Monday, April 30, 2012

Ramsign Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered to win from Ramsign! Our lucky winner was commenter #68, Desiree.

Congratulations, Desiree! I will pass your information on to my Ramsign rep and they will contact you to fulfill your prize!


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One year!

Today is our first anniversary and I can hardly believe it's been a year! It has flown!

To celebrate, we went to see The Screwtape Letters on stage Friday night and it was incredible!

There's a cool backstory to The Screwtape Letters for us- years ago, I was thrifting in Pennsylvania while on a break during a work trip. I saw an old copy of the book and had heard of it, but had never read it. I felt compelled to buy it and just had this overwhelming sense that I would someday give it to my husband.

Fast forward to dating Andy, and we were browsing a huge used bookstore. We happened to be standing in front of a C.S. Lewis section, which reminded me of my old copy of Screwtape Letters. I asked Andy what was his favorite book and he pointed right at Screwtape Letters on the shelf. I smiled and told him, "I think you're stuck with me."

I didn't tell him the whole story until I gave him the book on our wedding day. And then the play perfectly timed with our anniversary. It just feels like a little wink from God to say "Hey guys, I had this from the beginning."

We went to dinner last night to continue celebrating and tonight we will just relax at home with our little puppy Lucy (who is growing and growing!).

I am so thankful for this past year and I'm so looking forward to many, many, many more!

If you are new around here and haven't read/seen our wedding post, you can read all about it here

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Fun: A Kiss That Breaks Up Rock

I can't resist anything Rock Hudson and Doris Day related, so I was delighted to see these cute photographs in Life Magazine from February 16, 1962. These outtakes from their shoot for the film Lover Come Back show the onscreen couple cracking up during a kissing scene.

There are lots of other shots of Rock and a little write-up about him. It's a fun little glimpse into how celebrities were written about in the 60s and a nice overview of Rock Hudson. Swoon!

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Joey's Mom: Lois

Joey's Mom introduces us to a wide cast of characters in her photographs and stories on Flickr. Some pop up in one photograph and others prove their lasting legacy through multiple photos over the years.

What I love about Joey's Mom's friendship with Lois is that it was borne out of something dark and scary, but grew into such sweet friendship, the kind of friendship that says, "You're having a baby? I will have one too!" Such dedication and loyalty is hard to come by.

Lois appeared in my life through misfortune. Hers. For me, meeting Lois was a lucky break.

"Why don't you ask Mrs. M. out to lunch soon?" my employer asked when Lois left after her medical appointment. "She's a nice woman and is quite ill. She's going to need surgery, but I can't schedule it yet. She has problems at home too. She needs cheering up."

I noticed she trembled alarmingly when filling out forms and she seemed extremely nervous.

We met at Hattem's for lunch, a popular restaurant on, or just off from Grand Rapids' South Division Avenue in 1949. The waitress asked "Cocktail? Tuesday special for 49 cents!" We sipped Manhattans while awaiting our food. It would become a hallowed ritual to meet on Tuesdays for lunch and have a Manhattan, whether on South Division Avenue or Hattem's successor on the eastern fringe of the city in later years. Or in other cities and days as our lives changed over the years. What was most constant over time was our friendship.

Conversation came easily from our first meeting, though neither of us is a chatterbox. We discussed anything we chose without fear. Soon we were meeting in each others' apartments on weekends or evenings to exchange hair coloring or perms. Clothing purchases were never final until the other had approved. We traded recipes. She read her correspondence to me and we discussed personal matters freely. Our harmless crushes; hers on a handsome Resident at the hospital who paid her special attention, mine on a photographer I knew. We were privy to each others' secrets and nothing went further than our lips.

I visited her in Butterworth Hospital after she had her toxic thyroid gland removed. I wore a royal blue velvet car coat. When Lois admired it I said casually "Yeah, it's very comfortable; I've had it forever." She asked me why it had a white label stapled to the hem in the back. Blushing, caught in in my lie, we both laughed loudly, she as loudly as her stitches allowed.

I'm wondering now if the pearl choker she's wearing in this beach photo covers her surgical scar.

Dr. Pott's diagnosis and surgery brought calm and health to Lois. I showed her the work ritual on my job; soon she filled in for me when I vacationed or was ill, with the doctor's complete approval. Liking to have some money of her own, she began selling Avon products and confided funny or sweet stories of her customers to me. When I entertained, she would suggest she personally go over my apartment that afternoon while I was at work. She wasn't above wielding a dust-cloth or Windex bottle if needed.

Me too!

I told Lois first about my coming motherhood. In a rare and touching act of friendship she announced, "If you're going to have a baby, then I will too!" And she said she would give me a baby shower.

