October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween from the AZ desert! 

a Halloween treat from my sister Judy-
a cute cupcake paper owl and brooms
made using Twizzlers and SB paper.
(I think she's been looking at Pinterest for craft ideas- lol!!)

my jack o lantern. using the stem as a nose is more difficult
than it looks-- I have a newly found appreciation
for people who do pumpkin carving professionally!

Tom's jack o lantern, all happy to see Halloween
finally here. (little does he know, he's only going to last
a day or two in this high 80s heat!) 

October 30, 2012

a red, white and blue trend

Estate sale-ing: a guide to how I have fun on a Saturday. (Part 1)

I find estate sales by checking out the local estate sale ads online that are published on Thursday afternoon. I'm signed up with a national website that automatically e-mails you about sales within a certain mileage radius of your zip code; it's really handy! (Here's the website, if you're interested in finding sales near you: EstateSales.net... just click on your state, and go from there.) You can find pretty much anything for sale at an estate sale: cars, golf carts, sports equipment, furniture, household items, tools, clothes, shoes, appliances, plants... you name it, and you can probably find it at a sale somewhere, eventually.

photo borrowed from Apartment Therapy website 

I usually scan the ads looking for terms that resonate with me, like: 30 years in one house, multiple generations, years of accumulationvintage clothing, costume jewelry, books, sewing and craft items, things like that. I also look for any Southwest-type or unusual home decor items, although lately my focus has been more on clothing and jewelry. I tend to look more closely at the listings that include photos-- the estate sale companies can't take photos of everything, but it generally does help me to get an idea of whether the sale includes the kind of stuff I like to look at. After that, I look at where they are in the Valley and their hours of operation to figure out which ones sound like my best bet(s), since I can't go to all of them. Finally, I plan out a route for the day using Google maps. Unfortunately most sales start on Friday or even Thursday-- since I work during the week I can't go sale-ing till Saturday, so I never get first pick of the stuff. But as a bit of a consolation, most estate sale companies designate Saturday as half-price day! The particular 'thing' I saw in a photo might not be there any more, but what is still there is cheaper. 

Last weekend, I found two sales I wanted check out, plus one of my co-workers had a sale of his own that included mid-century and vintage stuff. So, I headed out to central Phoenix, then to Glendale (a northwest suburb), then even farther northwest out to Sun City, which is one of the original 'master-planned' retirement communities in the Valley (it launched in 1960). 

The Glendale sale didn't look that good at first glance, but I took my time digging through piles of stuff and sorting through the closets (you gotta have patience at these sales), and came up with some really nice deals! Here's some pictures:

heavy cotton (?) jacket with a bandana-type pattern printed on it.
This would look really cute with a blue or white t-shirt underneath.
My price? a whole $1.50!! (half-price, down from $3)
Even though it's hot here in AZ, inside the building where I work can be cold enough for a light jacket or a sweater. I dug this jacket out of the (very packed) walk-in hall closet at the house. 

I looked through the sewing and craft items in a back room, then hit the mother-lode of accessories: underneath a pile of stretched-out sweaters and sweatshirts (things get really out of place and messy during an estate sale), I found a box of scarves... really nice scarves. After doing the math, I figure I paid just over 50 cents apiece for these-- check them out!

I think this is a men's silk pocket square.
This beauty is vintage hand-rolled silk, with a wonderfully bright colored pattern: dogs of various breeds, leashes, and chain-link borders.

a close-up of the label: Glentex brand, all silk, hand rolled.
I'm thinking it might be from the 1950s, from the look of the pattern? 
I need to research the label a bit to see if I can learn more.

There's even a collie! (not a Sheltie, but it's pretty close!)
It's got a couple holes toward one edge, but I don't mind. I may not ever even use it, as it's too small to do much of anything with, and it's kind of fragile...  but I had to rescue it from the pile of stuff, because I just love the print! 

I kept digging through the pile to see what else I could come up with. These two are both long oblong scarves that will be easier to wear. I looked primarily for colors and patterns I could pair with a solid-colored tee-shirt or sweater. After I got home, I looked at them all closer, and here's what I found: 

score!! Oscar de la Renta!! 

another score: Jones New York! this one still had the
store tag on; it had never even been worn!!

Another pretty one with a vivid red, white and blue pattern. 

another score- it's a Vera!
Vera Neumann is a textile designer who, with her husband, started out screenprinting linen placemats in their dining room in New York City. During WWII, the shortage of linen led her to look for alternative materials. After the war, she found surplus parachute silk and started designing scarves... Her 'signature scarves' are what she's best known for today. Find out more about her: here (Wikipedia)here (vintage clothing site), and here (includes a guide to help you date your Vera Neumann scarf).

cute red and white polka dot scarf by Echo.
I thought this one might be  a bit more contemporary, but it turns out that the Echo Scarf Company started back in the 1920's. (see their company history here: Echo Design 'Our History'.) The older company logo was in cursive, so my guess is that this one is from the 1970s forward- again, I'll have to do more research to date it any closer than that. 

I picked these scarves out first and foremost because I liked them (well, except for the Vera- I saw that logo while I was there), but I think I got some great deals, here, in terms of vintage accessories. Since I already had a few vintage scarves at home, now it seems I have a bit of a collection happening here! 

I got a few more things during my estate sale-ing Saturday-- since this post got kind of long (due to my scarf history internet research), I'll show those pictures in another post. 

October 29, 2012

random photos--

yup, I'm still here-- just haven't been taking very many photos lately! Here's a couple from the last few weeks...

Butters, soaking up some sun on the patio.
It's gotten a bit cooler out, now that fall is here-- we can finally leave the sliding glass door open so that we (and the pets) can relax on the patio and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. When I lived in the Midwest, I would wait forever (it seemed, like it, anyway) for spring to arrive so I could enjoy the outdoors... now here in Arizona, I wait for fall, for the same reason!

random self-portrait-- do you know how difficult it is to get a
decent picture of the back of your own head? it's hard to do!
I've been letting my hair grow out now for most of the summer (not a smart time to grow your hair out here in AZ, but I had to go through the summer with longer hair sometime, I guess). This photo was from a few weeks ago; I think I took it because it's finally long enough to pull back with a clip (so I can get it out of my face- and off my neck- if I need to). And, bonus: even with how thick and heavy my hair is, the curl is staying! My goal is for it to be to the middle of my back; we'll see how much longer that takes... I'd love to be able to braid it, eventually. (Mom, do you remember braiding my hair when I was little?? I seem to remember you'd pull it really tight- lol!)

Butters, waiting for a belly skritch...
This picture is from just yesterday; Butters looks  slightly goofy here because she just got a bit of a haircut, so now she can air out her belly! The haircut wasn't by choice, exactly, but I had to take her to the specialty vet on Friday for an ultrasound, and they needed to shave her belly to perform the test (she did really good during the ultrasound, too- they didn't have to sedate her at all). She's been having some health problems for quite a while now; she's been losing weight, and also has been peeing on the floor (which we've come to learn is the universal cat signal for 'hey, something's wrong here because it hurts to use the litter box') for a couple months, so we've been trying to figure out what's going on. 

We thought it might have been kidney disease (which is what Pandora had), but the blood tests really didn't show that. The ultrasound showed it pretty clearly, though; she has bladder stones, which is a 'concretion' of sandy grit made up of of minerals and crystals, that moves around and is scratching the inside of her bladder-- no wonder it hurts her to pee! Now, we just have to wait to find out when she can have surgery to remove it, and what changes (if any) we'll have to make to her diet to avoid a recurrence.

I went estate sale-ing this past Saturday (hit a thrift store, too), and found some more cool things-- I'll post pictures soon!