Monday, April 27, 2009

Early Mornings

Well, I awoke to several inches of snow this morning . . . after an evening of cold drizzle. It's calm and quiet and the first birds are awakening with their songs filtering into the house. That's the most pleasant alarm clock of all . . .
Time for some breakfast, and then just a little blog before my upcoming trip. There is much to accomplish today. I enjoy my early morning "quiet time" and bible study, before it's light out. The morning is fresh and pristine and I always feel as though I'm getting a little head start on the day. Once the sun is up, the cares of the world rush in, the phone begins to ring and there are expectations that crowd my schedule. This is my time, and I relish the peaceful hour.
My suitcase is packed, my travelling gear is ready. Antiques dealers have their own peculiar tools of the trade. Magnifying glass, magnet, tape measure, flashlight, leather gloves, bungee cords, granny cart, bubble wrap, strapping tape, packing boxes, packing blankets, storage tubs, rain coat, wet wipes, tarps, hat, fanny pack, water bottles, camera, notebook, price guides, James Taylor Cd's, walkie talkies, peanut M&M's . . . lots of peanut M&M's ! And batteries . . . camera batteries, walkie talkie batteries, flashlight batteries . . . I actually own and use work gloves which have tiny little flashlights built into the fingertips, (mechanics gloves), and of course they require a minuscule battery. These are great for reaching into my trailer at midnight to locate some other set of batteries . . . (Thank you Roxie - these are one of the best Christmas presents I ever received!)
I'm ready for my day to begin now . . . thank you for joining me for a little nonsense and my early morning musings.

Friday, April 24, 2009

On The Road Again

I'm planning a road trip with my friends Alice and Lisa, to search for treasures for the shop! We'll be traveling cross country for several days, poking into a variety of haunts for those unique pieces you'll love for your homes! It's spring . . . the weather is iffy . . . could rain or blow or be sunny and perfect . . . no one can predict!
The truth is, we don't even care.
We're packing the essentials and our music, and hitting the road. There's nothing quite like the anticipation of a road trip. (I'm smiling, even as I do my laundry.) Of course, I sort of like doing laundry in my well outfitted laundry room.
I have accumulated some delightful European washboards and antique clothespins and the little shelf is filled with vintage jars and baskets which hold essentials such as soap and fabric softener. There is a peaceful sense of things being well ordered, as laundry flows from basket to washer to dryer to hangers and neatly folded piles. I feel content that I have accomplished my task and enjoyed the process.

Back to the matter at hand . . . shopping!

The store is busy, and that means lots of beautiful items going out each day - and lots of new items replacing them. It's a constant turnover of wonderful finds . . .

and necessitates a constant search for special items that will spark your interest, make your home more beautiful and orderly, and help you express your personal decorating style. I loooove my work.

It's who I am . . . it's what I do!

The thrill of the search is one of my favorite parts of the business. I'm travelling with two of the best shoppers I know - and will have to be on my toes to garner the best, before they discover it! We'll be up early, face long days, walk miles and miles, brave weather and all terrain, fight off other shoppers . . . oh the trials we'll endure . . . lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
(Doesn't it still sound like the most fun you can imagine????)
I wish I could take you all along, to share the excitement.
Watch the post for photos and updates. I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tick Tock

It's snowing again in Denver, and I'm safe and warm in the house. I'm cooking, to pass the time, as the snow falls, deeper and deeper outside. The day is so quiet and peaceful. It seems that time both crawls along, and flies at an unbelievable speed, depending upon what I'm doing . . . While I was doing my taxes, and was under a deadline to organize receipts, mileage and a million other figures, time was racing by. When I needed to study for a class, get to work each day, visit a friend in the hospital, get to church, have lunch with friends and get laundry finished, the minutes were speeding by and I was wishing there were 6 more hours in each day. While I'm awaiting the arrival of my two new grandchildren from Ethiopia, however, the days are creeping along at an unbelievably slow pace . . . There has been a year and a half of hopeful anticipation, expectation and preparation, and now the day is at hand! Soon we will have our two beautiful little people with us. I'm counting the days, as the kids prepare to depart and fly around the world to stand before a judge, who will decree that these precious children are theirs. Then, the journey home, with children who do not speak our language or recognize most of the things we take for granted. They will enter a new world, where everything is a challenge, from language to customs to food. What will they be thinking and feeling, as people they do not know board them on an airplane, and bring them to what might seem like a strange planet? I trust that prayer and love will overcome all obstacles, eventually. These little people will not be sure of us at first. They will, no doubt miss the familiar surroundings, the climate and diet and language of their lives. They will miss people who look like them, and the normalcy of the routine in the orphanage that has been their home. We will welcome them to a wonderful home, new clothing and toys, soft beds, delicious food and clean water. We will hug them and sing to them and laugh and play with them. We will teach them a new language and present them with opportunities. They will be safe and warm and cared for. They will no longer be in the same danger of disease or famine, or loneliness. We will show them our tender love and acceptance, and hope that they will do the same for us. In the meantime, the hours are creeping along, as I wait not so patiently for the next two weeks. Then, they will be "home" and safe and secure.
Tick Tock . . . Tick Tock . . . Tick Tock . . .

