This is my favorite time of year for collecting vintage Christmas decor. Yard sales are rich with vintage Christmas decor and collectibles as is eBay. Most people are thinking about their summer plans, not Santa Claus so generally prices stay lower on auctions than what you would see in the fall.
Here are a few beauties on my wish list:
Vintage honeycomb mercury glass garland. How gorgeous would this look on a mantle?
Vintage icicles. I love this box too. Super cute.
Mercury glass anything and especially garland in these colors. Want.
Vintage bottle brush tree with mercury ornaments. Everything about this little tree makes me happy. It has glitter, pink and mercury glass. Perfection!
I can honestly say I could creep on eBay for hours looking for goodies!
Spring has been a busy time for us! I have really been swamped and hate that I haven't kept up my blog. Karsen continues to grow and is 2.5 years old already! Tate is busy with spring baseball. Ashton is finishing up her 4th grade year. Justin is graduating in a few weeks. Jonathan just completed his first year of college. It's so hard watching your babies grow up. Part of you wants to hold onto them forever while the other part is proud to see them grow. Here are some pics of our spring:
Spring arrived. Or so the calendar said. For us here in West Virginia, we were still dealing with snow showers until this week.
And with Easter falling so close to St Patrick's Day, I didn't even decorate! My mom and brother came down the weekend before Easter for a quick visit. That was nice. I miss my family so much! I have been staying busy with getting Justin ready to graduate in a few months. My poor blog has suffered. Karsen is such a cutie as always. Learning new words and sayings. She keeps us on our toes. She misses Jonathan when he is in college. And she is always happy when he is home and wants him to play "choo choo" with her. She wasn't even afraid of the Easter Bunny this year! It is our second official Easter in West Virginia but for the most part, we have spent every Easter here in West VA with the exception of a just a few. It was always a tradition to be here. Church, then brunch at the Marriott or Embassy Suites in downtown Charleston. PawPaw loved to see his granddaughters dressed up! He loved having the whole family together. The entire Easter weekend was full of Easter egg hunts and meals and family fun.
We miss him most at holidays because he really enjoyed them. And he would have really loved seeing Karsen all dressed up in her poufy dress on Sunday. She loved church. They did a musical and it was really nice. She was worried about Jesus and was so happy when He arose from the tomb. She almost made it thru the entire service before she got restless and we had to wait in the lobby. She still will not let me put her in the toddler room.
For Easter brunch this year, we ate at the golf club that John worked at when he was in High School. It was nice and the wait wasn't as long as the Marriott. Ashton enjoyed the egg buffet. She ate at least 6 eggs. It was cold and rainy so not a lot of picture opportunities. Here is what I did manage to get:
Forgive me. I have been MIA. It has been a truly busy season (and having a 2.5 year old that every time I sit down at the computer she goes nuts). We enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving and Christmas. We were able to visit North Carolina the week before Thanksgiving which was nice because it meant no traffic and we were able to get back in time to celebrate with our West Virginia family too.
Christmas came and went all too suddenly. Me and the kids (minus Justin who had to work) made a quick run back to North Carolina for a two day visit after Christmas and that was nice even though it was all too fast.
And I enjoyed having Jonathan home from college for an entire month. He just went back for his second semester on Monday. He did great his first semester. He managed a 3.5 GPA, Deans list and 22 credit hours. Not bad for a bio chem major. I couldn't be more proud of him.
We had a small cancer scare in the family as my Aunt Jill was diagnosed with lung cancer in November but thankfully it was caught and treated early. We are a very close family so hearing this news was very devastating for me but it was caught early and the Dr's are hopeful she will be ok.
The holidays aren't easier without Papa Bud but I suppose I am learning to get used to them better. It helps not living there. I guess God did me a favor by moving me so quickly after he died. I need to do a better job finding time to update my blog! That can be my New Years Resolution! Happy New Year!
The sun is finally peeking thru the gray clouds this afternoon. It's the first time it has made an appearance since last Saturday. Hurricane Sandy has hung around long enough here in West Virginia. On Tuesday morning we awoke to 6 inches of snow and while that was nice it quickly turned to a muddy mess as the snow changed into a light rain.
Halloween had to be rescheduled for tonight and the kids are looking forward to that.
The contrast from last Fridays weather to Tuesdays was quite stark. On Friday it was sunny, warm and 83 degrees....unusually warm for this part of West Virginia. By Friday evening, you could feel the cold front moving it. And by Saturday it was only 43 degrees and raining.
It seemed autumn ended and winter began without much of a transition.
Which made me think a lot about that is how I feel my life has become.
Papa Bud died on August 5th and by September 1st, I was moved away...188 miles to be exact to Richmond, Va. There was no transition it seemed. One day I was living a life I loved in my hometown, in my house and neighborhood that I loved, with my family close by that I loved and it seems like I blinked and the next thing I knew nothing was as it was.
