Friday, July 29, 2011

Vintage Beads

I love vintage beads!  I have been collecting vintage beaded necklaces from the 1950's and 1960's for many years.  The visual beauty of these necklaces catches my eye, but it's much more than this that forces my hand up at auctions and leads me shamelessly to the "junk" jewelry boxes at thrift stores.  I love how they feel in my hand and I love the history that they hold.  I love the kitschy plastic baubles just as much as the expensive necklaces.  Even though I have dresser drawers bulging with vintage necklaces that I rarely actually wear, I can not stop.  I love vintage beads!

I have learned over my years that you have to pick your battles and typically it is best to just go with the flow.  Rather than give up my addiction for vintage beaded necklaces, I have found a way to bring respect to this addiction.  I make earrings from vintage beads and sell them in my Etsy shop.  It's a win/win situation.  I now have a purpose for buying vintage beaded necklaces and my customers can purchase one of a kind earrings designed from vintage beads.  Sometimes it hurts a little to make the first snip with the scissors when I am cutting a necklace to harvest the beads.  Sometimes my scissors won't work and I have to keep the necklace...

There are so many unique vintage beads.  These little pieces of history make some fabulous earrings.   

Sometimes they are like little pieces of art.

Look how interesting these hematite beads are.  Chances are good you won't run into someone else wearing a pair of earrings like these.

These gorgeous lavender earrings are made with sugar beads and crackle beads.

I think I wore earrings similar to these orange ones many years ago.

I know I wore earrings similar to this pair in the 1970's.

These lavender crackle beads and heavy crystals would make gorgeous earrings for bridesmaids.

These look good enough to eat.

These lime green foil beads make great summer earrings.

These fancy purple earrings have a fabulous sparkle.

This is another great example of how different and unique vintage beads are.

I'm just going with the flow.  Someone who does not understand the creative mind may still view my vintage beads as an addiction.  There's a fine line between addiction and creative passion.  I crossed that line many years ago and I'm ok with that...

You may also like......The Ambush and Aging Gracefully


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Aging Gracefully

Recently, I ran into an old friend that I haven't seen in awhile.  I saw her at a distance at first, and as she came closer I noticed that something was oddly different about her yet I couldn't quite put my finger on it.  We chatted a bit about our lives and I shared my excitement over my Etsy shop.  As we chatted, I realized what was different-she looked frightened and tense.  My concern about her well being quickly vanished when she informed me that she had recently had her eyes "done".  She proceeded to tell me that her eyelids had drooped to the point that it was affecting her vision so......Hmmm, seems to me I had heard that same malady was inflicted upon another friend of mine.  Insurance doesn't cover cosmetic surgery, but if the problem affects your vision......If you practice the custom of putting wooden plates in your eyelids much like the natives did with their lips in The National Geographics and then removed them years later, maybe...

There is a beautiful softening that comes with natural aging.  Why can't we just let it happen?  I have often stated I would have been better suited to be an adult in the 1950's-pearls, starched apron and all.  Many things about that era appeal to me and it's not just the material items like you might find in Boomer Babies Upcycles.  Who wouldn't want to hang out with your neighborhood girlfriends drinking coffee out of cups with saucers while the kids are...?  Actually, no one knew or really cared where the kids were or what they were doing.  We would happily chat about the newest recipe rage,mock apple pie, that had no apples or any redeeming ingredient at all in it.  One big baked goodness of carbs, sugar, and fat.  After that, we might exchange our newest tricks on how to keep celery in American Chop Suey from going phlacid.  Back then, women aged with grace.  Sure, they had their cold cream and chin slings, but these sightings were saved for the men lucky enough to share their beds.  

