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Friday, February 11, 2011

adventures in golden

I decided to hit an estate sale in Golden this morning. Unfortunately, Jeff couldn't go because one of our employees at the dog daycare called in sick, so he had to cover there. I hate waiting in line before estate sales open - not to mention all the elbowing that goes on in the first half hour or so after it opens, so I thought I'd get there about 45 minutes after it opened in hopes that the die hards would be finished by that time.

Old town Golden has narrow streets and apparently no one bothers to plow the side streets or shovel sidewalks. There was no parking close to the house, so I ended up about 1/4 mile away before I found a space that not only was empty, but that I could plow my car into enough to get it far enough out of the lane of traffic. Then, I start walking back to the house, which is downhill and, did I mention the snow pack in the streets? Well it was iced over. So, here's me, one of the klutziest people on the planet, walking downhill on ice. Amazingly, I made it without killing myself.

I finally reached the house and got inside, only to find the pay line went from the far side of the living room, through the whole room, through the foyer, and down a long hall and into the garage. So, I figured I would just take my time shopping and that it would be shorter when I was finally ready.

I found a few pieces of pink Pyrex in the kitchen along with a cute set of salt and pepper shakers in the shape of acorns. Not much else caught my eye there or in the dining room, so I carefully made my way to the garage where I found a cool wire crate. I then found the basement and picked up a couple of things there. Then I heard some other people talking about a sub-basement, so I made my way there. Before today, I didn't even know there were such things as sub-basements in regular houses. The only thing that caught my interest there were some old crates that once held explosives. They weren't marked, so I asked the estate sale guy that was stationed there how much they were.  He told me they were sold. about marking them sold then?

I finally made my way upstairs where I found a cute apron and, in a bedroom being used as an office, I spotted a cool gooseneck desk lamp. The room was crowded - the lamp was in the far corner and there was a woman standing there looking at books. I started to make my way over there when a man who was looking at other stuff a few feet away told me he was waiting to get to that spot when the woman there vacated. Ugh. So, I stood there for a minute, trying to be patient and finally I just said "I really only want to know how much that gooseneck lamp is." The woman told me and I asked both her and the man if they wanted it. Both said no, so I got it and got out of there.

Making my way back downstairs, I checked the pay line. It was still out to the garage. But by that point, I was sick of the crowd and my stress level was through the roof, so I just got in line. Crowds make me tense and I'm a bit claustrophobic, so I just wanted out of there. Well, 22 minutes later, I got out. That's how long it took me to pay for the stuff I bought.

Back outside, I carefully climbed back up the hill I had come down, this time carrying about 10 pounds of stuff with me. I finally reached my car, stowed my stuff, and drove away. I had no idea where I was, not knowing Golden at all, but fortunately it's a pretty small town, so I eventually found my way back to the highway. Not before a cop pulled up behind me lights blazing though. I was in a roundabout circle at the time, so I just tried to pull to the center, but of course there was a foot of snow there. The cop, rather than going around me, pulled right behind me and laid on his horn (as if the sirens and flashing lights weren't enough already). So, I pulled out, drove up a little ways (still in the circle), and pulled over again. That time he went around me.  WTF??

Needless to say, I've had more adventure today than I had hoped for. I wish I could say I found that one big item at the sale that made it all worth it. But, I guess you win some and you lose some. If I didn't have to watch dogs this afternoon, I'd be really tempted to crack open a beer as soon as the clock strikes noon.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

decisions, decisions

I am SO happy to announce that I finally reached 100 sales! In fact, I'm now at 103. In a moment of desperation, I started a 20% off sale over the weekend on everything in my shop. I think it helped - my views have been way up ever since and I've made 4 sales. So, if there's anything you've had your eye on, be sure to get it before February 12 when the sale ends.

I decided to reward myself when I hit 100 sales by buying one of my favorites. Problem is, I can't figure out what to get. I want everything! After a lot of thought, I've managed to narrow it down to five things. Now I need your help. Here they are:

I just love this leather cuff bracelet. And it's made by a Denver artist, so it would be a bonus to support someone local.

As you might recall, my first "reward" was a crocheted hat, so I probably should get something different this time, but I LOVE this hat, so it made the top 5.

This necklace appeared in the treasury I made that was on the Front Page - I just love it. It's so pretty.

I admit it, I think fingerless gloves look cool. Plus I love fleece as well as brown and aqua together.

