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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chair Redo Beats Hair Redo

Since I'm not doing so well in the personal make over department - considering the purple Barney hair and all, I decided I would make over a couple of chairs with some great Mod Green Pod fabric. The fabric I chose was from their Jubilee collection called Wee Jubilee, Raspberry. Its a small-scale modern twist on Mod Green Pod's signature jubilee motif. I love working with all of their fabrics because they are 100% organic cotton canvas grown, woven and printed in the United States using non-toxic pigments, and they are a great price at $39.75 a yard.

I just primed the frames after removing the seat cushion and then sprayed on a couple of coats of Krylon's satin spray paint in an Ivory color, to complement the background color of the fabric. A staple gun, 1 yard of fabric, and a couple of hours later, I have a pair of lovely re-worked vintage chairs!

Don't forget that The Vintage Laundry workroom can re-work any existing piece that you have, just shoot us an email and I'll be glad to send you a quote. Check out our before and after shots here.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Purple Haze All in My Brain

So, last week I had the misfortune of having a sty in my right eye that made me look like Quasimoto. And I'm sorry to say that this week isn't looking much better, either. I decided to renew my auburn highlights that had faded to a brassy blonde over repeated hair washings. Red is a tough color to maintain, I'm told. What I wish someone would have told me, however, is that auburn and mahogany are not even close on the hair-dye color wheel. Don't imagine for a moment that I actually paid someone to color my hair - the "queen-o-do-it-yourself" lives here, remember?! Keep in mind that I used the highest quality hair color that six dollars and ninety five cents can buy down at the local grocery store. I followed the directions exactly:

• STEP ONE: place all of the contents of vial "A" into container "B"

• STEP TWO: Add entire contents of tube "C" into the container with solution "A" and "B".

• STEP THREE: Place finger over container spout and, "Shake, shake, shake, Señora, shake it all the time (Wow-ho) · Work, work, work, Señora, work your body line (Yeah-he)" fashion around your bathroom.
(It's possible that I'm paraphrasing and embellishing just a scooch here.)

I set my timer for 25 minutes and tweezed my eye brows. And, if you've seen my eyebrows you are well aware that 25 minutes is really not sufficient time to pluck even the slightest arch into said brow line - just imagine that Frank Zappa's mustache and Groucho Marx's eyebrows fell in love and the resulting love child are my brows. When the timer went off, I rinsed and shampooed and rinsed again. As I blew my locks into place with the hair dryer I noticed that my once brassy highlights had changed to a lovely shade of, well . . . .PURPLE! Like Barney purple, except with a tan or maybe melanoma . . . PURPLE! Like Minnesota Vikings or Grimace from the McDonald's gang.

uhmmm . . . . no.

Just to recap, the first week my kids were at camp I was blessed with an eye that was so swollen that I looked like a bee sting victim. The second week has begun with my Barney-colored wig and its only Tuesday. Frankly, I'm not sure that I want to speculate what week number three might hold for me - perhaps a little head lice, a giant fever blister?! Or possibly a scorching case of herpes or anal leakage?!

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Great Debate: Thrifting vs. Crack

Let me just preface the following post by stating the fact that owning a vintage business is just slightly less expensive than being addicted to crack, and you can get the same physical appearance without all the drug use.

Saturday at 6 AM my eyes popped open, I turned to look at the Hubbs on the next pillow. He's all spooned up next to me in a tangle of sheets and comforter, sleeping peacefully. Saturday is the only day he gets the option of sleeping in if wants to. So, naturally I wake him and ask if he would like to go garage and estate sale-ing. I've found over the years if I wake him from a dead sleep he usually says "yes" to anything I ask him. With this tactic, I've gotten access to his wallet, his wardrobe, and his affirmative vote for painting our living room pink.

We took great pains getting ourselves ready for our thrifty outing. The Hubbs wore a pair of Khaki shorts that had a bleach spill down the front and a Rorschach ink splotch at the left pocket, partnered with a t-shirt, that we later realized was on inside out, and a ball cap to cover his bed-head. I chose a pair of Nike running shorts with one of my husband's "seen-better-days" t-shirts and a tragic looking pair of black flip flops. Our attire said, "When we're not in prison, we enjoy a day of looking homeless." Simply breathtaking and oh so impressive! I even managed to arrange my hair with a food processor so that it resembled a "mullet-with-dorsal-fin" type hairstyle. The only thing missing were 5 or 6 flies swirling around our heads and possibly the theme to the movie Deliverance playing in the background.

