Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cowabunga! A real flea market

I had posted recently that I really wanted to visit a 'real' flea market.  Not one just selling dollar store type stuff or new 'imported' items.  Linda and I decided to make the trip to the Webster Flea Market located in Webster, a small town just over an hour's drive from Tampa.  Duane couldn't make it to this one due to family obligations so we hope to go back when all three of us can go together.  Webster is only open on Mondays.  This tradition goes way back -- something to do with laws about not selling goods on Sundays.  It's also a huge farmer's market.  Basically, it's two markets in one.  You need to figure out which section you're interested in shopping because this baby is huge. After checking several info sites on the Internet, we realized that the section we would hit is called the The Westside (also referred to as the 'best side') because this area is where you'll find antiques, collectibles and used items.  The best deals aren't in the covered areas -- although there are some really nice things there -- the bargains are in the outside slots that cover a huge area.  Linda and I tried to hit as many of these areas as we could and, believe me, our dogs were barking by the time we took a mid-morning break and ate cinnamon rolls.

By that time, I had made a purchase.  I came across a table with a nice piece of matte white pottery in perfect condition in an unusual shape.  Nothing like it in my collection.  There was no price on it so I asked the girl running the table and when she gave me the price, I decided to haggle.  Haggling is something I've never really done but I understood that the dealers there expected it and were willing to negotiate.  I asked if she would accept a lower price and she did.  I was a very happy camper.  I've learned that it never hurts to ask about a 'better' or 'lower' price as long as you're friendly and don't insult the seller.  No problem there.

After our stop for a snack (I should mention that this market sells tons of food -- just about anything you can think of), we started hoofing it up and down rows again.  This time Linda came across a piece of 1920's Noritake china.  She's a serious collector but only buys what she really likes.  She was able to get the seller down a bit on the price although it was still an expensive item.   A beautiful piece in excellent condition.

By this time we had been there several hours and we were tired, hungry and really wanted to sit down.  On our way in from where we parked, there had been a vendor in the field with a nice selection of Bakelite bangle bracelets.  I own one Bakelite bracelet in butterscotch and two pins/brooches -- one is red and the other butterscotch.  I've found that I wear the bangle so much that I was interested in buying at least one more in another color.  Luckily, this lady was still set up when we headed back her way.  I looked at/tried on quite a few of her bangles and ended up purchasing two of them.  One is cherry red and the other is called an 'end of day' piece because it was the last piece manufactured that particular day so it caught pieces of previous colors as it was made.  The main color is kind of a pumpkin shade with spots of red, green, etc.  Love both of these.  They look great together, worn separately or worn with my butterscotch bangle which is thicker and has a carved design.

After my bangle(s) purchase, we were starving and ended up having pizza in one of the inside eateries at the market.  The weather was perfect for this type of activity because we had a cool front come through the night before.  It was breezy the entire day but the sun was shining and a light jacket or windbreaker did the trick.  No sweating -- always nice in Florida.  We knew that we wouldn't have that many more Mondays that might be nice cool days so we jumped on this one when the weather changed.  We discussed how there was no way that we could handle this market in the summer here.  

I have no idea how much actual walking we did but Linda and I both reached for the Tylenol when we got home.  The rows of tables were not close together, either, so we constantly walked back and forth across parts of the field to see tables on the opposite side.  Except for two fairly short times we stopped to eat a snack and then lunch, we were walking continuously and we still didn't see the entire Westside of the market.  Maybe we'll get lucky and have another cool Monday before spring ends and Duane can go with us.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Amigurumi for Easter

As usual, I've been making time to work on something for my three nieces for Easter.  Last year I made Amigurumi bunnies for them.  This year I found a pattern for adorable little chicks so I decided to make them each an Easter chick.  I had two shades of yellow yarn -- one is very deep and bright and the other is a pretty pale yellow.  I made the bright one for my youngest niece and her older sister will get one of the light yellow ones.  That way they can tell them apart.  They're 5 and 3 years old now.  My niece who lives here gets the other light yellow one.  She's the oldest at 6 years old.  Of course, they are also all receiving some Easter M&Ms to go with their chicks.  These were not difficult to make and didn't take too long.  The pattern can be found here. Mine turned out larger than the size given for the pattern (3 to 3.5 inches high) but that's because I used a larger hook.

