Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Simple Silver Sunday Blog

Whew, am I tired. For the past week, I have been visiting some pretty amazing places, all from the comfort of my magic carpet. I am participating in the One World One Heart Journey. I have to say that I saw some really nice silver give aways on this trip, including some fabulous mercury glass votives that I am keeping my fingers crossed that I may win. But today is Silver Sunday and you will find me here, feet firmly on the ground ..... in a very cold 6 degrees Maine. Thankfully, at least it isn't snowing, yet.
Silver Snowman on the door is getting ready to be replaced with lots of hearts for February.

I had prepared for this post ... my photos were taken .... but the Internet decided to be slow, very slow, very, very slow. You get the idea. I was able to upload only three photos, so I have only one silver treasure to share.

My father-in-law passed away several years ago. In gathering things to post for today, I remembered the old silver watch belonging to him that was passed down to us. There had been an old cigar box that Joe had used as his safety deposit box of sorts, and that was where I found the watch ..... and much more.

There was a silver crucifix, a silver/black pocket knife carried daily and something silver and blue.

It was a bookmark lovingly made by my daughter when she was 7 and given to her beloved grandfather, Sepe. I never realized that it found safekeeping in this treasure box, put there by Joe himself. I guess he felt that it was a worthy treasure. I would agree. Not everything valuable has to be sterling silver.

(I'll save those for next week -- see you then.) Please don't forget to say Hi to our host Beth at Gypsy Fish Journal for throwing this great party.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ticket Holder to the Magic Carpet Ride

Come Ride the Magic Carpet Ride!

It is time for One World One Heart, an international blogging event created and hosted by Lisa at A Whimsical Bohemian, to officially begin. How appropriate it is to respond to this global call to join together, to talk and to share, especially as the crisis in Haiti continues to be in our daily lives, our hearts and prayers. Let us all take this time to reach across the countries to say Hello, it is nice to meet you, how are you, and glad that we met. It makes the world a smaller and friendlier place. So I bid you all a hearty welcome to my post, allow me to introduce myself.

I am a 40 something mom of one (now college age) daughter, self employed with 2 businesses, avid gardener (is it Spring yet?), cook and artist. I was born and raised in Maine and still reside here. Mainers take great pride in our State. The sun rises first upon this most eastern part of the United States, along our rocky coastline. May I also mention that a cooked Maine lobster dipped in melted butter, is pure heaven .... "wicked good". To understand what a true "Mainer" is consider this: Two men each in their 80's are sitting on the front porch talking about a third man, a friend of theirs. An argument had been ensuing about the residential status of this absent friend. The first gentleman says "I have known John all my life as my next door neighbor, right here in Maine, and I am 82. Of course he is a Mainer! To which the other gentleman adamantly responded "No he isn't....he is 83 and moved to Maine when he was one."

I have been to Tokyo, Berlin, Paris, and many other places that perhaps I will hear comments from in the next few weeks, unfortunately these visits were not real, but from the pages of books. Each page read, was another personal carpet ride to a new adventure. I made countless safari trips to Africa (with my imaginary pet lion), had tea with the Mad Hatter and was a princess, cowgirl, astronaut, famous dancer, singer and detective. I couldn't wait until I was finally old enough to receive my very own library card. No passport or train/airline ticket could ever take me to the places visited through books. It was indeed a magic carpet ride!

For those visiting today, please share with me what it is like where you live, what is a favorite food for you, are you down the road apiece as they say, or around the corner, across the miles or across the pond? For all those who leave a comment on this post, you will be eligible to win my give-away, my first one. From now until February 15th, please leave a comment with a link back to yourself or an e-mail address to be contacted if the winner. One will be randomly chosen and announced at 12 noon, U.S. Eastern Time, on the 15th. After leaving your comment, please click on the One World One Heart logo on my sidebar to start your journey to all the other ticket holders for this carpet ride.

