Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Year in Pictures...More or Less

Hooray!! I reached a milestone this week, with my hundredth sale in my Etsy shop, which has been in existence for four months. With 99 sales thus far, since Christmas I'd been hoping to reach 100 sales before 2011 rolled around. By golly, not only did I reach it, I surpassed it--the kind customer bought three items and brought me over my goal. Thanks to all my customers who supported my shop in this initial venture of mine in the retail world of vintage and collectibles.

Just to share a bit of my 2010 adventures...

I started off the year by getting married (yes, in the middle of winter). I wanted rustic pine cones and berries for my flowers ...
... and ended up with something a bit more sophisticated.

Went on a pseudo-honeymoon, really just a weekend getaway -- also in the middle of winter. We stayed in a woodsy cabin, as part of a country inn and guess what happened the first evening?

The electricity went out. No lights, no hot tub, no heat--except the fireplace.

I made the chocolate cake, hubby made the non-chocolate one.
Celebrated my mother's ninetieth birthday.
She is very proud of her age, as well she should be. She neither looks nor acts like a nonagenarian.

Took a trip to Italy in the summer. Fabulous, amazing country, but I don't advise going in August.
It was as hot as it is at home.

Began making jewelry with vintage buttons and charms to satisfy a creative urge that was growing increasingly insistent.

Quit my job in health care to join the world of retail, selling antiques, vintage and collectibles on Etsy, which has been such a blast --striking up new acquaintances and learning so much! Started this blog too--thanks to all of you followers kind enough to tag along with me.

And now here it is, the end of an eventful year. Yes there were some crises to deal with occasionally, but I won't dwell on them. This has been a memorable time and I'm grateful.
So let's have a toast to a very Happy New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Santa Clauses Are Coming to Town

Forty Seven! That's how many little resin Santa Claus figurines my mother owns. They reside in a beautiful antique corner cabinet, along with many other delightful miniature objects. She found these St. Nicks at flea markets, thrift stores and dollar stores. Said she never paid more than a dollar for any of 'em. 
This being The Season, let's take a look. Be sure to turn up the volume too!

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Salt and Pepper, Herbs and Spices

How many of you have your very own personal chef? Well, I do... in fact, I have eighteen of them, male, female, young, old, foreign, domestic. The majority are dressed in white, which makes them a bit old-fashioned and behind the times, since chefs' togs now come in a multitude of colors and patterns. 
The only trouble is, I cannot get these chefs to cook anything. 
All they want to do is apply seasoning. 

You see, they are my collection of chef salt and pepper shakers.

For a while long ago, I had a bit of an obsession with collecting chef salt and pepper shakers. I was working in the restaurant/pastry worlds.  I loved going to flea markets. Putting the two together, you can probably begin to see where I'm going with this. Searching for something specific at flea markets make the experience of more of a challenge -- a treasure hunt, if you will. I became attracted to these little chefs, as I was sort of one myself. The S & P's were small, inexpensive, and didn't take up much room at home. After a while, the obsession wound down and, after beginning to gather other non-chef, yet kitchen-related S's & P's, I stopped collecting them altogether.

The group picture reminds me of a graduating cooking class photo. 
Here are some close-ups:
These are my favorites. The couple on the left resemble cooks from the 1920s and she is holding what appears to be a saucepan. The lady on the right introduces herself as Salt and her partner is Pep.

These two couples are more daring and stylish, with their colorful outfits.

This seems to be the Dutch contingent, holding knives and trimmed in gilt.

The two outer ones are identical twins and are, in fact, both salt shakers--never could find the peppers. Cute couple in the middle, wouldn't you say?

Given to me by a friend, these two are more modern.

In an effort to consume less salt, it helps to find a seasoning mix that enhances the food. In my home, our favorite "salt-substitute" is called Florida Pepper from Penzey's Spices. It is a combination of Tellicherry black pepper, lemon peel, orange peel, citric acid, garlic and onion.They have numerous shops around the country and also offer mail-order. As you can see, our bottle has been well-used; we buy in bulk and refill when the bottles get low.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holiday Giving and Shopping

In the spirit of holiday giving, I'd like to promote the shops of some of my Etsy friends.  Think of this as a mini-mall, where you can shop for a wide variety of treasures for family and friends, and maybe even yourself. Come on, we all know we end up buying something for ourselves as we shop for others (at least, I do!)
So be an armchair (or desk chair) traveler in your comfy home or office and follow these is an easy adventure to take.

Vintage Farmhouse Finds

 A Vintage Textile Pixie, she also carries clothing and jewelry.

Beautiful & fun vintage earrings, bracelets, rings, brooches, and necklaces.

Everything vintage, including supplies

Handmade Wood Crafts, Collectibles, Vintage, Antiques
Fantasy Art Shop
 Queen of the Rat Pack(ers)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Walk Through the Neighborhood, or Turkey Day is A Comin'

I like to take walks around my neighborhood, not only for the exercise and endorphin benefits, but also because I have adorable neighbors. Visiting them just perks up my day. One day I decided to take a camera with me in hopes of spotting some of them and capturing their images for this blog. One advantage of these neighbors is that no permission is needed to photograph them and publish their pictures.
This gal had a baby this year. She must have felt the need for an easier hairstyle to manage.    


    This is her baby

These two get so excited when I pass by. It's the highlight of their day, I'm sure.

Nearly everyday, there are wild turkeys traipsing through my yard, feasting on the black sunflower seeds that drop from the bird feeders. Now that I want a picture of one or two, what happens? NONE are around.  Do you think the word got out about Thanksgiving being this week? Maybe they are in hiding, although I don't think they are that smart--how much brain could those tiny heads hold? Twice this year I have had to investigate a persistent knocking, only to find a turkey rapping its head against the window. Seems he saw his reflection and thought it was another bird. Um-hum. Oh well, they had their chance--no pictures of them, I guess.