The big problem with trying to fight the natural aging process with cosmetic surgery is that the average person can't really take advantage of the full benefits.  They just can't afford it.  So, the person chasing their youth saves their pennies to have the procedure they believe will make them the happiest.  The overweight woman pays thousands of dollars for a tummy tuck and ends up with a small flat midsection on a body that has arms and legs that still belong to the fat lady.  She now looks like a rubber action figure.  If your face is tight and wrinkle free and you have a humongous chicken neck, is this really a pretty sight?  If you lift your arms and let the water balloons hang down freely, do you think no one will notice because your eyes are pinned back like Kenny Roger's?  

Women of the midcentury aged with grace.  At a certain age, it was common knowledge that it was time for a helmet do.  The long, flowing hair of youth was replaced with a perm with tight little curls that clung as closely as possible to your scalp.  Anything that didn't conform to the helmet was doused with lacquer and sprayed into submission.  There's a certain freedom in this practice.  How easy it must be to never have to worry about how you will wear your hair on a certain day.  You sleep, get up, and every hair is still in place, keeping the integrity of the helmet.  If, per chance, a section of the helmet gets dented, one merely picked it out with a hair pick or even a fork.  Older women of the midcentury adapted to their changing bodies and they didn't have chicken necks.  Their bodies gradually aged and the pieces melted together so everything was merely one dimension from the base of the head to the knees.  No neck, no breasts, no waist, no butt.  Every older woman looked like Mrs. Potatohead and it was ok.  Along with the acceptance of the helmet do, the short string of pearls that once adorned the neck of youth was replaced with the long string of red or  black glass beads that floated around the bosom shelf.

I would like to see more of the beautiful softness that comes with natural aging.  God doesn't make junk.  If, for some reason, your preference is to use every tool available to you to fight the natural aging process, I would like to make a suggestion.  Next time you go out in public, you might want to consider leaving that fat bald guy sporting the bermudas and the white tube socks half way up his calves at home.......

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The Ambush



Monday, July 18, 2011

The Ambush

When my Dad was alive, he had a couple of skin melanomas.  A couple or several years ago, I thought it would be wise for me to go to the dermatologist and get a "mole mapping" (sounds ticklish) with this family history.  The male dermatologist that I went to had a personality comparable to my sofa.  We mapped, he received a ridiculous sum of money for what felt like 2 whole minutes and I went home.  Recently, I again began to think about family health history and the need to take better care of myself.  I wasn't thrilled with going back to the sofa, but did some research and he was pretty much it for this area.  He has a huge practice, so, I put the personality aside and made an appointment.  Then the fun began.

I had no idea what to expect.  Once you're mapped, are you remapped, driven on?  He has a new office in this tiny town's only skyscraper.  I think it is 3 stories tall.  This complex looks ridiculous in our quaint little downtown.  It's one of those buildings that has offices, shops and condos for people who want to conveniently live in a downtown that rolls up its sidewalks at dusk.  In a town that maybe has 6000 people, everyone is only minutes from downtown...This complex has a parking deck.  Funny.  My son lives in Atlanta, so I am familiar with parking decks.  Trust me, we do not need a parking deck in Mayberry.  When I was confirming my appointment with the receptionist, I asked for directions to his office.  When she stated "once you have parked in the parking deck", I giggled as I thought she was making a joke.  She wasn't.  I drove into the concrete parking deck for my appointment and there wasn't another vehicle anywhere.  There were no signs or any indication where one should park so I just smiled and parked in the  middle.  When I got out of my car, it was a little creepy as there were no cars, no people, no signs, no nothing.  I saw a door and walked through.  Again, no signs, no people, no nothing.  I walked down the deathly quiet hall searching for my mapping sofa and found a door with his name on it.  I entered to a reception room with again, no people.  The receptionist immediately greeted me and asked me to sit down as someone would be right with me.  My behind hadn't touched the chair before a door opened and a nurse called my name-like there were other people in the room.  I laughed a little and made some offhand comment like "she wasn't kidding when she said someone will be right with you".  She just smiled.  She brought me to a room that was way too big to be a patient room.  It was at least 4-6 times bigger than any exam room I have ever been in.  She gave me a lovely paper gown and asked me to strip.  She floated out like a cartoon character and I giggled again.  A few seconds later, I was stripping as told in this humongous room with no dressing area or place to put your clothes and the doctor knocks quickly and walks right in before I have a chance to answer.  I'm bending over in underwear I hadn't expected to be public in and my paper ensemble is laying on the floor and hasn't even been pulled apart yet so you can get your arms through it.  You know how they are all stuck flat together.  If you are a woman you know.  I looked up and he is beet red.  I'm thinking omg, you only have one patient, how could you not know I have only had 2 seconds to prepare for your entrance!  Let's just say I did not look like this.....

