: dans l’amour avec l’amour :

In love with love, that is.

Historically, I’ve been the anti-Valentine’s girl.  I’ve not had a beau for as many V-Days as I can recall and just don’t like over-commercialized anythings whose main tenants are chocolates, bows, bears and roses.

Ew.

But this year… this year is different.

No friends, I have no beau (thank goodness) but I’ve come to see V-Day in a new light, through my own special rose-colored glasses, if you will.  Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about the pre-determined things set forth by an over-zealous marketing industry with colossally bad taste.  No friends, V-Day can be about anything you want it to be about.

In fact, what all could V-Day stand for?  Let us brainstorm.

Vacation Day
V-8 Day
Vacant Lot Day
Vaccination Day (although that one is a bit droll.)
Vacuum Cleaner Day
Valium Day (anyone else particularly like this one?  No?  Just me then.)
Vagabond Day
Vague Day (except… that’s everyday for me.)
Vain Day (you’re so vain… no you are…)
Vagus Nerve Day
Valley Girl Day
Vampire Day (Edward Cullen is my Valentine.)
Vanilla Day
Vortex Vain Day (DOUBLE POINTS!)

Okay… I’m getting carried away.  The point is that you can make V-Day about anything you want it to be about.  Bears and bows be damned!

This year, my Valentine’s Day is starting early.  My V-Day will be about style, decor and pretty interiors for my new little house.  I’m super-excited and have been positively devouring all things aesthetically pleasing.  Lucky for me, there are tons of wonderful blogs out there that are chock-full of such things; more than I can endeavor to digest in any given 24-hour period, to be sure.  And, I’ve done a bit of web-trolling and magazine-perusing on my own too.

Oh la la!

Let the fun begin!

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How much do I love this?  Clean lines with a bit of French-style whimsy and adaptable with whatever draw-pulls you want.  Perfecto!  And just $349.00?  Uh… yeah.

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Or this one?  All glass and oh-so-chic.  This looks a wee bit like a store display but could easily translate, methinks.  And at $129.00?  I’m aghast.

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This lovely is only $279.00.  Amazing.  Perhaps the title of my post should have been “In love with Ikea.”  How would that translate to French?  Hmmmmm…
I’ve also been hoping and dreaming, wishing and praying about the floors that I’ve yet to see, the pine hardwoods hidden under layers of funky carpet.  Ah… the dreams I have for them.  However, being a realist (okay, no, that isn’t true but it sounded best right there) I know that they may be in horrible shape.  The house is over 100-years-old so I needn’t get my hopes terribly high.  So, I’ve been weighing the options: refinishing or painting?  Black or white?
White hardwoods have their merit.
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However, I think I’m leaning more toward the dark side.

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And what for the walls?  Oh heavens, I don’t know.  I’ve poured over the Benjamin Moore paint book and just haven’t a clue.  Millington Gold looks good but so does Artichoke Hearts, Poppy, and Pumpkin Spice.  And what will work together?

My mind hurts.

So, I’m now thinking that I might paint the floors black, all the walls white and consider it a blank canvas for all my tchotchkes and artwork.  Although, it would behoove me to remember that I have a black cat with long hair.  Would black floors and all white walls be the smart way to go?  It works in catless, ElleDecor abodes but would it really work for me?

Who knows.  My hope is that it will all come together.  And I’m sure it will.

Oh, and before I leave it out… THIS is going to be my closet:

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Ha ha!  I wish.

In a more immediate Happy V-Day to me:

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{from DearGoldenVintage}

And finally, since I know that so many of you MUST be hopeless romantics (you’re reading this blog, aren’t you?), I think you will appreciate this.  At the very least, you recall this tome from Sex and the City: The Movie.

Ah yes, it is…

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So this year, make your V-Day anything you want it to be.  The sky is the limit!  And if you start now, you’ll have plenty of time to plan.

And just to give you ample inspiration, I’ll continue to post some of my favorite pretties here, since I’m sure I’ll come across lots in all my blog-browsing.

Until then… Be dans l’amour avec l’amour. What can it hurt?

