Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chances are you have a jar...or two.

Assorted snacks in a cheese jar.

Flour, Sugar, Splenda...

Rice, Grits, Meal

prim fixins....

I do believe that jars are an essential part of prim decor. In fact, the more jars the merrier is my thought. Jars have long been a staple item in my home; holding all sorts of things to nothing at all, depending on the jar. They appear all over our home...on counters, on shelves, in baskets, on desks, in cubbies. I have quite a varied collection of jars with no particular favorite, save one. That jar is a Lance Jar with a red metal lid. Like many items in my home, this Lance Jar has a personal history of my own. That jar always makes me smile and I see it daily in my kitchen.

Years ago, let's not say how many, that jar sat atop a counter with its twin. The counter was a long work counter in my granddad's car dealership where we kids could pull up a stool and have a seat next to him. He would be busily handling customers there for car repair or ordering parts or preparing a car for purchase. He was never too busy to offer us a coca cola, which he would get from the drink machine. You know the kind; put your money in, open the top of the cooler and slide your drink down the track where sodas hung like bats in a cave. He'd pop the lid off and hold it up to the light to be sure the bottle contained only beverage.....he found an unmentionable "thing" in one previously, so he took no chances! Then he would say the magic words: " Go ahead and get something out of that jar there." Oh the delight that was! Filled to the brim with Lance goodies of all sorts, we could reach into the jar and pull out whatever we wanted! At the bottom of the jar lay coins of all denominations like the bottom of a fountain. You see, if you selected something from the jar, you just dropped your coins in the jar to pay for it. For us grandkids, it was all FREE! Granddaddy would just put his change in later, after all, he had to anty up when the Lance man came to refill the jar anyway. I will always remember sharing a coke and eating a Nekot cracker with my granddad and the magic that Lance jar had back then.

For a while, that Lance jar sat on my kitchen counter filled with snack items for my girls. Of course, I kept change in the bottom just as a sweet reminder of the act of kindness my granddad had for us by allowing us to just reach in and make a selection without having to give up any of our allowance.

The rest of our jars hold all kinds of things and are all sorts of jars from masons, to Planters, to Tom's and the like. Some hold soaps, some contain staples in the kitchen, some even have a few rocks, shark's teeth and shells. None, however, hold a special place in my heart like that Lance jar does.

The Lance Jar....Proudly on Display.

soaps in the master bath....

threads and buttons......

soaps, sponges in Olivia's bath....and a candle!

Nature from special trips.....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

An Appreciation for Shoes.

There is something about shoes that absolutely fascinates Hairry Baker. I am not sure what it is that attracts our kitty to shoes, but it is a hilarious scene to watch. We kick off our shoes when we come in the house typically and almost immediately Hairry Baker is hugging and rubbing against the shoes. There is loud purring and chirps and quite a bit of "wallering around" as my grandma would say. Don't try to reclaim your shoe for at least 30 minutes. Sometimes, Hairry pulls both shoes underneath as if she is nesting and falls asleep atop the pair. She is a girl, so maybe that means something.....we do like our shoes.

Hairry is quite curious, that is for sure. Anytime a new prim comes in, Hairry must inspect it. I love how she opens her mouth ever so slightly to get the best "smell" possible as she checks the ins and outs of a new piece. If Hairry could only tell us the history of a piece by it's smells. Once a piece is approved, Hairry claims it for several days, sometimes weeks at a time. I have a new piece picked up a few weekends ago, and due to lack of time over the past two weeks, it is still sitting in our foyer. I plan to get it moved to an upstairs bedroom this week, but Hairry is quite happy with it right where it is. Underneath is the perfect spot to hide in the early morning so that when Jackie decides to come down for breakfast Hairry has the perfect advantage of springing on Jackie's tail. The sun hits the top of it just right about mid afternoon so that Hairry has a superb spot for sunning. Best of all, Hairry likes to prop up against it and look out the side window by the front door as the walkers come by each evening with their dogs.

Both cats are certainly a little lazy right now; it is so warm out. I am looking forward to the cooler months ahead to bring a little more energy to their steps and playfullness in the chilled air. No matter though the season, there will still be new prims for Hairry Baker to inspect, and more shoes to appreciate. ~~ Beth

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One Day is the Someday that became Yesterday.

When I posted all those houses from Eufaula, I did not have a photo of the kind of house I want to build one day. Right now we live in a Creole Cottage or Cape Cod style, three dormer story and a half, which I love dearly. But, the houses from my hometown in SC built like the one pictured here is my absolute favorite exterior. One day................................

This is a grand old porch with the flag flying. A red front door, black shutters and of course, the picket fence!

