I thought it was high time I created a "gratitude post" to let readers know how thankful I am that you are here, reading what I have to say. If you are a blogger, you know what I'm talking about, but for those of you that simply enjoy reading blogs, let me tell you it's a wonderful feeling to think that people care what you are writing about and view the pictures from your little corner of the world!
This is my corner of the world now....
But I used to live in an old fire hall building in downtown Mt. Pleasant, Michigan (below). It wasn't as bad as it looks in this picture! You can read about it here.
My parents have always been my biggest fans, and my dad used to go to the Collier County Public Library in Naples, Florida to read my blog regularly because my parents didn't have a computer at home. Sadly, my dad passed away in March. I alternate between feeling so thankful for his extraordinary life and missing him terribly. I've felt so much support from my readers and friends who have expressed their sympathy. Thank you all!
My blog is a truly "made from scratch" blog. I'd estimate 90% of the pictures are taken by me. I post pictures taken by others when I write an educational post and want to show a good example of something, or when I'm showing you a friend's lovely blog images. One of my primary goals for the future is to improve my photography and purchase additional equipment so I can really show vintage items in their best light. I'm glad readers appreciate my efforts.
My readers have done such nice things, like sending me pictures of their prized possessions, e-mailing me about their experiences with antiques or sharing special stories about their families. I just received a wonderful note from a California reader named Melissa, whose grandmother Mary grew up near my Michigan hometown. She sent me this adorable picture of her grandmother playing with her laundry set back in 1913:
Melissa's family moved West from Michigan, eventually settling in California. Somehow they hooked up with an ostrich-pulled cart! I think this is a very amusing photo, don't you?
My friend and loyal reader Sherry Spehar thought of me when she bought the contents of a barn and came across some old glass. Since I re-frame a lot of pictures, it's nice to have authentic old glass on hand. Customers can tell the difference! She gave me a great deal on it and now I'll always have old glass when I need to fix up a print or picture. Because it's hard to show you sheets of glass, I'll show you a picture of a Michigan barn:
Loyal reader Sev has made some suggestions that I'm taking seriously. He would like to see some pictures of my home decor, especially my kitchen, and read about vintage costume jewelry. I hope you realize I'm going to have to clean my house, Sev! But I'll do it for you, because you're such a nice guy!
For now, here's my fireplace, with a temporary horse ribbon banner that I made. We'll get to the kitchen later, I promise. And the jewelry too!
Walt and Rosemary Howard, who run Heritage Estate Sales in Owosso, were so thoughtful to buy me a little book a while back. Isn't it cute? This year my garden wasn't exactly magical, because we had drought conditions most of the summer, but maybe it will be magical next year....
My friend Rick thought of me recently and gave me a stack of old games. He didn't even know I was planning a blog post about "games people used to play!" Did you have "The Game of Life" in your house when you were a kid?
I forgot how tiny the little game pieces were. It's amazing that they even survived! These pegs surely got caught in many heat vents and shag carpets over the years! I put pairs of same-sex couples in the vehicles just to update the Game of Life to reflect current times:
I've met some of the most interesting people since I began blogging. I consider them true friends, even though we haven't met in person. When you have something in common like a love of antiques or crafting, show care and concern for each other, and support each other in good times and bad, that sounds like a friendship to me! Best of all, I don't sense any jealousy. The blog field is so wide open, there's plenty of room for everyone to shine, so we all encourage each other.
I "met" Sandy from Frugal Herbalist who sent me some of her homemade lavender balm, which I keep on my desk and use when I get a sore neck and shoulders from too much time on the computer. It's really great stuff, and I'll order more when it's gone. Sandy is going to start an Etsy shop soon, and I wish her well!
Here is a picture of Sandy out in the field, collecting herbs:
I wrote about my fondness for old signs a while back, and asked readers to submit their own favorite hometown signs. Jennifer Vanier responded immediately with a great example from her town of Prescott, Ontario:
Jennifer purchased a cool sign from a chinchilla ranch that went out of business:
And this was interesting: chinchillas don't like to get wet. They roll around in clay dust to "bathe" themselves. The galvanized metal tubs below were purchased by Jennifer at the chinchilla farm. They were used as chinchilla "bathtubs", filled with the clay dust:
Reader "Momma Mindy" followed one of my craft tutorials and created a couple cool camping kits for her son and daughter-in-law from up-cycled cookie tins using my vintage coffee labels. You can read about it on Momma Mindy's Moments. Here's one example:
Blogging has helped me keep connected with some of my relatives, too. My Uncle Joe and Aunt Mary are regular readers, and I have cousins that enjoy the crafting posts. My cousin Shelly is a serious scrapbooker and all around creative person who meets weekly with a group of crafty friends. I found out she's been sharing my blog with her craft group! Recently group member Lois sent me the nicest note to tell me she enjoys reading my blog. I persuaded Shelly to send me a picture of Lois's work, which is very impressive:
And I persuaded Shelly to send an image of her own projects, as well as group member Teri. I'll bet these ladies have so much fun when they get together!
A lovely young Michigan mom, blogger, and super creative person named Kammy Wielenga contacted me recently. She has some great ideas over at Kammy's Korner, so be sure to stop by.
I want to thank my friend, photographer and co-conspirator Autumn Luciano for coming up with great ideas for photo shoots, and for making my ideas come to fruition. We have a lot of fun! She's responsible for the picture of me on the left sidebar with the vintage radio. She even talked me into posing in a vintage bathing suit once. What a pro! Someday soon I'm going to devote an entire blog post to Autumn! Isn't she beautiful (picture below)? And she has so much talent it's unbelievable!
I have learned so much since I began blogging, much of it thanks to my friend Lisa Longlois, who is responsible for my blog design and many technical matters. Lisa and I have plans to do some crafting demonstrations at a local antique mall (more details to come). Recently she showed me some Google Analytics info. Apparently, the keywords that attract the most new people to my blog have been "medieval torture device". I just threw that term out there when describing these old undergarments from a catalog. I'm not sure this is what the "Googlers" were looking for when they began their search:
Many of you might not know my work situation, but I'll tell you now. For the last 28 years I've been employed full time as a school psychologist, working with elementary school children. It's been a great career, because just like teachers and other school employees I've had summers off, generous vacation time and reasonable work hours. It's afforded me the time to start my antique business as a hobby 13 years ago as well as dabble on eBay, Etsy, and begin blogging in February 2009.
I've been going "Back to School" every fall since I was five years old!
After much planning, hand-wringing and excitement, I retired from my job this fall. This has been my dream for about 10 years, so it wasn't an impulsive decision. Of course, next year would probably be a better time financially (maybe the economy would be more stable) but next year could come and I might find myself saying the same thing. So I just went ahead and took my own advice about getting started. Now I'm truly living my dream in every sense of the word!
Here I am, doing what I love to do: finding treasures to sell:
So in summary, I'm going to appreciate my friends and readers more than ever, and I want to thank you for your support. I'm going to be reading your comments and taking the time to answer each one when I can. If you aren't a blog comment-leaver, that's OK. I'm flattered that you are taking time from your busy day to stop by my blog. If you ever want to contact me privately, my e-mail address is: email@example.com
Special thanks to Clorinda and Olaf for helping my mom keep caught up on my blog posts; Colleen, Kat, Kim, Suzanne, Sue, Sharon, Felicia, and The Sea Witch for keeping in touch with me and all my Facebook friends for visiting!