Friday, November 30, 2012

The Last November Day

I don't know how it happened!
I have heard all my life about how time goes faster when one gets older.
It's true, but I can't figure out how!
One minute it's still early November and we're talking with the Roof Guys and setting a date mid-month.
Then we get a call and the roof replacement is postponed to the end of the month and it's time to plan Thanksgiving dinner.
Now here it is, the last day of November, we still have the same old roof, and time is just zipping by!
Well, rather than focus on the negative (and flying time is a negative, right?), let's show you what I've been up to these days...

My sister gave me these vintage printed dish towels to embroider years ago. I love turtles and she saw these and thought of me (Thanks, sis!).  There's supposed to be a towel for every day of the week, but I only have two of them- Sunday and Friday. They've been sitting in a box for awhile, and I came across them and decided it was time to work on them.  The washable ink is starting to fade in some places, so better get to it before I'll have to start making it up as I go! I must say, I really like the detail I came up with on the stomach and the hat. Almost done with this one, and then I can start on the next.  The real question here is: Can I use them as what they were intended for when I'm done with them? We shall see!

Every year I do hand made ornaments to give as gifts. I try to keep it different and not too difficult since I have to make mass quantities of them. I get inspiration from other people, magazines, stuff I see in the stores, but this time, inspiration struck at home! Remember those spirograph drawing sets we had as kids?? Evelyn was drawing one night with the spirograph and I noticed how they could be snowflakes... ornament snowflakes!! Evelyn and I drew a bunch more onto tissue paper, then I embroidered right through the paper onto felt. Still a work in progress, but thought I'd share in case anyone wanted to try this.

We set the tree up two days ago. Only lights on it right now because I like to wait until kids and cats are used to having the tree around before adding ornaments. You can just see the curiosity getting ready to kill this cat, can't you??  I'm glad I don't have ornaments on this yet, because yesterday morning I found Peter somehow tangled up inside the tree, lights all wrapped up around him!!  Wha...?!?  A firm warning that the tree will get put up if he does it again and so far, no more mishaps. I'm thinking the ornaments will go up tonight after dinner.

Christmas shopping is just about done with, a few more items and I can call it good! Soon I'll be able to focus solely on crafting and baking and wrap presents little by little. I don't yet know what our Christmas plans are, but whatever they will be, as long as it's with family and friends, it's perfect! 
Let's just hope December doesn't fly by as fast as November did, hmm?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Booth Update

I have had my antique booth for 3 full months now and I have been enjoying it very much. Make no mistake, it is hard work to maintain, but it's a labor of love. Here's a look at what the booth looked like on August 1st, three months ago:
Pretty bare, huh? 
The space felt HUGE and I had fears that I wasn't going to have enough stuff to fill up all the shelves! 
Despite such a bare booth, I did really well that first week, which was very encouraging and I kept going through my boxes, re-discovering stuff I bought years ago, and hitting every yard sale I could find to get more stuff! This was great!!  I finally had a legitimate excuse to go yard sale-ing!!

Here's what my booth looked like on November 5th:
 What a difference!!
I find it really hard to cram things in there, so I keep it kind of open, space-wise. I don't have stuff piled on top of stuff because when I think of my own shopping preferences, I never really enjoy having to move stuff around to get to something all the way in the back of the shelf.  I'm clumsy, so I'm always worried I'll knock something over and then I'll have to pay for something I broke. As a klutzy person, I prefer to keep it light, but with enough stuff in there to keep you interested. 

I'm doing pretty good-- I don't know what is average monthly sales that other booths make, but I'm satisfied with what I am making.  I have exceeded my expectations and I'm not stopping anytime soon! We have been diligently going to every yard sale and thrift shop and trying to buy extra to last us through the winter until next yard sale season. I feel like I have enough inventory to last me through the winter. 

In fact, I feel like I've been doing so well, I opened up another booth at another antique mall!
Here's the second booth:
 A smaller space in a larger, busier mall. So far, I'm not making what I make at the other place. I moved in October 1st, and have only made a quarter of what I made at the other booth for October. Hmm.. I need to figure out what sells here! I just added over 50 items on Monday; then we had Election Tuesday with zero sales at both places; Wednesdays, this mall is closed... There's a Holiday open house at the mall this weekend, hopefully I'll have good sales and figure out what sells and bring in more of that.

I have a few holidays pieces at both booths, but this weekend, I plan to work on a few more items and bring those in next week.  I'm not going to go all out green, red, and gold, but I will have some nice decor items to scatter among the shelves. I want to sell not just decoration pieces, but gift items as well. A lot of things I sell would make nice little hostess gifts or if you know someone that loves vintage kitchen items, you could find something here to give. I sell what I love, so that if it doesn't sell, I'm happy to take it back home with me! 

There's my booth update!
Anyone looking for anything, maybe I have it! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

Before Halloween becomes old(er) news, here's the pictures of the kids in their completed costumes:

It all came together so easy this year, I can only hope future Halloweens will be this smooth!
Meet Little Girl Ready For Bed, Witch, Kitty Cat, and Shark!

