Friday, April 30, 2010

~A SECRET SWAP - and Gifts From Sweet Ginger~

When people bless you...they just BLESS! 

You know?
About ten days ago a big ole box arrived on my doorstep!

What could it be?

I wasn't expecting anything...not that I could remember anyway (sorta gettin' old here)!  I hadn't purchased any sweet things of late and I was sure I hadn't won any bids on eBay. luck (which I don't believe in!) hadn't led a single person to draw my name in any of the INCREDIBLE GIVEAWAYS going on over the past month...
I never win anything...(Oops..not true!  I won a FABULOUS Giveaway last year from Martha and also one from Laura...AND I was gifted with a sweet little necklace from Sherry, unexpected books from Marilyn and that 2die4 bonnet from Sara)...  Am I forgetting anyone?  Oh yes...pretty handmade paper roses from Miss Connie!  Am I forgetting someone?  Oh yes...Mary Don...she sent me a menagerie of fabulous old finds!)...
Now...I couldn't WAIT to open this box.  It had MY name on it and the name on the return address label was none other than my friend, Ginger, (who happens to live in the same beautiful state as ME!).  This, of course, made me even more excited to rip it open!

Tucked inside were the most FABULOUS things. All wrapped up in pretty tissue and dainty bows were tiny little packages all for me!   A darling hand made Tussy Mussy, a precious vintage creamy white Creamer, a tiny bejeweled box filled with dainty little finds (like a tiny key, an aging rhinestone earring, old tickets, etc.),  a  vintage crocheted doily and a lovely lace and heart hand-towel...
Now peeps...I ALWAYS have SOMETHING to say (just ask my kids and my siblings) about  EVERYTHING... but when I opened the box of goodies the words just left me.  All I could think of was what a GENEROUS, LOVING friend Ginger is...and how very blessed I am!
 Someday I hope my heart grows as big as yours already is Miss G.  I'm honored to call her friend.  Thank you GingerGirl.  You will never know how very frazzled I was the day your pretties arrived.  It was a little boost from the Most High, sent to me by YOUR loving, gracious, talented hands!

Blessings to you as you remember it is always better to give than receive...(but GETTING is great, too!).

Thursday, April 29, 2010

~MAD HATTER SYNDROME...Keeper of Vintage Millinery Hats~


From as far back as I can remember I've been crazy about vintage hats.  Quite honestly I blame my mother for it.  Forever etched in my memory is a vision of her clothed in a simple black sheath dress, complete with a single strand of creamy white pearls and topped off with a wide brimmed, solid black hat (fresh white gloves of course,  too...)!

Pure loveliness and total femininity.  She was thirty-four years old and I was only 'almost' nine.

I've never been one who could pull off wearing a hat, but...that doesn't keep me from buying them.  Especially those floral finds that come graced with old millinery blooms like cabbage roses and vintage camellias.  And...if there is a sampling of old Forget-Me-Knots or soft white Lilacs in the mix...well then, I'm pretty much sold.

My favorite old hats are the ones made of straw...  I love all kinds but the ones that are rumpled and worn from the 30's and 40's will always steal my heart away...

Now...if a hat is soft pink and includes dainty pink roses or fanciful bows tied up with satin or faille ribbons...well can be sure it's going home with me!

I'd love someday to offer for sale SOME of the hats I discover at out-of-the-way antique shoppes or estate and tag sales...but so far I've never been able to part with a single one.   I feel sooo selfish! :)   

Still, I buy ONLY what I truly love and pass on everything else (just wish I didn't love so much)!  Keeps my Mr. AGPMan from totally flipping out over the cost of things, you know?  Good thing I know a great hiding place for all those receipts...

I'll share more soon...

Blessings for an awesome Thursday.  I'm off to work in my studio (you all are keeping me hopping)...


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

~SHABBY COTTAGE DECOR and My How You Bless Me~

Do you ever wonder what you'd be doing with your life if you didn't do what you do? During my hiatus from selling my wares on eBay and the reopening of my website I thought about this a lot.  I mean...I've done other things in my life and they never brought me the joy I've experienced when creating. 

I'm so thankful I get to do what I love!  I reopened my site last Saturday and you came and you blessed me.  I'm over-the-moon excited over the results and can't thank you enough for your kind words and well wishes.  I'm working on restocking the shelves and I'll have many more pretties like this
 for you to look at this week! 