Since I'm on the topic of crocheting and knitting, I thought I'd share a couple of small projects I've made over the past few months.  Duane loves to sew and is quite an accomplished seamstress.  I wanted something to go with the piece of jewelry I got her for her birthday and I came across this pattern for an Amigurumi 'cup of tea' pin cushion.  I enjoyed making it and Duane now has a new pin cushion.  The pattern can be found here

For Linda's birthday, I wanted to include something with a 'personal touch', too.  Linda loves all types of tea -- particularly hot tea.  I found the cutest pattern for a 'tea tote' or tea bag holder.   The ladies of Simply Notable (a mother and daughter) shared their pattern for the cutest little tea bag holder.  Perfect for dropping into your purse or pocket where the tea bag is protected from being accidentally shredded.  This little tote is knitted --- the pattern is here.   I used Sugar & Cream 100% cotton yarn in cornflower blue and topped it off with a vintage button.

 All three of us have been busy working on items for The Humble Stitch Project.  A box is being mailed to The Humble Stitch tomorrow containing extra skeins of yarn and knitting needles that we purchased at various estate and garage sales along with thrift shops.   We each have plenty of yarn in our personal 'stashes' to keep us busy for quite awhile.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New release on Audible today!

My latest audiobook recording was released on Audible today.  Kudzu by Kathleen Walls is a set in a small mountain town in North Georgia.  Thanks to Linda for proof-listening on this one!

Kudzu is available for purchase here on Audible.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The 50th Annual Chiseler's Market

Tiny part of the Bargain Room.
Yesterday morning, Linda and Duane and I attended the annual sale held by the ladies of The Chiselers, Inc. This sale covers just about everything you can think of and has a huge room they call the 'Bargain' room that is unbelievable.  This makes the third year that we've gone to the market.  (If you want to know more about the good works of The Chiselers, just click on the link above.) We arrived just in time to join the line outside before the sale began at 9am.  I decided to hit the Bargain room first this year.
Boy, you really take your life into your hands by heading there first.   The three of us split up since we all had our cell phones with us.  I found out later that Duane tried going into the Bargain room first but began to feel claustrophobic.  I can see how that could happen.  One of the Chiseler ladies told me that a woman fainted in there one year.  I was able to find the area with yarn, needles, buttons, etc., and bought what they had to use for The Humble Stitch -- our favorite knitting/crocheting charity.    

After the Bargain room, I hit the book room.  I purchased a hardback book with knitting patterns. Duane had already been there and had purchased quite a few books.  I ran into Linda in the book room along with our buddy, Danny, who was chatting with Linda as they shopped.  Linda also found items in the book room.  (No surprise there!)  After that I decided to hit the 'Art' area.  That section is located outside on one of the verandas.  I ended up with a terrific little signed print of the city of Charleston (one of my favorite places).  Not sure where I'll hang it yet although I'm thinking over my desk in my home office.

Linda ended up with the coolest buy of the day.  The Chiselers always have very nice items in their silent auction.  I usually go into that room but I was too pooped after my foray into the Bargain room so I sat with Duane on the veranda and relaxed.  Linda had decided to place a bid on one of the items and never thought she would win it.  Well, surprise -- she received a phone call later that day letting her know that she had won the auction!  It's a beautiful piece of framed Chinese embroidery.  Really lovely and acquired at a great price, too.

Linda's treasure!  

After we left the market, we headed to Starbucks to refuel and relax.  From there we drove to another part of town where a used and antiquarian bookstore was having a huge going-out-of-business sale. We were like three kids in a candy store.   We all made purchases and, luckily, since the sale was only from 8am-2pm, the owner will be having more sales until all of her inventory is gone.  There are so many books that you could easily spend hours and hours going through them.   We plan to reserve the next sale day that the owner has as strictly a day for going through her books.  So, the plan is to bring a drink, pack a lunch, etc., when that happens.  Below are pics of our purchases for the day.

