Words of late artist Frank Howell...I totally relate!

"There are few days off and no retirement from this entanglement of knowledge, passion and vision that will be molded and converted into creative expression. There are no guarantees of acceptance, understanding or reward, but...the noise inside the mind never ceases. I will paint today, tonight and for as many tomorrows as I am given..." Words of the late artist Frank Howell...

Monday, August 31, 2015

Fabulous Funky Floral Fun

Hi everyone!  Hope you had a great weekend and your Monday is off to a fine start.  I'm sitting here drinking my third cup of coffee to get my week started, and it's one of those rare August mornings here in South Alabama where it feels nice to sit out on the porch...So I decided to bring my computer, coffee and my newest funky find out to the porch to show you.

You all have heard me speak of Linda, my friend who owns Coastal Charm, a shop inside Antiques at the Loop in Mobile, Alabama.  Well, Linda always has great things...I've shopped her place for years, before we were ever friends, and I always find something there to love.  Friday was no different... We ran into one another at the antiques mall where we were both "working" our shops and she was showing me all of her newest treasures coming into Coastal Charm.  

As soon as my silly little eyes fell on this piece, I knew I had to bring it home!  It was not just calling my name--it was yelling!  I mean, just look and you'll understand why.  

Is that a whole bunch of fabulous funkiness, or what?  And, it's so tiny.  It's hard to tell by this pic, but it's about 3 1/2 inches deep, maybe a foot tall, and about 18" wide.  I jokingly referred to it as an "underwear suitcase" because that's about all it will hold!  They probably referred to it as an "overnight bag" way back when.  It's just so cute and funky, I had to have it. 

Linda asked me what I was going to use it for and mentioned using it as a computer bag. What a great idea...I'm wondering if my computer will fit.  It looks close...

...but just a tad bit too small.  Maybe I need a new computer...

I can think of many other ways to use it too, so it will probably be one of those pieces that floats around the house from place to place.  The colors work with my decor, so I'm going to have fun with it.  And, it may eventually end up going on a road trip with me holding my underwear.

Now, I need to get up and get to cleaning this house.  

Enjoy your week!

Friday, August 28, 2015

World's Longest Yard Sale Find--Artsy,Industrial, and So Cool

So, I've been working hard to get things ready for the shop, things that I brought back from the World's Longest Yard Sale.  




You get the idea, right?  It's a lot of work.  I know we make it look easy, but believe me when I tell you that we work hard for our money!  

This piece first caught my eye because of the color.  I love this industrial blue that they painted these metal cabinets way back when...and, it's perfectly rusty.  I've cleaned it and applied a coat of wax to give it a little sheen and make it not so rough to the touch.  I imagined it being put to use in some art studio to hold supplies (It will hold a lot of stuff!), so I made little tags to imply "art box"...Of course, it can be used for anything.  Just slip the paper tags out and put new ones in.  It would be nice to just use it as a pop of blue in a room with industrial decor, or a mini "office" to stash mail, etc.  

Oh, and I mentioned that it's big...Actual measurements are 16" deep, almost 21" wide and 8" tall. Each drawer is 9 3/8" wide on the inside.  

I'm in love with this piece.  It's going into the shop today (Juju Queen's Junk inside Antiques at the Loop in Mobile, Alabama) and I hope it goes home with someone special.  If not, I will be totally okay with it if it ends up coming back home with me.  I like some pieces that much.

Have a good weekend, and I'll see you in a couple of days.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Juju Queen's Junk is Now Featuring Ironstone and Fall Pumpkin Art

Have you noticed that everyone is searching for ironstone these days?  I've sold many pieces in the last few months, so it was at the top of my list of "wants" for the World's Longest Yard Sale.   I have plain white ironstone, as well as transfer ware, all with the nice aged crackles that everyone loves.  I also found some nice floral platters, bowls and plates at a moving sale here in our hometown.  The homeowner had used them as wall decorations, so they are in perfect antique condition.    These new pieces have been arriving at the shop over the last couple of weeks, so I snapped a few pics yesterday to show you a sampling of what you can find at Juju Queen's Junk.

A Thanksgiving display that includes ironstone and
a turkey or two...

A vintage carving set for Thanksgiving,  more
ironstone, English china, and turquoise pottery...

Brown transfer ware is perfect for a fall table setting...

The pretty floral pieces that I bought locally...
Look at the piece in the stand on the right--
Pure gorgeousness!

Blue transfer ware gravy...
More blue transfer ware pieces...

