May 30, 2014

Thursday Thrift Find

Lime green canvas with bright blue trim tossed on the floor with six black metal rods toss on top of the canvas. I noticed many people bend over to see the price tag. Curious or perhaps just nosey I pushed my cart over and bent down to see the Goodwill price tag of $19.99. I moved several of the rods to see if I could figure out what the heck it was. Buried beneath several rod was a plastic bag with some papers, instructions with a photo.

Did you ever find something at a thrift store that you didn't need or want, but you had that certain feeling that it was something good? Well, that is the feeling I had and so I loaded up those heavy metal rods into my cart and wheeled it to the front cash wrap for purchase.

I very rarely make this expensive of a purchase at a thrift store unless it is a piece of furniture. Before I laid down my hard earned cash, I made sure to ask about the return policy. Returns within ten days with receipt and you get store credit. I paid for my new found treasure, loaded it into my car and scurried home to put it together.

After about twenty minutes and a phone call to my friend for some help it was assembled. 

Here it is my HugglePog HangOut by Hearth Song.

What an awesome spot for my grandchildren to snuggle into and read, relax or tell secrets to one another. 

In addition to the large oval opening it has three round windows and around the inside top are lights that operate with 3 AA batteries, no photos of the lights. :((

I did a quick Google search and found that this items sell for $199.00, and I only paid $19.99! I love junkin'!!!

I would never have paid the retail price for this item. Is it cool, yep, but I just don't spend $199.00 on toys for my grands. I so excited to show the children, looking forward to having them over to enjoy it. ❤️

May 29, 2014

Wisconsin Author Susan Gloss' New Book, Vintage

I don't usually purchase the books I read, rather I will go to the public library to get my books. While I prefer to hold a book that I'm reading and feel the paper as I turn the pages, I have borrowed and even purchased books for my Kindle app on my iPad.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Barnes and Noble sent me 20% off coupon via my inbox. I printed it off and shoved it in my purse. After Sunday breakfast with my sweet sister and brother in law, I decided to stop into the bookstore and purchase my grandson a Wreck This Journal, more on that later.

As I was walking towards the check out I spotted the book Vintage by Susan Gloss. What made me stop and pick up this book? The cover of course, I read books because I like the cover, or by recommendations of friends. Here are a few books that I've read because of their covers, click here, here, and here. Yep, I am that person who judges a book by its cover, and it works pretty well for me. Do I miss out on great reads, probably, but it's who I am.

What caught my attention was the word Vintage, the dress form and the vintage looking dress. I read the synopsis of the book and decided to treat myself.

The author Susan Gloss who lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband, child and dog wrote her debut novel and it takes place in and around the town she lives in, Madison, Wisconsin. Since I live in the cheese state of Wisconsin, and have been to Madison many, many times, I'm a little more than an hour away, I had to read the book.

The book is centered around a vintage clothing store and group of women who share hardships, love, and friendship. 

Book Description from Amazon. . .
"At Hourglass Vintage in Madison, Wisconsin, every item in the boutique has a story to tell . . . and so do the women who are drawn there.
Violet Turner has always dreamed of owning a shop like Hourglass Vintage. When she is faced with the possibility of losing it, she realizes that, as much as she wants to, she cannot save it alone.
Eighteen-year-old April Morgan is nearly five months along in an unplanned pregnancy when her hasty engagement is broken. When she returns the perfect 1950s wedding dress, she discovers unexpected possibilities and friends who won't let her give up on her dreams.
Betrayed by her husband, Amithi Singh begins selling off her old clothes, remnants of her past life. After decades of housekeeping and parenting a daughter who rejects her traditional ways, she fears she has nothing more ahead for her.
An engaging story that beautifully captures the essence of women's friendship and love, Vintage is a charming tale of possibility, of finding renewal and hope when we least expect it." 
The book has a few pages over three hundred, held my interest, and was a quick and enjoyable read. I learned some new terminology for example, what ikat print is. This book would be a great summer read.

I also purchased the Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith. 

School will be coming to an end very soon and I wanted to get my grandson something to keep him occupied that was creative, and fun. Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith check out her website here.

