Tuesday, January 31, 2012

~~~~~VINTAGE WHITE GLOVE SACHET~~~~~ Celebrating White Wednesday

 1940's Sachet Pin Cushion

Today I'm linking up with Kathleen of Faded Charm for WHITE WEDNESDAY!  I hope you'll pop over and see what all the other party-goers are showing this week!  You're sure to be inspired!  There is so much talent and neat white stuff out there and it will surely make you SWOON!

I just love this darling little wedding/shower favor from the 1940's!  It's a cotton filled sachet-pincushion made of dense white felt and decorated with millinery flowers and roses of the day.  Embellished with sequins and tiny white beads the wrist area includes frothy white netting with even more beads.  All sewn by hand~  Not even a smidgen of glue!  So lovely!  I found it at an Oklahoma City Antique Shoppe for $8.00 and just couldn't resist bringing it home!  I hope to make a pattern off of it and share it with you all soon! 

Snagged a bolt of this fabulous French lace in antique white some time back.  All nylon with the Made In France label still attached!  Love it!
A Family Heirloom

This beautiful old Pocket Watch once belonged to my hubby's grandfather.  He carried it for years and it still works today!  We proudly display it in our home...

I bought this pretty lace vest about fifteen years ago.  I wore it a lot with tired skirts...still love it today!
Lovely Old Print

This is one of my favorite vintage prints ever!  I have no idea who painted it or when!  I hope someday to have a large version of it hanging in my home!  Sooo...if you know who the artist is PLEEZE let me know!!!

Hope your Wednesday is wonderful!

Love to you...

~~~~~CAN YOU S'PLAIN IT TO ME, LUCY?~~~~~ I'm Needing Some Help Here

Dear Peeps~

OK...I got another message in my IN BOX about Blogger and all the changes going on with Google Friend Connect.
Here the quote from Google:

"Google Friend Connect—We're retiring the service for all non-Blogger sites on March 1, 2012."

I'm totally confused.  Are you?  If you are one of the peeps out there in the know and understand what (if anything) we are suppose to do about this (and what will happen if we do nothing!), will you PLEEZE explain it to this
mind ever changing,
can't figure it out,
starting to get nervous,
high-maintenance gal?

Thank You!!!!
Love to you~

Monday, January 30, 2012

~~~~I'M DREAMING OF A WHITE KITCHEN~~~~ Mr. AGPMan, Tear Down This Wall

My Mr. AGPMan and I woke up this morning with sore bones and pounding headaches.  Such is to be expected when a weekend is spent ripping out a very dated 1970's kitchen and some of her surrounding walls.  We are both very tired so I know today is going to be a slow motion day.  I'm going to escape the construction site (which thankfully has been cleaned up) and burrow my way back into my studio.

I'm thankful for work that calls my name.  
(Drawers Removed)

Today I'm going to show you pics my UGLY kitchen...or rather what is left of it.  I've never really shown photos of it before because, well, quite frankly I hate it.  Galley style kitchens are totally non-functional in my opinion and it was the single thing (aside from the dated baths) that ALMOST kept us from purchasing our La Chaumière de Briarwood nearly twenty years ago.  I hated it that much.  But, because I loved the rest of the house (and she had great bones) we signed on the dotted line in July of 1992.
(Water Pipes Behind This Wall)

If someone had told me then it would take years and years before we could see our way through to a total makeover I wouldn't have believed it.  But...raising kids, schooling, college, weddings, etc., do take a priority and our children came first...I love that.  They always will.  Now that they are grown and on their own our time (and ca$h) have been freed up just a little bit.  That brings us to where we are today...

This is a fairly good shot of the entry into our kitchen.  At the back of the photo and to the right you can see the exit to our garage (white door).  This door will be removed  (closed up) and a new exit will be made that will lead to a new bathroom and laundry room with doors to the outside and garage.  Our new kitchen will be made up of what was once our existing kitchen, downstairs bath and laundry room and will be roughly double the size of the old one.  Everything has now been removed except the cabinetry/sink/fridge on the left.

They will be the last to go...
(Love This Look)

The reason our remodel is going to take so long (I've had some emails about me saying it was going to be a year-long project) is because each updating step must follow the one before.  Flooring can't be put in until doorways are enlarged and pipes moved.  Each step has led to something else needing to be done first.  Plus,  #1) we aren't made of money and remodeling is expensive #2) my Mr. AGPMan is a hands-on guy and he will only hire out what he can't do.  Since he's still in school (out in November) his time is limited between classes and study-time.  And finally #3) we are going slow with the re-design because we will live with our decisions for the balance of our lives.  That said, we hope to do it right, not fast!
(Love This One, too!)

As you can see I am favoring something cottage with just a hint of rustic charm.  I'm not crazy about the black in the tiles or the seating at the island, but that's all stuff that can be changed.

Except for the super-big sink I love this layout as well.  Even with our kitchen being enlarged it's still not going to be huge.  So everything will need to be scaled down to look and feel functional and inviting!

And there you have it!  Where we are at present!  It's all exciting, but as I shared with you yesterday it's easy to feel overwhelmed.  All the more reason to stay focused on only what can be done today and nothing more.  The remodel will be finished when it's finished.

Hope your Monday is wonderful.  I'm off to work.

Love to you...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