{ Psst… Click here for a Zazazu Giveaway. }

Disclaimer:  For some reason, photo links weren’t working in WordPress for me today.  If you want to know the origins of any of these lovelies, leave a comment and I’ll let you know!

:: October to December ::

I’m shocked to realize that I’ve not posted here on my blog since OCTOBER!  Wow.  Scandal.  Do I have a good excuse?  No, not really.  My only excuse / reasoning is the same as it normally is when I lapse in writing this long (or longer): I’ve got a lot going on and simply haven’t been inclined to blog. 

Pretty plain and simple. 

But, I have had a lot going on.

I was in a play.  I started a new job.  I’ve traveled for work.  I have vamped up my Etsy store (and surpassed 550 sales!)… and the list goes on. 

And now here it is December – almost Christmas! – and I’m just now making time to write again.  And, as I sit here trying to churn out a post, I realize that, even with all the things I’ve been doing, I don’t rightly know what to blog about. 

Hohum.

I will say that I’ve been very “into” Facebook lately.  Yes, yes, I know.  I shunned it for so long, saying that I didn’t want to get into it, didn’t want another thing to log-into each day, etc. etc.  But, I’m weak and easily persuaded (apparently) and fell into the throngs of people who Facebook daily.  I wonder at the pros and cons of it.  While it seems like such a wonderful, fun, easy way to meet people and interact, it isn’t really – REALLY – interaction, is it?  You go about “friending” people you kind-of-sort-of-or-maybe-have-seen-in-the-cafe-once and then feel like a schmuck when they accept but look at you weird the next time they see you out and about.  And then you realize that you have the exact same number of friends that you had before you had so many “friends”. 

Or maybe that is just me.

I guess, to tell the truth, I’ve learned a lot lately about friends and real friends and even the type people who are capable of being friends.  I realize (have been forced to realize) that some people simply don’t  have what it takes to be a friend and yet, most of those same people expect everyone to be their friend and go to the ends of the earth for them.  I know that you must BE a friend to HAVE a friend but that goes for both parties; there is no friendship without reciprocation.

In other news…?  Actually, there is very little other news. 

My Christmas shopping is done, for the most part.   I have now only to wrap and make them all pretty, and ship the ones that need shipping.

I had the worst migraine I’ve ever had in my entire life over the weekend.  It came complete with light flashes, throwing up, nosebleed, not being able to see out of my left eye, etc.  I thought I was going to die.  Thankfully, I did not and now feel better.  However, my neck has been hurting pretty profoundly for the past several weeks – months maybe – and I can’t seem to figure out how to relieve it.  It is all very vexing, really.

So, this, I fear, is all I have to tell.  Hopefully my next post – whenever it might come – will bring more news of some sort!

Until then, dear readers…

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Browse the awesome vintage photos I have for sale in my Etsy shop:  recy.etsy.com

::: Also, I’m in the process of including a 100% upcycled cashmere line to my Etsy store.  I have a fabby black 100% cashmere cowl listed now… for only $25!   Not to be missed!  Check it out! More, including 100% cashmere legwarmers, to be listed soon! :::

:: Thrift Shop * Thrift Swap ::

I’m feeling rather sparky today so I thought I would do a couple of fun things here on my blog.

Firstly, the lovely Miss StilettoHeights has inspired me to write up a list of things that provide inspiration to me lately. What a fun exercise, no?

What inspires you lately? For me, it includes…

  • Vintage shoes – I have found so many wonderful ones lately! I get the extra-fab ones to list in my store as I love to have a good vintage shoe selection there. So many fabulous and unique vintage shoes out there… great quality too.

  • Colored tights / leggings – Crazy, yes, but they go with so many things and really give an added flair! Besides, they fashionably cover my stark white legs.
  • Lame – A fabulous gold lame tank literally jumped off the rack at me the other day and I’ve been smitten since. Everyone needs to sparkle.
  • Belts, belts, BELTS! Need I say more?
  • My new store banner… so pretty and so wonderfully done! Thanks, PixelCafe!

  • Vintage artwork, especially crewel-work.
  • Homemade iced coffee.
  • Ruffles and Scarlett O’Hara.