Here is the journal
Examples of pages inside 
Prompts are on each page
Of course, he read this prompt and wanted to use poo, ugh!
I can only imagine what the journal will look like finished.

My daughter and I will monitor him while he is 'Wrecking' his journal. I'm sure this was not intended for an eight year old, but with guidance from an adult it will be fun for all of us.

May 28, 2014

Historic Nauvoo, Ghost Sign, Fudge and Theater Turned Diner

I had the opportunity to visit the historic town of Nauvoo, Illinois where Joseph Smith led his Latter Day Saints followers to escape religious persecution in Missouri. History tells us that this move to Nauvoo would end with a mob killing Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum.

On a bluff overlooking a bend of the Mississippi River, the settlers built the original Nauvoo Temple in the 1840's. The temple had a fire in 1848 and in 1850 tornado like winds. Today a rebuilt temple on the same site stands.

It took over two and a half years to build this 54,000 square foot building that sits on 3.3 acres. This construction brought many jobs into the area. My brother-in-law worked for over a year as an electrician on this building.

Across the street from the building sits the 
Joseph and Hyrum Smith memorial. 

On the morning of June 24,1844, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum
left their families, homes, and fellow Saints for the last time. Traveling
on horseback, they paused on this bluff. Joseph look admiringly
at the unfinished temple and the city of Nauvoo and declared:

This is the loveliest place and the best people under the heavens;
little do they  know the trials that await them.

Joseph and Hyrum then continued on to Carthage, Illinois where
they faced legal charges and eventual death at the hand of a mob.

Titled: Calm as a Summers Morning
This bronze statue stands 11 feet height
Sculptors were Stan Watts and Kim Corpany
This statue stands on Wells Street across from Temple Square
The outside of the building has many symbols.
Sun and Stars 
Pentagram windows 
The angle  Moroni stands atop a dome holding
a trumpet and faces West toward the Mississippi 
The bell tower has a clock on four sides
Mormon Temple Square, Nauvoo Illinois
During its six-week public open house, the Nauvoo Temple was visited by 331,849 people eager to see the inside of the extraordinary building.

The Nauvoo Temple was dedicated on the very day and hour of the anniversary of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. The dedication of this Temple was delivered over the Church's encrypted satellite system to Church buildings around the world.

A restored ghost sign for "Bull" Durham smoking tobacco can be found on the side of the Nauvoo Hotel. 

According to the Nauvoo Historical Society's walking tour, the sign was painted during the early 1900's when the building was the Hudson Brother's Meat Market. The sign was last restored sometime in the 1990's.

Across the street in the old Nauvoo movie theater is Papa John's Cafe where visitors and locals can dine on site with homemade cooking. 

The Fudge Factory makes fudge the old-fashioned way, by hand. No machines in this shop, they make one pan of fudge at a time.

Fudge Factory
Each pan of fudge is cooked in copper kettles
and turned out onto the marble slabs to cool
No artificial flavors or preservatives
Delicious, my favorite is chocolate pecan

Nauvoo is a charming town with its renovated, recreated and rebuilt buildings with history at every turn.  While I am not a Mormon and was unable to enter the Mormon Temple,  I did enjoy my brief visit and learned many things.

May 27, 2014

My Redbud Tree

When our children were young my husband brought home two seedling redbud trees that he found in a wooded area. Thinking how lucky he would be if one of the two seedlings took root and grew. To his amazement both seedlings survived and grew in our front yard.

Each year we enjoyed watching the trees pink flowers burst open. When the wind blew the tiny petals of the flowers floated down like snowflakes on the sidewalk and front lawn.

The redbud tree is often called the Judas tree, there is a fable about how it got that name.

The origin of this fable is unknown;

After betraying our Lord Judas, hung himself from a redbud tree, now often called a Judas tree. As Judas hung on the tree the white flowers turned red because the tree was ashamed the betrayer of Christ died on it.

In grief, the tree vowed never again to grow limbs big enough for someone to hang themselves from.

This past winter was harsh here in Wisconsin and I fear too much for my redbud tree.

This tree should be bursting with flowers from every branch.

