antiquing/junking/garage sales Feed

They Followed Me Home...Honest!


There's a battle being pitched here in Virginia - Me vs. Stuff

Stuff is ahead by a long shot.

A really long shot, but I'm not giving up. 

I'm determined to clear some of this clutter out, and Phil keeps dropping stuff off at various thrift shops. Boxes and boxes and bags and bags of stuff. Three people live in this house, and stuff keeps following us home.

So, I keep sorting, tossing, boxing, bagging, and more. Even my art stuff, which is a history of everyshiny object that's caught my eye. I've worked really hard at narrowing down what I'm truly interested in, which is still quite a bit to be honest. That being said, how much paper do I truly need? How much washi tape (I really have a thing for washi tape!), how many art books on making stuff? 

I guess that some people might figure that all this downsizing and jettisoning of stuff is happening because I'm 65, and after all isn't that what old folks do? Downsize for their later years.

And, there might be some truth in that, but only a tiny bit. Memories of  clearing out my mom and dad's house still haunt me. Since both were depression babies, they really tended to hold onto stuff that should have been tossed years and years ago. Dad's dementia just added another layer to the mess. I would love to not repeat that mess.

Mostly, though, it's a wanting for things to be restful, for my house to be a haven and not a cluttered mess that constantly reminded me what needed to be cleared up, put away, etc.

Phil and I travel a lot, short distances mostly, but we've seen many a vacation home, hotel room, etc. And, so often, I'd enter and sigh in happiness. Clean lines, empty spaces on dressers where my eyes could rest. Nothing piled in corners. All of it makes me happy.

That's what I want...empty spaces to fill up something that I need. 

Along with this wanting of being able to simply rest easily, to like what I'm looking at, is a nagging feeling reminding me just how much money I've blown on stuff. Stuff that I'm now tossing and donating. I could sell it, but honestly, I just want it out, and I don't want much more coming in.

There's a heaviness that accompanies stuff.

These past several weekends, my daughter and I have been exploring all sorts of antique markets and design homes. We love it, just love it.

I've done so much imaginary spending and fake buying, your head would spin, probably both clockwise and counterclockwise. Maybe both at the same time.

Each market has its own signature; one is mostly restored furniture. Another might focus more on knick knack sorts of things. One is shabby chic; another gives off an edgy urban feel. 

Here's what I love - the inspiration. Color combinations, ways to repurpose things, and more. Dealers arrange their stuff into wonderful vignettes, and when one display catches my eye, makes me stop in my tracks, I stop and begin to analyze. 

What's making me go, "Ahhhhhhhhhh?" Is it repetition? a color combination? all the textures? 

I take photos to remember, print out the photos when I get home, and start jotting notes, because even though I'm certain I'll remember, I most probably won't. 

Most jaunts result in nothing coming home. Nothing. Because the little voices in my mind begin to nag.

Do you really want to have to dust that? Where are you going to store it? How soon before it ends up at the thrift shop? Do you want to pay to move it? Do you need another platter? You already have 4 or 5, and you're just buying them because your mom collected them and it makes you feel better.

And, we have a rule. If something comes into the house, something has to leave the house.

I do slip up every now and then. Those wonderfully quirky red stools/chairs above provide evidence of my all too human nature and the psychology of consumerism.

I could tell you that they are a late Christmas/birthday gift for Phil. I could also tell you that we've been looking for a chair that's going to relieve leg achiness from standing while cooking and baking. And, I did promptly toss a few large items out of the house.

But, honestly? 

They followed me home.


It's Not So Hard to Make Magic

Loudoun rock

Just about a month ago, my lovely daughter and I hit up Luckett's to do a bit of dreaming, meandering, and hopefully snagging some bargains during their annual "Groundhog Day" sale. 

With an armful of successes tucked into shopping bags, Kara headed for the car to do a quick drop off; we'd meet up inside the store itself. My knees absolutely hate steps at places like this; the inclines are steep, and my knees protest the goings on. So, I stopped to mentally tell myself it really was no big deal - and it isn't! - and took a few seconds to just look at the treasures lining the steps and porch.

