Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Santa Makes an Early Delivery

Got up this morning and guess what I found under my Christmas tree?

Santa's elves did an outstanding job assembling the Adirondack Cabin Kit I purchased many, many years ago. I made a half-hearted stab at building this little cabin way back when and was horrified by the instructions to cut the pile of individual logs into the appropriate lengths to make staggered edges at the corners. I have killed two scroll saws in my time, but the prospect of all those logs to cut just boggled my crafty mind. I stuffed everything back into the box and put it on the long-range project list.

From time to time I would encounter one of these kits fully assembled in a store and remind myself of the hidden treasure sitting in my garage and then shudder again at the idea of all those logs to cut.

So, when a friend offered to take on the project, I jumped at the chance. I have a seriously intense desire to own a full-size log cabin for my retirement years, but I know that is probably never going to happen, so having a miniature is the next best thing.

I am tickled at the results and eager to begin the painting and finishing phases.

The challenge now is what or who will move into the new dollhouse? I had originally planned for it to be a mountain getaway or bed & breakfast, but I'm not sure. Maybe an Appalachian crafts center? Maybe an early Texas family cabin? (Although it really would need a dogtrot to make that picture authentic.)

Christmas vacation is coming up. Maybe I will spend a few days painting log cabins and churches and completing the Mexican restaurant.

So many little time to work on them. I really need to retire!


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Further Indulgences

Time is flying these days. Thanksgiving sped by in a blur and was followed immediately by a quick genealogy research trip to Houston. Lana and I spent 3 days in the company of cousin Maxine, talking genealogy non-stop and including one day in the Clayton Library (where I found very little, but enjoyed myself nonetheless). Cousin Maxine is beginning to downsize her massive collection of genealogy books and related materials and sent me home with 3 full boxes to add to my own rapidly growing research library. (My goal for retirement is to have to travel no further than the home office when I get the research itch.)

Headed to Houston, Big Red was fully loaded with our luggage, computer bags, research notebooks, two dog carriers (the dogs having been dropped at the vet's for boarding as we passed through Elgin), a small cooler, a bag of snacks and my sleeping bag. Before we got to our destination, we added 4 bottles of wine acquired from a stop at the Haak Winery in Santa Fe, an errand added to our agenda to fulfill a co-worker's wish for a particular vintage not available in Austin.

When it came time to pack for the return trip, it was a bit of a challenge to fit in an additional 3 boxes of books, but I am a veteran packer and Big Red was soon filled snugly to the rafters. We headed home, shifting gears on the way back to stop at a new dollhouse store on the outskirts of Houston. At least, we thought, anything we bought would be small and there would be no problem fitting it in. What we had not bargained for was a huge used-book store right next door to the dollhouse store. Even with 3 boxes of books weighing down the rear of the car, you can not keep me out of a used book store. Fortunately we kept our miniature impulses pretty much in check, although Lana indulged herself in a small roombox (I managed to talk myself out of the small dollhouse shell that set me drooling) and I acquired a half-dozen paperback books.

We made one final shopping stop at the antique mall in Elgin, where we added yet another few small items to the mix, then picked up the dogs and Dixie at the vet. We had saved the necessary space for Dixie's carrier and we squeezed the dogs back into their carriers, but there was not any space left in Big Red on that final leg home. I had to postpone the purchase of the special cat food I get at the vet's, because there was no way I was going to be able to fit the bag into the car.

With Christmas looming like the sword of Damocles, I have discovered that the ongoing allergy to crowds I have suffered the past year has intensified to the red zone. It is fortunate that I have very few gifts to purchase this year because the malls are out of the question and even the thought of shopping on the Internet is giving me the hives. Instead, while others dash off for lunch hour shopping sprees to the nearby outlet stores, I migrate to the serene quiet of antique stores. (If you are one of the few on my gift list, do not question the musty scent emitting from your package. My shopping is direct from Grandma's attic.)

As usual, I am finding more for myself than for those on the gift list. Yesterday I spent a nice relaxing hour at the Round Rock Antique Mall and came home with three treasures.

Find number one was a perky little vintage hat that fits like it was made for me, which is more rare than you might think. I have a huge head. It is black, edged with sequins and sporting a big net bow at the side.

Treasure number two is a vintage evening bag in perfect condition, heavy with cream seed beads and including an elaborate flower design front and back. (It should go great with that vintage cream suit I picked up recently in Smithville.)

And, finally, a wonderful glass powder box with a clear bottom and cobalt blue glass lid.

You may or may not know that I have a surfeit of cobalt glass tucked away in the storage closet. Mother was an avid collector of cobalt and for many years it was an easy solution for Christmas and birthday shopping to add to her collection. Cobalt glass was not my personal thing, but I've watched for unique pieces for so many years that I continue to naturally gravitate toward them. When I saw this little powder jar, I knew it had to come home with me.

When I bought my little oak vanity last year in Round Top, I began to assemble a dresser set from the antique glass on hand. I decided it was high time some of the pieces I like came out of the storage closet so I could enjoy having it around me. For the tray I decided to use an antique, pressed glass bread tray. I finally have a place to put the cut glass perfume bottle I've owned for years. When it came to an appropriate container for my powder, I had so far been stumped. Now I have the perfect piece to fill that purpose and it also reminds me of many happy antique jaunts with Mother. I am getting much enjoyment from surrounding myself with these little antique pieces and have come to that point in my life where I would rather risk the possibility of breakage than have these little treasures packed away in the closet where they are never seen.

So, to others the holiday season may be about crowded malls. To me, this Christmas is about enjoying the peace and quiet whereever I can find it and enjoying the treasures of hand-me-downs, whether they be second-hand books or vintage clothing or antique glassware dragged out of the storage closet. I love connecting to the past.

Happy Holidays! May your Christmas shopping be as satisfying as mine has been.