My little girl dressing up as a Little Girl.
  She'll always be my little girl, no matter how big she gets! An easy costume- warm pj's, pigtails, freckles and... done!

Maybe this should be Silly Witch!
Even easier costume than the Little Girl: a store-bought costume we had already for dress-up, and all we needed was a witch hat, which we got from the dollar aisle at Target. It's attached to a headband and it's the cutest little witch hat ever!

Kitty Cat, meow! 
Leopard print pants and shirt, kitty ears from Target and all I needed to make was a tail from an old black shirt.  I made it belted-style, so she can continue to wear it in imaginary play. She likes pretending she's a cat pretty often these days. When we got the kitty ears a couple weeks ago, I predicted they'd break before Halloween came about, and sure enough, Peter broke the headband part of it yesterday. Have no tears, sewing mama to the rescue! I had a repair plan for just the break I imagined and added elastic to turn the head band into an elastic headband. Phew, disaster averted!

Shark boy!
He ended up really enjoying wearing the fin hat and teeth and I'm so glad people played along with him when they figured out what he was. One lady asked him if he would bite her if she put candy in his bucket and he vigorously nodded yes! So funny!  He kept the hat and teeth on the entire time!

Andrew joined in on the fun with these silly glasses! Sort of what Harry Potter would look like if he was older, eh? I like that we can laugh at ourselves and play along with the kids!

Living out in the country, there's really no place to trick-or-treat, so I can appreciate when churches and other organizations host 'Trunk or Treats' in the parking lots. We went to two such gatherings, one at the local elementary school and one at the church in town. The kids came away with big smiles and nearly full bags of candy and treats! The nice thing with the church is that it's not all candy-- there are pencils and little games, rubber band bracelets and bouncy balls, little Halloween activity books and even a full-sized bible for every kid! 

The local shopping center gets in on the fun, too, and we stopped by to get more milk and juice, and then to each of the stores for more treats.  It's fun to see the people that work there all dressed up and seeing them out of their usual work outfits.

It was a fun night and the kids happily sorted through their candy when we got home. They traded what they didn't like and after being allowed a couple pieces to eat, I hid all the candy, to be doled out little by little.

Hope your Halloween was just as fun!!
Happy November!! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sewing Halloween

Halloween costumes this year are pretty easy for me. The kids have all picked something that requires minimal help from me, very little sewing, and very little store-bought accessories. Win-win if you ask me!
Though I like to sew, sewing for the kids is not always easy, especially when they breathe down my neck, ready to snatch away finished product as soon as I clip the last thread. Or I can barely get them to stand still while I measure and check, double-check and triple-check the fit. 

This Halloween, Evelyn wanted to be a ghost, then a zombie, and as of today, with her looking like she's coming down with a cold and possibly not going trick-or-treating tomorrow, we've decided she'll use her warmest pajamas (with something even warmer underneath), dot her face with freckles, put her hair into pigtails, and she'll carry around a teddy bear, as if she is a little girl ready for bed. Much easier and less complicated than a zombie. Hopefully she'll feel better tomorrow, fingers crossed.

Gretchen is going to be a witch, using an old costume we already have. The only thing we needed was a witch hat, which we found in the dollar aisle at Target. I'm making her wear tights and a heavy black skirt underneath the costume for warmth, which she is protesting, but as soon as I mentioned, "no tights, no trick-or-treating," she quickly agreed.

Sylvia is a cat. While yard sale-ing one day, I jokingly held up leopard-print pants and shirts and asked if anyone wanted them and Sylvia immediately grabbed for them! Shocked me, for sure. She's been wearing them non-stop and all I needed to do was make a black tail for her and the Target dollar aisle gave us leopard-print cat ears headband. Make-up on her face for whiskers and a kitty nose and we are done!

Peter wants to be a shark. He loves anything fish and for months he has been talking about being a shark.
Easy enough-- dress him all in grey and I'd make a grey skull cap from a grey shirt and a shark fin to attach to the back of his shirt. But it's cold now, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, and I realized the fin won't be visible underneath his coat. Thinking, thinking.. light bulb!

Using an old grey shirt, I cut the long sleeve off and used the wider top part as a skull cap. Cut a thick card board fin and fitted it inside the cap and traced the shape, sewed along the shape and a shark fin cap was born! He loved it! Ran off as soon as I slipped it on his head! 

My sister mentioned seeing a teeth-y mask made with a paper plate, but I thought I could do one better using thick white felt and a bit of the old shirt. I measured around his head and cut a slit into a rectangle piece of fabric, sewed a length of felt on both sides of the slit, turned and stitched a top-stitch to keep the teeth from flopping once on. Added some snaps to the ends to attach in the back and it's pretty cute.

I tried to make the top teeth sit on his upper lip- done; and the bottom teeth sit on his chin, but the bottom isn't cooperating with me. In the end, we all agree that the teeth hanging wide open look pretty good.