By the way, this is my give-away. As I love all things vintage, here is a hand-made lingerie pouch, 2 vintage floral handkerchiefs, a hand-made roses barrette, and a lovely pink bracelet, marked Coro, a US jewelry manufacturer in the 1950's. I hope that you like them. I look forward to meeting you all. Thank you for visiting.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sharing my Silver with you

It is Silver Sunday and welcome to my post. Thank you for stopping by for a visit. By the way, for those who have visited before, please note the name change, hope that you like it. Also, please be sure to say hello to Beth, our glittering hostess, at and the other participating "Silver Sunday Sistas" to see all the silver fun.

I call this photo "Silver Icicles on a Winter's Day"

As a caterer, I am always picking up serving pieces to use, brand new, lawn sale or thrift store finds. Here is a sample of silver ladles or gravy spoons. The first spoon pictured on the bottom is just marked stainless. The second spoon, my favorite in its simplicity, is stamped Viners of Sheffield England, Empire Stainless Steel. The third spoon is marked Japan with Pageant, Stainless Harvest. The fourth spoon is marked Rogers or Royers, too small to make out. the biggest spoon at the top, is marked Oneida LTD, Silversmiths.

In my 8th grade literature book, there was a short story about a woman that walks in to a silver shop and requests to be shown their most expensive silver ladle. The proprietor hands the woman a beautiful piece, simple, with no adornments. The woman is offended. The ladle is to be a wedding gift for a very prominent and influential couple. She would be embarrassed to present such a simple and presumably common gift. The owner patiently explained that anyone can create an item covered with embellishments, perhaps unnecessary touches. A rosette or curlicue design may be covering flaws in the piece. It takes true craftsmanship to create a simple and flawless piece thereby making it priceless. I wish I had noted the author's name as I have often told that story to make that same point.

These pieces above, except the cake server, are all marked Oneida LTD Silversmiths and have such a beautiful soft shine. The cake server has no markings and is quite a heavy piece.

The next three pieces are all marked China, and although they are shiny, it is a bright and cheap shin
e. I keep them to use for utilitarian purposes only and don't mind if one of these pieces gets lost.

I love the fork to the left, kind of a crinkle cut design, it is marked Korea. The other 2 pieces are both Cuisinart 18/10 Stainless.

I don't own much silver for my own personal dining table; however, I had purchased these salt and pepper shakers from a large and well known shop in Maine. This was several years after I had been married, still with no formal set of "good china". I had a moment of weakness, thinking that since I was now married and a new home owner, that it was time to start a proper dish collection, meaning from Macy's or some other similar retail establishment. This shaker set is beautiful, and I do love them, but thankfully, they were the only official store bought formal purchase that I have made.

I was married in 1980. I did not have a gift registry on file, again at a store like Macy's. My friends and family were broke, times were tough. I received 3 crock pots and tons of towels among the assorted gifts of home-made pillows, quilts, cook books, can openers and a blender. All those gifts are now gone, all lovingly used. The one gift that remains, was my most cherished gift of all, a silver tray, silver plate to be exact, with a little fork. It is a "party set" produced by Rogers Bros, marked IS, 199, America's Finest Silver Plate. Whenever we entertained, the tray would be used.... for cheese and crackers or nuts or olives. It made me feel like such a proper little hostess. After each use, the tray would be carefully washed, wiped dry and be put back in its box for safe keeping. Needless to say, I now own a substantial collection of trays and other serving pieces, that are large enough for crowds of 40 - 100. But I will always remember how I felt when I would bring out that little tray for the few slices of cheese it would hold and how I dreamed of becoming the hostess that I became.
My last piece of silver, a 25th Silver Anniversary plate.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a chance to say hello. Looking forward to our visit together next Sunday.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Finding lost treasures in my sewing room.

I admit it. I had boxes of stuff, on the landing in front of my craft room, on the floor of my craft room and covering each step of the back stairs leading to my craft room. (I tend to use those stairs as storage shelf space - no one sees the stairs.) I am almost embarrassed to show the pictures. I had been so busy late summer with first organizing my lawn sale and then in early fall, directing 2 fundraising drives with non-profits I volunteer with, then participating in a craft fair in November not to mention decorating and cooking for Thanksgiving and Christmas and everything else that is associated with the holidays. Did I also mention that my lovely daughter, who is an art major in college, comes home to "shop" for supplies from my sewing room. It was too easy not to put things back where they belonged or to just grab supplies and head to the kitchen table to work. Now mind you, this is not an excuse, but real reasons why my sewing room exploded.

