Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Doc Watson Will Be Missed

March 3, 1923 – May 29, 2012

There is an interesting article about him here (including the surprising material that the head of his first banjo was made from). He will be missed.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Peek Inside: Patterns

It's no secret that I love estate sales. That said, the treasures being sold are only half of the joy for me. It's the homes themselves that often hold the greatest allure. Especially if they still have original vintage touches. Admittedly, it's often very hard to take photos because there are other customers around (and who wants to be the freak who gets caught taking photos of strangers?) and the majority of times, the people holding the sales don't understand why one would want to photograph the homes. That last bit is a shame to me. So many times, they just don't get the charm of the houses that they are holding the sales in. Or the history. Or the relevance.

Often, the fact that the houses are being emptied and put up for sale further fuels my fire to document the great old touches in the homes because for good reason, I fear that they'll be removed and thrown away within mere days or months. I've decided that even though sometimes, the photos that I take at the sales are covert and rushed and blurry, I'm going to start sharing them with you all here. Today, I'm pulling from my stockpile of photos from past sales and would like to focus on pattern.

People in past generations were extremely into using and mixing patterns in their homes. Today, it seems like if a pattern isn't carefully coordinated in a bed linen set in a bag or in a matching towel set that a department store suggests, many people fear using pattern in their homes today. It's like people feel like they have to be given permission before bringing a color or pattern into their home. Is it in style? Would my neighbors approve? What would Nate Berkus say? Remember, the home improvement stores may highlight certain colors and patterns because they think that they're the current trend - but if you look further, you'll notice thousands and thousands of colors and patterns displayed mere steps away from what they think we want.

I'd love it if the fear of choosing patterns and colors would go away and more people could just go with their hearts when decorating like we used to do. Sure, people have always gone with trends but it seems to me that we've felt a lot more comfortable veering from and mixing trends in the past. Here are some shots from several different houses that I'd like to showcase because of their use of patterns in the decor.

This house belonged to a local politician and his two story home was packed full of historical and travel mementos. This wallpaper was in his Den. We stayed at this sale for three hours because there were just too much wonderful things to see and go through.

I love this linoleum. And that harvest gold dishwasher with the knotty pine cabinets with original hardware. It also had the period yellow cracked ice counter tops with metal edging. I recall that everything at this sale was cheap and wonderful. And that a dealer beat us to our dream couch (which we eventually accidentally bought back from him).

This one is a more subtle bit of patterning. The original linoleum goes great with the two-toned paint on the cabinet doors. I love the little bar on the end. The white counter tops might be hard to keep clean but they look really nice with the color combo and help the newer appliances blend.

This was the inside of a basement pantry.
Pristine old atomic patterned shelf paper in pink and gold. 

This was a little funky farmhouse in the country. The woman at this sale couldn't understand my wanting to take photos of the floors but did give her permission. I

I loved this kitchen so much. They put wallpaper on the door fronts, the walls and even on the back door. I really loved the combination of the soft green and orange. And the kitchen was huge and felt so happy and sunny.  The rest of the house had a mostly bicentennial theme. 

You can see here that the house even had the original floor and metal edged counter top.

This is Helen's kitchen (whose crafts I showed you on the last post) with a bright flower print wallpaper. It's hard to tell from the sale merchandise everywhere but her kitchen was so pristine. Glossy wood cabinets and the original counter tops. I wasn't able to get a photo of it but there was also a built-in knotty pine wall pantry. I love the unexpected color combo of yellow, orange and periwinkle blue. 

A closer look at Helen's wallpaper.
This is the breakfast nook with vintage dinette and off of this room was a little knotty pine den.

And here is a peek down into her basement. Sweet linoleum and a complete kitchen down there. One of the great things about this house was how decorating from many decades happily coexisted. The house was built in the fifties as evidenced by the kitchen, the wood trim and the basement lino - but the sixties and seventies had a strong voice too.  There was also an original pink tile bathroom.

That's one thing that we have to remember when decorating or restoring a vintage home. Most homes wouldn't have all things from one decade like a museum. People would have brought handed-down family furniture with them or renovated certain areas of their homes while leaving other areas intact. Don't be afraid to mix and match things that you love.

I hope that you've enjoyed the first in my series of peeks inside of local estate sale homes.  There will be more soon, you can bet!