Books, books, books.  
Yarn and needles.
Signed Charleston print.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Saturday Sales and the Blue Bird Bus

Duane, Linda and I hit several sales yesterday morning including a parking lot sale at a terrific vintage shop and several garage sales.  As usual, we didn't come home empty-handed.  The parking lot sale is a sale that's held twice a year at a shop called Sherry's YesterDaze in (you guessed it) the parking lot.  There are always interesting items for sale -- mostly vintage.  A mobile library/art shop called the Blue Bird Bus was also there.  This is a terrific little 'shop-on-wheels' founded by writer and artist Mitzi Gordon.  She carries books for all ages on her bus along with arts and crafts.  Linda and I both purchased books from Mitzi's bus and also came away with origami cranes made from old maps.  Mitzi makes these in her spare time and gives them away.  To find out more about Mitzi and the Blue Bird Bus, please check out her website here.

After leaving Sherry's, we hit a few local garage sales in Duane's neighborhood.  Duane lives in one of the best parts of town for artsy/craftsy stuff and people.  Sherry's store is located there and it's also the home of the Blue Bird Bus even though the bus does get around to other areas.  Duane's big find for the day was a fog machine for her son Scott who fronts a band called Brutality.   Brutality uses a fog machine but had been renting one before this.  Now they have one of their own at a great price.  Besides, books, dishes and some smaller items, Linda bought a really pretty English tea tin. 

We made our usual stop at Starbucks for drinks and a treat before calling it a morning.  Next weekend we plan to go to the Chiseler's sale.  This will be the 50th year it's been held.  If you look back in my archives for the past two years in March, I've posted about their sale here.  I'll do the same for this year's sale.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Recent releases from Iambik Audiobooks

Iambik Audiobooks has released six new titles in the past few weeks encompassing science fiction/fantasy, horror, and crime.  First up are two books in the horror genre.  Bearded Women by Teresa Milbrodt and narrated by Darla Middlebrook features a modern day freak show of various female characters.  According to Tzer Island: "Freakish in mind or body they may be, but Milbrodt's characters have the same problems as everyone else . . . . The characters are worth knowing, and the insight they provide into unusual lives is worth pondering." 

The second horror book is The Hair Wreath and Other Stories written by Halli Villegas and read by Dawn Harvey.  This is a collection of nineteen strange stories.  From Ellen Datlow:  "A touch of magical realism, a whiff of the dark. Great emotional intensity is wrought in only a few pages. Domestic skirmishes, open ended mysteries and always—in the midst of life—the delicate scent of corruption. Villegas's fresh voice promises a great future in speculative literature."

Next up are three new additions to the science fiction/fantasy area.  Fire Logic by Laurie J. Marks is the first book of the Elemental Logic series -- Earth * Air * Water * Fire.  Narrated by Anita Roy Dobbs, this book has received starred reviews from two publications.  "Marks is an absolute master of fantasy in this book."--Booklist (starred review) and "A work that is filled with an intelligence that zings off the page."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The second sci/fi/fantasy release is Race for the Heir by Kirsty Riddiford.  This is part 2 of the Prophecies of Ballitor, which started with The Book of Prophecies.   Read by Ruth Golding, this book continues Ben's adventures.  Ben returns home to the royal city of Quadrivium expecting a hero s welcome. Instead, he finds the city in turmoil. The king has been found dead in suspicious circumstances, clearing the way for someone to rule the kingdom through the infant prince. Ben immediately suspects his old enemy, the pale man. Or could it be the vainglorious Cardinal Bolt, who shows an excessive interest in the Book of Prophecies? The race for the heir is on when the prince is discovered to be missing.

Third in the sci/fi/fantasy genre is Tranquility's Blaze by Krista D. Ball.  This book is the first volume of the Trails of Tranquility.   Recorded by Cori Samuel.  From Ada Hoffman, Amazon Review (editorial):  "This isn't a book for readers who like their women whiny, wimpy, and well-behaved. Krista D. Ball doesn't break the epic fantasy mold with this volume, but she does something arguably more difficult: she picks up the tropes, dusts them off, and restores a realism that they usually lack."

The sixth newest release from Iambik is in the crime genre and is titled Downshift by Matt Hughes.  This is a 'Sid Rafferty' thriller and is narrated by Bob Gonzalez.   Sid Rafferty is between writing jobs, a rock and a hard place, and the poles of his luck. At this point, he’s willing to take on just about any writing gig. But when a return to his political spin-doctor days collides with what should be a simple promo piece about a new ski resort in British Columbia’s playground, Sid finds himself out of his depth, over his head, in love and at risk of his life.

You can listen to the entire first chapters of these books on the Iambik website.   All of the books are currently for sale on Audible along with Iambik's other productions.