Category Archives: fashion/style

When a Nonna Wants a Rocking Chair . . .

I wanted an old rocker. A rocker that had already put generations of babies to sleep. I had one many years ago – my grandmother’s, in fact. But our family will always have at least one female chocolate lab and our first, Millie, ate everything. Her preference was loafers with tassels, and she didn’t care if there were feet in them or not. Her second choice, though, was wood. She preferred it nicely painted or stained. The runners on a rocking chair were a snout-level snack when we were all away during the day *sigh*.

Anyway, I had my first grand-baby flying in from Austin (oh, and her parents) and I was by-God going to have a rocker here when they arrived. So I’d been stalking rockers on my fave online estate sale auction site, Everything But The House. Just in time I scored an old rocker we picked up about ten minutes from our house. I was glad Michael had insisted on coming with me, because there was no way I could have moved this baby on my own. I couldn’t even lift it!

It was covered in cobwebs and dust, and someone had clearly given it “a lick and a promise” with some leftover white paint about a decade ago.

Ornate curlicues had been knocked off (probably by a basketball that wasn’t supposed to be in the house) and replaced by someone who needed new bifocals.

It has an embossed leather inset seat that had been painted (EEK), has at least three major cracks, and has plain upholstery tacks holding it in place in a completely random pattern. Or perhaps Morse Code. Or by the same person who painted it after a few too many beers. Decide for yourself.

It also has lovely decorative carving on the headrest, and is way comfortable. Since I can’t sit in an ergonomic desk chair for more than fifteen minutes, this is high praise.

The chair, without even a sponge-off, went to the Graduation / Welcome Baby Emma party along with Emma’s great-great-grandparents’ card table. While I was there the rocker was never empty, despite the overstuffed chairs and sofas in abundance.

Cut-throat card games are a traditional activity at all large Ballard family gatherings, and we were packed in there like sardines. I left before the card games started, but Michael and John didn’t get home until nearly midnight. The party started at 2 p.m. – LOL!
So my question, I guess, is where do I even start? Is the embossed leather salvageable? If so, do I need to remove it and restore the wood and leather separately, then replace? The chair is very sturdy, but this section is split.

Fill with sand-able, paint-able wood filler/glue, right? Ideally, I’d like this beauty to be a deep lake blue, about the darkest blue in this upholstery fabric I bought when a local craft store went out of business. I plan to use it to cover the throw pillows on my chocolate brown sofa (matches the dogs)

But I want it distressed all to hell so it doesn’t matter if a little one scratches it with a fork or colors on it with a crayon, or if I get a bit of nail polish on the arm. And I would like brown leather on the seat, with decorative nail heads or something equally pretty and comfy. I have a large number of creative high school grads I can put to work on this project. And it can be done in stages. Emma is hopefully only one of many children to be rocked in that chair – why not leave room for each to add his or her own touch?

72 Hours of Fear, then RELIEF!

I started bleeding on the way home from John’s jazz band concert Saturday afternoon. It worried me, since I hadn’t had a period in years and my labs had been in the post-menopausal range for two consecutive years. But I was too exhausted and in too much pain to really give it any thought that day. I’d had a really demanding week physically and mentally. A lazy week compared to my pre-constant pain life, but really tough compared to my current isolated, in bed twenty out of twenty-four hours life.

The next day the bleeding was heavier. I stayed in bed all day. But I used my iPad to Google possible causes for vaginal bleeding after menopause. When I didn’t find any answers I liked I started selecting my own causes and Googling them. “Hypertension causes vaginal bleeding” – improbable stuff like that. Then I pulled up a medication app on my phone and checked every medication I’m on to see if any of them could cause vaginal bleeding, even though none of my meds have changed in six months. All that was left was the answer to my very first search: Uterine Cancer.

Monday the flow seemed lighter, so I put off calling my doctor. I shaved my legs and did my nails, just in case. When my hair was mostly dry I put it in a sock bun. Out of the way for procedures, still looks nice when it comes out of the bun later. I don’t care what anyone tells you: Medical professionals appreciate a well-groomed patient. Then I made the call and they arranged an ultrasound for today.