If you know Luckett's at all, you know that stuff is everywhere. 

Good stuff. Junky stuff. 

Stuff at incredible bargains right along side stuff that makes you wonder who'd ever buy it. 

I can, and do spend, hours photographing all the stuff. Little vignettes are everywhere, and I never know where to look first.

Thank you, Luckett's, for letting me do this; far too many places don't.

So, back to those steps. Girded for battle, I reached out to grab the railing, and came eye to eye with the neatest little rock ever.

And, I knew exactly why it was sitting on that railing. 

I had found...insert drum roll honest to goodness Loudoun Rock! If you clickety click on this link, you'll see that Loudoun Rocks have been dubbed the new Pokémon Go. Folks living in Loudoun County, VA, get themselves some rocks and some paint, sit down and decorate the rocks, and then go out and hide them all over the county. Just for fun. Just to make people smile.

If you're lucky enough to find a Loudoun Rock, you can leave it alone for someone else to find, or take it, and then hide it someplace new for someone else to find.

I tucked it into my pocket, smiling at my new little treasure.

Full disclosure: it's now sitting on a shelf in my dining room. It probably will never find its way back to Loudoun County again.

I don't know who painted my rock. It might be part of a family project, or maybe a youth group. It might have been a teen or a housewife.

But, whomever painted it; they made some magic for me. They made magic with just a bit of time, paint, markers, and a rock. No big bucks involved here.

A connection was made from one person in Loudoun County to one lady from Fairfax County. We most likely don't know each other, and I suspect we never will. But someone took a few minutes in their day to create smiles in mine. 

An online friend of mine digs up tiny old bottles, cleans them up, adds a poem and a flower to them, and then " releases them into the wild." Take a few minutes to read John Greenwood's posts here on "Raining Iguanas." Wouldn't you love to find a tiny beauty like this? Pure magic and joy, yours for the taking. Again, it cost little in the way of cash, just a bit of time and ingenuity. A spirit of generosity. I know that John's created a ton of magic and joy.

And, then there's the Art Abandonment Project, where all sorts of people leave treasures for others to find. Guaranteed joy. Guaranteed magic.

We need more of this; we just do. 

Connections made, one person to another rather than labeling, name calling, arguing and more. 

Strangers touching each others' lives in the best of ways.

So, make some art and release it. Write a postcard or letter to someone for no reason at all other than to create some magic. Leave a book somewhere with a note inside, telling its finder that it's theirs to keep and enjoy.

As John would say, "Be the reason that someone smiles today."  





Inspiration in the Form of a Rusty Red Car


Assignment: Create a mixed Media Self-Portrait

Reaction: UGH!

And then the universe stepped in: within a week the concept of self portraits showed up three times - the assignment in Lesley Riley's 52 Pick Up class, a friend's visit to the National Portrait Gallery, and another artist showing a book of self portraits as inspiration.

Message received, and I got busy.

This "self-portrait" is a veritable mish mash of all sorts of bits and pieces.

The greenish blue background is a gelli plate print created earlier this summer. I generally have a stash of them, and they never fail to delight me.

The brownish black and brown  background is an Iphone shot of this beauty at Lucketts Market.


I cropped it to this:

Rusty car

I cropped it again, rotated it, and then digitally manipulated it using PhotoLabPro on my Ipad, and this!


Is this not ever so cool? I quite fell in love with it, and came up with several other variations on the theme using the same app.

Now, down to the nitty gritty of it. I needed a photo of me, and I really didn't want to start shooting more selfies, so I grabbed another Iphone image shot in a silly moment last weekend.

I began with this:


then manipulated it with the same app to what you see in the final portrait. I cut myself out and glued it to the brown background.

And then the fun began: white Uniball signo pens, black sharpies, a word sticker,  a rub on of the word "Focus" altered with more white pen, a tiny paper butterfly...well, you get the idea!

I threw a black mat over it to look official, and well, just because I could.

