Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

 I woke up this morning to let the dog outside and be hold there was snow on the ground. There was none perdicted for this weekend so it was a surprise. Much of it has disappeared by tonight by it did put us in the Christmas mood.
This week I did a search for vintage Christmas photos. I came up with some really great photos from the 1920's that I would love to share with you.

 It is rather amazing to me how bushy trees were back than. I wonder when we got the idea that they all needed to be trimmed to be pointed.
 Cj and I both wish you all a very Merry Christmas this season and hope you all have wonderful holiday. We are grateful you all you you that are friends, for reading our blog and supporting us. Thank-you!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Creating Christmas

 We picked up a copy of the new Mathew Mead Holiday magazine in the last week. It is full of alot of great recipes and holiday creations. Creating is important to both of us doing the holidays. We are grateful that our occupation as antique dealers and as an interior designer allow us to be creative.  We love both receiving and giving handmade creative gifts. There are some many wonderful creative people on Esty these days. Our hope is that if you can't yourself create that you will be supportive of those who do so by purchasing from such people on Esty. and artists that live in your community.
Cooking from scratch has to be one of the most wonderfully creative acts in the holidays. Try making a pie from scratch, make your own fudge, or gift wrapping. It will enrich your life and lives of those around you.

I week or so ago we went to our annual tree cutting party. My son,Eric and his wife, Angela went with us. We had already cut our tree so we accompanied them on their quest for the perfect tree. After the tree had been cut we headed back to the parking lot for all the homemade goodies that had been loving prepared for us by our good friends Dave & Pat.

This is not a feast to miss. We are always grateful to be invited to this celebration and make it a part of our holiday celebrations. It is a wonderful example of how creatively prepared food can be a real gift.

 CJ has been busy with design work this whole Fall and Winter season. We have are having one of the best months we have ever had at Bluedoor this month. It is a season to be grateful.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Our Vintage Christmas

I can't resist sharing a few pictures with you of our house after CJ spent most of last week putting together Christmas at our home. We had a neighborhood party at our house on friday that we wanted to be ready for. So alot of effort on CJ's part went into cleaning and bring Christmas up from the basement. We always have a great spot for our tree in our large front living room window. I few years ago I built a box to elevate our tree. After we mounted the tree in it's stand and put it on the box, CJ covers the box with vintage fabric and then the whole tree gets decked out with our collection of vintage ornaments. It than gets topped off with an angel from my childhood. This vintage plastic angel tree topper dates to the 50's or early 60's . I remember as a child my parents putting an angel just like this on the top of their tree. So a few years ago I found a duplicate of it on ebay(don't you just love ebay).

                                                               The fireplace mantel got the white treatment this year. We brought in greens and pine cones salvaged from outside. A chippy white mirror off an old vanity became the focal point. Candles, mercury glass, a vintage porch spindle with candle on top, cake plate with glass dome were all added to the mix. It is takes on a magic of it's own when we light the candles and fireplace at night and turn out the lights.
                                                                      The side table next to the sofa has our collection of choir candle people. The vintage church sitting on the table is a duplicated of a church that my German Grandmother had set up in her living room every Christmas(again another ebay find). The church winds up and plays Silent Night, Holy Night.
                                                              Our old chipped green paint cupboard between the kitchen and the dining room has CJ's collection of glass tree toppers on it along with a collection of vintage Christmas houses I have collected and given to CJ over the last few years. My criteria for buying a house is that it has to have both a Christmas tree and a snowman on it. Houses that have both are not so easy to find.
We got our first dusting of snow this week and because it turned colder it has stayed around. We are beginning to catch most of our favorite Christmas movies on TV. CJ managed to fill almost every nook and corner in out place with Christmas. Most of our shopping is done. We have successfully had our first Christmas party and downed our first glass of eggnog for the season. So I think our Christmas season for 2011 is off to a great start. It really is a wonderful life isn't it.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas, Bluedoor and Elements

I needed to add this wonderful picture of this 54 Chevy with christmas wreath and snow to our blog. I once owned a 54 Chevy and when ever I see one it tugs at my heart strings. This old red truck with wreath all covered in snow appeals to my holiday mood. I even noticed that the latest Sundance catalog that just came in the mail yesterday had a red 54 chevy pick-up on the front cover.
Speaking of Christmas, we have Bluedoor looking ready for the holidays. CJ went in last week and bought a great christmas look to our booth their. We have lots of handmades from vintage and have been making a real efforts to increase the volume of our vintage small items. So we have plenty of product for the holiday shoppers.

