Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Weekend of Antiquing

I first want to start this post by thanking all of you kind ladies who left such sweet comments on my last post.  I appreciate all the kind wishes and prayers for success in my job hunt.  Even though I'm very frustrated about how difficult the job search is, I'm just trying to focus on making the best of the situation: looking for different ways to bring money in, looking for creative ways to keep too much money from going out, enjoying the free blessings that I do have, and, of course, hunting for available jobs anywhere and everywhere.  That's really all I can do.

Now for the fun stuff.  I had mentioned in my last post that I went antiquing with my visiting family over the weekend.  Although I wasn't able to spend much money, I did find some very inexpensive treasures, enjoyed exploring a couple of small towns in this area, got to spend time with family, and, of course, enjoyed spoiling Mia the Wonder Dog.  She already knows where I keep the treats, and would try to "herd" us (okay, mostly me) over to the cupboard so she could get a snack.  I am SUCH  a pushover!

For the antiquing, we went to Exeter and Clovis, which are a small towns (at least by the urban California standards that I'm accustomed to) here in Tulare County.

Exeter is a darling town, and I took lots of pictures.

Exeter's motto is "Citrus Capital of the World".  In the background are the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Downtown Exeter boasts its own outdoor art gallery featuring 29 murals depicting local history, folklore, and culture.

This mural depicts a 1930's fruit packing plant.

California Poppies, our state flower.

This area of California also produces a lot of grapes.

I love when the old buildings have advertising painted on the brick.

We went to this darling shop, By the Water Tower Antiques (and yes, it is literally right next to the water tower).

This set was in the courtyard of the antique store.  I love wrought iron patio furniture.

At another store, I found these treasures.  They were waaaay beyond my price range, but it was fun to look.

I love the sewing box and the mirror.

The roses painting is gorgeous, and the pink tin can dollhouse furniture is just darling!

This 1940's chest of drawers was covered entirely in pebbles.  At $695, it was definitely out of my league.

And this fireplace mantel was covered in seashells.  Just gorgeous!!!  I was afraid to ask its price.

The next day, we went to Clovis for an antiques street fair that is held four times a year. Plus, they have several streets of antique stores. Normally, there are six streets blocked off, with booth after booth of antiques and collectibles. Unfortunately, it rained fairly heavily, and we Californians are wimps when it comes to less than perfect weather. I'm sure those of you who live in moister climates make fun of us, because we do become childlike idiots when any moisture falls from the sky.  So, the few booths that had not already packed up and gone home did not do well.  I felt so badly for them, I bought two things, both at ridiculously low prices:

Such a sweet face. I had to add her to my collection of spaghetti poodles.

I love the color of this covered glass dish.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten my camera, so I have no pictures of Clovis.  I wouldn't have been able to take photos inside the stores, anyway. They were extremely crowded because of the rain outside.  And I guess I'm as wimpy as every other Californian, because I wouldn't have wanted to take any photos out in the rain. We become that which we mock : )

We also enjoyed a movie night on Sunday.  I can't believe that my sister, brother-in-law and nephew had never seen "Singin' in the Rain".  I can practically mouth along with the dialogue, I've seen it so many times.  We also watched "Rear Window", another favorite of mine.  All in all, a nice end to a good weekend and good company.

(By the way, the freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning is heavenly. A fresh orange, or a glass of juice is a wonderful treat!)

Thanks so much for your visit.  Have a great week!

Monday, March 26, 2012

This and That

I have been neglecting this poor little blog for the past week, due to job hunting, a little bit of gardening, some major housecleaning and a visit.

First, the job hunt.  I had an interview last week with a temp employment agency, and they are working with me to help me find temp jobs, and hopefully, something permanent.  If you are so inclined, I would greatly appreciate any prayers you can send up for me.  I need all the help I can get!

Now to the fun stuff! First, the garden.

The oranges in my backyard are ripe and sooooo delicious.  I had an orange along with my scrambled eggs this morning and it was so sweet!  I've put some oranges in the refrigerator so tomorrow I'm having cold freshly squeezed orange juice. I'm looking forward to that treat!

Such a great feeling to see an orange, grown in my garden, photographed next to an orange crate label from Bradford Brothers Inc., the company my dad worked for in the 1930's, when he was in high school (more about that here).  I'm working on a future post about fruit crate art - a lot of it is quite beautiful, and it's very plentiful in the antique stores in California.

These little guys greet me when I open the front door in the mornings. So cute!  I have them planted all along the path to my front door.

And the amaryllis that I brought with me from OC are set to bloom any day now.  They will be gorgeous!

This patch, however, still needs my attention.  It's an embarrassing photo for me, but I'm just keepin' it real.  We all have patches of weeds like this in our backyards, don't we?  Or am I the only one who does?

