Thursday, July 16, 2009


You never know what you're going to find when you go out junking, and lately the pickings have been mighty slim. But last weekend I found a piece of Western New York history in the little town of North Rose (which is NOT in Western New York).

One of my favorite hunting spots is a little church-run thrift shop. Okay, I haven't found anything spectacular there, but they always seem to have something I need or, more importantly, want, and for not much money. Last week's gem cost me all of a quarter.

The Arts and Crafts movement was very big in East Aurora, NY back in the early 20th century, thanks to Elbert Hubbard, a writer, publisher, artist and philosopher, and his Roycroft Press. The village became famous for its artisan shops, and the beautiful Roycroft Inn.

RoycroftInn_1 The inn originally opened in 1905 and closed in 1938. (It has since reopened (1995) and has rooms furnished in the arts and crafts style, and a wonderful restaurant.) It's lovely, as is the whole village. (Which is also the home of Fisher-Price Toys.)

Roycroft_pat What's that got to do with me? I've been fascinated with the whole Arts and Crafts movement (we have a lot of books on it) and so I was psyched when I found a Roycroft Inn butter pat, made by the Buffalo Pottery Company, and dated 1925. Just to have a piece of the not only the inn, but of the whole Roycroft past, is really cool. It just so happens I have a number of other butter pats and have hung them with mini plate hangers. This one's going right over my desk.

What pieces of history are you pleased to own?

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Several years ago, my husband bought me two climbing roses; one yellow, one red.

Mr. Yellow Rose never did very much, and, sadly, passed away after a valiant two-year struggle to live. Mr. Red Rose managed to hang in there, but never did very much.

Bigredrose Until this year.

My husband has been threatening to yank out Mr. Red Rose because I'd get one, maybe two blooms a year. Whereas my heirloom rosebush explodes into bloom in late June and keeps blooming (although not quite as enthusiastically) all summer long. In contrast, Mr. Red Rose was a real non-performer.

This year looks to be different. After an attack of aphids, I was afraid I wouldn't get any blooms. But, Mr. Rose has been diligent and rewarded me with the first rose of the season. And now there's a second one about to bloom. Not only that, but there are six more buds forming.

Redrosebud Wow--this is a real rose extravaganza -- or at least compared to years past.

Maybe I should threaten to yank all the non-performers. That might give them incentive to bloom, too.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


What's with the yard sales this year? Generally speaking--they suck warty pickles! With so many people in financial difficulties, you'd think that the sales would be full of stuff as people scramble to come up with money to pay their bills.

Apparently not so.

Farmer Boy But I did get a couple of good things this week--books, probably the last thing I need--but something I always want.

As far as I can remember, I only read one Little House book by Laura Ingalls Wilder. That was in third grade. While I remember liking it, I didn't know there were any more in the series (apparently our school library didn't have them), and I was clueless until the TV series. By then, I was more into mysteries than "family fare."

When I had my booth at an antiques co-op, I sold a LOT of used books by Ms. Wilder. They seem to speak to children, or at least to parents or grandparents who wanted to share those stories with another generation. But I never kept any for myself.

Saturday, I came across three of the titles for 50 cents each: Farmer Boy, The Long Winter, and These Happy Golden Years. I may not read them until I get the rest of the series and then read them "in order." But they are now in the To-Be-Read pile.

Nancy Drew book The other book I got was "The Clue of the Broken Locket" -- a Nancy Drew book, a 1943 edition with, alas, no dust jacket. (But I found a copy of it on Wikipedia--isn't it delightful?) Confession Time: I have never read a Nancy Drew book, but I suppose there's still time.

What's in your TBR pile?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Time for tea?

Analog TV Almost a month ago, Martha Stewart was making tea out of cow manure. I know it was before June 12th, because that's the last time I saw any daytime TV. You know, that's the day when TV signals went digital and that was the end of all my TV watching in the kitchen. (We do have a TV hooked up to cable, but we watch DVDs on that one.)

But I digress.

Cuppa I'd heard about manure tea for the garden, because my parents had done it years ago. (Here's how.)

(Have you heard the really old joke: Do you put manure on your strawberries? No, we put whipped cream on ours.)

My folks had some work done in the yard last year, and the workman just about killed their beautiful clamatis. So in an effort to bring it back this year, they gave it some manure tea. Hot-damn! It said, and did come back. My mother also put the tea on the coneflowers. Holy crap! Did they love that tea. (Have you ever seen 4 foot coneflowers before? I never have.)

Cow manure My bean crop is suffering. Between not enough rain, hailstorms, and too much rain, some of my plants are stunted.

Can you guess what is in their future? Yes! Cow manure tea! I'm also going to give my cosmos a shot, too. They've been in the ground for six weeks and they've hardly grown at all. Other people have cosmos and they're tall, willowy, and FULL of flowers. Not mine. Not ever.

Yup, today's the day for a nice cup of cow manure tea.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Catching up

I'mDry Last week the sales were really terrible. Maybe it's the continual wet weather we've had. It's been so bad, even my cat Fred has been hiding under an umbrella.

In addition to the flamingo, I did find a couple of other items. Man, you can't go wrong for a quarter. (Total expenditure this weekend: $1.75. I think I spent at least three times that much in gas.) I got a couple more nice baskets (no pictures of them) that I'll use at Christmastime. I like to make up gift baskets with edible treats, DVDs, books, etc. aimed at the victim . . . er, I mean recipient. They're more fun for me (although not necessiarly less expensive than some other gift), and lots of fun for the person getting it.

Roycroft_pat But I did get a couple of things for me. I love things from the Arts and Crafts movement from the early 20th century. And one of my favorite places to go for lunch is East Aurora, home of Elbert Hubbart. (Go for lunch or dinner: the Globe Hotel serves the very best fish fry in the USA.) I found this little Roycroft butter pat at my favorite little (church) thrift shop for a quarter. It was made by the Buffalo Pottery Company and is dated 1925. It probably came from the Roycroft Inn (which I believe burned in 1938). I've got a tiny plate hanger I got from Vidler's (a wonderful five and dime still running in East Aurora) and I'll hang it in my office.

News_stand The other quarter steal was this wonderful rooster newspaper stand. I often can't read the newspaper (no cracks about bifocals, please) and thought -- what the heck! Fold it up, put it on the stand and I'll have it handy (and taking up less space on the breakfast table, too).

As it's a holiday weekend, I expect there'll be less sales. I sure hope the ones scheduled won't get washed out.

In any case--have a Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


What is with the garage and yard sales of late? I've found very little to buy. But Saturday was a bit different. I finally found something I wanted and needed. And at 75 cents, what a bargain!

What fun thing did you find at the latest sale?