September 23, 2012

my estate sale-ing Saturday, in photos

I spent most of my Saturday combing through boxes of stuff and racks of clothes at an estate sale in NW Phoenix, AZ. The house was built in the early 1930s, and would have been a beautiful estate, back in its day. It was a 2-story Spanish-style house with a tile roof, with mature trees, huge pink and yellow lantanas (that were so old they had 'tree trunks' for stems), and two guest houses in the back. The estate sale company posted 150 photos in the listing, which whetted my appetite: all sorts of vintage stuff, a 1930s house- of course I was going to go!! 

The listing did have a couple cautions: apparently the owner had a number of cats (12, I heard someone say) so we should be prepared for a 'cat smell' and if you were allergic, beware... also, the posting said if you were squeamish about bugs or dirt, this probably wasn't the sale for you. Still, I was intrigued! I got there about 8:15, and had to wait in line for about 15 minutes before I could even go inside. It was still pretty crowded with stuff, even on the second sale day!

I couldn't get very good photos of the house, but here is a pic of the large living room... this was definitely a gorgeous house, in its day! The ceiling was arched, with large windows on both sides, along with a fireplace. Unfortunately, it hadn't been kept up, so the plaster and paint was peeling off the ceiling, and the wall along the (boarded-up) fireplace had some holes in. (Plus, the smell of the cats was almost overwhelming, when you first walked in...) 
This room was full of clothes, handbags, scarves, and makeup / creams, etc., most of them never worn. I believe the home-owner's 'hobby' was shopping from the HSN home shopping channel,  so a good portion of the clothes had never even been taken out of the package. There was a round rack (like from a store) that was full of purses and bags, and at least 5 rolling garment racks full of clothes. (kind of sad, in a way.) One of those racks was only leather and suede: blazers, jackets, pants, skirts... and this was on Saturday- I can't even imagine what the place looked like on Friday morning!

The staircase going up to the second floor... the wall is curved, and I love that rounded window!

The second floor had been turned into the caretaker's apartment, with a small kitchen and living area... the light pouring in here was gorgeous! (those closets along the left-hand wall had also been full of clothes, I think.)

This is a photo of the kitchen wallpaper (this is another thing that intrigued me about the estate sale listing; I could see it in some of the photos). The kitchen hadn't been updated since 1950, if not earlier-- it was pretty dark in there, so I couldn't get any other pics of the room. 

One of the cut-glass doorknobs. (the other shoppers were probably wondering what the heck I was doing, taking pictures of stuff like this, but I didn't care!)

another vintage wallpaper- this was in a small room right off the 'family room' I showed above... this room was probably only about 8 ft x6 ft, with two small windows, and some built-in storage cupboards... I have no idea what it would have been used for. The background of the paper is black, with a funky design- each of the figures has phrases next to it, like "when may I see you?" "why do you misunderstand me?" "you have won my love" or "forgive me, I pray you." Odd, right?? I do love that red ribbon design, though.

Right when I got there, I spent a good amount of time at the jewelry table. (the listing said there were over 300 individual bags of jewelry, with quite a bit of it coming, again, from HSN shopping.) I got the two rings in this photo- the small bird is Zuni sterling silver inlaid with turquoise, onyx, and mother-of-pearl (I think). I love it! I found one similar to this at an earlier estate sale, and actually, seeing this ring in the listing is why I wanted to go- thank goodness it was still there on Saturday! Better yet, Saturday was half-price day, so I got this ring for the sum total of $6. The larger ring is modern, and from the maker's marks on the back, I figured out  that it's Tibetan turquoise and sterling silver, and came from a limited-edition HSN jewelry collection about 5 years ago. They sold it for $70; I got it for $11- score!

 The other jewelry pieces I bought: an inlaid Zuni stickpin (my price $1.75); a tiger-eye, sterling silver, and turquoise necklace (my price $4)... I can't figure out anything much from the marks, so this one will take some more research. The earrings are sterling silver 'pillows' about an inch in diameter, with a SW-looking design (my price $7.50). A good day's sale-ing, I think!

I did get a few pieces of clothing, too- the best purchase (I think) was this 70s-style suede jacket (unworn, still with the tags on). It has one small mark on the back (about an inch long) that I have to work at removing, but the price was definitely right- $7.50! It will be nice to wear during the winter; enough to stop the chill and wind, but not too heavy.

I spent most of my time (4+ hours) in the main house, but there were also items for sale in the garage, as well as in one of the guest houses... The sale listing showed photos of quite a few pieces of mid-century modern furniture, lamps, clocks, etc. that were mostly gone by Saturday (not that I'd have a place to put it, anyway). I'm glad for the family that this sale seemed to be very well-attended, and it looked (to me, anyway) like a ton of stuff was sold. Plus, I'm glad of the new additions to my wardrobe and jewelry collection!

