Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Ladies' Paradise now on sale!

I'm happy to announce that my latest recording, The Ladies' Paradise by Emile Zola, went on sale today at Audible.  A nice Christmas present for me!

Young country girl Denise Baudu arrives with her two younger brothers in Paris where she expects to secure a position for herself as a salesgirl in her uncle’s clothing shop.  Instead she discovers that her uncle’s business along with other small shops on the street are struggling to survive.  This is mostly due to the large store on the other side of the street — The Ladies’ Paradise –  which is swallowing up the small specialty stores by offering “one-stop shopping” at discounted prices.  Nineteenth-century Paris is experiencing the dawn of the department store.  Despite her loyalty to her uncle, Denise needs to work to support herself and her brothers.  She applies and is hired at The Ladies’ Paradise.  Her path will not be an easy one but Denise finds herself drawn to the progressive department store and it’s owner, the driven but charismatic Monsieur Mouret.

This book was the basis for the PBS Masterpiece Classic series, The Paradise. 

To listen to a clip from the book and/or to purchase, please visit Audible here.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Knitted Christmas tree ornaments and a new audiobook on the way...

Last year I decided to start making the Christmas ornaments that I attach to the gifts of my three young nieces who are now 7, 6 and 4 years old.  I crocheted an Amigurumi Santa ornament last year (see this post) and this year I knitted Christmas trees.  These were a little bigger than I thought they would be although the size does match what's listed in the pattern.  The pattern from Yarnspirations  is here.  I made three of these and the only problem I encountered was the best way to sew the back and front of the tree together.  The pattern isn't very specific so I used the main color of yarn and a large smooth pointed silver needle to whip around the edges.  I don't think that's how it was done for the ones in the picture of the pattern but that's what I did. I would have preferred for the edges to look a little neater but wasn't sure how to do that unless I used an actual needle and thread to sew them up.  Oh well, here's a pic of one of them -- all done!

My other bit of news is that my recording of The Ladies' Paradise by Emile Zola is now in post-production and should be for sale on Audible soon.  This is the book that the PBS Masterpiece Classic series "The Paradise" was based on.  I'll post here when it's officially for sale.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Finger-knitted Christmas Wreath

I was inspired (not for the first time) by blogger Anne Weil on her site Flax & Twine to try finger-knitting.  I practiced a bit and even taught my young nieces how to do it.  Anne has a wonderful tutorial here and also offers free patterns along with pics of items she has made.  Last year she posted about a finger-knitted wreath she made for her front door.  Actually, in Anne's case, it's two wreaths (12 inches each) because she has double front doors.  I decided I wanted to make one for this Christmas.  I had to purchase a larger styrofoam wreath (16 inch) because I have one regular size front door.  See Anne's wreath post here.

The finger-knitting part was a cinch.  I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn in the same color that Anne used -- cream.  I ended up finger-knitting the yarn in sections which probably worked out better for me because you need to thread very thin wire (24 gauge floral wire) through the knitted yarn in order to give the yarn more body and assist in wrapping around the styrofoam.  I found it easier to work with in smaller sections.  Then when I finished, I had to decide on what color ribbon to use.  I had originally planned to use red ribbon since our front door is a dark green.   However, we have quite a bit of brass on the door and on the lights around it so I ended up going with gold.  I can always switch to red next year.  Since I'm terrible at tying bows, I wasn't able to make nice simple ones as Anne did.  I realized I needed thicker ribbon to get the same look on a larger wreath.  So I made do with what I had and doubled up on the gold for the bow.  I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out.  It's not as smooth as Anne's work but she's a professional.  She gives classes on various types of crafts and is one artsy lady!  Below are my results.

My finished wreath.

Bow close-up.

Full view with brass lights.