Meanwhile Back At The Ranch: We're still working on the hall and foyer. The drywall is done and cleaned up after, thank goodness! We've got it primed and are now trying our best to pick a paint color. The kitties are still sailing on the rough seas of getting to know the new kitten (who has become quite the biter and wire chewer). The new Blogger format makes posting take three times longer than it used to and I sometimes see coding in my sleep. The kitten likes that it takes me longer because he likes to stomp on the keyboard and chase the cursor. I hope that you all have big weekend plans. Hey, some of you will even get long weekends due to the holiday!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Would Helen Do?

A couple of weekends back, I went to a great estate sale in a charming little rambler of a ranch house. The sale was super heavy on handmade crafts which of course, tickled me to no end. The lady that had lived in the house was named Helen and she was a serious crafter.  Popsicle sticks and felt. Styrofoam and sequins. Crochet and pom-poms. The whole nine yards. Yep, I was in Heaven.

Here are some of Helen's crafts that I brought home with me:

The Can Man

You guessed it! He's made out of an old pop-top beer can and might I say, a wonderful application of felt. He might have been intended to be a bank as Helen was careful to felt around the can opening. His face is creepy in a way that I can appreciate greatly.

Sequined Sun

Super cheerful refrigerator magnet. I like his little half-cocked smile as if to say, "I'd never tell anyone that you're snacking again. Have pudding and a grilled cheese!" 
I love you, Sequined Sun. Thank you for not judging me. 

Caterpillar Carl

This guy is a refrigerator magnet and note clip. 
I can not get over his tiny top hat! He's puttin' on the ritz! 
I imagine him speaking French, don't you?

Fancy Turtle

Made from an old egg carton with sequins and glitter. Razzle Dazzle!
I especially appreciate the delicate glitter application on the feet.

Bunny Basket

Little handmade basket with wire hanger handles and will you look at those eyelashes!
She's missing some of her aqua sequined toenails but she's still perfect to me. 

Bunny in a Cup

I can not reason why this bunny is shoved in this cup like it is but I'm not one to question Helen's vision. Once again, the eyelashes! Sweet pom-pom nose and those perfectly crafted ears.

Easter Bunny in Easter Bonnet

This one has seen better days but I think that it's still so lovely with it's little netted flower hat and chenille whiskers.  (Mr. Kitten Pants thinks so too.)

Glitter!! Kapow!!

If there is anything that I love as much as finding vintage handmade kitsch crafts, it's finding the original supplies used to make them. I like to think that I'm channeling wonderful ladies like Helen when I use their very own supplies for my own crafts. And I can't resist glitter. I've tried.

The thing about glitter is, if you get it on you, be prepared to have it on you forever 'cause glitter is the herpes of craft supplies. - Dimitri Martin

 Tuxedo Cat Painting

All over the house were paintings that Helen had done. The person running the sale gave me her scoop on the paintings saying that Helen's brother was actually the "true artist" and that Helen's paintings weren't "quite as good". I'd have to disagree. I loved every one that I saw. Sure, they're not the stuff of prestigious art museums but they're the kind of thing that I really love and I can picture Helen just painting away on this one. It was unfinished and only had black spots for eyes so in a move that I'm pretty sure that Helen would approve of, I added some old faded googly eyes.

I hope that you've enjoyed this little tour of Helen's creations. I think that she did herself proud. I wish that I could have met her before she passed but in owning her handiwork, I feel like I know what was in her heart - joy and creativity.  And those two traits tell you an awful lot about a person. I always research the people whose estate sales that I go to and Helen's obituary said, "She was kind, gentle and warmhearted". I have no doubt that she was.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tomorrow Is Another Day

Looks like I'll be showing you all my estate sale granny crafts tomorrow. There will be no pleasant photo taking as today is sanding of the drywall day at our house. I'm locked in a room with a kitten who is scared of the enormously loud noises booming through the house.

He's freaked and biting. I've got a headache. The Mister is out in the yard hacking at something with an axe over and over and over in a way that I am trying to convince myself does not remind me of "The Shining". 

The walls and floors are vibrating. Drywall dust is flying. I think that the whole lot of us are about to go insane! I want my house back! You know those makeover shows on TV where a huge crew of people show up and send the family living in the house on a glamorous vacation so that they can later return and ooh! and ahh! over the perfectly clean and organized after of it all? Yeah, right.