Thank you, rusty red card. You can count on showing up in my artwork again and again and again, sometimes altered beyond belief!



I Want to Say


Now that I’m home
I just want to say I was there
And that I loved waking up, seeing the water
Listening to the gulls screeching
Their good mornings

I want you to know now that I’ve left
That I liked this tiny barrier island town
Tucked along Virginia’s Eastern Shore
I loved the ponies munching the soft rain heavy grass
Completely unfazed by clicking cameras
I loved spying the glorious thistles
Nestled in the grass and hearing that voice say,
“What have you found there?”

Let me say that all the gray days
Just didn’t matter as we
Explored tiny forgotten towns along Route 13
Dusty antique stores with treasures longing to be found
Rusty vintage cars resting in fields of golden yellow buttercups
And dreaming of past glory

I loved the smell of coffee percolating in my mother’s
Battered ancient aluminum pot
And the leisurely breakfasts as the two of us
Watched egrets wading through muck, hunting for their own morning meal
Followed the course of the time worn working vessels
Headed out to sea

Let me just say
I delighted in the taste of crisp crab cakes
Fresh strawberries with crème fraiche and
Glasses of our favorite wines,
Each drop holding its own memories

Now that I’m home
I want to tell you
That we sat captivated
Watching the ominous gray front marching
Across the cloud laden sky
Listening to thunder rumbling in the distance
Then making us jump with one resounding crack
And the sheer whiteness of the lightening
Stretching its fingers along the horizon
Making us blink in delight and surprise

Know that I loved it all
Tumbling gray surf
Salt stung skin
Rain drops pelting against windows
Shell fragments dropped into our pockets
Time to just be alone with him
Cherishing the gift of the two of us


Note: Modeled after Natalie Goldberg's "I Just Want to Say."



Yesterday was the two of us claiming us time, time to get away out into spring, time to be that couple...not mom, not dad, not grandparents, not budget makers.

Yesterday was time to be just us.

Yesterday was tulips, daffodils, violets and more, dancing in color, making us smile.

Yesterday was a bird, perched so high atop a tree, that we could barely make him out. He stretched that tiny neck and let forth such a performance of sounds and melodies that we stopped dead in our tracks and drank it in.

Yesterday was baked tortellini and salad, eaten leisurely as we chatted away. We felt like grownups.

Yesterday was crawling on the ground, trying to capture magic, and nearly doing a face plant into the garden beds more than once.

Yesterday was stopping to chat with new friends, talking about what to plant in a very shady yard, and finding more commonalities than anyone might have guessed.

Yesterday was relaxing on garden benches tucked into corners here and there and admiring a magnolia, watching its blossoms drift to the ground like snow.

Yesterday was meandering through one of my favorite antique shops, one that feels like I'm back in my parents' attic, searching out forgotten treasures.

Yesterday was book stores and craft stores, bringing home supplies to make new snail mail and send it out into the world.

Yesterday was pretty much perfect.


Carried by the Surprise

Winter walk2
                                                                        At "Twisted Posts Winery";

"There's no excuse for being bored. There's a great big world out there with so damn much to see and do. If you're bored, it's your own damn fault."

And, with those words from Dad, off we'd go with little or nothing to spend, sandwiches packed, and open to adventure. Gas was cheap, and the possibilities seemed endless. 

I own some well traveled, time worn, oh so comfortable gypsy shoes. I use them every chance I get.

Inspiration is there for the taking, no matter what the season or weather. I just need to open my eyes, drink it in, and collect the magic. It might be a tiny seed pod from a tree, a blue jay's feather, a post card sized print from a local artist.

I might be watching whiskey get made, taking in the latest art gallery exhibit, or poking in a new to me antique shop and coming home with ephemera for my art and journals.

My husband owns a pair of those gypsy shoes as well, and just like my childhood days, there might not be much money to spend, but pack us some fresh grapes, some good cheese, and maybe a loaf of really good bread and we're set. Even a PBJ as Twit #1 calls them, or a ham and cheese sandwich, taste pretty darn good when we're off adventuring.

