August 27, 2009

I went to the flea today ...
here's one of my "finds"...
an antique photograph of three women whooping it up in 1898...

Here's another one of my "finds" ...
my friends ...
three women whooping it up in 2009

Oh ... the comparisons I could make ... at least they did their hair in 1898.
More on my day and finds tomorrow ...

August 22, 2009

My First ...

Do you remember your "first" ?? ... the first blog you ever read ?! ... I do!!
I won't ever forget it and I'm still a die hard fan of Jennifer Grey from
"The Old Painted Cottage"

I stumbled upon her site quite by accident and well, ... the rest is history ...

One of my favorite sections on her website is "Cottage of the Month" were she features someone's cottage style home inside and out ... the photos are always great and coupled with Jennifer's wonderful writing skills you feel as if you've been given a personal tour.

For the past year Jennifer and her husband, Adam, have been renovating their own new cottage ... extensively ... just check out her blog and you can catch a peek here and there of their progress.

I've accused Jennifer of being a tease before, as she has only revealed small bits of info about the renovation ... well ... this Monday at 9:00 am {pacific standard time} that will change!
She's actually going to share it ALL!! She's hosting a blog party for the big, MUCH ANTICIPATED reveal ... this is a must see and I'm sure it'll will be loaded with inspirational decorating ideas ... if that's not enough the self proclaimed "Cottage Queen" said there will be "music, fun and prizes".

I'm so there ... wanna join me?

August 21, 2009

Something for us ...

Doing something for ourselves ...

My friend Beth and I took a mini hiatus yesterday from shopkeeping, children and housework.

We hit the road early and headed East ...

Typical Southern New Jersey roadside scenery ... fresh from the garden tomatoes.
The most welcoming sign of all ... the flea market !!

This stop was actually just a tease ... we really had a particular destination to reach ON TIME.
The flea just so happened to be "on the way there" ... seriously.

I loved this old safari hat ... I would love to do a rustic, hunt, grungy metal, dusty canvas tent, etc ...'Out of Africa' vignette without any pink or flowers ... just my mood of late ...

We made it ... on time ... Kecia greeted us warmly at the front arbor, her gardens are amazing ... twisting paths loaded with architectural salvage dripping with tangles of flowers and vines ... rusty iron gates, primitive birdhouses and various seating areas ... a wonderful place to hang out for a while.

Inside the studio our cheerful "table mates" for the day were waiting for us ... Abby and Holly, "hello girls!"

Here's our instructor counting off our rules to follow ... Kecia is an excellent teacher ... she has a large amount of "tips" and tricks she shares generously ... things you could NEVER learn from a book ... her wealth of information is invaluable ... if you ever have the opportunity to learn from her ... DO IT!

If you just want to buy from her ... here is where her totally cool jewelry pieces can be purchased.

Her I am "doing it" ...
As you can imagine, not only did we learn how to solder, but we also had a ton of laughs ... which we've been sworn to secrecy not to share {darn it!}

Here's my final project ... a collage of items pressed between two beveled pieces of glass, soldered together, jump rings attached and chain added for hanging.

One side depicts two little girls, sisters perhaps? ... with a scrap of vintage fabric, the words "wish" ... "hope" ... "dream" ... all placed on top of a vintage map of California.

The other side is a woman, the little girls' Mom? ... with a bird resting on her shoulder, a scrap of lace and again on top of a vintage piece of map, actually one of my all time favorite locations ... Monterey Bay California.

For a finishing touch I incorporated bits of vintage fabric that I like to think may have been snippets of these ladies dresses and a key that unlocked the door to their seaside cottage.

Beth and I came home feeling very inspired and rejuvenated ... what a treat to ourselves, taking the entire day to create in such an encouraging and supportive atmosphere ... without all of life's daily distractions.

I'm pretty sure we made a pledge to do this at least once a month from here on out!
What do you and your friends do to "escape" ? ... I'd like to know ... we are new at this and could use suggestions, please share yours with me.

August 18, 2009

I hit a different type of market this past weekend ...
The Farmer's Market ...

No flea marketing this time around ... just enjoying good fresh summer Jersey produce from our local farmer's market.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

August 13, 2009

It's Friday {it is in Australia!} and you know what that means around here ...

This week I'm participating in Natasha Burn's
"Revamp It" blog party ... this will be fun!
Everyone had to "revamp", upstyle, recyle, redo, etc. etc.. a piece of clothing,
all of this in honor of the new seasons of
Project Runway.

Thanks for coming up with the great party idea and thanks for being a gracious host, Natasha!
Let's party ...

Looking for inspiration ... I didn't have to go far, only the book shelf ...
Magnolia Pearl, YES!! Just what I'm in the mood for ...
soft, feminine, and romantic ... but ALWAYS with that touch of funk!

Robin Brown is one of my most favorite designers ... if you haven't seen her book yet ...
A Bit of Velvet and a Dash of Lace
you really don't know what you are missing ... it is more than full of inspiration, not only loaded with design and style ideas but also, so motivational in living the life you want to live ... hurry, go get a copy for yourself!

Here's one last round of inspiration ... do you not just want to climb into this video and dance around? ... I do!

