Welcome to my blog....

here I will be musing about my passions in life which include all things vintage, baking, decorating, gardening, my family, faith........

oh, and promoting my shop on Etsy.....

NaNa's Things a collection of vintage items I have treasured for over 30 years and also wonderful new old finds from local thrift and estate sales.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Vintage Finds Under the Tree

and oh, what a tree I found!

I couldn't believe my eyes when I walked into the three floor antique emporium and there it was. Red and fabulous! It only took two minutes to find someone to help me take all the ornaments off so that I could buy this tree.

Last year I decided that since I am such a vintage junkie, shouldn't my Christmas decorating be too? I started replacing my hum-drum newer Christmas decorations with vintage ones, wrestling with myself with each purchase whether to keep it or to sell it. This is the busiest time of year, right?  Let's just say last year I kept more than I listed to sell!

That is when I found this fabulous vintage silver tree (the sparkle is magic!). I already had all the old silver balls, angel ornaments and garland, bought at a garage sale that summer, just because.

And I found this one too....

But this post is not supposed to be about trees, it's supposed to be about the vintage finds under the tree!

My little town in Upstate NY is known for the four corner churches in the middle of  town. There is one huge, historic church on each of the four corners at the intersection of Main and Maple. Three of the four have rummage sales in the Fall. You can find me up near the front of the line to get in at each one of them.

For those that may not know, a rummage sale is where the church gathers donations from it's members and then sells them at ridiculously low prices. One church does not price anything and at checkout you are offered one low price to pay for all of your found treasures. With two sales down and the last one to go, I was there the first day, 5th in line. The ladies in front of me were a group of friends in their late 70's, chatting away. I plan on thrifting till then too!

The church had posted pictures online and one of them was of a Red Riding Hood cookie jar. I figured it would be reasonably priced, even though they go for $200+ online. I made a beeline for it and it was marked $50. A great price, but one I was not willing to pay that day. I made my way around and found some really great stuff.

I loved the candlewick tree skirt and the old wallpaper brushes in their original box. I thought the double boiler and the baby vase were too good to pass up and the black tin box turned out to be a great find. It dates to the late 1800's, early 1900's and was probably a document or deed box. I saw one at an antique shop with separate tins inside to hold spices.

Another flocked baby deer was a real keeper to go with my woodland scene on the top of my old cupboard.

I love the color of the two garden forks I got!

And the 1940's mint green baby seat was too chippy and unique to pass by.

I also could not leave Timothy Tortoise there, a McCoy cookie jar......

or this great Lincoln Beautyware chrome canister set.

I was very happy with my great finds and at how thrifty I was for the amount I spent. But I couldn't stop thinking about that Red Riding Hood cookie jar.

So the next morning was the last day of the sale and I was hoping for a discount on it. My husband tagged along because he likes to find thrifty things to give away at our community theatre. We walked in and were handed a large paper bag to fill for $2! I filled it with Jesus, Precious (the name of the print of the little girl), two nice books, a couple of small ceramic trees, two 1940's children's hangers, an Avon bubble bath ornament, and a hand crocheted shawl. My husband filled it the rest of the way with some vintage books and knick knacks. We split the $2. What a deal!

I almost forgot about the cookie jar because it wasn't even there. I had to ask and when I did I found out that the owner of it knew of it's value and did not want to sell it at half price on the last day so she took it back. Good for her because I might have gone for it at $25!

It was after this great two day rummage sale that I found my red vintage tree while out shopping with my friend Bonnie at some Holiday Open House events at local gift shops. We went to four open house's that day. I actually bought some stocking stuffers for my grandchildren but could not resist getting another baby doe, this one porcelain, made in Japan. I am keeping her and she has a place of honor on my parlor mantel...

I am 99.9% sure that I am keeping my red tree. But what to do with it? Decorate it with just white lights? Red lights? Or maybe it will be my new Victorian ornaments tree to replace my too small white one.

What do ya think?

AnnMarie xo

I am linking up with these great blog parties this week:

Let's Talk Vintage
You're Gonna Love It Tuesday
Treasure Box Tuesday
Show and Share
Vintage Bliss Tuesday
Vintage Inspiration Party
Treasure Hunt Thursday
Home and Garden Thursday
Share Your Cup Thursday
Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends
Bouquet of Talent Linky Party
Feathered Nest Friday
Make It Monday
Show and Share

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My Fall Dining Room

My dining room is my most favorite room in the house. It is the room that most reminds me of my farmhouse by the lake. It is cozy and country and a little Victorian all at the same time. And it is the color of Fall.