My next project is knitting little Christmas tree ornaments for my three nieces.  I'll post here when I've finished at least one of them.  Many thanks to Anne Weil at flax & twine for 'dressing up' our front door this year!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Friday Estate Sales

A room at the first sale.
Yesterday morning, Duane, Linda and I went to two estate sales on the south side of town.  The first one was in an enormous house.  Every time I thought I had seen every room, particularly the ones on the second floor, I'd find myself in a new one.  The house had more than one staircase so that caused a little confusion, too.  Most of the furnishings were ornate and there were some lovely antiques.   I ended up buying a couple of books but passed on a signed etching that was very tempting.  I also found a cool fabric remnant that I plan to use to recover the seat of a desk chair in my living room.  Due to the size of the crowd, even in such a large house, there was a lot of elbowing going on.  We did get out unscathed, though.

"Christmas" estate sale.
The second sale was at a smaller house and was advertised as a 'Christmas' estate sale.  Apparently the company handling the sale decided to decorate the house for the holiday.  Linda did find a really cute snowman ornament.  The owner had a number of Christopher Radko ornaments but I already have a tree-full (thanks, George!) so I passed on those.  However, I did buy some crochet hooks and knitting needles to send to The Humble Stitch.  I also bought a pretty set of Vera Bradley pencils still new in the package.  Duane found a book to add to her ever-growing library.  Linda desperately wanted a vintage chest of drawers that was sitting in one of the rooms but, alas, it was not for sale.

One of the books I purchased was the raunchy book Fifty Shades of Grey.  I told Duane and Linda that we should all read it so we won't be the only people who haven't read at least some of the book. 

Afterwards, we headed to Starbucks and managed to snag the small area in the corner with the little couch and easy chairs.  It was nice to have a treat while filling each other in on our various Thanksgiving holidays.

Our purchases.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Shop Local Saturday Shop Hop!

As I've mentioned numerous times on this blog, Duane lives in one of the coolest parts of town when it comes to independent shops and restaurants.  Yesterday there was a 'Holiday Shop Hop' in her area so she and I set out early to take part.  Linda wasn't with us because she spent Thanksgiving in Michigan visiting family where we hope she's having a great time!

The first store we hit was one of our favorites that I've mentioned before.  A Modern Line is a furniture and accessories store that features mid-century modern items.  There are always new items when we visit and they're always pleasingly arranged in a decorative fashion.  I gave in to my white matte pottery obsession when I saw the tall piece pictured below.  A great way to start the day.

Into the heat!
Then we visited a shop I'd never been to before now.  I have a beautiful piece of glass that Duane gave me as a gift from The Phoenix Glass Studio but this was my first time as a customer.  The owner, Susan Gott, was there greeting people along with the most adorable little Yorkie named Ginger.  Susan's work is gorgeous.  Read more about her on her site.  Her work has been featured on PBS among many honors.  I bought a piece for myself and another piece I can't show because it's going to be a gift.  Duane found a lovely gourd with beautiful colors of blue wound through it.  We watched as one of the artisans created a glass ornament from beginning to end.  It's a fascinating process and we found out that you can sign up to make an ornament.  The glass furnace is a little scary due to  the intense heat but this guy certainly knew what he was doing.
Shaping the glass.
Duane and I were distracted at one point during the process when Ginger the Yorkie was dressed in her Santa outfit.  What a hoot.  She was an incredibly sweet dog who seemed to really like people.  

I should mention that every shop we visited had holiday treats and drinks for their customers.  We also carried cards given out at all of the shops where you could have the card 'stamped' after visiting each shop listed.  If you visited six you could then turn in your card for drawings held for special prizes.

Our next stop was D&D Antiques -- another of our favorite places to browse.  I found a darling little white bird for my home office.  
'Santa' Ginger!
At first I thought he was papier mache but realized that he was made of some type of resin after picking him up.  Great little find.

