Germ Freak

Sweet Love has pinkeye. Gross, green gunk oozing out of his nearly 6-year old eyes.

Today I had to drag him to one of my most feared places on earth.

The clinic.

I have no problem dumpster diving, digging through a barn scattered with mouse crap or bug infested basements looking for treasures. Hell no. I love that. I just know I'm more likely to catch acute nasopharyngitus from the pen that I used at the check-in counter of the clinic versus the filthy turn-of-the-century pharmacy bottles that I found laying in a dusty basement.

You see, I am a bit neurotic about germs.

I am the girl who quickly analyzes which door handle will have the least amount of sick germs on it before I grab it. {The furthest door on the left because more people enter on the right using the left hand door because more people are right handed} and then wrap my sleeve to grab it or use just my pinky finger. If I had better balance I'd probably open doors with my feet. It's always a good day if I can time it when someone else is going in and I can breeze through 3 inches behind them.

I am the girl who, if you have a snotty nose and phlegmy cough and enter my house, will disinfect the door handle and/or anything else you have touched after you leave.

I am the girl who only touches an elevator button with her knuckle.

I am the girl who would never, ever come close to anything in public that is constantly touched by people. I balance on escalators and cringe when my kids and husband grab hold of the rail. Then I see them touch their nose and I want to die.

I am the girl who goes into cardiac arrest when the kids come home from school and tell me someone threw up in their class. Followed by the question, "Honey, did you play with Suzie Throwup today? How far away do you sit from her?"

I am the girl who will do as much self diagnosing online as possible, so I can remedy the sickness without going into the clinic. Unfortunately, my PhD is in Family Guy episodes and not medicine so I cannot prescribe the drugs necessary to cure what ails me and my family. Since some cases of conjunctivitis call for eye drops, I had to plummet to the depths of germ hell for over an hour with Sweet Love and his green goop.

I scan the waiting room for the safest place to sit.

Not anywhere near the nose blowers.

We will sit in a galaxy far, far away from the lady hunched over with sunglasses on. Something tells me this is not just a hangover.

Sweet Love and I settle down across from an elderly lady with a walker and oxygen tank. Other than her breathing machine, she looks healthy as a horse, so I probably won't get some airborne virus by sitting across from her. She looks adorable dressed in a white nightgown with the predictable curly-white-old-lady-hair complemented by her white pasty skin. As I listen to the rhythmic hissing of her breathing machine, my gaze goes down to her feet.

Right below her age spotted cankles I see the shoes. A pair of killer old school moccasins with a beaded eagle motif. She has no idea the shoes she is wearing are super duper cool. She doesn't give a crap because at this stage in life, she's going for comfort.

I love her. This adorable little old lady with breathing machine and sweet kicks.

I wonder what her life story is.

Then I smile.

And I forget about germs for awhile.


My Play Room

A peek from the entrance to my newly redecorated work and play room.

A 1970 talking Cat in the Hat puppet was the last touch on my studio makeover.

I recently impulsively bought this well used and loved talking puppet and I am completely smitten. His perfectly sly smirk, crazy yellow eyes and non working pull string compliment his ratty tatty dirtballness. He sits on top of my desk lamp.

I am so in love with my new studio.

I did an overhaul and made my messy, unorganized, work space into something more inspiring.

Something that reflects my store aesthetic and my creative side.

A place where I can work and be productive.

But also, where I can play.

My studio (which now resembles Pee Wee's Playhouse on crack) is not only where Sweet Love Vintage happens, but it's where my imagination, inner artist, closet geek side, and quirky sense of humor hang out.

My window valance is made up of old game boards and school flash cards.

My wall of books containing mainly art books, reference books, and includes books by some of my favorite artists/authors: Seuss, Shel Silverstein, Edward Gorey, Brian Andreas, Andy Warhol and Marc Johns.

Vintage toys and tiny things used for my photography props line the blue metal shelves. I wallpapered the wall behind them in vintage piano music.

Sweet Love piano music cover sheet is my welcome sign at the door and an old Cricket chalkboard is hung for little reminders.

Near the ceiling I hung white lights and a teal feather boa. I spray painted cheap paper stencils from a local home improvement store and hung them with mini wood clothespins. Sweet Love and Curious are code for my two sons. The huge bulletin board will have an ever changing display of inspiration.

The flash card with the word neat on my bulletin board is rather ironic. I am a complete mess when I work. I usually have several projects going on at once on my desk. I take stuff out and don't put it away, then I take more stuff out. Repeat. It starts to look like a landfill of art supplies, dust, post-its, and vintage paraphernalia. The state my studio is in right now is heavenly. It's so clean and organized I don't even know where to start. And unfortunately, I can't find anything because it's all put away. This is out of my element. When I wander through the door I turn catatonic. I just sit at my desk and look around as I am mesmerized and instantly inspired by all the colors and silliness. I immediately think of things I want to work on, but I'm scared to take stuff out.

I know as soon as I start one thing, just one little creative endeavor, I'm going to fuck it all up with my messy shenanigans. I am, indeed, like the mischievous Cat in the Hat, and will trash this room in an instant.

