Monday, December 31, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Reflection and Nostalgia

As I sit here on this gray December morning ,
in the days between the Solstice and Christmas,
I become more nostalgic than ever .
Which I know seems impossible, but yet is true.
Last night my brother had a post on FB about getting older,
(his birthday is Christmas Day)
and about how he never thought he would make it this far .
( and at times neither did I )
And then this morning Sarah had a FB post
about a random memory that Addie shared with them
about life on the farm.
As I said ,
these days in December always make me reflect,
and those two posts REALLY made me reflect.
On the past , on the changes my family has gone through this year,
and most of all the preciousness ( is that even I word ? ) of family and those you love.
If you know me or are a regular reading my posts ,
you know this year we sold the farm.
( Well, technically , my son did , but we were all in agreement )
It was a place that held a lot of memories for all of us.
My children were all born there and all of their graduation parties were held there.
But times change.
And as I have said many times , a home is where you are ,
where those you love are and where you surround yourself with what you love,
and what is important to you.
The farm was just a place .
Yes , a very important place , full of childhood memories,
that still make us laugh or shake our heads ,
which ever the case may be.
I am so grateful that Addie , even as young as she is ,
has some memories of a place , that was an important part of her Daddy's life.
Our last photo shoot at the farm.
The rock wall was always my favorite .
I believe life is all about choices.
Good or bad.
Some tend to make more bad ones than good one .
But if we are lucky ,
 we will learn and grow
 and become a better person because of them.
My sibs.
Shelly will probably kill me for using a picture with her in it ,
oh well , she has wanted to kill me many times over the years :)
My brother has made a lot of bad choices.
But has emerged on the other side a much better human being.
And I am more proud than I can say.
His capacity to love knows no bounds.
His wife ( who is a saint ) , his children , step- children and his precious grand daughter.
Plus the "others"  he calls family.
He is rough around the edges, ( ok maybe all the way around )
Offends more often than not.
But he is who he is .
And who he is now , is prefect to me .
I closed my business and sold the building it was in.
I am NOT nostalgic for that .
However , I am for the wonderful people I met while owning it.
Some became some of my most cherished friends.
And I am blessed to still have them in my life.
Because of selling the business,
I was able to embark on a new adventure.
Making Home.
I sold furniture that I had repurposed
 and other junk I found at occasional sales I held here in the Trailerhood.
What fun.
I've loved old stuff since my parents took me to my first flea market
when I was about 7 .
And through the sales and FB ,
I have connected with so many others that like the same kind of junk as I do !
But the new year will bring changes there too.
On January 13th ,
I become the new leaser ( word ? ) of Booth 103 at the Brass Armidillo.
I am so excited and nervous at the same time.
The Brass Armidillo is in DesMoines ,
which is a two hour drive from me .
Fingers crossed that I did not bite off more than I can chew.
As nostalgic as I am today about memories of my children's childhood,
I am just as excited about the new children joining our clan.
My sister was blessed with two grandsons in the last month.
What fun to have babies at Christmas again.
Baby Evan joined our family on November 7 th.
Addie just loves him !
Tucker Thomas arrives on December 3rd.
2012 became officially " The Year of the Baby " in our family !
Addie loves the babies.
And thank goodness she does .
In March she will be a Big Sister !
Good Lord !
This post has turned into a virtual Christmas letter !
Oh well...
My tea is gone , my birdies need feeding so I will stop.
For today .
I hope that as all of you reflect on your year ,
you have as many wonderful, nostalgic memories and new blessing to reflect on as I do.
As we learned very recently,
Each day is a gift .
And you never know when change will be forced on you.
I am still going to try to get a post up with the Trailerhood decked out for Christmas.
No promises though :)
Wishing you a blessed Holiday season and New Year
From the Trailerhood.
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Elf on the Shelf ? ...Nope

Everyone knows about Elf on the Shelf ,right ?
Well. I don't have Elf on the Shelf ,
but I have Elf ( or Elf Elf as my kids always and still call him ) in the Tree.
He's been there every year for at least 25 years.
Or at least since my mother -in-law gave him to my kids.
Long before I had ever heard of Elf on the Shelf.
Hubs got Elf Elf as a gift from his Sunday school teacher
when he was young.
I was wondering if that made him "vintage".
Which led me to a rather intense discussion on eBay about the validity of vintage versus antique ..
let's just say he's been around awhile.
I don't even remember how he even came to live with us...
Every year my kids would fight over who got to put him in the tree.
It was hilarious.
Oh how I wish I would have known about the Elf on the Shelf concept.
Think how much easier they would have fallen for Elf Elf watching them
rather than Santa clear up in the North Pole.
think of all the threats I missed out on all those years...
Damn it !
Not everyone loved Elf Elf though...
I just found out a couple years ago that he creeped Spencer out!
She would always turn him around so he faced into the tree.
I always wondered how that happened....
I really always thought he was kinda magic.
Case in point ,
the other night ,
 Sarah was talking about how she wanted to get Elf on the Shelf for Addie.
And I said , why buy one when we have Elf Elf?
And just like that ...
he fell right off the tree.
Really ,
you can't make this up !
But she forgot him.
I put him back on the tree.
Elf Elf has been on my tree for years,
And really.
I think we can threaten Addie with him just fine from here :)
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Monday, December 3, 2012

