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Ever feel like your brain is really nothing but a weight, not serving any real purpose but to give you bitchin’ neckaches?  Yeah, me too dudes.  I’m scattered, I’m all over the place, and I can’t hold a steady thought…wait, what was I talking about?!  But in the midst of that and dealing with life and breakups and toddlers things are actually going pretty peachy.  Amazing, I know.  I’m grateful for it though people because let’s face it, the alternative is me adopting 12 cats, coating my unseasonal puff paint sweater in cat hair and skipping into the grocery store drenched in feline piss (fun image, eh?).  I wonder if maybe I don’t do better, mood wise and in my head, when my plate just seems too full…

Ah, but speaking of plates, look!

I know you MUST remember the Homer Laughlin Celeste plate I rambled on and on about weeks ago and the other day while thrifting as a remedy to sadness, I found two more plates, that giant bowl, the sugar bowl (sans lid, dammit!), and…wait for it.  WAIT FOR IT!  Those two glasses that I KNOW must go along with the set.  I’ve been researching like a mad woman to find out who might have made them so I can find more but with no luck.  Any clues, my dear friends?

I’ve been filling up the Vintage Shop too kids and let me tell you, the time consuming-ness of it is actually delightful.  Seriously, I get such a thrill from finding something I know someone out there will adore.  Have I mentioned my being a weird ass?  Yeah, there’s that.  Anyway, peruse some of the new and righteous goods…

{Vintage LeeWards Four Seasons Paint by Number Kit.  Even has the paints man!}

{Dyn-O-Mite Glasbake Mugs, bitches!}

{Fire King mug & saucer that was actually reasonably priced at this totally pretentious antique store near me.}

{Some pretty righteous hand embroidered pillowcases that I know someone’s Granny spent hours working on.}

All that and more in the Vintage Shop…PLUS!  A while back someone started cleaning out this house up the street from me that had been empty for years.  The woman died at least 5 years back and the stuff had just been left sitting but apparently the house had been sold and is now being remodeled.  Anyway, the were just throwing the old woman’s cherished treasures by the roadside (so sad!) and I scored hardcore.  There was a bag of vintage dresses (I’ve still got about 10 that need to be photographed and added to The Shop), a giant set of blue Kimberly Fire King mugs and other various vintage mugs, and couches man!  These two old couches, all decked out in velvety damask goodness…too bad they’d been out there for days and had been rained on and ripped up by evil Satan dogs otherwise I’d have grabbed them.  So I grabbed what I could and from a stack of musty smelling books, I snatched up a vintage Singer Sewing Book from 1954, a McCall’s Treasury of Needlecraft (from the 70s I think), and this…

This book, Billy Baldwin Decorates.  Apparently this fellow was some big wig interior designer in the 60s and 70s, even decking out Cole Porter’s Hollywood Hills home.  Anyway, it’s been sitting on the coffee table for months now and turns out, with a little eBay research, that sucker is valuable!  Like, worth 100 bucks or so.  Holy shit people, I know right?!

So that’s that for the thrift portion of today’s blog.  In other news, one of my sister’s good friend’s mother died the other day and she wanted to get her something that she could keep longer than a big, non-smelling bouquet.  She picked up a picture from Jessica, framed it, and I added some fontage to make it pretty and personal.

Turned out cool, methinks, though my ol’ Pops couldn’t decipher what was written.  Anyway kids, until next time (let’s all hope that’s sooner rather than later), keep on truckin’.  I’ll be doing the same :).

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In an effort to perk myself up (and you dear readers, of course!) I’ve been doing a lot of yard salin’, thriftin’, and flea marketin’ this past week.  Okay, so I know this doesn’t make you happy but it sure as shit does me.  Anyway, before I heading out to another sale this morning (which happens to be hosted by two of my old high school teachers who totally rock) I realized that I never “officially” opened the Vintage Shop.  Shame!  I know that I mentioned it here and there and that I maybe even went so far as to insert an image or two of something I’d added but I never really got around to really putting it on the books.  So here today friends, let’s open that damn shop!

And as a special bonus for any readers out there that might be afflicted with the same vintage lovin’ bug that I am, a special discount.  Just enter “righteous!” in the Notes to Seller at checkout and I’d be happy to take 20% off the price of whatever vintage goodie you snatch up.  Cool, eh?  I thought so too.