I also painted some new pumpkins that are now in the shop...They all have the turquoise blue background and are painted in acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.

I didn't hang around snapping too many pics as the thunder was beginning to rumble and I was trying to beat the rain!  Such is life in the summer in Mobile, Alabama...

I'm bringing more treasures in every few days, so I'll share more pics Monday or Tuesday.

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Easy Low Cost Fall Decor Tutorial

Hi everyone!  Today, I'm sharing an...

I just made a simple fall arrangement for my kitchen and it was so easy and inexpensive, I thought I should share it with you.  It can be adapted for many looks and for any season. 

I started with a simple jar purchased along the World's Longest Yard Sale, but any jar would work, or for that matter, any container will work.  Here's my jar:

Sticking with the design rule of using odd numbers, I decided to go with three elements for this arrangement...keeping it simple.  This is what I used, and the cost of each element.
  1. 2 Bundles Dried Black Beard Wheat--Sale price was $2.40 each, so wheat was $4.80.
  2. Scarecrow on a stick (Approximately 12", not counting the stick) --Recycled from previous two years, but I believe I paid about $1.00.
  3. Sunflower--Single stem was sale priced at $2.40.

Dried Black Beard Wheat

Wheat Label (Don't ever pay full price at Hobby Lobby!...if it's not
on sale, wait until next week and it probably will be!)

Pretty Sunflower

My Happy Scarecrow...forgot to take a pic
before I added him to the arrangement.
So, gather these elements together with your container and have some scissors handy. You will begin by trimming the wheat stems, unless you want it really tall.  The rule is to have the height of the entire arrangement about three times the height of the jar.  So, in other words, the jar will take up one third of the total height, and the flowers should be two-thirds.  And I'm okay if you break the rule...I promise not to send the Floral Arrangement Police knocking on your door...I may even break a rule or two myself occasionally...

I trimmed about eight or ten inches off.  Each stem will vary slightly, and it isn't rocket science, so just get close!  You should now have something that looks similar to this:

Then, you will add your scarecrow, and it will look like this:

And, finally, you will add the pretty sunflower to the front.  You should have something that looks similar to this:

Do you see how it sort of spikes upward at the outside edges?  I'm not liking that, so I will just pull them out and trim off a little more...

Can you see how I've trimmed the wheat on the sides a little shorter?  The tops of the wheat now form an arch-like design.

My kitchen is normally turquoise, white and orange with green walls...To make the fall arrangement look  more pulled together with my everyday decor, I added a little tea towel to the big serving platter right under the spice cabinet.  It just added a little more fall colors, but also has that everyday turquoise color.  Now, I'm looking at the pics and thinking how pretty an antique Mason jar would be in the place of the clear one...it would pull in more of that turquoise blue...hmmm.

Now, for an added smile, I'm sharing a close-up pic of my cow...see her up there at the top of the spice cabinet?

NOTE:  I ended up using one and one-half bundles of the wheat.  Just work with it to get it as full as you like.  The neck of the jar can make it look different...a smaller neck will not allow as many and will look tighter and and larger neck will let them all spread apart so that you will want to use more stems.  I have enough left over to add to a wreath!  

Wasn't that easy?  And, all for under $10 because I bought most elements on sale!  Can't beat that.

Thanks for dropping in today, and I hope you'll come back soon!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Shopping for School Supplies Causes Mental Breakdown in Wal-Mart

Okay, before you get all worried about me, let me clear this up right away.....It just make me feel like beating my head against the Wal-Mart racks.

Have you shopped for school supplies from a list recently, like I did?  They are so specific about the folders and such.  Red plastic folder with pockets and prongs...I found plenty of red ones, but they were either cardboard with pockets and no prongs, or plastic with pockets and no prongs, or another color with pockets and no prongs, or neon (no red) color plastic with pockets and prongs.....Yes, it was maddening.  And, that was just one line on one list.  

They've made it easy for parents who register their children early and attend the "meet the teacher" event the week prior to school starting.  That's when you can purchase a prepackaged supply kit for each grade.  I would have gladly made those purchases, but we were out of town attending a funeral, so we missed that.  Mental note for next year...