Did you notice the volunteer rose bushes in the above photo?

I have no experience whatsoever with these.  I don't know if they will ever eventually bloom, or if they will just be perpetually leafy.  I've tried doing a little research, both online and at the library, but the answers have been mixed.  So if anyone has any experience or knowledge about this, let me know.  I don't want to take them out, because, right now, I'm all about the free.  Free stuff is great.  So, if a volunteer wisteria, or climbing roses, or maybe even an entire volunteer vegetable garden (yeah, I know, I dream BIG) would like to suddenly appear in my backyard, I wouldn't complain.  (Why is it that the WEEDS seem to do all the volunteering!?)

As for the housecleaning, I was trying to do some preparation for a visit I had this weekend from my sister, brother-in-law, and their dog, Mia.  Elaine and Mark probably wouldn't appreciate my flashing their picture all over the internet, but Mia has no such problem. 

She is the sweetest, smartest, and goofiest dog in the world.  I love her to pieces, and would love to have a sweet Black Lab of my own.  The first real paycheck I get, I'm adopting a dog.  My backyard needs a dog.  My kitchen needs a water dish on the floor.  My sofa needs a dog snoozing in the corner.  And I need someone who will greet me at the door, no matter how short a time I've been gone, with so much joy! (I always like to imagine that this wonderful greeting is the kind of greeting that God will give us when we enter heaven)

So, the weekend was great.  Had a wonderful dinner with my sister & bro-in-law, my nephew, his fiancee and her mom at a great steakhouse.  Then spent most of the weekend antiquing and exploring a couple of small towns in this area.  I didn't have a lot of money for the shopping, but I did find a few treasures, which I will post about tomorrow.

Hope you're all having a great day.  Thanks so much for your visit.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Saint Patrick's Day Memories

When I was a little girl, we often did our Easter shopping on Saint Patrick's Day.  My siblings and I were educated at Catholic schools during the 1960's and early 70's, and we often had St. Patrick's Day off from school.  In those days, most of the nuns who staffed the elementary school were from Ireland, so March 17th was a holiday for us (in Ireland, at least at that time, Saint Patrick's Day was a holy day of obligation; I'm not sure if it still is).

So, since Mom had all four of her children at home on a weekday, and since all of our friends went to public schools and weren't available to play, she would often choose Saint Patrick's Day as the day to take us to get our Easter outfits.  In those days, people dressed up for church even on ordinary Sundays, so dressing up for Easter was a HUGE deal.  My sister and I always got new dresses (either store bought or homemade), new slips, hats, shoes, purses, sometimes even gloves.  (I guess this is how I developed my love of hats & gloves!)  My brothers got new clothes, too, but, let's face it, shopping for her girls' Easter clothes had to have been a lot more fun for my mom than shopping for the boys.

The dress, hat & glove shopping was usually done at JC Penney or Montgomery Ward's, but shoes were purchased at Charlie Grose's shoes in Fullerton, CA. That shoe store is long gone now, and Mr. & Mrs. Grose went to their heavenly reward many years ago, but I will always remember what wonderful people they were. As I recall, they specialized in selling children's shoes, and it was a pleasure for children to shop there.  There was a play area, a small merry go round type of ride, and a treasure chest filled with small prizes that we could choose from once we had purchased our shoes.  For many years, we even received birthday cards from the Grose's, cards that they had clearly hand picked with each child in mind, then hand signed and addressed. That type of personal service in business seems to be long gone, but I certainly remember it fondly.  What a wonderful example they gave on how to treat their customers!

After the shopping, we often stopped at Woolworth's, or T G & Y, or Kresge's (does anyone remember the dime stores?) for a hot dog, chips and cokes, all eaten at the counter, right in front of the soda fountain.  It was such a rare treat that the food seemed to taste so much better than the hot dogs and chips at home.

I wish I could afford a new Easter outfit this year, but I'm not sure if I'll be working yet or not, so I'll have to take a walk down memory lane for my Easter Clothes Fix.  At the risk of my siblings wanting to kill me, I thought I would share a few pictures of those Easter outfits of the past:

Easter, 1964. I was 2 and half and apparently couldn't keep my hat on.  My sister knew the drill, though. Those dresses were actually sent to my mom from her aunt, who had them made by a dressmaker in Detroit.  I still have my dress and as you can see by the new photo below, the color in the old photo has deteriorated considerably.

Easter, 1962. I apparently couldn't bother looking at the camera.  My sister looks so cute in her finery, and Mom looks so young.  She was just 30 years old.

Easter, 1968. I LOVED my yellow dress. You can't tell from the photo, but the skirt had rows and rows of white lace.