Pinterst and Christmas...Take 2

I shared a few pictures of my mache Christmas houses yesterday.
They aren't old,
but I love the vintage feel of them.
They have little holes in the sides or back that you can insert a little light in.
I usually set them up like a village and put some under cloches.
Last year a there was an unfortunate accident ( hubby) and a few of my cloches were broken.
This year I decided I would change it up a bit.
As I told you yesterday ,
I picked up a set of three silver cake plates on a garage sale.
I love cake plates and the grape design around the top really had me.
But , I'm cheap with a capitol C,
 so at $10 , I was going to pass.
I know, ridiculous , right ?
Anyway ,
Hubs was with me and said " get them "
( which , by the way , I could not believe )
I said I really didn't want to pay $ 10.
After shaking his head ,
he offered the lady $5 and I was the happy owner of three silver cake stands .
They have set tucked in my closet from hell ever since.
I display my other cake stands on top of my kitchen cupboards,
but the ceilings in the Trailerhood are just too low for these beauties :(
they were kinda tranishy ( is that a word ? )
I had "pinned" a method of shining up silver on Pinterest and decided to give it a try.
The original "pin" can be found HERE.
You line your sink with foil,
add salt , baking soda and hot water and dump in your silver.
Easy right?
Well, I didn't work for me.
I was so disappointed.
Still tarnishy...
Then I realized that my cake stands , while silver in color ,
were not really SILVER , but probably aluminum.
Duh !
Then , I remembered another pinspiration.
Which , apparently I did not pin ,
I just remember seeing it ...
My apologies to the original pinner for the lack of credit.
The method was to get rust and tarnish of of old aluminum table legs.
Since I like old junk ,
I must have retained that info.
( which is a miracle in and of it's self... )
You take crumpled up aluminum foil and rub the surface.
Easy Peasy.
Success !
It worked like a charm !
The surface is as shiny as a mirror.
Happy. Happy. Happy.
Some of my mache houses  have silver roofs and accents,
perfect fit !
But since I am a terrible photographer...
you can't tell...
you'll just have to trust me on that...
A portion of my mache houses..
 ( minus Polly Pocket )
I'll share the rest of them another day.
Got to get that decorating finished while my lovely assistant is down for a nap.
Her daycare is has been hit by the flu bug .
We are trying to avoid her and her preggo mommy getting it by having her spend a few extra days with me .
What Grandma doesn't love having her assistant around a few extra days?
Not this one :)
Linking up here , cause I'm kinda crazy about chickens too...
that's another story :)
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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pinterest and Christmas... Oh Yes

I haven't posted in a while ,
two reasons,
well, more actually ...
but two main reasons.
My little helper makes getting projects done
a little slower ...
We get distracted....
And ...
My first ever vendor/craft show.
Which , by the way,
I was VERY happy with.
Pretty sure I'll be doing more in the future.
However ,
Addie and I have gotten some decorating done.
Addie decided her "girls" ( Polly Pockets from way back )
 needed to live in my mache Christmas houses...
make snow angels in my faux ( fake ) snow .
My mache houses are one of my favorite Christmas decorations.
 These silver cake plates were a garage sale find this summer,
 they look fabulous on them
they will be the subject of a future post.
The Pinterst project eluded to in the title is this~
How to make green bottle brush trees from the craft store white bottle brush trees.
I just like saying "bottle brush trees :...
You can find my Christmas Pinterest board Here,
and the original "pin" Here.
But really ,
it's sooo easy peasy , that no instructions are necessary.
But , I'll give you some anyway.
I actually took pictures !
Not good ones of course,
but you get pictures.
The hardest part was finding the dang trees.
 I looked at Micheal's and Joann's and I thought the prices were outrageous !
Then Em found me some at HobLob.
Package of 3 for $1.99 + 30% off !
Yes, please.
My lovely assistant.
here's what you do ,
Put some water in a dish
 ( I used warm water , mostly because I don't like cold hands but also when I use bleach , I feel the need to use warm water, I'm weird like that )
Add bleach.
(Yeah, I didn't measure, just a glob or two )
Dump in the trees.
( very technical )
My Lovely Assistant says,
" Grandma , this water smells like a swimming pool . "
Yep, Addie , it does.
( Please ignore the pile of dirty dishes , we were busy doing projects)
Within a minute,
the color was fading fast.
I did have to roll them over,
they wanted to float to the top.
TaDa !
Within 5 minutes,
all white.
 my old enamel pan is now very clean and white inside !
I went a little crazy...
( surprised ? )
I bleached a lot of them !
Even some I already had that I thought were a little too "yellow".
They didn't bleach as well for some reason.
I assume it was whatever dye that was originally used on them ,
who knows...
Over all ,
Stay tuned to see how I use them all.
The Trailerhood is getting festive !
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Friday, November 23, 2012