He backs out, composes himself and re-enters a few minutes later.  I am standing there in this too huge room and he asks me if I am having any "issues".  I reply no.  He asks me to sit in a dentist's chair.  He peers at my arms and legs and doesn't say a word.  Sofas do not speak much.  I'm staring straight ahead and he makes his first statement.  "I like patients to come on a regular basis.  You should come annually."  I say "ok".  He starts looking at the right side of my face and I am looking forward so I can't see him.  All of a sudden I get this sharp stinging sensation like something has bitten me on my cheek.  I quickly look to the right and my face is stopped short by a cold space gun.  The sofa says, "it hurts, doesn't it".  I'm sort of in shock and as I am laughing a little I mention something like maybe you should have warned me you were going to do something.  Before I could hardly get that out, he had done it again.  Feeling somewhat attacked, with wide eyes I ask "what are you doing?"  "Age spots-you don't want those".  In my mind I am thinking well, maybe not, but they were mine and I think you should ask first...I am passive, probably too passive-so I didn't say anything.  Remember he had the gun.

He walks his rolling stool over to the left side of my face without standing up.  Then I hear, "hmmm, I'm not so sure about this one".  As I turn my face toward him to ask what the hmmm is all about, it is greeted with a huge needle.  My passive self went away and I boldly asked him what he was doing and I honestly wanted to say what the @^%# are you doing???  The sofa then found his words to let me know he thought we should biopsy a spot.  I said, oh and he proceeded to jam the needle into my face.  No this may hurt, brace yourself or nothing.  Quickly that half of my face no longer belonged to me and I am assuming he took a knife to do something but I didn't feel anything.  He abruptly gets up, states it will take a week or so for the results and says the nurse will be in.  He walks out like Tin Man and the cartoon character nurse floats back in.  I am bandaged, given instructions on how to care for my wounds and on my merry way...

Sitting back in my car, I had the uncontrollable urge to laugh hysterically.  The entire experience from never seeing people to ending up with half a dead face and the other half stinging painfully was nothing like I expected remapping to be.  It was all so surreal.  From the time I got out of my car until the time I got back in, 17 minutes had passed....

Saturday, July 16, 2011


The concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect.  This is the wikipedia definition for karma.  How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours. ~Wayne Dyer.  Etsy has a variety of teams that members can join at will.  Team members are connected by common interests, problems, a desire to learn about making their Etsy shop more successful etc.  I am a member of several teams, two of which are small with very friendly members who are eager to help each other with the big common goal of improving their Etsy businesses.  Blogging Grannies currently has 18 members, all over 50 years old, who learn from each other as we strive to build our Etsy shops.  Yes, we tweet, do facebook, blog and use all the bells and whistles available to us to promote our internet businesses just like Etsians that may be a year or two younger than we are.  Vintage Bloggers currently has 25 members who share my love for vintage items.  I find both these teams to be very supportive and friendly.  I would like to begin featuring shops of team members to be supportive of them, but also as a way to get to know each one a little better as I explore their Etsy shops.  I firmly believe what goes around comes around and that this exploring and building rapport with fellow Etsians will ultimately help my shop as well.  Good karma.