Of course, now that I've finished the sewing bit for Shark boy, he declares he doesn't like it and won't wear it. -sigh- Andrew said he won't go trick-or-treating if he won't wear it, so Peter has changed his tune and loves it again. Fickle kid!

More costume pictures later! Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

If it happens, it happens.

We didn't have too much to do, but we are prepared for Sandy and whatever she may bring our way. The biggest thing is that our roof has not been replaced yet-- argh!  It is scheduled to be worked on in the beginning of November! We've been lucky with only light rains so far, but the weather forecast is predicting 3 full days of rain coming up and that does not bode well for the roof and what lies beneath it.

So we pulled out all the plastic tarps we could find, culled the biggest pieces and climbed on the roof to cover the leaky spots. I know it probably won't keep out all the water, but it will deflect a lot of it, and help keep the insulation in the attic from getting soaked.  We already will have to replace the insulation in spots here and there, so any further damage we can prevent will help. Hopefully, the rain doesn't fall too heavy and we'll be ok.

We haven't needed to use our generator in years and Andrew declared it unfit to use this week should our power go out. We'll have to tinker around with it later on, see if we can get it going again.  Perhaps it will be a winter project for Andrew when there is snow on the ground and he can putter around in the shop.

Our pantry is well-stocked.  Several cases of bottled water to drink and I filled every empty gallon-sized container I had on hand with water. We'll also fill the bathtub with water just in case-- after everyone has gotten a shower in tonight. I re-organized the freezer, to make it easier to transfer stuff from the fridge freezer to the big freezer if needed. I'll also be freezing water in several old milk containers so they'll help keep the freezer cold if the power goes out.

Bought more flashlights, the ones the kids had have taken a beating and some of them don't work anymore. Plenty of batteries and candles, too. Caught up on all the laundry in case I can't do laundry for a couple of days.

Except for the roof, we're not really too worried about Sandy. If she comes, she comes.  If the power goes out, it goes out.  We'll cook on the grill or over a campfire. We'll do what we usually do, except it will be by candlelight or flashlight.

Halloween will be interesting.  If it is raining then we'll go trick or treating elsewhere. Or maybe we'll do what we did one year, and let the kids trick or treat at home-- knocking on bedroom doors and Andrew, Mom, or I will answer and pass out candy. Wait and see.

Stay safe.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Good-Bye, Friend

Before the title of this post gets anyone in a tizzy, thinking I'm saying good-bye to this here blog, let me quickly say, I'm not. Still here. Not going anywhere.

We're saying, or already said, good-bye to our lovely and lonely duck, Cheese. Or maybe it's Quackers. Never could tell them apart. But the girls have decided it's Cheese, so it's good-bye Cheese.

Sometime last week, while we were all asleep, warm and safe in our beds, something attacked and killed one of the ducks. Andrew woke me early in the morning to deliver the bad news. The kids didn't know yet, so I hurriedly dressed, then slipped out quietly.

Poor Cheese, he was walking around and around Quackers. His body still and white feathers scattered all around him. I gathered his body and as much of his feathers as I could and laid his body to rest in the woods.  Then I went about and did my usual morning things, fed the chickens and the ducks, excuse me, duck, and burst into tears at the sight of just one lonely duck.

And he was definitely lonely. Those two ducks were the best of pals, maybe they were brothers, and you never saw one without the other. They teamed up and chased after the cats, the chickens, the dog. They'd waddle away, quite pleased they succeeded in their chase, quack, quack, quacking loudly. They roamed the homestead together, happily splashing in their little pool and came as fast as their webbed feet could carry them when I came out with food and scraps.

After Quackers was gone, Cheese tried to pair up with one of the cats, but the cat just ran away.
Cheese tried to pair up with the old Rooster, but he ran away, looking back as if to say, go away you pesky thing!
He tried to hang out with the chickens, but they ignored him, merely tolerating his presence, but I'm sure, as soon as Cheese was out of earshot, the hens cackled behind his back.
Poor Cheese. 

We didn't want to get another duck, but we knew poor Cheese needed a buddy. There's a lovely little pond, about 20 miles from us, I spotted it while out yard sale-ing, and I remembered there were a bunch of white ducks there. I had the children with me that day and we stopped to ohh and aw over them. Let's take Cheese there, we all agreed. Sunday took us to the pond, and it was, indeed, a lovely little pond, and there were the ducks, all hanging out in the shade of the trees. Cheese would be happy here, we knew. 

Knocking on the door of the house closest to the pond, Andrew explained to the owner about Cheese and what had happened to Quackers, and wondered if it was possible to bring Cheese here and leave him with the other ducks. "Why of course we could," he said!

The next day, we took our last pictures of Cheese with the children, said our good-byes, then Andrew drove off with Cheese in a cage in the back of the truck. He opened the door near the water and stepped away, Cheese poked his head out and looked around, spotted the water, then spotted the ducks in the water on the other side of the pond and took off like a shot into the water! He swam right over to the ducks, and Andrew caught this last picture of Cheese about to join the other ducks, then once he was with them, he lost track of Cheese, for he blended right in with the other ducks.