So when making resolutions for New Year's Eve, my first goal was to organize my space ........ and 27 hours later, yes, sadly, it took all that time to accomplish, I have a clean work surface to create upon and easy access to all my supplies. Who needed Champagne or dancing, I was uncovering all kinds of lost treasures. Now that is a good way to start off the year! By the way, you know that you are doing serious organizing when you get out the label maker and start labeling (or that you even own a label maker).

I was amazed at how much stuff I have. It is so easy to accumulate. I found things that I don't remember where I got them, or even that I had them..... several dilapidated vintage children's books that had a page here and there still intact to copy and use, pieces of tin tiles perfect for my metal angel series, and what ended up to be a full, very full, bag of feathers. Now, some of the feathers were from a Girl Scout project years ago on native American art, some of the feathers were from a costume I made for my friend as an ice princess, and others were from a peacock costume I made for myself........ the rest.......I have no idea why. Come on, I know I am not alone in this.

The best part of cleaning up my room, was that I found items that didn't belong there, like this sweet little ballerina, dog and kitten. I know I got them all from Goodwill, the blue $.99 cent tags were still showing. They are each marked Japan.

This white ceramic piece had to have been a lawn sale find. I am not familiar with the markings on this piece and would appreciate your help in identifying her origin.

This weekend I am actually going to create some Valentine Day cards because I can!! I have the supplies, the clean table, and apparently, lots and lots of feathers!! Let's see what I come up with. Isn't cleaning fun.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Change in Name Official

This is a photo of my new key. Who knew that something as utilitarian as a key could be made so stylish! I found this at Lowe's when looking for wooden finials. It just adds a little bling to my key chain. It is fun. It's me!

It is just like my new blog title..... something more fun ... more me.

Thank you to my wonderful blogging buddies who took the time to offer their support and advise on my decision to change the title of my blog. It was as if we had sat down for a cup of tea and had a nice chat. Honestly, if you are ever up in Maine, drinks and a lobster roll are on me. As you can see, I did change the name to A Conversation at Goodwill. I do love the sound of it. For any of my followers, you don't have to change anything. On your own sites, under sites you follow, it should already show as the new name. It was a low tech solution, just editing the name under layout. The actual official address still shows needle nails and lawnsale finds, but anyone clicking on the new name or my site photo will get right here.

Although I had carefully picked my first title to represent that I sew, paint, and build things, along with being the queen of thrift stores and lawnsales, it seemed more appropriate that my posts were more like conversations with friends. Now that the holidays are over, and my sewing room has been cleaned ..... I will start posting more of my finds and creations.... with more conversations to follow. As always, thank you friends for joining me on this wonderful journey of blogging. I've got the key .... let's go!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I need your advise. What is in a name?

I have been debating doing a name change of my blog. I need your advise. When I first began my blog, I wanted to convey that I sew and build my treasures from lawnsale or thrift store finds. Hence the title of my blog. However, in a recent post commenting on what I had learned from my blogging friends, I thanked Tiff at Folded Gingham for introducing me to the wonderful world of blogging. This conversation had taken place at the local Goodwill store, after work on a Friday night ..... where else. I joked that I should have titled my blog just that "a conversation at goodwill". It has since stuck .... making me question the name change.

I have only been blogging a few months but don't want to lose anyone by changing my name. The new title reads better, and rolls off the tip of your tongue. I am hesitant about blogging protocol. Is it acceptable to change your title, I promise it will only be this once. For those who might suggest just creating a new blog, I would not have enough to keep two blogs current. So thank you now for all who comment. I am really looking forward to your advise.

An Update: If I just change the title as an edit under layout, (I already tried this), it does not change the actual address of the blog. So anyone who is following me is still connected to my post. That makes sense, right?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Silver Sunday 3

I thought I would be better prepared this week for Silver Sunday. It has been a bit of two steps forward and one step back, not to mention having a sick child all week. So here is what I pulled together. Thank you for stopping by to say Hello.