After I left the sale, I headed to a new (it opened in March) antique mall: the Brass Armadillo in Goodyear, AZ. After a few hours of looking there (no purchases), I was definitely in antiques and collectibles overload, so I headed home for dinner, a (badly-needed) shower, and some rest.  Now, I need to get back to doing research on my purchases!

September 11, 2012

random recent photos

A few more random photos from our Labor Day weekend lunch at El Encanto restaurant in Cave Creek:

James Brown (Duck): profile

James Brown (Duck): preening

and a couple pics for comparison's sake:

James Brown (singer)
Photo by Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images,

James Brown (singer)
photo from

I'm guessing James Brown the singer needed some hair products to help his style along, but I think James Brown Duck comes by his pouf totally naturally.
(as seen here: Animal Oddities, Discovery channel blog

and, now for a complete change of pace:

turtle yoga #1

turtle yoga #2

:D  thanks for scrolling to the bottom!

September 10, 2012

painted backgrounds, no words

I realized I hadn't done any acrylic painting in my 5x7 journal, so the last time Tom was out of town, I got the paint out and made a bit of a mess (there's no other way for me to paint, lol!)

journal page close-up: acrylic paint scraped on with gift card (including magenta
and orange with an overlay of gold), with black and white accents. The white
was stamped with 'non-traditional' stamps: jar lids and a pencil eraser.)

the finished page: three magazine images collaged onto the painted
along with a small piece of text from a vintage book
written in German.  
No writing on this page; it's complete like it is.

another background made with scraped paint... black lines
were done using the edge of the gift card.
White non-traditional stamps on this page include a large metal
washer that was used to stamp paint onto the background.

The finished page: "Balance is Key"

September 08, 2012

why do 4-day weeks always seem so loooong??

but thank goodness it's finally the weekend! 

Tom and I did a movie marathon last night (all 3 Bourne Identity movies in a row... I only fell asleep halfway through the third movie, which is good, for me!) Today I ran some errands, which included a stop at Frenzy Stamper to check out the sample journals for Kelly's classes in November (!!! yay!!), buy SW incense (pinon, mesquite, hickory, and juniper- love those aromas!)... things like that. 

Here's a recent page from my 5x7 journal (I'm getting so close to finishing it, but we cleaned the house before the pet-sitter came over last weekend, so I need to get back into the 'journaling rhythm' again... meaning, I need to get my supplies back out into the living room.) 

kitty love... in my journal, this page is now finished; I added
writing about Butters and her latest health issues.  Collaged paper
(including vintage dictionary, French textbook, scrapbook paper)
and a bit of gold acrylic paint that originally was an accident
(it bled through from another page, so I had to go with it and make it
look like it was supposed to be there).

Butters has been looking a lot thinner lately, so we decided it was time for a checkup. (plus, she's been peeing on the laundry room floor, which is usually a cat's somewhat annoying way of telling you something.) Her blood work shows slightly elevated levels of chemicals that may indicate her kidneys aren't functioning 100%. Not surprising, since that's what Pandora had (and she was only 3 when she passed away), but still, it was hard to hear. We need to get some urine for testing, and if it's confirmed, there is a medication that may help in slowing the progress... so, we'll see. (operation 'cat pee collection' commences tomorrow, lol!)

closeup of the cat- stamped on a vintage French textbook page with olive
colored Colorbox chalk ink and colored with tea-dye Distress ink. I love
this stamp; I just don't use it (or any of them) very often.

September 03, 2012

what we did: (in pictures)

since we had a three day weekend, we took a day (or so) and headed out of town. (thank you, Kimberly and Noell from Home is Where the Hound Is, for taking care of the furry family members overnight!)

we went here...
(El Encanto Restaurant in Cave Creek, AZ)

we watched (and fed) these guys...
the black duck with the pompadour is called 'James Brown' duck... haha!

we ate this (Queso Guillermo: bubbling melted cheese,
chiles, tortillas, pico de gallo, and char-grilled scallions),
among other tasty things...

we bought one of these...
(chile ristra for the back patio-- they had just gotten them
in, so they're really fresh, bright, and aromatic!)

we drove up here...
a view into the Verde Valley, on the way to Camp Verde, AZ

we stood here
(we were towards the front of the line, thankfully)

then we waited here... this photo was taken from our seats, at the
Stargazer Pavilion event venue. (we sat at the front of the Preferred section;
the security guy in this photo is checking tickets for the VIP section)

then we waited some more, and goofed around... :D

we saw this guy perform... it was a great show!!
(Larry the Cable Guy)

 then we crashed at a local hotel, so we wouldn't
have to drive back home in the middle of the night...

then, we stopped here for some Southwestern history.
(Montezuma's Castle National Monument, just outside of Camp Verde.)
It was amazing to learn about the people who lived here a thousand years ago.