I think he'll be happy here, with other ducks, swimming in a real pond. There are even girl ducks! The owner said they had 4 girls and 3 boys, and Cheese makes 4 boys, so he might even get a girlfriend! We'll come and visit now and then, say hello, and maybe, if we're lucky, come Spring, we'll see baby ducks and one of the proud papas will be Cheese! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

1 Potato, 2 Potato, 3 Potato, 4...

   We grew potatoes in the garden this year, but it's not enough to sustain this 7- member family of mine.
We eat potatoes in nearly every meal or, at least, once a day. After discovering how much we harvested from the garden, I was a little disappointed. I'm still learning how much I need to plant to grow enough food to feed my family for a year, so I'm looking at this as a learning experience. But still, in the end, it's just not enough to feed us for this season, so when I saw a simple ad in the local paper advertising potatoes, I just had to call. 

    A bushel of potatoes for $15. The average bushel weighs 60+ pounds. That equals out to .25 cents a pound. Pretty good deal to me.  We went to look at the potatoes, grown by a local farmer 10 miles from us and they were beautiful.  As beautiful as potatoes can be.  Thin-skinned and huge, nothing like the potatoes we grew! They were obviously sorted, because none of theirs had blemishes or worm holes. I bet they kept the poorer potatoes to keep and eat and sold the nicer looking ones to customers.

   Four bushels of potatoes came home with us and we spent the next couple of days working on one bushel, turning them into potato skins to freeze and canning irish potatoes for later. We also ate potatoes morning, noon, and night, and today, I can safely say, we are all potatoed out! The rest of the potatoes will go into storage in the basement and hopefully, last us through the winter.

 Simultaneously pressure canning irish potatoes and baking potatoes in the oven for potato skins.

 Peeling and chopping potatoes for irish potatoes. Potatoes get pre-cooked in boiling water for 10 minutes, then loosely packed in quart jars and pressure canned for 40 minutes. I figure on 2 quarts getting cooked up for every meal, so I'm hoping to put away 50 quarts of irish potatoes, which will equal 25 meals.

I can only pressure can 7 quarts at a time, so I've got 28 jars done, so far. Halfway there!

 Lost count of how many potato skins we have in the freezer now.  Andrew cooked up so many packages of bacon for the skins, and still did not put a dent in our bacon stock in the freezer! I know for sure, there are over 100 skins in the freezer, vacuumed-packed in batches of 6. We had a meal one night of nothing but potato skins.  Did you ever do that, eating out at a restaurant and ordering the potato skins appetizer as a meal? I used to do that a lot. I love me some potato skins!

The potato "guts" scooped from the skins got vacuum-packed, too, and will be turned into potato soup or mashed potatoes later on. I didn't measure the potatoes when I packed them, just eye-balled it, knowing by now, just how much my family can eat in one meal. I thought about making and canning potato soup, but my supply of jars is getting low, and making soup from scratch is pretty easy, especially now that I have pre-cooked potatoes in the freezer!

   I am *this* close to buying another bushel. I saw another farmer with a sign at the end of his driveway selling his potatoes for $12 a bushel! *smacks head!* That would have been .20 cents a pound! But by the time I came back to his farm to buy some, the sign was gone, too late! I think I'll be making another trip back to the first farmer and buy one more bushel, just in case. I'd rather have too much, than not enough.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Taking the Bad With the Good

When I first started this blog, I aspired to be widely-read and have millions of hits every month. I imagined getting sponsors and book deals and I'd never have to worry about money. My problem was coming up with fresh ideas every day, to keep people hungry and coming back for more! I can barely come up with an idea for a post once a month these days and even then, they garner no interest. I've long accepted that I'm not fame-worthy, and that's alright.  In my little part of the world, my children view me as the World's Greatest, Most Beautiful and Bestest Mom Ever! And my husband tells me I am The Most Beautiful Woman in the World, I am sexy and hot and the way he tells it, I've stepped right out of the pages of Playboy! And the chickens, they flock to me all happy and bow down at my feet every single day, without fail. OK, so they're pecking at the bread I've tossed, but it's my world, so let me be!

My point is, I'm happy. I love my family, my home, my life, and I am not some crafting genius or a whiz at coming up with original ideas. I constantly glean inspiration from other people but rarely come up with an idea of my own.  I'm just not creative that way. So often I see something and smack my head and ask myself, "why didn't I think of that?!"  Andrew and I talk about needing to invent something people can't live without, and then we'd be set for the rest of our lives, like whoever came up with the toilet brush? It's found in nearly every bathroom! And how about the guy that came up with Beanie Babies? Holy cow, that guy must be lying on a beach somewhere, sipping margaritas, calling to the help, "How much did I make today?"