I was born with a cynical heart, that much is true, but this week has been taxing.  This week and last weekend, which was absolutely the weirdest of my life.  Well, aside from that weekend I crapped a human being out of my body, that was a little surreal.  But these past seven days haven’t been surreal so much as they’ve just been shit.  I’m coping and I know that in time things will certainly get better but that’s just a small consolation while in the throes of readjusting my life.  I’ve learned that sometimes people can fix horrible wrongs…and that maybe they actually will, much to the benefit of their little boys.  At the same time, love can be the total shits.  Counting on someone to be there inevitably means that one day they just won’t.  That I should have seen coming I suppose.  It’s just science I guess.  Or odds.  Or some shit like that…

I know I’m being vague but my gigantic mouth prevented me from not saying something about the goings-on on this here blog.  Life never goes exactly how you want it to and that’s just a dumb expectation.  But when it falls apart, even worse when it falls apart when you least expect it to or when you need it not to the most, it’s devastating.  But it’s also a chance for reevaluation.  Was it worth it?  Of course it was, it always is.  But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t suck ass, right?  It’s just life man.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that things aren’t going to magically revert back to the way that they were and that the way that things were wasn’t nearly as awesome as I thought it to be.  But it’s not all bad, you know.  Good things shall come of this I bet.

In the meantime, expect more doodles that are the exact opposite of the LOVE’s you’ve been seeing for months.  It’s called ‘coping’ scientist.  Look it up in your Psychology textbook :)…

I waited all week for Friday to come just so I could hit up some backwoods yard sales in hopes of scoring some righteous loot.  We hit up the Goodwill and were amazed to discover 5 sales…all on the same street and all next door to each other.  Unfortunately, my excitement was quickly quashed when I didn’t find shit and then ended up getting my little brother’s truck stuck in a ditch because some redneck retard decided that THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD is a designated parking space.  However, the whole day o’ thrift (of sorts) wasn’t a total bust.  My neighbor Jessica did pop in this morning with a giant mushroom cookie jar and a spoon rest to match that she so graciously snatched up for me for a measly 5 bucks.  Can’t find a score like that on eBay!  At our local Goodwill I picked up a set of 5 vintage Branchell Melmac plates and an awesome Taylor, Smith, & Taylor Modern Star saucer for an awesome 50 cents (it just so happened to be buy one, get one free day!).  I’ve been looking for that TST pattern on eBay for months now and though the little guy has seen better days he’ll look cool hanging with the plate collection on the wall I think.  The Bug (who happens to love the yard sales just as much as I) and I also then hit up a yard sale held by a woman who had one just two weeks ago (where I scored that awesome Franciscan platter I’ve talked about endlessly).  It was basically the same stuff…BUT today she had put out a huge square Pyrex dish from the Primary Colors line and it even had a lid.  Scored it for $2.50.  Righteous.  I also picked up a set of six McKee Glasbake Soup mugs in all kinds of retro colors for $3 so that made the day even better.

I also lucked out by hitting up a yard sale held by my old bus driver, Coon (seriously).  He had a brand new and very nice scanner sitting out for a whole 2 fat dollars and when I asked if it worked he said that I should just take it and if it doesn’t toss it out.  When I asked what I should do if it in fact did work he replied that he’d eventually see me somewhere and I could just pick up his “cuppa coffee” tab.  Gotta love small town generosity, especially when it yields me shit I really need.

Some of this stuff will end up in the Vintage Shop (where I also added a few other goodies over the past few days) so stick around for that kids…

In other news, Yard Sale Bloodbath, courtesy of Bohemian Hellhole, courtesy of the lovely Miss Havisham, is currently taking up way too much of my time.  As if I needed another thrift related distraction!

Just when I’m bitching about not being inspired Ez does me a solid and points out Ruby Pearl.  Holy shit man…

{Smoke Dress, $92}

{Ruby Pearl Crochet Dress, $130}

{Caldonia Top, $162}

{Mexican Fusion Dress, $275}

Well, that was helpful.  Feeling better about this inspiration thing already.  Thanks Ez :)…

Sometimes, kids are weird little people. And of course, by sometimes I mean…well, ALL THE TIME. The Bug lives in a mixed up world, from my grown-up perspective. It’s a world where wiping your ass and doing your best to not dribble pee all over your clean underwear is just not a priority. A world in which eating sour cream as the main course for lunch is not only okay, it’s preferred. A weird weird world that tells him the living room floor is a trash can, the city pool is a toilet, and that vomiting (sour cream) on his bed is acceptable. All of this is why I’m so hesitate to take the little man out and about into the real world in which I live, where we grown ups understand that whipping out your peter (as he affectionately calls it) in the soup aisle at the grocery store is not going to help you make friends.

Despite this fear of being mortified in public my best friend and I have been taking The Bug out and about for the past few weekends. I won’t lie, it’s hard work. Convincing my kid that live, real, in the flesh, breathing elephants and monkeys and seals at the zoo are cooler than a $4 Pepsi is a losing battle. Should have seen that coming I suppose (but seriously readers, when is a fucking hippo TOTALLY IN YOUR FACE MAN! not cool as hell?!).