First of all, a thank you to Jill at Gypsy Brocante. She has posted a winner of her fab blackboard trays. Sounds like she has something for next week as well. Please check out her site.
This is my favorite piece of silver. It is a cherished family memory and keepsake. I believe it is a christening or baptism cup. I am hoping that my learned blogging friends can provide some feedback on that. It will still take a polish but I prefer the tarnished flavor of the piece. There is a face on the handle, and it is engraved with the name Annie, my great grandmother. I don't have many treasures from my Dad's family, very few actually exist, so I am thankful to have this.

Not sure if it counts as a Silver Treasure, but my daughter, age 5, in her silver ballet costume, is a family treasure for me.

I don't usually decorate with silver, but I tend to be drawn to shiny silver frames. The mirrored frame is my daughter's (yes, the little ballerina) High School graduation photo, the one next to it is of me, age 2, with my cousin's college cap, and the three little girls are my sisters, with me off to the side, wearing our Easter finery.

One of my favorite little silver frames, holds a photo of my mom on her wedding day. I have also included the silver grapes from my bowl of silver fruit, shown earlier, from my best friend.

Finally, here is an an unassuming silver tray. I just purchased it yesterday from Goodwill for $.99 cents. The tag still shows. With all the wonderful blackboard trays that I saw last week at Silver Sunday, I am getting ready to create one of my own. Thanks for all the tips and tutorials on the subject.

Thanks again to Beth at for hosting this party. Please be sure to check out her post and all the other participants. See you next Sunday.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Remember when you were a Girl Scout?

The February issue of Country Living Magazine has a delightful article on Girl Scout Collectibles. It brought back a lot of good memories, as a girl scout myself in the 70's and years later as my daughter's Girl Scout Leader. Both memories are as equally as enjoyable.

The article shows the progression of badge styles from 1913 - 1980. Of course I was a Brownie first and then from 1970 -1973 a Girl Scout. I actually earned the sign language badge that is showing as vintage ..... boy, do I feel old!

Here is my sash and below is a picture of me in full Girl Scout Dress Uniform. I know, I know, I look so serious .... honestly I was having fun.

My favorite badges dealt with art, of course.

I had so much fun as a troop leader. My girls enjoyed making necklaces from hardware store nuts and bolts, bottle caps, safety pins, paperclips and beads. We also did a time capsule that is buried in my backyard. There is an elderly housing complex next door to my home and every holiday, the troop and I packed up a party of food, decorations, music and crafts and took it next door. The residents loved having us over, and would look forward to it, weeks in advance of the event. My girls were equally as excited. They loved helping cut out shapes and gluing on the glitter, for what ever the holiday was. It was so nice to see all the smiles, both the young and the old.

This is what the new uniform looks like. It is just a vest and the girls can still earn the badges that you see already sewn on as well as patches they receive for the Annual Cookie Sale and other special yearly events.

This is my daughter at age 10 in her Girl Scout vest. It is green, but in this picture it looks blue. I think she was going for a "model" pose with the flowering bush behind her.

Even before I saw the magazine article, I was thinking Girl Scouts. It may be March when the cookies are delivered, but it is January when the orders are taken. Fortunately, there is always someone in the neighborhood or a co-worker's daughter that is a Girl Scout. You better believe that I am going to have my box of Thin Mints come spring.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Stepping Out in Silver

Blog Update!!!
Silver Sunday Giveaway Alert
Jill at Gypsy Brocante is adding to the fun of the Silver Sunday Blog Party with a give away. Next Sunday, someone will be the lucky recipient of one of these lovely blackboard trays. Check out her site at Good luck to all who enter. Thanks Jill.

Already the 10th of January. I suppose then it is only fitting that it is 10 degrees up here in Maine, to match the date. So time to warm up a with a little Silver Sunday glow. I thought we should do a Ladies Night Out. Okay Beth, grab your silver shoes, purses and all your bling, time to sparkle and shine!

For those that are getting a sense of me, you know that everything I have has to have a story. Whatever the piece, be it pottery, furniture or jewelry, it has to have history, whether my own or an older piece that has now included me in its provenance.