My life might be normal, same thing day in and day out, pretty mundane, really. Boring, even. But there is stuff that happens here that shakes our life up and makes it fun. Nothing wild and crazy, but just enough to jiggle things around and make us laugh, drive us crazy, cause sleepless nights. Leaky roofs can drive one crazy. Cause us sleepless nights wondering how much it will cost to fix and if we can afford it. But at least we have a roof, right? So what if we have buckets and bowls and trashcans to catch the rain all over the attic floor, it's a lot more than some people have, and for that, I am grateful and thankful and I still can laugh at the sight of all those containers, looking very much like a scene out of those old cartoons I used to watch as a kid.

To shake things up a little bit and add some excitement to our lives, we decided to go to the county fair with the kids.  Not our little one, but a bigger one with more rides and a circus and lots more animals and events than our small town has.  We haven't gone anywhere this summer, just once to the little beach on the lake not too far from us, and so we felt like the kids deserved some fun. They have been hearing about friends going to amusement parks and vacations at the beach and camping trips, and we felt kind of bad that we couldn't afford any of that, yet we aren't apologetic about it, because there are times in one's life where you just can't do any of those things.  But the county fair, we could swing that.

We gathered up the kids, told them we were going to buy tickets and let them go on the rides all night long!  How excited they were!  Cheers went up! Yay for Daddy and Mama!!  We were cool.  We were awesome! We were the BEST PARENTS EVER! And it was great!  Lots of fun!  I took pictures of them on the rides and we saw the animals and exhibits. They went crazy over the long, tall slide and climbed what must have been hundreds of steps all the way to the top, just to slide down what took only seconds to get to the bottom, yet bounce up, that wild giddy look in their eyes and say, "Let's do that again!" Then the circus started and we watched a small family do amazing tricks with dogs, trampoline jumping, juggling, clown acts and a crazy round and round dare-devil act. It was fun!

Then 5 o'clock came and all of a sudden, the four wristbands the kids wore, that let them have unlimited access to the rides, the ones we paid a hard-earned $60 for, were no good. Imagine a giant buzzer sounding. Imagine all the rides and lights and music slowly grinding to a halt and the laughter and smiles quickly turning to tears and frowns and disappointment. It's safe to say that I was just as disappointed. Stupid, cheating, no-good fair! Those wristbands were only good until 5, then one had to buy new ones for an extra $3 each for a grand total of $72 for four tickets, just to continue riding until closing time. Not even a sign to caution people buying tickets before 5 o'clock. Stupid, cheating, no-good fair!

I can't look at the fair pictures without feeling that same disappointment we felt when we were not allowed to go on any more rides. Andrew and I tried to cheer the kids up, tell them we could still see the animals and the other exhibits we hadn't seen yet, but it was no good.  The thrill was gone. Feet were heavy and it took such effort to get them to the barns and even the sight of baby pigs didn't elicit any "aws" from the kids. Kettle corn didn't taste as good. It got hot and dusty and sticky. The kids complained they were tired and wanted to go home. And so we did. It was a grumpy ride home. The kids fought, we yelled. It was not the tired-but-happy-falling-asleep trip home I thought it would be. Stupid fair.

Here's the only picture I took at the fair after 5 o'clock:

Don't let that smile deceive you, believe me, it was a struggle to get them to pose for me. Right next to it, you can just see part of it, is a fake cow-milking display, where you can see what it's sort of like to milk a cow! I was pretty excited about it, but no one wanted to do it. I got Gretchen to give it a squeeze, but it was poor attempt, mostly just to appease me. Shortly after this, we left.

I share this because I want to remember this day. Even though it ended poorly, it was such a good day. I need to remind myself that I shouldn't dwell on the disappointments, but look at the fun bits! It was fun!  We were having a ball! They got to go on about 15 different rides, and see a circus, and just have fun together.  And they were awesome together-- watching out for each other and making sure Peter was right there with them. They held hands and sat together on the rides and encouraged one another when one of them was a little too scared. Those are the moments I need to remember. There are good and bad parts to each day, the trick is to focus on the good parts.

So what did I learn from this? For one thing, the next time we go to any sort of place that has rides, we're definitely asking if there's a time limit on those tickets we're about to pay for. But mostly, that even when we're feeling sad or disappointed, we still have each other, we still love each other and tomorrow is a brand new day.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

516 Antiques

The booth is lots of fun, I gotta tell you! 
First, I get to hit the yard sales and look for things I deem worthy for the booth.
That alone is one of my favorite things to do.
Second, I get to have my own "shop".
Okay, not exactly the same thing as opening my own store, but this has its' perks.
I don't need to be there except to restock and rearrange; I don't need to worry about all the overhead costs; I'm free to yard sale or flea market or whatever else I need to do; I only need to pay a small rental fee for the space and that's it. 
Pretty good for someone like me, already busy with kids, the garden, school lessons...

In case anyone is curious about the booth, here's a couple of photos:

The whole booth!
Every time I go in, I take photos and post them on the 516 Antiques Facebook page (go LIKE the page! There are a ton more photos there!).
Then I stare at all the photos, studying what I could do differently, taking notes for the next time I go in.
I'm really happy with the booth and the way it looks. 
I think it's colorful and cheerful and I hope it draws people in to see what else the booth offers.
I like color.  I enjoy those pops of happiness against the white background.

