Friday, August 31, 2012

Add Some Vintage Sparkle to Your Fall Decor!

When I think of the Fall season, I think of colors - red, orange, green, rust, yellow, gold and brown - the colors of nature when the leaves begin to turn and fall to the ground.  I also think of cool, crisp air and sweaters, hot mulled cider, apples, warm apple crisp and vanilla ice cream, hayrides, pumpkins, brisk walks, the shortening of days, candles burning and more!

At Memories when Fall is coming, we redecorate our front entrance and windows with anything that evokes the feeling and colors of Fall.  I call it "gathering" and it's a lot of fun - we push our carts through our 6,000 sq. ft. store and gather anything that reminds us of Fall - then we take it to the front and I work my magic with displays.  Our customers are delighted by the "new" look and the ideas and treasures they find there.

This year I decided to put an ecru lace tablecloth on the front table, but added a burlap runner down the center - I have seen so much decorating done with burlap recently on Pinterest - curtains, chair coverings, pillows, crafts, tablecloths and runners and more.  You can find some of the ideas on our Pinterest boards at .  Follow us if you want to keep up with some of the great ideas we come across - we are most happy to share them with you for inspiration!

On this table I have arranged a brass birdcage, garden angel, angels with leaf wings, amber moon and stars items, amber and green glass candy dishes and compotes, a hand blown glass pear, an antique Gone with the Wind lamp with Fall colors, a cloche with a robin inside, a garland of fruit, and more.  The idea is to layer and arrange anything that speaks of Fall.

You can achieve this in your own home.  You probably have some Fall decorations that you use year after year, but take a trip through your house to come up with a beautiful tablescape perhaps featuring birds, candles, fruit, amber glassware, Fall florals - anything that goes with your theme.  Set your foundation on your table with a pretty colorful tablecloth and runner down the center and then arrange your items all the way down the length of the table.  You will be pleasantly surprised at what you come up with - and your guests won't believe their eyes.

In the Fall I love to burn candles that smell like pumpkin pie or apple pie or cinnamon or spices - this will set the mood for your entertaining and will give your guests that comfy, cozy feeling in your home.  At Memories we have Fall scented candles that are hand made locally and burn for over 40 hours!  We have one burning each and every day to set the mood, along with our pretty music at Memories for laid back, comfortable browsing.

At Memories we think sparkling glassware adds to any seasonal decor - amber and green for Fall, crystal and red for Christmas and Valentines, blues and pinks for Spring and Summer!  If you have glassware, be sure to consider the effect it will have on your holiday table - get it out of the china cabinet, clean it, add some lighting either natural or candlelight - and watch the warm glow and sparkle.

Join us on Facebook at for ideas all year round!  Wishing you a blessed, warm and sparkling Fall season!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Crafting Instinct Is Returning - Look Out!

When my daughter was born 37 years ago, I received a beautiful hand-painted birth plaque presented by a lovely lady whose sister loved to paint and made these plaques, along with wedding plaques for practically everyone in town.  A few years later in the 1980's I decided that I would love to learn to do that type of painting so I, too, could paint such treasures.

We lived in rural Indiana at that time, and there was a tole painting studio in Evansville, Indiana, called the Red Sled.  It was located in an old two story home which added to the charm of the shop.  With a red sled with hand painted detail sitting in the front yard, the steps led to a front porch with a hand painted Welcome sign, and upon entering the foyer I was greeted by so many beautiful items on display, all lovingly handpainted.  Upon browsing through the store they offered all types of wood products, acrylic paints, brushes, pallets, painting instruction books and patterns, and completed projects from which to choose among their many classes offered.

I immediately signed up for their beginner's series which included several projects for learning basic skills.  There was a floral plaque where I could learn basic brush strokes and use of the different types of brushes and get the feel for the paint.  Then there was a lovely welcome sign that stated "All Ye Who Enter Must Wear A Smile" which taught basic floating, shading and lettering techniques.  After these we could choose our own projects to use our newly found talents.  I chose to paint a sled to go under my Christmas tree with a red interior, blue outside and decorated with calico flowers and leaves - I still have many of these projects in my home today.

After moving to Florida I decided to open a little corner of my hand painted treasures in our orange grove business - soon that grew to a whole room - and I found myself with my new shop "Simple Country Pleasures" where I handpainted gifts, country items, birth and wedding plaques and I began to teach classes similar to the ones I had taken in Indiana.  This proved to be quite a venture for me as I taught over 100 students at various times over about 8 years and many, many lovely projects.  I would teach myself new techniques - then teach all of them.  It was a very rewarding and busy time in my life.