I probably don't NEED a new bag, but I haven't bought a new one in quite a while and it would be nice to have a big one to carry all my crap :)

So, what do you think? Which should I get?

Monday, January 31, 2011

what the heck is THAT?

First, as a quick reminder, I am offering 15% off in my Etsy shop to all loyal readers of this blog - just enter BLOG15 at checkout. I need three more sales to hit 100!

So, Jeff and I went sale-ing over the weekend. We hit three estate sales, one in a beautiful log mansion, where we bought very little since everything was VERY expensive. We also hit a sale in its last day that was 75% off. The place looked like it was owned by a hoarder - there was stuff everywhere, even on the last day, but I'm sorry to say not much of it was good. We did  manage to pick up quite a few things since everything was so cheap. Most of it is what we call "project stuff" - stuff that will probably sit around for much too long before we finally get around to up-cycling it. And we got stuff like a cool old wood palette on casters and an old wood sawhorse that we can use as photography props. The best thing was that we got everything for $7. We counted when we got home and we had 18 items!

We also decided to hit an architectural salvage place that is just a few blocks from us as they were advertising a sale of pieces recovered from a local mansion. I've never allowed myself to go in there despite its close proximity to our house because I knew I would fall in love with everything and not be able to afford anything. I wasn't wrong. I don't know how many square feet it is, but it has to be tens of thousands. There are enormous fountains in there that sell for $50,000! And amazingly huge wrought iron pieces that sell for $5k.

Just when I thought we were completely wasting our time, we spotted this interesting ... thing:

It was folded up just like that when we found it. Neither Jeff nor I had any idea what it was, but I LOVE industrial looking things and, finding that it was surprisingly in our price range, we decided then and there to get it.  While we were paying, a woman in line commented on how much she liked it and how jealous she was that we got it.

We brought it home and started messing with it and here's what it looks like fully extended.

It has a vice grip kinda thingy on the board that folds out.

Written on it is JS Tilley, Watervliet, NY, and it has a patent date of 1893. From the little bit of information I could find online, it appears that JS Tilley produces ladders and scaffolding (and maybe still does?). So, I think maybe this is part of some really old scaffolding.

Whatever it is, it's cool. And I think it would look great in a big loft holding a cool piece of artwork, since it stands a lot like an easel.

What do you think? Any thoughts on what this thing is?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

desperate to reach 100 sales!

My Etsy shop sits at 95 sales. I so want to reach 100 - and soon!  And my desperation can be to your advantage because I am offering a 15% off discount to the loyal readers of this blog. Just visit my shop, fill up your cart, and enter coupon code BLOG15 at checkout. It's that simple!

Happy hunting!

Friday, January 28, 2011


As I've mentioned here before, I was a bit obsessed with getting one of my treasuries on the front page of Etsy. Well, it finally happened! My "Wedding on the Farm" treasury was on the front page this morning! Unfortunately, I was sleeping while it was there, but I did get to see a screenshot of it. Strangely, the screenshot I saw didn't have the dress as part of the treasury. I'm not sure how that got left out - being a wedding treasury, it was a big part of it (even if it wasn't what you'd call a traditional dress). So, I'm sharing here a screenshot of the actual treasury instead of the one that I guess appeared:

And here's a link to it if you want to see it up close.

I've shied away from making wedding treasuries. I've never been married and I didn't spend a large amount of time (ok, any time) dreaming of my wedding growing up. I guess I just lack the marriage gene. So this was somewhat of a daunting task. And that's probably why it's not a conventional wedding treasury either. But, at the end of the day, I loved it!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

english pyrex

Just when I think I'm getting this Pyrex thing down, new stuff comes along. Well, not "new" - you know what I mean. New to me. A few months back, I found these great Pyrex bowls that were made in England. Through the wonderful people at the Pyrex Collective and Pyrex Love, I was able to find out that the pattern is called Spectrum and they were made in the 1980s. I ended up selling them in my Etsy shop. I really liked them but they weren't a great match for my kitchen, so I let them go.

Last weekend, Jeff and I were thrifting and I came across these beauties. I didn't recognize the pattern on the small bowl. The larger bowl has black snowflakes, but it's different from the other black snowflake pieces I've seen. So I flipped them over and found both marked JAJ Made in England. Of course, I had to have them - as a learning experience if nothing else. (Sorry for the picture quality, I just can't seem to get the right lighting these days.)

