Friday, April 30, 2010

Fantastic Giveaway - you must enter

Miss Rebecca Ersfeld for Vintage Living has a fantastic giveaway to announce the opening of her new blog shop. 

Rebecca's work is lovely and she offers some of her best pieces along with wonderful antique treasuers...I'm crazy about the lace making stand with the bobbins still attached.

Her giveaway if for a fabric collage using your family pictures like the one below.

In addition, she will also give away a Where Women Create mag.

It doesn't get better then this so click on over to her blog and enter.  Have a wonderful weekend.  Sea Witch

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Can't decide, need assistance!

I'ma gal who almost always knows exactly what she wants or what she is gonna do next.  Rarely do I second guess a decision or have to think about a choice...I just know what I want or like and embrace it.  However, every once in a while (must be the full moon from yesterday that has me in a color choice quandry) I need a little insight from creative folks.  I need your opinion with a color makeover for a faboosh vintage sunburst wall clock that I found.  It runs beautifully, but has a good bit of metallic detoriation on the metal spokes. 

Once this happens, you really must steel wool it away and put a primer/paint on it to stop the continued rust and decay.  Normally I paint these either diner pink or diner aqua...but I came across a couple of spray paint cans in this glorious light, lime green that I am jonesing to use.  So here is where I need your help...should I use the really cool lime green or stick to the diner pink or aqua? 

Lime green which would be perfect for a sunny yellow room or retro den, would look great against the black clock face...and, and, and you rarely see this color used...which is another reason why I am leaning towards the lime green.


Diner pink...a color you can never miss with. 


Diner aqua...another color you can't miss with.

So there, can you not see my color quandry?  So please leave your color choice as a comment and help this sea witch figure out which color to use.  I will post the repainted photo next week.

Now, as long as we are talking color, how great are these spring petunias?  I am crazy about this magenta. (you probably recognize that I moved the petunias to put the clock up and snap a photo of it for today's post.)

Petunias are back on the stacking benches at my entrance where they belong.  Have a glorious day everyone.  Sea Witch

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

White Shell Wednesday

I like Sand Dollars. I like the way they look in their natural state and I like how smooth and detailed they are in their sun bleached state. I like that I can see a lily, a poinsettia, and a star on them and you can find doves hiding inside them. 

Keyhole Sand Dollar (dead) - all photos enlarge

Live Sand Dollar

I like that you can find them easily by pushing your toes through soft sand and slowly lifting them up to see them in either their natural (hairy) like state or smooth and white.  I like that they can be found in the size of a nickel up to a salad plate.  The name "sand dollar" comes from its the shape of its body which takes on a large, coin-like appearanceCommonly called a shell, the Sand Dollar is actually an echinoderm which means "spiny skinned" in Greek. A  marine invertebrate that lives in the sandy bottoms of sheltered bays and open coastal areas.  The starfish, sea urchin, sea cucumber and sand dollar are examples of the over 6000 species of echinoderms in our planet's salt waters.

Native to Florida and other areas of the world, Sand Dollars are actually the skeleton of several species of Sea Urchins.   Sand Dollars are common to the southeastern U.S., Australian and Caribbean seas and are usually found on sandy bottoms in shallow water. The typical shell is flat, circular and about 3 inches in diameter.  There are 12 different types of sand dollars and among those most well known are the Flat Round or common sand dollar, the Arrowhead, Pankcake, Keyhole (above) and the Sea Biscuit sand dollar

Common or Flat Round Sand Dollar

Arrowhead Sand Dollar

Pancake Sand Dollar
Sea Biscuit Sand Dollar

On the ocean bottom, sand dollars are frequently found together.

This is due in part to their preference for soft bottom areas, which are convenient for their reproduction. The sexes are separate and, as with most echinoids, they are conceived by external fertilization. Live sand dollars can be greenish, bluish or purple. Their highly modified spines and podia give them a velvet-like texture and appearance.  The spines on the somewhat flattened underside of the animal allow it to burrow or to slowly creep through the sediment.   As you can see in this video, they are a very slow moving creature.

Fine, hair-like cilia cover the tiny spines. Food grooves move food to the mouth opening, which is in the center of the star-shaped grooves on the underside of the animal . Its food consists of crustacean larvae, small copepods, diatoms, algae and detritus.  Inside a sand dollar shell are five teeth, which are useful for scraping plankton from rocks. The teeth, which are found when the shell is broken open, are called 'doves' because they look like tiny white doves.

Greatly enlarged doves or teeth.

The Sand Dollar shares a unique relationship to Christians who have found symbols in the form and appearance of the keyhole Sand Dollar. They call it the “Holy Ghost Shell” because the markings on the shell symbolize the Birth, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. On top of the shell, an outline of the Easter Lily is clearly seen. At the center of the Lily a five pointed Star representing the Guiding Star of Bethlehem that led the Wise Men. The five narrow openings are representative of the four nail holes and the spear wound made in the body of Christ during the Crucifixion.  Reversing the shell you will easily recognize the outline of the Poinsettia, the Christmas flower, and also the Bell. When broken, inside the shell are five little birds called the Doves of Peace.

