Tuesday, May 23, 2017

FRENCH LINEN PILLOWS with a BRONCANTE FEEL

 Everywhere you go these days it seems shops are filled with anything and everything inspired by the European markets and vintage flea market finds.  My own little corner of the retail word is no different.
 I'm constantly working on new things to offer my customers (online and in my local booth) and coming up with fresh ideas is sometimes challenging.  This spring and summer season I'm showcasing linen pillows with a French Brocante flair (Brocante means second-hand in French in case you don't know!).  They are soft and feather-filled and have that gently worn, squishy feel to them.
Even the one with the Louis Vuitton image is a vintage graphic and as of today I'm not 100% sure I can sell that one so I'm holding back on it until I know for sure.  It is certainly NOT a VT pillow...let me make that clear.  But the graphic was taken from one of their antique/vintage ads that is over 100 years old...I just removed the horse/buggy from the center.

Today is my next to last day working at Serendipity, the job I've had for almost 4 years.  

I'm excited about the next chapter of my life to begin.

Don't you love that butterfly feeling you get inside when your world and everything you know around you is changing and you know it is for the good?  

I do!

Blessings~

Rebecca

Sunday, May 21, 2017

~THOUGHTS ON A SUNDAY MORNING...CONTENTMENT~

I love this beautiful, yet simple writing from David Swing...

"Let us learn to be content with what we have.

Let us get rid of our false estimates, set up all the higher ideals...
A quiet home,
Vines of our own planting,
A few books full of the inspiration of genius,
A few friends worthy of being loved and able to love in return,
A hundred innocent pleasures that bring no pain or remorse,
A devotion to the right that will never swerve,
A simple religion empty of all bigotry, full of trust and hope and love~
and to such a philosophy that this world will give up all the joy it has."

~*~

And this one from Henry David Thoreau...

Our life is frittered away by detail.

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!

~*~

Have an awesome Sunday. 

Blessings.

Rebecca



Friday, May 19, 2017

MAKE A BIG DEAL OUT OF YOUR LIFE

 
If you have something you are called to you do with your life, something that you haven't yet done, please hear me today!

Get up and go do it!

You have one life and one day you will long for the chance to do the very thing you were meant to do.  Today is the day to say yes!

Don't let this moment pass you by.  You have one life...

Make a big deal out of it!

~*~

A year ago today my Mr. AGP Man and I, along with our adult daughter, Adrienne, were in a terrible car accident that stole away a good portion of our lives.  I didn't know it then, but it would take the better part of a full year to recover and it changed me forever.

After months of painful physical therapy and spinal surgery last March, the pieces of my broken body and life have begun the reassembling process.

It's been hard.

But I'm determined to regain my strength and find new purpose and a fresh calling.

I've discovered that peace doesn't dwell in outward things.

It never did.
It lives within my soul.

~*~

To celebrate surviving one of the most challenging of all my years I'm eating
ice cream
today.

Two scoops.

And...most importantly, I'm thanking God for giving me another chance to complete
the things still left undone.

Blessings.

Rebecca

Thursday, May 18, 2017

French Farmhouse Signs...Amazing Grace

A Gathering Place - Vintage Window
Amazing Grace

Hans Hofmann said
"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." 

Today I am all about keeping my life calm and seeking peace, grace and comfort in all things. 
 A Gathering Place - Farmhouse Style Signs

Miss Mollie - A Few Years Ago


This morning I sat outside for longer than usual while enjoying the presence of my fourteen year old Yorkie, Mollie.  My mind wandered for a bit, remembering the sweet days when she would chase the squirrels that lived amongst our many trees here at my La Chaumière de Briarwood.  Years ago, after exhausting herself, Mollie would gently inch her way back to me, her topaz colored fur covered lightly in a dusting of our famed Oklahoma red dirt.
She was full of life...and attitude.

Today she was happy to lay by my side as the great-grandsquirrels (no doubt the offspring of those she once tormented) played around her.  I can't help but wonder if she misses the days of her youth like I do or if she is content to rest and just remember...

I'm glad I've had her to love for so long.

~*~

"I do not ask that life shall be
Forever care and sorrow free,
Nor that some distant morning I
Shall not awake to grieve and sigh.
I ask but faith to stand before
Whate'er the future has in store.

