Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Rambles

Welcome Home!  Welcome Home!

That's what the boys said when we got back.  Or, at least, what they would have said if they could talk.  Instead it was more like "Myah!"  (Kosh, who has just one word for everything) and "Myaroo!"
(Chiquito, who has dozens of words).

Seriously, we were bombarded for petting and loving for a long time after we got in.  And followed everywhere.  And sat on every time we sat down or slowed down.  I think we were missed.

Just in case there was any doubt, this is what happened when I got into bed:

He slept either on me or right beside me all night long, purring the whole time.  (Please ignore that stack of books and messy bookshelves.  I live my life surrounded by them.  I'm kind of like the guy in this classic Twilight Zone episode.  But I guess that's better than being the guy from this classic Batman episode.

 We're still unpacking and settling in, and trying to tackle everything else.  Even the return home had several detours, starting in Jackson, TN, where I snuck in a small bit of thrifting, adding to the already overstuffed car!  When we hit Louisville, we went right to the Peddlers Mall, to put the boxes from Keith's mother and my thrift purchases in my storage room.  (I'll sort them all out tomorrow.)  Since we had to get milk, I also perused some Christmas clearance items, but the markdowns aren't enough yet.  (I did get some markdown stuff at an awesome grocery store in Arkansas, though.)

Yesterday, we had our holiday get-together with some friends.  Every year we go to brunch at their house.  Keith volunteered us to make a breakfast casserole, so I whipped one up and it was a hit!  I had looked at some recipes online, but I didn't want one made with bread, because they require too much advance work and need to sit overnight.  I also didn't want one with potatoes, since our friend makes an awesome potato dish every year.  In the end, I just threw some veggie sausage, bell peppers, onion and mushrooms in a casserole dish, then beat some eggs with a little milk and sour cream and black pepper and poured it over the whole thing.  It went into the 350 degree oven for about an hour and voila!  Keith had me worried that the eggs weren't going to set up and cook and it would be all soupy, but it came out nice.

Tomorrow, I'm going to the booth to take down the Christmas and restock and re-do everything.  I've got some ideas for a couple of displays I want to do, plus an old metal cabinet sold, so I need to do some rearranging.  It's so convenient having almost everything in storage there.  I can just whip it out and throw it one the shelves.  I think I'm going to do a markdown table of some things that need to leave for a couple of weeks, then take the leftovers to the thrift downstairs from us.  I want to start the new year with as much new stuff as possible in the booth.

I usually leave the Christmas stuff up until after New Years, but I haven't sold a bit of it since Christmas and I have all this time off.  Why not put it to good use?  This has turned into my top sales month for the year, so I want to push it a bit more in the time that's left.  I also want to set the stage for a good new year.  I'll probably end up working there from open to close.

Tuesday is the New Year's big flea market with the antique wing.  It's the last day, so the antique dealers will have their dollar tables set up.  I'm also looking for more comic books.  They're selling pretty quickly.  In large batches.  I have some in storage to bring out, but I'll need to bag them first.  If I can buy some that are already bagged, that will save me some time on Monday.  Plus, I'll need more backstock regardless.

Wednesday is the kick-off for the secret project I've talked about here and there.  I'll try to remember to take pictures.  I'm still trying to get everything arranged for that.

I'll probably spend the rest of the week doing things around the house.  I've got a lot of catching up to do.  I also need to work on some blog posts for the new year.  And that pesky stack of comics is just crying out to be read!

Well, Kosh just jumped up between me and the keyboard, so I guess that's my cue to get out of here!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thursday Scrambles

Happy Boxing Day!

We'll be spending it on the road heading home.  Getting the car packed to go back is going to be a challenge.  Keith's mother gave me six boxes of junk she had collected.  I condensed it down a little, but it still takes up a lot of room.

Keith and I brought our gifts to each other with us to exchange, thus adding to the car situation.  We couldn't let Christmas Eve go by without present!  And Santa!  We mainly got each other clothes this year, which we both needed badly.  We both wear things until they're shot, and neither of us had bought any new clothes in ages.  An outlet store has been going out of business not too far from us, so that helped our shopping go farther than it normally would.

Santa, however, bought us both tablets!

