Monday, May 30, 2011

Eerie cool coincidence on the Washington coast

 Saturday  was one of those days in Seaside on the north Oregon coast where it was part cloudy, part sunny, with occasional rain showers. Let's face it, it was like most days there, except for the sun part. 

It would have been wonderful to find the treasure at the end of this rainbow we saw, but unfortunately it was deep in Davy Jones' locker.

We checked out a vintage beach house my family used to stay at in the 1960's on the prom in Seaside. It was sad to see how the owner had let it get all run down. At one time, this turn of the century beach house was a real treasure as well, but it desperately needs some tender loving care, like old things do. Someone needs to adopt this splendid house and fix it up. We've gone beyond Shabby Chic now and we're just shabby. The good thing about it is that it is one of the few old homes on the Seaside prom that have kept their historical architectural character.  Most have been remodeled and ruined.

We decided to head up the Washington coast for treasure hunting at the world's longest beach garage sale along the coastal highway. There were wonderful and crummy sales all along the way to Long Beach, Washington.

I ended up with some fabulous finds, including a ceramic beehive, vintage cowboy postcards, and an antique corkscrew. I'm keeping the beehive, but other things will show up on etsy, upcycled into something eventually.

We ended up in Long Beach, Washington and of course had to stop in Marsh's Free Museum full of wierd and wonderful things to look at including antique slot machines, mechanical contraptions like "The Drunkard's Dream," stuffed two headed lambs, and strange and kitschy things for sale.

Its' most famous resident is Jake the Alligator man, who is the star of the place. Wonderfully creepy.

All image rights reserved Madame Talbot's Victorian and Gothic Lowbrow
High up on one of the walls were these amazing posters for sale. I was mesmerized and couldn't stop looking at them. They were macabre but beautiful, with a very New Orleans aesthetic. I wanted to buy one, but I loved them all so much I couldn't decide which one. I looked and looked, but ended up leaving without one. I thought about them after we'd left and kicked myself for not deciding on one and buying it.

Now comes the eerie part.....

 Spooky - ghost tour in New Orleans posted by Joanna Booth11 Nov 2009
We came home yesterday and that evening I turned on the computer to check my etsy store. I had sold something! I was thrilled and checked to see who had purchased one of my treasures. When I saw the purchaser's name,  a chill ran down my spine..... out of all the people in the entire world who could have purchased something, it was the amazing artist Madame Talbot who had created those wonderfully strange art posters I had so admired the day before in Marsh's Free Museum in Long Beach, Washington. Eerie coincidence or ???

You have got to go to her etsy shop Victorian and Gothic Lowbrow and see why they were so memorable.

I still can't get over it.........

Friday, May 20, 2011

How to make earrings out of buttons and other things

Can you ever have enough earrings? (The answer: no.) With just one inexpensive trip to the craft store you can make post earrings with things you may have found at a tag sale or have tucked in your sewing drawer gathering dust. Start by buying a small package of earrings posts in the jewelry supplies and a good glue if you don't have one. I like E6000 medium viscosity glue, also available in the craft store.

As you can see, I use this glue alot. The great thing about it is that it starts clear and dries clear, is very strong and waterproof, and has enough body to it that it can hold the items together as they are drying, unlike super glue which is thin.

To make earrings out of two matching buttons, make sure the back of the buttons are fairly flat to glue the posts to them securely. Although typical  buttons with holes that show in front will work, they will still look like buttons. Buttons that look the best are the ones that have a plain front that are designed to be sewn onto the garment from the back only. If they have a metal or plastic loop like some of these do, carefully cut the loop off with wire cutters. If they have a raised metal back like the others here, very carefully use pliers to flatten the back of the loop so it is more flat. Be careful not to crush the front of the button while doing this.

These earrings were all made from vintage buttons- can you even tell that was their former life?

The same can be done with collar and cufflinks. Very few men wear french cuffs anymore (alas) so beyond collectors and very sharp dressers, these sit in the drawer. Why not take those family heirlooms or estate sale finds and remake them into something you'll wear often? Cut the cuff link posts off with wire cutters and replace them with the earring posts with a little glue.

Sometimes you'll find some great clip-on earrings at a thrift store or get as a hand-me-down. Try wearing these for a few hours- ouch!

These vintage pieces were all made from clip-on earrings and are from my personal collection. I love them and wear them often!

You don't have any treasures lying in your sewing or jewelry box? How about agates, shells or even small pebbles?

They also make great earrings! Find small rocks with a flat back that are similar in size and color and glue earring posts to the back- instant organic natural art jewelry! Not for everyone, but I have sold lots of them and wear them myself often.

These are my ultimate treasures I found at a tag sale. I changed them from clip to post earrings and oh- they are heavy and hurt to wear. Be careful that the button, cufflink rock or clip-on earrings you choose are not too heavy to wear as posts. I still suffer through the pain to wear these occasionally because they are so fabulous! (This does not extend to high heels, however.....)