Duane and I both found ourselves using the day to scope out returning to some of the shops for items for others.  It was difficult to make a decision when we'd never visited a shop before but we both have ideas for going back before Christmas for purchases.  After D&D, we went to The Cleanse Apothecary.  This is another shop we've visited before.  It was very busy but Duane found a beautiful bamboo cutting board and some lovely handmade soap that she plans to give as a gift.

After The Cleanse Apothecary we headed to a store that neither of us had ever shopped before yesterday.  The Bali Bay Trading Company offers every possible color of beads and types of jewelry made from beads imaginable.  They actually have two sections to their store.  One is for retail (like Duane and me) and the other for wholesalers.  It was a bit overwhelming due to the sheer volume of pretty pieces.  Besides jewelry, they also offer women's clothing and household items.  I found a pretty woven mat to use to cover the top of a vintage desk that is in my guest room.  The desk belonged to George's father and the writing area is pretty worn from use.  This mat was perfect to cover up the distressed top.  Duane and I both can't wait to go back to this store.  Bali Bay will be enlarging to include furniture and homegoods in the near future.  We'll have to return when Linda can join us.

By this time our rear ends were starting to drag and we were getting really hungry.  We made one last stop at The Health Mutt.  A great store for shopping for and with your dog.  I found a Christmas present for my dog Sammy.  He loves anything with a squeaker in it.  Besides treats for their customers (the two-legged and four-legged kind), a local rescue group for Boston Terriers was there.  They had some cute little guys with them.  So sweet.  We wished we could rescue all of them.

After turning in our cards at The Health Mutt since it was the final place we visited, we were ready for lunch.  (There were actually nine shops participating so we chose six out of the nine for the day.)  We ate at Nicko's, one of our fave places for comfort food.  The 'Elvis' booth was occupied so we sat in a civilian booth and stuffed ourselves which included ordering dessert -- red velvet cake for me and chocolate cake for Duane.  We took our time eating but we were pretty well finished for the day.  Just about all of the stores we visited are going to have special days before Christmas for shopping so we plan to go back and buy for others.  I'm afraid we bought more for ourselves yesterday.  Oops!
My buys.

Duane's purchases.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Yard sales and a progress report on Duane's studio

Duane, Linda and I hit assorted yard sales this morning along with the semi-annual parking lot sale held at the vintage shop YesterDaze.  Duane was the lucky one at the parking lot sale.  She bought three pieces of really nice costume jewelry, two cuff bracelets and a necklace, for a pittance.  Then we hit the other sales.  Duane and I both bought numerous items.  I found a trivia game called The British Invasion, a DVD of the movie Donnie Darko and some yarn, needles and hooks to donate to The Humble Stitch.   Besides the jewelry she found at the parking lot sale, Duane purchased a small piece of blue and white Delft pottery, a set of pretty chopsticks, a mat cutter, a book, and some cool looking vintage pic buttons to use in her designs.  Linda was the only one who escaped making a purchase but that was only because nothing popped up that grabbed her. 

Today's haul.

Afterwards, we headed to Starbucks, as usual, for refreshments.  The weather was pretty nice when we started but it had started to become really warm.  Cool drinks all around. 

When we headed back to Duane's house (these sales were all in her neighborhood), she showed us the progress she's made on her home office/art studio.  She's about 80% finished with the office part.  She has a separate building on her property that houses this.  It has electricity so there are lights and air conditioning.  She painted her desk and work table a hot pink gloss.  It took three coats.  She's already hung a number of items on the wall, etc., and now she's getting ready to paint the concrete floor.  The 'studio' section is coming along, too, but there's more work to be done there.  Duane wants to have it set up with her easels and paints so that she can leave things out and go back to them as she pleases.  Linda and I were very impressed by all of the work that's she's done.