I'm sure many of the creative girlies (OK...and some guys, too!) out in Blogland are as passionate about what they do as I am!  Here are a few BLOGS for you to peek in on when you have time (you can find links to their there shops, too):  Celeste (Celestina Marie Designs), Lori (Katie's Rose Cottage), Sara (Sara Norris, LTD), Dawn (The Feathered Nest), Maureen (A Rose Without A Thorn), Anne (Fiona and Twig), Lynn (Her Creative Spirit), Rhea (Miss Rhea's), Carol (The Roseberry Cottage), Melissa (The Piney Rose), Janet (Shabby Fufu), Pat (Pat Winter Gatherings), Violetta (VMCreations), Marijke (Marijke's Cards)...

There is so much talent out there and I hope to share more of what I find with you in the near future... but this is a beginning for now!

For those of you who are fortunate enough to actually make a living with your hands I'm sure you, like me,  wouldn't have it any other way.  I know for CERTAIN that if it wasn't for the fact my Mr. AGPMAN (my hardworking underpaid unpaid assistant) works for a major Corporation (with awesome benefits and a consistent paycheck) I would be doing what I do as a hobby and not as my main source of income (sooo...thank you, continue to be my hero!).

Many blessings as you seek out those creative spirits that are yet to be discovered.  And, may you continue to draw inspiration from those who have already blazed a trail led by their passion and grace...

Have a wonderful Tuesday...and thank you again!

An Ever Grateful,

Monday, April 26, 2010


Hacienda Heights, CA
August 1964
Linda (Big Sis), Kathy (Cousin), Cindy (cousin), & Me

After a very busy weekend enjoying the Re-Opening of my website (more about this tomorrow!), I spent some time yesterday working in my garage!  Now...going through boxes of JUNK (not good junk, just JUNK!) is not something I wanted to do on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon!  Still...the thought of waiting to do the much needed clean-up until the Summer when temps climb over 95 degrees outside made me sick.  Besides, I have some furniture in need of a makeover (remember the U-Haul filled with neat stuff I hauled back from Tennessee???) and I needed to make room to paint.
46 Years Ago

Anyway...while I was moving around more boxes than I can say I came across one of those stackable clear bins and it LOOKED to be the MISSING BOX I'd been frantically searching to find for a long time.  My heart skipped a beat because I feared the box had been tossed out by mistake.  The thought of that possibility made me very nervous because it held many irreplaceable mementos...and some of them belonged to my mother.

When I lifted the lid to the bin I was shocked at what I found.  Inside (and right where I'd left them) were all the things I'd been searching for.  Most notably, the neatly folded dress and bonnet I wore in the photo above.  My mother made it for me when I was 5 and my sister, Linda's, too.  Along side of it was the newspaper clipping from 1964.

I've shared with you before that my very talented Mom and her sister, my Auntie P, were ALWAYS doing things to get their girls in the Newspaper.  They were both heavily involved in PTA at the time and the two of them concocted the idea to dress their daughters up as old fashioned school girls to promote BACK TO SCHOOL and joining PTA!  The four of us made the front page of the SUNDAY (this was a big deal even then) San Gabriel Valley Tribune! :)

I'm beginning to understand more and more as the years go by just where my creative spirit came from.

(Thank you continue to inspire me!  I'll return your things to you this week!)

Blessings to you as you begin another week of passionate living in our great-big beautiful world! 

Sunday, April 25, 2010


~From the writings of Max Lucado~

"Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
To these I commit my day.

If I succeed, I will give thanks.
If I fail I will seek His grace.

And then, when the day is done,
I will place my head on my pillow and rest."