Let me be one whose courage springs
From all the countless little things
Of joy and beauty which abound
Wherever man may look around.
Let me exult in peace or strife
That I have had the gift of life."
(Edgar A. Guest) 

Blessings...

Rebecca

Monday, May 15, 2017

~WHAT TO DO WITH THOSE MOTHER'S DAY FLOWERS~

Whether it takes the form of a beautiful bouquet or a hastily picked florals from an obliging field, flowers never ever fail to delight us, do they?  My Mr. AGP Man gifts me with roses every year for Mother's Day...he's thoughtful and kind like that.  And now that my children are grown I always have an abundance of flowers this time of year!
I'm always happy to place them into pretty, unconventional containers and I've used this old glass and silver plated pitcher for many years now.  Eighteen roses fit perfectly inside and they last for several days if the water is routinely changed out.
I don't really remember when I started to air-dry my roses, but it was many years ago.  I guess I lose a couple days of fresh-flower-beauty when opting to dry my florals early, but this way I'm able to enjoy them for several years if I care for them properly.  They also can be used in making the most amazing potpourri for my home.
This sweet little bouquet started out as a bouquet of petite pink roses and they were dried over two years ago.

Easily preserved in bunches, I just secure the stems with rubber bands and hang upside down on S-shaped hooks.  In the right conditions (out of direct sun) they will dry in about 4 days depending on the the size and denseness of my blooms.

Did you know that potpourris were originally stored in ceramic jars and were only opened when someone used the room in which they had been placed?  They were positioned near a heat source (like a fireplace) and as they warmed up the lid was removed to release the fragrance.

We've come a long way today with scented products, haven't we?  Although I love candles (I only burn soy with led-free wicks!), I still love homemade potpourri. Every year I make at least one to three batches inside my kitchen, depending on the flowers I have available.  

Here's the recipe I use:

1 cup in rose petals & buds
1 cup mixed petals like pink, white (they turn creamy yellow) or red roses, larkspur or peony 
3/4 cup chopped bay or sweet gale leaves
4 teaspoons powdered orris root
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 drops essential oil (I use rose or lavender)**
2 drops rose or geranium oil**
A few whole roses for decoration

To the flowers add the fixatives and spices and other dry ingredients.  Gently mix with your hands or a wooden spoon.  Add oils and mix again with your hands.  Place your mixture into paper bags and loosely seal with twine.  Place in a cool, dry place and cure for 4-6 weeks, shaking occasionally.  ENJOY in pretty bowls and beautiful for gift giving for almost any celebration!

If you plan ahead you'll have several batches ready for the Christmas and Holiday season.
(Did I just say that?)

When my daughter was little we made potpourri together and it was a great bonding time for us and it didn't include eating a bunch of sugar!
(**Today I use Living Oils Essential Oils because I believe they are some of the best and purest oils available.)   

Have fun and experiment.  There are tons of recipes online so check it!

Thanks for stopping in today.

Love to you...

Rebecca



 


~THOUGHTS ON A SUNDAY MORNING...My Mother~

 My Mom is now the matriarch of our entire family.  Today she is far older than her own grandmother was in the picture above.  This photo was taken when I was a baby...a long, long time ago now.  My beautiful Grandmother and Great-Grandmother passed on many years ago.

Only my Mom remains.

I've watched my Mother grow truly elderly over the past several years, her body weakened from age, her voice crackled by time.  But, her mind is still sharp and I'm grateful we can talk, laugh and reminisce together because it wasn't always like that.

I can't help but wince a bit when I think back upon my teenage years and even those of my early 20's.  I did NOT like my Mom back then.  I didn't think she understood me or knew anything about life...or me.

How silly.

Life has been challenging for my Mom since my Father's slipped behind the heathered hill.  She quietly longs for the physical strength he gave her and the spiritual wisdom he always tried to impart.  Still, I sense a deep settled peace within her and seeing her yesterday brought me great joy. 

I continue to feel extremely grateful I'm able to spend physical time with the most talented woman I've ever known.

(Her prayers kept me going last year.)

Thankful today I can call her both Momma and friend.

Hope your day was a special.

Love to you...

Rebecca

Saturday, May 13, 2017

~DECISIONS...DECISIONS...DECISIONS~

I shared with you a few days ago that I had made a couple of decisions about some things in my life and I'm now free to share with you what I have planned.

