Thursday, March 31, 2011

Need a Good Laugh?

If you read this blog, you know that I've been on Weight Watchers for quite awhile now. All in all, I'm doing well...almost 30 pounds gone since September. wasn't so good and I decided that I had to just sit back and just laugh at myself. Since I'm still laughing, I decided that you could probably use a good laugh too, albeit at the expense of your humble blogging friend. So, here goes...

I arrived at school this morning and there were little cookies on a baking tray in the old Home Ec. room where I store my diet soda. I had just weighed in at the Weight Watchers center on my way to school. I gained a pound and was feeling pretty discouraged so I snuck a cookie from the tray and ate it. Just one couldn't make it any worse, right?  Well, it was AWFUL and I ran to the sink to spit it out. I figured that the kids who had made them must have messed up the recipe. A few minutes later,  the special ed. teacher came into my office to tell me about her new class project:  they would be making dog biscuits and selling them to raise money for the local Animal Refuge League.  Guess what??? Their first batch was on the cookie sheets in the old Home. Ec. room!!!
Feeling pretty stupid,
p.s. This post is linked to NO blog parties!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Drawer-front Repurposed

In a recent post about some of my Shabby Finds, I shared this photo of an old drawer front that I bought for $5.00 to "do something with someday". Well, I finally got busy and actually finished this little project. I decided to repurpose the drawer front into funky wall art to use as a display for vintage postcards and photos. A simple, if a bit messy, project...

Here's the messiest part of the job...the scrub-down. I wanted to remove the paint from the brass pulls and clean up the wood a little bit without damaging the old paint.

To shine up the hardware, I got out my old tube of Simichrome Metal Polish.  You can find it at the hardware store and at many antique malls. It's kind of pricey but it will shine most metals as well as all of your vintage plastics. It's also a great way to determine if a piece you are thinking of buying is real Bakelite or a knock-off. To test for bakelite with it, the pinkish color of the polish should turn yellow from rubbing it on the bakelite...yellow means bakelite; not yellow, probably not.

When I scrubbed the drawer front, I learned the hard way not to get it too wet. By scrubbing with water, I managed to loosen some of the glue that held down the vaneer on the molding. So...time to get out the glue and clamps. Is any project as simple as it first looks? I also put a dab of glue under each of the drawer pulls so that they would remain upright to hold the postcards in place.

The original key was missing from the drawer so I decided to search my collection of old keys...I lucked out and found one that fit.

And here is the finished piece, hung above a shelf in our guest bathroom.

For now, I displayed two old postcards of Wells Beach, Maine on it. I like the idea that I can change it out and use seasonal postcards or vintage photos instead to suit my mood.

This post is happily linked to:
Sunday Favorites at Happy to Design
Tutorial & Tips Tuesday at The Stories of A to Z
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
What Are You Making Wednesday at Home and Heart
Treasures & Trinkets Party at My Cottage Charm
Time Travel Thursday at Brambleberry Cottage
Thrifty Thursday at Tales from Bloggeritaville
Vintage Thingy Thursday at The Colorado Lady
Under $100. Linky Party at Beyond the Picket Fence
Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage
Open House Party at No Minimalist Here
Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground
Show & Tell Fridays at My Romantic Home
Hodgepodge Friday at It's a Hodgepodge Life
Show & Share Day at Just a Girl
Thrifty Things Friday at The Thrifty Groove
Catch As Catch Can at  My Repurposed Life
Saturday Nite Special at Funky Junk Interiors
Addicts Anonymous at Addicted to Decorating

Blog Celebration & Tips

Imagine my excitement to check the blog this morning and see that My Sister's Cottage now has 100 Followers...I feel as if I have 100 new "girlfriends"!  Thanks to each and every one of you for taking a little time each day to share my world and for inviting me, through your  amazing blogs, to share yours. You are all so talented, creative and supportive. The challenge of getting through these past past few months without my best friend, my sister Nancy, has been eased a bit by knowing that others care and that there are still things in life to look forward to. Nancy would have loved all of you guys!

I just found a nifty site that you might like to try. It's at You simply download the program, upload your favorite photos, and click a shape or instantly creates a shape collage like the one I used above. You can use as few or as many photos as you like and then save the finished collage to add to your blog or print for crafts. In the "100" collage above, I used photos from my blog; in the "heart" shape below, I used photos of some of Nancy's collections. This could be a lot of fun!
My last post was about Sue's new blog and I already have another new blog to tell you about...and this one is just plain CUTE! My two little grandsons, Taka and Toshi, with a little help from their Dad, decided to start their own blog. Taka is 7 and Toshi is almost 4 so they may be the youngest bloggers yet. Their first entry is called "What We Do' and you can find it here. I wouldn't be surprised if they don't soon have 100 Followers too...they're pretty creative!