After the ultrasound the nurse practitioner assured me that not only did I not have cancer, but that the bleeding was just a rebound effect from having my IUD removed a month ago.  She said to call if the bleeding kept going or stopped and then returned, but clearly did not expect that to happen.

I called my husband with the good news from the parking lot. I’d prepped him for bad news since I thought is was inevitable. His voice was shaking when he answered, as I’m sure mine was just a few minutes earlier.

So I now have shaved legs, OPI Cajun Shrimp nails, and my tummy is full of celebratory hamburger. I think that went well!

See other takes on this week’s writing prompts at Mama Kat’s.

Angie’s Latest Addiction

How’s this for a conversation piece? A stiletto chair!

My mother-in-law was one of my best friends. Not many people can say that. In fact, when Michael and I were dating we’d go to see his family about 80 miles away a couple of times a month. He’d hang out with his brothers (except the eldest, who was in the Air Force and stationed 3 hours away) and his dad.

I’d hang with his mom. We’d go shopping. But not the shopping I was used to. We went to thrift stores, consignment shops, and places where we risked drive-by shootings, having hubcaps stolen, or contracting a disease if the items we bought were not properly sanitized. It was awesome.  We’d also hit yard sales – she’d haggle, I was afraid to. We’d go to auctions and estate sales. She rocked it, but I was afraid of over-bidding on something that wasn’t worth it. I tend to be competitive (duh) and get caught up in the moment.

Estate sales make me exceptionally emotional, especially when there are clearly no heirs because sentimental items are up for sale. If there are military medals I will empty my checking account to make sure no one hot-glues those to the butt of a department-store mannequin as an anti-war art piece.

Leaving the hospital the other day I was honored to hear a young veteran and an elderly veteran thanking each other for their service. I’d have been ugly-crying, snot and everything, so I took the stairs down. Incredibly painful, had to stop at every landing and take an extra pain pill and sit a while before I could get to my car in its handicapped spot. But the men were having a moment, and I didn’t want to ruin it.

Anyway, I’ve found a way to bid in estate sales online in my jammies. YES! the site is EBTH.com, which stands for “Everything But The House”. Clever, right? But here are a few caveats:

~Click the “Sales” button and only bid on things in or very near your city. I won something in my hometown and the pick-up was less than 48 hours later with only a 4-hour window. We only have one car that we can trust to get out of the county and back again, and my husband would be using it that day as part of his 6-day work-week. My super-sweet step-dad stood in line forever to pick it up for me, so I totally owe him a dessert. He likes strawberry-rhubarb if you have any suggestions!

~Click on the details of the listing. If it says “Blue Ash, OH” anywhere, DO NOT BID. This means the seller has paid to send their stuff to Ohio rather than divulge their nearest major city and state. If you are in or near Cincinnati, OH you can get some GREAT deals this way. Otherwise, don’t bid. Shipping will be ten times your bid – if you’re lucky. They throw these into random auctions, so BUYER BEWARE.

Otherwise, have fun! sign up and follow a few things all the way to the end to see how it goes. There are fabulous items, and even auctions where you’ll want everything (or maybe that’s just me!) I’m using it as a source for Christmas gifts for hard-to-buy-for people. Well, I’m trying! Here are a few random items I saw:

NO ONE has this. It’s the perfect gift for the stressed-out executive. Atlas holding the world on his shoulders (employees can’t name him, then fire them) and you twirl the art-glass globe so that every time you look through the eyepiece it’s different. Brilliant and beautiful.

Mexican folk art candle holder. I love folk art. I’m not telling you the name of my favorite artist, because I don’t want anyone outbidding me. If I get something I’ll share. You can set searches so that you’ll be notified if an item you want comes up for auction – sweet!

Architectural salvage I don’t have to ruin my shoes or break my back to get? Yes, please!

Neutral Chanel cork slides? I swear, if I didn’t live in my jammies I’d be all over these!

Diamond ring set in platinum with baguettes. Look at the wear on the prongs. An antique. You can even tell from the wear that the woman who wore it never took it off. This is a piece of history a true romantic would give to the woman he’ll love forever. Yes, there’s a reason I don’t go to live auctions. I’m incredibly sentimental!

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