Duane's home office.
Duane's Jim Morrison poster.
Linda and I also liked Duane's framed poster of her forever crush, Jim Morrison of The Doors.  I had to include a photo showing the poster.  By the time she finishes, Duane plans to have chairs for company (like Linda and me) so she's been on the lookout for a pair.  She's also planning to hang black beads in the doorway that separates her office from her studio.  I'll post here as her progress on this continues.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Three-Estate-Sale Day

A sampling of smalls.
As you've gathered by now, Duane, Linda and I love hitting estate sales on Friday.  Those are generally the best sales on the best day of the week.  Almost all of the big sales start on Friday as opposed to Saturday.  Today we were very lucky to hit a triple.  The first two sales were on the south side of town so it took about a half hour just to get to them.  Sale number one was held at an older house on the water and had very nice items.  I found a lovely handcrafted leather box made in England that has a little age on it.  Linda found another piece, two pieces actually (they're a set) for her Noritake/Japan china collection.  The prices at this sale were fantastic.  The company conducting the sale definitely wanted to get rid of the contents.  The house is already on the market so I suppose that may have been an issue.

One of Bunny's rooms.
The second sale was at a lovely home just off the bay.  The owner had been a woman who was a decorator and antique dealer.  She was known as 'Bunny.'  The house was so beautifully furnished with a large number of items and the rooms were gorgeous.  'Bunny' had excellent taste and, apparently, a large purse.  I purchased a small Halcyon Days enamel box.  I have a collection of these -- mostly given to me by George and other family members as gifts.  The price was very good for this one so I couldn't pass it up.  

Bunny's sun room.
The third sale was very near to where Duane lives so that worked out since we could head to Starbucks for a treat afterwards.  This house was much more modern in style than the two previous houses.  The owner had a nice collection of American made matte white pottery priced to sell so I had no trouble finding one I liked.

Linda and I were very happy with our purchases.  Duane had been tempted by a few items but was a good girl and prefers to wait until she finds something she really likes.

We don't get many Fridays with sales this good so we enjoy them when they come along.

My treasures.
Linda's lovely find.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Recording update

I've been crazy busy working on a recording that has required more 'prep' time than any other book I've done thus far.  The title is The Ladies' Paradise by Emile Zola.  If that title sounds slightly familiar it's because it's been adapted for the screen and is currently being shown on PBS Masterpiece Classic as "The Paradise."  I love the series and became curious about the book.  After beginning the book, I just knew that I wanted to record this story.  However, since the book was originally in French (the location was moved from Paris to London for the Masterpiece series), there are a ton of French place and surnames to research.  So, I read the book first without worrying about the French.  Then I began a second reading to note each French word (and a few other words here and there) that needed to be checked for proper pronunciation.  Thank goodness for sites like!

"The Paradise."
My publisher is good with my taking the time to narrate this one and I'm really glad about that since I hope to introduce audiobook listeners who liked the series to the original story.  The book is much grittier than the world shown in the series and, of course, there's a lot more background on the characters and their lives.  However, I feel that the series definitely caught the spirit of Mouret and Denise!

I'll post again on my progress and when it's available for sale on Audible.  At this point I've recorded approximately 1/4th of the book.  Lots more to go but the story is well worth it.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

A short 'girls' vacation to D.C.

My friend Linda and I had been talking for the past year or so about going up to Washington D.C. for a tourist-y visit.  Since this is where George is from, I've been going up there for years but haven't done anything as a tourist in ages.  Linda lived there for a number of years when she was in college but hadn't been back in years.  Duane visited with a friend last May and had a great time seeing some of the changes and new exhibits.

Linda had never been to Arlington Cemetery and I hadn't visited since the late '70's so we decided to go there on our first afternoon.  The eternal flame at JFK's gravesite was undergoing maintenance but you could still see the headstones of JFK, Jacqueline, and their two infant children.  We also saw RFK's and Ted Kennedy's graves just down the slight hill from JFK's grave.  Of course, we headed to the Tomb of the Unknown for the changing of the guard.  A solemn and beautiful ceremony that is not to be missed.  This would have all been more enjoyable had we not begun walking out of the wrong door of the welcome center.  So, let's just say we took the scenic route in a LONG trip to the two most popular areas of the cemetery.  To say it was painful would be an understatement.  Yes, there is a bus that will take you around but we didn't need that.  After all, we knew where we were going.  NOT.  Our feet and legs were not speaking to us by the time we left.

