Saturday, March 23, 2013

Estate Sale Eye Candy

One of the perks of my job is being able to justify stopping whenever I want to look for deals on vintage stuff, art stuff or really anything that catches my attention. I have been saying that I would beg off the vintage shopping for a while, but I do run a barn sale and I do have a show coming up in 2 months. At least, this is what I tell myself as I stand here, looking at all the stacks of crusty old stuff vintage treasures in back of my van, knowing that I am going to have to explain these purchases to DK when (and if) he sees them. It's a good thing there are lots of nooks and crannies in the studio.

I got lucky today and just happened upon an estate sale. There were a lot of drool worthy goodies in the main rooms: fantastic mid- century side tables in immaculate condition, a beautiful ironstone pitcher and vessel set, a gorgeous full set of silver in it's original box.  But alas, these treasures were just not in my budget. I have vowed to only buy my vintage with cash, and there wasn't much in my pocket. So I took a deep breath and walked into the basement.

 Don't you just love old hammered aluminum serving pieces?

My heart perked up instantly as I rounded the corner into the dingy room. Tables and table of filthy treaures!! At bargan basement prices. I had arrived. There must be a small part of heaven reserved for rooms of filthy things, just waiting to be found, cleaned and loved. There is such joy in that.

The first thing I grabbed was an old, flat piece of slate. I have been wanting one to use as a chalkboard to write prices or information at the show and almost started jumping up an down when I saw it there in the shadows. The other shoppers must have thought me a little odd when I snapped it up and looked at them defiantly, daring them to try to take MY slate.

Further perusing unearthed a good sized bag of vintage clothes pins. Now I knew the barn sale-ing gods really were smiling down on me. I really needed something small for the Lucketts show in May. What could possibly be better than a bucket full of old clothes pins at 3 for $1? Sold!

Flush with these two successes, I kept digging. And then I saw it. One of the most sought after bits of kitchenware in all vintage accessory-dom. A vintage kitchen scale, bright yellow, and still very functional. (So functional in fact, that I had to hide it from my kids once  I got it home and cleaned up.) You know I totally heard angel voices singing about that one.

Isn't it just so cheerful? I love it.

I also managed to uncover the enamelware basin the scale is sitting in. And THE most darling stool I have seen in a long time. 

"Use your stool to sit and climb and also when it's TV time." Love it!

The daughter of the homeowners was helping to run the sale and she said the stool was hers from when she was two. As she said she graduated high school in 1973, that makes this little piece of wood
circa 1955. Is that vintage enough for you?

I couldn't pass up the two hammered aluminum bowls either.

The details just kill me.

I might have to keep this one.

Overflowing with excitement and with my arms loaded up with almost more than I could carry alone, I walked to the counter and paid for all my loot with the cash in my pocket. I was shaking with the elation of it all. I do love me a good shopping day. It always makes me feel like I must be doing something right.

Here are a few more treasures I've happened upon unexpectedly this spring.

Don't you just love old board games? 
I can't put my finger on the appeal, but they just put me in my happy place.

And anything with a patina on it. 

I originally bought this pair of paintings for the frames, but they kinda grew on me, so I think I'll keep them together. The morning sun washed them out a bit. They are brighter in person.

And now, my dear friends, here is the good news. I bought every piece of it for you. Everything you've seen here, and a bunch more, will be for sale in my booth at the Old Luckett's Store Spring Market this May 18th and 19th. And don't just come to shop with me. Miss Mustard Seed will be there, and the ladies from Chartreuse and Company (here are picks from their latest show), and Christen Bensten from Blue Egg Brown Nest. In all, I think there are 200 vendors this year, with gorgeous things for you all. Anything vintage you can think of is there. Giant metal letters. Old chairs. Blue glass bell jars. Piles of things made from antique French linens. I'm telling you, you really do want to go to this show.

So, for the people in the back:

The Old Luckett's Store Spring Market
Lucketts, Virginia,  
just North on 15 from Leesburg.

May 18th and 19th 
from 10am to 5pm both days

I will be waiting for you in the "Field of Dreams".

(No really. That is where my booth is located. I'll post a map, if I get one. Then you can do strategic planning of where you want to go first.)

