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

Thursday, April 29, 2010

April Showers/ April Flowers

I hate spring.

Anyone who knows me at all knows I hate spring, I'm not at all ashamed to admit it.

Spring is so---disappointing:

 There's a warm sunny day, you get out your shorts and bam! it snows.

Oh, sure, spring is pretty---

if it isn't snowing...

...or raining or blowing a nor'easter gale.

Even a sunny day...

can be frigid, with a 40 MPH " breeze" howling off a 40 degree ocean.

And we pore over the current catalogs, wondering despreately why LL Bean can't sell spring colored cashmere sweaters and gloves...
Wouldn't you love a cozy new sweater in say, cherry blossom pink? or pansy purple? Hyacinth blue, oh yes!

So yeah, I hate spring...love summer (beach!), adore autumn (pumpkins!), really really like, almost love winter (quilts, knitting, snow days, hot chocolate. Christmas!),

but let's face it,

Spring sucks.

And here at the beach, it can last until July!

But the flowers are pretty.



Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vintage Linens~ Recycled

The flea market yesterday wasn't just rained out, it was flooded to oblivion. And no market now til mid-May! I stayed indoors quilting and sewing hearts and watched a very sad TV show about people who hoard things....(TLC: Buried Alive- The Hoarders). They made one woman, an active knitter, throw away her collection of good wooden knitting needles! I was so sad for her, not to mention it will cost her lots to replace them. And one woman loved to go to the thrift shop! Ooops....buying used treasures made her, well, happy.
We know how that feels, hmmm?

I like to think my shopping is a form of recycling. I love finding neglected vintage linens, so musty, dusty, and longforgotten, seeing their beauty and giving them a makeover that lets them live a new and cherished life.

This is the white matelasse' coverlet, all washed and pristine,

ready to adorn a summer bed!Here is an intersting website that tells all about Marseilles spreads like this: http://www.oldandinteresting.com/marseilles-quilts-marcella.aspx

And here is the big white euro sham, washed and bleached and now starched and ironed.

"Christina" must have been someone very special, very loved! Look at this trousseau piece with her name in art deco lettering.

Around her name are hand embroidered butterflies, a pansy, and the finest of white cutwork and drawn-thread work.
Don't you wonder why this was never used? Did Christine marry and give birth to a dozen kids who kept her too busy for fancy bed linens?

Did she call off the wedding and elope with a bad boy cad instead?
Sometimes I can make these large euro dust (single layer) shams functional by adding a cotton backing so that a pillow will fit in....this one is really large! Needs a king-size pillow or a large square.
And here is a flea market/ thrift shop mainstay, vintage hankies. They always make me feel like end-of-school-year gifts for Teacher.

My mother and I collected hankies each summer at the big flea market in Wellfleet http://www.wellfleetdrivein.com/flea_market.htm. She particularly loved the ones that had pansies and violets, but we bought all kinds, as long as they were pretty!

We'd wash and starch the hankies, fill them with Cape Cod lavender---often from her own garden. Or Cape Cod Lavender Farm http://www.capecodlavenderfarm.com/...and tie the little bundles with fine satin ribbons from The Brewster General Store http://www.brewsterstore.com/.

Here is a set I made for other daughters to give their moms. They will be on my etsy site and eBay.

And when the linens or fabrics or old quilts are ragged and worn but still have faded glories, still have tattered remnants of their original charm, I love to carefully cut out the good parts and use them for my lavender-filled hearts.

Is this recycling?

                                       assorted white tea towel, quilt, and barkcloth scraps

I hope it is...

                                            Japanese kimono remnants and quilt pieces

that's my excuse and I'm sticking to my story!

PS No! my beach cottage does NOT look like one of those hoarders' homes!
But still..I guess I felt their pain?



                      ...gone to the beach!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day

So, okay, I am celebrating Earth Day, after washing all my windows with environmentally safe cleanser....

by hiding indoors from a huge thunderstorm! The Earth is talking back, right? Making its feelings known with a little tantrum just for us here at the beach.

I was out walking, after my stint of spring cleaning, admiring the wind, waves, and beach treasures from recent storms. And suddenly I took a good look at the sky and thought, Oh wow, it is almost May. That might be a thunderstorm. And I scampered home just ahead of the lightning, so dangerous to anyone walking on an open beach.

I love the odd green color of the waves that is often seen before a thunderstorm.

I consider myself a recycle, upcycle artist...incorporating vintage fabrics, found objects, antiques, and beach-combed treasures into my designs.

What would I use for my collages if there was no flotsam and jetsam on my beach? Is there a line between good trash and bad.....?

I have a dear friend who is a far better recycler than I am. And when she comes to visit me at the beach and we go for a shoreline hike, I know I must bring a trash bag, as she will energetically pick up every bit of trash she finds.

