Living Graciously, Artfully, Frugally.

Consciously taking notice of the gifts each day places in our path.

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.” R. W. Emerson

Friday, May 28, 2010

On a Serious Note

I try to be lighthearted and post about fun and "fluff" but I just don't have it in me today.
Lately I have been feeling like Alice, plunging swiftly down the rabbit hole into a world I hardly recognize.

When we had children, my husband and I made the decision that I would stay home to raise them. We lived comfortably on a single income by living frugally. My husband worked long hours and traveled extensively while I cared for our son and daughter. Because he invested carefully
we were able to purchase some acreage by paying cash, a long time dream for my hubs. A few years later, again, because of his diligent saving, we built a home there. It wasn't a McMansion, just a comfortable family home. We sent our children through Catholic elementary and high school and managed the tuition because we were careful with spending. We didn't buy new cars, we became avid do it yourselfers, we didn't travel extensively and we saved. When the kids started school I drove the 50 minute round trip twice a day to take them and pick them up. I worked part time as a decorative painter and muralist so I could be home when they were home and still bring in a bit of extra income.
We enjoyed a few memorable family vacations, raised a multitude of pets, had more sleep overs and birthday parties and family get togethers than I can count. In other words, a normal happy and loving family.
Because we were thrifty, we were able to help pay for college as well. Then, last May, after 30 years of hard and diligent work in the same industry, my husband's company was bought out and he was "downsized". It was interesting that all the people the company decided to let go were over 50, but that is a story for another time. Again, because he saved so well for so many years, we were able to keep our home while he began to look for another position. His company did provide him with a a severence package including insurance, for 6 months. When the insurance ended in December, we were switched to COBRA which is the Department of Labor insurance plan. Because the company was finalizing their take over deal and the buyer had a different insurer handling the COBRA benefits, we got caught in the glitch. We paid what we were told from December through last month and apparently out of the thousands we paid in that period, we were seven dollars short. So they dropped us. We appealed and the answer was basically, too bad.
Back to Alice. I feel like I have landed at the bottom of the rabbit hole where my reality has been altered beyond recognition. This is a new world where loyalty and years of work mean nothing and large companies are gobbled up by even larger ones and doing the "right" thing seems to be wrong. Where a voice on the phone or at a computer keyboard has the power to say"off with their heads"  without regard to the very real consequence it may have on a family. A frightening world in which all the plans and dreams of a lifetime can be changed in an instant. Where friends who have worked and saved just like we did, all find themselves falling down the rabbit hole as well.

I know we will find our way in this new and altered world but at the moment it isn't a very pretty world in which to live. My husband has always done whatever he could to insure that I and our children were happy and well cared for. That has always been his first priority. Because of him we will weather this change in circumstance and climb out of the rabbit hole into the light of a new day.
Still, I am frightened by this new world. I see so many out of work. I see our son within a few credit hours of graduation with a triple major in Neuro Science, Biology and Chemistry yet he hasn't been able to find a job so he will remain in school and begin Graduate studies with hopes that things will be better in a year or two. I see friends still raising children and depending on two incomes, losing both in a matter of months. I see all the hype about frugal living as if it is some great new idea. What about all the people out there who have always lived this way? I understand that some have lived beyond their means and for them the rabbit hole is a very dark place indeed, but most of us have tried to live good, healthy and happy lives, working and giving and serving in our communities, without spending every penny as soon as it hit our pockets. Saving for the days ahead when we could relax and maybe use those savings to fulfill a dream or two. Now it seems that world no longer exists. I am sad to see it go. We will adjust, however I can't help but feel we have lost something of value, some virtue, in that adjustment.
I try not to be discouraged but I just had to get this off my chest. We will be fine.
My husband has started his own business after realizing there just aren't any jobs out there comparable to his old one, for a man of his age. He would probably never have taken the plunge if this hadn't happened. Now instead of working to make money for a global company that exists only for profit he is working to help small businesses save some money, turn a better profit and stay in business. He is working for himself, for us and for clients that he gets to know personally. No more running around like the March Hare, yelling "I'm late". He is happy. He will be successful. I hope it works out as well for all the others out there struggling with the same situation.

There is light at the top of the rabbit hole, slightly altered light, but still bright.
This blogging community has been such a source of strength and encouragement. Thanks for being there.
How is life in your world?

Have a marvelous Memorial Day weekend, P.
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Vintage Treats that Came Home

Here is what I bought at Springfield...

