Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Day in Galena

Usually, we can make a spur of the moment trip to our favorite little antique towns without a hitch, but boy did we pick the wrong day to go to Galena--I swear, one million people decided to spend the weekend in that tiny town, all because of a Halloween parade, it seems. Having grown up in small towns, I've seen many many small town parades, so I guess I don't quite understand the entire city of Chicago driving all the way to Galena to see this parade. It was just the usual--VFW guys in front with the flags, followed by the fire trucks running the sirens and throwing candy, and the high school band playing off key as they marched. I guess it is charming, but I am telling you the crowds seemed Rose Parade size to me. So, anyway, we had to park a million miles from main street, which turned out to be nice as the weather was beautiful and the walk was lovely. Galena has all these odd antebellum homes built on the hillsides, not a square box among them, all so unique. There are hardly any antique stores left in town, and to think, that is all that used to be there (now the town is filled with gift shops). I got my shopping fix by stopping on the way in Monticello and Cascade. Cascade is home of Annie's Treasures, an old church turned primitive paradise. They were all decked out for Christmas, and I was very inspired to come home and add more holiday cheer to my repertoire. I found all these mashers as I drove across the country during vacation. I did them all up in Christmas colors, love how they turned out and they are all just a little different!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Sad Halloween Decor of a Shopkeeper

I just realized that this is the extent of my fall decorating! I do a lot better for Christmas, but thought this poor little pumpkin looked pretty sad for someone who decorates for a living.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Listing At Last

It has been so windy and rainy that I couldn't get outside to take photographs, so in between dispensing antibiotics to the kids, I've been painting mountains of bowls, spoons and breadboards in Christmas colors of holly red, bayberry green and snow white. Finally got out to get photos of the finished products today, and will spend the next 2 days listing and listing on ebay! You can find me under user id 6stringbluesman, store name Catspaw Primitives and Music on the ebay site.

I will be having my big once a year antique sale in Clarinda Iowa the first weekend in December, any one in the neighborhood, let me know and I'll send you a flyer. You can email me at I haven't even thought about the show yet, boy do I need to get going!

Here are some great bread boards I found at the Collectors Eye Sunday.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Germs are Winning

Grace and I still coughing, but we don't feel too bad, so of course, Anna starts running a fever today, it's strep. Grace just came to tell me that she checked Anna's temperature and it was "one thousand and seven", and thought she had better have some Motrin. I guess so!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Collector's Eye

I almost stayed home and skipped going to the Collector's Eye show in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, so so so glad I changed my mind. It is a high end primitive antique show, better than Heart of the Country, I think. I walked in, first aisle had $500 dough bowls and $200 doll dresses, folk art for thousands, decided I would just be browsing.... Thank goodness some of my favorite vendors were just around the corner. I started at Country Love, bought early toy breadboards, the cutest baby shoes, an old sawdust kitty and some bowls, now wish I had gone ahead and splurged on her early blue calicos, but maybe another time. Next, Simply Iowa, I think I might give best booth of show to, so pretty always, I tried to take photographs, they don't do justice. I took a picture of the dough bowl cupboard, then bought half the bowls and a beautiful tiny ironstone pitcher. Clear back in the corner, we found PollyAnn's, and why she had anything left, I do not know, she has wonderful items and low prices for a regular show, for this one, she was practically giving it away. I got breadboards and brooms here. Finally, we got Colleen Frese's booth, she is the best bread board, best bowl, best unusual prims dealer ever, and she had a box full of brooms, so I got to stock up with those, plus the cutest old rag stuffed litho puppy, not sure how to force myself to put him in the store, but bills must be paid!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

You Have Got to Be Kidding Me

I started feeling congested yesterday, glad to fall into bed, just asleep when the pitter patter of Anna feet woke me up, "Mom, Grace is making sick noises." Ran into the bedroom found her hotter than a pancake again, fortunately we didn't need clean up duty this time, but stayed up until 3 watching I Love Lucy just in case. This morning finds us both croaky, stuffed up and miserable. This better mean we have built up enough antibodies to have a sick free winter, this is way too soon after our last bout, and we stay home, where are these germs coming from!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Plugging Away

Paint and sand, feed the kids, do the errands, try to remember to pay the bills (are my lights flickering?), it has been a work a thon, with a little break Saturday to go up to Anamosa to visit Gatherings, always love love love that store. We went on to the Plaza Mall in Dyersville, home of the Field of Dreams, and found some good wood kitchen antiques exactly right to add to my list of things to do. Today I got started with some Christmasey reds and bayberry greens, and kept adding stuff in, because the colors looked so good. Here's to hoping the end product lives up to my vision! In the meantime, just finished some red and cream bowls.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