  • Sex and the City re-runs… until I get finally get out to see the new movie!
  • Russian architecture

  • Anything at all to do with Paris… specifically living there someday.
  • Tomatoes… fresh with a bit of pepper. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm…
  • Vintage bedding… LOTS of it!
  • A gorgeous white gauze babydoll top that I bought when I was sixteen. I found it again the other day and have been wearing it with skinnies and my flats. Scavenging in my own closet is very fun!
  • Yard sales… ’tis the season. It makes Saturday mornings SUCH fun! I look forward to them all week!

Speaking of yard sales…

How about a swap? As all of you know and can tell from my list above, I’m terribly inspired by things that I find at thrift stores and yard sales. I love things that others cast-off that I can make good use of. It is the ultimate recycling and such fun too!

I also know that many of my readers here are thrift store / yard sale mavens, also loving the hunt for what they can re-use and give another life to.

So, since it is the prime thrifting / yard sale season… how about a “Thrift Shop Thrift Swap“? Here is how I propose for it to work:

  1. Leave a comment on this post that you want to participate. Right after you leave your comment, please contact me at msred5@yahoo.com with your contact information, i.e. name, address, blog and email address. Sign-up will close on June 15.
  2. On June 16, I will pair those who have signed up with a partner and send each of you their information. In order to get to know new people better – as that, I believe, is part of the fun of a swap – this will be a one-on-one swap.
  3. After being in touch with your swap partner, compile a package of things you think they would like. Here is the catch… ALL items that you send MUST be from a thrift store / garage sale / yard sale / porch sale / estate sale / tag sale / etc… you get the idea. Of course, make sure they are nice items and not junk but I think we all know how to do this… how to find the treasures out there! Bonus points if your packaging comes from thrifting too. (Not that there will be a winner or anything but.. that would be cool, huh?) Spend between $10 – 15 on your package, not including shipping.
  4. Send your packages out by July 1. If you can’t make it by then, let me AND your partner know of the delay.

(International participants welcome. Please be willing to ship Internationally if you decide to participate. If you leave comment on this post, I will assume that you wish to participate. Please realize when signing up that sometimes there are bum swappers.  I can’t control this.)

Sound fun?

Join us!

Tell your friends!

Any questions?  Feel free to contact me!

::::::::::::::::::::::: Happy scavenging! ::::::::::::::::::::::

Psst… Want to join my Etsy store mailing list? Email me at msred5@yahoo.com to join. Repeat customers who are on my mailing list get 10% off every purchase (the subtotal).

Don’t be ‘crewel’…

Just a quickie post to show off the LOVELY crewel-art I found at an estate sale this past weekend. I got a whole heap of stuff for $5.00 total and this was part of it. So, I estimate that it cost about a quarter. It came with a pine frame but I took it out of that; they are better used separately, I think. For a quarter… wow! This is in wonderful condition and the crewel stitching is just amazingly clean and tight. LOVE it!

P.S. I’m crazy for crewel anyway and have several crewel kits that I’m going to do… someday.

::: Some uber-cool new things in the shop too… more coming all week! :::

Thrifting Mojo

I have a very fond love and affection for thrift stores. As Rebecca says, I have very good “thrifting mojo” and I would be inclined to agree. I seem to be able to go into a thrift store and walk right to the needle in the proverbial haystack. It is a gift, a talent, very similar to my ability (sometimes) to predict the future. Of course, I also like to think that I know what to DO with the amazing items that I find at thrift. I guess that is in the eye of the beholder.

I’ve seen other blogs that feature their thrift finds ever-so-often and I just love it – such FUN! – so I thought I would do the same since I just recently went a’thrifting. So, without further delay, here are a few of the goodies from my recent haul:

These are some uber-hot vintage 9 West boho heels – size 10. They sold very quickly on Etsy so sadly, they are no longer available.

Amazing vintage carpet bag

One of the COOLEST bags I’ve ever found… this is honestly the PERFECT black bag

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This is just a sampling of the things I found to list in my Etsy store. I really scored big with these three items though. They – like the other things I got – are SO fab! I wish I could translate their fab-ness in the listings but it is hard.

The things I found for moi? Well, actually I only found one thing that I’m keeping.

