Oh, my paws and whiskers! The coif patterns are finally available for sale on line!
Thanks to kass_rants</lj> , who rocks in the rockingest way possible.
I want everyone to know thatI tend to stay away from political debate in my journal these days - my feelings are static, and will not change, so I don't see any point. From what I've seen of the tidal wave of political posts over the weekend, no-one else is changing their minds, either, so let's take it as a given that I'm not going to talk politics, except to say that y'all need to vote, no matter what.
(That's John Adams in the icon, btw. That's as far as I'm going.)
I had a lovely weekend - theblueleader</lj> and our friend Stumpy came over and helped amazingly on getting things ready for our Gardiner's event in October. The garage bathroom is now drywalled and taped/mudded, thanks to theblueleader</lj> , and part of the back meadow is mowed, thanks to Stumpy. Awesome stuff, guys, thank you! We got some larger branches cleared in the woods area so we can go over it with the field mower (boo undergrowth), we got the rest of the insulation in the ground floor, and the baffles in upstairs in the garage, and I hung the mirror in the guest bedroom (FYI, Hercules Hooks are da bomb). I'm rather proud of the mirror - I got it hung all by myself, and even put the hanging hardware on the mirror. Since I'm not exactly handy with the power tools (in this case, the drill), I was delighted by the outcome.
The guest bedroom is coming closer and closer to being completely finished (except for trim and flooring, which is a ways off yet). I am very excited. It's a very girly room, but I'm sure our more manly guests won't mind - they'll just be sleeping in it, not spending hours and hours locked in.
I got to drive my new Miata both ways, since I went down a day early (to be there for deliveries, and, as it turned out, the electrician), and I drove with the top down both ways (I am now converted to wearing a baseball cap while driving). The weather was gorgeous, and since I took the long way home (rte 15 through Leesburg to rte 70 at Frederick MD), I got to drive over the Potomac at Point of Rocks, and it is breathtakingly gorgeous. With the top down, I got to see so much more of it, and the smell of the river up there is lovely. It was soul-filling.
I also did a little antique shopping on the way home - I'm looking for a few things for the guest bedroom/bath, and I'm suddenly obsessed with putting together a Steampunk Victorian hunting outfit for CostumeCon (blame it on the collective zeitgeist, which has declared Steampunk the new thing, even though it's been around for years). I got a couple of little bits plus some awesome vintage handkerchiefs. Not much for the costume, though I got a great pair of 1860s glasses.
I haz plans.
One of the things I realized while shopping is that it is profoundly depressing to wander into a beautiful shop and realize that every single beautiful thing in it is outside my price range (well, outside what I consider reasonable for pillow shams, anyway). The shop in question is in Lucketts, and is called "The Beekeeper's Cottage", and it is filled with Shabby Chic[tm] brand products, and things that fit the Shabby Chic[tm]* aesthetic. It was lovely, but I am pulled up very short at the direction in which SC[tm] has gone. If I remember correctly, it used to be about finding things in flea markets for super cheap, and refurbishing them in the English Country Cottage mode (which mostly seemed to involve a lot of cans of Krylon white paint).
Apparently it has now become a designer thing, with $100 shams, $350 bedspreads, and $1400 chairs. The SC[tm] fabrics are all $40 /yard and up, even though they are supposed to look like faded English chintz.
I'm sorry, but what? Why, exactly, should I pay so much for what is essentially sun-faded fabric?
I didn't really get an answer for that one.
Understand, I love antiques - the design look I have gone with for the house is definitely retro, and will be accentuated with the antique furniture Bob and I have collected over the years (and a few smaller pieces we've both inherited). I am most comfortable with the English country house aesthetic, since that's what I grew up with. I find faded colours and small china whatsits very pleasing, and I'm really not interested in the Modern look, even though I appreciate it when I see it. I collect old things, and the guest bed/bath is done in the English blue-and-white look, with antique watercolours painted by some ancestor of mine in 1820 or so.
Essentially, I seem to be trying to create a combination of my grandmothers' houses, with the same mish-mash of antiques from many eras, the small decorative touches, and nothing but real art or antique prints on the walls.
(I have the art covered; I have real paintings, my own paintings, and a bunch of 100-300 year old prints my mother gave me that belonged to my great-grandfather. The prints I have are limited editions from www.victoriasimages.com, and a Salvador Dali woodcut from his "Divine Comedy" series. It's not signed, but it does have a blind stamp - and it's probably the most valuable artwork in the house.)
(Yes, I'm boasting. You'll live.)
I would love to furnish the beds in hem-stitched linen sheets, with lacy light bedspreads and shams, but not if I have to pay more for a single bed than we paid for the 1910 table and 1915 Renaissance revival cupboard combined. Shabby Chic[tm] has become an evil design house monster, not the delightful (my loathing of Rachel Ashwell, whom I find to be ridiculously shrill and annoying notwithstanding) pastime of browsing flea markets for great bargains to refurbish. I'd rather buy vintage fabrics than pay $100 /yard for "predistressed" chintz in an English Rose pattern. No, really. I'd much rather have something with a history than an expensive facsimile.
(A cheap facsimile is fine, or even a mid-priced facsimile, like the rather pricey but totally worth it kitchen drawer pulls that give the kitchen such a great 1950s look.)
It seems more and more that antique stores are being replaced by the Shabby Chic[tm]-style store - some antiques, a lot of expensive bath products,"reclaimed" (meaning destroyed with awful painting and crappy glued-on "decoration") vintage items, and an overall climb in prices that is not really justified.
Okay, I'm being a bit of a hypocrite - some of the reproduction stuff is rather marvellous, and I did buy some nice things from one of the stores yesterday (I'm a sucker for reproduction French 1920s stuff). But I really just want antiques, and if I can get them for a bargain at the scruffy junk store without the 1000% mark-up, I'm going there. I'll pay $5 for a piece of 1910 painted china (in this case, a sugar bowl that will go on my vanity and hold things), but if the shop promotes it as "English Country" and suddenly prices it at $50 just because it's old, they've lost me.
I'm a fairly savvy shopper; I can tell a bargain, I can sniff out a repro, and I frequently seem to know more about the goods a booth dealer has than they do (I saw a stamped block of china tea being sold as a "carved wooden block" once; no, it may be rock hard because it's 20 years old, but if you put it in water, it will dissolve, which is not really a common property of wood), and I know when they're being completely unrealistic about the price. Unfortunately, they're starting to price too high more and more these days - and the ShabbyChic[tm] movement is largely responsible for this nonsense.
Fortunately, I still know the good places to go for the really good stuff that isn't overpriced.
And I'm not afraid to rummage in the thrift store. After all, I, too, know how to use a can of Krylon white paint.
*(That annoying [tm]? Is there because SC is now a damn brand, not a fun idea for creating a unique look from old furniture. When Target has a range of downmarket Shabby Chic stuff, it's no longer about individuality.)