Yesterday's photo prompt asked us to think about several things - where we find hope or inspiration, the things that drain our soul, what we longed for, and what prevents us from acting on our dreams.

There's a whole heap of photo possibilities in those questions!

All of us experience those soul draining days, filled with anxiety, loss, fear, and so much more. Life hands them to us on a regular basis, and I'm glad I don't know what's coming some times.

 I've learned though, that I nearly always get through the problem of the day one way or the other. Strong Eastern European blood runs through me, and I carry a lot of strength inside me. A lot of stubbornness as well, which might be the only thing that gets me from points A to B at times. One step at a time, baby, one step at a time.

As for what holds me back, well, it's mostly me. Fear of what others might think, fear of not being good enough, fear of "wasting my time.' So many damn fears that keep me, and you and you and you, from really living our lives.

Leaning into this second half of life, I'm going for it, good enough or not.

Because you see, I'm doing it for me, and that's the only reason I really need.

       "I would like to live,

      Like a river flows,

      Carried by the surprise

      Of its own unfolding."

               - John O'Donohue





On the Road You Travel


The Love Notes are on their way!

For quite awhile now, I've participated in Jennifer Belthoff's Love Notes Project. To quote Jenny, all you need is:

  • 3 postcards
  • 3 stamps
  • An open heart!

Each Sunday, participants get their prompt and messages can written. By Thursday, the postcards are in the mail, and everyone is watching their mailbox.

So much fun - I love snail mail!

Sunday's prompt? "On the road you travel, you will find..."

Postcards can be bought, can be hand created, or anywhere in between. It's the message that counts.

I enjoy creating mine, using my photography, and my unending stash of supplies. I really am working very hard on buying little and instead, making what I have work.

I found the photo first; it's one taken at Luckett's, a favorite place of mine. There are always odds and ends of all sorts on the grounds, including the poor rusted car you see above. That car is now down to one door, which I, of course, photographed! I do love rusted's the mixed media artist in me.

I sized, printed, and glued my photos to cards. (I enjoy sending notes to previous Love Notes' partners as well.) Then, I looked at the glaring empty space at the bottom. There was always Washi Tape, but I wanted something different, so I started to dig.

Found rather dated "Manual for Drivers and Compendium of the Motor Vehicle and Traffic Laws" as published by Trenton, NJ. (I do pick up the oddest things at flea markets, and how do you like that for a title?)

You can see some of the illustrations above. Cool, right?

And, as I glued them down, and I burnished them well, I got to thinking how perfect they were, as was the photo I shot.

Flat tires...yes, there are going to be some of those in life. You need to be prepared if you're going to get moving again.

Old people should be given special consideration. Yes, yes, yes. Lots of wisdom there, folks, if we just stop to listen. (And, I am not just saying that because I happen to be heading in the direction of "old.")

Signal your intentions. Oh, for sure. How many arguments and misunderstandings occur in life because we "THINK" we know what the other person/driver is going to do?

Keep your parts in working order. We too often take our bodies for granted, right? Nourish them well, and they'll be far more efficient.

Steer into the skid. We all end up in life's skids. In fact, life has dealt me more skids that my car ever has. Steer with the skid...go with what life is dealing at the moment. Eventually things straighten out.

Always stop for certain vehicles (cop car, ambulance, etc.) Yup, sometimes, we are dealt some "stops." Death, illness, or on a far better note, our kids wanting our attention. Quite simply, we have to stop. Our life, our plans get put on hold for the time being.

And, there are more wonderful little clipped illustrations piled next to me. But, you get the idea, I think.

So, thank you Trenton, NJ, and thank you, Jenny Belthoff!


Satisfaction Overload

Mar15 021

A Saturday in March

and spring whips my hair

into some sort of magpie's nest

All the while

teasing me with a bright blue sky

topping a mud brown world.