It's been a good visit.  We got caught in a horrible storm coming down, but the weather has been nice otherwise.  Chilly, but nice.  We've seen all the relatives, spent time with his mom, bought local wine, shopped at Fred's (one of my obsessions), and did a little (unproductive) thrifting.  If we had another day, we'd hit the thrifts in the surrounding towns, but we're out of time and car space.  Therefore, next time.

We also had lovely meals on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  We cooked on Christmas Eve and made an abbreviated version of one of our traditional holiday feasts.  On Christmas Day, Keith's mom made all of his favorites.  It was a feast, let me tell you.

It's also been a time for doing some reminiscing.  Christmastime always makes me think of my mother and all the holiday things she did.  This visit, I heard a bunch of stories from Keith's family that I did not know.   His mom read us a letter from his dad that was a lot about him.   Keith and I have talked a lot about our relationship on this trip.  We've had a lot of Christmases together, all of them special.  This year was a little harder on us than most have been, but we're still rolling on.  His mom was excited about the engagement and happy for us.  Now, we just have to get our ducks in a row with our planning.  I'm truly lucky to have him in my life.  I wouldn't trade our time together for anything or anyone.

Now it's time to go home.  Keith set up a kitty cam in the bedroom so we could keep tabs on the boys, but it's time to see them in person.  Kosh will be in need of some major lap time, for sure.  I was gone house-sitting for the week before we left, then I came home briefly and we both left.  He's not well for that kind of thing.

I've been having too much fun to take pics, so you'll just have to imagine everything.

It's going to be busy, busy when we get home.  I'm off until the 13th, but last night I was figuring out everything I had to do when we get back and realized that's not as long as it seems.

Besides all the unpacking, laundry, putting away, cleaning up and such the usually come with returning from a journey, I  have to:

Get these boxes of stuff priced and to the booth
De-Christmas the booth
Restock the booth
Tidy the booth
Clean the house
Catch up on Days of our Lives and General Hospital on hulu
Go to the New Years big flea market
Read some comics
Work more in the junk room
Hit the 75% off post-Xmas clearance sales to stock up for next year
Price and store that post-Xmas stuff
Have traditional Xmas/New Year's brunch with friends
Write some blog posts
Initiate the Secret Project I mentioned a while ago
Take more loads from the house to booth storage
Take at least one nap or two
Spend some quality time with the boys
Junk with my uncle
Thrift a little
Finish a book that I've been reading forever

Not much of a vacation, huh?  Looks like 2013 is going to end and 2014 is going to start on a busy note.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that 2014 is bright for all of us.  Talk to you in a couple of days, after we get home!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day

Merry Christmas to all my readers and friends!  I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your loved ones.  Here, as my gift to you, are the last few vintage cards in this year's stash, posted without any silly comments from me, so that you can enjoy them in all their vintage glory.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day

Just a happy little snowman with greetings today.  He looks like he's directing that bunch of birdies as they sing a carol or something.  Maybe they're doing "Frosty!"

The front is cut a little off-center, so the birdies hang around when you open it!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day

Skinny, vertical (or horizontal), and vintage!  Does it get any better?

Gorgeous foiling and glittering on this one.

You can't quite make it out in the scan, but there are interesting paint textures in this graphic.

Santa's stagecoach?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day

A couple more skinny horizontal cards (sigh!) as we set off on our trip.  It will probably be cards only from here to Christmas, but I do hope you enjoy them!

I love the artwork and lettering on this one.  The generous flocking seals the deal.

The black and gold accents give this religious-themed card a somber tone.  It makes me think of Midnight Mass with the choir processing in and the incense swirling everywhere as the priest lays the Baby Jesus figure in the manger.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day

More long, skinny cards today!  This time they're horizontal, which I like even better!
We're all about the group card today, it seems.

I love the festive cursive for the word "Four."  I wonder if this card came in versions for larger and smaller groups?  How large did it go?  Can't you see "Seventeen" or "Forty-Seven" or "Nine Hundred Fifty-Six" written out like that?  How much fun would that be?  Not that I think there would be a family of 956 people, mind you.  It could be from a corporation, or a township, or a village.  You know.  Didn't your great-great grandparents get cards from the whole village?

This one is cute.  I love the stocking used for the "L."  I also like the other letters a lot, but I just don't think it all works well together graphically.

This one isn't skinny and horizontal, but it fits the group theme, so I tossed it in.  There are four little boys on the front of this card.  Four boys.  At Christmas.  Can you imagine?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day

I've already told you how much I love skinny cards.  Today we have a good example why.  There's a whole lot of action happening on today's card.