Olivia captured these two old buildings on our little adventure to Eufaula a few weeks ago, Great backdrops for the portraits we took of her. Oh the stories these old buildings could tell about yesterday.

One day........ I like to translate that into someday. Funny, now that our house is full of things I love, I still can't stop that shopping habit for great old pieces. Often I think "I should keep that, it will look great in the someday house". Or, "I should buy that, it is such a great price and would look great in the someday house." I then rationalize and say to myself "I can find a place for it, cause one day is someday and someday is coming." For those of us who love the hunt, live for the find, and keep dreaming of the someday house, this all makes perfect sense. I do "trade up" as some folks say, buying the next better piece and saying goodbye to the item it replaced. It's a romance with decorating and perserving articles from the past. In that case, hum this old favorite "some day my house will come" to the tune of some day my prince will come. Until then, I'll just keep waiting for one day to become the someday that is yesterday.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Prim Hunt

A prim hunt is certainly something I look forward to. Sometimes they just happen, other times they are well planned adventures. Some hunts last for days while others can be a few minutes to a full day trip. I have no preference, though I will say I am a little partial to those journeys that last a few days. I will embark on a prim hunt whenever I am called to do so.
Such is the case from this past Friday. When attending the Spoon Sisters Auction in Tyrone, Georgia a few months ago, several items were purchased that did not fit in Rebecka's vehicle. Of course, we had to go back. I myself had purchased an item at a favorite stop along the way that needed to be picked up too. So we packed up the kids, some cucumber sandwiches, and a U-haul. Down the road we headed!
One must always be prepared for the hunt. Plenty of snacks and drinks are a must. A few magazines filled with prim ideas (A Primitive Place is crucial) and your "must find" list should be handy. A little notebook, pen and measuring tape are good to have for notes and measurements. A good night's sleep is not required, but does help if you are the driver! Pillows and blankets for the kids are a good idea in case you are much later returning than you planned. A fun dinner out is always a treat.
Our most recent journey began pretty early in the morning, as we were making a day trip to a location almost 6 hours from home. Arriving at the great prim shop of Spoon Sister's Tiques and Treasures, our plan was to load and go, with a short hunt around their shop. I scored BIG almost immediately, spotting this great firkin: $10 said the tag. Ripe for the picking! Never noticed the 20% sign in that booth....what a pleasant surprise!
Now, sometimes you have to be willing to leave the planned trail when you are prim hunting. Just such a deviation occurred as we met Miss Betty there at the shop , who told us there was plenty more good hunting in her garage and storage house just right around the corner. We followed our prim hunt guide to her house and got a tour of a wonderful home and goodie filled garage and storage house. Rebecka nabbed a fantastic iron and brass bed.

Back on track and furniture loaded, we stopped at our two favorite shops along the route. There we both found some delightful goodies. The inlaid box (there I go again on the boxes) and the yelloware bowl were nice finds for me. The topiary (one of three!) was a treat, as it was a super price. Rebecka kept two and I kept one. Rebecka selected a few items too. We honestly bought very little on this trip
but if laughter had a value, we'd be rich!

I don't think you can judge the success of your prim hunt by the number of items you bag. Yes, we love to come home with lots of items to find homes for; that special place just waiting to house our find. We were very pleased with our smaller catch. To find a treasure or treasures you can bring home and place in your decor is, of course, the design of the hunt. Sometimes, the hunt is more about the fellowship of the hunters than the size of the catch. Sweet memories and a warm friendship are the greater treasures you can bring home and place in your heart. That's the best prim hunt find of all! ~~ Beth

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Must Have a Porch

I am not sure when my interest in old homes began. Was I born with it? My hometown in SC, where I lived until I was about six, has many beautiful old homes that still cause me to catch my breath. Did I develop it from the times I played in some of those old homes? Did it happen like a habit, repetitive exposure to historic homes? Living in Savannah, Ga. at one time in my childhood probably contributed to this interest of mine. Having lived in a historic city in Florida for the rest of my years thus far generated some additional exposure as well. Is that the reason I enjoy old homes so much?