Blessings as you pause to praise!  Have a beautiful Sunday...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

~~~~~~~~~~A WEE LITTLE UPDATE ~~~~~~~~~~ A Gathering Place Website

Good Morning, Peeps!

We are putting the final touches on my A Gathering Place Website and are aiming to take it live by 5PM Central/Standard time!  Gosh...we had lots of things to update aside from just uploading product!!!

Just so you know...

I'll be adding more to the Site over the weekend!  I still have almost 40 items to photograph and write descriptions for so I'll be busy through the night!  Whoot!  Whoot!

I didn't want to keep you wondering...thanks for stopping in!

Blessings for an awesome Saturday...

Friday, April 23, 2010




Looking forward to seeing you...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

~CAN WE TALK? Lessons Learned...AGAIN~

Ever have one of those MOMENTS when you get hit up side the head with a little bitty PEBBLE but you find yourself ignoring it?  You know what I'm talking about, right?  That feeling you get in the pit of your stomach that says "STOP!  STOP RIGHT NOW!  You're about to get involved in something (or with someone) that isn't good!"

You decide to ignore that God anointed feeling and then,just when you THINK you are safe and all is well, you get a little bit bigger ROCK slamming right into your forehead!  AGAIN it says "You've been WARNED!  STOP!  You're about to make a biggggg mistake!"  And even though you sorta question just WHAT you are about to do, you start dismissing that inner voice again...  You may even say "OUCH" out loud and yet you still aren't convinced anything is amiss?

Now...if that isn't bad enough, you continue to believe that STILL-SMALL-VOICE is mistaken!   Even though you're pinned up against the wall by a humongous BOULDER and you feel pressure all around, you still question the validity of the feelings deep within your soul?

Have you ever ignored your natural wisdom to the point that an entire MOUNTAINSIDE crashed in on you?

Well my friends that's been me.  Last summer I was gently WARNED by my own heart to turn away from what I KNEW was not a wise path.  But unfortunately I decided to take it anyway. I am 9 months later wishing I'd paid attention to that first tiny pebble.  It would have saved me and my Mr. AGPMan a lot of grief if I'd just trusted my own intuition.

I'm not going to go into what happened to me because at this point it's not critical to my story.  God is fair and in the end He is Just.

What IS important is this....That voice of warning was put inside of all of us for a reason.  Pay attention to it.  Your life will be sooo much sweeter (and a lot less painful) if you do.

 Blessings for a sweet "I'M LISTENING TO MY HEART" kind of day...
PS:  Get a written contract! :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

~SOME DAYS NEVER COME...Living Your Dreams~

 ~SUMMER 1959~
Mom & Me, Gramma, Linda & Great G

In the summer of 2008 my beautiful Grandmother spent an entire month with me here at my La Chaumiere de Briarwood.  It had been years and years since I'd been able to truly enjoy her company and having her here in my home for more than just a couple of days helped me reconnect with her in a very special way.  
 ~SUMMER 2006~
Mom, Linda, Adrienne, Gramma & Me

My Grams and I had deep conversations about all sorts of things.  Because she had long been blinded by Glaucoma we spent many an afternoon either listening to books on tape or swapping out stories from my childhood.  She had always been a loving grandmother, quiet and calm by nature and never once did I ever hear her yell...  OK...maybe a couple of times~like when she was chasing my big sister Linda and I with the flyswatter for misbehavin' or it MIGHT have been most certainly was when I carved my name into her brand new coffee table when I was 8... :(.
~SUMMER 2008~
Miss K, Gramma, Me (with Mollie) and Adrienne

A few days before she was to return to California I sat next to her in my living room while my Mr. AGPMan snapped pictures and video taped us chatting away...  I snuggled up next to her and we laughed and laughed for the longest time.  I once again felt like I was ten years old.  Grams just had a way of making everything in life feel fine.

It was during that conversation, my last with her before her passing that following November, that I would ask her about her life's journey and if she had any regrets about the choices she had made along the way...

Even with her dark shades covering up her shuttered eyes I could tell she was gazing off into the distance.  She answered soft and low but with little emotion...that was her way.   Her response, like everything else she ever said to me, was pure and honest.
Gramma & Me - 2009

"I would never have used the word SOMEDAY " she said.

"SOMEDAY never comes!  It doesn't!!!  Life is short and you don't want to wake up and be 91 and blind and not be able to do all the things you put off while waiting for that SOMEDAY to arrive!"


I dreamed about my Grandmother last night.  I miss her more than I can tell you. Wanna know what she said to me during my slumber?

Can you guess?

"The clock is ticking, Becky!  Best be livin' out your SOMEDAY while you still have time!"


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

~MIRROR MIRROR on the WALL...Tips on Painting Old Finds~


Isn't this a delightfully sweet old mirror?

On the way home from Tennessee last week my Mr. AGPMan and I stopped for a rest in the LITTLE Oklahoma town of Checotah.  It was there, in a tiny (but wonderful) Antique Shoppe, that I spotted this one hundred year old beauty.  I was near faint. It really doesn't take much to get me excited! :)  I'm especially crazy-happy when the price tag of something super-freak-out-wonderful is within my budget! :)