Just because the timing seems right, I'm including a little short film that the Mister and I made from still shots one Halloween night with our mannequin boy, Jack in tribute to "The Shining". 


Just picture "Renovation" written backwards instead of "Redrum" and you'll have an accurate picture of today at the ranch. I'm pretty sure that the cleanup of drywall dust after the worker leaves will be a lot like that scene from the film where Jack chases young Danny through the shrubbery maze in the snow with very, very ill intent. May the good Lord (and the shop vac)  have mercy on our souls.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Monday, May 21, 2012

Camp Chaotic

Things are bazonkers at the ranch right now. Little Mr. Kitten (final name pending) has been with us a week today and boy is he ripping things up!

He can jump higher than any kitten that I've ever seen. And look at those ginormous feet! The other cats are still scared of him. Well, two of them are. The other one is just grumpy and has had her grumble button stuck in the "on" position for seven days now.

In other news, for the past two years, our foyer has looked like this:

Pretty.. ain't it?  I think that it's that "shabby chic" that people talk about.

When we moved into the house, the foyer and the hall that runs through the entire house was painted over wallpaper and it looked so crappy. So, I decided that I was going to try and pull it down. Unfortunately, the walls hadn't been sized before the wallpaper was put on back in the 50's. The paper was put straight onto drywall. Oh boy. So, I got one wall done and realized that we were going to need new walls. Which is what is happening now. Dust. Mess. Tears. Cursing. Coughing. Waiting. Hoping. Threats of moving.

The job started last Thursday and is still going on. We procrastinated for two years and finally, it just had to happen. Stay tuned as hopefully there will be an "after" soon! Oh gosh, I hope so at least. I'm not sure why we chose to adopt a new kitten at the same time as a major renovation job but sometimes, life just happens that way. We're going to have to make him a tiny little dust mask.

I happened to come across a photo of when we bought the house a few years back.

There used to be this blood red light fixture in the foyer that made it seem like you were entering a creepy haunted house when you came in the front door. I actually loved the fixture itself but the area was wrong. When it was on, red light poured out of the windows on our front door making it look like we were running a bordello. And let me tell you, I was too tired from moving to entertain any gentlemen guests. Though, if I'd known how much renovating an old house can cost, I might have reconsidered.

There were also two different colors of wood on the floors that butted up into the foyer which was really strange. The brown part was real wood but the yellow part was Pergo. Every time that we walked on the yellow part, it made this hollow sound like we were tap dancing. I kid you not, the kitties' claws kept us up at night as they walked across it. Yes, I think that some "after" photos are going to be in order if we ever get this job done! It was replacing those floors that made us put off the joys of another big renovation job.

We're in the process now of trying to pick out a paint color which admittedly, is one of my least favorite jobs. We also bought some more lights for the hall and a ginormous landscape portrait that will be hung. We got it an estate sale last week and are trying to air out the 1950's musty basement smell that it came with. At this point, we're thinking a treatment with odor absorbing clay might be in order. And an exorcism.

I hope that you all are having a good week so far. Come by tomorrow and if I'm still living, I'll show you some crazy granny crafts that I snagged at that same estate sale last weekend. If you're into that sort of thing!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Girl Stuff

This week, I got to hang out with some of my local blogging friends for the first time!  It all happened because Lisa from "My Pretty Baby Cried She Was A Bird" got an invite to an event from Dressbarn. Because she shows her flair for putting together beautiful outfits from vintage pieces,  she caught their eye and they invited her to come to a blogger event and asked her to bring three guests along.

Okay, no..I'm not a fashion blogger. In fact, if you all could see my sense of fashion, you'd put me in the category of the crazy aunt who has to be given a good talking to (and a trip back to the closet) before you'll take her out of the house. But still, Lisa was nice enough to invite me and take her chances on being humiliated on the imagined red carpet. 

This was a great opportunity because I have a habit of putting off meeting people because I'm a bit of a wallflower. She also invited Rae from "Say It Ain't So" and Jamie from "Owl Really".  I'd met Rae once before when I scared the life out of her in the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill parking lot but had never had the chance to scare the wits out of Jamie. Turns out, all of the ladies were super nice and kind of hilarious, just like I thought they'd be. I felt like I'd known them for years. Or wish I had.