By the time of the shower she was able to announce her own due-date, three months after mine. How about that?!

Ottawa Beach family outing

It was inevitable that our families would enter our world. As I explained before, many Grand Rapids residents streamed to Holland's Ottawa Beach on weekends.

I soon introduced Lois to the smorgasbord of enjoyable summer activities in Chicago too, just a few hours' ride away on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.

Hubby slows down

Lois' husband, Jim, was more of a power-boat guy, but here he enjoyed an
afternoon on the sand with us.

Beaches by the mile

Lois and I decided on a late summer vacation together before our heavier responsibilities set in. We hopped a morning Chesapeake and Ohio train from Grand Rapids to Chicago, arriving early enough to get settled in at the New Lawrence Hotel on the near north side, where we had stayed before. We had dinner in a neighborhood deli, then saw a play -- unmemorable, apparently!

In the morning we headed for the nearest beach, where I took this photo of Lois. We never tired of being in the sun, and neither of us worried about our skin. We hadn't heard of sunblock, although some people smoothed on Coppertone or other oils said to enhance their suntans. We didn't.

The Chicago beaches were lovely and uncrowded in the 1950s, as my photo of Lois depicts. They stretched for miles along Lake Michigan, almost continuously, for close to 30 miles. City-owned and maintained, with parking and restrooms, each had its own character. One is near the Lincoln Park Zoo, one near the Adler Planetarium, another is near the Shedd Aquarium. I heard that one has a dog park now, and that smoking isn't allowed anywhere. That would have given Lois pause, with her ever-ready pack of Marlboros. We frittered away the day there happily, sharing stories and soaking up the sun. She gave me advice on baby formulas, told me how to sterilize bottles and shared some exercises to restore the body post-birth.

The next day, feeling a little guilty about our prior frivolity, we headed for the Art Institute. Nearby shopping in the Loop beckoned next. Since Marshall Field's had everything, we went there, heading to the top floor where we looked over the atrium railing at the shoppers on on street level. In the Walnut Room, we ordered one chicken potpie and one Marshall Field's sandwich, trading tastes back and forth. I doubt that Macy's continued that menu option after the buyout in 2005!

After lunch we set out with purses in hand, sans plastic (how did we ever manage?), and, following a long-time Loop tradition, agreed to meet "under the clock" should we lose one another. The massive and ornate timepiece mounted on the building's State and Washington corner is more than a clock to Chicagoans.

Weighing the baby

Lois came through with her promise, and Mike was born three months after Joey, in early 1954.

Here, she visits Dr. Pott’s office for a baby checkup and weighing. I trotted upstairs to my apartment to get Joey from Bernadette, his sitter, and snapped this photo. I think Joey would have broken the new-baby scale by that time. Little Mike soon outstripped Joey in size though. Their lives took different routes, as Mike became interested in extreme sports. Joey was bookish and thoughtful.


It was lunchtime, so we asked Dr. Pott to take our photos with the babies in Mrs. Pott's garden outside.

I did some Internet sleuthing and learned that Lois' “baby," Mike, had died suddenly, only 49 years after this photo was taken, in apparent good health, of a massive heart attack. His adored mother was already gone, and his father died shortly after.

The good daughter

Lois enlisted her little daughter's help in serving the desserts. Here she takes the coffee pot to the living room. Cheryl later became a teacher, and retired recently as high school principal.

While teaching, Cheryl became a specialist in smoking cessation and prevention. She traveled from school to school, her primary target from the beginning actually being her mother, a lifetime smoker who could, and did, do anything in the world for her family except stop smoking.

During a visit to her Hospice room in Lois' last days, she seemed asleep. So I sat at the little table with her husband, who talked about his fast cars, speedboats, football prowess, etc., in such a loud voice it made me ill. I wanted desperately to tell him to SHUT UP. I didn't comment or ask questions, still he persisted in his flat, booming voice. I went to Lois' bedside`and put my hand on her forehead. That's when she opened her eyes and said to me soundlessly, "Help me."

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Favorite Finds: Beth's Typewriter

Remember on Easter when I posted Beth's new Easter dress? I asked Beth if she had a Favorite Find to contribute and of course she had something awesome! See her favorite find below and be sure to read her amazing blog!


What is your favorite find and where did you find it?

My favorite find is a 1929 L.C. Smith & Corona typewriter. I found this beauty at the bottom of a huge bin at the Goodwill Outlet in Nashville, TN for $5.00!

What were your first thoughts when you saw it?

My first thought? 'This is perfect! Why is this treasure among mounds of Christmas wrapping paper and mismatched slippers?!?'

