Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Promising Poinsettia

So far, the poinsettia looks promising, a couple of the leaves are starting to turn red. Every other year that I try to re-bloom my poinsettias, I brought them in too late and they started to bloom about Christmas-time and are at their peak at Valentine's day. I hope this year we will have a nice big, bushy poinsettia for the holidays. It has a ways to go right now, but in a month it should look a lot nicer.

Bargains At The Auction

Last month I went to an estate auction nearby which was held at the owner's home. There was a big tent that was set up because it was raining off and on. A lot of tools and machinery were being auctioned off in the yard while the furniture, and household goods were being auctioned off in the tent.

There was a lot of collectible glassware, china, and pottery to bid on. There were four tables set up with box lots on them, which they auctioned off first, waiting for a larger crowd. As they emptied the tables, they took them down to make room for more people. They had trays set on the tables full of odd china and glassware. I bid on and won a few items for a couple of dollars just because no one was bidding. I was interested in a few items that I was outbid on, but that was okay.

I also got a few nice shabby chic items, an antique white ironstone wash pitcher with a chip, an antique English stoneware wash bowl with a crack, and an antique Wood & Sons chamber pot with a crack. I got all of them for under $5!

I bid on a vintage Quebec hooked rug which had gotten damp from the rain that morning. Nobody was bidding on it because it was wet so I got it for $20, I think I got a good buy. Now that it is dried out, I noticed that there was a little bit of bleeding but it is in otherwise good condition. I think it may be from the early to mid-20th century.

I'm going to do some research on the design to see if I can narrow down the time frame. The rug was hooked on burlap, probably a sack. The border is sewn on by sewing machine, it must have been a heavy-duty one. The material used to hook the rug looks like a knit textile, usually seen in woven rugs. The black is not colourfast, at least, not the black that's around the outline of one of the flowers.

Next one

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Leaves Are Down, Lights Are Up

Before you know it, the first snow is going to be flying, the weatherman is calling for flurries next week but it is mild today. The trees are bare and my clematis is still flowering! Nothing spectacular, the leaves are all turning brown, but there are still a few buds on it. The snapdragons are still flowering and the sweet peas are straggling, otherwise, the rest of the garden is going dormant, except the weeds! I look out the door at my vegetable garden and I see green everywhere.

I brought the cactus in that was in the front garden and re-potted it. I think that it liked the full sun better than the indoor lighting, it is surviving but not thriving. I'll put it out next spring after the chance of frost is over.

My husband brought our Poinsettia inside about six weeks ago, and I brought it up from the basement last week. It was in the utility room and the light was on a timer so I was forgetting about it all the time and it was dropping leaves. The first buds were coming so I hope it will keep flowering. I'll know in a couple of weeks if the leaves start to change.

I am going to over-winter the fuschia downstairs, in the laundry room, it's been in the garage since before the first frost. I have to bring in two rosemary plants that are in the garage as well, I have to re-pot them into a smaller pot for in the kitchen for the winter.

The Christmas lights went put up yesterday, before the weather changes. There are a lot of lights this year, there are two less bushes to put the lights on this year. My husband already mentioned this morning what furniture needs to be moved where when we put the Christmas tree up.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gardening - Herb Garden Rejuvination Long Overdue

I had a couple of planters containing some sages, oregano and thymes on the deck all summer. Now that fall is here, I had to replant them in a more permanent place in the herb garden behind the garage. The only problem was that the herb garden had been neglected and was severely overgrown. There was a wild grape vine growing out of the middle of it and the oregano was spreading over the chives and they were not getting enough sunlight.


There was catnip growing here and there and a wild grape vine was growing over the lattice and covering the rhubarb. I had to prune back some mulberry suckers that were growing from stumps beside the fence. There is a row of stumps from cedars that were cut down before we were here that make it impossible to dig up the mulberry, so, I just keep pruining the suckers.

The hoses you can now see beside the fence were once a garden hose which the dog chewed up last year. I decided to keep them to lay out in the garden if earwigs got to be a problem. There were no problems with earwigs this year, but the garden snails have really been bad this year. I told my husband, who likes Escargots, that I was going to start a snail ranch, so he could have all he can eat!With all of the grape vines, mulberry suckers and various weeds gone, I can actually see my rhubarb and chives, which the snails have been having a feast on. Now, to tackle the oregano!
I was digging up and pulling out oregano for a couple of hours, then I had to get the roots out so that they didn't grow new plants all over the place. I decided to keep only a small clump of it and pulled up the rest. There was enough of the herb to fill two garbage cans!

After I got all of the oregano dug out, and cut back, I was finished for the day.

Day 2

I dug up a couple of clumps of chives and replanted them closer to the rest of the chives. I then started to replant the sages and thymes.
The last of the plants was a new variety of oregano, which has a purple coloured leaf. I hope this one doesn't grow out of control.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back to Business - Earlybird Vintage & Collectibles

I have been working on opening an online store "Earlybird Vintage & Collectibles"

and I hope to have the "Grand Opening" sometime this month. I have boxes and boxes of inventory and I am getting more every week, going to yard sales, flea markets and auctions and getting some great bargains.

My entrepreneurial endeavours began a couple of years ago when I decided to open an eBay store. I had a Paypal eBay seller's account already, but I had to open a business account, which is free and takes care of a lot of paperwork, i.e. invoices, receipts, sales records etc. It also allows me to make Paypal buttons for any website.

The eBay store lasted for a month and a half, I had to have eBay listings in the regular auction to direct traffic to my store. I only had two store sales in 6 weeks and the sales from the regular auction and store sales just paid for the cost of the store.

I hope that this time the store does better. I am using Viviti website builder to create and host the store. I am able to add Paypal buttons to the pages easily wherever I want, as many as I want.

I have discovered a fairly new auction site, SeeAuctions.com, which is an alternative to eBay, for buying and selling antique, vintage and collectible items. I have registered as a seller on the site and have just received the confirmation email so I'll start some listings this week. What I like about the site is that they do a check of the sellers to ensure that they are legitimate, something that eBay should do also. And besides that, the first year is FREE! Whether you have one item listed or a hundred, the price is the same. SeeAuctions.com uses Google shopping cart and Paypal so there is security and Paypal Buyer's Protection on your purchases. SeeAuctions doesn't charge commissions either, all the money you make is yours! You can read all about SeeAuctions.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Gardens - My Front Backyard Gardens

I think my ribbon grass is taking over the pond, I'm going to have to divide it already, I just planted two 6" pots that I bought at the Leamington Horticultural Society's spring plant sale last year. They seem to thrive in the arid conditions, maybe I'll plant the divisions in the back corner of the yard.

This spiderwort is getting overgrown as well. I have chives, 3 strawberries, leaf lettuce and a strawberry spinach growing in the wire basket that my husband rescued when the town was cleaning up in the fall.

My gooseneck loostrife was growing into my clematis so I had to dig up the offshoots near the roots of the vine. I repotted them into two pots. This was another find at the plant sale.

The cosmos self-seeded so I just thinned the seedlings out where they were. The gooseberry bush, behind them, was a seedling about 8" tall when I bought it last spring at the plant sale. I'm hoping that it will be productive this year. My neighbour gave me some raspberry canes, front left that are starting to take off. She was told they were an everbearing variety and should produce fruit this year. We'll see.

I had to prune my trumpet vines back to the fence. They are invasive, and I'm constantly finding new shoots coming up in the garden and lawn. My sweet pea vines are getting too heavy for the netting that they are growing on.

My water lilies are doing great this year, the first week of blooming there were 11 blooms out at once!

The dogs knocked the flagstones from the edge of the pond. The feverfew self-seeded also, and there are tons of them now. They are good medicinal herbs if you are a migraine sufferer. The tea, made from five or six fresh or dried leaves steeped, sweetened to taste, and sipped slowly relieves the migraine and accompanying nausea. A daily tea is said to be a preventative. The tea has a floral flavour, similar to chamomile tea.

I had to take a close-up to show this golden sedum, bought at the plant sale, it is a ground-hugging plant. Next time I'll post pictures of my back backyard, the dog's playground.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Auction Acquisitions

I went to my first auction, but only stayed for a couple of hours. I didn't stay long enough to bid on the cupboards. The lower cupboards I was going to bid on were a bit too rustic, more like for a garage than a kitchen. I did get a good deal on a few small items, a stoneware mixing bowl,

and some cast iron bake-ware.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

First Auction of the Year

There is an auction this Saturday  that I will be going to. My husband is going to be checking out the sports cards, he`s a collector and has thousands of them. I am going to see if I can get any good deals on Depression Glass
or collectible tins
maybe a jug or a crock,
or a piece of local history

and see what treasures are hiding in the box lots. There is also some primitive cupboards I would like to look at. I want to get  new (well, different) cupboards and the one there looks like it might fit in my galley kitchen.

I hope it goes for a reasonable price and I`m the winning bidder! I`ll let you know how it goes. 

Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Own Creation - Banana Walnut Upside Down Cake

I made this cake a couple of weeks ago, for the first time. I wanted a cake with a broiled topping, without the fuss. The results were very good, my husband loved it and none went to waste. I think that it would go well with an apple-cinnamon cake batter as well, just substitute chopped apples for the bananas, and add a teaspoon of cinnamon to the dry ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed firmly
  • 1/2 cup butter
Mix first three ingredients and spread into the bottom of a 10" parchment-lined cake pan. (The first time I made this, I didn't line the pan and some of the nuts stayed in the pan. I used a silicon baking pan also, but not necessary.)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas ( about 3 large)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Cream together sugar and butter until light, add eggs and beat 1 min.
Add mashed bananas and vanilla and mix well.
Sift dry ingredients together and add to batter, combining well.
Spread over nut mixture (batter is quite thick) and bake in pre-heated 375 F. oven for 40-45 min.
Loosen from edge of pan and turn out onto cake plate immediately.
Remove parchment and cool for a few minutes.
Cut into squares and serve warm, with ice cream if desired.

The Mallorytown Glassworks 1825-1839/40?

The Mallorytown Glassworks was a small factory, established by United Empire Loyalists and their descendants.
The Mallorys of Mallorytown

In 1790, Nathaniel Mallory left Vermont and settled with his family along the St. Lawrence River at Mallorytown Landing. Shortly afterwards they moved inland to the area of the village that bears his name. Nathaniel and his wife had 13 children, the youngest Catherine being the only one who was born in Canada.

At the end of the American Revolution, Nathaniel's son Daniel had already come to Yonge Township along with his brother Lemuel and cousins Jeremiah and Elisha, settling in the Broken Front and First Concession.

The Mallory sons were an enterprising group with David running a store and a brick yard where more than one million bricks were made and Andrew operating a glass factory. A plaque erected east of the village by the Ontario Archaeological & Historic Board reads in part - "A short distance from this site stood the first glass-works known to have been established in Upper Canada., in operation from 1839 to 1849. Its owner during these years was Andrew W. Mallory, a descendant of the family that founded this community. The articles produced included bottles, flasks, glasses and other household wares." Other Mallorys were farmers, operated a lumber yard, had mills and in later years the cheese factory which produced a cheese that won a major prize at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Some of the family fished commercially, including eel fishing for the New York City market.

Daughters and granddaughters of Nathaniel married into local families leaving Mallory descendants with names such as Guild, Seaman, Ducolon, Truedell, Armstrong, Kelly, Judd, Shipman, Trickey, Andress and Eyres. Many people will remember Dr. Mallory, who practiced in Brockville for many years. There are still a number Mallorys living in the area as well as many descendants with these and other surnames.

The Mallory family donated land for part of the National Park System. There are a couple of books in the Brockville Library telling the story of branches of the family. Many records are in the Archives and in land books that tell more about this large and interesting family.

They manufactured free-blown glass vessels and containers with the use of only basic tools. The materials were what was locally available, white Potsdam sandstone, which was abundant. Because of the chemical make-up of the sandstone, the glass was an aquamarine colour. The glassware is very rare and valuable today, and most pieces are found only in museums.
The pieces above are from the Royal Ontario Museum
This piece is from the Glenbow Museum in Alberta.
Here are two pieces from the Canadian Civilization Museum

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Collectors Have Always Been Green

Collecting is an environmentally-friendly hobby, we're all about reusing, and recycling. A collector will look for a vintage or antique item or something that can be used in it's place before buying a new product. There are a lot of advantages to recycling and reusing, and collectors have known about them for years.

One advantage is that the quality is in most cases far superior to the modern product, the boards used to make a piece of furniture were wider from old trees. More time was taken to make it, often handcrafted, and there was a sense of pride in workmanship. The quality of the materials used in antique furniture is far superior, made of real wood, not sawdust glued together with a veneer laminate to look like wood. This reduces the toxins released into the air from the adhesives and plastics.

