Life on the creative side

Archive for January, 2012

Cleaning My Empty Nest

empty nest imageThis week I finally found the time, energy and will to tackle a project I’ve put off far too long; cleaning out and organizing the closets of my house. As we transition from a full house to empty nesters we face the daunting, and often emotional task of paring down.  Rooms once filled with kids and the trappings of childhood are now quiet, occupied only by the shadows of the past and outgrown mementoes of youth.


kids memorabliaI actually tried to tackle this chore before, but as soon as I started sorting through the scraps of my children’s childhoods, their drawings, papers, photos and once treasured toys, I was ambushed, first by memories then by melancholy. So I abandoned the task, leaving the space in even more disarray than when I started, and instead I called the kids.

But over the years all our closets have slowly collected stuff, way too much stuff, so I decided it would be safer to start with my own space then work up to tackling, and facing, our empty nest.

My well-organized closet; it feels so spacious!

my organized closet

And my beautiful quilt closet; now I can enjoy my treasured textiles!

my organized quilt closet

A work in progress, yikes!

messy closet

Even though my closet clutter was hidden behind doors, the mess still weighed on me. Getting them clean and organized lifted the invisible weight that I wasn’t even aware I was carrying; I might even be ready to start on the kids room, or maybe I’ll just give them a call and visit awhile.

Success At The Antique Fair!

wardrobe display at renninger's setup

our renninger's booth staged and ready for buyers

Our first big sale at a retail venue was a great success. We sold a lot of merchandise and had a great time. It was however a lot of work and we couldn’t have gotten through the loading and unloading and running back and forth without my hubby’s unfailing support; he was our truck driver, our delivery guy, our fix it if it got broken guy, our deal with grumpy neighbors guy, he did it all. Thanks hubby!

setting up our booth at renninger's 1/12

hubby helping with setup

Many of the folks that stopped by our booth asked about our shop location and our plans for future shows, and of course we had neither, but we did direct them here to; so if you are one of our new creative friends, welcome. Many of our buyers encouraged our creativity and urged us to considered doing more shows, but we’ll see. After a little down time Lisa and I will decide what direction, if any, we would like to take and, of course, once we have decided, you all will be the first to know.

running low on merchandise at the renninger's extravaganza

merchandise at the extravaganza

beautiful heart pine table and table top wine rack

Most of the items featured in the following photos sold!

most of the things in this photo sold!

all the jars and the wire stand sold

items that sold at the extravaganza

kathy and lisa in renningers booth

Wow Our Booth At The Antique Extravaganza Looks Amazing!

Wow! What a great weekend, hot but great, we are having at the extravaganza.  We sold so much stuff on Friday that after we closed up for the day we rushed home and picked everything we could from our homes to refill the booth space; then today went even better! But as for our grumpy neighbor, yesterday he proved that my theory that he was nicer than his first impression was wrong. But we are having too much fun, and sangria, to let a grumpy old guy bring down our spirits.

Today we met some great folks, dealers, collectors and delightful young people.  We also had some friends stop by for a visit, a little shopping and a sip of sangria.

Our Booth Of Eclectic Home Furnishings And Collectables!

booth at renninger's extravaganza


booth at renninger's extravaganzaAfter a very long day our booth is ready and we are so pleased with the way it looks.  We had a lot of positive feedback and several sales offers. While our closest neighbor comes across a little abrasive at times, I think the elderly man and his wife are probably nicer than their first impression would indicate; we certainly hope so, but tomorrow we’ll have a stash of sangria on hand, just in case we need to calm our nerves and shore up our patience.

booth at renninger's extravaganza

Check back to hear how it goes.

Here We Go To The Antique Extravaganza!

Here we go! Tomorrow we set up at the big extravaganza and the gates open to the public at 10:00 am on Friday.  If you’re in the central Florida area stop by and say hi – Renninger’s Extravaganza, Mount Dora.


merchandise for renninger's extravaganza

merchandise for renninger's extravaganza




I Love Old Dishes! Even Broken – Mosaic

vintage dishes in cabinet

I love old dishes, the time mellowed hues and crackled glaze gives them a commonality that makes my miss-matched collection work beautiful as a setting. Vintage plates and bowls can be found everywhere from yard sales and flea markets to antique shops; and they are often inexpensive. Even if broke, which happens from time to time at my house, their beauty can still be enjoyed and appreciated through repurposing.

table setting of vintage mix-matched dishes

After one of my favorite plates broke, I used the broken pieces as tile and created a sweet little lazy Susan.         Broken plate mosaic lazy susan  broken plate mosaic as lazy susan

 I used the decorative center of a broken saucer as a design element in a mosaic top I crafted for a mid-century wire stand.

mid-century stand with saucer mosaic

Remember that some of the glazes used in vintage dishes may contain lead so test them before using. I sometimes use the old dishes like chargers, paired with clear dishes so their beauty is still visible while food is kept safely away from possible lead contamination.