We got sledders.

We got skiers.

And we got one great big ole long hill for everyone to play on.  The long, skinny layout here kind of kicks the action up another notch.  You can almost feel the air whipping past as the skiers dash by and hear the laughter of the sledders.  That is one busy, skinny card hillside.

And I bet someone is waiting in that yellow house with cocoa and cookies!  Yum!

What the?

So I'm having breakfast in a cafeteria I go to the other day and I got to noticing the decorations.  And then these caught my eye:

Seriously.  What the hell are those things?  Christmas frogs?  The Martian elf contigent?  A bizarre chapter of the Nutcracker that I am not aware of? 

I admit that the last one is quite possible as I really know next to nothing of the Nutcracker Suite.

Should I be afraid?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day

A photo card this time, with a snowy, coutry lane and a traditional red barn.  Looks cozy, right?  I bet Grandma is waiting in the house with hot chocolate made with real milk and real whipped cream on top!  Maybe she even has some homemade sugar cookies!  Let's go!

And on the inside, a sweet little drawing of the house from afar, complete with chimney smoke.

It doesn't get better than this.

Forgot to check something off my list

I forgot to check something off my list in Monday's post.  I've been moaning about it for a while and finally did something about it.

Haircut?  CHECK!

Nerd Chic Rules!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day

Today features the second little diecut wonder from my stash.  This one is wonderfully simple, just like a classic children's pop-up book.

We start off with a sweet Victorian scene.  Gotta love the fur trim on her dress!  Can't you feel the chilly winter winds and blowing snow?  Isn't that a rather large lantern hanging in that tree?  I bet the inside of that house is awfully warm and cozy.

Now, let's lift that small flap on the left and see what happens....

 The front door opens to reveal the residents happily waiting to welcome their visitors into their richly decorated parlor!  Come in!  Come in!

Isn't the overall effect just too, too cute?

And on the back, a view from afar.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday Rambles

Okay....let's see:

Cat care arranged for?  CHECK!

Can't go away without making sure the boys will be okay.   My buddy Kosh is one clingy little kitty.

Brother gifts wrapped and in the mail?  CHECK!

I'm actually running early on this one.  Usually, I'm in line at the PO on December 22.

Shopping done?  CHECK!

I might pick another few small things for Keith, but basically, I am done.

Pet-sitting in progress?  CHECK!

Complicating things is the fact that I am not really at home this week.  Just running back and forth between home and the pet-sitting house trying to get things wrapped up.

Lovely Japanese dinner eaten on Friday?  CHECK!

Okay, this wasn't really on the list, but I had to share it, since the meal was so good.  This place makes the greatest tofu salad!

Booth stocked and ready for me to be away for a week?  ON THE WAY TO BEING CHECKED OFF

I need to make a couple of visits this week to get things really locked down, but it'll be ready when we leave.

Winning Christmas Booth Decorating Contest?  CHECK! 

This wasn't on the list either.  In fact, it came as a total surprise!  I hadn't even really been trying to win.  I was at first, but it seemed like it took me so long to get it together that I didn't think I really had a chance.  My trees sat bare forever.  Then all the big stuff sold and I was at a loss.  It's hard to decorate when your stuff sells, but I didn't want to have anything in my display that was not for sale.  To top it all off, I really don't know what I'm doing when it comes to decorating. Or staging my booth.  Or making displays.  Or any of that stuff.  I lucked into this one!  But I'll take it!  A hundred bucks in free rent is nothing to sneeze at!

Choose reading for trip and pet-sitting?  CHECK!

I always pick out more than I can make it through, but I've got some mysteries, comics, and manga ready to go.

House cleaned and ready?  WELL, NOT SO MUCH!

I still have a bunch of stuff to get out of the house and into my storage space.  It kills me that I'm not done, but I finally had to concede that I wasn't going to get everything done.  I'll be off for a couple of weeks after we get back, so there will be more time for taking stuff over.  It's a real bummer not to get everything done.  I never seem to, so you'd think I'd be used to it, but

Secret Project initiated?  CHECK!

Can't talk about this one yet, but something unexpected happened over the weekend.  More details to come!

Christmas cards all scanned?  CHECK!

I'm done with setting up the vintage Xmas card posts, but I still have a few more to write.  I may only get one or two other posts up between now and Saturday when we leave.  