The picture is unusual in that my younger brother isn't struggling to break free from whoever is holding him. Almost every photo of him from those days shows him with a wild look in his eyes, and a sibling or two trying to hang on to him. Here, DAD has control, but Baby Bro doesn't look too happy about it. 

And the cutest picture of all?  My sister, circa 1959.  She was adorable!!

We still have this dress as well. And I have to say, my admiration for the 1950's housewife has increased by leaps and bounds.  This sweet little dress was a pain in the @$%$% to iron.  As you can see, I finally gave up when it came to the sleeves.

I hope that when my sister has granddaughters, we can dress them in their Grandma's dress.  There's going to be a lot of dress up going on when Grandma & Grauntie Julie come to play.  And maybe for Saint Patrick's Day, we can keep a tradition alive, and take them out shopping for Easter clothes (and maybe a toy or two!) and then take them for a hot dog & a soda.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Not Much Going On

I've only been blogging for two months, and I already have Blogger's Block.  Or is it Blogck?  Has anyone else experienced this?  You think to yourself that you really should do a post, but you've got nothing to say.  At least, nothing that you think anyone else would be interested in reading. 

It has been a full week since I've last posted, and I'm wondering if maybe my problem is that I just have the most boring life on earth.  I've been busy job hunting, but have nothing interesting to say about that. Depressing, maybe, but definitely not interesting.

I've also spent a  huge amount of time weeding in both my front and back yards, trying to prepare to eventually plant flowers & vegetables.  Since I spent most of the autumn and winter neglecting to weed, I have a HUGE job ahead of me before I can even do any planting. 

I've also spent a huge amount of time watching this:

Please tell me that someone else  watches "Masterpiece Mystery" on PBS, and that there are other  "Foyle's War" fans out there.  I am obssessed with this series lately!  I've been watching a couple of episodes every night for the past week. (I have 5 of the 6 DVD sets that are available in the US).

For those unfamiliar with it, this British TV series is set in World War II England.  Christopher Foyle is a police detective who wants to contribute to the war effort in a more meaningful way by doing government service, but is forced by his superiors to spend his war at home, doing what he does best: solving crime.  Many of his cases concern issues caused by the war: the black market, espionage, profiteering, the internment of German aliens, but most of them are just plain old-fashioned murder. 

Although there are some anachronisms and inaccuracies in the series, by and large the attention to historical detail is notable.  I've learned a lot about World War II as seen through the eyes of the English, who experienced that war in a vastly different way than Americans did.  Of course, that's obvious, but I had never really stopped to think about it before. 

So, if you ever get a chance to watch any of the episodes of the series, I can highly recommend them.  The plots are absorbing, and, as I said, the history is fascinating. Every time I watch an episode, I wind up googling some name, or some part of the historical backdrop to learn more.   

Speaking of "Masterpiece Mystery", I'm also partial to Poirot:

David Suchet is the quintessential Poirot.

and Miss Marple:

Geraldine McEwan made a darling Miss Marple!

I love the 1930's, 40's and 50's settings of the various Agatha Christie "Masterpiece Mystery" series, and I particularly enjoy the costumes.  Such beautiful costuming. 

Hope everyone has a great day.  Thank you so much for your visit!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spring Cleaning

Spring has come early to California, and with that, comes Spring Cleaning. Aside from cleaning up the clutter all over the place, and filling bags with stuff to sell at the garage sale I'm going to have at the end of this month, I also got a chance to polish some of my silver.


The patina of the tarnish is pretty, but I just love the gleam of freshly polished silver.


I left my other silver teapot as-is, tarnish and all.

Along with the silver polishing, I also did a little rearranging in the living room.  I rearrange furniture and/or accessories constantly, so my house is rarely the same from one week to the next.  I didn't do anything big this time; I just reoriented the sofa & tables so now they are diagonal to the fireplace. Also re-arranged the china collection, and moved the stacked suitcases to serve as an endtable next to my living room chair.

An early spring also means that I need to go out every day to weed the areas where my garden will eventually be planted. I've been ignoring the weeds for the past couple of months, so I've got my work cut out for me. 

Spring is just around the corner.  Are you ready?

Joining the Newbie Link Party at Debbiedoo's

Thank you for your visit!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's Snowing!

Not really.

Obviously, this is not snow on the ground, although when the wind blows, they do sort of look like snow flurries. But this is what they really are:

These trees have been blooming since mid February.  They are all over the place around here, and they're just gorgeous!  I've been told that this is an early bloom for them.  This has been a very mild winter, and we didn't get much rain, so perhaps this is why spring is showing up early. 

I'm loving these signs of spring!

Thank you for your visit!