Mar 22, 2007

How do I love thee? Let me Count the French!

Do you ever wonder what to do with those French Collars that you see in the flea-markets? Well here are some ideas! I love these vintage French collars and I enjoy using them as "frames." What to frame? I frame anything and everything. For example, here are some vintage pocket watches that I hung on the wall and then nailed a collar around each of them. I find using multiple collars make more of a statement than just one.

Here are a row of collars "housing" my pocket watch collection that I place in my back foyer. I have a vintage student seamstress'body form holding other watch pieces and place that on a simple pillar. By the way, the pillar is actually a prop used in a float from a local parade! I love it.

And here are more collars that I use to frame vintage bathing beauty photos that I printed on old paper. Where the button on the collar would normally go, that is the perfect spot to hammer in a nail with a larger head. Just simply place the collar on the wall, slip the slightly fatter nail through the button hole and nail into the wall. Then take a hot glue gun and glue your adornment - be it watch faces, a button, a key, a vintage brooch - you name it.

Think in themes - baby themes, family themes, watches, spoons, old post cards - be creative! I hope you enjoyed this very simple, but creative way to use those wonderful French collars that are just piled in a heap at those flea-markets - well, that is, if you aren't shopping behind me. If you are - the pile will be gone!

from my house to your house,


Mar 16, 2007

Flea marketing in Belgium!

Oh if I could only take you all with me the next time I "cross the pond" and go flea-marketing. Why? Because then I would have loads of people to haul my goodies to the van! Okay, also because we would have more fun than you could ever imagine. Please enjoy the following photos from the Brugge flea-market located in northern Belgium. I feel the need to remind you that these photos were taken during my pre-SLR camera days. All photos were taken with a point and shoot camera. Plus, I was much more interested in buying than shooting. Please enjoy!

While in Belgium, you must have a pancake! These warm cakes are the "popcorn and cotton candy" of European vendor food. If you are north enough, such as in Brugge, the treat of the day is dried fish, such as below. I forget the name of these, but they are eaten right off the string. Nope, I did not try the Belgium fish - I am more into Swedish Fish - as in the candy!

You have no idea how much I wanted to snatch this chandelier up. But, it was a little pricey, and my budget (as always) was limited and I knew I could find two or three chandeliers for the price of this beauty. I did find several very cool chandeliers though.

Yes, I bought all this silver in the box - I was so excited to come across them. I actually used them in a wedding reception that I designed for a friend of mine, Tricia. She had a wonderful reception in her home and I was honored to pick all the flowers and greenery. I used these silver pots all in a row, filled with flowers, and lined them up on her antique buffet. And below, this was just too good not to shoot. She looks like how I feel on some days!

I bought all of these French collars! I have used them for several projects and sold them in my store. The next posting, I will show you how I used them. My project was also featured in Romantic Homes. Never pass up a French collar is my motto while flea-marketing! :-)

While I could show you more, for now this will have to do. I promise to show you photos from Brussels and Tongern - true eye candy - so don't be dieting! I hope you enjoyed the photos of the Brugge flea-market. I must tell you that while walking around the beautiful town, it was very common to walk past buildings and homes with dates written over the doorways. The dates? Many of them dated in the 1400's! Belgium flea-markets always have flowers, food, fish, fresh air, and French collars - what more could you ask for? Except for more euros?

May your flea-marketing adventures bring you treasures to behold, memories to share, and if lucky, pancakes to munch on!

from my house to your house,


Mar 9, 2007

Travels with Elizabeth Vol 1 - Brugge and Ghent

Welcome to the first of many travels series to come! I would like to share with you some of the travels I have enjoyed while visiting and living in Europe for almost six years. These photos were all taken prior to my using an SLR camera. These were all taken with a "point and shoot" camera, so while not very artistic, they will give you a taste of what I miss so very much: Europe!
This first series are general photos of Brugge and Ghent, Belgium. These two lovely cities are very north in Belgium and have all the makings of an mid evil village that you could ask for. Now, you may be asking "where are the flea-market photos?" Yes, I will post those too. My travel photos will have themes such as just photos of doors, or windows, or food, or flea-markets, or bridges. The variety is endless. But, I will be sure you get lots of flea-market photos! This first series is just to give you an overview of the two towns that I will feature flea-markets in the next few postings.
I don't profess to be an historian so I am not going to attempt a history lesson - however, I will share my thoughts of my visits. This visit was a cloudy, rainy day that turned sunny...I remember being so happy to see the sun come out. Brugge has two huge antique markets a year. One in spring and one in fall. The market is filled with antiques that you can't believe. I also love the "junk" that is piled in heaps on blankets. Lots of goodies - but get into that in the next posting.
If you never traveled to Europe here are a few travel tips to consider:
A small back pack to carry maps, water, and umbrella.
In a new town you know nothing about, but have little time to sight-see? Go to the train station or gift shop and look at the postcards - postcards highlight all the "must sees" in town and if you don't speak the language - just point to the postcard and locals will point you in the right direction.
Keep aspirin on you. In some countries, like Germany, you have to have a prescription to buy aspirin!
Wear comfortable shoes - but ladies, please, please don't wear white tennis shoes. They scream "tourist" and there are many stylish shoes that are comfortable. Europeans dress in a more dressy style just to go grocery shopping. I admit, I like that and have adopted that practice (or so I would like to think). On the subject of dressing: please, no fanny packs! Again, it screams tourist, and a backpack is so much more easier and holds more goodies.
Learn how to say "please" and "thank you" in the host country. Locals will appreciate it.
Carry an index card as a "cheat sheet" for dollar conversion into euros. Yes, I know there are electronics out there that do that, but nothing is more annoying than to have a customer stand in line and punch in numbers and calculate it all out. I do all that on the plane ride over. I just simply jot down increments such as $1 = 1.80 Euros and then below it do $5 then $10 and so on. You keep the card in your pocket and just pull it out and at a quick glance, you will know approximately what you are paying.
Remember that many cities observe two hour lunches which means a lot of the shops may close in the middle of the day then reopen. Europeans eat much later too! I remember being in Madrid, where they still take a "siesta" and close everything down in the afternoon and don't open until about 8PM for dining, even though most Euopeans don't even begin their evening meal until 9 or 10 PM. I was starving as I didn't have lunch and unaware of this custom - so I hate to admit it, but I ate at McDonald's in Madrid - a girl's gotta eat. But I did manage to get some wonderful seafood later in the evening.
Why post the travel photos? Well, this week has been especially difficult for many reasons. In fact, I am glad it is coming to an end. Sometimes owning a business, trying to live a life, and handling "stuff" just gets to be too much. When under a lot of stress, I find myself thinking back to the most pleasant and peaceful times in my life and my thoughts always take me to Europe. I just sat down and looked at my files of photos and I felt calm and peace again. I miss Europe. I miss the discoveries. I miss the wonderful anonymity that comes with not understanding a language. I miss the friggin chocolate! I will always hold those years of living abroad near and dear to my heart. And how lucky am I to have a safe place in my mind, that I may retreat to when my current day isn't so pleasant.
Who says daydreaming is wasting time? It is the daydreams that sometimes keep things from becoming a nightmare. I hope you take time to daydream today - a restful moment can reap hours of comfort.
from my house to your house,