Do you use it? Did you have to do any cleaning/restoration?

I don't use it, although I wish I did! It needs a new ink ribbon which I hear I can purchase online and it should still work! It was pretty dusty so I gave it a good cleaning with a q-tip and a dusting rag.

Where does it "live" now in your house? 

This gem lives in my dining room and sits upon our buffet. It's a nice talking point when guests come over.

Why do you love buying vintage/secondhand?  

I love buying vintage/secondhand for various reasons. The first reason is I love the thrill of the hunt! To find a vintage treasure among 'junk' is such a thrill to me. The second reason is it's unique! If your house is full of vintage or second hand items, there is always a story attached to that item and most likely no one else will have something like it. Lastly, it's affordable! I can go shopping much more often if I purchase items at $5 rather than than $50 items.

So true, Beth! Thank you for sharing your typewriter with us!

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Enter to win a sign from Ramsign!

My mom has worked with Ramsign in the past and even gave us a beautiful Ramsign for our wedding!


I was delighted when they contacted me to host a giveaway. I was curious about the company since I had received a sign myself but didn't know much about them.

From their website:
Only Ramsign offers real old fashioned, hand stenciled signs, featuring original design, thick and glossy enamel, 30-year warranty, excellent service, free delivery, and money back guarantee.

After an order is received, a steel plate and stencils are cut by hand, according to the text and specifications of the sign. Two to four stencils are used in the production of each sign. Finally, the enameling process can begin. Enameling is a ceramic process, much like glazing ceramics. Initially, the primer is applied, followed by the base color of the sign (for example blue). Then, the text and any other colors are applied to the sign using the stencils. Excess enamel is brushed off by hand with a fine brush before the sign is burned. Between each enameling, the sign is burned in a ceramic furnace at 820 degrees Celsius, and the result is regularly checked for defects. To ensure an energy efficient production and a consistent quality, the signs are processed in batches throughout the entire production.

They really are gorgeous signs - your house will feel straight out of Europe once you attach a Ramsign house number to it! I love the great fonts and shapes of the signs. They remind me of Paris!

The winner can choose any house number sign (not name signs or address plaques) with 1-5 digits of any size and design.

Check out some of the designs below and browse the other designs at!

(if you don't follow these instructions I will have to delete your comment)

1. Required entry: just leave your email address to be entered!
2. Bonus entry: Subscribe to Owl Really and leave a comment saying you are a subscriber.
3. Bonus entry: Like Owl Really on Facebook and leave a comment saying you are a Facebook follower.
4. Bonus entry: Like Ramsign on Facebook and leave a comment saying you are a Facebook follower of them.

Make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry for a total of 4 possible entries/comments.

Comments will close next Monday, April 30 at noon at which point I will choose a winner at random!

Good luck!

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Thrift Report: Picker Style

Happy Monday! I think I might finally be somewhat recovered from the Doves. :) It was a very long day but it actually wrapped up about 2 hours earlier than it did last year! We got down to Atlanta right about 1 and loaded in all our gear. Our company recorded the pre-show, where they actually gave out the majority of the awards, and we will be broadcasting it tomorrow evening. You can tune into at 5:30 eastern to see our red carpet coverage, the pre-show, and my backstage interviews. Just be warned that I am a little goofy on camera. :)

On to my finds! I had been stalking some shelves on Craigslist and calling the guy to try to set up a time to come see them. We are having a little bit of work done on our kitchen starting tomorrow and I thought I found these awesome industrial-esque shelves that would look great and provide more storage. When I went to look at them, the address ended up being a huge warehouse FULL of stuff. As soon as I walked in, I suddenly felt like a picker! I was asking "Is this for sale? How much for this?"

I didn't end up liking the shelves (each shelf had pegs inserted into the end that rested on chrome bars... so the pegs stuck out on the side... not exactly the cool industrial, sleek vibe I was going for) but I found a pair of amazing 60s Broyhill armchairs. The owner of the warehouse, a really nice 90 year old man, told me they came out of a really rich person's house. After we talked for awhile, he slipped and said they came from his house. I jumped on the opportunity to ask him if he was a "secret millionaire" and the guy working for him in the warehouse winked at me.

Turns out, the man was a longtime auctioneer and had accumulated 3 warehouses full of items and 20 semi trucks full, he said. My picker gears were turning and itching to see the rest of his stuff but he said he didn't have much furniture. I kept telling him I was interested in vintage and he said I could come look sometime, but he didn't seem to think he would have much else I would be interested in.

It was such a fun experience though, to walk around his warehouse and check everything out. He and the guy working for him were so nice. I bought the chair below from him and I love it, but I will be putting it in my booth... even though it coordinates with our curtains perfectly! We just don't have the room for it, unfortunately.