 There is a lovely etsy shop I love called Whimsy House that sells jewelry and other things made out of vintage findings. Although you could put some glue on a couple of buttons, these treasures are really something special. You probably don't have the quality vintage findings she uses; you probably don't have the jewelry artisan skills she has; and you don't probably don't have the knack for putting more than one vintage finding together to make something very special. That's the thing about artists who use vintage things in their work- searching out the vintage things are the secret ingredient! Go here and find something you can't live without!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Unashamedly superstitious

 Okay, so I am a little superstitious. There's nothing wrong with that. After all, I have an Irish heritage so I come by it honestly. Come on, admit it, aren't you the teeniest bit nervous that it's Friday the 13th today? Are you being a bit more cautious today?

If you spilled the salt, wouldn't you be the least bit tempted to pick up a pinchful and throw it over your left shoulder, just in case?

Do you believe in the wee folk? How about the tooth fairy and Santa's elves? Have a leprechaun mess up your house on St. Patrick's Day eve? Read fairytales long into the night when you were little? Look out in wonder at what Jack Frost had done to the windows on a frosty winter morning? Oh, I bet you forgot all that stuff didn't you? Did you grow up and stop believing in magical things?

Well, you can revisit the magical thinking time of childhood by trying my family's tradition of fortune telling charms in birthday cakes. On someone's birthday, four little charms are slipped into the cake (either homemade or from the bakery). When the cake is cut, served, and nibbled on, four guests will have their fortunes predicted!

The traditional meanings are the one who gets the thimble will remain single, the one who gets the ring will get married, the one who gets the baby will have a child, and the one who gets the coin will become rich. These fortunes can cause horror or confusion in this post-modern age or when one is a bit older, however, so alternative interpretations can be applied. How about: the one who gets the thimble will have a happy home and live to pay off their mortgage, the one who gets the ring will remarry and find happiness on the second (or third) try, the person who gets the baby will serve as an awesome mentor to a younger person in their business, and the person who gets the coin will be the most generous of everyone in donating towards the latest natural disaster relief!

It is also fun to add these charms (reusuable after sterilizing, of course) to the mashed potatoes or colcannon on Halloween or St. Patrick's Day. Just be sure and warn your guests to be careful when they bite down! It's easy to put a little kit like this together yourself and start your own little Irish tradition, or you can get one from my etsy shop at

And don't just avoid walking under those ladders, opening umbrellas in the house, or breaking mirrors due to superstition. They're just dumb things to do!
To see a fresh etsy shop called Mymble's Daughter, a Jewellery and Art shop for the Victorian Ornithologist, and run by Peggy Seymour (adorapop) who obviously believes in fortune telling and fairies, go to
Don't you love this fortune telling necklace?


Monday, May 9, 2011

A quiet little corner

Do you pray or meditate? In this world of so many distractions and noise, it's hard to find any quiet or peace in our lives or even in our heads. One solution is a prayer box. Prayer boxes come in different forms and sizes, and can reflect different spiritual beliefs. Although the ones here are Christian-based, they can be used with many faith and even secular traditions. Sometimes they are completely plain on the front and sometimes they hint at what is inside. This unusual glass-front one offers a tantalizing glimpse into the mysterious interior.

Prayer boxes often hold a candle, and anything from prayer beads, fresh or dried flowers or herbs, sacred keepsakes, small prayer books or lists of people and things to pray for.

This prayer box has a picture of The Annunciation, which is the moment when the angel Gabriel tells Mary that she will bear a baby named Jesus. A picture like this can help you center and concentrate while praying.    

Sometimes a prayer box will have a prayer that has a special meaning to the person that the box belongs to. It can be comforting to see the same familiar words when you sit or kneel down to pray every day. The candle can also give off a sacred light if you get up early to pray when it's quiet or at night before you go to bed. 

Boxes are often designed to sit on a shelf, a table, or hang on a wall.

Some are large and kind of envelop you when you are praying.....

....some are medium sized and will sit on your desk or can be tucked away on a bookshelf....

.....and some are small, so can be slipped into a suitcase or drawer. This one has a deeply spiritual image of St. Francis on front praying.

It also has an electric tealight in it for safety, which still flickers and is a safer option for some situations such as traveling.

This is my own personal prayer box, which I love dearly and has deep meaning to me. It has the Nativity on the front by a Northern Renaissance artist....

....and a Byzantine icon of Christ inside. Whatever images or prayers you choose, prayer boxes can give you a little respite in the midst of a whirlwind world.

To see a fresh etsy shop that features embellished prayer boxes called "Shrinefairy" go here:
Here is just one of the beautiful collaged and embellished prayer boxes from
Shrinefairy's etsy shop!


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