Sunday, June 24, 2012

Thrift Share: Art of it All

I found this lovely framed print for a couple of bucks. Her creator is Florence Kroger. The frame is gorgeous.
I actually found this Mexican beauty a month or so ago at the Unique Thrift in Louisville. In line, a woman said to me in Spanish that she thought it was quite nice. I love it too.

Two sweet, little bird prints

Not to be out done by Mother Mary, I found this paint-by-number roses at an Indiana GW (and it was actually cheap!)
Last, I have future plans for this wooden house. I will add it to the mountainous project pile.

I had a really good thrift week and weekend. I ended up spending Friday helping my mom move furniture to her barn (she bought new) and I found some treasures I remember as a child. One was a metal box once used on a tractor to hold tools. It used to have hens-n-chicks in it and sat below my childhood bedroom window for as long as I can remember. It's old. My husband said, "Did you use it as a step when you would sneak out of your bedroom window? Is that why it has memories?" Maybe.

I also ended up with two older Mexican pottery planters in somewhat worn condition, but I have plans for those as well. She gave me three old metal drawers and a metal container that held something that was made in West Germany. I'll show the freebies in the future after their transformations. However, I will let you see the wonderful German dish set I picked up in WV. It is JENAer Glas (a precursor to Pyrex) and I believe it is from the mid-60's (going by a trademark site I found). It was marked $39.99 for the set, but it had been marked down, just minutes before I arrived, to $8.99. I love it and it will now be my primary set in Louisville (I plan to purge my current sets).

Check out Sophie's blog for more thirft inspiration!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Need to Clean the Ducts?

One of the benefits of my work travel is cable. Tonight I watched an absolute tear jerker of a documentary called One Nation Under Dog. It's divided into three sections; Fear, Loss, Betrayal and covers the darker side of our obsession with canines. If you love dogs, you'll be a member of the choir and cry through the whole thing. If you have no idea of the pain of animal shelters or the loss of a soul dog, then please watch, then volunteer or adopt from your local shelter. Too many dogs (cats, etc.) end up in shelters (the documentary has some sad statistics: only 20% of American dogs are adopted from shelters; 25% of dogs in shelters are purebreeds). Of course, if adoption is not possible right now, you can always donate time or money.
And, while I'm being preachy, give someone who has lost their soul dog a chance to talk and cry about it. I lost my almost 16 year old dalmatian/pit mix (a shelter dog) in 2005. I still weep for the loss of my best friend. Putting Isaak to sleep was the single hardest decision I ever had to make.

OK, here is a confession:

In another life, most of my twenties in fact, I worked in animal shelters. I started out a technician, then became an animal control officer, dabbled in animal welfare investigation and then back to technician before I escaped that career. I truly believe I was emotionally damaged in those years: the pain and abandonment and abuse and senseless slaughter of 1000s of animals took its toll. I ended up quitting at the end of a short noose (the only job I left on bad terms after the damaged employees became abusive towards each other coupled with bad supervision who, sheltered from the death and misery, took sides or ignored the rampant issues). It took me years to get over the depression and soul wrenching experiences that field gave me. I mean to say, you can't spend years unloading a freezer full of euthanized animals weekly and come out cheery and perfect on the other end. Once I snapped a Polaroid of a mound of dalmatians all piled up for the rendering truck (white and black spots on snow). This was a year or two after the re-release of Disney's 101 Dalmatians on DVD. The image has haunted me for years. See what I mean about the damage? You certainly cannot look into the eyes of a puppy, feel its little tongue on your hand and watch as the light softly fades from the needle you put in it's vein and think the world is a happy place.

I look back on those years with remorse and a feeling that I will never be able to undo. I went into that field because I truly love animals (and have since birth!) All of my co-workers (even while mean to each other) loved animals and wanted the best for them. And all of us gave each animal, no matter how sick or unloved or mean or damaged it may have been, as much love and comfort we could while it was in our care. Shelter workers take one for the team, they really do. If you are lucky, you escape before you begin to feel apathetic towards it all.

Most of my pets have come from shelters (although, not all of them). Orca came from a rescue. Someday soon, I hope we can add another adult dog or cat to our mix and that guy or gal will come from the shelter. I'm just waiting on the KY house to be a done deal and for my job changes in the fall (less travel!) and I hope I can pick out someone hard to place and give them another chance.

Thrift Share: Los Perros and Madonna

I've been meaning to share these wonderful thrift finds for some time. I think I found them in late April in a Kentucky Goodwill.

Years ago, I was engaged to someone I loved dearly in Arizona (the break-up is still the single worst point of relationship heartbreak I've ever experienced to this day). His family had a vacation home in Mexico and we traveled there often. It was during these years that I fell in love with Mexican art.