This snake bracelet was purchased at a flea market located in an old mill in Brunswick, Maine. Definitely a place to check out if you are ever visiting the State. The piece is vintage and fun and perfect for my daughter who owns a snake, a Ball Python. She actually has collected several snake themed jewelry pieces. This collectible is one of the items on our "to find" list when we scout out flea markets and vintage shops. It does make you wonder what attracted the original owners to these reptilian treasures.

The black heart necklace is a very special piece to me. It was hand-made by my father as an anniversary present for my Mom, over 50 years ago. I'm not sure what material the black heart is cut from, nor what metal is the backing. I do know that the head was carefully and painstakingly cut out from a dime. The chain is silver. I am also not sure why my Mom honored me with this necklace, I have both an older and younger sister, but I am very grateful that it is now mine. This necklace, along with the story of my dad's love for my mom, will be passed on to my daughter..... someday, but not today.

When it comes to silver telling stories, you have to have a charm bracelet. It doesn't matter if you are tom boy or
girly girl, I think it is a rite of passage for any young lady. I received mine as a birthday gift when I was 16. My daughter received hers when she turned 14. My charms include a bike, a cross, a sewing machine (representing what is important in my life) among several music themed charms that were awards from school. Elizabeth's also includes music charms representing her own school awards. (Like Mother, Like Daughter) I wished I had better pictures of the charms.

This pretty little purse was a birthday gift to my mother from one of her dear friends. She has had it for many years, and for many New Year's Eve parties, and other special gatherings. This Christmas, she gave it to my daughter. Elizabeth celebrated this New Year, being 21, with good friends, and Nana's silver purse. She is looking forward to many similar future New Year's Eves!!!

Next week I will showcase my more traditional silver pieces. Till then, please stop over and visit the other participating Silver Sunday Sistas and say Hi to Beth, May their silver glow keep you warm on a chilly January night. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What is wrong with Daydreaming?

Call me an eternal daydreamer. It is the truth. I have always been a daydreamer and always will be. It is not that my life is so sad that my daydreams are needed as an escape from reality. All in all I have a good life, loving family, amazing friends, and good health. I also have an unbelievable imagination that fuels my daydreams and at times, is larger than life. But it is also this imagination that helps me to create my art, to see treasures in trash, to see weathered worn faces in gnarled knots of the oak tree outside my window, or scenes of absolute beauty in the cloud formations above. Okay perhaps my daydreaming is an escape from reality, however, not that I am in hiding, but rather I bring back to my real life something beautiful and joyful from my dreams. Think of my daydreams as artistic embellishments to my life. After all, how can one be creative, and not daydream?

I used to hate bringing home my quarterly report cards, not that my grades were bad ... I was an A student with the occasional B in math. (I don't think that creative people do well in math). On the back of the card were blank spaces for the teacher's comments. Every time, every quarter, every year until high school, it was the same thing "Sherrie does well on her schoolwork and tests; however, she spends too much time daydreaming in class." By the way, it wasn't that I stopped daydreaming in high school, the report cards then stopped including a comment section. Mom would be annoyed, if not mad, and Dad would just chuckle and say "That's my girl". Dad was a daydreamer too, although for him, it was more of an escape from a very hard life.

My favorite TV show, of all time, was the 1965 Cinderella staring Leslie Ann Warren. Mom would let me stay up late to watch each time it aired. I immediately memorized all the words and music. My favorite song was "All alone in the corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be ...." Words of comfort and inspiration to the very shy child, that I was. I learned if I could dream it, I could do it. It wasn't that I imagined I would live in a castle or have riches surround me, but rather imagining just what I could do with that Pumpkin!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Maine Winter, After-Christmas Sales, & Holt-Howard

My backyard after 4 days of snow. It looks so pristine and peaceful. Almost makes all the shoveling we did, worth it.