First...and most importantly to me is...I gave my two week notice to the owner of the shoppe where I have my booth.  I have worked there two days a week (and one Saturday a month) and have for almost four years now.  I first took the job when my Mr. AGP Man was laid off from the big RED X (Xerox) in July of '13 and for one reason or another I just stayed on after he found another position.  

Even though there were aspects of working at the store that I loved...I did NOT love being away from my home every Tuesday and Friday and I began to dread the one Saturday I worked.  I LOVED the people that came in, especially my online customers who made their way to Oklahoma!  But, I longed to return to my handwork, website and my wee-little-blog.  I knew if I didn't leave the job I would never get back to doing what I've missed most in my life.

I promised myself after the accident we had last May 19th that if I ever regained my health then I would return to what I've always believed has been my calling.  And that is to create new offerings from discarded finds, vintage laces, trims, ribbons and long forgotten oddities.  I've missed my artwork and especially painting pink roses.

Today was my last Saturday at Serendipity.  I have four days left and then my life will be my own once again.  I'm looking forward to simpler days inside my La Chaumière de Briarwood, the thrill of the hunt that comes with junking and tag sale shopping and sharing my finds
and heart
with you.

Love to you...

Rebecca





Wednesday, May 10, 2017

~MOLLIE and the HAWK~

 
Mollie at One Year

This post is a little unsettling, so please read carefully...  Our little dog, Mollie, is FINE, but had we not been watching our surroundings things could have turned out much differently.

I shared with you all sometime back that our Miss Mollie Girl, our 14.4 year old Yorkie, is dealing with some major health issues.  My Mr. AGP Man and I have wrestled for quite a while about how to deal with the inevitable, but we love her and as long as she's not in pain we are doing everything we can to make her life as wonderful as possible.  We know MoMo is living her last days so each one is a treasure.
Three Year Old Mollie

Mollie has her good days and days when she does little more than sleep.  Yesterday was a GREAT DAY for her.  She was spunky and alert and more like her old [young] self.  I love days like this when we cuddle and play a bit and she's excited about going outside.
Mollie in 2008-Ready for Vacation

Yesterday evening my Mr. worked hard out in the front yard and had just finished mowing and edging the lawn when dusk was almost upon him.  Mollie and I joined him outdoors for a few minutes as she still loves investigating and hunting for bugs (ugh!).  I freely allowed her to roam about in the front yard because she has never been one to wander off or go near the street.

While I was chatting with my husband he stopped for a second and said "Did you see that?"  I said "What was THAT?"  he quickly replied "THAT HUGE HAWK!"  The large bird had been circling above us before flying into one of our many low-hanging trees. As we watched the hawk we both immediately realized the bird was eyeing every move our little dog was making.
Mollie in the Snow - 2010

Honestly...I was totally freaked out and couldn't run fast enough towards our beautiful dog.  I scooped her up and ran back towards the safety of our front porch just as hawk came out from the branches and flew by us.

Because Mollie isn't much more than 4 pounds or so (thinner than her normal 5.5 weight) I keep a little shirt or lightweight sweater on her at all times.  Last night she was wearing a soft gray, almost white, t-shirt and combined with her light colored hair (which today is quite silver), I'm sure she was easily seen.

Mollie was completely clueless as to what nearly happened to her.   After we came in (and calmed down) I googled "Hawks and Yorkies" and I was SHOCKED to see what came up.  I'm going to spare you the details of what I read...I'll let you look if you want to.

I just want to say PLEASE be careful with your animals.  Even those on leashes or living amongst citified homes are often visited by hawks searching for prey.

Today I have another reason to be thankful.

Love to you...

Rebecca







Tuesday, May 9, 2017

~HEADED TOWARDS BETTER THINGS...SO STRAIGHTEN THAT CROWN!~

Ever have one of those days when you finally make a decision about something and then after you make it you wonder, even if for a second or two, if it was the right one?

That is how I felt today.  For months and months I knew this day was coming.

I fretted over it.
Prayed about it.
Chatted with my Mr. AGP Man about it.
Whined about it.
Cried about it.
And then made peace with it.
 
In the end I came to this one conclusion.

Change is almost always hard.
Even good changes.

Although I can't speak of the specifics just yet, I can tell you this...

I'm headed in the right direction.

That means having more time to do what I love most while being completely faithful and focused on my calling.