In doing some research, I found that JAJ stands for J A Jobling of England. Apparently this company licensed the Pyrex name from Corning and then was bought out by Corning in 1973. Therefore, any pieces bearing the JAJ mark are pre-1973. I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing that the Spectrum pieces were made at the same place as my two new pieces, but since they didn't come along until the 1980s, they are simply marked Made in England as the JAJ mark was long gone by that time.

It's fun to think about the journey these pieces made from their native England to Colorado. And I have an over-whelming desire to fill them with bangers and mash :)

Happy hunting!

Monday, January 24, 2011

when i grow up....

Although I'm pushing the big 4-0, I still haven't figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I think that's why I finally got the nerve to leave my job - because I finally realized that it just wasn't my passion and life is way too short to spend too much time doing something you just don't care much about. No amount of money can change that feeling. Sure, life is easier when you aren't struggling financially, but, really, if you can pay the bills and save a little for old age, the rest is just gravy and, according to studies, doesn't make us any happier.

The experts always tell you to do what you love. Based on that advice, I've come up with the following short list of dream jobs:

1.  Chocolate taster. Apparently this is a real job. I LOVE chocolate. To me, it's not dessert if there's no chocolate in it. The darker the better. And I think I have a good palette. Now, just have to figure out how you go about it - is there a chocolate university? Is Willy Wonka the dean? Maybe it exists somewhere - with a chocolate stream running through campus and trees hanging heavy with chocolate covered caramels?

2. Travel writer. I love to travel. The only problem is that sometimes HAVING to do what you love to do makes it a chore instead of a pleasurable experience. I would hate not loving to travel. Also, I don't like leaving my pets. So, I'm thinking if I had a 40' RV, I could just load up the pets and Jeff and drive off into the sunset, writing about the whole experience along the way.

3. Owner of The Container Store. I love containers. I don't always love using them faithfully, but I love buying them and having them. I can't help it. It's that part of me that longs to be organized and super on top of things (alas, I'm not and probably never will be). But I can dream. Which, of course, is all this job title is - a dream. I'm sure it's actually owned by a million shareholders. And none of them probably have the perk I'm after - the ability to stroll through the aisles of any Container Store and just take whatever.

So, there you have it. My list of dream jobs. If you find out that any of these are open, let me know :)

Please share - what is your dream job? Are you fortunate enough to be doing it?

Friday, January 21, 2011

and the winner is....

I know you are all eagerly anticipating the results of the Pyrex Pink Daisy giveaway. As promised, the winner is being announced today. But first, I just have to say - WOW! I am blown away by the number of new followers I got from this. I went from 25 to 71 followers! I should have done this giveaway thing a long time ago :) I am particularly honored that Vonlipi is now a follower - I am in awe of her knowledge of Pyrex.

Just to build the drama a little more, here is a reminder of what the winner of this giveaway can look forward to:

I ended up with 61 entries in total. I numbered them all according to the order the comments appeared (the only comment that was eliminated was one that my dad left that actually referred to a different blog post). Then I asked to generate a number between 1-61.

The lucky number is 37. Drum roll please.......the winner is JADARIE!!

Jadarie, please send me your name and address by email to so I can ship your "new" Pyrex! If I do not hear from you by JANUARY 28, I will choose a new winner.

Thanks again to everyone for entering! Happy hunting!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

vintage ephemera

Until a few months ago, I had no idea what ephemera was. For those who don't know, ephemera is generally characterized as something that's not meant to be kept, usually made of paper. Examples would be post cards, magazines, newspapers, coupons, ticket stubs, etc.  We usually find a fair amount of these things at estate sales for little money. The other good thing is that they don't take up a lot of space and so are easy to store.

While I haven't purchased a ton of ephemera, I have found myself drawn to it. We've picked up several old magazines and newspapers, as well as maps, pamphlets, and brochures. One thing that I seem to be particularly drawn to is anything related to travel and landmarks. Today I thought I'd share a few with you.

The Civil War battle at Chickamauga was the last major victory for the Confederacy. A couple months later, the Union took Chattanooga.

The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first in the American Revolutionary War.

Colonial Williamsburg is on my to-see list. One day.

My only trip to DC was a single day trip, which of course isn't nearly enough time to see even a fraction of it.  I definitely want to go back and do a White House tour.

These Canada travel guides are neat and make me want to take another trip there.

I just love this bright, colorful guide to Alaska.

I've been to Yellowstone a few times. It is truly an amazing place, so I just had to have these when I found them.