We hit the Smithsonian's Museum of American History the next day.  Lots of changes from what I remember plus it's currently undergoing renovation in many areas.  I've found that to be basically the status quo for much of D.C.  After the American History museum we walked the mall to the fairly new Museum of the American Indian.  This was interesting to see.  We also visited their gift shop, which was one of the nicest ones I've been to.

We hit the Eastern Market on Sunday morning.  Our favorite vendor, Paul 'BoxBoy' Bierman, was there and we had a nice chat with him.   Paul makes the most amazing decoupage items.  You can find out more about him by visiting his website, BoxBoy Demented Decoupage.  Linda and I both did a little Christmas shopping at the market.  After a nice lunch we headed to spend a little time with my sister Heidi and her family in Fairfax.  I got to see two of my favorite people in the world, my nieces Bailey (6) and Taylor (4).  Heidi and her husband Charlie treated us to a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant followed up by dessert at the Baskin-Robbins next door.  Bailey and Taylor liked that part the best.  Then Charlie drove us back to our hotel in Georgetown.  Heidi said that if we had been staying one more night, she would have taken us with her to a black-tie event for work where the actor Rob Lowe was the guest of honor.  Darn.  We just missed a chance to see/meet a member of the Brat Pack.  Oh well.

Since we stayed near Georgetown we had a chance to visit some of the shops there and to eat some great food at the many restaurants nearby.  I particularly enjoyed visting the Christ Child Opportunity consignment shop.  My late mother-in-law sold and bought items from that shop so it holds a special meaning for me.  Linda also really liked the shop.

We packed a lot of walking into 4 days so we were both exhausted by day four and ready to go home and relax.  I picked up a little stomach bug of some sort by the last day but, luckily, it didn't affect me during the flight home.   We've both recovered now and realize that we'll need to 'pace' ourselves next time since, ahem, neither of us is as young as we used to be.

Here are some pics we took at the Smithsonian, etc.  I really do love my 'second home' -- the D.C. area.

Linda with Jackie Kennedy's dress.

Me with Michelle Obama's gown.

Dorothy's 'ruby slippers.'

Linda with Archie Bunker's chair.
Comparing profiles.

A vintage microphone.  Should I switch?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Willa Cather short story for sale today on Audible

My latest recording, The Joy of Nelly Deane by Willa Cather, is now available for purchase on Audible.

Although born in Virginia, Willa Cather lived most of her life in the Midwest and set most of her stories there. This story is told from the perspective of Peggy, a teenager in the tiny town of Riverbank. Peggy is good friends with a girl named Nelly Deane. Nelly is considered by many to be the prettiest and most fun-loving girl in town. What happens to Nelly in the ensuing years after Peggy leaves Riverbank for college and then abroad is related through Peggy's infrequent visits back home and the letters she receives from one of the older women of Riverbank.

The book can be purchased here.

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Franklin Loves Lucy" on sale today at Audible!

The historical romance I recorded, Franklin Loves Lucy by Mary Matthews, just went on sale today at Audible.  This novella tells of the romance between Lucy Mercer and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  It's written from Lucy's perspective.  Lucy Mercer fell on hard times when her family lost their money.  She took a job as Eleanor Roosevelt’s social secretary.  Franklin Loves Lucy is the story of a relationship that began when Franklin Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy and ended when he was President and took his last breath with Lucy by his side.