You have to look closely to see this one wearing winter camouflage.


Is everyone fascinated by woodpeckers? 

Uh, oh better go move this one or he'll be in trouble...
    Here's a close-up for all you box turtle fans out there.

Okay this isn't really a neighbor...            

She lives in my backyard and has been one of my treasures forever.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mystery Solved!!

In case you haven't read the post before this one, please read below first, or this may not make sense.
Oh boy, was this a toughie. All of the answers made me chuckle and all were plausible. BUT only one can be the grand prizewinner. What to do??  I sought some input from the family, but only one would comment. His fave, however, did not provide contact information.  Don't want anyone to think I reneged on giving out a prize, so had to eliminate that one--though I completely understand wanting privacy, especially if one has no shop or blog.  Hmmm, am visualizing all of the educated guesses.... and I am stumped. I'm not even sure it is holiday related, though it does seem to have wings.

So my next brilliant idea was the draw-it-out-of-a-hat trick. Did that and that turned out to be one I wasn't crazy about. I'm sure by now, you are thinking "Much ado about nothing, come to the point already" (or maybe not). Okay, I've made the decision and it is my final answer...

The winner of the Solve the Mystery Cookie Cutter contest is... 

Father Time With New Years Banner

I am going to change the listing in my shop, but before I do, let me show you where to find Cottage Candies.

You can find them here:
Cottage Candies
and here:

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. Senses of humor much appreciated.

If Folk Art cookie cutters interest you, here is an article to read:
Folk Art Cookie Cutters 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Solve the Mystery Contest

I was rummaging through a storage box the other day, looking for holiday items to put in my shop. I came across this cookie cutter and thought, "Santa! This will be perfect."  

But the more I looked at it, the more uncertain I became. I asked for other opinions and all agreed it wasn't Santa. Oh well, I put it in the shop anyhow, since the holidays are a time of baking.  But I'm still wondering what it is.

This is where the contest comes in... Here's how to enter:

Type your idea into the list below, in 35 words or less. This will also link to your blog or shop, so there will be a little free PR for you as well.  Creativity counts, but so does logic. One entry per blog or shop, please.

Winner will receive an item of their choosing from my Etsy shop, Autena, in the value of $10.00 or less, with free shipping too! I'll also give you a shout-out on the item description in the shop.

Contest ends on 11/15/2010.

What is This Mysterious Cutter?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Vintage Christmas Item Of The Day Sale on Etsy

Vintage sellers on Etsy are having a Christmas sale, with new items offered every day until December 15th. Just click on the link below, which will take you to the thread. Follow the list and click on whatever catches your fancy!!

 Lots of Christmas items offered at great prices.

Have fun shopping !!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chocolate on the Brain

Since Halloween is nearly here, I have chocolate on the brain, which reminded me of my small collection of vintage chocolate molds. I have a deep familiarity with chocolate because I worked with it as a career for nearly 25 years. I had the good fortune of learning the pastry world from the ground up, first in restaurants and hotels, and later in a fine pastry shop. I even made truffles in my home kitchen for several Christmases in a row and sold them to chocolate-craving clients. Made for a messy kitchen and a crowded fridge, so I eventually had to quit.

But back to the molds.  I've never used any of them and only have four, but they are fun to see, so I thought I'd show them off.   
  VINTAGE CHOCOLATE MOLDS                                                                                           
The largest is French and is made of coated cast iron. Each of the 60 tiny bars reads Garanti Pur, which translates as Guaranteed Pure.
The second largest is also coated cast iron. It contains 28 discs each with the name Wilbur, a 145 year old company still located in Pennsylvania.
The oblong one on the bottom, coated cast iron as well, is German, with three oval baskets. These molds would have been coated with chocolate and filled later as desired. When unscrewed at each end, it opens to release the baskets.
The tin figurine is Santa, also German and  made to be coated as a hollow shell. When the three little tabs, one on top and the other two on the sides, are removed , it too opens to release Santa.    

As a  final note, being a true chocoholic, I love how chocolate is pronounced in other languages. Right click to open a new window and hear it for yourself in:


Sunday, October 17, 2010

What Do You Think This Is?

It is a little object of mine that I find quite intriguing. Made of cast iron, it is quite heavy for its small size. I believe it came from an old bed frame. The little doll's head was added later by someone who had a lot of imagination! Now it has become the logo for my shop on Ruby Lane.

By the way, the shop's name is a combination of family names, that of my grandmother, mother, and sister. It has an old-fashioned feel  to it, appropriate for a shop selling vintage items, don't you agree?

Alice-Marie Vintage is now closed.

Please stop by Autena on Etsy to browse all things vintage.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Birth of a Blog

I grew up in a museum. At least, that is what relatives and friends used to say about my family’s home. The house was full of fabulous interesting items, amassed through the years. Truly it was a magical visual atmosphere, which allowed for the viewer’s imagination to bubble forth. Thus was nurtured my passion for collecting—holding on to heirlooms and scouring markets of all sorts for whatever held my fancy at the time.

I'm here to share with you those treasures and trinkets, as well as others I come across in my daily travels....or maybe just ruminations, information, observations, or whatever else strikes my fancy.

                                             GLOVES in A VENICE SHOP

So please stay tuned while I set up shop here and thanks for dropping by.

Come and visit my online vintage shop to find eclectic, extraordinary, and exotic things from the past: