Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I took a few pictures of the cheap little tidbits I've picked up lately...they didn't come out ve
ry well, but I'm gonna make you look at them anyway. So there!

I went to this estate sale yesterday, as I said, and there was not a lot left. But I found two chipped, crazed plates (38¢ for both) and this painted tintype:

I saw the tintype in one of the rooms, and the kids' faces just grabbed me. I picked it up and saw what bad shape it was in and put it back down. I wandered around a little more and went into a different room. One of the auction house employees had picked up the tin type and moved it to this room and those kids' faces leaped right out at me again. I figured it was kismet. I think it looks pretty against the plate, too, one of those serendipitous combinations.

Here's the other plate, which is very badly crazed and stained in the middle...I put it on my little foyer shelf and I think it looks nice with the red berries in front of it.

I actually love crazing on china. It adds so much texture. Below is a very crazed and stained plate I bought at the Jefferson Ave. flea market last fall, intending to put it up on a wall, but I love it so much, I just keep it out on the countertop and serve rolls on it or eat scrambled eggs off it or just admire it.

This is the happiest plate ever. The shape, the bright flowers...I love it to death! It's perfectly imperfect. I've certainly gotten my dollar's worth of pleasure out of it, or whatever I paid for it.

Anyway, back to the estate sale...these cookie cutters were 50¢. I bought them because of the little biscuit cutter. I've never seen one that small before.

And I got this English tin (25¢) because it made me smile, even though it's a little later than the time period I usually like. That little lord and lady are too cute. I thought this would be perfect to keep the powdered sugar bag in or some such thing.

I also found this lovely little English china teacup and saucer. They look like springtime, don't they? My niece's 8th birthday is coming up, on the first day of spring, no less, and I thought maybe I'd gather together some more things that look like springtime and send them all to her for her gift. She loves Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea; I bet she'd have fun drinking it from this cup.

On Sunday I was leaving my friend Bev's house and I noticed a small antique mall around the corner. It was about a half hour before they closed, so I popped in and found a nice planter to add to my collection.

Also a china mug that I'm going to use to hold toothbrushes and toothpaste in our bathroom.

And I got a small purple dish that I'm going to use as a soapdish in the new bathroom, but I forgot to take a picture of it.

Those poor people at the antique mall--they stared at me like I was the first human face they'd seen in weeks. Maybe I was. Following me around, asking me questions about what I collect, knocking prices down...don't get me wrong, I like a deal, but there was a real scent of desperation in the air. Lousy economy.
This probably isn't a great time for a lot of people to be in the antique business, and this shop was not exactly out there where people could see it.

Off to bed, night-night!

Sham-Wow, wine, beef, and Shakespeare.

I've been having insomnia lately again, but it's the good kind where I have lots of ideas to think about, and not the bad kind where I get all anxious and full of dread thinking about every possible bad thing that could happen to me and the people I love. Hate that kind of insomnia.

So far this week is going much better than last week...but then, any week without a trip to the dentist has to be better than one with a trip to the dentist, right?

Sunday I went to the home and garden show at the VA Beach convention center with my friend Beverly, and we had a fantastic time. She and I both have an extremely irreverent and often inappropriate sense of humor, and we tend to exacerbate that in each other. We bring out each other's inner 12-year-old, I guess is what I'm saying.

I'd never been to a home and garden show before, and although much of it was what I'd expected (vinyl siding, hot tubs, replacement gutters and windows) there were a few surprise booths. The Sham-Wow guy was there...well, not the guy from the infomercial, but his brother or cousin maybe. It was hilarious watching the crowd watching his patter, as he mopped up water and soda and everybody oohed and aahed, and after a three-minute routine, he sold about $200 worth of Sham-Wows as we--I mean, they--all rushed the stage.

Okay, I'll admit it--I rushed the stage, too. I've always wanted to sop up liquids with a super-absorbent bright orange towel, and now I can. The Vita-Mix people and the super-sharp knife people were there, too, but I managed to resist their blandishments.

There was a huge booth advertising certified Angus beef...because when you think "home," don't you think of a big old slab of beef? They had all these tables with spices and spoons and little baggies where you could mix up a special rub with dried rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, and coffee. Yes, because when you think "beef," don't you think of Starbucks?

I mixed one up and it's been sitting on my counter and making my house smell like coffee all day. Coffee that ain't quite right, like maybe it's been sitting in the pot for a couple of days and you spilled a little soup in it by accident. Queasy.

My favorite booth by far was the wine-tasting booth, where I got a little wineglass and got to go around and sample wines from three different Virginia wineries. Now, I'm not much of a wine-drinker. I've never really gotten the big deal or understood when people talked about wines being oaky or having hints of pear and chocolate or whatever.

But when I stood and sipped seven or eight wines in a row, taking my time and thinking about what I was tasting, I began to get a glimmer of what people were talking about and why some people like wine tasting. It's very sensual, you're really concentrating on what's moving around in your mouth. Then when I moved to another winery's table and tasted four or five of their wines, I started to see how tastes could vary from winemaker to winemaker.

I also got slightly lit, which is probably the main reason people like wine-tasting. Anyway, it really was eye-opening for me. Eye-opening experiences are always fun. And I bought a really nice wine called Virginia Breeze Red from Davis Valley Winery in western VA.

Monday morning I stopped off at an estate sale on my way home from the grocery store--it had run all weekend and Monday was the dregs, at half-off. I found a few little treasures there that I'll share tomorrow.

Work on the bathroom has been in idle mode, but I am definitely going to get the vanity doors painted this week, and Todd's definitely going to get the second coat put on along the wall tops. Then the sink top will definitely come off, because I'm tired of driving around with the new one squeaking in its styrofoam padding in the back of the car. Then we will definitely put in a new medicine cabinet, and then we'll definitely install a new shower curtain rod.

Then by that time it will be mid-March and we'll be able to put in the new floor, because it's going to take two weeks for it to come in, and Todd's dad can't get here to help Todd install it till then. So the brown floor will be around a little longer, but that's fine--it gives us time to get everything else done.

Oh, one last thing--we have been watching this Canadian show called "Slings and Arrows" on DVD from Netflix. It's about a small-town theater company that's known for its Shakespeare festivals. Long ago Todd and I had a very good friend who was an actor, and who later was the managing director of a small community theater, and let's just say this show rings true. The writing is excellent, and the show's creators (one of whom is Mark McKinney from The Kids in the Hall--he's also in the show) really, really understand actors and theater and the drama and self-absorption of that world and how it can all come together to make art.

The show's a little uneven in the first couple episodes, and some of the actors are better than others, but it's funny, funny. And the first season revolves around a production of "Hamlet" and how different directors interpret it. It's very clever. Not PG-rated, though. Unsuitable for kids or in-laws, Viv, in case you're reading this!

All right, I'm pooped and cold, time to hit the hay.