I should also clarify about now that I don't have young children.  This post is all about me helping my sister-in-law get my niece and nephew ready for school.  My sis-in-law is from Colombia, South America, and doesn't speak or read English yet.  Handing her a list like this just causes her eyes to get really big...hand her two and....well, that's where I step in.  It is funny though when friendly people along the way refer to me as their grandmother, and then when I tell them that I am their aunt, they get all apologetic and say something like, "Oh, I didn't mean to imply that you look old or anything!" which causes me to laugh and then I tell them not to worry, my grandchildren are older than my niece and nephew.  It does cause a bit of confusion, I guess, but we all end up laughing.  I will say that I am SO glad to be through this season of life with my own, as my "baby" is now twenty-seven.  There is a reason people my age don't have young children, and I'm sure it's because God knew we would be beating our heads against Wal-Mart racks at the beginning of the school year if he allowed babies to keep happening as we got old...so he created menopause.

Let me take this opportunity to sing the praises Rockwell Elementary School in Spanish Fort, Alabama.  This is one amazing school and the children are going to be so happy there. Their high standards in teachers and staff members was readily apparent, as I've spent lots of minutes with various different ones over the last couple of weeks.  If any of you Rockwell employees are reading this, thank you for the great jobs you do!  That extra effort, acts of kindness and courtesy matter, and are noticed.  The art program and appreciation for art is something to witness...I was just in awe of the artwork on the walls of the office, and the slide show of student art that runs continuously in the main entrance....Great job, Rockwell Elementary!

If you have little ones, I hope your school year is off to a great start (if you've actually started your school year yet) and only gets better as the year continues!

I'll be back in the shop tomorrow sharing some pics of Juju Queen's Junk.  There will be some new treasures arriving...stay tuned.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The World's Longest Yard Sale--2015

Well, we've been back now about a week from our trip to the Corridor 127 Yard Sale, aka The World's Longest Yard Sale.  It was an "all girl" trip and we took two cars so that we could fill them up with merchandise for our two shops, Coastal Charm and Juju Queen's Junk, both located at Antiques at the Loop in Mobile, Alabama.  Linda and I are used to having our husbands along to help with the heavy lifting, and we didn't have them this trip, but we managed.  Yes, we are super women!

We headed up on Wednesday morning, bright and early.  My friend, Corinne, who is an artist friend, joined us as well.  We met in Baldwin County at exit 45 along I-65 and quickly headed toward Tennessee.  I talked and talked to Corinne, and she listened and listened...seriously though, I did let her talk some.  I glanced up in my rear view mirror every minute or so to make sure Linda was still back there.  At one point, she merged off to the right and I was going straight, so I quickly took the right turn...yes, I almost missed it...too busy talking, I guess.  Thank you, Linda, for paying attention for me!

I had planned our trip, as it was my third time "doing" the yard sale.  A friend of mine and Linda's was going to be set up in Clark Range, Tennessee, so we decided to drive all the way to Clark Range, stay the first night near there, and then do the sale thing over the next few days as we headed back toward home.  I booked a cabin online in "Muddy Pond" which was approximately a ten-minute drive from the sale route.  They really should put a note on the rental description that says, "Don't arrive after dark--You will NOT be able to find it." Yes, we got lost.  The smart voice in my car told me, "You have arrived at your destination." I looked around and saw woods...  There was no cell service on any of our phones.  No lights anywhere nearby...Hmmm.  Now what?  Up the road a bit, there was a house with some lights on.  I decided to go there and ask.  I knocked on the door and there was no answer...It was around 9:00 pm, and I probably wouldn't have answered my door either...We really needed to find our cabin!  We went over a dam (I think I found the muddy pond, anyway!) and around a circular drive (dirt road!) and when I stopped because I realized I was right back where I had already been.  I looked out my side window and there was at a cemetery, like four feet from my car.  Okay, I'm normally one to hold it all together, but this was getting a little creepy...We decided to turn around and go back down the mountain.  Linda and I were both getting low on gas in our cars, so we couldn't just drive around all over the place trying to find our way. Heading back down the road we saw a man unloading his treasures from a day out shopping the yard sale.  Hallelujah!  I literally ran up to that man and almost hugged him!  Please help us find our way, Mr. Man.  He did (along with some help from a woman- of course!) and they made me understand that I just needed to trust them and turn left into the woods!  Yes, at that very place where my smart voice in the car told me we had arrived  at our destination.  My friend, Corinne, had a flashlight, so we got out of the car with the help of that light and made sure that it was in fact something that resembled a road there leading up to the cabin.  We have never been so happy to get out and find some beds to crawl in!  I went out like a light, but I think that's because I'm accustomed to living in the woods.  My friends...well, I don't think they got very much rest that first night.