Half of the tree has blooms at the tips, and the other half is dead.

Just a few scattered flowers on the tips.

The bark of the tree doesn't look very good either.

I loved telling the grandchildren the story of how their grandpa brought the seedlings from the woods and planted them. It has been sixteen years since my husband was killed in an accident and when I have this tree cut down it will feel like I am loosing another piece of him. Life goes on and so I believe I will try to plant a new redbud tree in the same spot. Perhaps I will gather all of my grandchildren to help plant a new tree and make a new memory.

May 23, 2014

Wear a Red Poppy This Memorial Day

As Memorial Day approaches, I'm looking forward to sticking some money in the can and getting my poppy that I will proudly place around the strap of my purse. When I first started blogging I wrote a post similar about Memorial Day and Poppies, click here to read that post.

As a child, I have vivid memories of my father giving me a fifty cent piece to slip in the opening in the top of the can held by a VFW member. I was given the poppy and I wrapped the wire stem around a button on my blouse. We would attend the parade with all of the others lining each side of the street, it seemed that everyone was wearing their poppies too.

We lived very near Great Lakes Naval Base, so of course the Navy's marching band would be in the parade. Whenever an American flag would come in sight everyone would stand and remove their hats until the flag passed by, often times placing their hands over their hearts. In my minds eye, it was the best parade.

If you see a veterans group selling poppies I encourage you to slip a donation in the opening of the can and wear that poppy with pride.

The idea of selling poppies came from this poem.

Thanks to all who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom.


May 22, 2014

Buttons From Mussel Shells Along the Mississippi

One of Warsaw, Illinois oldest buildings stands at the foot of the hill on Water Street. This building was built in 1866 and has housed different types of manufacturer. It has been a battery company, a shoe factory, and a woolen factory. This building now stands empty on the bank of the Ole Mississippi River.

An old postcard of the factory around 1909

This is what the factory looks like today

The building was constructed in 1866

My mother-in-laws horse farm was just down the road from this factory, when the children were little we would walk down the road and explore the front area of the building. Looking back, it wasn't a very wise or safe thing to do.

The reason we would walk down there was because on the sides of the building shells with holes were scattered about. You see at some point they made buttons at this factory.

A German man who was skilled at making buttons from animal bones, hooves, and shells came to the United States heard about the mussels in the Mississippi River and thought he could make his fortune by producing buttons from these shells with the pearl like coating.

Fragments of shells that were used to make buttons.

Here is an excerpt from the Pearl Button Story on how button were made, 1891 . . .
"The fishers then brought in their catch, and the clams were thrown into big pots of boiling water to kill them. Men and women pried the loosened shells apart and cleaned out the whitish meat.

From the riverbank, wagoners hauled the shells to the factory, where they were soaked in water for about a week. This softened the shells so that they didn't break so easily while being sawed.

The cutters were the highest paid workers in the button factory and were always men. It was a skilled job, because a good cutter got as many button blanks out of each shell as possible. He used a saw that revolved and cut a hole in the shell, the cut-out part being the button blank. These blanks were dropped into a bucket by the cutter, and then carried to a line of workers at grinding machines (usually boys). Here the rough outer side of shell was removed and the blanks ground to an even thickness.

A conveyor belt carried the blanks to the finishing machine. Along the belt a worker turned them all rough side up. At the finishing machine, another worker carved out the center and drilled the holes. Buttons were fed into this machine by hand, one at a time.

To shine them, the buttons were tumbled in a churn with water and powdered pumice for half a day. Finally they were washed, dried in sawdust and moved onto the sorting tables. Women and girls sorted the buttons according to quality, color and luster. Some were hand sewn on cards, and others were placed in boxes for shipping."

Outside of a mussel shell 

The cutter only got four buttons from this shell.

Inside the mussel with its iridescent lining

Eventually, button makers would turn to plastic which was cheaper to produce. The Mississippi River with the mussels living in the muddy river bottom was no longer in demand.

My children brought home so many of these shells when they were young, as the fascination of these shells dwindled their collection of these shells were misplaced and more than likely thrown away. I was lucky to have found one to photograph.