I also stopped by an "estate sale" - I hate when sales are advertised as estate sales and you can't actually go in the house. They were still pulling things out so I was concerned that I missed out on some things. Also, the prices were high, but I found a really cool cookie and pastry press that looks like it was never used and had all but one of the decorative discs included. It even has the original booklet with it!



Fun, huh?

Well, I was pretty concerned last week when I stopped by my booth and had only sold $15 worth of merchandise! I upped my efforts to let people know about the booth and new items and sold some more items and happily, I have made my rent and then a little more. Whew! What a relief. I really didn't want to owe money this month!

What have YOU found recently?? Have you ever had a "picking" experience where you got to shop by yourself direct from someone who had a TON of stuff? It was so fun!

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Fun: The Mary Tyler Moore Show

How did I just figure this out?? The Mary Tyler Moore Show is on Hulu! I got hooked a few weekends ago when they showed the very first episode on the Hallmark channel. Unfortunately I couldn't sit and watch the marathon all day, but I happened across the series on Hulu and was delighted!

It's not as amazing as the Dick Van Dyke Show (my FAVORITE), but it is fun to watch! Hope you enjoy!

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Red Carpet

Andy and I both have red carpets in our future tonight - just in very different ways!

In about an hour I am driving down to Atlanta to cover the 43rd Annual Dove Awards for We will be backstage and on the red carpet for a total of about 10 hours doing interviews with winners, presenters, and performers. It's going to be a little crazy. This coming Tuesday, you'll be able to watch the Dove Awards pre-show and our backstage interviews on (If you've ever wondered I do "in real life" - this is it!)

And Andy will actually be ON the red carpet at the premiere of the Nashville Film Festival tonight. He is in the new documentary Hell or High Water: The Story of the Nashville Rollergirls and will be there to support the film and our friends. The rollergirls will be skating down the red carpet, how cool is that? Then, later, Andy and his friend Eric who were interviewed together in the doc will walk down the red carpet and see if anyone wants to talk to them, but probably not since the girls are the star of the film. :)

I hope you have a great day and we'll be back next week with a really great Joey's Mom post!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Favorite Finds: Danavee's Display Case

Note: My mom alerted me yesterday that my blog was un-pin-able. I looked into it and found that some settings had changed with Flickr that blocked Flickr-hosted photos from being pinned for a week or two. If you had trouble, please note that it should be fixed now!

Today's Favorite Find comes from one of my very good blog friends! Danavee and I connected recently and have become fast friends! She has a booth at Relics in Springfield, MO and blogs at This Vintage Grove. She is super cute and I love her "What I Wore" posts!

Danavee shares her really awesome display case below!

What is your favorite find and where did you find it?

My favorite find is my display case. It was found at an antique shop not too far from town. It had been in an old country general store, used to display the wares of the shop. It had a great original patina and the original glass too.

What were your first thoughts when you saw it?

I loved it. I could picture a collection of same colored pottery inside. Lamps on top, with some sort of mirrors above it.

Did you know right away it was coming home with you?

Yes! It ended up being a Christmas present that wasn't a surprise!

Were you looking for a piece like it?

I was not looking for something like that at all, but it was too good to pass up. I loved the idea that it had been used as a display case in an old country store! I always wonder what it could have held.

Did you have to make room for it?

I am a master at cramming things in tight spaces, but I had to offset the dining room table a bit to get it on the wall I wanted it to be on.

What does it hold now?

I keep my Jadite (Fire King) collection housed inside, along with other minty green pieces and a few vintage tablecloths. I tried to keep the color scheme the same, so it wouldn't be too busy.

Why do you love buying vintage/secondhand?

I think it runs in my blood. I must have inherited that gene, as my grandparents dealt in antiques when I was young. My parents decorated with vintage and antique everything. I would go to my grandpa's shop or basement and nose around in all his old stuff, and I caught the bug! I was purchasing vintage lamps and trunks before I even moved out of my parent's house! There's something about having a piece that no one else has. The curiosity about where it came from. The history that comes with it. And then there's the thrill of the hunt. I'll never get tired of hunting for treasures!

Love it, Danavee!! Thank you for sharing!

I have been doing Favorite Finds consistently since July 27, 2011 (I think I've only missed 2 weeks so far!) and I'm running out of contributors! If YOU have a favorite find,
email me! I would love to have contributions from readers. Thanks!

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Life Magazine: The Nifty Fifties

Did you know you can read old books and magazines on Google?