The sunshine is amazing!  That next morning, things were not nearly as scary as the night before.  It was a beautiful place with a lake for fishing, or playing in the water.  There was a paddle boat parked down there if we had wanted to paddle around in the lake.  Horses and cows grazed across the lake...As we headed back down the little path, Linda pointed out a sign way up on a tree that said "rental cabin"...it was on a brown piece of wood, painted in brown, on a brown tree trunk...I think I'm going to make them a sign with reflective letters and send it to them as a gift...It will also be my gift to future pickin' girls who find themselves looking for the cabin at Muddy Pond...

It only took us about ten minutes (just like they said) to get down to the trail the next morning...Like I said, the sunshine is amazing. In the dark the night before, it took around an hour!  Anyway, as I got down into the land of cell service once again, my phone started going crazy with voice mails and facebook messages.  My husband called in at the very moment that my service came back, and he had some devastating news.  My sweet sister-in-law, Missy (brother's wife), had passed away unexpectedly.  That was some hard news to hear. She was fine a week before and was only fifty years old.  (If you would like to read more about Missy, here's a link to my post honoring her.)

After speaking to family members, it was decided that I would continue on my trip and as soon as we arrived back home in Baldwin County, I would head back up the next day with my hubby and son to Birmingham.  Missy had lots of friends, and they had all swooped in to help with everything, and my brother was waiting for his out-of-town children and their spouses to arrive over the next couple of days. I decided it would be better to give them some private time together anyway.  So, we continued on with our plans, but with my thoughts constantly on my brother and his family.

We were also battling the rainy weather that first day shopping.  Cars were getting stuck in muddy fields, so we avoided shopping some areas that seemed really bad.  Some vendors just entirely closed for the day.  

I didn't get a lot of pics that first day because my cell phone battery had died that night before and I had a heck of a time getting it to charge back up while talking to lots of people who were calling after hearing the news of the death in the family.  Also, my car doesn't charge the phone unless it's actually running, so with all the stopping and going, it just couldn't keep up.  So, I do have a few pics, but they happened toward the end of the trip.

Speaking of pics....why don't I go ahead and share what few I took?

I snapped this pic to show Linda, because I thought it looked like something she would want.  She did!  Not sure if she'll put it in the shop (Coastal Charm) or keep it at home, but you can check out her post about the yard sale trip here.

We shopped our way down through Tennessee and spent the second night in a little cabin at Raccoon Mountain.  It was much easier to find!  I didn't take a pic of this place either, but you can see it if you jump over to Linda's post.

The next morning, we headed over toward Mentone where we shopped and shopped...

In Mentone, we stopped in at the Wildflower Cafe, one of my favorite places to eat.  It's not just the food that's good, but the entire experience. Linda and Corinne loved it, too.  I think they both want to go back and take their other halves with them!  Here's a pic of the singing man that was entertaining us as we waited for our lunch...

We worked our way down toward Fort Payne that second day.  We jumped off the trail for a bit to check out an antiques mall that I found when I did a search on my phone.  It was downtown in an old factory building.  The Big Mill Co. Antiques & Artisans was full of nice things.  I will definitely stop in again when I'm in the area.  I took a couple of pics of this place, because it was just so pretty!

The nice people in the Big Mill Antiques Mall directed us to some more antiques shops and The Spot Coffee Shop (link to their facebook page here) downtown.  I snapped a pic of this mural on a building next to where we parked...

The final night was spent at the Holiday Inn Express in Fort Payne, where we almost didn't get checked in.  Apparently, my credit card company wants me to call them every time I venture off more than 100 miles from home....Once I convinced them that I was me,  they approved the charge...

We shopped the next day from Fort Payne to Gadsden, and the traffic was horrendous that Saturday morning...It took us hours to get that short distance.  We had scheduled to get back on the road by noon, and we almost made it.  We headed back home after a good lunch at Jack's, around 1:00.

As I said earlier, it was my third time doing the yard sale.  As far as the sale goes, this time was just about the same as the others...The best places to stop are those with multiple tents set up in large parking lots or fields.  It just takes way too much time if you try to stop at each individual house with a yard sale sign.  As always, I found some nice treasures.  I followed the rule that I made for myself before I left home this time...Only buy what I would want to use in my own home.  That way, if it doesn't sell and I'm stuck with the thing, it will be okay...I think I've already decided to be "stuck" with some of the things...