One of the things we realize about our business is that you can never have enough small vintage items. They seem to be the bread and butter of our business. Over the last few months we have been looking for markets were we can find more vintage smalls and as a result we have been able to offer alot more smalls in our markets.  We have been delighted with the results and the response to our offerings.

                                                                               We have also been putting more product at Elements here in Grand Rapids. This wonderful store is owned by our good friend Patrice(see our side bar for Elements blog). The store is located in an old brick furniture factory. This setting gives the store a great funky vintage feel.
Patrice main mission is to be a gift and home accessory store that emphasizes vintage. In the store there are two spaces rented out to other dealers that compliment the look of the store. We are providing Patrice with vintage furniture items and architectural items that she mixes in with her own product.
 We like the look and feel of her store and encourage all of you to check it out over the holidays. Patrice also just opened her store Wednesday thru Sunday. She intends to make this permanent and so she will only be closed on Monday and Tuesday.
We hope all of you are enjoying the holidays. It really can be such a beautiful time of year. Blessings to all of you!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Happy Brithday CJ!!!

I can't let today go by without mentioning that it is CJ's birthday today. The above picture is one of my favorite pictures of CJ and was taken when she was somewhere between 15 and 17 years of age. At the time she had an art teacher who inspired her to get into pottery and so her dad made her this potters wheel that she is using. The picture was taken at an art fair in downtown Boyne City. So you can she that her creativity goes back along way.
She has a love of the creative and encouraging creativity in others including me. This past summer one of her friends that has known her since they were girls together said that she had never known a more authentic genuine person. These are qualities that I am blessed to live with. So Happy Birthday CJ and thank you for sharing your life with me.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Computer problems and Christmas at Blue door

We are back on line as of a few days ago and are just now getting time to blog. Our computer crashed two times in the last couple of weeks and than seemed to develop other problems that tied up it up in the repair shop. So we are so sorry that we haven't been communicating by blog. It really is wonderful time of the year and there is so much to tell but won't try to do it all in this blog other than to tell you all we are back in the land of computers.
The holidays are in full swing at the various locations we do business at. We will post pictures of our very Christmas like locations for all of you soon. In the mean time I am posting some holiday creations of our good friend Connie Maitland at Bluedoor here in Grand Rapids.

We value Connie's friendship and have always been inspired by her creativity. So we hope you enjoy these few photos of her work until we can post again.

Happy Holidays to all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all! We have had two computer crashes in the last couple of weeks. Hope to have the computer and a new post by the weekend.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Seasons, Tin Ceiling, and Other News From the Front

 This time of the year CJ brings out all the books we have about the coming holiday season. Many of the books are about Christmas and we spend some time pouring over these books looking for projects and holiday inspiration. Some are favorites that she has had around for years. One of the most favorite of these is a book entitled Seasons at Seven Gates Farm. It it a book that was published by Country Living about 1996 however it has a very timeless feel to it which is why we still love looking thru this book. It takes you thru the year of a 1830's circa Maryland farmstead. There are pictures in this book of a garden that would be the envy of any green thumb including beautiful winter scenes of the garden covered in snow. If you are looking for a little inspiration for the holidays I can guarantee the the final chapters of the book that cover the upcoming holidays will not disappoint.

We have both been busy working these days. CJ has had plenty of design work for which we are grateful and she as also been creating for the the up coming Beneath the Wreath show. I am also busy trying to get many of the projects sitting around my shop done. I find that it is more easy to sometimes find projects than to get them done. One of the projects I am finishing is this really great industrial work bench. It has great cast iron legs and a maple top. It should be available in the next week.
Another of the things I am working with is vintage tin ceiling. I purchased a rather large quantity of tin ceiling from someone this summer and for the most part have been very happy to just be selling pieces of it. However, I am seeing alot of people creating with tin ceiling so I have been giving that a try in my shop.
This past week I finished up a bunch of stars that I mounted on vintage bed springs. They are free standing all by themselves or can be used as tree toppers. I also used the leftover scrap to wrap picture frames with. Both should be available and make their first appearance are the Beneath the Wreath show.