When I actually have a kitchen of my own, I don’t have a china set. I have and use mix-n-match vintage dishes. These are very carefully chosen dishes and have been collected over years. I know which patterns I like and which work best together for the look that I like. It is a very eclectic look that I absolutely LOVE. You can’t find it in a readymade store anywhere; it is one-of-a-kind “Zazazu“.

The main pattern in my dishware is Golden Meadow from Sheffield. I love this pattern. It is a cream background with delicate mustard yellow wildflower silhouettes on the front. Just gorgeous – so understated and elegant.

Well, I found a plate when I was thrifting the other day. It was a steal at 45-cents and in mint vintage condition! Yay!

I’m very geeked up… yes, over a 45-cent plate. It’s the little things that count, right?

A cultivated style would be like a mask. Everybody knows it’s a mask, and sooner or later you must show yourself—or at least, you show yourself as someone who could not afford to show himself, and so created something to hide behind…. You do not create a style. You work, and develop yourself; your style is an emanation from your own being. – Katherine Anne Porter

In other news, if you have time, please sign this petition to help save Mississippi’s Wetlands… and tell your friends too! This area is such an important ecological and wildlife area and we need to do what we can to save it. Please help!

And just to overwhelm you a bit more, here are some wonderful linkies for you to visit:

a-live.

It is no secret that I have very generous friends. I get goodies all the time by way of email, mail, phone, warm fuzzy vibes, blogs, all different ways. Indeed I have been so very blessed by the people I have come into contact with both in real life and through the wonderful world wide web.

Not long ago, I was blessed with one of the most wonderful gifts I could imagine: a poem written especially for me by a very creative, thoughtful and talented writer and friend who has a way with words, a grasp on language and a feel for people that is uncanny. Despite having never met me, Leonie was able to capture so aptly in so many lines so much of what my spirit has been feeling. I’m not sure how she did it but I’m glad she did.

“Honey, it’s your poem, you can do what you like with it…” is what Leonie said so I’m taking that as permission to reprint it here. I hope you all love it as much as I do.

‘live your best life’
the page-title bids me,
but how do i know
what that is…

when i feel like i’ve
always been a shadow,
a finger-puppet,
a wallflower,
passed by unnoticed.

a jumbled facsimile creation -
an assortment of random
personality traits, borrowed
snatched, copied
from others along the way -

countless years spent
wandering around, not
living my life at all, instead
trying each borrowed
trait on like a garment,
testing for texture and size.

each time i dwell on what
someone else should be
doing (or not doing),
thinking (or not thinking),
feeling (or not feeling),
i lose another tiny piece of
my own precious cloth.

where do they go, all my
own discarded fabrics? do they drop
to the ground – like the crumbs
left by hansel and gretel -
to guide me home to
myself when i finally
realise i have lost my way?

[by Leonie – originally posted at chocolate covered musings]

A million thanks to you again and again, dear. xo…

Speaking of being a-live… it is bursting all around me here. As is somewhat customary, I’ve taken some pictures of the Spring-time wonder around here. I’ve spared you the pictures of the snake we found yesterday, the tick that was securely nestled on my thigh this morning and the smorgasbord of moles, voles, mice, moths, and other sundry headless things that the cats have drug to the back doorstep. I guess those really aren’t a-live but it is a sign of the Springtime all the same.

Those cats… my sweet little critters. Here are a couple of pictures of them:

Top: Bella frolicking in the grass.

Bottom: Bella and Cuddles playing, or I think they are just playing. Who knows.

[Just for clarity… I only have one cat, Delali Dipstick. The other cats you see in my blog are those of my Mother, Father and sister. I love them all dearly though and love to feature them here as they are so awfully cute and fetching. There has been some confusion about this in the past.]

And of course, as you guessed, the flowers, trees, berries and everything else is in full bud or bloom here. Not great for the allergies but really very beautiful… a sight to see.

I always post a picture of my blueberry plant and this year should be no exception. The flowers are just as pretty as the berries, don’t you think?

I love it when Etsy finds correlate with things that have recently inspired me in nature. I’m in love with this beautiful shot that I captured of a dandelion in my front yard and also in love with this amazing painting by EarthArt, one of my favorite artists on Etsy.

