Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Forsythia is in Bloom....and other things Spring-y

It may be a month early but the Forsythia is in full bloom and it is magnificent!

This bush was here when we moved into the house 16 years ago and it just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger! I live at the end of the first block off Main Street and you can see this Forsythia as soon as you turn on my street. It consumes the whole corner of my yard (that's my house on the left). It is so vibrant when it is in bloom that I don't have the heart to cut it back!

When my girls were little I was very ambitious and would make them each a dress for Easter. It was always so much fun to do that and then to buy the shoes and hat and little purse to go with it. I have granddaughters now and since Chloe, the youngest (7 months) is a professional model already (at least she acts like she knows what to do!), I decided to feature my newest button idea with her. Just pull out the camera and instant posing and smiling starts............

"Chloe is modeling the floral purple and fuschia headband from the newest line of hair accessories in The Button Lady shop on Etsy".

All the headbands with vintage buttons are for Girls but I put one on Chloe and it fit and it is so cute! Here are some others....

This one is light turquoise with dark turquoise shell buttons arranged in a flower pattern with a vintage pearlized glass button. The next one is a deep coral with a matching center square button and two petite square white buttons on either side.

The photo session was completely spontaneous yet Chloe cooperated and gave me a different "look" for each pose!

All these headbands and others are listed in my Etsy shop.

I've already got the flea market/thrift store/garage sale bug so I've have been doing some antique and estate sale shopping and found some cute vintage things for Easter decorating. They can be found in NaNa's Things on Etsy. I have collected bunnies for years but my goal was to find some to sell in my shop. It's going to be hard to see these go!

This is a vintage 1980 Avon figurine exclusively made in Japan for Avon as an award gift for those representatives meeting their monthly goals. The front says "Ready for an Avon Day". This cute lady rabbit is putting her lipstick on before she heads out the door.

This is a cute mama and baby bunny planter, condiment or candy dish. Perfect for the Easter Sunday table.

These mini panoramic sugar eggs brought back instant memories of childhood Easters when I saw them at an estate sale. They are in perfect condition, still wrapped in the original cellophane. A little chick with eggs sits inside each one.

Both of my etsy shops offer Spring-y items for decorating or wearing........
There is a very unique vintage capodimonte porcelain dish with a cherub sitting atop three decorated and gold trimmed eggs in NaNa's Things.....felt hearts and woven purses in The Button Lady......vintage plates for your table.....a brooch for your outfit........button birdhouses.......

Happy Spring!
AnnMarie :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Reviving a Beloved Treasure

I am always thinking of new and different things to do with my vintage button collection for The Button Lady shop on Etsy. I never thought I would be in the repair business though.

I was completely flattered when Christine contacted me about fixing a vintage button bracelet that had completely fallen apart and was not wearable. She had seen the bracelets I had made that are listed in my shop, and liked how they were put together. She sent me a picture of hers and then I took my own "before" and "after" pictures.....

The buttons were literally hanging by a thread on this thick, elastic, woven gold thread. It actually looked worse than the picture because when you held the bracelet up, the buttons dangled off of it about an inch. This was going to be a challenge, not ever sewing on this type of material and having to figure out where all the buttons originally were and make them all fit again!

I decided I was up for the challenge though because I am so drawn to this type of jewelry. This bracelet is exactly what I modeled my bracelets after. I saw one behind the locked glass in a case in an antique store in Skaneateles, New York. So vintage, so pretty. I asked the clerk about it and she couldn't give me any information as to their history or age. I decided I had to make some from my buttons collection.

Then my wonderful sister Debbie, being the avid Ebay shopper, presented me with a large tote full of vintage buttons that she had been buying and collecting for me. What a surprise when I opened one of the cigar boxes (she had used her collection of cigar boxes to store them) and there was THIS bracelet....

Wow! It is 2" wide and just full of beautiful vintage buttons. It is such a treasure to me that I instantly understood Christine wanting hers to be repaired so she could wear it again.

It was back in Burbank, California in 1990 that Christine had a coworker that made these lovely bracelets to sell at craft fairs and button shows. She was a passionate collector of buttons and made a hobby of collecting, trading, selling and buying and studying antique buttons.