Are you ready to stay with me? There is a lot to see as every inch is decorated with lots of memories and stories to go with them.

The room looks crooked in the picture but look at the top of the picture with the wallpaper....
all straight! The room is slanted a bit....it does not pass the marble test!

I had three large cupboards in my farmhouse dining room so when we moved to this house I was afraid they wouldn't all fit. This house is almost double the size but because it is a Victorian, the rooms are much smaller.

Happily, all my cupboards plus a bench, a high chair and two rocking chairs fit. The wallpaper is original and very vintage but the colors complement my furniture so it has stayed for the last 18 years. I have decorated around it. The colors in my farmhouse dining room were rust, gold, burgundy and ivory.....colors that are in this wallpaper so it all fit in perfectly. I am so happy I remembered the name of the paint I had there so that I could paint the trim to warm this room up. It is called Buckwheat.

One of my most favorite cupboards is this corner cupboard I got in the 80's at a cute little shop called the Leaning Barn in Marion, NY. It really did lean! My sweet friend Susan lives there now, having rebuilt the structure from top to bottom.

I love old wooden spools, rusty bed springs, threads and baskets so they all adorn the top of my cupboard. The old, chippy rocking chair was a steal at $5 from a local thrift store.

To the right of that cupboard is my very old bench and crocks. I have tried my hand at decorating with suitcases. Not sure I like it yet, but the colors go with the room! I think I need a few more in different colors for variety.

My wall of vintage and antique plates and do-dads just warms my heart. There are antique dishes and collectibles from my Grandmother (we called her Ga) scattered throughout the shelves. The dessert plates from my first set of "good" dishes are on the second shelf from the top. My pitcher collection is on the 5th shelf down, some mine, some for sale. Treasures I found at thrift stores, estate sales and garage sales along with some of Ga's things fill the bottom three shelves.

Above my corner cupboard and bench is my special collection of fish dishes. They were my Grandmother's also and when she passed my Grandfather made sure I got them. 

The story is that the day he took all four of us kids fishing on his boat (I remember that day so well!). I was the fisher girl of the day, catching bass after bass over the side of the boat. I was probably about 8 years old. I guess he decided I earned those precious dishes.

The cast loon on the shelf is a treasure I found in the early 80's from a shop at Loon Lake.

I have to use every inch of a room when decorating and I love creating vignettes. This is a tiny corner by the door to the kitchen and to the left of my huge cupboard. I have had the red wooden child's chair forever and it makes the perfect seat for the quilted cat made from an 1800's quilt. Next to the kitty is a loose ball of yarn for my kitty to play with. I found the beautiful framed picture at an antique emporium and the hook shelf is from Decor Steals. The pictures hanging on the cupboard are my son's artwork as a little boy. He is 16 now....can't seem to take them down.

The large mustard cupboard (see the first picture for a full view) was a labor of love for me over 30 years ago. It was a wreck when I got it at a local country gift shop. I totally winged it painting it with layers of paint and stain to get the right finish and color. The top is large and flat and the perfect place to change the decor with each season. For Fall it is a woodland scene. 

The metal cloche is from Decor Steals and my owl is caged there. The window is from a sale on the 
side of the road for $2!

There are only two windows in the room but it is bright! The curtains came with the house and I just have always loved their vintage look so they've stayed.

A few of my old Santas from my large collection sit on the old wooden high chair year round. The large wooden bus is a find from my friend Susan's shop she had in Marion. I bought it as a decoration for my son's room and now it has a place in the dining room.

I love to line my windowsills with things and for this room my house collection and vintage bunnies have the place of honor.

An old crock and some pussy willows just fits in the small spot between the cupboard and the closet door. 

I bought the cross stitch sampler with the intention of selling it but I couldn't part with it. I love the sentiment on it.

My tin panel cupboard is a treasure and holds a lot of my seasonal decorating items. The top is always decorated for the seasons with my geese as the main characters. The framed picture is our last name made up of photos of architectural pieces. It was custom made for me on Etsy.

The corner by the pocket door (there are three sets of those doors in the downstairs!) fits my favorite rocking chair painted in Buckwheat from the last house. The clock is very old and one of my first purchases from Speigel catalog. The large Santa is hand made and sits there year round.