Everything I brought home is going into my studio. Hours have been spent trying to get my space the way I want it. When we finished the basement, a little room was built just for Sadie and me to do our art. Instead, it somehow became a storage closet. No more! Sadie is moving to her brother's old room and her room is becoming an art studio just for her. The amount and size of the work she has as a fine arts major can't be contained in a shared studio space. (At least not one the size of a storage closet, tee hee)
Now I will have a space just for me, to fluff up as I please. Sadie can do her tatto, digital, bohemian, yada yada and I can play in my feminine, vintage, kitchsy, red and white and pink and blue get the picture.
Sadie and I have similar taste in many things, but our working styles do not mesh. I am more on the tidy side. I crave some organization. I think it comes from all the "mom" years of organizing school, sports, play dates and parties, because I certainly didn't start out that way. Sadie on the other hand, is all about the process. The messier the better for her.
Now we will have our own space, respectively, but we can still collaborate when the urge hits. If I go missing for long bits of time it is only because I am working hard to complete all of these things by the end of this month. Wish me luck. If you saw the spaces now you would know I need it!
 I am also working on several swaps and I have a few other things up my sleeve that I am not quite ready to share. I have also made a few blog changes. My list of blogs was getting unmanageable on my sidebar and I was missing out on posts from some of my faves. I took the blog I tried to start about Empty Nesting and placed all my must visits there. It is much easier to find them and visit from Fly Away Home now. You can click on the first link in my sidebar to take you there. I realized I was not going to get that blog up and running anytime soon. My "empty nest" really isn't very empty at all at the moment.

The process of putting all of these "new" spaces together is so enjoyable but very time consuming so I may be MIA for a while. I hope to have a lot to share when I get a free moment here and there.
It will be a blast to put these Springfield goodies to use. The little couple planter and the poodle letter holder are pieces I purchased from Kathy at Sylvia's Vintage Daughter, and the photos and flashcards of household items are from Sandy and Joe at Rhubarb Reign. The other's are from miscellanious vendors. They will all be well loved and put to good use.
In closing I have a question for all of you vintage experts out there. I bought this awesome Lassie lunchbox for storage. What is a good way to remove some of the rust without damaging the graphics? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Have a tidy Tuesday, P.

                                                           Thanks for hosting Diane!
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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Springfield Antique Show, a Junker's Paradise

We headed north yesterday morning for the Springfield Antique Show and Flea Market. Just about an hour and a half from us we have one of the biggest shows around! Although there is a show each month, in May and September they host their Extravaganza's, 2200 dealers set up on the Clark County Fairgrounds. We even set up here in September of 08. I would like to do it again this year. I posted about it here and here.

Everything can be found here, from stained glass windows and huge door frames to flowers for your garden.

I met a couple of bloggers there as well. Here is Kathy from Sylvia's Vintage Daughter. Her space is always so cute. Just like her.

My hubs took a pic of us together but my eyes were closed so no posting that one! I bought a few sweet goodies for my studio space from her. More on my haul later.

I am on a tight budget so no big items for me until I get rid of all the things already overflowing in my garage. I was sorely tempted though.

Look at this crazy little German deco piece. It is a toy replica of a store for a child. The drawers have all the items printed in German on the front.  Someone's little kinder must have spent hours playing here. Wonderful! Wunderschon! Wunderbar! Wundervoll! OK, enough!

I also met Sandy and Joe from Rhubarb Reign, no pics though. We were just about finished at the point and I totally forgot about my camera. Unbelievable, I know. They will be at the Burlington Antiques Show tomorrow and that is even closer to us. If we get a moment to head south I will try to get a pic. I did score some great ephemera there however. I will share it in another post.

So many things to covet. We also had a ball just watching the people, and being surrounded by the scent of fairground food.

I mean, seriously, when you think of Ohio fairgrounds, you immediately envision Thai food...right? Good, though.

I can't count how many little dogs were being pushed around in strollers. These two were a hoot!

This piece of re-purposed furniture was amazing. An old cabinet, tin tiles, the top of a gas stove, a bit of paint and some wine glass holders, voila, a vintage bar! I want one.

I saved the best for last. This pic is for TNT Debbie and her Cat Daddy. We didn't sample the fare but I took a lot of photos because I have a little plan for them. Later...

I will share my purchases in another post, today is my sweet little Sadie girl's 19th birthday and we also have a party tonight for my good friend's son who just graduated from college and has taken a job in Cambodia. Busy weekend, hope yours is great!

Have a scintillating Saturday, P.
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Monday, May 10, 2010

Made That (Or copied in this case)

New door decor completely inspired ( some could say stolen) from Joy at Joys of Home. She has the best decorating ideas and is one of my big DIY inspirations. Although silk flowers are not a huge part of my decor, how else can you bring color to a front door that is constantly in use? Real flowers here would last all of an hour or two before having their delicate little blossoms scattered over the porch.

Joy has the perfect thrifty solution.
My front door went from red to green two years ago (note the red showing through where the dogs scratch to get in, I touch up door paint every month or so) and I have been wanting a pop of red here. I followed Joy's lead . Three bunches of poppies and a foam block from Dollar Tree, a Good Will basket sprayed white, a red frame from Michaels dollar bin and some daisies from my craft stash and voila!