After a fast food breakfast containing 3 of my favorite ingredients: sugar, fat and caffeine - we were off to our first sale pumped up on empty carbohydrates and ready to bargain. At the first sale we scored an amazing spring-loaded whisk, one of those hand-cranked mixers, the cutest flour sifter, and a quart of unopened white paint for the grand total of $1.25. Next we made our way to one of Lou Warren's sales in Tarrytown and found a great piece of hotel silver and 6 satin-covered lingerie hangers for $2. After that, we decided to go to our favorite Goodwill "last stop" outlet and dig through the elevated troughs of things that aspire to be landfill. Important to note here is that The Hanger gives me the will to live, I fully expect to find the Holy Grail there some day or at the very least, meet author Dan Brown while he's there collecting all the copies of his book The Da Vinci Code. There I found a vintage eyelet sundress, 4 vintage linen European pillow shams - you know, the ones with the linen covered buttons, a cotton Matelasse French blue and taupe coverlet, 6 curtain panels made of a great brown, white and yellow floral fabric circa 1970 - think The Brady Bunch or The Partridge Family, and a couple of sheer white cotton tab top window panels, all for only $10.

After digging through bin after bin at The Hanger, it was around 3 in the afternoon and our stomachs were telling us that it was time for some groceries. We stopped at this great new place called the Black Sheep Lodge for a late lunch. The Hubbs had read the Texas Monthly article that had ranked it 27th out of the 50 best burgers in Texas, and they were right, it was most tasty! As we waited for our burgers we played shuffle board, darts and remembered what we used to do before we had kids. After scarfing down our huge burgers and onion rings, we headed home to survey our thrifty haul, gloat, and disinfect ourselves and our finds. Now THAT, is a Saturday well spent! Don't cha think?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stan's The Man

Just thought I would let you all know that our darlin' man Stan had a great review of his book, The Find, on 1stdibs. Yay! Way to go Stan - you go boy!

Another dear friend, Lauren Ross, was featured by Joni over at Cote de Texas today. She has posted photos of her former home in Houston. They are lovely, as you might expect!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Warning: Heavy Heart and Swollen Eye

It is with a heavy heart and a swollen eye that I tell you that after almost 16 years of being a parent, I am now unemployed - at least for the next 3 weeks. Yesterday, we took our two children, Olivia and Noah, to camp. Empty-nest is a word that I thought I wouldn't use in a sentence for at least a few more years, but, there it is. I'm not mourning the passing of having to pick up wet towels, or shuttle this one here and that one there, or even having to wash an article of clothing that was worn for approximately 5 minutes and placed on the floor. What I am missing are their laughs, their stories, their faces, their interaction with each other, and just their presence! We really like our kids, as well as love them. The Hubbs and I often stand in awe of the fact that together we produced someone so kind, funny, smart, talented, and beautiful, not once but twice. We don't take any of the credit, they pretty much came from the factory that way - and I'm only slightly biased, of course!

We are pretty tragic creatures during this 3 weeks each summer. We sit and stare at each other and try to remember what we did before we had children. We usually both end up saying something to the effect of, "I got nothin' - you?" Generally, we just acquiesce to ordering in and and choosing a dvd worth every cent of $1.08 at The Redbox. Sometimes, if we are feeling especially crazy, we add in a little adult beverage intake into the plan.

This morning I awoke to a "gi-normous" stye in my right eye. I was a lovely sight, my eye is completely swollen shut - think Quasimoto, a bee sting victim, or Rocky Balboa after a fight. The dehydration from swilling down too many Shiner Bocks, the toxic puffy eye and the half eaten remnants of Chinese take-out, screams "Pity Party" and makes me the portrait of excess. This leaves me in need of several things; a shower, a salad, and a treadmill. And, as soon as I locate my equilibrium, a new eye ball, and my "Happy Place", I will seek out those things immediately!

Oh . . . .wait - I just took out the right side of my body running into the door jam. Must lie down first.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Stan-palooza" the sequel

I subscribe to the thought that when it comes to fun, it's always better when you're not the only one having it! So, with that, I give you more "Stan-palooza" pics.

Some of my dearest friends and customers Lauren and Lady came to meet Stan, get a signed copy of The Find and offer their steadfast support of me and my doings. You guys are the best!

Stan and another talented woman and dear friend, Kate, of Kiss My Attitude.

Stan joins the Bryan-Valdez family for a little "photo-op."

My son, Noah, and his honey, Laura, hamming it up for his sister, Olivia, our talented photographer for the evening.

Stan greets his adoring fans.

The line forms for Stan to sign his book.

Me and another favorite girly, Lyndsey.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Stan with our give away winner Claire.

