thrift shop pinkies that I didn't buy - the beautiful beaded purse and the pretty pink picture.

I am gathering steam for the two month deadline for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge in April.  

Signups are still open a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2015.  This will be my third year participating.  As of this post, there are over 500 bloggers participating.  

Friday, January 30, 2015

And then there was one

The Writing Challenge prompt "And then there was one," ending with images that intrigue me.

And then there was one baby doll mugshot, a recent inmate on www.shopgoodwill.com.

And then there was one Pattern of the Day, let's lounge around in a 1970's housecoat. 

And then there was one orchid illustration

An orchid a day and some patterns will appear in the posts I am preparing for the AtoZ Blog Challenge in April.  I am No. 128 on the sign-up list this year.  Woot woot!

And then there was one wayward llama that keeps visiting the ranch.  

Thursday, January 29, 2015


The writing challenge prompt for the day is "Steamed," and that fits right in with my mood.  My Dell red XPS laptop blue screened, fatal errored and we all know what that means.  She is no more.  Granted I was running Vista (some of you may ask, "What is that?") and it took forever to get the old gal up and running.  

My new XPS will arrive in about two weeks.  I admit I am brand loyal.  This will be my third XPS laptop and they have all served me well.  I get to try out Microsoft Office 365 and the Windows 8.1 operating system.  I hope I don't regret that decision but I can always upgrade to 10.  

If you are in the market for a laptop

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Imagine that

The Writing Challenge prompt is "imagine that."  

Imagine that I have not worn a ring for nearly ten years, for various and sundry reasons.  I have missed it so and have decided it was time, time for a ring.  It was in part to celebrate completion of my one-year probation as a State employee and seemed an apt way to start 2015.

Oh, not just any ring but a pave of diamonds from the Le Vian Exotics line.   

I purchase fine jewelry in the days after Christmas when it is discounted to the lowest possible price.  While it is still outrageously expensive, this piece was worth the delight it will bring me for years to come.  

I have fallen in the love with the ring.  Irrevocably and totally in love.  It is like Gollum from the Lord of the Rings.

Imagine that.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

10 years ago, I was probably

The Writing Challenge prompt is "10 years ago, I was probably ...."

Climbing Mount Everest

Ok, probably not.  

Acting as lead singer for a Ska group

Another probably not - 

Ten years ago, I was probably listening to Right Said Fred.

(So I am a year off on time frame - still worth a revisit)

Ten years ago was not a good time in my life.  Thankfully, time, maturity and major changes have made for a better life for me today.  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Grow Your Blog and repairing a vintage baby quilt

It is blog-hopping time again with Vicki at 2 Bags Full.  

via phantomzucchini

To count myself worthy of this mainly fabric arts group, I complete at least one hand sewn project a year. This year's project was repairing my daughter's 25-year old baby blanket.  When she first brought it to me, I thought, "This thing should be thrown out."  It seemed it had sentimental value to her. Both sides of her vintage baby quilt were ripped from stem to stern and there were small holes and tears throughout. 

The floral print was a $1.50 remnant from the local thrift shop.  I made the patches and appliques by ironing in seams and trimming the corners then hand stitching to the fabric.

Pattern of the Day from 1967 

My recent thrift shop rescues - Madame ($5) and Fern ($2.50).

The Madame Alexander doll just required some bluing to brighten the dress.
Fern was embellished with a doll skirt and costume bracelet around her neck.

The week's thrift shop finds totaled less than $20 for 4 dinner plates in my stoneware pattern, an black and white orchid pot, and a Charter Club cashmere *sings the word* sweater and a scarf.

I am looking forward to visiting the others participating in this event.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bears, beans and beer

Bears, Beans and Beer is the Writing Challenge Prompt.  This happy guy is a permanent resident at our house, a full-size bear rug that hangs above the big screen TV.  Mr. VZ bagged this bear in the Mokelumne Wilderness, in Northern California.  