I can't resist some kitsch in a room and this scarecrow door hanger is it! He is cute in a kitschy sort of way. My kitties are sewn at the hip and are made of vintage quilts from the local quilt museum. They were also bought to be sold but I could not part with them!

The centerpiece on my table changes every season and from year to year. I recently bought the beautiful burlap and lace runner for a mere $5 from an online shop. The pine plank is used quite often and this year it holds my tin turkey and pilgrim couple. The aqua wooden, chippy bowl adds just a pop of color with the different gourds.

The lace with the burlap is such a pretty contrast.

The focal point of the room and my prized treasure is my cast iron hurricane oil hanging lamp with glass shades from the 1800's. I saw a picture in Country Living of the exact lamp and made it my mission to find one. I searched all the antique shops in my area until one day I walked into one in Canandaigua, NY, a resort city in the Finger Lakes, and there it was. It was in my price range and I took it home that day. I used to know the manufacturer of it but the name escapes me now. I have had the pleasure of owning it for over 25 years.

We have been all around the room and I don't think I missed a thing! I hope you enjoyed the tour brought to you by my desire to join in on the fun monthly party over at Nancy's A Joyful Cottage blog for her Every Room In The House Party. This month it is the dining room and you can click and see other bloggers dining room ideas.

AnnMarie xo

I am linking up with these fun blog parties:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tips on Starting Your Christmas Cookies Now!

I first published this post a year ago but it was kinda late for the information I wanted to share. I only realized now is the time for this again because my daughter Jena made me aware of how close my magic date of November 1st is! 

So, I am re-posting it, a teeny bit later than I would start. Most of you probably won't be making 10-12 kinds of cookies, so  there is still plenty of time to accomplish it all. 

The first week of November is when I start baking my Christmas cookies. Yup, you read that right!

With the right preparation you can bake all your Christmas cookies in November, tuck them away in the freezer and have the whole month of December to enjoy the season.

I have been doing it for 30+ years and I make 10-12 kinds of cookies every year!

There is some prep work and leg work to do ahead of time to make sure all goes smoothly when that first week rolls around just after Halloween.

The idea is to plan, buy, bake, freeze, relax!

Here is a list of my tips:

1. In mid to late October (NOW!), make a list of all the ingredients you will need for all the cookies you want to bake. Buy a few of your ingredients every week up to the first week of November with your regular groceries. Your budget won't feel it as much when done a little at a time. It is also a good time to start saving the nicer plastic containers that store bought foods come in for giving cookies away in....more on that later. Dig out your Christmas cookie tins too! I will have a tip on how to get those returned back to you.
2. Choose a few kinds of cookies to bake each week. I do 2-3 kinds a week because I make so many. Bake in the morning if possible which gives a great sense of accomplishment for the rest of the day! Cool the cookies and DO NOT frost them.

3. Make sure to have plenty of wax paper, foil, and foil pans to freeze in. Put the cookies in layers with wax paper in between in the foil pans, cover with foil and write the name on the outside with marker. FREEZE! This step avoids disappearing cookies at the hands of husbands, little ones or teenage appetites before it's time to really indulge!

4. In mid-December on up to Christmas Day I defrost a variety of cookies as I need them to give away. I frost and decorate the cookies the day I will be delivering them. I always get comments on how fresh they are!

I defrost and decorate cookies for the Post Office clerks, the Town Clerk's office, and those that I mail out of town first and package them in a plastic container with wax paper and a bow. All those people are in my life all year and I like to give them a treat. I use the plastic containers for them so that I don't have to worry about getting them back.

Closer to Christmas I defrost, frost and decorate the cookies I will give to my Pastor's and their families, for holiday gatherings, special friends and my family. I layer, with wax paper in between, a variety of cookies and present them in one of my large collection of Christmas tins. I get those tins returned to me every year so that I don't have to keep buying them. They are getting pricey!

Wanna know how I do it?

I hand write this little note on sticky paper and put it on the inside of the cover. I have never NOT gotten a tin back. Maybe because I DO fill them again the next year for those nice people! I have had people panic when they have forgotten to get the tin back to me by January, so worried that I wouldn't give them cookies again. Somehow that makes me feel good!