As I've shared with you for the past 16 months or so, I love shopping for vintage finds!  Wandering around old downtown Checotah made me sooo happy!  I found it to be an interesting place...and if you recognize the name a wee bit it MIGHT be because it is the hometown of none other than our own talented Oklahoma singer, Carrie Underwood (they must be proud of her because her picture is EVERYWHERE!).

The mirror was weathered and had been painted a dark golden-coppery color.  Still...she was in fine condition and perfect for the entry of my La Chaumiere de Briarwood.  So...I paid the sweet lady at the counter and crammed my latest conquest inside the U-Haul we were towing with our SUV. 

Now...with a little bit of help from my trusty-can't-live-without-it ZINSSER Primer (you remember it, don't you?) I began the old girl's transformation!

I painted out most (but not all) of the metallic coppery paint and then let it dry overnight.  Next came two FEATHERY coats of Behr's Cottage White paint.  I used a sponge brush to do the painting because it's easier to control than a bristle brush!

Since I wanted some of the metallic paint to show I went back and distressed the mirror with medium grit sand paper.  Now she is simply GORGEOUS...almost looks like she was coated with old Gesso and then aged for 75 years!  Yummo!

As soon as I get the roses painted on the the 3rd Chair I showed you a couple of days ago I'll give you a peek at her makeover as well!

Hope your Tuesday is simply wonderful!


Monday, April 19, 2010

~IT CHANGED OKLAHOMA...and Her People~


Dear Peeps...

Fifteen years ago today Oklahoma City was attacked by a crazy man and our State, as we know it, was changed forever.  It's hard for me to believe so many years have passed since that terrible day.  It  altered the lives of our people and put the Heartland of America on the map in an unprecedented way.

Last year I showed you pictures of the destruction and shots of the beautiful Memorial than now stands where the Murrah Building once stood proud.  This year I'm skipping the graphic photos, opting instead to just show our Flag.  I'm proud to be an American...and even though I'm not a native, I'm more proud than I can say to be called an Oklahoman.

May God have mercy on the souls of angry men and women who seek to destroy the very country that was built on freedom.

Blessings to each of you as you remember the fallen...and those who survived.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

~VINTAGE JAMES REILLY CHAIRS - Shabby Cottage Chic Reveal~


I'm a die-hard junkin' fan! You should ALL know that by now! Whoot!  Whoot!  Tag Sale Shopping in my blood... I tell you IT JUST IS!!!!  And...I've decided that except for my Mr. AGPMan (he's got the mullah and the brawn) there is no one I'd rather go a slummin' with more than my sister, Linda!  She knows the BEST places to shop in her neck of the woods just like I know the best places to junk in Oklahoma.  Together we are a tad bit lethal...boy did we have tons of fun!

A couple of days ago I showed you the photo of three chairs I hauled back home from Tennessee!  I promised to show you pictures of the two I finished and here they are!  Now...let me share with you what I found out about them...

As I was priming the first chair my guy asked me if I'd found a Maker's Mark.  I shook my head no just as he pointed one out under the front band of the first chair!  He grabbed a magnifying glass so we could read the hard to make out name!  Between the two of us were able to determine the first word was the name "JAMES" and part of the second world was the name of "REILLY".  Underneath that we could read  only the letters "M-A-N".  I immediately Googled what I had and discovered the chairs were from approximately 1877 and were made by James Reilly, Manchester, England.

What I wouldn't give to know just HOW they made it to America...and even more so how they landed in a junkie little antique shoppe outside of Nashville...

Now...I'm quite sure the purest of antique dealers would faint over me painting the chairs.  If they had been in pristine (or even premium) condition I probably wouldn't have. know me...I just LOVE painted furniture!  So, I tossed caution to the wind and kept painting.  Shabby Chic Rules! 

I absolutely LOVE the final result!  I used a long retired Laura Ashley soft pink and creamy white toile fabric for the cushion covers (which were completely replaced) and that was pretty much it!  I actually wanted to place a tiny ruffle around the bottom edge but it would have made the cushions an even tighter fit so I opted to leave them plain!

Hope you love the transformation as much as I do!

Now...just want until you see the pink chair!  It's fabulous, too!  All three will be on my website AND offered for sale in my Oklahoma City Antique Booth Space! 

Thanks for stopping in...more transformations coming up soon...

Blessings for a beautiful week!

~IT'S ONLY A PAPER ROSE - Heads-Up for Connie~

A couple of days ago I received an email from my sweet girl-buddy, Connie, from LIVING BEAUTIFULLY.  In it she shared with me a few of the pictures she snapped of some of her hand made rose creations!  Connie is truly the sweetest  of souls! Not only does she have a wicked sense of humor but she is one of the most creative women I've ever NOT had the pleasure of meeting in person!  Maybe someday!

Anyway, this past week Connie did a post on her BLOG about the flowers she makes using coffee filters.  She asked if I would give you all a HEADS-UP about them.  She has started selling them on another one of her Blogs and you can find all the information about them HERE!
 Happy selling, Connie, on this new venture.  May God bless your hands and your heart!
 I hope you'll peek back in later today...I'll be showing pictures of a couple of those sweet chairs from my Friday Post...the came out FAB!

Blog Archive