This goes for textiles as well, a hand-sewn item will often last longer than a brand new one. The clothing of the past was made well, and made to last, so that it can be passed down to younger siblings when too small. The fabric was made of natural materials; cotton, wool, silk, linen and hemp. The apparel made today can be ruined by one single loose thread being pulled, most manufacturers use a chain stitch IMO for this reason. If the article gets too close to a flame, it will melt, so it is treated with fire retardant during manufacturing, more toxic chemicals.

Some of the older glass was also hand-made; hand-cut, hand-painted, hand-blown. The glass industry has perfected the process so that there are no imperfections, but it is those imperfections that collectors look for, it tells how and when it was produced and makes the item more unique and desirable.

Another advantage is monetary, it is less expensive to buy an antique piece of furniture than a new one of comparable value. I can't see anyone collecting mass-produced pieces in the future, they don't last, manufacturers call this "planned obsolescence". If the products don't last, the manufacturer can sell more products. This goes for almost every product that is sold today. The resale value for these products are very minimal. The resale value for antiques and collectibles is always on the increase, an item will almost always appreciate in value.

Besides the reasons that I have mentioned above, the result of collecting is a reduction of toxins into the air from the manufacturing process, the reduction in energy resources and the reduction in natural resources to make the product. At the same time, we teach our children by example about being frugal with money, about not being wasteful, get them interested in history and preservation and an appreciation for fine workmanship.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gardening - Spring Cleaning

Well, it's been a long, cold winter and I'm anxious to get out and do some yard work again today. I'm still sore from the yard work I've done already in the past two days. The weeds seem to grow under the snow, as soon as the s now is gone, chickweed is everywhere.
My gooseberries look like they made it through the long, cold winter with no damage, they should produce some fruit this summer. The Butterfly bushes need to be cut back today, and I think I'll give the Trumpet vines a good pruning too. If I had it to do over again, I would have planted the trumpet vines in containers, there are shoots coming up all over the yard.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Creating - Family Websites

I have been pre-occupied lately with creating my family website at FamilyLobby.com. It is creating so I decided to write about my adventures. I started out with a free site, but my family is too large, so I had to opt for a paid site. I started out by deciding on my theme, searching for the right style. I wanted a transparent theme, the background picture didn't matter, since I was going to change it anyway. I tried out quite a few different themes before deciding.

I decided on a theme and spent a lot of time looking for the right background
picture for the site. Since I called our site "Nuts in my Tree", I had to find the perfect picture. I found this drawing which was an open source drawing from the turn of the century, and decided it was what I was looking for. I like the gathering of squirrels, waiting for the nuts and the owl standing guard.

Next, I started customizing the site, changing the colours of the fonts, borders, arranging the homepage, etc. I ran into a problem with the navigation being on the left, it was getting too long and confusing, so I changed to a drop-down list at the top of the page, it looks much neater.

I made a "members only" category and put all of the private pages here, so members will remember where to post. I have the privacy set so a visitor sees the homepage, news, guestbook and some public pages that are included as default such as For Kids. I added a couple of more links that are favourites of my grandchildren too.

I started thinking of making some custom pages, so I had to change the font colours again to something that would show up on any background. I chose a grey colour that will show up on light and dark backgrounds.

I sent out the first newsletter this week too, it was quick and easy to compose. Every member has the ability to publish a newsletter, so if there's an announcement they want to make to the rest of the family, they can do it. I think this is a great feature for announcing engagements, births, etc. The newsletters have tie option of being put on the website as well, so that those who didn't receive the newsletter, such as visitors and guests, can read it too.

Since the family site has to be geared to all ages, I posted different things that the kids would be interested in, like posting their Easter egg colouring photos, etc. I also posted instructions for using the website that I hope will help them with any problems they have.

I also hunted up a few gadgets for them to play with, games, virtual pets, I even found an app. for Guitar Chords for my grand-nephew.
I put links to Facebook and My Space in the "Member's Only" section for the older kids and adults too. I also added links to family reunion sites there, to keep everyone informed. I added links to free clipart and backgrounds as well that they can use in their posts.

I'm still playing around with it, adding to it when I think of different ideas. I was thinking about linking a couple of pages to my Viviti site with more features available yet. I think I'm going to try it, that way we could have eBay listings and PayPal buttons, Twitter, etc. I'm heading there now, I'll let you know if it works