See you all there!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How to Decorate With Dry Moss

About a year ago, Better Homes and Gardens did a spread about how to use moss in your garden baskets. I was completely taken with it. Since the barn sale last spring was at my place, I could stage however I wanted. I decided that moss need to play a huge role.

After a few feverish sessions looking for moss sources online, I discovered this little company called Moss Unlimited in Forks, WA. Forks is located near the only temperate rainforest in the United States, and, as any good rainforest should, they have booges of moss there. So much so, that Moss Unlimited can sell it by the box load.  I went with the dried sheet moss described here.

Now this might not look like much to you, but this is actually a pretty big box. (24in x14in x12in, to be exact.) You could fit a side table in it. My five year old uses it as her "bed" in the basement when she and her sister play house. And she fits with room to spare. I think the whole thing cost me around $45, including shipping across the country.

OK, so you take the plunge and your huge box of dry moss shows up. Now what do you do with all your 2 ft long pieces of gorgeous moss? (I swear about 80 people asked me that when I told them I had a huge box of moss in my garage.)

Actually, I've made up a neat little list of idea for you. Wasn't that nice of me? Actually, I've had a year to play with the stuff and this is what I've done with it.

1. Create a very dramatic table scape.

 These shots were from the 2012 spring barn sale. More pics of this show here.

I wasn't sure if the moss was treated or not, so I put a piece of muslin under it to protect the table from any scratches or potential chemicals.  It didn't smell like chemicals though, just the rich, earthy smell of a deep, ancient forest. It was a scent that recalled some of my deepest childhood memories playing in the old growth forests in Oregon. (I just checked the site and Moss Unlimited's moss is completely untreated)

Now I never had any intention of eating off this table, but if I did, I might confine the moss to the center, where my utensils weren't sitting directly on it. if you're worried about damaging the finish or something, you could even put it on an old cookies sheet, with some moss scraps trailing over the edge to hide the metal. It would look cool with a huge flower arrangement on it, or just a few forced bulbs here and there.And nests. Nests look cool with moss, pretty much always.

2. Do a fantasy spring display on your mantle.

Meet Haussen and Pfeffer.

Just start by plunking down your moss on the mantle. If you are worried about scratching a finish, then line it with paper or fabric first. You can tear the moss or stack it to suit your needs. Then just pile your stuff on top of it. I found it was hard to get the lighter weight things like the orchids, to sit level.  So I tore a hole in the moss and fit the orchid in the hole.

3. Use the moss to make your forced bulbs 
and potted plants prettier.
Until forcing bulbs start growing, they can can look a little stark. If you nestle the bulbs between a bit of moss, on top of the rocks, you have green to look at from the get go.

Moss also makes a nice cover for dirt in pots as well.

If you've never forced bulbs before, you should try it. It's really easy, if you get the right bulbs. I used paper whites. You can buy them in plant nurseries or even at the grocery stores around the Holidays.

Once you have your bulbs, you put them in a container. You don't need any dirt, so anything with a side to hold in the water will do. I used an apothecary jar because I don't like it when the greens flop. But you could even use a tray with sides and just tie the greens up when they get too long.

You can start with rocks to stabilize the bulbs, or just moss, like the picture above. Break little holes in the moss to act as a support for your bulbs. Sneak them into the holes and then water until you can see your bulb has about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water up it's side. And then just wait.

Pretty soon you'll have a jar full of flowers!

4. Line your cloches or trays with moss.

See how it just gives a little extra something to that glass cloche? There's nothing else inside. But that little hit of green and fluffy texture catch your eye.

Shh...Don't tell DK I borrowed his nice camera to shoot this.

See how happy King Rupert is on his perch of moss? But a vase full of flowers would also look amazing. Or even something as simple as a white bowl full of clementines. 

One downside I have noticed with this particular variety of moss is that loses its green, and gradually fades to a more olive-brownish color in the sun. So if you want it greener for longer, keep it out of bright light. The stuff I have been careful with still looks like it did a year ago.