Finally, an old field list of birds in the DC area. I'll have to take this with me when I go see the White House :)

Happy hunting!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

oh lovely bluebird

Jeff and I hit a few estate sales yesterday and, just for yucks, decided to stop by an antique mall along the highway that we'd never been to before. We were short on time, which is probably good, or else we'd still be there wandering through the aisles, wishing we had breadcrumbs to help find the way out. I saw a million things I'd love to have, but nothing grabbed my attention like this beautiful Pyrex Bluebird casserole dish with lid. Alas, no cradle, but when I saw the $12.95 price tag, I was in heaven. This beauty was a promotional piece that was manufactured sometime between 1959-1961. Never would I have expected to find something so great in such great condition at such a great price at an antique mall. I'm just so glad I didn't pay $31 (with shipping) to buy the one online I've had my eye on!

If possible, it looks even better with yummy chocolate chip cookies in it!

BTW, if you haven't signed up for my Pyrex Pink Daisy giveaway, please do! You have until January 20th.

Friday, January 14, 2011

music appreciation

A couple months ago, I mentioned on my Facebook page that you would think someone my age would no longer feel the need to blast her radio while driving. I was delighted when lots of people, my age and older, shared that they, too, still blast their music while driving.

At the risk of sounding like a teenager, my favorite band in the whole world is Foo Fighters. I have been in love with Dave Grohl since I first saw the video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit." And I heard recently that they have a new album coming out this spring - hooray! If only I knew something about making music videos - the band is holding a contest right now to find 11 unknown directors to each make a video for one song from their new album. Now THAT would be my dream job :)

So, I leave you today with my favorite Foo Fighters video. This video cracks me up every time. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

kitchen nightmares

The state of my kitchen combined with my appreciation for Gordon Ramsey made today's title perfect. As promised in my last post, I am sharing with you the unfinished state of my kitchen.

To give you some background, we started our kitchen re-do project in November 2008. This was no $30k kitchen remodel as was popular in the last decade; that kind of remodel not only was out of our reach, but would've priced our house right out of the neighborhood and we never would've recouped the money in a sale. No, this was a $3k re-do, meaning the work had to be done by us. The one thing that we contracted out was the new flooring. We decided to have new floor put in both the kitchen and the family room at the same time, which is about 500 square feet total. Having put in flooring before, we knew that it was back and knee breaking work, so we justified spending the money on labor. After that experience, I hope to never have to do that again. But that's a topic for another post, or this one will go on forever.

Given our budget, our thoughts immediately turned to Ikea for cabinets, the sink, and faucet. Problem is that there is no Ikea in Denver (although we are getting one this fall - hooray!). I looked into having the cabinets shipped to us, but the shipping alone was as much as the cabinets. So, being the driving fools we are, we decided to drive to the closest Ikea and pick them up ourselves. Well, the closest Ikea is in Salt Lake City, an 8 hour drive away! And we drive a VW Rabbit. So, we used Amex points to rent a big pick up truck (costing us nothing), we loaded up the two dogs (we had two at the time - RIP Rupert, we miss you!), drove to SLC, picked out all our cabinets plus a million other smaller things, loaded everything up, and drove back. It took about 20 hours total. Oh, and it was December and freezing. Fun times! In the end though, we got all our cabinets for about $800. Not bad.

The one problem was that the sink we wanted wasn't in stock when we were there. I had planned all the cabinets around that sink and I wasn't about to start over. So, we had no choice but to have it shipped to us, which turned our $300 sink into $600. Yes, the sink alone cost almost as much as the all the cabinets, but I couldn't be happier with it!

Other than that, we replaced the fridge and the range but kept the dishwasher we had. That means they don't match (the fridge and range being stainless and the dishwasher being black) but I didn't care - it saved money and I think it looks fine.

So, that's the background. Now, here's what it looks like today:

Notice how the backsplash on this wall is only half finished - that tape has been there for I don't even know how long.

More unfinished backsplash and beautiful blue tape

This wall is supposed to have open shelves to hold all our dishes. Instead, our dishes are stacked on the dining room table and have been for months.

I love the sink, but it still hasn't been properly caulked. 

Notice all the crap on the windowsill and the obvious lack of window treatments.

I love the new fridge, but the lack of upper wall storage means all the little-used stuff gets piled on top of it.

I think this lighting fixture (the only source of light in the kitchen) is probably original to the house (which was built in 1951). And it's not nice original :)

The coving has been put in everywhere except this one corner. Don't ask.

