I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Angels Too Close....

My mother believed in angels....or or so she said. She started to believe in her last years of life---a time when she was looking for something to explain her life and future. Mostly she meant here-on-earth human angels---her son who called her daily, without fail, from 2000 miles away; the person who helped her grocery shop; the guys who fixed her roof or cleaned out her garage; the best friend who visited weekly and gave her a manicure and companionship.

                             angels by other artists, from my collection

And amusingly, after my father died, my mother, in jest, told me that perhaps my dad's pet seagull Gully---Gulliver! My dad named all his wildlife friends---who sat on the garage roof waiting for Bob, was actually a harbinger of my dad's presence, still watching over her and their home.
      new glitter snow angel by folkartist & tiny antique German angel

I am not much of a believer in the supernatural...
      new glitter snow angel by folkartist

...but I enjoy making folk-art angels and collecting those made by others. Enjoy!

and yet another! I love these!

The rest of the angels are made by me, usually from driftwood and flea market treasure &/or found objects.

group of my dollys

driftwood angel

angel with driftwood Nutcracker head & antique French child's dress

Neat wooden wings & antique dress....

  Driftwood & rhinestones! Wow!

beachcombed snow-angel head, vintage treasures, handpainted Man-in the Moon.
Note the tiny ice skates!

     found objects & vintage textiles, buttons...

teeny-tiny mousie-angel, with pine & holly, in a swapshop milkglass urn, so cute
My angel.....

How about you? Do you believe...?
Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree

The Tree is here! The Tree is up!
And it is beautiful....

For several years, for various reasons, we have not had a huge real Christmas tree. But last Friday night, on the coldest, most frigid night of the year so far---28* with 14* wind chill! This in balmy Beach world---howling wind, too---we bundled up and drove off to the firehouse to buy our Tree.

The firehouse is just down the main road---by the surfing beach, across from the elementary school and the golf course. It is manned by generous, dedicated, brave volunteers and every year they raise funds for a burn center by selling Christmas Trees. The weekend afterThanksgiving, their little yard is festooned with twinkle lights, a barrel is filled with a warming fire and the trees fill every available space.
One year we were coming home from an early hockey practice and saw the huge logger truck from Maine, arriving with the trees. Our fireman/salesman the other night told us they sell 1000 trees and 150 wreaths and 100 tiny "tabletop" trees.

                                    the Santa Tree- a German feather tree with figural Santas

We are a small community, on a little island off the coast of New York, so this is a LOT of trees. And the $60.oo is money well-spent! The trees are best quality.

                                                    a few years ago.....

And this year my tree is the most beautiful ever.
I always say that!
Thanks to our Fire Department--for being there. And for the wonderful trees.
Merry Christmas to all !

Friday, December 11, 2009

Traditions and Memories

Noah's Ark & Other Treasures....

Today I took a break from my usual Santa's Workshop projects (driftwood wreath! a disaster!---more on that another time! yeesh!) and set up my beloved Noah's Ark. The Ark arrives before Christmas and stays up all winter until I switch to seashells and summery things in May. My folk-art Noah's Ark is one of my most cherished possessions. The ship and most of the 20 plus original pairs of animals were made years ago by my father. He actually began with a few old German Erzgebirge wooden putz or ark animals that he had as a little boy---I think he had an antique farm set... (a putz is a toy scene or village), then he carved the rest by hand, including matching mates for the old German horse, cow and sheep.

        antique 'putz'animals

He and my mother both painted the animals, referring to an ancient (c.1910?) Natural History of the World book they got at the Cape Cod Dump swap shop, always a treasure trove of good things.
One of the neatest things about the Ark is that I found my dad's original sketches and keep them in the box he also made to store the animals. I also kept the funky old reference book.

Every Christmas, a tiny gift box would come with a few new pairs of creatures! Such a thrill! Though finally Daddy did refuse to make any more...I suppose he thought 20-odd pairs was enough.
Over the years family and friends who are enchanted by my Ark have added to the menagerie and they all come out for Christmas. No matter how oddball or strange they may seem, all are welcomed and cherished: a baby giraffe and a pair of leopards brought from Africa! Little birds from Germany, big fishes from Mystic, Conn; tiny colorful Swedish horses, an oddball group of non-paired wooden creatures from my mother, from Peru---another swap shop find. Wooden reindeer with bells no bigger than a pinhead and a polar bear. A kangaroo and a Scottie dog found on the beach! A pair of glass ladybugs from Sandwich Glass in Cape Cod.

And recently I added two antique German putz sheep with carved faces and real wool bodies. Boy, are these guys expensive!
                               new antique putz sheep standing with the giraffes
And a hand carved purple dinosaur, yep, my Ark has a Barney, though not a Mrs. Barney, thank goodness. One of my neighbors, an elderly lady, had a sometimes-driver who'd chauffeur her around to appointments; he carved little animals during the long waits and gifted us with the dinosaur...hmmm, I was hoping for a pair of his cats or whales or....but, no, so Barney reigns in the Ark's prow each year.

And at Christmas Mr. and Mrs. Noah are joined by antique Italian and German angels from my grandma and a tiny Swedish Santa! Oh and of course, since this is the Beach--instead of white doves, Daddy made a pair of seagulls! [note them, left prow and left
point of roof!

And Barney is hiding there too--hint of purple if you zoom in?---behind the big spotted cow, poor thing.] Igf you click on any photo, it will go to full page so you can really enjoy all the itty-bitty details! Be sure to look!

                                       an exceptional c.1880-1900? German Ark on eBay. $$$$!


Happy holidays!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Hearts

Red hot hearts! Candy cane hearts!

