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Friday, August 31, 2012

Heal Thyself

Sometimes there just are no explanations.

Last fall, my old beloved Canon Power Shot
camera stopped working.  Just . . . wouldn't.
He lay down and curled up his toes.

For awhile I bumbled along using Howard's big heavy Nikon DSLR.
Ours was an uneasy relationship, me and the giant Nikon.
There was some colorful cussing.  From both of us.

It took some nice pictures, mostly closeups, and
mostly by accident on my part.
But it ain't user friendly, at least not for this user.
And subtle?
Try taking discreet pictures in a restaurant. Can't be done.

At Christmastime, Howard got me the camera I asked for.
A Nikon Coolpix S9100.
Nikon COOLPIX S9100
I asked for it based on glowing online reviews.
That might have all been written by Mr. Nikon's mother.

It, and I, have never come to terms.
It's been an unhappy marriage for both of us.
I can't use it properly,
and it is most likely using only a tiny fraction of its superpowers.

All too many of my Nikon Coolpix shots turn out like this:
 Weird colors, blue look.  Some are way worse.
You can't use the "Auto" feature on this camera.  At least, I can't.
I get pictures that look like the Mars Rover has taken them.

If you fiddle with the camera, you can get this,
which is not great but is passable:
Christmas 2011, the Coolpix shot.
But I am not interested in a camera that needs fiddling.
I truly want to point. and. shoot. period.

Today, because I was stalking newer
Power Shots online, I decided to dig out my old Canon,
to see what model it is.  Kind of get an idea of how many
generations of Power Shots have passed since I got it.  (Lots.)

Christmas 2010, picture by the humble old Canon.

It's been in a kitchen cupboard since last November.
Lurking, loafing, lingering . . . or, rather, malingering.

'Cause guess what?  It's working again.
Even the batteries were still good.
After a minute's quick mental review of what does what on
the camera, I was snapping pictures again.  And they are fine.

No retouching.
The Coolpix shots always needed color or other help
before I could post them.
The Canon colors are true, which is something both of
our Nikon cameras, or their operators, have issues with.

A Canon shot in Macro mode -- below.  A moment of truth.
Sometimes it's a little too accurate; nice dust and fuzzy stuff. 

But look at this lovely true orange color in the picture below.

It's my newest toy -- a handheld electric sander.
You don't want to know all the details of my getting
accustomed to using this tool.
What sand storm?

Bottom line -- today I was reminded of how easy and good
this older Canon camera is.  It's back to work for the Power Shot,
for as long as it lasts.  
I have no idea why it cured itself.
Perhaps it just needed a good nap.  Don't we all, sometimes?  -- Cass

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

And In My Spare Time . . . .

To-Do Lists.
Why are there always more of them, than there is
time in a day?  Or a week?  Or a month?

There ought to be a name for this phenomenon;
I don't think Cass Syndrome will catch on anytime soon.

My today project is this:

A Victorian settee, from an auction last week in Pennsylvania.
The fabric on it is intact and clean, but poorly done and cheap.
I aim to replace that fabric with something less poorly done.
On a side note . . . I have never done this before.  Could get interesting.
"Dear upholstery gods . . . help!  Amen."

There's a home dec fabric outlet shop nearby, with a clearance room out back,
where all the bolts sell for $5 a yard, and the trimmings are a buck a yard.

The settee was a very good bargain, so I didn't want to spend
a lot on new fabric.  I want to sell this at a reasonable
price to someone who will love it, so I need to keep the costs low.

In the clearance room, we found (okay, Anne found) a simple upholstery
fabric in a neutral green with a little quilted diamond pattern,
and a multi-colored gimp that tones nicely with the fabric.

The fabric and gimp together cost me $27.  Now that's what I call
a bargain, and I can pass that savings on to someone else.

Wave bye-bye, little settee.
I am about to do scary things to you.
After my whining over the weekend about not finding anything 
at that auction in Connecticut, I need to show you a recent
New Jersey auction find.  Nye and Company in Bloomfield
holds live online auctions, and during the last one I made a
ridiculously low bid on a late Federal (early 19th century)
turned maple rope bedstead . . . and won.

Bonus challenge:  Guess what I paid for it?

I picked it up yesterday.
It's lounging, wearing its original 200 year old dust, in my front hall. 

 I love the swoop of the headboard. 

Obviously, it needs a good cleaning and
a beeswax massage at the That Old House Spa.
Easy peasy.

Good sturdy legs.
Perhaps it played field hockey once upon a time.

And once upon a time it had pegs along here, below, to hold the ropes
that supported those lumpy mattresses of olden times.
Someone sawed off the pegs a long time ago, probably at the 
request of his wife who was tired of dusting between them.

Yowser! that's a lot of dust.