I love this 1972 issue of Life Magazine that covers the 50s revival. I was born in 1982, so this was foreign to me, but when I think about the fact that Grease was made in the 70s, it makes total sense!

I've always been drawn to the fifties - I was always obsessed with poodle skirts when I was a kid! I always wanted to be a bobby soxer for Halloween!

Click here to read the article "The Nifty Fifties." There's even a quiz on the 50s at which I was terrible. :)

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Thrift Report: Extravaganza!

Andy headed out of town for a guy's weekend so I made plans to shop allll day long! I was so excited and planned out everywhere I would go and had a 6 page google map printout! No joke!

My first few stops were very disappointing, but everything picked up when I stopped by a yard sale of a vendor who was downsizing her stock. I got some AMAZING deals from her! A few I haven't had a chance to photograph yet, woops!

But here are tons of photos of things I found! I really needed this trip - I haven't had time to shop lately and my booth felt stagnant.

Below you can see some cute kitchen curtains, a tin full of sewing notions, an owl oven mitt, various cooking booklets, a Betty Crocker cookbook, coffee carafe, owl wall hanging, and a cute little camera~

I found this AMAZING vintage fan at an estate sale - and it works! I also picked up some scarves, some shiny-brite ornaments, and vintage games... including MARY POPPINS games.

Oh and can you see the teal suitcase behind everything? Love it!

I almost cried when I saw the Mary Poppins games. I love Mary Poppins so much- I can't even express how special she is to me! One of the boxes had a "painting" set but was missing all but one coloring sheet, so sad. The other game though, was near mint! It's based on the carousel scene in Mary Poppins and is so beautiful!

I'm so in love with it!

I also am always on the hunt for Christmas items for later this year and at an estate sale I scored a giant box of ornaments for only $1 and a ceramic Santa - you know I love ceramics! Also picked up a smaller ceramic Christmas tree. Yay!

And then I went to a yard sale that had tons of vintage kids' clothes! So far, vintage kids' clothes hasn't done well in my booth - I probably need to find a better way to display them... but check these out!

The first 2 are my favorites - a yellow dress with little foxes embroidered on it and a super cute anchor halter dress! ADORABLE.

And more cute clothes - I love the little embroidery designs on the boys' shirts - one had a little elephant and one has a little teepee!

Even though it started off roughly, the day was super successful and I have already loaded everything in to my booth (minus the Christmas items!).

Linking to:
Apron Thrift Girl

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Fun: Lennon's Apartment

NBC premiered a new show last week called Best Friends Forever about two best friends (Lennon and Jess) who lived in an amazing apartment in New York until Jess got married and moved cross country. When her husband files for divorce three years later, she treks back to New York and moves back into the old apartment. The only hitch in the plan is that 11 months earlier, Lennon's boyfriend had moved in with her.

The trio are now learning to navigate how to live together in this amazing apartment. Did I mention the apartment is amazing? Because it is.

Let's start with the outside. How perfect is this row of brownstones (are these considered brownstones?)?

By day:

And by night:

Do you suppose they live in Brooklyn??? (Actually, looking at the 2 photos, those look like different apartments!)

When the show returned from the opening credits, we saw establishing shots of the interior of Lennon's apartment and I was instantly in love.

Click the photo to see it larger.

This reminds me a little of Amelie's decor - maybe it's just the slight green tint that reminds me of that but also I think the sconce and the whimsical prints. I love the collage and the wallpaper and the plants peeking out!

Click the photo to see it larger.

Little red (or pink?) fawns! Do you suppose they're salt and pepper shakers? So adorable! And I love the potholders and the cubby shelf!

Then we see Lennon and Jess pow-wowing on the couch while the awkward (but loveable) boyfriend meddles.

Here are some more shots of the living room, by day:

Love the wooden file drawer piece and those 2 teal trunks!

Click this one to see it larger!

A globe on an industrial stool?? Love it.

Plants!!! Love them. Do you really think this many plants would survive in an apartment away from windows? I want plants everywhere after seeing her place.

Now let's peek into the dining room and kitchen.

This point of view skews a little country for me, but check out the rest:

Love the wallpaper, curtains, and the silhouettes!

Love the hutch - want to see it better - it looks like it might be midcentury modern!!

More plants! Click this one to see it larger too! Really like the light fixture peeking out from the ceiling.

And then we got a quick scene in Lennon and Joe's bedroom:

Both actresses/show creators were part of the improv comedy group Upright Citizens Brigade and use their own names in the show. It almost wouldn't surprise me if this was REALLY Lennon's apartment and they were filming on location! Do shows ever do that? Probably not!

I've only seen the first episode so far, but I found the story and characters really entertaining and of course I loved the decorating eye candy!

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