My desk will never, ever look like this again. Now matter how hard I try, I know myself better than that. I just want it to look this way a tiny bit longer. I might sit in my catatonic state while drooling and blowing spit bubbles a few more times before I start tearing it up.

If only my Cat in the Hat puppet would have come with a couple of blue haired Things and a big, red, noisy cleaning machine.

His Dynamic Industrial Renovating Tractormajigger.

To clean up after my messy shenanigans.


Much Needed

I needed today. A day with my curious kid.

Curious, myself, and my 4 wheels.

On a spontaneous antique hunting road trip.

No plan, random stops, several treats

and very intellectual conversation

like much we love Pop Rocks

and why they crackle.

Which I couldn't answer.

Here he is drooling over antique coins:

I was busy drooling over a $1500 Victorian mourning shadow box filled with an artistic preservation of human hair. It was so fascinating I couldn't get away from it.

I also couldn't get away from my strange obsession with trying to find vintage marionette puppets. Something I've been looking for since I saw some "dancing" in a perfectly decorated restaurant.

I need them for my studio.

Like I needed that weird looking plush cat with weird looking plush eyeballs. Like something from a plush circus freak show. A force took over and I purchased this lonely weird plush doll.

Maybe it's because sometimes I feel lonely and weird.

"Mom! Come! On! I gotta show you this coin!"

This snaps me out of my looking-for-marionette-puppet-hyperfocus.

Even though I'm not passionate about coins, I appreciate and understand his excitement. I enjoy sharing this with him.

He came home treasuring his new (old) coins.

I came home treasuring the time we spent together.

That kid rocks.

Rocks more than a colossal mountain of Pop Rocks.


Letters To Edith

April 2nd, 1925.

A letter, addressed to Edith, is postmarked with that date.

There were many, many, many letters addressed to her. Boxes of them. Years of them.

Edith was a major-league saver.

She kept every single note, letter, card, and newspaper clipping that she ever received.

Including sweet ephemera like this innocent love note from her classmate Keith.

She bound them in pretty ribbons,

taped them in scrapbooks,

and put them in boxes.
This is Edith.

Or at least, I think it's Edith.

I never knew her. But it was neat to get a sense of who she was (packrat) at her estate sale.

All these written words clearly meant a lot to her, so in no way was I going to let those beautiful handwritten letters make it to a dumpster.

Edith would not have been happy about that.

I divided them into 4 collections and placed them in the shop.

A unique montage of letters, cards and notes to peruse, display, or use in some creative way.

I could waste an entire day reading them.

Screw the novels on the NY Times best seller list.

I'm reading letters to Edith.


Me Loves

Loves me.
Loves me not.

Loves me.

Me loves the Hipstamatic iphone camera app.

Hipstamatic iphone app loves me,

loves me not,

loves me. back.

Hipsta brings out my ridiculous playful side.

He doesn't judge my dork side. He embraces it.

I am so charmed by Hipsta's old school qualities.
and I don't mind when he over-exposes himself.

Here I am holding my Academy Award

for Best Supporting Goofball in a Self Photographer Series.

Which I dedicated to Hipsta, my biggest supporter.

He sat proudly in the front row.

Beaming though his lens and clapping loudly.


First Born Curious. The End.

I excel in procrastinating.

I also excel in obsessively working on a task until complete.

Once I decide to get 'er done.

(Larry the Cable Guy is way overrated. As is his overdone phrase I used annoyingly above.)

Here is the final product of my almost-10-year-old-curious-boy's-bedroom:

Probably the only time it will be a nicely made bed.

Curious and I both stinkaroo at bed making. Workin on it.

Well, he is. Me? Not so much.

I've never really understood the art of daily bed making.

Someday I'd like to learn it. But I've got better things to do for now.

Painted a section of black wall behind the bed to ground it in the room.

Added an old barnwood frame with a display of curiosities.

Wrote some random words around the perimeter of the paint with white chalk.

Next to the bed he has lots of places to store his gatherings:

A view directly across from the bed. His coin collecting desk area.

His favorite coins went into plain frames that he can easily access.

Fake wood clipboards are the el-cheapo version to display stuff.

No need for an expensive built-in window seat.

A set of wood and metal schoolhouse chairs does the job. Scored the whole set for $10:

His collections and curiosities are displayed on the black shelves in front of the black window wall. I wanted it dark so the objects would pop.

The 6 foot antique snakeskin mount became an unusual window dressing.

Not my original plan, but not planning is typical for me.

So is spilling food on myself daily.

I adhered vintage game cards around the window trim and Mr. Puffer hangs from Mr. Snake.

Last, but not least...

This is for the peeps who thought there's no way an old elk leg could look cool:

I know you're out there. And you still may not think dat's cool.

It's okay because I like it. Plus Curious is the only one I need to please.

And Curious loves it.

His room.

All of it.


Never Too Old

Caved on new kicks the other day.

Same as the pair I wore in 7th grade.

Only those were high tops.