Happy collecting!

Repurposed, Refinished, Created and Found Treasures

Today I loaded up the truck (well hubby loaded it for me) with treasures I’ve been working on for months.  Lisa and I are now in the process of collecting together our merchandise for the extravaganza coming up a week from today.  It’s exciting to see the collection of repurposed, refinished, created and found treasures finally all together and we are very pleased with our eclectic mix of treasures.

Here’s a sneak peek.

Collection of pretty tins. 

Refurbished antique bed, tractor seat stool, quilt crafts.

indian River painting, acrylic on woodOriginal painting of Intracoastal Waterway, acrylic on canvas.

 Vintage quilt remnant pillows and end table cube on wheels.

Lamp shade made from vintage hankiesLamp shade made from vintage hankies.

 Old tractor seat stool.

elephant ears, acrylic on canvasOriginal painting of elephant ears, acrylic on canvas.

  Lamp shade made with vintage post cards, chenille room divider and refurbished rocker.

Recycled Magazine into Beautiful Lamp Shades

recycled magazine pages into lamp shade

recycled magazine pages into lamp shade

Inspired by a lamp shade created by my daughter Kate, a recycled magazine was turned into this shade for an old lamp I’m fixing up for the extravaganza later this month. While the process turned out to be more challenging than I had anticipated, the result was even more beautiful than I had expected.

Supplies gathered for the project.

supplies for the paper lamp shade

Pattern cut from magazine page and ready to be rolled into a rosette.

magazine page cut to form rosette

Project in process, with some rolled rosettes glued to shade and more ready to be glued in place.

Detail of rosettes.

detail of rosettes

Inspiration shade

Repurposed Apple Crate

With the arrival of the new year, Lisa and I have begun our final push to get ready for the upcoming antique extravaganza. I just finished this project and I am so pleased with the outcome, I had to take some time to share it with you.

close up of repurposed pink apple box into sidetable

The little side-table started life as a primitive wooden apple crate.  When I found this little treasure, the paper label had mostly peeled away, but what was left of it was lovely; and pink paint, flaking from the wood inside and out, had mellowed to a wonderfully soft hue.

wooden apple box label

I gently scrubbed away the years of dust and grime, careful not to destroy anymore of the label and to remove only the flakiest paint.  Then I added, (well hubby added), caster wheels, a wooden shelf with old green paint and finally an overall coat of poly.

repurposed  pink apple box side table

Isn’t it adorable!

I’m A Guest Blogger

Twice Treasured invited me to be a guest blogger, head over to and check out what I had to say.

What Goes Up Before The Holidays, Must Come Down After The Holidays

ornament crafted from remnant of vintage quiltIf you’re like me you dread the after-holiday let-down and clean up.  For me, over the years the unpleasant task of taking down and packing up the season’s decorations has continued to grow, slowly diminishing the enthusiasm in which I adorn my home for the holidays. Even knowing the significance this particular Christmas would hold for my family, there was a nagging in the back of my mind, reminding me that what goes up before thepainted gourd angel ornament holidays must come down after the holidays. And sure enough after the celebrations, while I was standing on the porch still waving goodbye to the children as they left the ridge and headed back to their separate lives, I could feel the dread waiting to rush in and fill the temporary void their departure always leaves in my spirit. But this year I was surprised by my reaction to the negative feelings; instead of sadness, I felt angry.

How dare negativity slip in and try to taint such a wonderful family gathering? How could I have allowed, even fostered, a state of mind that could diminish such a special time? Standing there in the wonderland of cedar trees, poinsettia and lights we had created on my porch, I made my second New Year’s resolution – stay mindful of the toll negativity takes on my life and spirit. And believe it or not, just like that I felt lifted; the dread was gone, crowed out by joy for the season, for my family and for our time gathered together.

family portrait

Now if only I can do that again as I begin the packing process to leave Blue Antler Studio and my cabin on the ridge.

the cabin and blue antler studio