This recording may be purchased here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Classic car show and swap meet at a nudist colony

Well, today was a first for Linda, Duane and me in several ways.  We attended a classic car show -- which we really only went to because of the swap meet being held at the same place.  And, oh yes, they took place at a nudist colony/resort.   The resort is pretty well-known in this area.  It's not too far from where Linda lives so we decided to check out their swap meet and classic cars.  The cars weren't the only vintage sights we saw but it wasn't as uncomfortable as I thought it might be.  The swap meet was actually held along a street outside the entrance to the nudist colony.  I found a couple of cool items there -- a vintage ceramic picture frame and a DVD of a movie I hadn't seen.  Then we decided to venture into uncharted territory.

The man who flagged us in was very sweet.  He thought we were bringing my Mini Cooper, Mrs. Peel, to the car show.   I hadn't thought about that.  There were no Minis of any kind at the show.  We told him we were there as spectators -- hope that didn't sound weird -- and he smiled and waved us through.  One thing about a nudist camp is that when you first spot someone -- this resort is on a lake and in some very nice woods -- it almost looks like they're wearing longjohns.  Tan ones.  Very tan ones.  In fact, speaking of tan, the first thing I noticed was the absence of tan lines on the residents.  Some were walking around naked but others were wearing clothing.  Probably to make outsiders more comfortable.  You had to be 18 or over to attend and they asked that you be respectful, which we were.  We had a hard time understanding how it could be comfortable to ride a bike while naked, though.  A couple of men rode by on bikes.  Many people did wear hats and even more wore some kind of shoes.  Oh and we noticed that many people had towels with them to lay on chairs, etc., before sitting on them.  I had heard about that practice.

I don't know if it's because this is Florida or because they've all been exposed to the sun for so long but everyone looked over 50.  Probably a combination of both.  There seemed to be more men than women but that might have been because it was a car show which many people consider a 'guy' thing.
They had entertainment and food and you could also guess how many balloons were in the clown car (a Toyota Scion) for a chance to win a pie from Village Inn.  The three of us all made our guesses but I doubt we won.  The guy in charge of the clown car wasn't sure if you had to be present to win but we had other sales to go to and we weren't planning on staying all day.

I've never been so glad to be wearing sunglasses in my entire life.  This is definitely a place where you want to make eye contact.  Otherwise, it seems weird.  Not in a sexual way but in the context of being polite.  As we looked over the cars, there was one elderly man wearing just a baseball cap and sneakers who was kind of following us.  He never said anything.  I asked for permission to take photos of some of the cars and there was no problem with that.  I was careful not to get our elderly nudist in them. 

All three of us picked out a car that we'd like to have taken with us.  I took pics of those along with a couple of others that we liked.  There were some huge classic American made cars which aren't my thing -- Cadillacs with fins, etc., but they were in really beautiful condition. 

Adorable 'Love Bug' Beetle.

Beautiful classic 1951 MG.
And now for our favorites.  Duane loved this classic black bug because her first car was a bug.
Duane's choice.
Linda had a hard time deciding between the red MG, pictured above, and a baby blue convertible bug but she went with the bug.
Linda's pick.
And my choice was an easy one.  As soon as I laid eyes on it I knew that this 1974 Triumph was for me.
Mine, mine, mine!

And, in case you're wondering, no I did not photograph any of the nudists.  I thought about it -- Linda figured the old guy following us would have posed -- but decided that it would be invading their privacy, even with their heads completely blurred.  When I was still wondering, Linda commented that we could never have posed ourselves because the three of us are so pale that we would have probably blinded people from the glare of the sun hitting us.  Heh, heh.

After the car show/nudist colony, which was pretty hard to top, we did visit a couple of estate sales.  One was being given by a talented artist.  We loved her work and got her card since she participates in a show once a month held on one of the tiny islands on the other side of town.  Linda found a Paul Newman cookbook, I bought a mother of pearl pot with vines painted on it and Duane purchased a lovely piece of Delftware and a brand new (with tags) cotton Burberry sweater.  Then we went to Starbucks for a snack and to relax.

Our purchases.

Oh, here's another shot of my favorite car from the show -- the '74 Triumph.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Edna Ferber short story on sale today!