Students (which became my friends) told me that this had changed their lives - that they had a creative talent that they never knew they had.  Many of us participated in craft shows together and enjoyed sharing our talents with many.  I also had my own Open Houses in my home where I featured my own hand-painted items and all of their lovely crafts for sale!

By the latter 1990's the trade with China in the gift market had increased so much, and they were mass producing so many "handmade" looking items for very cheap prices, the craft market began to dwindle for truly handcrafted items.  I gradually shifted my interests to antiques and other outlets for my creative interests.

Now that our society is in distress, I have noticed many people returning to the crafts of the past - painted furniture with handpainted details, crocheting and knitting, making something "new" out of something "old".  So naturally, what is happening to me is that my interest in crafting is beginning to resurface.  I have recently felt the nudge to get creative in this way again.  I have been poking around on Pinterest (you can follow me at ) and am about to explode with lots of great ideas for handcrafted gifts using vintage items!  Who knows where this will lead - but I can tell you - it is starting to feel exciting!  Hang in there -- and keep an eye out -- because my brain is starting to work again!  The possibilities are unlimited!

Currently, I am practically buried alive in my antique store with lots and lots of work to do to clear out a lot of the inventory as I have decided to place my building up for sale with the hopes of retiring from this business.  Who knows where this will lead as I am keeping my options open at this point.  I have no idea if the building will sell or not or exactly what my future holds, but my brain has been set free to be open to the possibilities again.  Just one step off dead center can cause such a tremendous change in our lives if we will let it!  Enthusiasm is returning; I have a spring in my step; and my eyes are wide open with anticipation of an exciting future!  Every day is a gift .... be sure to enjoy each and every one ... and if you need to get off dead center ... just take a step forward, and do it!  I highly recommend it!  Stay tuned.......

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Face of the Antique Shopper is Changing!

Everything in this world, it seems, is changing!  I know it always has been, but as I get older, I believe I notice it more.  Everything is zooming by so fast, and it is exciting to be a part of this every-changing world, observing and trying new ideas, and trying to keep up with the technology.

I have operated Memories Past and Present for almost 9 years and am noticing big changes just this year that have been exciting and interesting to watch.  More and more I am seeing young 20 somethings coming in the store, usually with a friend with similar interests, and the excitement over their finds reminds me of when my friend, Carol, and I used to go shopping at the first ever mall in Evansville, IN, in 1966.  We loved to show each other things that we liked and try things on, and talk and talk, and laugh and enjoy just the looking!  This is the kind of place that Memories is; but of the vintage sort!

I credit most of the new interest in hand crafted items and/or repurposing and upcycling of vintage items to Pinterest and Etsy shops and, of course, our faltering economy!  If you haven't taken a look at these sites, you don't know what you are missing.  I am about to explode with creative ideas from getting involved with these sites!  Out of necessity, too, because of the economy, people are trying to be more creative with what they already have or can make or create cheaper than buying new.

Last week a young lady bought one of those old, old fans and a beat-up suitcase - I can just imagine how she is decorating with these finds!  Yesterday I had two sisters come in who are working together to create items for sale on their own web site and possibly  They looked closely at everything in the shop and purchased vintage jewelry (to them the 1970's and 1980's is ancient)!  It is so fun to see their excitement over the vintage jewelry, when just the other day someone else was making fun of this one dangly necklace wondering who would ever wear it?  I was thinking "I would!".  The world is ever changing!  And I have noticed with styles and trends, it goes in cycles.  The hippie things that I loved in the 1960's and 1970's are now popular again!

I can always tell when someone has been looking at Pinterest by what they purchase: doilies, wooden spools, old quilts, beat up furniture, vintage necklaces and rhinestones, old fans, suitcases, vintage clothing, hats, gloves and more.  I will ask "Have you been looking around on Pinterest?" and the answer is a big smile and a "yes"!

Sometimes I wish I were 20 something again so I could start all over and have time to do all the things I want to do!  But in the meantime, I am enjoying seeing these treasures through the eyes of a young girl full of dreams and ideas and thoughts of an etsy shop!  Wait a minute!  I have an Etsy shop!  Life is good and the future is looking like a whole lot of fun right now!  Check out our Etsy shop we have just opened if you get a chance:   and our Pinterest boards for some inspiration!  Stay tuned for some great new ideas coming from Memories!