Most of my recipes are either my grandmother's or the ones I have been making since the 80's. They are mostly Italian Christmas cookies. I add one or two new ones a year along with a different kind of chocolate bark or Christmas candies. 

I make the traditional cut outs, gingerbread men and coconut macaroons. The other cookies I make have names like Cuccidari (Italian fig cookies), Chocolate Meatballs and Biscot.

Starting with the first picture at the top of this post and the others of the stages of baking are pictures of the Cuccidari's. They are full of figs, dates, walnuts, raisins, orange marmalade and a touch of rum wrapped up in a wonderful cookie dough.

Click on the name to get the recipe and tutorial I did a few years ago. In my house  it is NOT Christmas without the Cuccidari's. Of course they have the most ingredients, the most pricey ingredients and are the most labor intensive!

It has been a labor of love for me for 30 years.

I took the Christmas cookie baking over from my mother who took it over from her mother. Still waiting for one of my daughters to take over although I am not sure I am ready it give it up...shhhh!

In December I like to finish shopping, put last minute touches on decorating, go to holiday craft shows and spend time with my girlfriends.

I can do all that and more because my cookies are done!

What kinds of cookies do you bake each year? Are you a last minute baker trying to get them all done the week before Christmas? How many varieties do you make? Do you give them away?

I would love to hear about your Christmas baking adventures!

AnnMarie :)

I am linking up with these great blog parties:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Musings

Been musing in my head about some Fall things, both things I am doing and Fall things I just love.

I saw pumpkins stacked like this on another blog and just had to have it for myself for my front porch. I had just been by lots of pumpkin patches, not stopping because I was done with decorating and didn't need any more pumpkins (I thought!). I decided if I saw some funky pumpkins by chance, cheap enough (pumpkins are high priced in these parts!) I would get them.

There in my local Walmart was a table full of these pumpkins. They were labeled gourds, grown from seeds from around the world. They were $2.98 each. I grabbed them, choosing the ones that would easily stack in my cart to be sure they wouldn't fall over on my porch!

After I recently painted my kitchen stools  over, I got the bug to start re-painting the whole kitchen, badly needing a fresh coat of white. I chose Martin Senour's Swiss Coffee. After 15 years, the white oil based paint on my cupboards had chipped and yellowed. I don't like the knobs anymore either!

Now I like chippy, old white paint as much as the next vintage junkie, but there is just something about a fresh coat of white paint in the kitchen!!

This is a view of the island, stool and cupboards that are done. I have a long way to go!

It started out a cold, rainy Monday morning and I had to go out first thing. Layers were in order.

My son had off from school for Columbus Day and our plan was to go to our favorite Cider Mill/Farm Market, Schutts Cider Mill, about a half hour away.

By the time we were ready to go, the sun came out and it warmed up to 70 degrees! Driving with the windows down we passed by small roadside stands with pumpkins, Indian corn and gourds along the way.

My first stop was to search through the pumpkins in front of the store for fallen off stems, a tip I got from a tutorial on making velvet pumpkins. I fell in love when I first saw the stuffed beauties and with a real stem, they are so pretty to decorate with. I am going to try and follow that tutorial and make one!

Schutts has the best cider and donuts, both made on the premises. Their cider is clear and so fresh tasting. It is worth the drive and the price!

I was excited to get home and put my apples in my vintage orchard basket....

On the way home we stopped to drop off some cider and donuts to my daughter Jena and my granddaugher Chloe and newborn grandson, JC.

He is always sleeping! It's hard work growing so much! He is a big boy..... weighing 9 pounds 11 ounces at birth. At one month he is 11 pounds and wearing a 6 month outfit. Look at that red hair!!

It stands straight up like that no matter what you do!

My husband and I celebrate our wedding day every month on the 13th with a little gift for each other. This is what I got...M & M's white chocolate candy corn candies. They have a distinct white chocolate taste with a hint of candy corn flavor. My husband knows me well.

I know him well too. This is what I gave him...chocolate espresso bread for his breakfast every morning at work. He grew up on espresso and you know what they say about the way to a man's heart......!

Are you having a nice Fall?

AnnMarie xoxo

I am linking up to these great blog parties:

Treasure Box Tuesday
You're Gonna Love It Tuesday
The Scoop
Wake Up Wednesday Linky Party
What's It Wednesday
Share Your Cup Thursday
Home and Garden Thursday
Treasure Hunt Thursday
Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends