One Mans Trash is Totally my Treasure

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My neighbors have been having a series of yard sales for the past few weekends.  At the end of each sale they have been leaving all the items they no longer want to deal with on the curbside.

You know I can’t help myself right?

Rummaging… free stuff… I just can’t resist poking around a little… or a lot ;)

I knew I couldn’t bring all this treasure into my house.  One my husband would kill me and two it would force me to have to have my own yard sale and I don’t want to go there! So I decided I would hide all of my favorite finds around the yard.  I wanted to keep it subtle, but if you looked behind a bush or in a planter, you might find something that would make you smile.  It’s sort of like a yard scavenger hunt.  What can you find when you walk through my gardens? Oh my, I have been having way too much fun!

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Ok.  so I’ve been trying to be all “artsy”. I know, I know… stop already!

Now my husband has a terrible sense of humor.  It’s what I love about him most.  So he sees me fluttering around the yard making all of these vignettes and apparently he felt so inspired, he too must have wanted to get in on the action.

I hear my neighbor yell across the street “I love your Garfield!”.  I don’t know what she’s talking about. I smile and it goes in one ear and out the other.  A couple hours later, I’m out in the street and I see it.

Neon Orange Garfield.

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Laugh out loud.  Now I have my husband and Garfield (stuck 10 feet up in a tree ) to remind myself to not take myself so seriously!

Ha.  I love it!

Kwismis

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Too funny.  I don’t purchase tons of new stuff every year. Yet, the number one comment I hear from people who read my blog is that they love to see my house.

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It’s small.  It’s cozy and I try to pack it with as many fun things as possible.

Yeah, I would say I love all things 50’s/60’s, quirky &fun.

Hope you fill your homes with all your favorite traditions, magical and special to you.

It helps us get into the Christmas spirit.  A place I know I like to reside for as long as possible!

I LOVE LOCAL

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We recently invested in new countertops for the kitchen.  The old ones were a pretty fugly old formica.  I like classy.  I like pretty.  But I also like fun.

I decided for the counter barstools that we’d create something that celebrates everything we love about South County Rhode Island.

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I went with the National Public Seating stools.  Reason being – they are cheap and indestructible.  They are so well designed.  You can adjust the bottom height and back rest height.  They are metal which I am always a big fan of.  Let’s see my kids and husband break these!  Do you remember them from high school science lab?

Next I let my kids have at them.  I gave them a range of 4 colors for each stool.  The blue stool has 4 different blues, the red stool has 4 different reds…ect.

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They were pretty cool in themselves…. but not personal enough.

Next I we went through town and hit all our favorite stops.  Surf shops, diners, towns, bars, stores…we hunted for all the “local stickers we could find.  I next bought a 100 sticker pack of skateboard stickers…

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The back rests are what the finished project should look like – more local stickers than skater stickers.  The seats only have skateboard stickers because we have more collecting to do.  But that will be the fun part.  As we go to more great places, we will add on more stickers.  I love them so far.  It’s like a bright, happy piece of graffiti right in my kitchen.

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I even let the kids decorate the mailbox ;)

The Elephant’s Trunk

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Have you ever been to a REALLY GOOD flea market? 

The kind that’s worth driving miles and miles to be there for 6:30 am?

The Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market in New Milford CT is one of those places.

 

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Forget even going there in search of finding something.  No need.  Looking at the juxtaposition of all of our societies odds and ends randomly spewed across a farm field is a reward in itself.  And then there’s the people watching… you’ve never seen so much eye candy!

If you’re an antique-er, you know that Brimfield is the mecca of all antiquing.  But the Elephant’s trunk is the perfect size.  It’s big, yet you can still tackle it in 3 hours.  The quality is really high and it’s nestled in one of the prettiest areas of Connecticut Valley.  It’s a New England must!

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So, my mom went home with a 4 foot purple flower cascade…

My daughter scored a new Swiss Army Knife and a pair of vintage Doc Martins…

My husband invested in a 10 piece set of induction cookware…

We all devoured a loaf of homemade Italian Olive bread…

But…but…what could Mary possibly find to take home from the Elephant’s Trunk???