Here are  Lisa and Jamie in the posh dressing room.

Lovely girls! I was also impressed with how nice this Dressbarn was as the one near my house is pretty much a cesspool of sadness.  It's okay. I talked to the sales clerks about it and they agreed. My local location puts the "barn" in Dressbarn. The location where the event was held was sparkling clean and had big dressing rooms with sofas and chandeliers like a nice boutique.

Here's Rae (on the right) and Adrienne from "What Lola Wants" who I was lucky to also meet that night.

Once again, really lovely girls! I like this shot because it reminds me of one of those "Who Wore It Best?" shots that fashion magazines do. But in this case, they both wore it perfectly. I would have been the third girl in this shot if this dress would have fit me. I looooooved it and could imagine it wearing it back to the Omni Hut but it so didn't work on me.

Dressbarn has some beautiful dresses but I'm really tall and many of them show both London and France if I so much as bend over.  Though, there is one dream dress that I'm still trying to figure out how to get.  It might just work out. I'll show you if I get it! Adrienne brought her friend, Steph with her who was also very nice and who did get the dream dress and if nothing else, I'll imagine her whirlwind life of soirees and skirt swishing if I don't get my own. And hand waving gigs on the back of floats because it's that kind of dress. But I'll digress....sigh.

It's really sad that I didn't get more pictures. I was too busy having fun for once, I guess! Though, here are some pictures of the gifts in the swag bags that they gave us.

This nice journal

                            (Coincidentally, the entry from May 18th says, "Get Art Lessons". )

                                  An intriguing Style Aid Kit and blinged out compact.

The Style Aid Kit contains all kinds of things for girly emergencies including pageant tape (which I'll use for my own back-of-the-float moment, I'm sure)  and some sewing, jewelry and hair doo-dads.

After the event, the Mister picked me up and took me to out for a drink (To Sonic of course. We roll hard! ) and I was chattering on and on about how much fun I had while opening the little swag packages and exclaiming, "Ooh! Look at this! It's like I'm a real girl!" I love free stuff. And free stuff that's sparkly - hello - I'm like a freakin' magpie!

A fancy good time was had by all. We closed that joint down, let me tell you. I don't think they'd ever seen anything like a bunch of vintage bloggers in one place like that. It was hard to get used to the fact that we were in a retail establishment and not in a thrift store! At first, we couldn't even deal with the fact that they wanted us to shop and huddled together over to the side. Even with the promise of discounts, some of us couldn't fully wrap our minds around it but before long, we got the hang of shopping in a place that has multiple pieces of the same item and in different sizes. And without the hazards of yellow stains and odd smells that we sometimes find in our usual thrift store haunts.

The staff was gentle with us though. They were really nice and catered to us which was fun. It was my first Pretty Woman-ish moment ever actually. They supplied snacks for the shopping weary and even wrote our names on the outside of our dressing rooms all The Price Is Right style.

If you haven't checked out the blogs of the other girls, be sure and do so. They are such genuine, funny and sweet people and I'd be happy to be stuck on a retail island with them any day.

Oh, and be sure and enter the giveaway for a Dressbarn gift card on Lisa's blog! 

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Friday, May 18, 2012

Audio Crush - JD McPherson

I'm crazy for JD McPherson's vibe and his songs makes me swear that I'm listening to a great old record from back in the day. In order to get the amazing "I've been listening to this record for decades (and had to buy a new copy because the grooves wore off of the first one)" sound on this album, he and his folks used vintage amps, microphones and a 1960's reel-to-reel recorder. All analog. Because, hello. Yes.

Through The Looking Glass (and what Eartha found there)

Mister Kitsch and I were in a completely drab office building last week when we chanced upon this tiny little door, marked as Little Jimmy Dickens' office.

I was so thrilled by it that I couldn't bring myself to so much as open the door for fear of only finding old files or mops and brooms and not a rhinestone covered Little Jimmy behind a tiny little desk.