 I have also been playing around with making cake plates out of vintage light fixture parts and tin ceiling. This have been both fun and frustrating at the same time. I spent a lot of time working out a lot of problems. In the picture below you can see the end result still drying from the coat of milk paint I put on them. Because of how much time these took this might be the only edition. Some if you are interested these will be making an appearance at the Beneath the Wreath show as well.
My next big goal is to get my shop moved into about half the space that I currently occupy. It will be easier to heat this winter and will be cheaper rent. I can assure you this will be no easy feat with all the stuff I own. But, it is a goal that has forced me to be creative with my space, how I organize it and how I use it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Junior League of Grand Rapids Beneath the Wreath 2011

We are counting down the days to our next event. It is Beneath the Wreath a Charitable Shopping Event presented each year by the Junior League of Grand Rapids. It is Thursday November 3, 1:00 - 8:00, Friday November 4, 9:00 - 8:00
and Saturday November 5, 9:00 - 8:00
at DeVos Place.
15% of all sales go to the Jr. League.
This is a juried event and we are so pleased to have been selected.
Dan & I have been working on all kinds of new up cycled handmades for this show including holiday gifts and home decor along with all kinds of vintage finds.
Please come see us at the show and support this local charity.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Somerset Magazines and More Thoughts on Abandon Houses

We have always loved the Somerset magazines. They are like buying a book everytime we pick one up so we don't buy them often but when we find good ideas for things to make the investment becomes very worthwhile for us. 
In about a week and a half CJ will be doing the Beneath the Wreath Show here in Grand Rapids(more on that from her later). So we have been looking all over for good ideas for things to make using vintage parts and pieces. In our search we came across two Somerset magazines that had some great ideas.The first magazine we found was the Holidays and Celebrations magazine. If time permits I found at least three things I will be making for the show. It is really a great holiday magazine and worth checking out the next time you are at a good book store. We always love the book stores that have coffee shops in them. That way we settle down together with a stack of magazines and a good cup of coffee and get inspired together.

The second magazine we found was the Somerset Life magazine. The great card/pictures holders made from doorknobs on the cover was hard to resist. We may attempt a few of these for the show along with one or two more ideas we found inside the magazine.
We have always loved hand crafted items around the holidays and love even more items crafted from vintage.

A week ago in my last blog I talked some about an abandon house we passed on our trip up north. The blog seemed to touch something in many of you. So I decided to share a few more pictures with all of you and some additional thoughts. I will end by posting two poems that two of you sent.
I have a long love affair with old houses. Some of you know I was a contractor for more than fifteen years and specialized in historic renovation. That business was born directly out of my love of old house. Over the years I have gone thru many old houses, many of them abandon.
For a period of six years I worked as a construction manager for a non profit housing developer here in Grand Rapids. One of my jobs was to go thru and assess all of the houses the city got thru the tax reversion process. Most were empty and often boarded up. Sometime they were filled with stuff people had left behind and sometime they were completely empty. Many of my experiences still haunt me yet today.
One of the reasons I love old things is because they come with a history. Sometime you can actually feel this and old houses are often convey that same feeling when you walk thru them.  It is almost like people leave behind something of their spirit in places and with things. Often finding personal items left behind such as pictures or letters add to the mystery of a place. One time I remember finding in a attic of a house stacks of old business ledgers. The house had been owned by a family that had owned an old hardware store only a few block away. The ledgers were dated 1880's thru 1920's. They were all old , wonderfully hand bound, and full of hand written inqueries. There were stacks of these and I think of them often these days when I look at what vintage ledgers sell for these days on eBay. But, back then the vintage paper ephemera craze that is going on today had yet to catch on.

However, many of my most haunting old house experiences however do not involve the city. I originally moved here from Minnesota. Over the years I have had much cause to travel back to that area and even make trips into North and South Dakota. Most of the country I lived in was filled with family farms and small rural towns. Many of these farms were settled by northern European immigrant families in the late nineteenth century. Yet, as our economy has changed over the years the family farm has been slowly disappearing. The landscape as you get out in western Minnesota and the Dakotas is filled with empty farm places and abandon buildings. There are even many towns in North Dakota that are completely empty.

For those of you that have been to this part of the country you know that this is often very flat,
treeless country. This means that you see what sometime feeling like a forever horizon. The site of an empty farmhouse in such an environment with often the only sound being a creaking windmill or the sound of the howling wind has been for me a very haunting feeling.
My mother's family had a farm in Minnesota that fell in to disrepair after the land had been sold. I remember each time I went home I would visit the place. The farmer who had purchased the land slowly cut down all the trees and than one by one tore down all the buildings until eventually all had been converted into a field for raising corn. One day when I was home for the holidays I made a trip to the family farm and all I saw was a plowed field with only a water pump left that had once been a part of the farm yard. Eventually even this water pump disappeared and now all that is left are two very large cottonwood trees by the road that marked were the approach ways to the driveway once were. The images of all of this loom large in my memory.