Christine wrote these memories to me....

"I think what drew me to the bracelet was one particular button, a white ceramic one with little painted blue and red flowers...that one just called to me. I think because it almost looked like a drawer handle for a little chest or something, I'll never know. The rest of course are gorgeous, but when she gave me a selection of perhaps 3 to choose from, it was that button that did it for me. EVERYWHERE I would go, someone would comment on the bracelet. I liked it because of it's "tightness" - meaning nothing dangled or clinked...it was just there and lovely. I used to wear it everywhere, but once when I lost a button, I stopped wearing it. Seeing it just sit there in my jewelry box would break my heart. As the years progressed, the thread lost it's elasticity...Which is why I'm so glad to have found you! One of the things I do know about button collectors is that they are very passionate about their buttons, knowing the history of each one...having a bracelet with so many antique buttons, it's mind-blowing to imagine the story behind each one, isn't it?"

Yes, it is and it is that passion for buttons that keeps me looking for ways to use them.

Here is the finished product and there is that white button with the blue and red flowers Christine was talking about....

Christine told me about a beaded watch she has that was bought in Maui a few years after she got the bracelet. It too needs repair now.......any beaders out there up for a challenge?

AnnMarie :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Doing Unto Others.....First

I have never been comfortable promoting myself. In anything.

So when I opened my first Etsy shop, essentially getting into sales, I found myself struggling to tell friends and acquaintances that I did just that and how excited I was and how I thought I had a pretty cool, funky product to offer.

Almost a year and a half later, now with two Etsy shops, I have found the secret to being comfortable. It is in promoting others FIRST..........

"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than themselves" Philippians 2:3 NKJ

I spent most of Monday online on Etsy listing items and going through my different team's threads favoriting, liking and playing the different games there are to promote others while sharing my new item. It is a large part of Etsy's business proposal which is really a biblical premise.

"Do for others as you would like them to do for you" Luke 6:31 NLT

It feels good to be a part of a community that supports each other and their individual success on Etsy.

If you are part of a team or teams on Etsy you know that most of the threads that you can participate in let you post your new items, your blog, your facebook address... and so on. But in the spirit of networking and encouraging you are to also go through and favorite other sellers' shops and items, post comments on their blogs, and "like" their Facebook page. Usually it is required to go through and do that FIRST.

It all clicked for me then. I have become comfortable in promoting myself because I am first promoting others and encouraging their success.

It works in real life too. If you reach out to someone in need you are acting unselfishly and blessing them in the process.

It is, after all, the second greatest command from God....

"30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."   Mark 12:30-31 NKJ

And isn't that what we want others to do for us?

AnnMarie :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Craving Oatmeal Cookies

I started thinking about oatmeal cookies after posting my last blog about Impact Theatre. I make them quite a lot for intermission on our performance nights and so I put them on my baking list for this month. They are a favorite every time. Then yesterday all my girlfriend Kim had to say is that she just made some oatmeal cookies and they were sooooooo good, and my thinking became a craving!

My recipe is from an old Betty Crocker cookbook that has definitely seen better days! The recipe itself is written all over and doesn't stay in the binder anymore. My cookbooks and the recipes that are the best usually look like this....

I don't expect you to read the recipe from the picture so here it is!

Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
3 cups quick cooking oats

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix thoroughly shortening, sugars, egg, water and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 1 inch apart onto greased baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden. There are some substitutions that I make sometimes that are really good........ 
- instead of 3 cups of quick oats use 1 cup cornflakes and 2 cups of the oats
- instead of 1 cup raisins and 1 cup nuts add 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 cup nuts and 1 cup baking coconut
- dried cranberries are also a great substitute for the raisins
Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

My cookbooks are old with tattered pages and my pans are old too....I think that all just adds to the finished product!
As I was waiting for the first batch to cook I looked outside and a full blown blizzard had suddenly appeared.

I had planned to stay home all day today and work on Etsy, bake and do a little crafting. The snowstorm just added to the ambiance. I love to stay home on a blustery winter day but it is now heading into Spring and we can move on from the snow!

Try these cookies....they are different than most because of their secret ingredient....not so secret as it is listed and it is cloves... Enjoy!