Mar 3, 2007

What Zone Do You Live In?

Capturing a true moment on camera isn't easy - unless you are a child. Children don't "pose" like adults. They don't worry if their double chin is showing - they show it off. Children don't worry if their clothes make them look fat - they just take the clothes off. Children don't try to hide their big thighs or belly's - they pat them with pride.

Children don't see my camera as a camera - it is something to grab at and play with. They don't see my studio as a studio. It is a fun room in which to run around, explore, and ultimately drive their mothers crazy. They don't understand the words "hold still" or "sit down" or even "leave your shirt on." Nope, they are in the moment - well rather, they are in their moment.

Children are on their own time. They decide if or when they look at the camera. And usually, they only look if they are interested enough, and usually they aren't. They have better things to do than to please this stranger in a strange, but interesting, room. How freeing is that?

You know the saying; Youth is wasted on the young. As we age, we are suppose to get wiser. But, do really get wiser? Or just old? How wonderful to be so secure, so pleased within our own skin. Maybe that is why we adults marvel young children so. We envy them. We envy their confidence, their freedom to simply be in their moment.

While adult responsibilities dictates our time and how we spend it, we do have the freedom to create our moments. We have the freedom to not worry if our outfit makes us "look fat" or if our double chin is showing. Really - think about it. Five years from now, will you, or anyone else for that matter, even remember or care, if your outfit made you look fat or if your double chin showed? In the great scheme of things, is it really that important? Because while we all worry over such things, our moments are passing us by. Our moments soon become "coulda, woulda, shoulda" moments. And instead of those moments being memorable, they become regrets.

I personally try to live a life without regrets. A huge goal, maybe impossible, but a life filled with regrets is usually a life filled with a lot of "coulda, woulda, shoulda" moments that escaped us or we let slipped through our fingers, usually out of fear. Fear of what others will think of us. Fear of looking foolish. Fear of looking incompetent. Fear of being vulnerable. Fear of failure. It is just plain easier to remain within our comfort zone and not venture into the unknown.

Comfort zone is overrated, I think. What good or achievement has ever resulted from remaining in a comfort zone? Do you think it was a moment of comfort for the first person who took this object that was left behind in a nest by a hen, and cracked this object open and then ate it? But that person's moment of discomfort, ultimately gave us quiches, omelets, and eggs Benedict. When I recall my most exciting and memorable moments in life, every single one of them were out of my comfort zone. Big moments such as moving to Europe, opening my business, going through Air Force officer training, playing a role on stage before a live audience. And living outside of my comfort zone are also countless small moments such as riding a camel in Turkey, submitting my first article for publication (it was rejected), going through elective eye laser surgery, agreeing to speak in public, cutting my hair super short, or donning a pair of ice-skate for the very first time only weeks ago - in a very public rink. Comfortable? No, I don't find sweaty palms and quickened heart beat comfortable, but just about every time I step out of my comfort zone, my palms are very aware of it.

But, I will take sweaty palms and an elevated heart rate over a perfect blood pressure reading any day. And when I take photos of these very curious, independent, and sure-footed children, it is a very real reminder that I have so much more living to do. And this budding human, not even two years old, experiences more life, more joy, in those few moments in my studio than most adults experience on a daily basis. And we adults are the "wiser" of the two? Really?

I enjoy capturing these wise budding humans with my camera and I just wanted to share some with you. My photo page on my website is now updated with new photos in all categories. Please stop by and visit my photography on my website. Here is a direct link:

Children touch our hearts because our hearts long to be touched - and children aren't afraid to reach out and do so.

"We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing."

Take some time to play today - it is a wise thing to do.

From my house to your house,


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