Happy Blogging everybody!

Monday, March 28, 2011

A New Blog

Today I received the most wonderful Comment on one of my posts from a new blogger named Sue. Seems she had spent the weekend reading It's Always Something, the blog that my sister, Nancy, and I wrote together from 2008 until she lost her cancer battle in November. I mean Sue read the WHOLE THING...she's practically a member of the family after that!

Anyway, Sue mentioned that she has become a "blogaholic" over the past few months and has recently started her own blog. So, of course, I had to click right over to it and pay her a visit. Her blog is called Lil of This, Lil of That and you can visit it here. In her blog, Sue invites us to "join me on this journey of outfitting a new house and all the little ups and downs that go along with it".

We all know how hard it is to get a new blog started and how discouraging it can be at first when you write your heart out and get no Comments. When I started My Sister's Cottage I really appreciated the traffic that other bloggers, like Brenda at Cozy Little House, sent my way. So, I was about if we all pay Sue's blog a visit and leave a Comment or two to help get her started? What do you think?

Young at Heart

Today I am not writing about vintage finds for my home, but about vintage people who are so inspiring that I want to share their story...the Young at Heart Chorus came to Portland Sunday afternoon and we were lucky enough to be there.

I first became aware of this group when I saw a documentary about them on PBS back in January of 2010. I was so moved by their story that I wrote about them on my other blog, It's Always Something, and went right to to order copies of the documentary on DVD to share with every senior citizen I knew...and some I didn't. You can see a clip of the documentary here. The chorus is made up of members of "the greatest generation" from Northampton, Massachusetts, whose average age is 81. And they ROCK! This is a photo I took very quickly at today's performance...

An online review, from the Bomb Magazine blog, tells more of the story of the chorus:
Many of the group have lived through both world wars. Founded in 1982 at an elderly housing project in Massachusetts, the group has since gained acclaim on an international level through annual tours of Europe, and has starred in a self-titled, award-winning documentary film. They’ve also generated Internet buzz through member Fred Knittle’s rendition of Coldplay’s “Fix You,” which boasts nearly half a million hits on YouTube. As they stand on stage, some energetically dancing, others perpetually attached to the breathing machines that they depend on to live, the music they sing takes on a dim irony. After all, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” has a completely different meaning when sung by an octogenarian.

When the chorus ended with their rendition of Bob Dylan's Forever Young, there was hardly a dry eye in the filled-to-capacity Merrill Auditorium. If Young at Heart comes to your town, run, don't walk, for tickets and bring every older person you will not soon forget the experience. Don't let walkers, oxygen tanks or wheelchairs stand in your way of bringing your elderly friends to this event....the chorus is using them too!

Young at Heart will be in Hartford, Connecticut, at the Bushnell Auditorium, on April can check for other show dates here or read more from the group on Facebook here.

Let's all try to remember to stay "Young at Heart" as we start another busy week...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Quirky Goodwill Find

Yesterday I decided that I needed to take a break from writing about vintage finds for awhile so that I could write about other projects and interests. After all, antiquing is not all I do and I started this blog to reflect on all of the crafty things that my sister, Nancy, and I loved doing together. So, yesterday's note-to-self was to start writing more memoir and less "junk".  That sounded like a good blog-improvement plan until...I took a quick detour into Goodwill and found this quirky old piece.

To me, it represents the simple beauty that is so often found in Folk Art. Maine is full of hardy, frugal country people who have learned to "make do" in a hostile climate. Maybe the cracks in the bottom of the old wooden bowl inspired the craftsman's need to alter the piece. Or maybe the maker's wife wanted a way to simplify her day by raising her apple-peeling and other kitchen tasks to chair height. For whatever reason, oak legs were added to the bowl. The legs are beautifully made and pegged into the bottom of the bowl, with no nails or glue.  For $5.00, how could I pass it up?

The finished piece has a quirky utilitarian beauty that I love.

 For now, it will hold an Easter display...

But I have lots of other ideas for filling the bowl in other or seashells in the summer, apples or guords in the fall, greenery and berries at the holdays. It may someday hold old cookie cutters in a corner of my kitchen, or balls of yarn by the woodstove for winter knitting projects.

Meanwhile, this little bottle-brush rabbit has made it his home.