And I respect that. But there I am with my Swiss Army knife and canvas tote, pockets full of my found treasures, recycling stuff in a positive, re USE-ing way.

Both points of view work for me. I want to find shells and seaglass and driftwood,

...not yogurt cups and tampon applicators (the worst! why has no one targeted that industry!?!).

Recently I've found unusual items----a small signal flag or pennant; a round nail keg lid. And today I salvaged a bunch of colorful beads from a mess of fishing line. Perhaps they and the rest of my beach beads will decorate a quilt someday?

Then we have the large---huge, really---wads of nets and rope that appear each winter. An artist featured in Coastal Living, Pam Lombardi, has made it her art form to document these weird travellers!http://www.coastalliving.com/lifestyle/people/coastal-hero-pam-longobardi-00400000064091/

This week a grey whale was autopsied on the West Coast: scientists aren't sure yet why the whale died but its stomach was full of plastic trash bags, balloons, a surgical glove!---even a golf ball. Is that not so sad?

I recycle, of course. This trash here, that kind there...and then it floats back to shore from where it is dumped?
Often seems that way.
And when I ship my treasures from my etsy or eBay shops, I try to use recycled boxes and re-used bubble wrap. I am "famous" in my family for my reused, carefully ironed tissue paper and plastic bags---saved from the drycleaing and other wrapping sources.

This Saturday is our local Clean Up the Marshes Day--- Isn't it beautiful! No wonder the first colonists to our Eastern shores saw the wetlands as pasture and grazing sites.

The storm has passed now---the rain remains. Mother Earth is weeping.....

Save our Earth and Oceans! Please help!



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Flea Market Finds

Sunday was such a perfect day for the first BIG flea market of the year. Throngs of dealers and buyers, so fun!

But isn't it funny---I always end up buying from the same half-dozen people, much as I enjoy carefully searching the dozens of tables and tents.

At first walk-thru  I was a teensy bit disappointed...seemed like lotsa people spent the winter clearing out the garage and basement, bought a space and were selling granny's old junk! And the man who sells very antique Staffordshire china, sometimes with the Christie's auction labels still on, was nowhere to be found.
And I even had money!

But then, aha! I found the guy with the shabby old white linens and buttons mixed with his other stuff....

Found this great tin of mother of pearl buttons!

The buttons are large, carved, chunky. Primitive. I am guessing quite old.

And later I found this wonderful matelasse coverlet in a box shoved back of his van.

It was so age soiled I didn't want to really touch it too much...eeeewww.

I had it earmarked for salvaged fabrics for white hearts.

I never saw the fabulous hand-crocheted fillet lace edge---HEARTS!--- til I got it home and began airing it on my sunny deck.

Boy, did I negotiate a deal there....so beautiful. And it just came back today from my friend who helps me gently launder my antique whites....the coverlet, carefully rinsed, then washed , then bleached, then washed again by my expert helper and dried in our springtime ocean breeze and sunshine---it is now scrumptious! Yummy white summery perfection!
I'd love to keep it but it will probably go onto my eBay site this week, so if you love it as much as I do, check it out!
Under the coverlet, I found a lovely long Victorian christening dress---passed with a sigh. And this exquisite Euro sham---

all hand embroidered, finest white cotton, with the name Christina embroidered on it!

I'll repost pix of the coverlet on the bed and the sham when it is starched and ironed, later in the week.
Then another fav dealer, I think of her as the lady from Maine, though she recently told me, nope, she lives a few towns away from me, on the mainland!...funny how I get stuff, well, wrong.  And she has very cool things--- always has special finds.
She had this wonderful creamy yellow and cobalt spongeware pitcher (authentic, not repro!), mixed in a group of 40s-ish vanity plates.

Its prim charm caught my eye, despite the price---fair but not flea.

Here it is with lavender and cream parrot tulips, set on a tin spatterware plate, with green apples and a tiny ink bottle with tinier grape hyacinths.....

And the lady also had this interesting small French kettle or saucepan:

 It looks so hand forged! and I love the heartshaped "ears"---the little handles.

It is very sturdy, beautifully handmade, I think---and a wonderful patina.

I know nothing about cookware.

 It is marked in the back:

 France 20.
(if anyone knows about this type of metalware, pls send me a comment!) I don't even know if it is tin or steel or what....But I love it! Here it is with hearts in progress.

And I finished up with some pretty floral plates.

They really don't "go" in my white and blues beach cottage but I buy them anyway!---for photo props or for holding earrings and bracelets on my vanity counter....or for collections of seashells and beachglass. So pretty!
I'm so glad I remembered my big LL Bean boat tote for my goodies!
And I can't wait for next week! I passed up some fab antique buttons, a lovely old china head doll and that white christening dress. Not to mention a blue painted nail or ammo crate that was too heavy to cart around...but I--liked---it! A lot!
Do you guys love the flea market too? What do you look for? What did you find?



                                                          gone to the beach.....