Because we lived our several lives
Caught up within the spells of love,
Because we always had to run
Through the enormous yards of day
To do all that we hoped to do,
We did not hear, beneath our lives,
The old walls falling out of true,
Foundations shifting in the dark.
When seedlings blossomed in the eaves,
When branches scratched upon the door
And rain came splashing through the halls,
We made our minor,brief repairs,
And sang upon the crumbling stairs
And danced upon the sodden floors.
For years we lived at peace, until
The rooms themselves began to blend
With time, and empty one by one,
At which we knew, with muted hearts,
That nothing further could be done,
And so rose up, and went away,
Inheritors of breath and love,
Bound to that final estate
No child can mend or trade away.

-Mary Oliver

                                                         THE HOUSE WITH NOBODY IN IT
                               Whenever I walk to Suffern along Erie track
I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles broken and black
I suppose I've passed it a hundred times, but I always stop for a minute
And look at the house, the tragic house, the house with nobody in it.

I have never seen a haunted house, but I hear there are such things;
That they hold the talk of spirits, their mirth and sorrowings.
I know this house isn't haunted, and I wish it were, I do;
For it wouldn't be so lonely if it had a ghost or two.

This house on the broad to Suffern needs a dozen panes of glass,
And somebody ought to weed the walk and take a scythe to the grass.
It needs new paint and shingles, and the vines should be trimmed and tied;
But what it needs most of all is some people living inside.

If I had a lot of money and all my debts were paid
I'd put a gang of men to work with brush and saw and spade.
I'd buy that place and fix it up the way it used to be
And I'd find some people who wanted a home and give it to them free.

Now, a new house standing empty, with staring window and door,
Looks idle, perhaps, and foolish, like a hat on its block in the store.
But there's nothing mournful about it; it cannot be sad and lone
For the lack of something within it that it has never known.

But a house that has done what a house should do,
a house that has sheltered life,
That has put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife,
A house that has echoed a baby's laugh and held up his stumbling feet,
Is the saddest sight , when it's left alone, that ever your eyes could meet.

So whenever I go to Suffern along the Erie Track
I never go by the empty house without stopping and looking back,
Yet it hurts me to look at the crumbling roof and the shutters fallen apart,
For I can't help thinking the poor old house is a house with a broken heart.

-Joyce Kilmer

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fall, Old Abandon Farm Houses, Petoskey, Steve Jobs and my Birthday

This past weekend we made a trip up to Petoskey to redo our booth at Then & Now. We spent two days making this trip and stayed over night with CJ's parents. The trip was also a opportunity for us to take in some of Michigan's fall color. The color was about at it's prime about halfway up to Petoskey. It was outstanding! We even sat on Mom and Dad's back deck because of the warm weather and watched the leaves fall.
I also never take a trip without checking out old building and farm places. One of the places we always drive by when traveling from Petoskey to Boyne City is this wonderful abandoned farm house on Horton Bay Road. Properties like this always tug at my heart strings and the romantic side of my imagination. We had to stop and take a picture. The very red Virginia creeper growing up the side of this house added a wonderful touch of Fall to this picture.

Almost five years ago I took this picture about this same time of year of an abandon pink farmhouse in Minnesota. This house really spoke to me when I saw it. I have always wanted to paint this picture. It just will have to get added to my many lists of things to do.
I know that there as been many quotes by Steven Jobs floating on the Internet when he died last week. But, I need to share one of the quotes that moved me and I may just have to make it my mantra. You see tomorrow is my birthday. I will be 56 the same age as Steven Jobs. I feel blessed to live the life I am living. Even though the last few years have been difficult financialy for many of us I believe that I am living the life I was meant to live and becoming the person I was meant to become. I am so grateful to be alive and living my life. To those friends and family that have supported me the last few years I will be forever indebted to you.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma- which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinion's drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you want to become. Everthing else is secondary."
-Steve Jobs

Friday, September 30, 2011

Circle of Life

It was the most beautiful late August summer day, that Dan took this picture of Grandpa & I and I will always cherish it. Maybe the last picture ever taken of him, at least of the 2 of us. Grandpa passed away on Wed evening at 97. He lived a wonderful life and we all marvel at what he saw in his lifetime and of the changes in our world that he experience. We have had marvelous conversations about all of it and it passed through me like a great movie with scenes so amazing. I have been blessed to have been able to spend lots of time with him throughout my life and have been privy to the "stories". 
Family is gathering and that is such a good thing.
But all of that said I will NOT be doing the show @ Everlasting Blooms, this Saturday Oct 1st.
We will instead be celebrating Grandpas life.
Thank you for your understanding and I will keep you all informed of our next hurrah. 