So how are your week before Christmas and/or your travel plans shaping up?

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day

A couple of my favorites out of this year's stash of cards have some awesome diecut work on them.  Today and tomorrow, we'll look at them.

First, this richly-colored poinsettia card.

This is whole card from the front.  Instead of just one flap to lift to get to the message, this one has two flaps and two messages! 

First flap

Second flap

I love that background.  It's got an awesome vintage wallpaper vibe!  Can't you see it on the walls of grandmother's sitting room?

 And then on the back, oddly enough, a sprig of holly.  Why no poinsettia?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day

Remember the Rankin-Bass Christmas shows?  Like, maybe, The Little Drummer Boy?

Remember this version of the song?  Or maybe this one?

Well, I'm not sure how any of them relate to this card, but I like it anyway.




The back has this summary of the story, but no credits or references.  I wonder if they could not get the rights to use the actual song?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day

Here's a long Christmas wish from one single card:

All of the gold letters and detailing are embossed.  Don't you love the sweet Victorian figures in the artwork?  Too cute!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day

Christmas is a holiday with some very ancient roots, whether we look at the development of the holiday as a religious celebration, as family units, as societies, or even consider the roots that go back further to other cultures and times.  

As technology as developed and progressed, some of the trappings and traditions associated with Christmas may seem to some to be obsolete.  Christmas candles are a good example.  In this era of electricity and neon and wireless transmission, do we really need candles?  

Well, we might not need them, but it's hard to imagine Christmastime without seeing a few.  Part of the romance of the holiday is the nostalgia it stirs up in all of us--the memories of holidays past, family times, things we used to do, people who are no longer with us.  For me, candles are a symbol of that nostalgia.

When I was a kid, we lived in Germany for a while, because Dad was stationed there.  We lived in military housing, which had pretty strict rules about what you could and could not do in your apartment.  I remember the move out inspections nearly killing my mother, as she had to make sure everything was washed down from ceiling to floor, all the hardwood floors were refinished, and get everything packed up for the move back to the states.

The restrictions even extended to holiday decorations.  Trees had to be artificial and no lights were allowed on them.  We had an aluminum tree (which I loved), but Mom felt it was missing something without the lights.  She bought a bunch of candles with clip holders and put them on the tree instead.  Even though we could not light them, it made her feel better about the tree.  I remember her telling us that candles were used on trees before electricity.

For me, candles will always be a part of Christmas, because they remind me of my mother.  Here are some cards that fit in with the theme:

I love the soft pastels on this card.  It makes the candles almost seem to glow.

Lots of embossing on this card.

I love the MCM designwork here.  Mod, yet traditional!

This one has some condition issues, but it has to be my favorite of this batch.  The unusual soft gray background, the smoke lettering, and the soft shadows are kind of a magical combination.  I get a "classic animation" vibe off of this one and that makes me really happy.

There's even an extra one on the inside!

This one is just a treasure of scalloped edges, embossing, and color!

And on the inside, a tiny little surprise!  Do you see it?

Wee little Wise Men on their camels!  Don't you love it?  I do!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

For Whom the Bells Toll

It is a good thing to sell your large Christmas items--in this case two trees and a large wreath--until you see the huge gaping empty table that's left behind.  I didn't grab a pic of it, but it was pretty sad.  Ornaments scattered everywhere.  AnnLeee mice looking desolate and lonely.  The aftermath is never very pretty.

I kind of wracked my brains trying to figure out what to do.  I could have just scrapped the whole Christmas table idea and put out non-seasonal merch.  I strongly considered converting it to a gift idea table, but I really don't have as much new stuff this year as I normally do.  Then. I thought I might just move all my boxed ornaments and stuff off the shelves and make a big table of Christmas decor, but that seemed so...well....retail.

I was about to bite the bullet and do it, when I looked around the booth and had a brain flash!


 I had been keeping these in a basket with some other holiday items, all folded up so they would not get torn.  And they've just been sitting there.  There's a high likelihood that they'll get trashed sitting out all opened like that, but they're the right scale for the table and way more interesting than boxes of ornaments.

It's not a perfect solution.  There's way too much red going on here, but I don't have any green bells.  It does have visual interest, and that's what makes people stop and look.

Plus, the AnnaLees look like they're having so much fun hiding among the bells.

 Maybe they'll sell too.