~~~~THOUGHTS ON A SUNDAY MORNING~~~~ Climbing the Mountain

With all the hammering and nailing going on in our home you can imagine my Mr. AGPMan and I have experienced some harried days of late.  If you've followed my little blog for very long then you know we are in the middle of a pretty intense floor and kitchen makeover project.  The process can be a bit overwhelming at times and Saturday evening's work proved to be just that.  Since we are doing most of the labor ourselves (saves some super-big bucks!) we have to keep a good steady pace while being mindful to at least try and enjoy the process of the renovation.  It's not always easy to do I can assure you!  Although my guy and I are very excited about the changes taking place (it's been nearly a twenty year dream!) it's common for us both to get antsy, tired and even a little grouchy during the transition.  This is especially true if we focus too long and too hard on reaching the final results.  We've calculated the makeover (with us doing most of the work) and it looks like it's going to take us about a full year to complete.

That's a long time to live with our home 'torn up'...
This morning I came across a wonderful little quote that helped plant my feet back on solid ground.  I'm always amazed ('tho I shouldn't be) how God leads me gently to a message of peace when I'm living in a less than peaceful state...

"Live your life each day as you would
climb a mountain.
An occasional glance toward the summit
keeps the goal in mind,
but many beautiful scenes are to be observed
from each new vantage point.
Climb slowly, steadily,
enjoying each passing moment;
and the view from the summit will serve
as a fitting climax
for the journey."
~~Harold V. Melchert

Amazing, huh?

Have a wonderful day in His presence...

Love to you~

Saturday, January 28, 2012

~~~EASY TIPS ON PAINTING LETTERED SIGNS~~~ (and a Crochet Lace Pocket Pillow, too!)


Even before learning how to manipulate images using computer altering software I found myself drawn to all types of vintage sewing ephemera (something transitory or short-lived/a class of collectible items not originally intended to last for more than a short time, such as tickets, posters, postcards, labels, etc.).

I'm especially fond of the paper wrappings once commonly found in old millinery shoppes where spools of ribbon, thread and lace could be purchased for a dressmaker's stitching needs... 

This week I'm going to be working on another painted project that will include reproducing parts of an old lace label onto a wooden sign.  Once a country style checkerboard painted out in country blue, I found the great wooden piece you see above at a tag sale sometime back for a couple of bucks (not much need for such a thing these days)!  Anyway, I primed it (ZINSSER) several weeks ago and last Wednesday applied the final base coat (cottage white) before shabbying up the edges.  I've painted the FANCY LABEL graphic before and always love how the old design comes out...

 Transferring old labels onto signage and such isn't hard to do.  It isn't!!!  There are several ways to get great results, the easiest and fastest being done with a copier.  I enlarged the FANCY LABEL to my desired size and then used graphite paper taped to it's back before tracing around the lettering and/or artwork that's been taped to the sign.  I use the gray colored paper because the black is just too dark for my favorite lettering paint.  You can also rub a pencil over the back of your copier image instead of using the graphite paper, but I've never been happy with the results.  My mother used this technique for years and  I still use it in a pinch...it's just not my favorite!

After you've traced around your lettering and/or image you can begin painting.  I paint primarily in acrylics and using the best brushes your budget can afford is a must.  I favor shaders and liners, but filberts work well, too!  I kind of look at painting lettering like coloring a design out of a color-book.  Just try and be neat and stay inside the lines!!!
Go slow....practice makes perfect you better! :) 
(Lovin' that old crochet lace)

Yesterday I shared with you a little sneak peek at a new vintage lace pillow for my A Gathering Place website.  I haven't been on it much since Christmas because I've been busy making over THREE Train Cases and they have taken most of my focus (and our house redo projects)!  Now that I'm caught up I'll be back to my regular work soon! :)  The pillow will be uploaded later today sometime, and a couple of her friends, too!

By the time you read this I'll probably be out and about junkin' and slummin' with my favorite guy!  Hope to have lots of fun things to share with you this week!


Love to you...

Friday, January 27, 2012