I brought in a new shelf on my last visit and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  I like the rainbow of colors, and apparently, so did customers, because the yellow shelf is just about cleared! I can't wait to go back in this week and maybe change out what's left of the yellows with blues. I'll be going through my inventory and pulling blue items.

Our first full month- August, has done beyond what I hoped for! I hope September proves to do just as good! We are going to try and keep the booth going for as long as we can, selling the stuff we have stock-piled in the basement all these years, hoping someday to open a store of our own. I hope it's enough, to last through the winter when yard sales are no more, and I'll have only thrift stores to rely on for more inventory. Keep your fingers crossed for us! :o)

And in case anyone is wondering, 516 is our wedding date! May 16th!  We thought it was a good name, the day he and me became WE!

*I did as one of my readers suggested and switched to a different browser and sure enough, I can upload pictures.  Strange. Thanks for the tip, Cheyenne!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I'm totally wanting to blog, and I still can't post any pictures!  Looks like I'll have to roll up my sleeves, put tape on my glasses and turn into a nerd tech and see if I can figure out what's wrong and why I cannot do pictures!  I can upload pictures to facebook, no problem! But here? Nothing! Pooh! Even the printer isn't working and that's more frustrating than not being able to post pictures here. I NEED my printer! [insert pouty face picture here]

The booth we opened up has been doing fabulous!! [insert photo of booth here]

It's absolutely fun and hard work, but mostly fun. It's like walking down memory lane, at times, when I open up one of the many boxes in the basement and rediscover all the stuff I bought over the years and stashed away for our future antique store.  Not quite our own antique store, but I think the booth is a way better decision-- no worries about finding a space and paying rent, the overhead costs, insurance, hiring someone trust-worthy to help run the place, being "stuck" at the shop instead of hunting for more inventory...  At least with a booth, all I need to do is pay a small rental fee, show up once or twice a week and restock, and then they take care of the rest!  I'm free to hunt yard sales, I can stay home and do my schooling with the kids, Andrew can work his hours and not feel like he's working two jobs...  It's really a much better fit!

Our initial thought was to maybe keep the booth until we ran out of things to sell, but it's exceeded my expectations already and I'm really enjoying the whole process.  I like finding stuff, whether it's in my basement or at a yard sale, cleaning it up, pricing it, and then arranging it at the booth once a week. It's thrilling to check online and discover what sold that day and then click on the month's totals and see what we've made so far. We're definitely going to try and continue this for as long as we can! [photo of close-up shot of booth shelves here]

I'm already putting aside items that I want to put out during the winter months and thinking ahead to the holidays. I stare at my booth pictures for hours, trying to mentally move things around, making notes to myself next time I'm there to adjust this or take a better picture of that. Our home is already looking better and less cluttered. I'm excited to see how far we can take this venture of ours.

This new job Andrew has, it's been working out nicely for us with his evening hours. It leaves us with mornings and early afternoons together.  Friday and Saturday finds us cruising the yard sales, looking for more inventory for the booth.  Sunday, I'm cleaning and pricing things.  Monday, Andrew stays home with the kids and I go to the booth for a few hours, maybe one of the girls comes with me.

The current week we're in has been pretty crazy, so I haven't been able to get to the booth yet.  Aiming for tomorrow, but anything can happen between now and then, so I'll just wait and see.  I'm looking forward to going in and restocking items and rearranging shelves.  I have some new shelves to bring in, which will expand my display areas and hopefully will generate more sales.  I constantly think about the booth, my mind's eye picturing the shelves and trying to imagine a better way to display certain items. The booth is still sparse, so there's room for everything, and I like it that way, but I also realize that less things means less sales.  Just need to find that balance between clean and filled versus stuffed and cluttered.

Now if I could just get blogger to post my dang pictures, everything would be hunky-dory!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

::30 days:: Scrapped!

Ugh!  It seems like anything that could go wrong with this project, can and will go wrong!

First, the internet was down for 11 days.

Then, the power was out.

Now, my pictures won't load. Server invalid or something.

So, I'm just about ready to scrap this whole 30 days project and try it again some other time, perhaps when I'm not so busy running here and there, trying to get school supplies and juggling the booth and kids.

Did I mention that Andrew got a job?  Yes!!  He started working last week and while I am beyond thrilled for him and us that he is working again, I sure do miss those 'do-as-we-please' kind of days. It's back to working around a schedule, but I am *not* complaining!  It's been so long since he was out of work and filling out hundreds of job applications, going on countless interviews, and not getting even a single offer. So many times we've held our breath, hoping that finally, this would be the "one," only to get those hopes dashed on the rocks.  Eventually, I just told Andrew, "don't even tell me what job you've applied for, just let me know when there's an interview."