My latest recording of another Edna Ferber short story just went on sale today at Audible.

Blanche Devine is a middle aged woman who has lived in the same small Midwestern town most of her life. She decides she wants to purchase a 'real' home in a pleasant neighborhood in the town. Because Blanche has a past as the town's 'scarlet' woman, many of the self-described good and respectable people do not want her as a neighbor. Edna Ferber wrote mostly about women and their place in society along with their plight when they did not follow society's norms.  The themes of intolerance, sexism and hypocrisy in this story illustrate Ferber's keen eye regarding the human condition. Told from the viewpoint of an unnamed resident of the town, Ferber allows us glimpses of goodness despite the pervasive cruelty.

You can listen to a sample and purchase the story here

Friday, October 11, 2013

A shopping day

Linda, Duane and I decided to check out the new West Elm store that finally opened in our area.  Before this, the closest one was in Orlando.  West Elm opened a store in a section of town called Hyde Park where there are stores like Anthropologie, Restoration Hardware, etc.  We've all ordered items from West Elm via their catalog and/or website but it's always fun to check stuff out in person.  Linda and I both made purchases there.  I bought an adorable carved wood rocking bird.  It's probably going to go into the guest room.  Linda bought a beautiful silk pillow and a candle in a ceramic holder.  Then we decided to head over to Anthropologie.  I've also bought a number of items from them over the years but usually via their website.   It's a great store to browse.  Linda found a really pretty pale blue long sleeve tee that she bought. 

After we finished up with a walk through Restoration Hardware (their furniture makes me feel like a toddler due to the size of the pieces), we headed back to Duane's neighborhood for lunch.  We ate at one of our favorite places, Mikey's, which is a sandwich shop and a full bakery.  Then we headed to a couple of shops we can never resist, beginning with A Modern Line.  You never know what you'll find and there had been a big turnover in merchandise since our last visit.  It's always beautifully curated which makes it a pleasure to shop there.  Linda found a small piece of burgundy pottery for her living room.  We also visited D & D Antiques -- another store with a frequent turnover in their merchandise.  After that we were all ready to call it a day.  It was a nice way to spend some time.  Nice shops, good food and good friends.

Our purchases.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Eilen Jewell and her band return to Skipper's Smokehouse!

Duane, Linda and I last saw Eilen Jewell and her band perform almost exactly two years ago at Skipper's Smokehouse.  When we heard she was coming back, we knew we wanted to see her show again.  Besides her terrific voice and songwriting, Eilen has a top-notch band.  We had all noticed when we last heard them that the guitarist, Jerry Miller, was a stand-out.  This time around, Jerry Miller and the rest of Eilen's band played as the second act after a group from Gainesville called Nook & Cranny played.  Nook & Cranny was a good band for an opener.  The girl singer had a big voice and the band featured some nice solos from the violinist (or I guess I should say 'fiddle player'). 

Jerry Miller has released a CD of his own music -- mostly instrumentals -- and his songwriting ability is on par with his playing.  Really enjoyed his part of the show.  Then Eilin came on and joined the band.  As usual, her distinctive voice rang true and clear in the night air.  She sang a mix of songs from all of her records and took requests.  A great show by all involved.

Eilin on the right.
Before the concert, we had our dinner at Skipper's.  Nothing like a good reason for some fried shrimp, hush puppies and key lime pie.  REAL key lime pie with graham cracker crust.  Yum.  The three of us were pretty stuffed by the time we finished eating.  It's a good thing we don't go to Skipper's too often.  Our waistlines couldn't handle it.

While eating we noticed that Eilen and her band were having dinner on the outside area of part of Skipper's.  I had my back to a screened window on my side of the booth but Linda got a quick shot of Eilen waiting for her dinner.  That's her on the right.  We're so subtle.