~~~~~~~YUMMY LOVIN' FROM MY OVEN~~~~~~~ A French Toast Casserole To Make You Swoon

"Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so."
David Grayson

Twenty years ago I started a little Valentine tradition that involved the making of a sweet morning treat for my Mr. AGPMan and two children.  Even though both my babes are grown and on their own now I still concoct this tasty treat each year for the man of my dreams :).  Even thought it's not the slightest bit 'LOW CAL' it's absolutely scrumptious and so worth enjoying on a special occasion.

This delicious French Toast Casserole is perfect for those lazy Saturday mornings when you want to stay in bed with your honey reading the paper and cuddling until noon (you still do that, right?)!  Since all the prep work is done the night before all you have to do is pop it in the oven and you're good to go!  You can even go back to snuggling under the covers while it bakes and rises to the sweet smell of cinnamon wafting through your house!
Since I only make the casserole once or twice a year I have yet to photograph it!  I found the photo above online and it looks very similar to how my recipe comes out!  I'm not really thinking about grabbing my camera while I'm baking...
(I'm just sayin'...)

I'll be back tomorrow to show you what I've been working on this week...here's a sneak peek:

Hope your Friday is fab!  My guy and I are going Tag SaleING in the morning and I'm excited.  He begins another in-depth Programming Class on Thursday so I won't see much of him for the next six weeks plus...

Love to you... 

Thursday, January 26, 2012


 St. Louis, MO
Circa 1923

For those of you who visit me fairly regularly then I'm quite sure you'll notice right away that I've changed my blog layout and header.  More changes are still coming and eventually I hope to move back to a two column blog with room for larger pictures and links.  I've wanted to mix things up for a while now and today was finally the day to embrace new challenges and hopefully usher in fresh ideas for not only my own home but my blog and website as well...
She Lived To Be Almost 100

I'm not sure what has come over me of late...  I've never been afraid of change even though I have a tendency to move a little slower than some of you may think. When I was a new bride my heart was set on decorating my home with all the latest and greatest Home Interiors Decor I could find afford.  By the mid 1980's I was fully ensconced in the country movement and not long after that I found myself embracing all things Laura Ashley and romantic.  Then came Rachel A. with her shabbied up cottage chic version of everything chippy, worn, vintage, painted and rosy.
It was love at first sight.
Romantic Anniversary Gift

Through all the trends and changes the one thing I continue to love the most are the soft white linens and laces I first laid my eyes on almost twenty-five years ago in the classic magazine, Victoria.  There was something almost ethereal about those timeless issues and I find I still refer back to them to this day.  I know many of you feel the same.  Today I'm content to take bits and pieces from every era of my decorating life and try work them into my ever evolving home...
Support Beam Installed

I plan on making similar design updates to my website later this weekend, so for those of you who are interested be watchful for changes coming there as well.  Nothing huge is planned, mind you.  I'm still going to sew pillows and sachets and paint hand painted roses, but I want to move away from some aspects of the business I feel are constantly keeping me unfocused.  I'm tired of doing the "same old-same old" and that is the reason behind the desire for change.  So, as I shared with you early last Fall I will be selling off some of my fabric in order to make room for where my heart, mind and spirit are hoping wanting to go.  I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to the fabric topic for those of you who've been waiting for more news.
(Thank you for being patient with me!)
Reading For Framing

That said, I will be offering lots of things on eBay as I work towards whittling down my studio-stock to a more manageable (and reasonable) amount. I have a link on my blog to my eBay site and hope to begin listing some things later tonight.
A Pair of Two Lights

Now...sometime back I picked up a sweet pair of antique sconces at an Estate Sale for $5.00 (for both).  I THINK I told you about them once before, can't remember! :(  Anyway, my Mr. AGPMan (aka:hubby) hung them up for me while he had the doorway opened (easier to get into the walls!) and I'm excited about having them hard-wired with a wall-switch.  

No shades on these beauties...perfect just as they are!  Only thing missing were the candle covers!