He scouted the bear for three weeks.  As he hiked back into the back country, he decided to stay alongside a creek.  The day was turning very cold.  When he awoke there was a light covering of snow on the ground.  He struggled to light the campfire to get a cup of warm coffee and ate a three-day old donut.  He walked down the trail and noticed a pile of steaming scat.  He stopped and looked around.  He saw tracks going toward the outside of a clearing.  At the clearing was an outcrop of rocks that ascended about 200 feet. He slowly entered the timber and stayed in the shadows of the trees while watching the clearing.  All of a sudden, the bear started running towards the tree.  He made a mad dash to intersect the bear.  The bear turned and headed back into the clearing, he started to climb up the rocks and then suddenly he stopped.  From the shadows he could see the bear had sensed Mr. VZ's presence and was sniffing the air.  The bear stood up and put his paws on top of a boulder, Mr. VZ raised his gun, the first shot hit the bear square in the lungs.  The power gush of blood came out of the bear's mouth along with a deep roaring scream.  The hairs on the back of Mr. VZ's neck stood up and he could feel the sweat going down his back.  The bear collapsed.  Mr. VZ stood very still and watched to see any movement.  He waited between 5 to 10 minutes to approach the bear.  With pistol in hand, he cautiously approached the bear from behind.  He picked a rock up and threw it at the bear to see if there was any reaction.  There was none.  This is where the real work started.  Mr. VZ hiked back to camp and got his horse. He grabbed a set of paniers and boned the bear out, left the carcass behind and took all the meat and hide.  He smoked the meat with the fire all night long.   

At the time of the bear's demise, he was 12 years old and 450 pounds.  He did not live his life in vain, he was eventually consumed ... with beans and beer.  

Adding a recipe from the 1950 publication Ford Treasury of Famous Eating Places.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Organizing and tipping over to the other side

"Organizing" is the day's prompt for the Writing Challenge.

Edna had meant to start organizing but the stuff just kept on multiplying.  She couldn't remember when it went from sketchy to dire.  Was it after the death of the Mr.?  The kids had stopped calling a long time ago.  The friends had stopped coming by or just couldn't come by.

She was a child born just prior to the Great Depression.  Finding her solace in the thrift shops, she would bring home bags of treasures. She had long since given up sleeping in the bedroom.  The room had morphed into a stuffed animal purgatory.

The kitchen had gone from tidy to unusable.  Bags and bags filled to the brim were everywhere.  Collecting had long ago jumped shark into hoarding.  There were magazines and newspapers she would never read, cookbooks she would not use.

There was room, just enough for her to sit in front of the TV.  It was where she slept, sitting up.  The amalgamation was more important than her own personal comfort.

She would like to have a pet, but the responsibility of caring for herself was nearly too much.  Her collections made her happy and that was all that really mattered.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

10 Tips for the Newbie Blogger

"Newbies" is the Writing Challenge prompt that I have expanded to 10 Tips for the Newbie Blogger.  

To give some credence to my tips, I must reveal I am not a newbie blogger.  I had a "starter" blog that I ran for two years, pulled the plug on it and began this current blog that I have now maintained going on four years. Blogger lists my page views at 130,000+ and Google+ lists my page views at 1,062,000+.

No. 1:  Remember blogging is a platform.  You can start with the gem of an idea in mind and use the forum to expand your audience.  My blog began as a showcase for thrift shop finds.  While that was all well and good, it was limiting.  No one is going to give you demerits if you don't stick to your blog's original premise. 

No. 2:  There are no rules.  I have combined blog hops, and why not?  Do I post daily?  Sometimes.  Do I take months off?  Yes, to rest and rejuvenate.  Blogging can be exhausting, especially when one is participating in challenges (either writing or photography).  Month-long challenges garner new readers and don't forget to visit other challenge participants and comment.

No. 3:  Blogs come and go, bloggers lose interest in their own blogs and it is no wonder their audience loses interest too.  Retain a passion for what you are blogging about. 

No. 4:  Comments from your readers are always nice but the real goal is to have your post shared and linked.  Write content that engages your audience and the shares will come. 

No. 5:  It does help if you are part of a tribe or blogging community but that only gains you readers within that limited realm.  Seek out different audiences and unique blog challenges so you are not circling around the same group of people. 

No. 6:  When you do comment on other blogs, include a link to your last post.  Others read comments and will click onto your link if you've piqued their interest. 

No. 7:  Make your format and font easy to read and eye appealing.  I try to emulate blogs and bloggers that I admire.  I am constantly tweeking my blog format, either to wrap in a holiday or to make it look more professional. 

No. 8:  Your audience likes to know who YOU are, include an "About Me" section and an image of yourself.  If you are blog shy and only post images of your headless torso, readers tend to lose interest. 

No. 9:  No matter how you look at it blogging is writing (unless you are just posting to Instagram), so hone your writing and grammar skills.  The quickest way to irk an English major (or any reader) is with awful writing and horrible grammar.

No. 10:  Set up automatic feeds from your blog to Facebook and Twitter or other social media.  It is an easy way to expand your audience without creating extra work. 

Blogging can be a blast and soon you will move from Newbie Blogger to Blogger Extraordinaire!