Or perhaps an enchanting alternate universe like this where I'd gladly be his gingham and bows frocked Alice:

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Omni Hut

 Last night, we were lucky to have friends Karen and Carrie stop in to Nashville from California. They're on a road trip to Graceland. One of the best road trips ever if you ask me! We met up with Nashville friends, Dawn and Dave and made a trek out to the Omni Hut in Smyrna. I've wanted to go there for my entire time in Nashville. Which has been sixteen years so it's about time!

The Omni Hut is a real rarity in Tennessee and the South for that matter as well, you don't get many Polynesian/Tiki restaurants around these parts.  It was built in 1960 by a retired fighter pilot named James F. Walls who took up cooking as a job - but it turned into a eventual hobby while he was stationed in Hawaii as a pilot before World War II. In the service, he trekked all over the world and developed quite a fascination with the culture and food of the lands that he traveled in.

When he retired from the service, Major Walls decided to start a restaurant in the Smyrna, Tennessee area. At first, the restaurant was named "Chinese Cuisine" but after feedback from his guests, he decided to concentrate on a Polynesian theme and changed the name to "The Omni Hut".  And over fifty years later, it's still in business. Unfortunately, Major Walls passed away in March of this year but his staff is still doing him proud. They were so nice to us and made us feel really welcome.  Let's take a look at the place!

We got there before the rest of our friends and were warmly greeted by the late Major Walls' daughter, Polly who was the hostess. She was so sweet and friendly and made us feel right at home. She happily let me walk around and take photos of everything and as some of you know, some businesses get grumpy about that sort of thing. You could tell that she was proud of the place, as she should be.

The decor is beautiful. I'm a nut about bamboo and rock walls so I was in complete Heaven.

I was a wee bit obsessed with this seahorse light.

This is in the black light dining room which can be reserved for parties. Because YES.

Check out this fantastic seashell light.

The elusive Mr. Kitsch and the stunning Swordfish (who would not fit in my purse)

This is the other dining room. The walls had faux flowers inset behind glass and were beautiful. When you're inside of the Omni Hut, it is so easy to convince yourself that you're not in Tennessee anymore. I kinda didn't want to leave.

Of course, there were fancy drinks. The Omni Hut is alcohol free but they let you bring your own with no corking fee. The Hawaiian Tea is a great mixer for your drink of choice.

I didn't get a good shot of the flaming dishes so I found this one online. The dishes are pretty heavy on grilled meats but even vegetarians like the Mister and myself found some good options. In the interest of full disclosure, I got the vegetable chow mien which was like a fail from a daring 50's cookbook - but everything else that I had was good. The Mister got veggie kabobs and the servers deliver freshly baked loaves of Hawaiian bread to the table. They make their salad dressings and Teriyaki sauce from scratch. Yummy. They even have a flaming chocolate dessert but thanks to the huge portions, we were too stuffed to approach.

By the time that we left, we were all giddy - so they must be doing something right there at the Omni Hut.

Aloha Nui!

If you're ever in the Smyrna, Tennessee area, definitely check out the Omni Hut. Make sure to call for a reservation as they're packed on some nights. We guarantee that you'll have a blast!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Takes One To Know One

We just took in a new little kitten. He's undeniably cute.

He could be a temporary foster or maybe a family member if things can work out. He's had a hard life. He was found in Memphis with his siblings as little kittens with no mama. They were brought to Nashville and bottle fed by some great rescue fosters.

Then he got adopted and the people kept him two days and then dumped him in a kill shelter without even telling the rescue! Grr. Luckily, the rescue found out in time to go rescue him again before bad things could happen. And then he came here!

We had hoped that he would be a pal for Pip.

So far, Pip is not amused.

       Which we think is highly comical considering her year and a half reign of terror as a kitten.

It'll be interesting to see how this goes! To be continued, I'm sure....

And great news on the doggies that I posted about recently. They just went to an amazing new home with a young couple that already had one little dog. The couple is super excited to have them and the merging has been perfect. The three little dogs play together until they're worn out and then they go to sleep in little beds side by side.  Seriously.....Aww!!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Treat Your Mother Right

This one is a little fuzzy but too good to pass up. Happy Mother's Day, Buckaroos!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Friday, May 11, 2012

See You Soon!

The Mister and I have been doing a little bit of traveling and I've come home to a lot of stuff to catch up on.  Hope that all is well with you, buckaroos!  Will see you soon!

Until next time,
x's and o's,