I stuck the block of foam in the basket and arranged the flowers. I downloaded a butterfly print from Abbie at the Vintage Moth. Love her generous spirit! Cut the print to size and popped it in the frame. I didn't have floral wire immediately at hand so I grabbed some paper clips and wired the frame to the basket as well as creating a hanging loop at the back. Then onto the hook already attached to the door.  Aside from the trip to DT this all took less than 20 minutes.

Check out the basket of hydrangeas on Joy's header. As soon as I find a similar basket that is so going to be my next project. Really Joy, I'm not stalking you...much. She is such a wealth of ideas when you are stuck on a decorating project and have a small budget as well. Visit her if you haven't already. She is awesome!

Have a mellow Monday, P.
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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day !

     Image courtesy of Pretty Things for You.

Have a marvelous Mother's Day, P.
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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sunset through the Maples

Sunset glimpsed through a lace of leaves.

                          Golden and green as evening begins her slow descent.

                                     The fragrance of honeysuckle floats on the breeze.

An army of spring peepers prepare for their nightly chorus.

Have a serene Saturday, P.

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Friday, May 7, 2010

White's Farm Finds

As promised, here are the goodies I picked up on Wednesday at White's Farm flea market.

Old bottles for $2.00. Two little transferware bone dishes, for $3.00 each, and a lap tray which will be stashed away for my vintage Halloween decorating. ($7.00... I know...but it is soooo cute!)
This flea market is listed on the Garage Sale Tracker Web Site. Have you visited? It is a fabulous way to find garage sales in your area, or to advertise your own sale.

 To celebrate their new app for iPhone they are giving away not one but 2 iPhones!!! Amazing, no? Go to the  Garage Sale Tracker Give Away for a chance to win. Just don't win mine, tee hee! 

GST gives you driving directions, the ability to find only sales with your specifications and a way to contact sellers with questions. I found several sales I would like to hit this weekend already!
Just FYI, I am posting this as a favor, because this is an awesome tool for us junk lovers. I am NOT being paid in any way for the link, just want to get the word out because I am all about finding more places to feed my vintage addiction!

I also mentioned that White's Farm had a lot of new and knock off merchandise, which I usually walk right by, but these scarves stopped Pam and I in our tracks! Light weight and summery, all five cost about the same as a single scarf at Target. They will keep Sadie and I wrapped in color all summer long! Jealous?

Have a fashionable Friday, P.
P.S. I have no idea why my print is so small. Can't fix it, not gonna sweat it!
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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Yesterday's Wanderings

Yesterday morning I met my friend and Lia Sophia Manager, Pam, for a little flea marketing. We went to White's Farm in Brookville, Indiana.

At 8 AM the morning was cool and the sky promised a beautiful day ahead.

The parking area was already quite full.

This is more of a farmers market/ flea market with a variety of new knock off type merchandise, plants, flowers, produce and the sweetest bunch of little critters of all variety for sale. I also managed to find some good "junk". Some things were higher priced than I like so I had to pass them by. I will show you what I brought home tomorrow. Today I want to share what I didn't bring home, no matter how lovely.

My brother grows these from seed every year and loads us up, so no petunia's came with me.

Gorgeous feathers on this fellow didn't tempt me to actually make a purchase. Matter of fact, our neighbor had a few and they are quite noisy, kind of like a baby's cry. So, no peacock.

Now these little creatures really did steal my heart. I have been thinking of getting a few chickens. Sweetest, softest, cuddliest little chickies!

Not being a "real" farm girl, just a wannabe, I didn't realize that if you buy your chicks at this age, there is no telling what sex they are. You may end up with a bunch of roosters. I am glad Pam was there to give me the 411. Who knew? Obviously not me.

How could anything be so soft and adorable?

No chicks in my future.

If I want to be serious about egg layers then "teen age" chickens are the answer. (Once again, being a wannabe, I was feeling sorry for all these beauties being jammed together in cages.) Of course any Frippery hens would have to have the cutest fluffed up henhouse to brood in. Until that happens, no hens will be purchased.

Now this guy could have come right home with me, but there was no room in Pam's SUV. Surely my hubs is grateful for that.
What a fun morning. Thanks Pam! We have to do it again.

Have a thriving Thursday, P.
(Hard to find adjectives beginning with th)
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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday Wishes

Sitting at my desk ...

making plans and dreaming...

 of this...

Some days I wish I had a personal carpenter/ gardener/ housekeeper so I could get things done and still have time for myself. That ain't happenin'. So how long do you think this will take? I am adding it to my list!
Have a temperate Tuesday, P.
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