"Stan-palooza" was a rousing success! Books were signed. Friends were made. Stories were told. Goodies were eaten (nobody gagged, had to be hospitalized from food poisoning or retched - so I'm off the hook!) Temperatures rose to 102. Sticky hugs were given. And most importantly, fun was had by all.

Stan was as delightful as I expected him to be - more so, even! Jean was and is the best-est for offering up her magnificent store, Uptown Modern, as our location! Thank you Stan for coming to Austin and being your amazing self! Thanks, also, to those of you who attended the event last night - you rock! So, no more rambling, and on with the "paparazzi" moments of the evening. I'll probably have to post photos all week long, so, stay tuned!

Stan with Lyndsey, Olivia, Noah and Laura

Stan is "holding court" here and highlighting sections of his book for guests.

Jean, Cody and Katherine

The Hubbs, Scott and Stan

Stan and my dear friend, Andrea, trading notes about the publishing world.

Stan and his dear friend, Debi

Stan signing a book for an adoring fan - that would be me!

All photos courtesy Olivia Stephenson

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

And the Winner is . . . .

I've heard it said that luck "happens" when opportunity knocks and you answer. Well, today's lucky winner of Stan Williams' newly released book, The Find, apparently answered the door! Congratulations Claire, you've won an autographed copy of Stan's book! Thanks to all of you who participated in our give away. I'm firmly convinced that I have the dearest, most supportive readers in the blogosphere. You are all winners in my eyes!

I used my thrifted mason jars as vases for my happy, brightly hued Gerber Daisies and big, honkin', purple Freesia - I seriously think they have pituitary issues - but they are beautiful, all the same!
So, today's the big day! Stan is bleary-eyed in Houston and on his way to Austin as I write this. And, I'm kind of beside myself with excitement and anticipation for tonight's event. My aunt, NanNan, came to help me prepare for our soiree yesterday. We baked in the morning, went to the florist and arranged the goody table centerpieces in the afternoon, and gathered all the serving pieces and prepped the fruit last night. Frankly, I've never been this on top of things for anything in my entire life! My NanNan has that effect on me - she brings out my "inner Martha Stewart," I guess!

I've been cooking - and we know how traumatic that can be for me - smoke alarms, fire trucks, mild streams of profanity, etc!

So, I'll be off to do some more prepping and squirming with excitement and I'll return with tons of photos of Stan, Jean, and our little soiree to share with you tomorrow.

My darlin' girl baby did the drawing for me. She was excited to get the chance to be my "Vanna."
Again, congratulations to Claire over at Two C's in a Pod. And thanks, everyone, for participating!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Girl Friday: What Died and Why Did They Bury It Here

When you walk into my house you are met with a mysterious but distinct smell, something along the lines of dust bunnies mixed with feet, burnt toast and a mixture of Oxy Clean and Era laundry detergent. It's a little something I like to call "what-died-and-why-did-they-bury-it-here?" Stacks of primed, vintage furniture, vintage linens, mail, and dishes litter my domicile's landscape. A neat freak, I am not! My theories on housework follow Erma Bombeck's - if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares, why should I? The only household chore that I perform without protest, is ironing - it's my therapy. I sit and think and process my problems and find solutions - I'm hooked up wrong . . . I know! And, I've professed that I'm not going to vacuum until Sears makes one you can ride on. If you've been a reader for a while, you are well aware of my lack of cooking skills - burnt oven mitt with a side of "my-gag-reflex-is-not-what-it-used-to-be" being my specialty. I've never seen the point of making the beds and doing the dishes - six months later you have to do it all over again, anyway. Okay, so enough of my daily chore mantras, I think you get the picture, gross as it may be.

Well, all that has to change, mostly due to the fact that I have a special guest coming to see me next week. Stan Williams, author of The Find, is coming to Austin for a book signing reception at Uptown Modern this coming Tuesday. And, if I read my "hostess-with-the-most-est" handbook correctly, even though Stan probably won't make it out to my house on his short visit here, I should have the house all tidy and ready for guests, just in case! You know, like having clean underwear on just in case you get run over by a car or something that might require you to be taken to the hospital. Cuz "dirty drawer inspection" is what comes right after proof of insurance, I'm almost certain. It's not so much that I don't get the concept of housework, it's just that I don't see how it pertains to me. So I'm off to joust with the giant dust bunnies under my sofa, excavate through the piles of this that and the other, and then sit down to a big plate of "crazy" for lunch! But, I'll leave you with some wisdom on the subject of chores from some very wise souls. Have a great weekend!