Monday, September 26, 2011

Everlasting Blooms Flea Market this Sat. Oct 1, 9-5

Is this not the cutest place!
Everlasting Blooms on Spalding off Cascade Road in Grand Rapids.
Dan & I are doing their first ever Flea Market this Saturday Oct. 1st from 9-5.
We will have lots of Fall decor and a lot of our handmade repuposed items with us. We will be set up in the greenhouse and from what I hear in GREAT company. Marcia and Sandy will be there from Nest as well as the girls from A-Gladstone-Company.

Hope to see you all there!
Happy Fall

Thursday, September 22, 2011

We received this great picture from CJ's Dad yesterday. The leaves are changing and there is a Fall feeling in the air.
We will be making a trip up north this weekend. I have spent the day loading the trailer for Then and Now in Petoskey. We are both a little sore and tired from the Country Living show. But, the one constant in this business is that there is always more to haul.
The bonus to our trip up north is that we get to see the start of Fall color and are going to spent the night on friday with CJ's parents. It is always a treat to be able to go home to Mom and Dad. I have been married twice and both times I was blessed with ready great in laws.

We also found a really wonderful magazine this past week. Autumn by Matthew Mead. This man is considered a regular male Martha Stewart. The magazine has mostly recipes and some decorating ideas all displayed with beautiful photos. The magazine inspired me to check out his blog and website both of which were equally inspiring.
It is such a beautiful time of the year. I celebrated today by baking an apple pie, went for a walk, looked up at the sky, and bought pumpkin ale. Life is good!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Report from the Country Living Fair

It is now Saturday night and after a second day of the Country Living Fair we are tired. The crowds have been huge and the whole experience of being here has been everything we expected and more. Yesterday our sales exceeded all records for any previous one day of sales.
This morning before the crowds arrived I took a few pictures in the town green of this lovely historic village the show is being held in. The historic setting of the show adds a wonderful element to this show and combined with the wonderful Fall like weather it is truely a picture perfect place to be.

See if you can pick out our space as it looked first thing this morning in tent number 5. We are the people with the famous stacking pumpkins that everyone seems to want to photograph.

I picture latter in the day with CJ holding sway over the corner of our harvest table that has become the corner we use to write up our sales.

After the show today we made quick trip to see Sobo Style. We managed to also catch Joe and Sandy from Rubarb Reign doing a trunk show at the store.
One of the highlights of the weekend was a get together we had last night at the invitation of Katie owner of Sobo Style. Joe and Sandy were there of Rubarb Reign, we got to meet Mary Ellen of Twisted Style, and many other fine people including numerous friends from Grand Rapids. Diana Korhorn and Karen Kelder were at the party and were emotionally so supportive , Patrice of Elements in Grand Rapids was also present with here husband Stan. We were most grateful of the presence of Sue and Hugh Hufnagel who came down from Grand Rapids to help us at the show. We have never been busier at any show and couldn't imagine what we would have done without there help yesterday and today. Thanks Hugh and Sue you really rock!
Enough for tonight. I have to get to bed. One more day to go. We love the Country Living Fair and wish you could all be here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

THE PILES - On Our Way To The Country Living Fair in Columbus!

The piles of merchandise have been forming here like you can't believe. We leave today for the Country Living Fair in Columbus.
Stacks of completed projects have been boxed and packed.
This is really one of the first times that Dan & I have created this kind of quantity. We set goals for ourselves, made lists, crossed things off and  added more. During this process we also worked hard and being mindful of the end result and honoring the creative process. For example one item that I was making I had on my list to make 20 of them, I put together 19 that I thought were fabulous (!) but number 20 just wasn't coming to me, so rather than making number 20 just to make number 20, I stopped. So I'm here to tell you all 19 ROCK!
So what were those 19 items? Ask me at the Fair!
And come see what we do with this bale of hey!
See you @ the Fair!