Holidays changed. Traditions changed. Everything changed. Life changed.
And in that moment of time, I was so wrapped up in the shock of grief of losing him that I didn't even realize what was happening. I didn't realize I was moving so far from home, taking my kids away from the only home they really ever knew. Stripping away all of the traditions I had grown to love and cherish that had made me part of who I am. All of it would be gone. I lost Papa, and then I lost the life I had known. The grief outweighed my logical thinking though and that's probably a good thing because if it had dawned on me what I was leaving behind, I don't think I could have moved.
It's taken me three years to finally see this grief for what it is......I am mourning my old life. It hurts. It stings. But life must go on. I am much happier now living in West Virginia than I was in Richmond. Here we have family. And I am so blessed to be so in love with my in laws. They make life fun again. But nothing can take away the pain I feel when I long for home. I long to hug my mom and grandmother. I long to see my sister. I long to be in familiar territory. I miss my old life so much.
And I appreciate SO MUCH MORE my family, and my hometown. The saying is true, you don't know what you have until it is gone. I miss North Carolina! I miss my family! But I am so blessed to at least be living near our WV family, and I know they are so thankful to be able to see little Karsen grow.
I wish there was a way we all could live near each other! Papa Bud would be so proud of me for being so brave and moving twice now to places I never dreamed I would be living. I miss him so much! As these seasons change, I think about how much my life has changed too. And I miss that season of my life.
Whew. It has been a very busy fall for me so far! I have had the privilege of listing and selling some very unique dolls for a sweet lady from California. The dolls belonged to her fiance's mother and they were exquisite.
The owner was a little girl during the 1930-1940's and her dolls were so beautiful. As I was researching the dolls, it dawned on me that this little girl must have been from a wealthy family. It also made me think of my grandparents and how poor they were in contrast to this little girl who was probably their same age.
The little girl's father was one of the original architects of the Golden Gate Bridge, which I felt was fascinating. Among them were some pretty nice Nancy Ann's but most were dolls I had never seen before. Dolls by Efanbee, Madame Alexander, R&B, etc... I learned so much about them in this process.
Here are some pictures:
In addition to that I have stayed busy keeping up with school starting and Jonathan being in college.
Karsen turned 26 months old yesterday and that is hard to believe. And my second son, Justin is a high school senior! I had their portraits taken and they turned out really nice.
As I have blogged about before, one of the greatest joys I receive from collecting Nancy Ann's is being able to fix them up.
I am self taught and love learning new techniques. It's like I have discovered a hobby within a hobby.
Restoring these dollies to a better state is not easy and patience is key. But for the most part, what the dolls need most is a light cleaning.
I like to use a Magic Eraser for the skin. It doesn't disturb the paint and it really gets into the grooves of the dolls nicely.
Restringing is quite simple and I have begun using elastic cords you can buy online. I use a tweezer to pull one end through and connect it to the other side. I can string a doll in less than 5 minutes now! lol
The mohair wigs and dresses are the hardest part of the repair process.
The dresses are so amazing but the fabrics are so delicate. I have found the best way to clean them is to use Dawn dish sink soap or any Dove Shampoo.Both products clean well and do not harm the garment.
Always air dry your dresses. I hang mine on upside down glasses so the skirts fill out nicely.
The wigs are another story! You cannot brush them at all or they will fall apart. i simply wipe clean with a damp cloth and reset the curls using tiny doll curlers.
It brings me so much satisfaction to take a broken, dirty doll and restore her to the beauty that she is.
Don't be afraid to look for the worn down dollies. They are almost always easy to bring back to life!~
Here are some of my recent redo's:
This is a Goldylocks doll I purchased from Goodwill. The picture in pink is where I restored her and the last picture of her was from the lady who bought her from me and made her look even prettier!
This pretty girl had a missing limb and her hair was flying away! I used a rubber band to flatten it. Took several days but turned out nicely!
A rare Judy Ann Black Eye Susan that I sold for way too cheap. This was a fun doll. Her dress was filthy and had very delicate tulle which was already torn. I gently soaked it and the beautiful yellow emerged. The wig was toast so I kept it off. Her beautiful molded hair was perfect.
needed a bath badly. Her hair was so dusty but I was able to save it.
She did have minor pant loss on her forehead but I do not feel
comfortable re painting at this point.
Bridesmaid needed a new wig and her dress was so dingy.
This doll was unrecognizable as a very rare Flower Girl Series "Marguerite". I think that is why I was able to get her for so little.
Her dress took several soaks but came out so nicely. She is perhaps, maybe my favorite makeover and now has a happy new home with a delighted collector.
This Mary Had a Little Lamb just needed arms, a bath and her attached skirt to be bleached.
I think I have more fun buying the misfits and bringing them back to life than I do buying the ones who are already shelf ready!