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 A 5 foot West African crocodile tribal mask …duh!

Of course it had to be good… but I’d define my find –as greatI love it!  It’s going to hang on the wall alongside all my crazy paintings :)

What I love about flea market shopping, is it allows you to surround yourself with really interesting stuff that you can generally guarantee no one else will have.  Uniqueness is the best.

I mean the tennis sneaker leg lamp was a close second choice, but I’m pretty happy with my crocodile :)!

 

MAKE A SPLASH

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Many, many months ago I told you I had an idea…

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But I never told you the idea…

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I thought I’d show you the finished project but somehow, as usual, weeks turn into months!

I have this big black box of a fireplace insert.  It’s way too much black for my cheery décor.  So I had the idea to make tiles in my pottery class and attach them to the metal fireplace surround with magnets.  This way if I ever move, I can take them off and spare the next homeowner from what I deemed to be “gorgeous”.  Let’s face it, all humans disagree on that one!  Also, the fact that the fireplace is black becomes a perfect solution for the “appearance” of grout.

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Of course I haven’t finished.  I need to make roughly 40 more tiles, but if I waited until that happened, I might very well have forgotten to show you my great idea!

Obviously you could take any tile and create a fun fireplace back splash.  If I were to do it again, instead of one giant magnet in the middle, I’d put 4 tiny magnets in each corner.  This way they wouldn’t spin like my tiles are apt to do.

Oh well, my tiles wiggling and spinning seems perfectly apropos. Everything else in the house always seems to be wiggling and spinning…and cracking…and peeling… you know being a house!

Good luck.  Let’s all keep working at making this world creative! What are you up to?

A Valentine Breakfast

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I want to tell you about a tradition my mother started when we were little kids.

My mom worked full-time in another state and somehow with the very small amount of free time she was given always created a special home.

Most Valentines Days land during the week.  Single woman? Two little girls?  Yeah that’s romantic!

Out of necessity my mom created a very special Valentine tradition.

The night before she would pull EVERYTHING RED out of the cabinets.  Soup cans, cereal boxes, cups, dishes, scarves, pretty table clothe, you name it.  She found what she had and smeared all over our kitchen table. Then she would sprinkle candy hearts everywhere.

Somehow she took a regular old morning and made it MAGICAL.

This is what I carry in my heart.  You can create magic with very little and create memories that last a life time.  Thus the tradition continues!

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My heart was warmed to find these two extra table settings on Facebook this morning.  One was my little sister who has carried on the tradition with her kids and the other is my best friend from childhood who remarked how my mother had rubbed off on her to.

Ahhh….Amore. Sweet and Simple.

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Next, I am sharing with you the one treasure that was handed down to me from my departed grandparents. I have no idea why my mother, filled with the challenge of sorting through an entire home of 70 years of their life together handed me this. Maybe because she knew that as tiny a memento as it is, it would not go overlooked.  My grandfather was incredibly romantic.  He made cards for my grandmother every morning with her breakfast.  He drew heartfelt images on every one of his employees paycheck envelopes every Friday.  He was an amazing lover of people and life.

My thought on this little chipped porcelain trinket box with it’s cracked lid is that it must have been one of a thousand tokens of love my grandmother received.  Why was this one kept?  What about it allowed it to be glued back together and put back on the shelf?

I then go into detective mode. Was this piece of sea glass from a special trip?  Was it given on a special day?  Were they old then? Were they young? Where did the box come from?  What was it’s life story?

I keep it in my bathroom and every morning I think of my grandparents.  I think of my grandmother’s special little bunny collection in her shower window.  Their house, their time with all of us.

It’s strange how such little things can have lives of their own.  I hope my home is loaded with similar treasures and my kids have to sort through them when I go and carefully contemplate those who have come before them.

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I leave you with this image.  It sort of sums up this month for me.  Like this little bike stuck in the snow, I too have been stuck.  I’ve been sick with respiratory illnesses tied into two bouts of flu.  My energy has been zapped. All my dreams and aspirations put on hold as I wait to heal. I’m sort of frozen.  As I write the snow is coming down.  By tomorrow morning the little tricycle seat will have disappeared and there will not be much to show for this little bicycle.