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Simple Life

There is much to be said about the gift of the simple life. While I may, from time to time, have just a small twinge of envy over something unattainable, I find myself in quiet reverie and delight at the simplicity of my life. Maybe there is much that I'm missing, but there is so much to be marvelled at in the microcosm of my world! If you asked me to define that simple order, I would have to list my priorities in this way:
God, family, friends and home, followed by work and play.
The delights of my profession include friends found across the country, travel, the thrill of the search for "hidden treasure", enjoying regional food specialties, breathtaking scenery and being with kindred spirits. There's nothing more fun than arriving at your destination, meeting up with your cohorts, being treated to a home cooked meal, then relaxing and reminiscing on the front porch with a cold iced tea. The following morning before daybreak, you're up and preparing . . . donning your hat, comfortable shoes, and backpack, adrenaline pumping, ready for the hunt. There is a coming together for lunch and the first sharing of bounty . . . oohs and aahs, and you're off again to find even more wonderful things. At the end of the day, (weary, sore, hot, dirty), a shower is the most precious gift you've ever received! Supper at a down home restaurant that specializes in local cuisine . . . sharing the day's victories with comrades . . . heaven!
I love that I do what I love to do!
More importantly, I love returning to my quiet little nest. My home is my peaceful haven, arranged to my peculiar taste, and it makes me exceedingly happy to land there, kick off my shoes, turn on my music, and light my candles.
Little things are important. The way sunshine streams in my windows and warms the room . . . the reflection of a happy plant in a mirror, doubling it's beauty . . . fragrances that cause one's spirit to relax . . . home cooked meals, shared with a friend or two . . . good conversation sprinkled with laughter . . . getting the giggles . . . inspiring music . . . my grandson snuggling in my arms, (if only for a few minutes - you know 3 year olds) . . . a smile from the one you love.
I revel in these little everyday blessings . . .
my simple life.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Early Birds

What is more pleasant than meeting with friends and enjoying good conversation?
Hmmm . . . Shopping????
I was an early bird this morning, braving the snow and low temperature to explore an indoor yard sale. There were fewer participants than expected, due to inclement weather, but there were treasures to be found!
I love to rummage through items cast off by others, always expecting some serendipitous find! I was not disappointed.
I found a white enamelware bucket with a wooden bale handle, European in origin . . . perfect for so many chores.
There were little silver butter knives,
majolica-like fruit plates,
a breadboard,
and a miscellany of other items I can put to good use.
I believe the recycling and repurposing of possessions is such an important
value for all of us. The fewer new items we manufacture, the more resources we will conserve.
I was pleased to run into a fellow brave antiquer who repurposes vintage jewelry and other items,
creating fresh and desirable jewelry and lovely home decor. Amy is a delightful and talented woman and you can visit her shop at The Barn, in Castle Rock, Coorado.
I saw several other wonderful women I know, and we shared our finds and caught one another up on recent adventures and escapades. It is good to be hale and hearty and brave . . . adventurous and curious. The temptation at daybreak was to stay snuggled under the quilt, warm and cozy . . . but the decision to jump up and have my coffee, bundle up against the winds and go exploring paid off.
I'm all smiles!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Springtime in the Rockies

What a beautiful Colorado day, and how the sun shone . . . just before the big storm blew in!Springtime is unpredictable in the Rockies with sunshine one minute and snow the next. Saturday may very well be a "snow day", with people staying home because navigating in the snow is too risky. That's a nice feature of Denver - there is a certain latitude for snowy days and safety factors. A number of businesses will be closed depending on where they're located, and others will operate with a minimal staff because some employees will be snowed in. It's all O.K. because customers will stay at home, cozy and warm, enjoying brunch with their families or nestled in their flannels with a favorite book. There will be those who brave the storm to make it to the ski slopes, although they couldn't possibly have made it in to work! Soon the snows will be gone, and there will be no weather excuses for a day off. I say, "enjoy this one - it may be our last snow of the season". It's just too bad it didn't wait until Monday morning to hit!
It's springtime in the Rockies and we're just itching to
plant our flowers. Try starting your seeds in cardboard egg cartons, or in these little, (biodegradable), newspaper rolls.
Using a cookie sheet, lay a foundation of small gravel, then
place your soil in the paper rolls, and plant. In six weeks
they'll be ready to transplant.
Wait until Mother's Day to put them in the garden though, so you'll be safe from those killer frosts!
I wouldn't mind receiving some little mint or herb or ivy starts like these as a Mother's Day present . . . so environmentally friendly!
Paper white narcissus are one of the easiest and most delightful bits of greenery you can grow in your home. Bulbs are easy to deal with, and very inexpensive. Use any container you have that fits the bulb. Fill it 3/4 of the way with gravel. Place the bulb on top and add water, just up to the bottom of the bulb. The trick is to not over water. Make the roots stretch downward for their drink. Place the bulbs in a sunny spot, or under a lamp, and watch them grow. They will eventually form a little bud which will burst into a fragrant bloom.
Enjoy the beginning of springtime, wherever you are . . .