We all have one.
(A CALLING!!!!)

You know that, right?

And we are most at peace when following the very thing that God knitted into our hearts.
At least I am!
(Daughter-in-Love & Me Last Sunday) 

I can't help but thank God today for the assurance of His presence.

When I stumble or fall-
Lose my way-
Or even forget His promises-

He gently reminds me that I am never alone and in all that life brings
He is there.

Love to you...

Rebecca
(Have I told you lately how GRATEFUL I am for my health?  XO)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

~THOUGHTS ON A SUNDAY MORNING...Recapturing Moments of Innocence~

 Last summer a new family moved into our neighborhood.  The original owners, who were probably the age my Mr. AGP Man and I are today, moved away about 15 years ago and have since passed on.  We called him The Bernina Man because he owned the sewing store in our town.  Their boys were grown and our relationship with them was friendly and cordial with lots of hand-waves and chatting at the mailbox!  The next set of owners were quiet people even though they were very kind.  Ms. D sadly passed away two years ago from cancer and her husband sold the house to the family that now calls it home.
One day while working up in my studio I heard an odd banging sound outside.  Because lots of renovations were being made to the house and grounds (some major ones in fact!) I dismissed it at first.  But...it kept on and on and so out of curiosity I peaked out from one of the room's two shuttered windows to see what was going on.  There was this thud, thud, thud noise and then sometimes a softer sound, like the scrambling of feet followed often by the sound of metal and then another thud.
(I knew it wasn't a power-tool or yard equipment because I know those sounds so well!!!)

It was then I saw three young boys bouncing and dribbling a nearly flat basketball.  Their scurrying around, followed by the familiar sound of a SWOOSH, made me smile big!  Children had finally re-entered our neighborhood after a very, very long absence.  My children have been out of high school for almost 15 years now and it's been about that long since we heard the wonderful sounds of childhood play.
I didn't know until I heard those young boys laughing how much I missed the sounds of innocence.  I began to long for the cuddles from my two babes...forever grown and settled into their adult lives.  Never to return again to the safety of their small twin beds, scattered puzzles, Legos and blanketed baby dolls.


In childhood, where we dwell in the world of carefree play, joy is found in a simple ride around a merry-go-round, the thrill of a push upon the seat of a rickety old swing or even in the bouncing of an under-inflated basketball.

Childhood.
It's magical...
Especially when we find we've grown beyond it.
 As I continue to heal from my injuries I've made it my mission to recapture some of the innocence I think I lost last year.  

I refuse to become bitter or angry over days lost or stolen health.

And so~I'm spending some time this week journeying back into the sweetness of my childhood.  I know it will be there I rediscover more about who I am
and also the person God desires me to become in the future.

"Lord of hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
Whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy.
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of day."
(J. Struther)

Love to you...

Rebecca

Friday, May 5, 2017

~FRENCH FARMHOUSE STYLE CABINET MAKEOVER~


 
Well...do or die I was going to FINISH the transformation of this neat old cabinet if it killed me.  My Mr. AGP Man told me at 11:00 PM (that would be last night or Thursday!) he was going to bed.  I said I'd be there in a few...

Yeah...RIGHT!
(I say that a lot!  Just a FEW MORE....)

 Now it's early morning and I'm finally done with BOTH the pieces I showed you yesterday!

Remember this?
 This cabinet MIGHT have been great during the 90's when trompe l'oeil was really popular, but I'm not sure it would fit today!

(Remember when you could buy topiary stencils?  Country Inn & Suites had them all over their hotels...not sure if they still do today!)

After sanding the cabinet down (especially the front) I de-greased it and then applied a coat of beige paint (flat) followed by two coats of white paint (flat).
After the paint was dry (and after I put a roast in the oven for dinner) I distressed it before adding vintage French images. 
 
(Here's a tip...go to Graphics Fairy and check out her transfer techniques.  There are many to choose from and all but one or two I've used over the years.)
 After the transfer was dry I lightly sanded down the lettering before applying a light wax followed by a dark was in the corners, etc.

This piece is really too big to ship so it is destined for my booth instead of my website
(www.RebeccaVintage.com).

I'm working at the store where I have a booth today and this is going with me.  My Mistah is going with me to unload this one and the desk I showed you yesterday.
(Yep...I got it done too!)