And of course, as soon as the money starts trickling in, along comes something to take it away. Haven't even got his first paycheck yet, and the roof has started leaking.  All these storms have not been kind to our house and while we knew about 2 small leaks, we now have several big ones.  Big enough to make the ceiling in the sun room fall down and several stains in the dining room.  -sigh-  A call to the insurance co. and a roofer recommended.  If the roofer agrees that it's storm damage, then we'll only have to pay the deductible, but if not, and this is what I am afraid of, then we'll have to foot the whole bill. Fingers crossed that the roofer will find it to be storm damaged. *crossing legs, fingers, toes... my it's going to be hard to walk!*

Counting my blessings, though, it's nothing really major or life-threatening.  We're warm and dry and Andrew was up there with the roofing repair kit trying to slap on some kind of temporary fix for the next round of storms headed our way.

The booth has been doing well.  It's a lot of fun.  It's also a lot of work, cleaning and tagging things, but I'm doing what I love to do, and it's something we have both dreamed of doing for a long time. Today, we passed the lease mark, in other words, after I take out the amount for the rent, the rest is profit!  More than 2 weeks left in the month, so I'm excited to see how much more we'll make!

Peter has just about kicked the pull-ups to the curb!!  He pretty much only uses them at night-time.  Several nights of bed-wetting in a row convinced me to get one last package of night-time pull-ups, but I think it will be the last pack I'll ever have to buy! Yay!!  *happy dance*  It's so weird to go out with all the kids in tow and hear Peter pipe up and say he needs to pee.  I'm so used to just having to take the girls to the restroom, but I am so proud of him.

The garden is going well this year.  We got behind on the weeding after we opened the booth, but the size of the tomatoes this year has me amazed!  That cow manure we spread did wonders!  I've never had such big peppers and tomatoes before!!

The corn on the other hand, still disappoints! foo!  I planted two patches, two different kinds, at different times and both failed.  The first looked like it was doing well, but then there was a dry spell and it seemed to have stunted the growth.  Very few of the corn grew bigger than 2 or 3 inches, so I ended up giving it all to the chickens.  The second patch looked gorgeous, still does!  Lush and green, but a recent check revealed no corn!  It's all stalks and leaves with no cobs?  Wha...?  That does it!  I'm officially giving up on growing corn! I'll just support our local farmers and buy their yummy corn instead.

It's raining again, so I better fetch the buckets and check the leaky spots. Until then.. :o)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

::30 Days:: 11

Mmmm!  There's that banana bread I made the other night.  So good!

Going to the booth tomorrow, so I've been busy cleaning and pricing things, going on line looking up prices, and checking out the 516 Antiques facebook page.

While I've been occupied with "booth business", the kids have been playing together. I love when they include Peter instead of chasing him away.  It sure helps that Peter isn't just grabbing things anymore. He's figuring out how to play along nicely and then everyone gets to have fun and mama doesn't come stomping in growling at people!

All packed up and ready to go! It's been a pretty busy week, so I don't have as much to take into the booth tomorrow, but these totes are loaded to the brim, so it's enough for this time. Looking forward to checking out the booth and restocking more goodies!

Monday, August 13, 2012

::30 Days:: 10

You know summer is coming to an end when it's time to start shopping for school supplies.
Having four children means I have to buy 4 of everything and then some.
I'm thinking I don't have nearly enough tape.  I bought 50 packs last year, and they were gone before the summer, so I'll have to go back for some more later this week. Still need to get glue and more construction paper, but other than that, I think we're set. I think I'll get more water color paints, too, because at 50 cents each, it was a pretty good deal.  Two for each kid isn't going to be enough to last until the next school supply shopping season.

It's the only picture I took for the day. After we got home from the stores, I sent the wild children into the pool and caught up on my emails, still behind from when we had no internet.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

::30 Days:: 9

Finally! Our internet is restored and we are go!
Seems silly to catch up on missed days, so let's just pick up where I left off and pretend the gap between days does not exist, shall we?
So without further ado....

When I walk to the mailbox, I keep an eye out for those wild grapes.  Still green? Birds gobbling them up? Ripe yet? A couple weeks ago, the vines were loaded with grapes, they're dwindling down and I hope there will be enough to pick in the next couple of weeks. Still too early to pick, so fingers crossed the birds don't get what's left!

The last two jars of 2011's wild grape juice concentrate from the freezer. I tried to make it last, making it every now and then. Good stuff! Let's hope I can make at least 10 pints this summer.

Kids and books, it happens.  Put the two together and there's going to be rips, scribbled on pages, broken spines and books dropped in liquid, or food spilled on them. I recently went through our books and pulled out all the damaged ones, too far gone to repair or donate. Waiting for Andrew to make a trash run and throw them away, but in the meantime, the kids are having a blast drawing silly faces on the books, adding captions and mustaches, glasses and zits, and completely changing stories around. The first time I let them do this, I got two hours of quiet! TWO HOURS! Why didn't I think of this before?!?  Letting them draw on these old books is guaranteed leave-mama-alone-time! I just may keep those books around a little while longer!

Made 3 loaves of banana bread tonight. I love when the house smells all banana bread-y and I look forward to eating a slice after it's cold and sat in the fridge overnight. I know what I'm having for a snack tomorrow!