So there you have it. By doing this, I hope I will be inspired to get this project finished. Or, at least inspired to nag Jeff enough about it that he will finally finish it! I'm tempted to hire someone just to get it done. Or I could still be talking about this next January.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

finishing what i've started

First, I want to say wow! I am blown away by the number of new followers I picked up yesterday and the number of comments I got for the giveaway! Welcome to all the newbies and a big THANK YOU to those of you who have been here for awhile. If you missed yesterday's post, be sure to check it out so you can sign up for the giveaway.

One of my resolutions for the New Year is to finish some of the multitude of projects I've started around my house. I have a terrible habit of starting things and not finishing them. Unfortunately, Jeff isn't much better than me when it comes to that, so as a result, we have a lot of things that are half done.

In March we will celebrate ten years since we bought our house. When we bought, the housing market was red hot, so we thought we'd live here five years and then cash out the equity and upgrade. Well, we waited a little too long and the market crashed. So, just over a year ago we decided that since we were going to be here for the foreseeable future, we might as well do some upgrades. We ripped out the entire kitchen and re-did it. Well, almost all of it. A year later, we still have an unfinished backsplash and the wall shelves we planned to put up in lieu of upper cabinets somehow have never come to fruition.  Around the same time, we started landscaping the front yard. It's about 80% done - I keep hoping that the walkway from the stairs to the porch will get done someday. And maybe we'll actually get the whole yard mulched this spring. Oh, and if all that wasn't enough, I decided to re-paint the bedroom last January but the ceiling never got done and the new baseboards are still only half in.

So, with all these projects to finish, I decided the best way to motivate myself to get them done is to shame myself into doing them. By airing my dirty laundry here, I will have to take steps to finish things in order to save face, right?  I sure hope so.

Since the kitchen arguably frustrates me the most, I will start with that. Below are some "before" pictures and some pictures showing it at its worst. In the next post, I will show you what it looks like now and then, at some point in the (hopefully) not too distant future, I will show you what it looks like when it's all finished.

These are the "before" pictures, although I should mention that this is not how it looked when we bought the place. Unfortunately, that was before we had a digital camera, so we didn't take many pictures of how it looked when we moved in, and even if I could find the few that exist, I'd have to scan them in and I don't have a scanner. Suffice it to say that this original re-do was a huge step up from what it originally looked like. Jeff and I put in the black and white ceramic tile, which I still love, but will NEVER have again - it's impossible to clean. Before that it had awful linoleum. We also painted the cabinets and switched out the hardware. My dad put in the ceramic tile counter tops - again a HUGE improvement over what was there - an ugly swirly green laminate - but something I will never do again - try keeping white grout lines clean on countertops! We also bought a new stove, since the one that was here when we moved in was BROWN and, when we pulled it out, I found a tag on the back that showed it was delivered to this house in November 1973. We also removed panelling (ack!) from the walls and did a few other things.

Here are the photos after everything was ripped out. That lovely flooring is a groovy orange and black linoleum that we found several layers down. After we started tearing it up, we realized that it must have asbestos in it, so needless to say, we left most of it and just covered it with the new flooring.

Do you have any dirty little secrets about unfinished projects? Please share!

Monday, January 10, 2011


I'm back! I have no more excuses for not keeping up with my blog, and I'm feeling more inspired to get back to it on a regular basis.

And as we are now a third of the way through the first month of the year, and all of the holidays are well behind us, I thought now was a good time for the giveaway I've been promising. So, without further ado, here is the giveaway item...

A gorgeous Pyrex Pink Daisy divided casserole dish with lid! When I found this beauty at an estate sale a month or so ago, I knew it was the piece for the giveaway.

Here's how it works:

1. Sign up to be a follower (if you haven't already). There is a Follow button on the right side of the page that you can use.

2. Leave a comment to this post.

That's it. That will get you one entry. If you want one additional entry, just mention this giveaway in your own blog and leave a link to it as a comment to this post. If you don't have a blog, you can mention it on your facebook page or tweet about it. Doing either of those things will get you one entry. Limit two entries per person.

I'm going to leave this open for 10 days. The winner will be announced on January 21. Winner will be chosen using an online random number generator.

Happy hunting!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

i hope neglect isn't fatal

I have been neglecting my blog. I just haven't been inspired. Please bear with me. I did a lot of cat sitting over the holiday and that is winding down now, and business at The Barkway is getting back to normal, so I hope to have some time to devote to posting in the near future. And my giveaway is coming up, so please stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, hope all is well with everyone and your new year is starting off well!