Yeah, I know.  I'm kinda crazy like that!
But...if you felt locked up in a room doing NOTHING for nearly 10 months you'd be breaking out of the madness as well.  Listen...I'm just so happy I have my life back so work is GREAT.GREAT.GREAT!
(getting.better.everyday)

 I'll be back soon to share with you how the desk came out.  That one I just freshened up with white paint, sanded down the top and re-stained it.  A light coat of wax over the paint and it was done.

More than anything I'm so grateful to be able to return to what I love.  
 It was a LONG year....

More soon.

Love to you~

Rebecca

 
  



Thursday, May 4, 2017

~TRANSFORMING CRUSTY OLD FINDS~

I've had a busy week as I've worked towards getting BACK into the groove of doing things I love! I'm almost done with the Vintage Train Case Makeover I told you about last week and yesterday, while out junkin' and slummin', I found several amazing pieces of furniture that are destined for a transformation as well.  I found the most amazing place EVAH!  Not new to my town, but certainly to me.

After all I haven't done much tag sale shopping since May of 2016.  One of the things I missed doing with my Mr. AGP Man!
I'm soooo OUT of the practice of blogging!  I had my phone camera with me, which was fine.  But, I failed to bring my Cannon Rebel along for the trip and that is my go-to, sure-shot way I photograph my finds.  Anyway...I snapped a few pictures of an incredible desk...one that I fell in love with.  This one for sure is going into my booth!  I sold several pieces of furniture last month and now my little space is HUNGRY for more...
 I'm pretty sure the desk came from Spiegel as part of the original label is underneath.  It's not an antique by any means...more likely it falls under what I call
ALMOST VINTAGE! 
  It needs a repaint and top needs some sanding and restaining.  I may change out the knobs as well.  We'll see!
 Now...looking at this cabinet in the photo will fool you!  It is chest high and several years ago you could find them here and there.  Back when stenciling with hand painted accents were popular!
 This one has seen some better days and I can't wait to get it painted and [farmhoused up!]  For sure it will be painted with a couple of coats of soft white paint and I'll probably add some sort of French transfer to the front.
 I can see it in a bath or something!  
I'm excited to get started on both these great finds.

As I work my way back into my studio I'm ovah-de-moon HAPPY about creating more handwork! Snagging some old lace is always fun!  I especially love the cotton cluny lace!



 But...this old hat with the white roses is simply fabulous as well!  They are getting harder to find these days!

OK...there you have it.  As soon as I finish up these latest projects I'll share the final results.

Hope today finds you happy and well!  Gosh...I've SO MISSED YOU
and my life.

Love to you...

Rebecca 


Monday, May 1, 2017

~ALREADY MONDAY?~

 Is it already 3:00 on Monday?  No way!  Ugh.  
Isn't it crazy how some days just slip away from you?  I have a tendency to gauge the success of my day by how much I've gotten done by noon.  

Well today must be an EPIC FAIL DAY because except for letting my Miss Mollie Dog out and going to physical therapy NOTHING on my growing to-do-list has been scratched off.

I remember when my children were young and we were always hustling and bustling somewhere.  Sometimes I miss those crazy days when I truly understood my role as a "MOM".
Gosh...I miss them a lot sometimes...

Anyway...my bed is unmade (got up late!) and I haven't even thought about dinner.
I love that eating out is always an option excuse for ME when my days spin out of control...

But...since my Mr. AGP Man and I are back on low-carb eating dining-out is difficult for us.  The steroid injections I was given late last year assisted in helping me pack on about 20 pounds (inactivity too!).  My guy has gained about 15 [elle bees].  He said it was from 'sympathy eating'.  (ERRRR...)   Anyway...my goal is to lose it all by mid summer.  We'll see!  Either that or I'll have to purchase new clothes.

  Yesterday I did finish the sign you see at the top and was thrilled when one of my long-time customers (going back to the old eBay days!) purchased it.  Thank you K.L.  Signs are all the rage right now, no-doubt because of the Fixer-Upper Show.

I'm bummed it's coming to an end.
Aren't you?

One last thing...I've been away for so long I'm wanting to join in some link-parties.  Can any of you tell me the best or most informative/exciting ones going on right now?  I'm having trouble navigating all the changes that have taken place in the blogging world since I've been gone.

Big hugs and huge thanks!

Love to you...

Rebecca

   



 

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