El Perro art comes from the Gerardo Ortega Lopez family of Tonala. I love these happy dog candles!

I also recently stumbled upon this giant Madonna planter. I believe this may be the largest piece of religionalia I have ever found. I put the beer bottle in there for scale. Even though I have been bringing home less items from the thrifts, the stuff I have found has been absolutely wonderful!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cabinet of Wonders

As a child, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always answered "naturalist". I'm pretty sure I learned the word from Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom (which I watched religiously) or possibly Captian Kangeroo. I spent hours in the woods watching wildlife. I sat in trees reading. And natural history museums are still my favorite.

I also loved collecting leaves and rocks and fallen nests from the wilds and placing them on a bookshelf in my room (along side Trixie Belden books and Breyer horses). I've been a collector since I can remember. I'm sure I would have fit right into the late 19th century and, there is no doubt, I would have been fascinated by my peer's Curiosity Cabinets. I definitely would have loved creating my own cabinet of wonder.

Years ago I collected some old type set drawers from a yard sale (way before they became popular and expensive). I also have multiple vintage cabinets lying around the garage and barns (they've moved with me several times). I bought them because I fell in love with the artist Joseph Cornell's work and had planned on creating some mixed media artwork of my own in the fashion of the Victorian curiosity cabinets. I am still fascinated with mixed media.

Lately, however, I've been feeling a bit smothered by all of my treasures. I have really decreased my thrifting in the past 6 months and am being really selective in what I actually bring home. I've been sorting and purging my homes (both the IN home and the KY apt). I have a mountain of stuff for my sister's garage sale in August or September. I have stuff going back to the thrifts.

Because I have this weird life/work arrangement, I find I have little time for...well, for anything! I feel like I work for my employer throughout the week and then work for my house and belongings on the weekends. I am constantly moving piles of crap and I have so many unfinished projects (e.g. painting, artwork, garden work, reading, etc.), I've lost count.

At some point, I just need to tell myself I am never going to start (or finish) a particular project. You have to tell yourself to stop hoarding because you are never going to:

A. Sew anything from the plethora of vintage sheets.
B. Make cool collage artwork from the boxes of ephemera.
C. Create interesting curiosity cabinets or mixed media artwork.

Of course, it's easy for my to type this now, but how do you convince yourself to let go when you stumble upon inspiration like the following?


Now I really want to finish my Cabinet of Wonders. I also want to read Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonders by Lawrence Weshler. So, what do you keep in your Curiosity Cabinet?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Thrift Share: Kentucky Weekend

If you follow the other blog, you already know all about my frustrating experience where the new house is concerned. To summarize, one hour before the closing I found out bank was late on getting title work back to lawyers and require a 48 hour cooling off period once the title is in the courts. Sr drove all the way down to Louisville to help me start demolishing the house for repair. It's rare he can get a weekend off like this and I will probably be on my own for next weekend. He will come help me put the new doors on next Friday after I (hopefully) officially sign the paperwork.

Not all was lost though as we had time to hit a couple of weekend only flea markets near Louisville. The first one is in Simpsonville and right off of I-64 (going towards Lexington). I found many items to drool over (the best were the outside vendors), but was pretty selective. I bought the above Made in Japan kitties, the bulldog, and the Indian. I also found two of the Kentucky coffee cups. The best item (and I will have to take a picture later because it is filthy) was an old 1930-40's era metal chemistry lab scale! Maybe I've mentioned here before that my education was in chemistry and biology so vintage lab equipment is always favored by me. It is really "steam punk" (to actually use a trendy term, LOL!)

We also visited the world's supposed 'Awesome' Flea market south of Louisville on I-65. Waste of time would pretty much be my summary. I bought nothing! I did see a great circus poster on hard cardboard. Tthe vendor was packing up her stuff, so I asked her the price and, let's just say, it was not flea market pricing. I put it back. (Later, I found two great repro circus posters circa early 1900 for cheap). If you are traveling to Central KY for the weekend for flea marketing, skip this one and drive up to I-64 and go to the Simpsonville one.

We also had a picnic at the Falls of Ohio (Indiana side of the Ohio River) and explored the fossil beds. If you zoom in on the picture of the rock my son is holding, you'll see the outline of a little prehistoric fish. If you are ever traveling south towards Louisville (or you go north just over the main bridge), take the exit (Exit 0 on the Indiana side of I-65) for Falls of Ohio State Park and check out these limestone beds. You will see millions of fossils and can marvel over the fact the area was once an ocean!

OK, I couldn't wait to show you the scale. It has most of the glass sides still (I lifted one side to snap the photo), but it is missing the weight set. It's quite dirty right now-I love it!