Well, I have already saved hundreds of dollars with my New Year's resolutions, albeit, not conscientiously or even voluntarily so...... It has snowed here in Maine, non-stop since New Year's eve. Hearing the sounds of sirens as emergency vehicles pass my house, have kept me off the road. I know, I had made a grand proclamation of my resolutions which included not making unnecessary purchases, and 75% sales at Michael's, A.C. Moore or the Christmas Tree Shop (although think of all the money I would be saving and not the actual spending part --- are you all following my line of reasoning) admittedly these purchases would count, nonetheless, as unnecessary. Remember, my goal, replace with vintage, thrift or homemade. I already own 12 trees, 1000's of ornaments, collections of nutcrackers, Santas, and Angels. Did I really need another purchase of anything "Made in China"? But gee whiz, it was 75% off, and I could take the items, and repurpose them into something so much better. Kind of like Sandra Lee of the food network turning store bought canned goods into her signature semi-homemade dishes. Did I mention that everything was 75% off, and dare I say, maybe even 90% off at some mall stores. Oh well. I was good. Hope that you are proud of me.

This evening, after shoveling for the second time today, I decided it was time to clean out my bag, a large canvas tote from L.L. Bean. For the past couple of weeks, all mail, receipts and other important papers have been tossed into this bag, for safe keeping during the holiday season. and more importantly, for keeping the kitchen table clean for company. I had tossed in a recent Home & Garden section of the Sunday paper to be read at a more leisurely time. There was a front page article about a florist from Maine being chosen as a White House Christmas Decorating volunteer. By the way, that is a new goal for me, as lofty and unattainable as it is, but one can dream. To help decorate the White House, how cool would that be! So I sit down with a cup of hot tea and start to read the article. I go to turn the page, and there are the words, in large type spread across the top of the page
"Holt-Howard's playful designs warm the hearts of collectors" by Terry Kovel. Now this is so remarkable, because I had just posted that this was a new collectible for me. Prior to Vintage Christmas Monday, I had never heard of Holt-Howard. Several kind blogging friends gave me a lesson on these pieces. I am especially keen on finding their Pixies. I had even joked about the likelihood of my finding a Holt-Howard treasure at Goodwill. I think that may have the same prospect of me being chosen to volunteer at the White House. But one can always dream.

For those of you stopping by for Silver Sunday, please scroll down to the previous post.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Today I am a "Silver Sunday Sista"

Welcome to Silver Sunday Blog hosted by Beth at the Gypsy Fish Journal I wasn't sure what I might have that would cover all the days of this blog party especially now that Christmas is over, afterall, the holiday season exudes all things Silver and Gold. But it is now the New Year, 2010, and with a few exceptions, the Christmas decorations have been put away. In this photo, resting on each candlestick holder, are two silver reindeer ornaments that I keep out for the month of January. They hold fond memories from my childhood. One of my earliest Christmas memories are of these reindeer. I can not recall how many reindeer my family originally owned, I am fortunate to have these two in my possession. Each year, they would be used in a different manner.... hung from lengths of velvet ribbon in the windows, displayed on a large mirror with fake snow laying atop the dining room hutch, and of course actually prancing all over the Christmas Tree. I have the candlesticks paired with two of my favorite mercury glass pieces, along with a silver bowl of fruit. The latter was a gift years ago from my best friend. It lends an air of formality to my hallway table, until I can replace it with that first of the season vase of fresh springtime flowers.

To properly herald in the first Silver Sunday Blog, we should raise our glasses in a toast to our host, Beth. I found these silver rimmed glasses (a set of 8) at my favorite church rummage sale this past fall, for a dime apiece!
They are sitting on a silver tray that was given to me by old friends over 25 years ago. The tray is engraved U.S.N for United States Navy. He was a retired Commander in the Navy. He passed away 15 years ago from a fast spreading cancer. Like my reindeer and fruit, this tray always brings memories of the person, and of happy times.

While it is good to hold dear these old memories, it is the New Year and time to create new ones. It reminds me of the old Girl Scout song that rather fittingly goes:

"Make new friends, but keep the old, one is SILVER and the other gold."

Please be sure to visit all the other participating Silver Sunday Sistas sites in today's Silver Sunday Blog. I look forward to next week, when I strike Gold, I mean, Silver, in my sewing room/treasure trove. Take care.