And that's all I can think of for today.
Except that my next project is an old Sheraton style washstand
in mahogany.  It weighs a ton, despite its slender good looks.
Must have an excellent metabolism.

I hope your Wednesday is as beautiful as mine!
New Jersey is showing off the last of its August weather. -- Cass

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Auction Fail

After a couple of very successful auctions . . .
if by "successful"  we mean, getting
great stuff cheap . . . I got to thinking that all
auctions would be as, well, successful.

Turns out, they are not.

On Saturday, Howard and I got up long before breakfast,
and trekked for 3 hours along the wilds of the Merritt Parkway
and I-91 to an auction house in Windsor, Connecticut.  

Where they had some gorgeous things up for grabs.

Some of which we bid on, raising our bids to what we thought were
reasonable levels.  And found out that in Connecticut,
they speak a different language.
Reasonable there means really really expensive!

Can't you see Professor Higgins lounging in this easy chair?

 There was period furniture, a ba-zillion old clocks,
piles and piles of lovely old silver that's probably
going to be melted down and sold for its weight, and china.

Lamps, figurines, and some jars.  Like these.
One bidder asked if the guy in the picture was included in the lot.  Umm . . . no.  Sorry.

I loved this Empire chest with its wonderful
Sandwich glass knobs.
But someone else loved it more.  :-(

 One of the few bargains of the day was this armoire, below,
from Lillian August.  A copy of a French antique.
It bears its original price tag inside:
more than 14-thousand dollars.  Yeah.  Gasp!

 But there's not much market for giant armoires, and we could not
fit it into the red minivan . . . so one bidder got it.
For a hundred bucks.  Sigh.  One bargain, and it didn't go to me!

Live and learn.  Or, maybe, bid and learn! 
We are staying overnight in Windsor, and I'm using the hotel
wi-fi to share my tale of woe, but tomorrow it's back to the 
Land Of Craigslist and Cheap-o Auctions:  Good Ol' Jersey.
Sleep well, my friends!  Cass

The images in this post were taken from
the website of Nadeau Auctions in Windsor, CT,
from its online auction catalog.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Rookie Refinishing

I've had a demilune table hanging around
for a couple of years, waiting for cosmetic rescue.

On Sunday, after Howard and I picked up an
adorable, chubby little bombe' chest in rough shape,
that honestly looks as if it just tap-danced out of a Disney movie,
I decided that this was the week I'd get brave.
The half-moon table came to us through the kindness of Craigslist.
It lived for a few years in our dining room,
making itself useful and earning its keep.

I always thought it was begging to be painted black.

But a couple of months ago, I painted it in Paris Grey chalk paint.

Oy, what a Fail.
The details on the carvings just got lost, muddled in the pale paint.
I didn't even take a picture, because blech.

Which brings us to Thursday of this week, and a can of my favorite
Ralph Lauren Bone Black paint, a little bottle of Martha Stewart
Faux Finishing Glaze, a small bottle of metallic Copper acrylic craft
 paint because there was no brown in the house), and nerves of steel.

I've never done the antique-y glazing thing.  Or, honestly,
any type of glazing except what goes on flourless chocolate cakes.

Method?  Mixed some copper paint in with some glaze.
Brushed it on, swiped it off, and it looked okay.  Still, a little pale.
To the copper glaze left in my Red Solo Cup, I added some black.
More detail popped out, making me happy, and I finished off
by painting the tabletop in the Bone Black.

Voila! the old demilune table has a glam new look.

After 20 minutes of washing glaze and paint off my hands
(what, gloves?), I tackled the squatty little bombe chest.

I saw it on Craigslist last week, and it called my name.

It was pretty beaten up -- lots of scratches and dings, and
some sort of thick gooey sticky gluey dark stuff had dripped
down its front, and in under the two drawers, and hardened.

Who could resist?  Love at first sight.

Some Restor-A-Finish by the Howard Company, some elbow
grease with fine grade steel wool and rags, sanding, a bit of
Old English Scratch Cover, and a final moisturizing with
Feed 'N' Wax, and she was ready for her closeup.

She's dainty; only about 20-inches tall.
And seriously, don't you want to see a cartoon face on her?

Well, actually, this small piece is really lovely, and good quality.

Mahogany. You cannot believe how heavy she is.
She wears her weight well, though, don't you think?

Both the demi-lune table and the Looney Tunes chest
will go into the antiques booth today.

I hope someone else will also fall in love . . . Cass
What are your weekend plans?  Howard and I are
heading to Connecticut, and a big country auction.  Yay!
It's Friday, and there are some Linky Parties to attend.