Overall the zoo was a bust. Not a total bust mind you, he did get to see all those animals he’s only thus far looked upon as drawn characters on PBS, but it was rough. There was the heat and the gajillllllllllion and a quarter people that decided that very day must have been the best ever to visit the zoo. There was me being totally annoyed that he did not seem to give a shit about the aardvark when we just drove two hours so that he could. Essentially, there was me being a grown up. And I think, as I look back on it now that maybe I was ruining it, instead of The Bug.

Before the zoo trip was yet another trip to one of our State Parks. Again, with the heat/humidity straight from the corridors of Hell, Midwest! I’m not sure we can be friends anymore, central US. Anyway, the trip was nice, just a short drive from home but if I remember correctly I chastised him in the Nature Museum for prodding a topographic map of the Park and on the way home it’s likely that we argued about going to Taco Bell instead of the awe-inspiring gloriousness that is McDonald’s to a kid. Again, me with the adult bullshit.

I remember all these outings and how taxing they were but when we get home and I really mull over what we did that day, I realize that the kid needs slack. Know why? He’s a kid! He doesn’t give a shit about the outrageous cost of admission, the ungodly heat index, or the fact that someone’s got to make dinner, clean, do 7 loads of laundry, and finally clean up sour cream vomit in his room when we get home, all while trying to find the motivation to put together some new bags and make a living.

I’ve been having trouble with inspiration lately. Trouble actually meaning the total inability to give much of a shit about anything but all this grown up junk clogging my brain. I feel like it’s totally possible I’m missing out on things with The Bug and just life in general and that if diagnosed with a debilitating mental disorder tomorrow (um, this is possible I think) that rendered me unable to enjoy anything at all, I’d hate myself because I wasted all this goodness. I’ve often commented that my brain just doesn’t work, that it’s nothing but 8 pounds (thank you little fellow from Jerry McGuire for that tidbit that has stuck with me for umpteen years) of heaviness giving me a neck ache for no good reason because it’s not helpful at all in my life. I’ve heard of Mommy Brain or Mommy Amnesia or whatever stupid phrase they’re calling it these days, which basically says that when you have a kid you lose, on average, 7 IQ points (look it up, scientist) and that your brain is just never the same. Yeah, thanks for that. Just what I needed. But that surely isn’t the cause for spells like this, those that make me see the beauty in fewer and fewer things and that tells me that making sure all the dishes are done is more important than catching The Bug in the act of literally talking out of his anus so that I may laugh hysterically for half an hour (at least). I feel grown up man, and that’s a bummer.

This isn’t meant to be a downer post, quite the opposite actually. Part of my reluctance to give up on this indie business that I run (aside from the amazing support I’m lucky enough to get from my friends and family) is because I don’t want a real job as society defines it. That’s grown up and it feels frighteningly final to me.

To the point: I’m too grown up lately. Farts are no longer funny. A blow up pool in the front yard is no longer the best thing that’s happened all damn week, for the moment. And this has to be effecting my inspiration, which is inevitably linked to my motivation and output. But this is surely an easy to remedy issue, and that’s comforting. Instead of spending so much time being grown up and annoyed that I have no desire to make anything, I should focus on…farts.

In conjunction with this post, I offer an apology. This is a craft blog of sorts and that content hasn’t been here for a while, if there was content here at all. I should be cranking out tutorials and projects and other random cool shit man, but I’m not. So to my seven readers, I hope you’re still here. I’ve publicly acknowledged my lameness and you can expect it remedied post haste. The only thing on the agenda today is a swim in the pool out front, a couple wrestling matches in the living room, and lots of just staring at my kid while he spins circles aimlessly. Because that shit is funny. And funny is always inspiring…

The Bug is apparently sick this morning (the vomit in his little bed roundabouts 4 am this morning says so anyway) so I am being granted a few hours to myself whilst he sleeps soundly to peruse the internet and just…look.  Shit, am I a fan of looking or what?  Yes, yes I am.  Well, that’s not completely true — I do more than just look, I swear!  In the past two days I’ve put together two custom bags (ladies, they’re on their way!), I’ve sketched out a few more for a Shop update I’m planning for this weekend, and I’ve been feverishly working on figuring out how to scan, import, and color some images I’ve drawn up in Photoshop.  The latter is giving me all sorts of trouble as I’ve got the most basic of knowledge when it comes to that sort of thing but I’m still truckin’.  I’ve never ever thought of myself as any sort of illustrator (because I most certainly am not) BUT that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with expanding my artsy horizons, does it?  I’m sticking to what I know I can do — fontwork — and trying to embellish it just a little with flowers or trees here and there but I’m keeping that part of it small because there’s that huge chance that I’ll letter out something I love and then totally muck it up with a drawing that resembles something a fourth grader would do if I let it get too big.  Anyway, we were talking about looking right?