My eyes scanning

piles of forgotten and abandoned treasures

rusted scrollwork

on weathered doors

Stacked haphazardly against

tilting barns and ancient trees

Mar15 022

A sort of surreal treasure map

gifting me color, texture,

and layers of forgotten stories and hopes

I wonder how to capture

or even explain the satisfaction

of joy unearthed here

amid the seeming trash

Textured door copy

There's nothing to do

but to simply begin

I steady myself

into some sort of human tripod

and do just that...

I begin.

Unexpected Art

Feb15 005 copy

Any trip to Lucketts Antiques / Design House produces a wealth of inspiration, whether it's in the store itself, the design house with its clever ideas, or all the "junk" piled up outside, waiting for someone to notice the hidden beauty.

I happen to be a lover of rust and peeling paint, not that I want to find it on my own home, but wandering through piles and heaps of old doors and windows sparks something in my brain. You can almost always find me, camera pressed to my nose, snapping away. It's just plain fun, and my mind races trying to figure out how to bring it into my own art. I know there are stories in these objects, and I wish I could tell them, and in another sense, I wish I could make them my own via my art.

Feb15 006 copy

So many wonderful design elements; there didn't seem to be "plain doors," although I'm sure there must have been. There always seems to be some sort of touch, an engraved bird, swirled designs, patterns of leaves. I wonder where this door stood - when you opened it, where did it lead? To a practical office space of sorts? To someone's home?

Feb15 022 copy

Details matter: the sort curved line of the truck's door and subtle indentations within in that door; it's not perfectly flat, and the curves add to it. Who owned it? Who abandoned it? No matter, I guess; it's serving a new life now, handing out inspiration for the taking.

And, all of this, ends up in my art room, in the exploring of patterns, or the collage work on a tiny deck of cards.


Moving the pieces around until they fit, working in stages to see what these little pieces of art want to become.


Letting them tell their stories, and quite often, going in a completely different direction that what you've guessed.

There's more going on here, much of it pattern play, and building up of layer on top of layer on top of layer.

There's paint stained hands and ruined tshirts (You'd think I learn!) and hours spent just exploring.

Life is sweet!

Life Is Good

October 2013 202 copy

We hoped to see the dance of the monarchs; instead we watched the rain pour from the heavens. White caps danced on the channel, mocking us, and the beach? Closed due to the government shutdown.Money to spend? None, really...the paycheck, what there was of it, reflected the shutdown.

And, it's all okay. We'd prepaid for our condo, so, we simply went for it, bringing along homemade applesauce, stuffed cabbage rolls, and a bottle or two of wine. Some books to read, a place on the water, and new places to explore.

We even managed to catch a glimpse of the Atlantic from Assateague State Park, and with the wind whipping up the waves, and sand stinging our faces, the glimpse was quite enough!...but long enough to snap a shot or two.

Long conversations into the night, and antique shops to explore. Berlin, MD, home of "The Runaway Bride" with its wonderful old architecture and people to chat with, offered a wonderful old shop packed with antique toys. While we couldn't buy any, we could laugh and giggle over what we'd owned as kids.

Yes, the beach was closed, but with this weather, we wouldn't have been on it for long anyway. Would we have liked to be able to a few things? Absolutely. But, we had a choice to make...dwell in our misery or simply enjoy life as best we could. Dwelling in the misery didn't offer anything but misery.

Instead, we grabbed the cameras, catching bits of magic here and there. A cobalt blue bowl reflected in a countertop. The blessing of the antique toy store owner, who said, "Yes, photograph what you'd like." Chatting with a beader about her native American heritage and the owner of the Boston Bull Terrier about our own childhood memories of Lucky, another Boston Bull. The loaf of rye bread didn't cost much at all, and slathered with butter, offerend its own bit of heaven.

So, it poured, and my hair resembled a brillo pad. Water dripped off my nose. But, boy did I rock my Johnny Depp hat. (Picture to follow, although you can find it on Instagram!)

Life didn't deal what we expected, but life still dealt a pretty good hand, as long as I could remember to focus on what I had rather than what I didn't.