Potpourri Friday at 2805 . . . click here!
The Thrifty Groove hosts Thrifty Things Friday, so go ahead and click!
Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Friday is up and running ... click it!
At French Country Cottage, click for Feathered Nest Friday.
And at My Romantic Home, it's Show and Tell Friday.  Click-click! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Ugh.  I am using the new Blogger interface,
trying to get used to it.
I don't like it.  It has cooties.
But then, I do not like change.

Unless, of course, it's change that I initiate.
Like, a couple of changes in our parlor.

Shortly after we moved here in the spring of 2008,
a very nice man named David gave us a beautiful
flame mahogany breakfront by Ebert that had belonged to his aunt.

He had tried to sell it on Craigslist,
and I was the only one interested.

But, since we'd just bought a bigger breakfront for the dining room,
and my husband does have his limits,
I told David I couldn't buy his.

So David, a total stranger to us, offered it for free,
because he said he wanted it to go to a good home.

For free, I said Yes.

And it's lived a good life in our Parlor.

Until that auction Howard and I went to, on August 11th.

Where we fell in love with a stepback cupboard, a line-by-line
 handmade reproduction of an 18th century New Jersey piece,
made to order in the 1970s.  In tiger maple.  Tiger maple.
I swooned-ed.

We bid, we won, we hired a couple of moving guys to bring
it from Hunterdon County to That Old House, and here it is.

Yes, it has muscled in on the mahogany breakfront's turf.
That sweet meek lady has moved upstairs to one of Annie's rooms.
Where it will hold books and all manner of nifty artsy things.

I had a bad moment -- or ten -- when I feared that
despite our rather casual measuring, the new cupboard would not fit
into the room, where the ceilings are old-house-low.

The 180-year old pine floor boards and the
40-year old cupboard co-exist nicely.

We still need to fiddle with moving furniture around in here,
so getting good pictures is difficult.
It's like a consignment shop right now; too much stuff.

Anywho, I adore this cupboard.

So, you might ask, what's with that Federal settee in the first picture?

It's another auction baby, and I am undecided whether to keep it
or sell it.  It's gorgeous, made by Southwood, makers of meticulous
reproduction furniture at way-out-of-my-price-range prices.

We've tucked it into the Parlor, which has mysteriously morphed from
a red and tan and black room into a pink and tan and green room,
with seemingly no help from me.  Odd.
This is a highly opinionated house,
so we'll see what the room, and the sofa herself, decide.

Bye!  Howard and I are off to buy a miniature bombe chest,
at a moving sale near Newark Airport.  We do go to the swankiest places.
  -- Cass
Visit Susan at Between Naps On The Porch
for Metamorphosis Monday.  Click here!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Funny Money

Auctions can pay off in the oddest ways.
Settle in for this wacky tale . . . .

But first, we interrupt our regularly scheduled blog post to bring
a special greeting to our son-in-law Josh, who is celebrating his
birthday far, far away in the strange and alien land of Los Angeles.
Josh and Alida
December 2011 at That Old House

 Happy Birthday, dear boy.
Enjoy!  Eat cake.  Lots.  For us.  Love, Mom and Dad.

And now back to our regularly scheduled blogging . . . .
On Saturday, at an auction in Hunterdon County, New Jersey,
Howard and I bid on and won a whole raft of things.

Including this cute little teapot,

which came in a box lot with these Majolica style 
luncheon plates and cups and saucers.

What with one thing and another,
I didn't get a chance to unwrap them all until last evening.

Out came the teapot lid from its newspaper shroud.

And then the pot.  
I noticed for the first time a little chip in the spout.

Eh, that's okay.
I've got chips of my own, so who am I to judge?  

Then I noticed what was inside the pot.


I couldn't believe my eyes, either.

Folding money.  Paper money.  Greenbacks.
Singles, 20s, even some 50s.

$403.00 to be exact.

Now you'd think that finding hundreds of dollars stuffed into a little teapot you'd bought in a $5 box lot would be exciting.  But no.  Instead, it is weird.  And a little panic-inducing, as in, "Oh my gosh, I've stolen someone's money!"

I called the lady who used to own the teapot.  She was quite surprised, as she thought she had cleaned out all of her stash spots.  Apparently not!  I'll send her a check for the $403, before I am tempted to spend some of it on ... hmmm ... dishes?

But it makes a nifty tablescape, doesn't it?

Oh, all right.

One of these days I'll do a tablescape with these cute pieces,
that doesn't look as if it's been put together by Scrooge McDuck.

You know, you can't make this stuff up.

I had company while I took these pictures.
Woody, our visiting pup, saw something round and bright,
and thought I had unwrapped a tennis ball.  Sadly, no.

He was a little incensed about this.

So he went and got one of his (many) personally chosen tennis balls,
and patiently waited for me to stop the human nonsense,
and start the serious business of fetch.

Which of course, I did.
I hope you found something, or someone, fun to play with today!