I'm looking forward to a great weekend of tag sale shopping.  I'll let you know if I hit pay-dirt!
Love to you...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012



I think these darling antique children's boots are more than charming!  Found at a local vintage market I fell in love with them and just had to bring them home with me...

I found this pair of wee little boots just as you see them...  They have their original laces and were obviously polished up many years ago in a soft dove white. I suspect they were once owned by a girl of about seven or eight.  Today they probably equal a size 1 in young girls.  In my mind I can see her dancing about while being gently raised in cotton~

I so love this tattered old hat complete with vintage millinery roses in white and other softly faded blooms...  It makes my heart sing knowing it once crowned the head of a graceful lady~

A dainty sachet pillow fashioned with vintage laces, old shell buttons and a gorgeous silk and velvet rose...  

Today I'm linking up with
I hope you'll pay the other ladies a visit when you can!  Lots of wonderful whites and loads of inspiration!

Hope your day is lovely...

Love to you~

~~~~I'LL TAKE CURTAIN NUMBER TWO~~~~ Dealing With An Un-Centered Window

(Our Den Today)

I love my home!

I do!  I do!

When my hubby and I first laid eyes on our La Chaumière de Briarwood we fell in love with her and nothing has changed over the past nineteen plus years.  She had great bones and lots of simple charm and we still absolutely adore her!  As the years have passed we've loved caring for her and hope to always call her home.
Thank Heaven For Change
(Close Your Mouth!)

In July of 1992 our two-story beauty was 22 years old.  She was built in 1970 and when we signed the loan papers we knew from the beginning she had a few serious cosmetic flaws.  Her three baths were extremely dated (um...how about the entire home!) and she still had the original builder-grade wallpaper hanging in her entry and stairwell.  There was even wallpaper on some of the ceilings, too!  The walls in the den were layered with a very dark paneling and the one window in the room was UN-CENTERED.  That window was nothing short of a decorator's nightmare from the get-go!

Now...I'm being BRAVE showing you the picture you see above.  As a family we have laughed over this photo more times than I can say.  (All that HUNTER GREEN and RED makes me feel a tad bit blue!)  I loved the cotton Priscilla curtains we hung at that un-centered window and as you can see our dreamy (?) console television served as a piece of furniture.  No matter what I tried or how I arranged or rearranged our furniture nothing has ever fit underneath that window.  Back then we had a couch and a love-seat and even the love-seat was too wide to fit below the window. 
October 2006

When Romantic Homes Magazine came out and shot parts of our home (and Gathering/Train Cases) for their September and October (2006) edition(s) thankfully much had changed in regards to our decor!

But that crazy widow was still proving to be a problem even after more than a decade.  Seating of any kind, a single chair, two chairs or even a sofa looked out of sorts when placed right in front of that window.  
Pretty But Crowded

Finally in 2009 (I think) I purchased this vintage French Dresser and moved it into the room.  But, the room was overly crowded and one could barely walk between the sofa and the dresser's edge.  Besides...I really didn't WANT the dresser in there to begin with!  Still, I had settled on a fairly standard arrangement...the sofa faced the fireplace and the two chairs faced the sofa...
Easy As 1-2-3

With the opening up of one of the walls in our den (read that post here) we were back to the problem of having an un-centered window because I REALLY wanted to place our sofa on that wall.  It was then I remembered a show I saw on CREATE TV (or maybe it was HGTV!) that involved the "HOW- TO'S" on camouflaging an un-centered window.  It ended up being a fairly 'easy' fix for us and honestly I'm amazed we didn't change things up long before now!

Here's what we did!

Our demon-window has plantation shutters (which we love) and the center is right in the middle of the four panels.  Following the pointers on the show I had my guy rehang the curtain rod (he had to extend it) as if there were six panels instead of four.  The left curtain panel hangs over the left shutter panels (or half of the window).  The right side of the window (which is open) is shown as the middle.  The right curtain panel hangs over an empty wall!

Are you following me?  In other words behind the curtain panel on the right there is only a wall...no real window!  Because my curtains are so full you can't even tell there is a window behind the left panel and a wall behind the right!  Now am I making sense?

Until our new wood floors are laid in a couple of weeks I really don't know HOW our furniture will finally end up!  I do know that with the addition of the big black monster (a new flat screen TV) we will have an entirely new problemo on our hands. :(  I hope it doesn't take twenty years to find a way to hide the ugly thing! 

Hope your day is wonderful!

Love to you...

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