I hope I can do the World's Longest Yard Sale again next year.  The first year I went with my sister-in-law, second year with hubby, and this time with two girl friends...I'm thinking about taking a bus next year so that I can take lots of friends!

Watch for pics of the newest treasures as they arrive at Juju Queen's Junk.

Hope you all have a good week!

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Sad Week

Hello everyone.  Maybe you've noticed that I've not posted for over a week. If you follow me on Facebook, then you know that I lost a precious family member last week.  Today, I want to tell you a little bit about my sister-in-law, Missy, and I will  get back to my normal schedule soon.  It just doesn't feel right to just jump back in sharing new projects or new treasures for the shop right now....those things seem so trivial.  I feel like honoring Missy, if only for a minute.  

Melissa Ann McAlpin Hanks was "Missy" to those who knew and loved her---and that was/is a lot of people.  (You can't even imagine the outpouring of love and help from the community and their church--it was nothing short of amazing to witness.)  

My brother, Harold, and Missy were married over twenty-eight years, as a matter of fact, they married just four months after I got married.  I remember thinking that I was old enough to be getting married at 26, but they were too young!  They were somewhere around 21 or 22...Anyway, they built a beautiful life together and it was centered around God and their five children.  I remember there for a few years, we referred to her as "Fertile Myrtle" because she was always pregnant!  Their oldest daughter is the same age as our son, so our two children grew up together and are still close today. Missy loved those children. They are all now young adults, ranging in age from 27 to 19, if my memory serves me correctly.  When looking back over their life together, it's the kind of story that we all should hope to leave behind when all is said and done.

Missy loved Facebook. Whenever we were trying to find out about local news or something that we had heard through the grapevine, my 82 year old dad would ask me if I had checked in on what he lovingly referred to as MNN (Missy News Network) to see any updates.   Yes, she was the one who kept everyone informed, even tagging me when she would hear of escaped prisoners down in lower Alabama.  She was the one who always wanted to make sure we planned family gatherings (which she also did on Facebook!)  She was so Facebook savvy!  I sometimes wondered how she typed all of those posts so fast...

When I mentioned family gatherings, it reminded me of another thought...I'm already worried about who will bring the pecan pies to our Thanksgiving dinner. Missy made the best pecan pies in the world, and we always depended on her to bring them.  Her sister, Karan, tells me that she can give me the recipe, but I'm sure there was something special Missy was doing to make them perfect that I won't know about...I guess they'll enjoy some good pecan pies in Heaven if they have a Thanksgiving celebration there...If Missy's in charge, she will plan one, I'm sure of it.

Missy called me "Little Martha" because I love to cook, decorate, and make things...a lot like that famous Martha.  She always worried that she didn't know how to do those things, but, in reality, she was good at it.  I remember a snowman Christmas tree that she made that was the cutest thing ever!  I know there are pictures somewhere (probably on Facebook!) but it would be hard to find them looking through the thousands of pics she posted...She also did pretty baked goodies for holidays.  If it was for Christmas, it would have some pretty decoration on it that said "Christmas"...and for other special occasions, same story.  She was creative, she just never saw it in herself or fully appreciated the things she made.  I will miss her creative spirit and being called "Little Martha."

Missy was a beloved bus driver for the local school system for years and years...I'm not sure exactly how many, but I'm sure she was probably getting close to being able to retire from the job even though she was only 50 years old.  When the awful news of Missy's passing came, and the school put another bus driver on her bus to begin the new school year, they found a bus with the front dash area decorated with pictures of her family.  That was Missy...her family was never far away--they were ALWAYS in her thoughts and prayers.  Her children on the route will miss her as do her bus driving buddies.  They were a close-knit group.

In closing, I want to say that I will miss you terribly, Missy.  Watch over us...You know some of us need more help than others, so keep a close eye on them!  Enjoy visiting with your mom and dad, our mom, and all the other relatives who've gone before.  We will see you when we get there.  Thank you for all that you were to us.  Love you.

My brother Harold and his wife, Missy.

I will start back with my regular blog posting on Monday.  Have a good weekend, and hug those you love...You just never know what life will throw at you next.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Turkeys, a Crock and a Wedding Cake Topper

I found some great things today for the shop!  I love it when I find treasures right here in my hometown...

A vintage turkey planter...

And, another vintage turkey planter...this one's running!

Vintage Cheese Crock

Vintage Chalkware Cake Topper

I will be putting these pretty little things in the shop within a couple of days...and I'm always looking for more...

Stay tuned to see what I share next!