Some day soon the light will shine, the earth will warm, and I too like this little bicycle will resurface.

Until then, I will rest up and embrace my dormancy.

Tis the season.

Happy Valentines Day Everybody.

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The Home Coming

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This post goes out to my mother who wanted to see what I did with some of the artwork that didn’t sell.

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I picked up all my work by Labor Day weekend.  One perk from items not selling is that they came home to me.

Now my home is once again filled with color and life.

I’m currently illustrating a book…Images to follow…off to paint!

FROM DRAB TO FAB

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OK. I don’t want any messages telling me you like the green better!

_aaa (1)There is no way a true color enthusiast could own a drab green house….there’s just too many other wonderful colors to choose from!

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I picked yellow because although the house is quite large with an addition off the back, from the outside, my house looks tiny.  To me it looks like a cottage.  I always loved yellow cottages when I was a kid. I thought happy people must live there.  It’s always sunny at their house!

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My childhood home was white with black shutters.

My first home we ever purchased was white with black shutters.

I was pretty sure there was no way I’d ever live in a house that wasn’t white with black shutters!

I’ve lived in this house for three years.  The house was drab green and it always felt like it still belonged to the family that lived here before me.

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Now that the house is a radiant yellow.  It feels like it is my house. Mary’s house.  Crazy bright Mary’s house.

I am going to make a sign and give the house a name.

I am going to call it “Sunnyside Cottage“.

My happy place.

DAY # 237 – PIMP MY SHOWER

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I finally finished my outdoor shower!  I’ve only lived by the beach for ten years, but hey, it’s finally happened.  I can now say I have an awesome outdoor shower!

Man, this project feels like it took forever!

Here are the before shots:

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My husband and dad built it from cedar last summer and my cousin, sweet as pie, installed the plumbing.  This made the shower functional…but it definitely needed something…. what’s the word… pizzazz?

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Here are some of the items I found in my basement, shed & garage.  Last year during Hurricane Sandy, we lost a large curly willow tree.  As it was getting cut up for removal, I was snatching up as many curly branches as I could carry.  I didn’t know what I’d do with the branches, but I couldn’t part with them.  My husband rolled his eyes, seeing as how I have 3 large boxes of driftwood already in the basement! Next, I traced the flip-flop base onto the slate and then hand-painted flip-flops on the path to my shower.  The pegs are something I scored from my local hardware store some time ago.  I thought they’d be perfect for hanging towels. The strange facial mask was a gift from my brother-in-law a decade ago.  He was stationed in Haiti with the Marines.  It’s one of those gifts you just aren’t sure what to do with… a decade later, I finally found the perfect place!  The red thing up above unfolds to be an octopus drying rack.  It has tons of pins to dry our bathing suits.  That was another unique gift from my in-laws.  How lucky was I that it was red, the theme color I chose for my shower décor.  Then there are the bird spindles.  Thrift store find. The colors were never my style, but I thought the profiles were cool.  Found those in my basement too.  That leaves the old ugly bench I found on the side of the road and the piece of plywood my girlfriend gave me after hearing I needed wood for a sign.  Using what I had, I spent $20 for this project.  $20 bucks for 4 cans of red spray paint.  It’s amazing how far you can get with the junk in one’s own dwelling!

So here are some of my favorite photos from today:

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The first thing you notice when you walk in is the sign.  I wanted the sign to look like it was institutional.  Something you’d find at a school or public pool.  As a kid there were always hand-painted signs with rules on them.  I wanted something subtle as well.  Only people who stop and read will realize how ridiculous my request is.  My daughter got a good laugh out of “Cracks and Crevices”.  We all need a little humor right?

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the branches.  I only wish I would have kept more!  I was going for the look of electric red coral.  Rhode Island’s license plates are blue and white.  That was my little nod to my locale.

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I created a quick stencil for the existing stepping stones.  I just love the red it makes everything so bright and cheery.

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I now officially feel like a Rhode Islanduh!

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