I love the lovely dogwood… vintage red dogwood tablecloth and napkin set by ModishVintage

Soon, there will be even more delightful things springing up around here. I have beautiful, tiny nettle seeds here that look like bits of dirt ready to be planted. Nettle soup, anyone? And my Dad ordered some wonderful ranunculus to set out – quite a passle of them, I think – just because they are my new favorite flower. So incredibly delicate and beautiful – I’m oh-so-very-excited! And my Aunt is starting a basil plant for me – hooray! Mine died over the winter and she, having quite the green thumb, brought hers through. So, she is getting one good and strong for me in the hopes that I won’t kill it. Fingers crossed.

Spring is in the air… the world is a-live all around me!

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Swoon-worthy

From time-to-time, I come across and do business with some positively swoon-worthy stores on Etsy.

Among those…

EarthArt – A wonderfully creative and kind seller who has such a varied offering of original artworks. She is cooperative and loves to work with people (like me!) with a true interest in art.

This was my Valentine to me:

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Futurowoman – Amazing with her Polaroid! Futurowoman’s Blythe photos are so wonderful and even moreso in person! I got the Amelie one and now hope to someday have her whole Blythe collection.

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And for any of you wishing to make a donation to a worthy cause, feel free to contact me. My next Etsy purchase will be a swoon-worthy pair of vintage leather “pomegranate” colored French boots by Charles Jourdan. They are currently on hold for me. Aren’t they grand?

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All together now…

SWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!!!!

Southern Belle

As I mentioned sometime ago, I’m going to be sure to post some of my craftiness, whether I post much else or not. As I also mentioned sometime ago, I got out of doing random swaps.

However, I’ve done a couple of swaps with creative, artsy people that I know, people I know to be good on their word for sending things and people I know who will uphold their end of the deal just as I will mine.

I recently did a swap with Jason of TOTEdesigns, aka. Art Box Diary, aka. KokeshiLove (Jason supplies at least 95% of my Kokeshi dolls and I love him for that.) You can also catch Jason’s blog – andnotapoundmore.

I met Jason through Etsy, through buying Kokeshi dolls from him and just conversing back-and-forth. He is so wonderfully kind and very creative. After some conversing, we agreed to do a swap: he would make me a beautiful collage pouch and I would make him a collage picture, something I can do and love to do but have not done in a while. I was more than certain of Jason’s ability to send me something beautiful but I was a bit uncertain of my ability to really uphold my end of the deal and send him something worth having. To say the least, I was nervous. (I tried to not let Jason know this.)

Jason’s collage pouches are amazing works of art. They are made from deconstructed kimonos (Jason is currently living in Japan) and he quilts / patchworks them together. They are truly amazing. Be sure and check them out here.

Here is a photo of one very similar to the one that I swapped for:

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So, as you can see, I had every right to be nervous.

But, after much thought, much procrastinating, much pouring over images, much going through supplies that I had, I came up with a piece that I was fairly proud to send to him.

Jason wanted something with a Southern feel to it. I, being from the South, tried to give him just that.

I created a collage using images I have collected over the years, including abstract-design magazine pages, Tiffany paper, sushi grass, and a hand-created 3-D flower that was sewn onto the piece through a shiney red bead. This was all put together in various ways, including being sewn around the edges and in other various places to give it some variety.

Luckily, just days before I started the piece, I found the most wonderful vintage (read: old, old, old) frame at the Salvation Army. This frame was black and had a red and white polka dot mat in it. The mat was poorly put together and falling apart pretty badly as was the frame. But, it only cost 30-cents and just needed some TLC.

It got just that and totally completed the piece, I think. I don’t think the piece would have looked nearly as good without it. I wish I could find one-hundred of those frames!!!

Anyway, here is my end of the swap. I hope you – and most of all Jason – like it.

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I also recently participated in a fun handmade postcard swap. I had such a blast doing those and will post my pics of them very soon. Do I feel a swap here coming up soon? ;)

And, by all means, treat yourself and visit Jason’s blog and stores!!! You will NOT be disappointed!