There is something magical about the Sand Dollar.  It is light and delicate and yet manages to survive storms, predators and man stepping all over them in the watery shallows.  When living, they have the appearance of velvet and when reduced to the skeletal structure they become pure white talismans of all sizes.  I have collected them for years (always the dead ones found along the beach, never the live specimens) and utilized them in my wedding invitation as shown below.

Have a beautiful white shell wednesday and blessings to you and all you love. Sea Witch

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dutch Monkey Donuts - Weekend Treasure

At 6:00 am on Saturday morning,the lightning and pouring rain woke the dog and I.  My honey was still in Colorado and expected to fly in later that night and my plans to hit a few spring yard sales was dashed so sis and I reworked the day.  Sis had heard about this family owned donut shop called Dutch Monkey Donuts located in Cumming, Georgia.  From there we would head out to the Magnolia Antique Mall nearby.  With google maps in hand, we drove through the pouring rain and in to the parking lot for Dutch Monkey. We could smell the fresh roasted coffee in the parking lot and entered the packed shop.

Adorable little logo.

The front counter was filled with freshly made donuts.

More delectable offerings.  All made with fresh ingredients like cream, butter, flour and sugar. No preservatives here.

That bucket of butter is the foundation for any quality baked good.

Donuts rising before being tossed into the hot fat.

One of the dutch monkey staff preparing the dough.

Wall menu changes daily.  These are some of Saturday's offerings.

Adorable little girl in a kicky spring hat watches the staff make donuts.

Sis had a peanut butter creme donut and I had a black raspberry donut.  Excellent. This was a great way to start the rainy day road trip and following a tasty donut and hot coffee we grabbed the other google map and went looking for the Magnolia Antique Mall.  According to the map it was about 8 miles from Dutch Monkey Donuts.  We drove and drove and could not find it.  Their website said specifically it was beside the Goodwill Store. Well, we found the huge Goodwill but no Magnolia Antique Mall. Apparently, it closed but their website is still up.  (this is a personal pet peeve of mine...websites for business'es that no longer exsist.  I so wish people would remember to remove these sites when the close down)  So we decided to schlep through the Goodwill instead.

A few of the treasures I did find at the Goodwill.  Yelloware dog dishes. These are great for keeping the water cool during the summer and have a lovely farm home look to them.  A pair of geode or "thunder egg" bookends, a lovely heart quilt piece that I will frame, and two bushel baskets and about a dozen of the prettiest and largest faux grapes I had ever seen.  These will look lovely as a display and would look wonderful in a Tuscan kitchen.

Really neat retro rattan ice bucket from the 1970s, 5 pretty decorator copper clad and mirror balls, and a sweet little pewter child's cup.

The find of the day.  A terrific vintage faux leopard jacket. Very 1960s. 
Excellent condition. Goodwill offered up a few nifty things so sis and I head back home.

Cleaned and priced all of the goodwill items and added to those the pair of Catholic altar cloths I purchased at the street market in Vincenza, Italy in March.  I love red on white embroidery and was delighted to find vintage linens at the open market.  These sweet little altar cloths are beautifully embrodiered with lace along the edges. I will take these to the shop on Sunday.

Spent a few hours on Sunday arranging my latest acquisitions when I sell my white display cabinet.  That means I have to redo my entire space and bring in another large piece next week.  Yippee!

Vintage textiles and prints.

That magnificent jacket next to the white display case that sold. 

I adore this pretty little vintage stole.  Would be perfect for prom.

I put spun aluminum contact paper on the back of the black doors of the case that I am renting. Love the new look as it brings in and reflects the light all round the case.    Everything just looks brighter.  So all in all it was a lovely weekend.  Wishing everyone a pleasant week.  Sea Witch

Saturday, April 24, 2010

One year ago today

the "Sea Witch" became a member of the blogging community.  Can you believe it?   I am often torn between feeling like I just arrived here, full of the wonder and delight that captures your imagination with so many talented, caring, funny and artistic people all connected to each other by a simple communications path or I feel like I have always been here and this has been my cyber ocean filled with treasure all at my fingertips.

So as the song goes, "Let's start at the very beginning...a very good place to start" and link to my first post.  There are no photos, no links, just narrative.  I must admit I was somewhat intimidated by the concept.  Who would read what I had to say and  and why?  What could I offer to the visitor and what would I gain from those places I visit?  The gifts of friendship and shared creativity by all of you is immeasurable. Because of all of you I am a woman of wealth

With my second post, I learned to add photos and links and offered up a little bit about me.  

So do I honor that first post one year ago by offering this post without photos and links? NAAAHHHH!  I like visuals too much and links are interesting side roads begging you to step off the beaten path (or post) and try a different route. 