And I stitched some palm tree beach scene on the sides with colored embroidery floss.

Was told I was too old to wear these.

No way. Nada. Never. Nope. Not.

When I'm 92 I'll be hobbling around in my walker.

The spray painted baby blue walker with the ribbons on the handle-bars.

It'll be easy to pick out among the sea of walkers with the tennis ball bottoms at the nursing home.

Horn on the front.

Outta my way dirty old geezers, I'm late for Bingo.

Beep beep.

Or perhaps a blaring loud air horn so their big ol' ears can pick up on it.


Faster than the average old lady.

Andele! Andele! Arriba! Arriba!

I will name my walker Speedy Gonzales.


In my Converse-All-Star sneaks.




Been feverishly working on his bedroom.

Curious. That kid. His room.

Still have some details to add.

But here is a wee peek. Pillow's eye view:

And a teeny peek next to his bed:

I always wanted to do something with that vintage red television I lugged home eons ago.

Didn't let Curious see the room for a couple days. Wanted to surprise him.

He couldn't hold out any longer so I caved.

I couldn't take the whining anymore.

He said, "Oh my gosh! It's nothing like I imagined it would be!"

I said, "Is it better or worse than you thought?"

Internally freaking out. What if he hates this???

"Way better!"



First Born Curious

I have another Sweet Love in my life.

(If you want to know who Sweet Love is, and the story behind my shop name, read this)

My other Sweet Love is my first-born son who I love just as sweetly.

He doesn't have a nick name so I'll call him Curious. Because he is. So is his mother.

Curious is 9 with a birthday coming the end of May. Double digits.

Woah! (said in the voice of Joey from the 90s sitcom, Blossom)

Where did the time go?

Curious has always been a collector. Always into gathering rocks, specimens, shells. Anything small and sortable. Even as a toddler, he would walk along the sidewalk and study any little speck. Pick up a leaf in wonderment. He was a happy but serious toddler. And curious.

My latest creative project is to finally decorate his bedroom. After 2 years of living here.

I excel at procrastinating. Obviously.

Here is the starting inspiration of some of the things that Curious loves:

  • An old diamondback rattlesnake skin mount
  • Antique elk leg (it's twin is in the shop!)
  • Gigantic steer horn mount
  • Wolf or coyote skull
  • Preserved puffer fish I brought back from Mexico
  • Gator head he picked out on a family vacay to Florida.
Curious also has jars full of rocks, shells, shark teeth and fossilized miscellany. Along with:

A kangaroo foot his auntie brought back from down under.

Blue Morpho butterfly mounts from Brazil. Done by my dad, who is also quite curious and always has a hobby/obsession of some sort. Grandpa has recently gotten his grandson into major coin collecting. Fits the bill. Small and sortable.

1938 schoolhouse map I found thrifting. Curious begged me not to sell.

A vintage preserved snake head I also bought to sell in the shop. Again, I got the, "Mom, please-please-please don't sell this!"

I must admit, I love this. I love that I'm not doing a stereo-typical boys sports room. Not that it wouldn't be fun, but this road is much closer to my house in Unusualville.

Next steps: Paint. Bedding. Incorporate textures. Assemble. Repurpose. Re-arrange. Think outside box. Research. Donate old stuff. Bring in old stuff.

And do it all in my creative, thrifty way.

It definitely won't look like a page out of the Pottery Barn Kids catalog. Thank God.

(No offense Pottery Barn. You are just too mainstream. I want it to look more unique than you and not scream POTTERY BARN!)

So stay tuned...

For his Museum of Natural History living space.

And quite a curious one it will be.


Hey Feb roo ary. Where'd you go?

Here it's the last day of February and I haven't posted a single entry.

On the 14th I had a whole entry written about Valentine's Day.

How I love romance.

Just not the expected predictable kind. I crave think-out-of-the-box kind.

I'll even settle for the empty-the-dishwasher-without-me-asking kind.

When I read my entry it was so boring.

I was forcing it. The writing.


I am so not a writer.

When I try to write an actual paragraph, it's like a chaotic mess of letters.

Like Campbell's Alphabet Soup was dumped in my brain.

Then overcooked.

It's hard for me to get my thoughts out into paragraph form.

This is how my creative brain works.

My right brain. I'm super right brained.

In fact, this test says I'm 72% right brained.


How I feel when I have so many ideas in right brain.

When I can't concentrate because of them.

Pulling me.


Sometimes I love to feel lost.

I love getting lost in the arts.

This artist's work makes me feel like I'm lost in a world of organic, amoeba-like, science fiction.

Allusion print by Yellena.

I love to get lost perusing the aisles in an antique shop.

To be lost in imagination. Making up stories in my head about the old stuff.

I bet this vintage monkey creep has a great story on how he lost his eye. By Plundered.

I love to get lost in music. As long as it's not country or Meatloaf.

Music is my little ear vacay to paradise.

Sometimes my soul goes along for the ride.

Gonna go to bed now.

Gonna go to bed and hopefully get lost in sweet dreams.

Meatloaf and his mullet are not invited.