I’ve been seeing things left and right in the blogosphere about the upcoming silent auction to benefit the Handmade Nation documentary being held at Poketo but I’ll admit I wasn’t all that interested until this morning when I discovered that Renee has a piece up.  That peeked the shit out of my interest and so I resolved to care more about a documentary I know I’ll love and I checked out all the goods that’ll be up for your (and my) bidding.  Favorites…

{Veindeer by Merrilee Challis}

{Flower by Emily Eibel}

{DNA Memory by the aformentioed Renee Garner}

I strongly urge you to check out the whole set here.  It’ll make your Tuesday smile, I promise…

**

In other “Look What I found!” news, there’s the Renegade Craft Fair approaching in San Fran.  Yet another reason I need to move.  I digress.  More handmade favorite-ness from those most fantastic vendors that will be in attendance…

{Family Bears by Annie Galvin}

{Tree Scrim: Winter Necklace from Ach Ach Liebling}

{read. necklace from Brookadelphia}

{Midwest Sign shirt from Campfire Goods}

{My Favorite Year Necklace (might be mine too!) from Chocolate and Steel}

{The Owls Are Not What They Seem Quilt from Don’t Quilt Your Day Job.  By the way, their tagline — “Quilts for rock stars, babies, and rock star’s babies” — is quite possibly the best tagline ever dudes…}

Damn, that’s a lot already!  Here here people, you want more check them all out for yourself here.

**

I’ll do my best to pop in and maybe post some new stuff for a little friendly feedback.  Speaking of feedback, question and a sub-question for my peeps.  Has anyone been experiencing issues with gmail lately?  I think my account hates me.  Oh oh, and sub question: Is it better to burn out or fade away?

See you kids soon :).

I have dubbed myself the amazing Thrift Master 3000.  I get that my vintage dinnerware obsession is interesting to…well, probably just me but that won’t stop me from posting yesterday’s awesome finds.  The Bug and I sat around the house all morning and when I got bored, I got to thinking about this thrift store that I haven’t been to in forever and a day.  It’s not too far from here, about 20 minutes, and then in my mind’s eye I saw that wall.  That wall, full of stacks and stacks of dinnerware.  Last time I was there I wasn’t in the throes of a vintage dinnerware obsession so I didn’t do much digging.  But now?  Yeah, now I’m all over that shit.

I know that right now these things aren’t worth money.  I get that.  But I feel like these dishes give me some sort of connection to a kind of other world.  Back then, your dinnerware was important.  Meals together, with family and friends, were a big deal so why not use a pretty plate.  We are a house that has a love affair with the paper plate so I feel like collecting all these pretty pieces…well, I don’t know.  But I do know that this stuff makes me happy and that stumbling on a piece I’ve seen before and coveted or a saucer that matches a tea cup I already have is sort of like the joy derived from treasure hunts.

{By far, my most favorite of the day.  Homer Laughlin Fortune saucer, from the 40-50’s.}

{I love, love, LOVE the blue cups.  By the way, anyone know anything about the 3 pieces of blue diamond-y stuff?  It’s not marked but they had a whole set, like saucers, plates, all of it.  I’d love to know what it is…}

{The two up top are by Sabin China (never heard of them), the bottom left is Creative Royal Elegance, and the bottom right is ‘Celeste’ by Homer Laughlin.  Actually, that last one might be my favorite…}

{‘Celeste’.  See, isn’t that pretty?!)

So there’s that.  All of it for 5 stinking dollars.  Awesomeness!  I also picked up a righteous yellow chenille blanket that happens to be in perfect shape for two bucks.  For now, it’s made it’s home on the back of the new vintage couch so you’ll have to meet him later.  More soon friends…

…hand lettering I was, people.  My mom purchased a print from our neighbor Jessica, framed it, and then realized it needed something else.  So I spent a couple hours last night, way after the sun had gone away, hand lettering the mat for her.  She chose an old Irish blessing that had to do with the moon and I chose an old looking font.  Considering that I’d allowed myself to put this off to the VERY. LAST. MINUTE I’m really happy with how it turned out.

“May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.”  Indeed friends, indeed 🙂

{i am sam. i make things.}

This is where I detail the goods I make as I'm making them, the music I'm listening to as I discover it, and the inspiration that I stumble upon when I'm in need of it.
email :: homegrownandthebug [at] gmail [dot] com