So thank you all for your visits, those who follow, those who share their creativity, those who participate in my giveaways but mostly thank you for your marvelous friendships.  Sea Witch

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Marshmallow shooters YES, after shave NO

Well the Sea Witch is back.  High tailed it off to Aurora, Colorado to bring my grandmother's engagement ring to my son to give to the woman who stole his heart.  This was a quick trip planned to surprise her and I got to meet Cristi for the first time (after a year of phone conversations) and her delightful children...three more raviolis for me!!! 

In typical "Easterner" style, we celebrated with fresh lobsters.  "Uncle Kevin" sprung for this celebratory feast and we ate like rock stars.

Everyone sat around the table with good food, good drink and lots of love.

How wonderful that both my sons gave family rings to the women who love them.  My oldest son gave his wife my mother's engagement ring. My youngest son gave his soon to be wife my grandmother's engagement ring.  And, I wear the ring my husband's mother wore.  Yes, you can say it, we are hopeless romantics when it comes to family diamond rings. 

So, what does all of this ring business have to do with marshmallow shooters and after shave?  Well, it's all about not checking baggage and running items through carry on.  I had packed four marshmallow shooters (guns) with a bag of miniature marshmallows for the kids and my son. My honey insisted that these would in all likelihood be confiscated by TSA since they looked like guns.  I couldn't find anything on the TSA website that said I couldn't bring them, so I was ready to take the chance.
I sail through security without a problem (and I have four of these babies in my carryon) honey gets pulled aside, frisked, poked and x-rayed because he has a small bottle of after shave. 

Contraband to TSA so they confiscate it.  The marshmallow shooters were a huge hit and got lots of play time by kids and the big boys.  I think Squirt, the dog liked it best because she would eat up every mini-marsh she could find so there was never anything left behind.

A short vid of the kids attacking my son's best friend in the kitchen.  If you watch closely, you can see the mini-marshmallows shooting all over the place.  These silly little toys kept everyone laughing and playing for hours.  Don't you love a house full of love?

So now I'm trying to play catchup at work and also read all of the posts that I have missed.  Please give me some time to read and then drop by and say hello.  I miss my blogging friends and all that life plans around you. Blessings to you all. Sea Witch 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Black Lace Wednesday

Okay, okay, I know it is supposed to be white Wednesday but I was feeling the rebel and decided to go to the dark side (they always have cookies anyway) and offer up a black lace Wednesday in its place. I adore textiles and especially lace. The idea that anyone would spend hours twisting bobbins to create an inch of lace fascinates me and one of the most lovely of the bobbin made laces is “Chantilly Lace.”  Pronounced “shawn tew lee”, this bobbin made lace originated in Chantilly, north of Paris…only the French could conceive of such beauty utilizing fine silk threads.

The earliest chantilly lace was known as “Blonde lace” and the name comes from the natural golden blonde color of the silk used to create the bobbin lace. 

Blonde lace lost interest with women of the court but the use of black silk revitalized interest in this magnificent bobbin lace technique.

Closeup of the detail of this handmade laces twists and turns.  Incredible.

Bobbin lace strip with hundreds of pins holding silk in place.

Lace making pillow, pins and bobbins.
The size of the pillow used determines the size of the lace strip.  Large pieces required lots of work space.

Museum piece - Lovely lace bedspread from the 18th century. 

Detail of the cupids on the bedspread.  How many hundreds of hours did this lovely spread take? 

The production of Chantilly lace flourished under Louis XV (1715-1774) and was a special favorite of his last mistress and of course, the lovely Marie Antoinette.

When the French Revolution began, demand for the lace ceased as the lace makers were seen as followers of the royals and following the guillotining of Marie Antoinette, the lace makers of Chantilly were killed, of which all production had ceased.

Napoleon sponsored revivals of Chantilly lace, most especially between the years 1804 and 1815 and at this point production was concentrated in Normandy, mainly around the Bayeux area. While it was no longer being made in Chantilly, all of the old techniques and designs were used. Chantilly lace reached the height of its popularity around 1830 and was revived again in the 1860s.  

I love the detail and realism of the florals and designs in chantilly lace.  Truly gossamer in its look and touch. These lovely huge shawls are light as a feather.

In 1844 a machine was patented that made black silk Chantilly lace that was difficult to distinguish from the handmade lace. Good machine made imitation were now available. Both they and the more expensive handmade kind were fashionable from the mid-century on, when shawls and even whole mantles of Chantilly were worn over a crinoline.
A favorite piece among the Civil War elegant sign of mourning.

Detail of shawl, Circa 1865.

Modern machine made chantilly lace Circa 1900s. Just as lovely as the antique, hand made pieces. 

Beautiful chantilly lace dress from the 1890s

Machine lace from the 1950s.

Lovely chantilly lace dress from the 1940s. Sophistication at its best. 

Lace has such universal appeal and there are so many types available.  Bobbin or machined, crocheted or knitted, twisted or knotted, the next time you come across vintage pieces at a yard sale, an antique store or a museum, look a little closer at how it was created.  You will have a new appreciation for this lovely textile.  Sea Witch