Small Business Saturday

 Black Friday ?
Not this girl !
When I was young , sure.
Now , I'm afraid I might cause serious injury to others
( or myself )
There is absolutely nothing I need that bad to wait in line,
in the cold,
with rude , crazed people.
But here is a shopping day I can get behind 100%,
Small Business Saturday.
Pinned Image
Small Mom and Pop business' is what started this country.
Warning - here comes the nostalgia again.
If you've read my blog before ,
you probably know I have been a small business owner.
I LOVED being part of a small Main Street community.
Where you greeted your customers by name.
Customer service was my top priority.
As was price and quality.
But I always felt that if you gave your customers the best possible service ,
they wouldn't mind paying a little more.
Maybe some people don't think that way but I do.
I've gotten myself in trouble more than once with my tirades about poor customer service.
But I stand behind that .
Good customer service is that important to me .
This post is for those small town,
main street business',
hanging in there in these hard economic times.
They are important for more than just the products and services they provide.
They are important for community survival.
They are important for COMMUNITY.
You know what I mean ???
I am highlighting a few of my favorites from my corner of the world.
Please check out their pages, websites or if you are in the area, their business.
I am providing links where ever possible.
These business' represent quality product, reasonable prices and
EXCELLENT customer service.
They are business' I frequent as much as possible.
New Hampton, Ia,
They have everything and I mean everything . From home improvement needs , to gift ware to home decor. Their staff is so knowledgeable and friendly. If you walk in there without being greeted and asked if you need help , I'll eat my hat . I mean it . 3rd generation family owned. It doesn't get any better than that.
A fantastic quality floral shop. I love a great floral shop. I was in the business too long not to appreciate the hard work and stressful business it is. They have excellent floral designers, reasonable prices and excellent customer service. They also have home decor, a local art gallery, and my favorite Iowa wine.
Clermont Iowa ( my second home )
Marty and Carol have a fantastic Art Gallery with art from around the area artists , a great selection of  home decor and a wide selection of Iowa wine. They are hard working, friendly people and I visit them often. Wine tasting is always available ( but that's not the only reason I go ! )
Elkader , Iowa
The Cooper Frog
Unfortunately , no web site of FB page.
This is one of my all time favorite stores. It is a great mix of old and new, used and repurposed. Deb is such a fun lady . I never entered her store with out her greeting me. She is absolutely SWEET to each person that enters . Her prices are outstanding.
 I love the whole community of Elkader, and shop it often in the summer especially. But I am only mentioning business' with excellent customer service and the others haven't lived up to that yet. Although the town has awesome shops well worth a visit. I you are a lover of junk, vintage and just good stuff , spend a day in Elkader.
Last weekend I spent the weekend with my friend Rhonda in Ankeny.
She took Em and I to the most fantastic places in Des Moines East Village !
Oh my !
It's probably a good thing I don't live there,
I would definatley spend too much money.
The most unique shop I have ever been in - hands down.
Unusual plants , garden art , BEAUTIFUL window display.
If I EVER worked in the flower/plant world again , it would only be in a shop like this. You can tell it belongs to a person that loves living green things and is frequented by the same. It had such a magical feel to it , I didn't want to leave. Thank goodness the girls humored me and let me browse as long as I wanted.
Fantastic little shop with environmentally and socially conscious products. The shop owner was so friendly and talkative. Please check out her website. Her products were so unique that I just can't explain them all, art , lotions, books.. we even found the essential oil Em was looking for.
The biggest, best displayed selection of oils, vinegars and spices I have EVER seen ! They had spices I didn't even know existed. You can buy their oil and vinegar in bulk , bring your empty bottles back and refill them. I was overwhelmed ... where to start... but the staff was so helpful . I left with a bag full and it will definitely on my must stop list for the next time I visit.
There you have it ...
a list of my favorite small business.
If you are in the area , please visit them.
If not please visit a small business in your neck of the woods.
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