All scented of Cape Cod Yuletide or Christmas Eve....wonderfully evocative scents from Atlantic Spice Company's assortment of potpourri oils.http://www.atlanticspice.com/

This batch of holiday hearts was created using various antique and vintage scraps of quilts and tablecloths, al recyclecled, repurposed.

And made useful and beautiful and desirable once more.

Wonderful in an old wooden bowl.
 Or on a special plate, some holly tucked in...

Or on a feather tree. Tie one to a special gift box or stuff in someone's Christmas stocking's toe. Tie them on wreath, hang them from your cupboard doorknobs, the uses anre endless and when the holidays are done, you can use them in your winter woolens drawers or in the toes of your snow boots.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving!

Good friends, wonderful children, fine wines and luscious food! The All-American dream holiday.

These were my "idea sketches" for the decorations! I like to make little, late nite thumbnail drawings of what I want to use &/or need to but at the market---I love when a plan comes together!

We had very good weather too, despite the weatherman's dire predictions of rain. Please! It never rains here on Thanksgiving, the only question is---will I need to wear a sweater or are shorts & flipflops gonna be OK?

The meal, I decided, is a throwback to olden days when huge families gathered and ate a LOT! Despite paring down my menu, I had too much food. We will eat leftovers for weeks!

I hope your holiday was joyous and bountiful too!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Buttons & Bows

Vintage trims have recently been showing up as a popular category on lists like "Top Ten Collectibles" and "Favorite Flea Market Finds." For someone like me, a long-time aficionada of old ribbons, lace and buttons, this new popularity has its good points and its bad points. On the plus side, it catches the eye of dealers and pickers who might overlook these items---or even [gasp of horror!] discard such treasures. And newly informed, they mark the stuff up and put it out for sale, which is great.                                                                          summer's treasures

On the bad side, it creates a lot more competition for these musty faded but still oh so charming gems.
more goodies from the Sunday flea martket!

I first fell in love with buttons as a tiny child playing with my mother's button box. This predates parental neurosis about choking, obviously! My favorite buttons were many: tiny china hearts from a Swiss dirndl! Little brown velvet squares from my mother's tweed suit, golden eagles [I imagined] buttons from daddy's Air force uniforms, rhinestones from a silk shirt that once sported hand painted flamingoes.

work in progress: "choosing the trims"

When I was a little older, I took a fancy to ribbons too. Again, my mother was the source. She had a few special silk velvet ribbons, once used as sashes, rolled in her dresser drawer, tucked in with some antique, handmade French lace edging and Tyrolean braid that must have gone with that dirndl. Years later we made white cotton aprons trimmed in that braid, wore them to make our cookies each Christmas---in fact, I still have mine and wear it with love, remembering good times, long ago.

But the French ribbons!

I grew my hair very long about that time and wore it in a waist-length braid; I collected 1/2 yard cuts of gorgeous ribbons to tie on the braid's end, no scrunchies for me. Of course the braid went quickly once I moved to NYC. Somewhere though I still have the tiny tin with the rolled ribbons, tucked away with my memories. And I still collect ribbons and lace and buttons for my art and crafts designs, especially for my dolls and angels and my ever-popular stuffed potpourri hearts.
newest hearts-cinnamon & lavender

This is the link for Country Homes archived story about collecting trimmings:

and a brief excerpt....

Top 10 Collectibles for 2008



Notions include all kinds of vintage sewing supplies, including buttons, beads, trim, lace, and ribbon.


For just a few dollars you can get a card of buttons or a yard of trim.


And the current issue of Victoria Magazine [Dec 09] has a delightful artlicle called Wrapped in Whimsy. The featured shop has a ribbon-lover's dream-come-true selection of gorgeous ribbons in stock. Check it out.

From the website: Enter a fanciful world of adornment at Nicholas Kniel Embellishments for You and Your Home. This quaint Atlanta boutique and studio specializes in ...offering more than four thousand rolls of almost every type of ribbon imaginable—from grosgrains, picots, and organdies to taffetas, jacquards, and silks—the shop also features an eclectic mix of buttons, feathers, masks, and millinery.  For more information on Nicholas Kniel and his boutique, visit nicholaskniel.com.

You'll be charmed...and inspired!

Happy holiday season!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Looks Like Stormy Weather

Today we are experiencing the aftermath of Hurricane Ida!

same view/calm day!
Below is the warning posted on the weather sites:

storm waves
The Weather reports sound so dramatic sometimes! And it is true that our lights are flickering and the beach is under water. Autumn storms are quite exciting! Often in their aftermath, I find excellent “treasure” for my winter projects.

All-time best find-
My daughter found this a week or so ago! I was soooo jealous! I thought it was the front or "apron" of a small chest or table but she saw it as the foot of a child's tiny bed...so exceptional.

In the days immediately after most storms, the beach is swept as clear and pristine as a concrete airport runway. But was the waves subside, interesting objects are gently washed ashore.
This is one of two "shelves" I found. Below is a sketch of what it might someday become.....

And this is an autumn survivor urn of flowers, still so pretty! With a large driftwood piece used as a wind support and sculpture.

Autumn storms can also bring an influx of migratory birds. Folk wisdom claims the tiny creatures use the winds to carry them south, an express ride on their autumn journeys. True or not, our dunes and tress are suddenly animated, filled with flocks of warblers and kinglets. The sky is filled with immense black flocks like pepper strewn on a countertop---blackbirds and starlings, the occasional flock of wild doves and pigeons. The beach is not home to many songbirds so the sight of the birds as they pass by is quite special. My favorites are the Yellow Rumped warblers who look like brown sparrows until they flit away---so shy!---and show their bright yellow spot above their tails. They love the seedheads of our beach grasses on the dunes.
And sometimes a storm brings a rare and wonderful traveller like this spectacular blue Painted Bunting!

Safe travels to everyone on a stormy night!