Seese the Day is the Etsy shop of a Blogging Grannies team member that I am just beginning to get acquainted with.  The shop owner is Jo Seese and coincidentally, she is from Hickory, North Carolina which is only about 2 hours from Brevard, North Carolina where I live.  Small world.  She sells unique, ooak, handcrafted jewelry and accesories.  Her fabulous items absolutely pop with color and personality.  She has beautifully combined her talents to create very unique items that are a combination of knitting and beading.  So creative.  Here are a couple examples of her work:

How adorable is this girl!  Notice all the different materials and textures in this scarf.  Jo does not just knit, she creates art.  Fabulous.  My favorite items in her shop are her gorgeous bracelets.  The combination of knitting and beading is just so unique and interesting.

Jo is a middle school teacher working toward retirement.  I admire anyone who is a teacher and most especially those with the ability to teach this age group.  My comment to her was that raising middle school children is like trying to nail jello to a tree.  She states that creating keeps her sanity.  I would say she is probably very sane as her therapy has certainly produced some beautiful creativity...

Friday, July 15, 2011


I would like to introduce you to Sputnik..............

Sputnik is a vintage 1957 Sportcraft "canned ham" style 15 ft travel trailer.  Most people that see this sitting in my driveway just don't get it.  They cock their head, smile ever so slightly and state "that's nice" when their eyes are clearly stating this woman is out of her gourd!  I am totally unaffected by these judgements as quite frankly, I am not so sure I would like to get in to my gourd.  I am sure it would be cramped and not nearly as much fun in there.  Being oomg, I am in love.

My plan is to totally redo Sputnik and then cruise around as the urge strikes me once I retire.  I would love to start visiting our National Parks and experience some of the beauty that is right here in the United States.  I am currently dabbling in trying to find a group of vintage camper owners in my region of the country (NC)who travel together in preparation for my virgin run.  What is so bizarre about all of this is I have never even camped in a new camper, never mind one from the 50's.  The thought of carrying around my own little room is very appealing to me, though.  My sheets, my towels, a space that is totally designed for me when I travel.  I wouldn't say I am a match for Howard Hughes, but as I get older, motel rooms kind of give me the creeps if I allow myself to think too deeply when staying in one.  I always bring my own pillow, but who was in this bed 24 hours ago and what were they doing?  I've seen those 60 minutes shows with the ultraviolet lights... Quite frankly, I don't know a thing about camping trailers.  This one is pretty much stripped and that is one of the reasons I was attracted to it.  If I am going to quasi live in a rolling metal room with canned ham as a descriptive term of endearment, there is no question I will have to put my stamp on it.  My vision includes midcentury design with all the bells and whistles of the modern world.  To date, this is just a vision...

I have been collecting "pieces" for Sputnik as I can afford them or when I find something that brings my vision closer to a reality.  A top of the line stainless steel European gas stove top combination sink for the kitchen area and ever so cool vintage atomic fabric for curtains are examples of items I have purchased that will ultimately help to flesh out my vision.  Being a thrift store addict, I have many pieces of Sputnik stored in boxes under my bed.  If you were to venture there, you would find pink and aqua melmac dishes from the 1950's, midcentury kitchen items and quite an array of authentic vintage decor to ready Sputnik for travel.  Sputnik approved items never make it to my Etsy shop.  One of the laminate companies has a fabulous vintage line of 50's style formica sheets that will be perfect for the drop down table and kitchen counter area.  I have even found and purchased authentic 1950's light pink/peach square vinyl tiles for the floor.  You know the ones.  They are about a 12" square and you have to wax them to make them shiny.  It goes without saying that I will be wearing my pearls and a smile as I perform this chore.  Someone told me these tiles may pose a health risk as they are made of asbestos, formaldehyde or some other mysterious material sure to be carcinogenic.  I am letting this bit of information float around in my head and I may do a little research on that statement.  I have awhile before I will get to the floor, but I am quite sure it will be difficult giving up this perfect floor for an "it may be".  My gut feeling right now is I will probably keep it.  Not surprising from someone who is ootg............................ 