5. Use moss as a surprise element to your display shelving.

Here I just lined the shelves of an armoire with it and staged a bunch of pretty ruffled white wear. I love how it makes the white jump out so you see the ruffles. And it''s so pretty with the silver on the shelf below. There is just something that makes me giddy about putting the rustic and the refined together.

Here it is by itself. You could add any number of things to it. Add old books as a platform for smaller things. A nest. Some pretty silver candlesticks. White ceramic animals. A bird house. Twig balls. Your collection of  milk glass. A glass cloche bearing some fabulous treasures. You know, now that I think of it, all those things could look really cool together on a moss covered shelf. (Oh wait. That's my mantle I'm thinking of, isn't it?)  The possibilities really are are only limited to your imagination.
6. Make your own kokedama 
(Japanese for "plant wrapped in moss and twine")

image from flor de

image from the collection of nopenothanks on

image from here

These are the coolest things! I haven't had time to make one yet, but I still have just enough moss. Maybe I'll make some to sell for the Luckett's Fair.

The process seems pretty straight forward:

1. Find a plant small enough to fit in a ball of dirt and hang by a string.
2. Wrap the bare roots in moss and wrap with cotton string.
3. Make a round dirt ball with moderately wet soil 
(you'll have to check other tutorials for recommendations of what kind to use)
4. Make a hole and put your root ball in the dirt ball.
5. Wrap the dirt ball now containing the plant with moss.
6. Wrap the whole thing together with string.
7. If you want it to hang, now is the time to figure that out.

Here is an awesome tutorial from
Here is another one from The Gateway .
Both are way better than mine so check them out, maybe before you start making your dirt balls.

So there you have it. 6 Amazing ways to use your box of moss.

Unfortunately, my box is now empty. I guess I'll have to head back to Forks.

BTW I was not sponsored or paid in any way for this post. 
I just had a ton of fun with my moss and really like the folks at Moss Unlimited.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

3 Weeks Later

It's been three weeks to the day since I posted. I promise it wasn't that I didn't have a good idea. I actually have a great idea that I have been wanting to do since Christmas. But things happened. Things like Karianne of Thistlewood Farms posting her cute office here and getting me all excited about chevron rugs and Linda from It All Started With Paint taking about her living room redo here and giving me the 411 on . I found the perfect chevron rug. Orange. Not too trendy. 
Check it out. It's perfect, right?


There were two problems here. 
The first was the rug was totally out of stock. 
The second was I have no money, so it's a good thing the rug was out of stock.

I promise this all really does have to do with not posting for three weeks. 

Since I wanted a rug, but didn't have any money, I did what any artistically inclined woman would do, and started painting something completely irrelevant. This lead to the purchase of a quart of flat orange paint and a satin sample of the same orange color. As I realized that there was going to be tons of orange paint let over, I had a little conversation with myself. 

I said, "Self, it was really stupid to spend $12 on a quart of paint when you already had the sample for free and that was all you needed." 

And myself replied, "No it wasn't. The flat paint looks way better than the satin did."

I had to agree. The flat paint really does look way better than the satin did.

Myself, now all flush with pride said, "Think of something else to do with the paint and use it up."

"Hmm..." I thought, "Dana was talking about how people have been making chevron rugs..."

And there you have it. I made a floor cloth with a bunch of that orange paint, a drop cloth (also inspired by the creations of Linda at It All Started With Paint) and a bunch of other paint I already had. 

Wanna see it?

There you go. Just a peek. 

It took way longer than I thought it would, but I am thrilled with the result. I promise to post about it soon, with better pics.

And notice the frame on the chalk board? I made that out of crown molding I had lying around.

And I have been spending the better part of this week with these lovelies.

Let's just say DK gave me the go ahead when I wasn't expecting it. So I tackled a much larger project than I originally had planned. It amazing what kid of trouble you can get into when you are trapped at home on a Friday without a car and you discover a virtually untouched quart of the paint in the exact color you have been looking for for the last two years. 

So there you have it. I blame the chevron carpet trend currently sweeping the nation. Hopefully next week, you'll get the joy of reading that outstanding post I've been meaning to write. 

But you never know. My family room has been telling me it needs crown molding and a new coat of creamy white paint...