Sunday, January 15, 2012

Elsie's House

Elsie was 101 years old when she died. She had hardly ever been sick, and when she didn't feel well at the end of November everyone thought she'd recover like she always did. Instead, she died peacefully after 3 days, probably from a stroke. Her husband had died in May at age 95 and she followed 8 months later. She lived in a little house on Happy Lane in Eugene off Cal Young Road.
Walking Fort Bragg blog by Ron Bloomquist
It was evident that Elsie had many interests and hobbies, including putting dioramas inside of real eggs, doing miniature oil paintings, sewing, needlepoint, cooking, reading, calligraphy, making silouhettes, decorative wreaths, and making Christmas ornaments from sequins, glitter and trim.

Miniature oil painting by Elsie

Elsie (like me) collected all kinds of things, among them cut glassware, Christmas kitsch, miniature animal figurines, Chinese mudmen, postcards, dishes, owls, miniature handblown glass, silk scarves, craft supplies, local cookbooks, and tea cups.

Vintage buckle collection in frame by aVelvetLeaf

Whenever Elsie needed someone to tell her troubles to, she would call her neighbor and tell her to meet her at the wailing wall, which was the fence between their yards, and they would talk through the fence. The fence had two little white dove ornaments hanging on it, and when I met the neighbor in line to go to the estate sale in Elsie's house, the neighbor told me about the woman who had lived there and how she hoped people running the estate sale would let her have the doves from the fence to remember Elsie by.

Doves on a Fence from Rick's Green Grass Blog

I hope they did.

As much as we enjoy the treasure hunting and reuse/recycling aspects of estate sales, we need to remember that these things were the personal possesions of  a real person who has recently died and show respect and gratefulness for that. I think Elsie would love that other people appreciated and loved what she loved and that her wonderful things will be cared for and about.

Here is just a small sample of some of the things I adopted from Elsie's amazing collections. I'll keep some, and some I'll put up for adoption soon in my etsy shops aVelvetLeaf or velvetothepage as vintage or reworked and upcycled into something new. Maybe there will be something there that Elsie would love you to have.....
Oregon Centennial metal tray 1959

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Vintage metal trivet from a wood stove

Vintage outdoor Mary shrine

Vintage floral metal miniature tray pair

Vintage 1960s bird ornaments

Neon mushroom tole painting by Elsie

Vintage 1950s art-influenced salad servers

Various vintage mirrors and decorative metal

Handpainted owl family plate 1951

Lots of ceramic birds and owls

Vintage deer antler meat fork

Monday, January 2, 2012

My humble studio abode

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My humble jumble of a studio is cozy, rather messy and very busy, which is appropriate since many of my friends would describe ME exactly that way, so I feel very at home there.

It is quite a step up from my former headquarters in our unheated garage- brrrr.....
image from ergonomics news

 ....although Mark Rothko painted in his garage so I guess I shouldn't have complained.
Mark Rothko in his Long Island studio (image from

I see blogs that showcase beautiful home offices and look longingly at them, but do people really work in there? They must be awfully neat. I just don't think I could keep up the appearance. I would go to a fabulous junky estate sale or find a big stash of dirty barn wood and that would be the end of the elegant organization until I found a way to fit it all in. Still, aren't they beautiful....

Sewing studio by Tofu Studios

......and elegantly minimal and industrial?
vintage industrial workplace by mod nest on etsy blog
 I work in many different medias with a large array of materials and tools, so I need lots of storage and organization, as well as a place that feeds my creativity.

 My space is not elegant (note the plastic bins) but it does work pretty well. My beat up second hand office desk we got free is not beautiful but works beautifully as art desk with handy storage complete with drawers for stationary supplies, files, tools, jewelry findings, sewing supplies and paint. Various bookshelves (non-matching) do the rest. Add in a stereo, internet hookup and a tv with TCM showing old movies and this messy artist is happy!
Drawing and painting tools and inspiration board

Old fashioned calendar and office tools

Art, reference and church books, supply bins 

Ridiculous but not redundant supply bins

Stereo and more idea boards

What room in your house feeds your soul?

I would still love some fun things to decorate my office- here are some things I love from etsy:


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