Monday, August 6, 2012

What's the Hold-up??

So sorry for the sudden radio silence.  We had a big storm come through and it knocked out our Internet.  Still have power, still have phone, but NO INTERNET!  Argh!   Finally made it to the library to check things out and I have tons of emails, Facebook notices, and whatever else I do online that's piling up!  I'll pick up where I left off as soon as our Internet comes back on!

The phone guy is supposed to come today, so fingers crossed...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

::30 Days:: 8

What I saw when I woke up this morning: Peter's black eye. The skin glue did it's job, and at bath time, it came off and I could see I didn't need to add any more. As of bedtime, the colors of the bruise deepened to a pale dark blue/purple.

Today was a long, long, long day.
I went back to the booth and added more stuff, looks better, don't it?
I was pleased to see a few items sold! Yay!!
After finding homes in the booth for everything, I went all the way to the big town in the opposite direction and ran errands with my Mom. It was a grand effort, but it was just too much to do all in one day.  By the time we got home past 5 pm, I was exhausted. Won't be doing that again!

I'm glad I had the sense to pick up frozen pizza and then Andrew cooked 'em on the grill. Fast, easy, and delicious! Bonus points for not heating up the house with a hot oven!

I've been busy setting up a facebook page for our new booth, while eating leftover chinese from my lunch out today. Find my booth on Facebook: 516 Antiques.  Like it, too! :o)

Monday, July 30, 2012

::30 Days:: 7

I love waking up to the smell of my wonderful husband's breakfast potatoes!
Oh yum!
He shreds the potatoes, adds chopped onions and green peppers, spices, butter, and most importantly, lots of love. None of us can resist making pigs of ourselves when it comes to his breakfast potatoes!

The handsome man behind the potatoes!
He rocks the new beard! Just a stripe down the chin and it makes me weak in the knees!

Taking time out of tagging more items to help Sylvia make a little bird mobile from a kit I had.
Of all the children, she is the one constantly declaring, "I'm bored!" Talk about karma making full circle! I used to drive my mom batty when I'd announce every 10 minutes, "I'm bored!"  Seems fitting that at least one of my children inherited that trait! I try to point her into different directions: make lego houses, embroider a picture, play with the play-doh, swim in the pool... but nothing interests her. I didn't want to stop pricing stuff, but I'd never hear the end of her announcements if I didn't give her something to do!! And look, she's so proud of it! It's hanging above her bed now.

Had to put on my doctor hat today. Poor Peter fell off a chair and hit his head on the corner of it. Ouch! He only just got better from a hit above his eyebrow, and you can just see the scar above it. Thank goodness for "skin glue"!!  He doesn't leave band aids alone and putting a band aid so close to his eye just won't do.  He was starting to get a full-on black eye by the time he went to bed.

Heading to the booth tomorrow, good night!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

::30 Days:: 6

Today was a big day!  We loaded up the truck and I went down to the antique mall and started setting up the booth. This is the mall where our booth is. It's in downtown Berkley Springs, West Virginia.

Here it is! Yipes, it's huge!! 
All those boxes and it hardly looks filled!
It's 10x10 but it seems so much larger!! I got to tag more things, stat!

Here's that white shelf I painted and I love how it looks with all the stuff on it!
Makes me wish I had more shelves like it.

After I got home. I went straight to work painting another shelf. This particular shelf used to be Mom and Dad's and they kept their record player on top with all their records on the bottom shelves. Memories!  But it was dark brown, too, so it had to be painted.  Took 3 coats and it's done! I'm going to try and make it back to the booth on Monday with another full load of stuff and fill up that huge space!!

I *should* be working on more stuff, cleaning and pricing, but I'm absolutely pooped! I deserve some TV time where I just relax and watch '27 Dresses' on dvd. Tomorrow, I'll get back on the ball and work like a maniac to get more stuff packed and ready to go, tomorrow!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

::30 Days:: 5

Still working on inventory for our antique booth, but we need something to put them on, so I tackled painting this old, brown, boring shelf. Looked like rain, so I dragged it into the sun room to paint.

Between coats.
I'm amazed the kids managed to keep their fingers off it while drying!

The kids cooked dinner tonight. Spaghetti! Something they can do on their own without me fussing behind them and I can go off and do what needs doing.

The onions have been drying out in the pole barn for more than 2 weeks now, time to start bringing them in. Started on the yellow onions and filled the bag more than halfway and stopped when Gretchen complained the bag was getting too heavy for her to hold any longer. Can't wait to get the final weight on the total onion harvest! I'm hoping to get all the onions trimmed and bagged by the end of the weekend.

Finished! Looks pretty good! Took 3 coats to cover the brown. Normally I don't like when wood furniture is painted, but this is one instance where the shelf looks sooooo much better painted than it did with that dark brown stain! Seeing as how it will be displaying my wares in the booth, I wanted my items to pop out of the white shelves and not disappear into the shadows of the formerly dark shelves.

Bath night and bedtime reading.
Sweet dreams!