I've got more pictures (I took over 100 before the camera battery finally died); just gotta edit them. But now, I need to get to sleep, since tomorrow's a work day. (insert frowny face here!)

home and family pics

just a few pics from the last couple weeks:

I know this pic is a bunch of tiny white blobs, but if you click
on it, you may be able to see that they're birds. 
with all the rain, the wash that goes through our neighborhood was flooded, and attracted plenty of birds-  I took these couple photos in the afternoon on my way home from work, but that morning when I drove past on my way to work, there were at least thirty of them out there. (I regret not stopping to take the photo then!)

a bit of a closer view
I believe they're cattle egrets, an 'uncommon visitor to the Sonoran Desert: the most likely place to see them is in an agricultural field during irrigation.' That about describes this area to a T! (except for the agricultural part, that is.) The water has since dried up, and the birds have moved on.

Tom and Lefty, our Saguaro cactus
It's been a while since we've measured our Saguaro, so we did it a couple weeks ago. Tom used the retractable metal measuring tape, and just about ran out of tape; it's 9 1/2 feet tall! I guess he sure likes where he's living now, because we don't water him at all! I named him Lefty because he's got a couple gunshot scars; I figured that makes him a cowboy-gunfighter sort of a cactus, so he needed a cowboy-gunfighter sort of name! His companion is the Argentinian Toothpick cactus in the left-hand part of the photo; its name is Pancho (sort of a South American cowboy kind of name)... Pancho doesn't like his new home quite as much (he hasn't grown much at all since we moved him to this house), but hopefully with all the rain we've been getting, he'll start to grow again soon. (by the way, the Argentinian Toothpick's name comes from the fact that the cactus spines can be a few inches long, and could be used as a toothpick, I guess- you wouldn't catch me doing that, that's for sure!)

Tom and Lefty: Christmas 2008
For comparison's sake, here's  a pic of Tom with the Saguaro from Christmas 2008. We had it all decked out with white lights and a Christmas hat; not sure if we'll be able to do that again this year- at the very least, we'll need a bigger hat, and more lights!

September 01, 2012

Minnesota memories journal pages

and now for a couple more 'serious' art journal pages, featuring memories of childhood vacations to Minnesota. Every year growing up, we went on vacation to a resort on a lake (Loon Lake, in Ottertail County) in northwest Minnesota for a week of fun, fishing, and relaxing. My dad went there with my grandpa for a 'guys' fishing trip' even before any of us kids were born, maybe even before my mom and he were married? (I'll have to check with Mom on that one.) Anyway, those trips have been on my mind recently, because we would always go at the beginning of August. So, I painted and collaged my way into recording some of those memories:

Map to the Past:  I found a topographical map of the lake on the internet,
and printed 
it out a couple of different times at different zoom levels.
This page spread marks places I remember, like the cabins we stayed in, the bay where we always went to pick waterlilies, some of our 'tried and true fishing spots' (right out from the Lutheran Church across the lake is one I remember), things like that. This page was sort of inspired by techniques from Jill Berry's Personal Geographies book... she taught a class at Artfest when I was there that involved some of these map-related techniques, and I saw some of the student work at Show and Tell night.

close-up of the left-hand map, showing the entire lake. 
#9 was turtle townwhere we could always find plenty of turtles sunning 
themselves on downed trees; #14 is a spot where I remember (very vividly) seeing a loon swimming underwater right next to the boat. #11 is the fishing spot across the lake from the resort cabins. 
another page of Minnesota memories
the Minnesota map on the page above marks Vergas, the town nearest the resort. The loon statue is the largest in the state (Minnesota is known for large statues of all sorts of things); we'd always have to go into town at least once and stop by the loon statue for a photo op. 

my work space (plus a nosy dog trying to horn in on the photo- lol!)
This is a photo of my usual work space, which isn't really much of a defined space, at all. If I'm painting or spraying something, it's done either in the kitchen or out on the patio, but the collage and 'finishing work' is usually done in the family room, in front of the TV. So, I sit on the floor in front of the love seat and spread everything out around me, effectively 'walling myself in' until I get it all picked back up again. I've tried sitting on the loveseat or couch, but I work better with everything spread out... Michelangelo had his work space issues, I have mine- lol!