Thursday, April 2, 2009


A warm thank you to those dear readers who have shared their thoughts with me. I know you are busy people, with much to accomplish during your days . . . and yet you have taken time to peruse my little blog. I'm hearing from many of you that you're enjoying the decorating photos and ideas. It's nice to know you're inspired! Here are a few simple tips for achieving a serene setting.
My styling business has grown out of the love for arranging my collections for personal enjoyment and my consistent desire for efficiency and order. Feel free to borrow ideas for your home. One of my trademarks is a monochromatic color scheme that emphasizes textures, scale and tones within a color family. The effect is calm and serene . . . and which of us doesn't need a little dose of that in our environments?

While some designs call for purity and a minimalist approach, most need to be warmed by layers of texture, stacks of books, and personal memorabilia such as jars of seashells and bowls filled with vintage black and white photos. Our favorite memories should surround us, daily.

To achieve a subtle, peaceful scheme, think of the many variations of your favorite color. If necessary, using a color wheel, add one color to the right and one to the left of your favorite hue. While I'm happy staying within the most basic and calm realm of whites, I love mixing as many shades of that family as possible. Snow . . . eggshell . . . linen . . . oatmeal . . . stone . . . cream . . . vanilla . . . ivory . . . wheat. To these, I always add rich deep browns and a variety of nature's greenery.

Once I've decided on a color scheme, I begin to bring together a multitude of textures. Wool, linen, cotton, wood, wicker, glass, stone, metal, ceramic, paper, leather . . . the list is endless.

Nature must contribute her bounty as well: twigs, birds nests, feathers, seashells, smooth river rocks, moss, flowers and greenery. I've treasured abandoned turtle shells, porcupine quills and naturally shed antlers. Acorns, juniper berries and eculyptus branches are favorites of mine. (Mind you, use only two or three of these naturals at a time.)

When you think you're finished, remove an item or two from your vignettes. Paring down is essential and the eye needs a place to rest.

Decorating is an adventure, and should go on continuously. Your home, like your soul, should never grow stagnant. It should be refined, nourished and developed every day. It isn't necessary to display everything you own or love at the same time. Choose a seasonal look and pack up those items which don't fit. In a few months, unpack the next season's accessories, and replace the ones you have been enjoying.

As an example, think tulips for spring, geraniums for summer, sunflowers for autumn and ivy & evergreens for winter.


Birdsnests with eggs for spring, bowls of seashells for summer, branches of berries & gourds for autumn and pinecones & candles for winter.

Have a cup of tea, enjoy a good book, breathe deeply! Thank you for visiting me!

Sweet Blessings

Today I feel like sharing that life is good . . . and there is much to be grateful for in my little world. I was recently pondering the plethora of sweet blessings I have in my life, and realized, (once again), how much I enjoy the quiet, simple pleasures that add up to contentment. For example, I was visiting with family several days ago, holding my grandson on my lap, enjoying conversation and laughter with my daughter, son in law, his mom, my boyfriend and my visiting brother. We were eating, around my daughter's big harvest table, the sun was streaming in the windows, grandson was nestled against me and my brother was regaling us with childhood memories . . . the kids were listening with smiles . . . it was a Norman Rockwell kind of day. There was a pristine frosting of snow - the sort of day you'd like to photograph for posterity. Something caused us to glance out the window . . . and there was a family of deer, 9 of them to be exact, feeding just below the deck. They glanced up at us as we watched them, and there was a sense of peace and cohabitation and trust that just added to the already beautiful day. In times of uncertainty in this country and turmoil in the world, amidst economic upsets and nightly news that brings stress right into your living room, I consistently remember the words of a hymn I learned as a child, entitled Count Your Blessings.
The chorus goes like this:
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God has done; Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
These seemingly simple moments, when added to many other daily, small delights, form the foundation of my joy.
I have faced tough challenges, and sometimes struggled to survive life's ebb and flow, but when all is said and done, I am thrilled to have a spent a lifetime working at the profession I most enjoy, surrounded by people I love, and living in several of the most beautiful locations in America.
Maybe life is what we make of it . . perhaps the love of our friends & family is the number one ingredient in happiness.
Maybe our attitude determines our inner joy.
Maybe faith is the crucial element in knowing peace.
They all add up to a sweet serenity that brings a smile to my face and causes me to whisper . . .
"thank you".


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