I hope you will visit these amazing blogs to which this post is linked:
Show Off Your Cottage Monday at House In the Roses
Motivate Me Monday at Keeping It Simple
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On the Porch
Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays at Coastal Charm
Second Time Around Tuesday at A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words
Twice Owned Tuesday Party at The House of Grace

Friday, March 25, 2011

Shabby Finds

In yesterday's post, I shared the vintage Easter postcards I found at a local antique sale this week but there were a few more things there that I couldn't resist for 40% off. One was this old Household Scale in a great shade of green. Not much of the green paint showed when I bought was covered with rust. But some steel wool and lots of elbow grease, plus a good rub-down with cooking oil, brought it back to life.

 I love how it looks as part of my Easter display in the dining room.  The little ceramic birds were $1.99 each at our local wine shop, of all places.

And then there was this piece. It is actually the front of an old drawer but I loved the colors and carvings in the wood. Still some clean up to do on this baby but I already love it. It will be repurposed to hang on a wall, possibly with vintage photos or postcards tucked under the pulls.

With a little work, the delicate leaf design embossed on the brass beneath the pulls will be a nice contrast against the rough textures in the wood.

As a former Girl Scout and sometimes embroiderer, I couldn't leave this not-quite-finished linen piece behind. Apparently the girl scout who started it was not quite "prepared" to finish it.  I'll have fun doing that and then either frame it or make it into a throw pillow.

These little redwork napkins were $2.00 for the set of four. I can't seem to resist vintage linens...

or old books...

especially when they're signed and dated. This inscription was inside the cover of Uncle Tom's Cabin. I wonder where East Noel is?

Hope you enjoyed this rusty, scratched and frayed little post...I like things that look as if someone really used them, years before we were even born. Simple items like these have a history to them that lends a reassuring sense of continuity to everyday life. I kind of like them just the way they are!

I hope you will visit these great blogs to which today's post is linked:
Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Friday Pretties at I Love Pretty Little Things
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Junkin' Finds Friday at A La Carte
Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Frugalicious Friday at Finding Fabulous
Air Your Laundry Friday at Freckled Laundry
Favorite Things Friday at The Speckled Dog
Saturday Nite Special at Funky Junk Interiors
A Few of My Favorite Things Saturdays at Bargain Hunting With Laurie
Show & Tell Saturdays at Be Different, Act Normal

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vintage Easter Images For You

Today I can't wait to share my latest vintage finds with you. A local antique shop was having a Sale and I found all of these old Easter postcards marked 50 cents each...with another 40% off. The only challenge was that locating them was like searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack. The dealer had piles of dusty old boxes stacked on the floor of his booth. In order to find the hidden treasures, I spent quite a few hours over the past week kneeling on the floor digging through the stash. It was worth it to find so many beautiful old images for 30 cents each.
I chose some of my favorites and photoshopped them as best I could. is my Easter gift to you...feel free to grab any of these images to use for your own blogging, scrapbooking, card-making or altered art projects. Hope you enjoy them!

 I just love these fat chicks...

and these adorable children...

This card made me think of how much our language has changed over the years...Nature's "raiment"? I guess it just wouldn't sound the same to say
"Nature's cool threads"...

and today I doubt we'd see a Hallmark card with the word "happy" hyphenated as it is here.

I liked the back of this old card because it was postmarked from Troy, New York, where I went to college (No...not in 1911!)

My other find was an amazing  scrapbook from 1861...exactly 150 years ago! Some young woman must have wanted to make a scrapbook and, not having one, re-used a ledger from a store, pasting her photos and poems over its pages. Goes to show that, "Mother is the necessity of invention"

Each of these watches was cut out separately and pasted to a page in the ledger.

Here is a page from the ledger that she had not completely shows the date and some of the original entries.

On this page, she has pasted fairy stories and colored in the photos.

Here is more of my stash. The scrapbook is on the left in this photo but I also picked up a Scrabble game (for the letter tiles, of course) and another old Mason jar for craft room storage. When I opened the Scrabble game, there was another word game tucked inside...the word cards will be fun to use for collage projects.
All in all, a good week of junkin'. All it cost was about $10.00 and some very sore knees from postcard diving...well worth it and lots of fun!
I am linking up to:
Time Travel Thursday at Brambleberry Cottage
Thrifty Thursday at Tales from Bloggeritaville
Vintage Thingy Thursday at The Colorado Lady
Treasures & Trinkets Thursday at My Cottage Charm
Open House Party at No Minimalist Here
Show & Tell Saturdays at Be Different, Act Normal
The Best of Easter at Funky Junk Interiors
I hope you will visit these amazing blogs!