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wampum & The Real World

Sadly, I have just returned from vacation on Prudence Island, RI.  My family is blessed to have a summer cottage on Prudence and it is here that I am able to regenerate to face the world that we live in.  The stress of the real world seeps out of me on the ferry ride from Bristol and almost instantly when I step on the Island, life priorities become crystal clear.  Prudence is a welcome step back in time when the most important treasure in a person's life was probably something in human form.  There is no commercialism, no concern as to what you or anyone else is wearing, no false pride as to what type of house you live in and though there are all different grades of automobile, at the end of the day, they are all the same-covered with black dust from the nearly unpaved roads.  Life is simple and easy on Prudence and the Islanders are friendly and thankful to be there.  The biggest decision you may have in a day could easily be whether to curl up with a good book or go swimming.  Re-entry into the real world has been extremely difficult for me.

I am a government drone and my penance in this capacity is to supervise child support enforcement.  Enough said.  Unfortunately, I allowed myself no time to transition from my vacation to reality.  I arrived home in the evening after driving 16 hours and found myself sitting behind a desk early the next morning.  If meteors had feelings, I am quite sure they could easily empathize with what I felt that morning.  One moment you are happily floating around in space and the next-bam!-you are crashing into earth not knowing what hit you.  As I was sitting there with beach hair that wouldn't submit to office hair even with power tools, the expression "where the hell am I and why am I sitting in this hand basket?" readily came to mind.  I didn't think it would be appropriate to just stare ahead, laughing hysterically, so I allowed my mind to drift to treasured memories of Prudence.

The quahog is a hard-shelled clam native to Rhode Island.  These shells are prevalent along the shores of Prudence Island.

Hundreds of years ago, Native Americans made "money" from the purple section of the quahog shell.  Beads were formed and used as currency.  The value of the beads was determined by the various hues of purple in the quahog shells-the darker the purple, the more the beads were worth.  I have collected pieces of wampum for years along the shores of Prudence Island.  After vacationing on Prudence, I bring my wampum to North Carolina and place it in a special garden spot.  It is beautiful and always reminds me of how blessed I am to have time on Prudence Island.  If wampum was still a form of currency, I believe this piece would be high dollar because of the intensity of the purple-it is just about black.

Look at how much darker it is compared to other wampum I collected.

I was very surprised when I did a search for wampum on Etsy there were 183 hits.  This necklace was one of my favorite wampum finds.

You can find it at this fabulous Etsy shop Beach Inspired Jewelry

I have no idea how much my wampum collection would be worth if it was actually still used as money.


All I know is when I see it in my garden after a stressful day at work-it is absolutely priceless..........

Monday, July 4, 2011

Etsy Hearts & Grammar School


If you are a shopper or seller on Etsy you have the capability of giving an item a heart signifying that it is a favorite of yours.  I love this practice both as a buyer and a seller.  Receiving a heart on an item I am selling typically doesn't mean the giver is intending to buy the item.  Sometimes they are marking your item as a favorite because they really like it or are trying to make a decision between your item and several other similar items as to which one to purchase.  Other times they are "hearting" an item to use it in an Etsy treasury-a collection of items around a theme that all viewers can enjoy.  No matter how many hearts my items receive in my Etsy shop, it always gives me a little flutter and makes me smile.  Silly, maybe, but it brings me back to grammar school.  It was hard to top the feeling of getting a sticker or star on a paper done well.  A pumpkin or witch stuck at the top of a test or a piece of homework around Halloween or maybe a cornucopia around Thanksgiving was enough to send my young spirit soaring with pride.  I can't imagine something so small would even be noticed by children of today, but back then it was the best feeling.  Etsy hearts bring that small child feeling back to me.  

This item in my Etsy Shop just received a heart as someone's favorite.  I also love this little vintage pot.  I am not sure what it was originally used for and it probably had a lid at one time.  I love the unique style and color.  I hope this gave someone a warm sticker feeling...