For as long as I can remember, my grandparents loved to take that Sunday drive ( it did not always have to be on a Sunday.). We would often "go to ride" and look at houses and yards and who knows what else. My grandparents built their home in the 1930's and was for the most part a more modernized home for the many years I enjoyed it. In your sock feet you could get a running start in the kitchen and then slide down the hall. The black and white patterned tile in the bathroom could mesmerize a sleepy child. The long kitchen sink was a place I knew well, standing by my grandmother (on a chair when I was a little girl ) and drying dishes as she washed them. Just across the back yard, I could go play at the Hoover home when their grandchildren visited. Their house boasted a large stairwell in the center hall, a grande hall for sure. Lots of bedrooms upstairs (at least it seemed that way) were the perfect spots for hide and seek. Most of all, Mrs. Hoover had a big trunk filled with "old clothes" that we could dress up in. As I think back on those tossed over clothes I realize they would make a vintage and historic clothes hound's heart stop! Next door was the Kirkley home. Mr. Kirkley owned the 5 & 10 ( I promise I am not THAT OLD but that is what they called it.) and Mrs. Kirkley was as southern as they come. They had "help" so my grandmother would say. When their granddaughters came to visit we enjoyed a few tea parties and "sampled" in the kitchen whatever Margaret was making! Spending time in those homes, and a few others in town, gave me an early experience of the warmth and beauty those old walls created in the sense of home and memories.

It stands to reason that a few pictures on the walls in my den are of homes in Colonial Williamsburg that caught my eye when visiting. I asked if, since I was related, could I overnight in the George Wythe house. The odd look I received lead me to believe that was not an option. Everywhere I have lived as I grew up has had a historic district that included some lovely homes. I can't avoid it on vacation either: there is nothing more lovely than viewing the houses on St. Charles in New Orleans, taking a walking tour in Madison, Georgia, or even including a trip to a sugar cane plantation on a Caribbean island. Old homes not only speak to me, they call me by name!

Olivia hears them too. We often play a game when visiting an area with these old homes. We call out "that's my house" as we pass one we love. This is often said many times during one of our "drive-bys". We marvel at the different style periods, the colors people use, the front doors, the porches. Oh, the porches!

For us southern gals, it must have a porch. Not just a little porch, but one that stretches the width of the house. If it wraps around, all the better. Room for a swing, some ferns, some wicker chairs perhaps or wooden rockers. Room enough to roller skate on rainy days. High enough to jump off of with dignity. Space for a jogglin board.....if you could find someone to make you one! Steps out front to sit on and sip lemonade, eat a popsicle, or just watch the world go by. Yes, it must have a porch.

So am I just a gal with an addiction? Is my love for old architecture a genetic disorder or result of over exposure? Did the experience of creating marvelous memories in the houses on Market Street create a love affair for the past to be prevalent in my present? I'm not really sure. I don't believe in reincarnation, but if I did, I would believe I lived in a grand old southern home! You know it had a porch. ~ Beth

These homes were photographed by my plundering partner and sweet daughter, Olivia, in Eufaula, Ala.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Plundering Partner

Mothers and daughters are quite a combination. I count myself lucky to have two wonderful daughters. Though the teen years can be tough for a variety of reasons, I believe that with some tender loving care, you are just adding rich patina to your lives, much like the antiques and prims we enjoy so much.

Both my girls seem to understand and appreciate my love of timeworn antiques and the treasure hunt I so enjoy. I must say that Olivia has taken a much greater interest in my obsession and has created her own twist in the adventures we pursue.
You see, Olivia likes photography, and she likes history too. She has been on several of those road trips that involved stopping at many flea markets and antique stores. When she was little, I would show her some items in a Country Living or Country Sampler magazine and challenge her to find them wherever we were. Now, she just takes her camera along and looks for the art in the aisles of furniture and the rows of booths.

Her interest has also grown to my blog; making suggestions about items we should photograph for it, or commenting on things I should mention when writing. Her eye for the old meant we spent some time last weekend taking photos of great old homes in Eufaula, Alabama. It is a beautiful town that boasts some gorgeous old houses and churches. I plan to do a post on them very soon as Olivia told me they would be "great for the blog". An old barn and abandoned general store on an old county road became the perfect place for portrait photography. The photographer handed the camera to me and she became the subject.

Our journeys, often accompanied by Rebecka and her daughter Madison, are the things legends are made of. The laughs we've had, the crazy sights we've seen (we make a list of these on each trip we take), and the people we have met along the way are memories we can share forever. She often remarks where an item came from or the trip it was associated with when she takes note of something in our home. She and Madison have hilarious stories to tell about their "crazy mothers" and they know that their dads could never understand what this whole thing is about!

Sweet Sixteen is rapidly approaching for my plundering partner. It's hard to believe that the little girl in the photo on our entry table (oval frame in the picture) has grown up so quickly. I am thankful that, no matter her age, we can always hit the road together and hunt for the next great find. One thing I am sure we'll always find is the special friendship that a mother and daughter share. I am pretty sure that is the greatest find of all. ~~ Beth