The girls and I made pancakes this morning, I am not a very good flipper, and they usually look ghastly, but my sweet babies tell me not to worry, they taste really good and that's all that matters. Now, my mom was a pancake artist. You have your painters, your sculptors, my mom's medium was pancake batter. We got pancakes in the shape of teddy bears and bunnies, and always snowmen at Christmas ( no molds, she would pour the batter free form to make the shape). When the boy grandkids came, she made them shark pancakes. You also have to know she was doing this for 8 children (we were 7 girls and one boy, thus the girly shapes of our childhood), working nights, and doing all the housework. I always tell my girls these stories about their grandmother, and this morning we attempted the first snowman, hardly a triumph, but figure we can keep practicing. I'm pretty sure I'll never manage the bunny ears and am hoping I master just making circle pancakes someday!

Here's something I'm a little better at, covering tin with fabric!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Christmas Even in Sweltering Heat

I am running around in my usual circles--paint the bowl, no wait, there is a cute tin over there to cover, pick it up, oh, look, brooms would be so cute for Christmas, no wait, I forgot to paint the bowl, but look, those little quilt squares will be such cute pillows. It is really a miracle that I finish anything with my bad case of crafters ADD. Here's a little of the finished product, Christmas pantry tins are almost done if I don't get distracted... It has been sooo hot here, I am also taking time to worry that fall will skip us all together, winter is going to come right after summer.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Few Pretties

Everyone usually reacts in shock that we prefer to drive across the country instead of fly over, but we really do love being able to stop and see all the great little towns across America, beauty from the plains to the desert to the mountains, I love it all. Las Vegas was not a favorite, but it is kind of fun, such a completely fake town. We did stop at the Pawn Stars shop, just missing a photo op with Chumley! In LA, love all the palm trees and can mostly deal with the crazy traffic. One ride we went on in Disneyland is Soaring over California, it really feels like you are flying over the landscape, I loved the end when you fly over the night time traffic on the freeway and right into the park and over Cinderella's castle, we went twice on that one!

In northern California, where I was born and lived until first grade, Placerville is charming, despite its lurid past as Old Hangtown, a tree in the center of town served as the gallows for many an outlaw back in the day. Gold was discovered nearby in Coloma, such a beautiful place to visit with the sparkling clear American River running by, gold dust glinting in the sand on the banks. We panned for gold and even found a few specks! I love Grass Valley, lots of wineries and antique stores and the BEST restaurant, a little Italian inspired cafe that made a wonderful Caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes. I bought wine from an enthusiastic young woman selling for her family vineyard, the tasting was really good. The antique stores were great, first buys of the trip there, then couldn't find another good antique town until we got back to Nebraska. I found a ton of stuff there, in Grand Island, Lincoln and Omaha, then a few more treasures in Des Moines on our way home.

The photos are from top to bottom, hydraengas at the Empire Mine near Grass Valley, my girls at the home of the Empire Mine owners, a wild fire in Utah, the cliffs of Utah, golden aspens in Colorado, sunset in Nebraska, and an old print of Placerville, which looks just the same except the horses are replaced by cars.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Home at Last Back to Crazy Busy

I've been stitching up pantry tin sleeves all day and taking a million photographs, should start listing in the morning, so much more to come! Here is a little smackerel of the Christmas goods on the way.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Good Time Was Had By All

After a rocky start, (my daughter came down with the flu on our departure day, and as all mothers out there know, I'd rather be sick than watch my babies suffer), the vacation was a success. We all got well, and started having fun, and good luck even found us a bit We arrived at the Disneyland Grand Hotel, greeted at the door and told we had been chosen as the days VIPs, and got upgraded to a designer suite and had our own special contact for anything we needed. They arranged our park tickets, breakfast with Ariel and it was all quite wonderful. The park was all dressed up for fall, despite the 90 degree heat, it was very festive, we got to meet so many of the characters and have pictures taken, rides had hardly any lines, and were fun, fun, fun. My nephew and sister convinced me to try the Tower of Terror, and I tell you, I have never been so scared in my life! That Disney magic takes you from sitting down in an elevator to the Twilight Zone where reality really did go away. They open the doors to see the hotel ghosts, then drop the elevator, a real plummet to your death experience, then back up to the top of the hotel, open the doors and it looks like you are going to fall off the tower, then whoosh! Plummet to your death once again! Thrilling, I guess so! After that, having the Indiana Jones boulder threaten to crush you seemed positively a baby ride.

We left LA to visit relatives near Sacramento, got to shop in Grass Valley and taste a little local wine, visit the place I was born, Placerville, and where we lived as kids, Pollock Pines, then the long drive home, up the mountains and down the mountains, flattened out in Nebraska, where I spent all my antique money in one day, found wonderful wonderful prims, just need to be the lightening lister now!