AnnMarie :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Christian Theatre for the Arts - Making an Impact

If you have been stopping by and visiting my blog you can see that I have alot going on in my life.....from my husband and son at home to my daughters and grandchildren, two Etsy shops, church, baking and cooking and of course shopping for vintage items! And, once a month I do theatre with my husband and son.

Frank and I and a very dedicated, talented troupe, run a Christian Community Theatre for the Arts in Palmyra, New York. It is called Impact Theatre. Have you heard the name yet? They say that word of mouth is one of the best ways to spread your name, and so it has been for Impact Theatre. Now operating in our 12th year, through prayer and God's timing, Impact Theatre has grown from its humble beginnings to a full-fledged Christian Community Theatre for the Arts worthy of talking about. Our slogan? "It's Significant Theatre!"

Each month the gym of the Palmyra Town Hall is transformed into a comfortable, off-broadway type atmosphere complete with a stage, lights, sound and tables that seat about 100 people. The off-broadway atmosphere came from Frank. He was born and raised in New York City. His friend's father painted for the theatres on Broadway and would give his son and friends, Frank included, tickets to the shows. Frank recalls going to the shows with the gown and tux crowd, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. He saw Guys and Dolls, Westside Story, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat and The Little Shop of Horrors.....shows that are still his favorites today.

Frank took this experience and feeling the call from God to minister to his community through drama he started writing skits, directing performances at local churches. That grew into the vision to offer an evening that included drama and various local Christian artists outside the church walls. Each month artists such as acoustic guitarists, bands, poetry or dance are performed onstage as well as live, original drama all under the direction of Frank.  The skits are humorous and light-hearted, or thought provoking when dealing with social issues such as suicide, divorce or domestic abuse. In all of them the message is to show how God can help in every situation in our lives.

Impact Theatre is a labor of love for the 13 commited, non-paid troupe members that assemble and disassemble the theatre monthly.  They come from all walks of life to do ministry through theatre for the Lord. Our sound guy is an executive manager at Xerox. We have many behind the scenes helpers that by day are a truck driver, are retired, are an 8th grader  and a stay at home Mom. The actors include a school administrator, a chemist and a senior citizen who is a very talented painter. The age ranges from 13 to 82 and each one lends their gift from God to help in this outreach of free theatre.

The evening includes coffee and homemade desserts during intermission and free counseling materials and bibles to take home.

The Lord has blessed Impact Theatre and those He has chosen to be a part of it. Our audience is blessed each month with good amatuer theatre run with a professional standard and they are as varied as the troupe. We have our regulars each month and the new people who come to see the featured artist.

In God's timing our desire is for a building of our own to enchance what the Lord has built over the past 12 years. Frank has lots of ideas like having a council for the arts, a Christian bookstore, and offering acting lessons and counseling services.

If you are ever vacationing or driving through the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York State on a Friday night, stop in for an evening of music and drama and leave filled with God's word on your heart. Or visit the Impact Theatre website to see what's going on....

Some of our troupe members relaxing and having a good time at our year end celebration...........love these guys!

AnnMarie :)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Decorating with Garland....Button Garland, that is!

This past Christmas I was given a beautiful, all ivory button garland for my tree by a friend that knows I am passionate for buttons! As beautiful as it looked on the tree I wondered if I could create button garlands out of different colors and styles of buttons to use as decoration year round. My first was this red and white garland I made just in time for Valentines Day.....some very smart lady grabbed it up and it is no longer in my shop The Button Lady , but I wanted to show you how pretty I think it looks.....

I can always recreate this if you have to have it for the red room in your house! Of course all my buttons are one of a kind and vintage so no two garlands will ever be alike. I went on to make a green, blue and white one (that matches my kitchen perfectly!) and an all neutral one with ivory, white and pale beiges and tans that goes anywhere. I started hanging them and placing them all over my house. What do you think?


These are the actual garlands up close.......the colors are perfect for Spring decorating. Each one is 6ft long with a loop on each end for hanging. They are both available in The Button Lady shop on Etsy.

I can custom make any length or color you may need. Send me a conversation through The Button Lady shop or leave a comment here and we can talk colors, length and price.

Happy Weekend!
AnnMarie :)