• Housework can't kill you, but why take a chance? - Phyllis Diller

• Nature abhors a vacuum. And so do I. - Anne Gibbons

• Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing. - Phyllis Diller

• Housework, if it is done right, can kill you. - John Skow

• You don't get anything clean without getting something else dirty. - Cecil Baxter

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My First Give Away

I have this thing in my head that I read once - something about how all of us would like a reputation for generosity and we'd all like to buy it cheap. That pretty much sums up today's post and me, for that matter. Another thought by novelist Charles Dudley Warner has me pegged as well, when he said, "I am convinced that the majority of people would be generous from selfish motives, if they had the opportunity."

So, with that "you-can't-get-somethin'-for-nothin'" attitude firmly in place, I'd like to offer my first ever GIVEAWAY! For your chance to win a signed copy of Stan's book, The Find, simply perform these two tasks:

(1) Leave a comment on this post, and
(2) click the "follow" button at the top right of my blog

One of my lucky blog followers will be selected to win the autographed book. If you already follow my blog, then you're in the running and if you're not yet a follower, join the ranks and show me some love - cuz I'm needy like that!

Once again, I'll be selecting a reader and sending them a signed copy of Stan's book, The Find. The winner will be randomly selected on July 13th and the winner's name will be posted on the blog the day of the event, Tuesday, July 14th. Thanks for reading my blog and good luck!

The Project

I shot bolt up right in bed this morning and spouted my favorite expletive. My husband jumped and offered his sympathy for my newly acquired, extra-crispy, sunburned body parts. He mistakenly took my profanity as an indication that my "4th-of-July-can't-get-no-sunscreen" sunburn was paining me, when in reality, the matter was more like "anticipation-excitement-holy-crap-Stan's-visit-is-only-a-week-away" sort of realization punctuated with a mild stream of four-letter words.

If you've been reading my posts lately, you're aware that my friend, Stan Williams, and author of The Find, is coming to Austin to see friends and attend a book signing at my other friend, Jean Heath's store, Uptown Modern on July 14th beginning at 7 p.m. Since this whole deal was my idea, I get to host this affair, and I'm so appreciative to Stan and Jean for playing along.

So, as the "hostess-with-the-most-est", I began to prepare. At first I thought that I would just cook lots of great dessert-y type things and serve on paper plates, along with wine and punch in plastic cups. Stan, it seems to me, is not a man of pretense, but then I realized that this would be the perfect occasion to demonstrate the idea of a party produced with thrifted, vintage, mix-matched pieces. Taking a cue from the book and stylist Joe Maer, I decided to run with cobalt blue glassware and linen cocktail napkins, giving a sort of French ruff-hewn feel to this shindig.

I began by taking an accounting of the glassware, pottery, silver plate and linens I already had. From there, I became giddy with anticipation with the notion that I would need to supplement my existing collection with a few trips to my favorite thrift stores - and for a degenerate thrift-aholic like me, this was a dream come true - not just a shopping opportunity but a divinely sanctioned mandate. I could actually indulge my addiction without the bitter aftertaste of shame and guilt, which to be honest, I can't really even muster up much anymore.

My thought was that I would need containers for some lovely flowers that would accent the goody tables. I would also need some more glasses and flatware plus a few other serving pieces. Well, BINGO!, as they say, I hit the jackpot. I happened upon 15 cobalt, blue jelly jar type glasses, 2 huge turquoise mason jars (sans the lids,) 20 or so silver plated forks, a heavy apothecary jar and a great English Ironstone transfer ware platter, along with a great black and turquoise tole tray - all vintage, all thrifted and all for the grand total of twelve dollars and twenty cents!

I made my way home, the whole time my mind reeling with ideas on what and how to set up the tables with the goodies and drink. Thinking also that the only thing that could make this day any better was to return home with my haul and be greeted by the delivery of Stan's books and the event poster that his publicist, Courtney, had sent me. And again, this wonderful day kept getting better, because there on my stoop between the Geraniums and the Hydrangea was one slender, poster-shaped box leaning against two other "had-to-be-Stan's-books" boxes. It was like Christmas, only hotter and the fellow I was expecting weighed a lot less and his affinity for elves was not as pronounced!

So, I think in closing, I will warn you that the week's posts will probably be more like, "hey look what I found", instead of hey check out Stan's book The Find. Posts will be me thinking out loud, more like one woman's self-imposed quest to create a fun, beautiful, budget conscious event for her new found friend and kindred spirit, Stan.

7 days. Lots of vintage stuff. One woman with a nasty shopaholic issue. Vintage boutique owner by day, irreverent blogger by night. Too cheap for catering, too vain to use paper plates, and too excited for anything else!

Can I do it?

The "Holy-Crap-Stan's-Party-Is-Only-A-Week-Away" Project. Coming soon to a computer near you.