I wish I had remembered to bring my camera -- not that that means I would have gotten any good shots -- but Linda did get close to the band with her phone and shot several.  The pic below was the best of the ones she took during their performance.   If Eilen and her band come your way, they're terrific in concert, so make a point to check them out.

Eilen and her band performing. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Linda's new chandelier!

Linda's 'before' light.
Yesterday, Duane and I met at Linda's house to help replace the builder's light in Linda's master closet with a beautiful chandelier she bought from Pottery Barn.  Linda's original light wasn't really a 'boob' light like my builder lights were.  Her's are just round lights that you often see on ceiling fans.

Unlike my ugly popcorn ceilings, Linda has a lovely handfinished ceiling that her new chandelier pools with light at the top.  Linda's master closet is about the same size as mine but it's shaped like a square to my rectangle.

The light she chose is called the Clarissa.  She ordered it from Pottery Barn and was really pleased with it when it came and she had it assembled.  Although to be truthful, much of it had to be reassembled again after the three of us finished installing it.  The crystals kept falling off and, luckily, hitting Linda's carpeted closet floor.  It was much easier for Linda to put the crystals back where they belonged on the chandelier after we had finished hanging it.  Here is a picture from the Pottery Barn website of the light Linda bought along with a dramatic photo she took after she had 'reassembled' all of the crystals.

From Pottery Barn site.

Here's the chandelier in all it's glory lit in Linda's closet.

Light in Linda's closet.

Quite dramatic!  You can't tell from the photo but the light shows off her nice ceiling texture, too.  I should also add that we basically turned the light into a semi-flush mount.  Even with an 8 foot ceiling, if we had used the chain, Linda might have been knocking her head on it since the light itself is about 15 inches high from top to bottom.  Without the chain, it brought the light to a nice height unless you're Paul Bunyan or someone else vertically blessed.

Linda has made other changes to her closet but she's still deciding if there's some way she can add art or if she wants to paint the pristine white walls.  Her master bedroom is a beautiful blue with white door and moldings so the closet color looks lovely.  I'll certainly post here if she decides to 'take the plunge' with any more upgrades.  The three of us were pretty sweaty and sore after hanging onto the light while standing on a step stool, a chair and a ladder in order to install it.  But, as you can see, it was worth it!  Also, Linda made homemade chocolate chip cookies so the three of us scarfed those as a reward for a job well done.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tea Room Estate Sale

The estate sale that was advertised as a three estate sales in one turned out to be a large tea room that was going out of business.  I went to this one on my own since it was really out of the way for Duane and Linda but I did manage to pick up a little something for both of them.  This place was an Anglophile's dream.  Loads of beautiful English china, teas, and framed reproductions of famous scenes associated with the UK were abundant.  There was quite a bit of Limoges, too.  Everything was priced to sell from sterling and silver plate to the furniture -- large and small pieces.  Everything was very nicely laid out.  I immediately found something for myself.  I love enamel and there was a beautiful serving plate with a swirled enamel finish.  Sold!

I also picked up a tea tin for both Linda and Duane.  These were the empty tins left over from tea being served at the business.  This particular tin (I bought two of the same) was for a tea created in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee.  I think the girls will like these.  Not quite as good as having a go at the merchandise but...

I also found several items that will be gifts for family and friends who read this blog so, sadly, I can't give a description or show pictures of them.  However, I was really glad I went to this sale.

I checked the address the night before and knew that it had been a tea room.   A family owned it and they were very nice.  I didn't ask them why they were closing.  Although there's nothing about this location (there's more than one) closing on their website.  The menu is also still up and it wasn't inexpensive to dine there.

Anyway, it got me out of bed bright and early and I love the enamel serving plate I bought!  Can't wait to use it.  I'll take the tea tins to Duane and Linda tomorrow.  We're getting together at Linda's house to change the 'boob' light in her walk-in master closet to a beautiful chandelier.  Can't wait to see it!

My buys.  (At least the ones that I can show here.)