Ok ... now that I'm inspired ... I needed to find something to work on. I had a particular dress in mind but of course I couldn't find it, so after wasting an hour of precious creative time I had to settle for something else ... and I'm glad I did! I have been collecting vintage bed jackets for a while, don't know why ... I just liked them. Every now and then I will pair one with jeans to dress them up a a bit, like a casual short jacket. Well, I found the collection easy enough .. they were hanging from a pipe in the basement right next to me! I snapped up this pretty basic white one.

~Front Before~

~Back Before~

The color was way too white for my taste ....

... off for a nice long soak in a tea bath ... ahhhhh ...

While the jacket was soaking, I went in search of my stash of antique and vintage lace, doilies, and tablecloths ...

A handmade rosette, small floral printed material, tons of antique crocheted lace ...

Don't forget the cowgirl boots!

Yummy vintage millinery in creamy faded pastels ...
Yellow rose of Texas cotton ruffled fabric.

Authentic antique pantaloons ... these came from one of my favorite shops ...
Gypsy Fish, courtesy of Beth ... Thank you!! You'll be sorry, I swear I'm gonna wear these to work one day!

I started sewing on all of the lace and embellishments ... I didn't stop too many times to take photographs ... I was VERY into what I was doing
{NO dinner tonight}

Here is the first round of lace ...


And here is how I ended one days worth of work ...

One more row of lace added to the bottom and a rosette added to the top.

This project was a lot of fun ... I'm not stopping here, I still have a few more ideas swirling around in my head. I think the back needs more lace and I would love to embellish the whole jacket with vintage millinery flowers ... I have a feeling this is ONLY the beginning.
The bed jacket re-do actually makes a nice compliment to The Gypsy Dress ...
Hmmmm, any suggestions on a name for the jacket?

The hardest part of all?
Asking The Man to take my picture in pantaloons and trying to keep a straight face.
I couldn't do it and neither could he ... sure was fun though ; )

To be continued ... xo Jill

August 11, 2009

Hello ... quick jewelry update ... for all of those who have inquired ... new pieces are almost ready ... and will be available very soon ... thank you for your patience! ...

August 5, 2009

Here's a little slide show of my studio makeover I did last week ...

I was SO INSPIRED by all of the spaces I saw during the
"Where Bloggers Create Party"
I thought my studio needed a new ball gown .... so I got right to it by ... stripping her down, cleaning her up, giving her a face lift, some make-up, and finally a new party dress!

Enjoy the show!

August 4, 2009

Party day!!
Another party you say?
Wooo hoooo ... and I haven't partied like this since .... Hmmmmm mid 80's?

Big thank you to two party girls ... Tara Frey for giving us a reason to celebrate
and Kari Ramstrom for hosting the blog event!

As you all know the party theme is "Blogging for Bliss" and why do you blog? How/why did you start a blog, etc. .... you know, open up, tell us a bit about YOU and your relationship with blogland.

As I start to ponder this challenge, I have to be honest and say it was like a party buzz killer.
I'll explain ...
When I first stumbled into the blog world, by accident, I was CONSUMED with reading about every one's day in and day out lives. I was truly amazed how easily women were sharing snippets of their lives with "strangers" ... I wanted to chat back and say "hey, I know what you mean ... I've been through that ..." So, I created my own blog ... and froze ... for about a year.
I continued to read and follow, but still of course feeling like an outsider or a peeping Tom ... I wanted to join in! What was holding me back? I knew what it was ... I don't "share" myself easily, I tend to be guarded and spend some time getting to know people before I open I questioned "who wants to hear about me? who cares about what I did today, etc and etc."
I kept throwing up all of the road blocks.

Then I opened my Etsy shop and read that you HAVE to Blog in order to drive traffic, for marketing, for exposure, the list goes on and on. Okay back to that scary place of blogland, but now it was a little easier ... I could talk about my product, it didn't have to be personal ... I didn't have to open up and share.

Fast forward seven months and here I am "sharing" and I might add a little more easily ... I'm definitely getting better, but I feel I still have a ways to go ... On one hand, I don't think I'll ever be the one to air my most private thoughts for the world to "see" ... but on the other hand, I'm NOT the peeping Tom lurking in the shadows either ; )

Enough of that stuff ... I'm ready for my party buzz back!
The fun part about blogging for me is truly connecting with other women who have the same interests, goals, philosophies as myself ... to have conversations about art, life and children without crappy DRAMA that somehow creeps into "real life" and ultimately sucks the fun out of relationships. Here it's all good, yes people have bad times or suffer losses, life happens ... but you find yourself in a supportive network of friends when it does ... people who "get you" ... friends who understand and don't question.

Plus, it's EASY to stay connected ... in our busy times it's not so convenient to walk down the street to a friends house to swap recipes or have a cup of coffee or share your latest craft obsession ... I can do it all here in bloggy land!

The best? When you do finally meet someone in person that you have already made an on-line connection with ... it's like visiting with a long lost friend or sister!

Enough rambling ... I'm off to read about all you ... I guess I do still enjoy a little bit of the peeping Tom aspect after all ; )