Friday, February 26, 2010

And They All Stood By and Watched...

So continuing on, here sat both a dream and a nightmare. If you look past the blemishes and physical tragedies due to such neglect, I think the dream is easy to see. The nightmare was the actual elbow grease, unforeseen costs, and hours of labor when getting down to the nitty-gritty required, in becoming Fairy Godmother to this Cinderella.

Everyday we got tangled up in one challenge or another. One day, might be a battle with a mold problem, sucking up water in the basement, or sanding peeling paint off the walls and ceiling. Another day, might be filling out forms and paying money to the Conservation Committee, for permission to cut away the enormous amount of bittersweet, as it strangled its way through everything in sight. It also didn’t help that we had an overwhelming situation with getting all the stored things out, so we could fix things up and move our stuff in. (7 years of neglected stuff...Nobody wanted to deal with it.) I already told you about the water in the basement, right? Can you even imagine what became of all the stuff stored down there? I can describe it in one word….Hazmat!

As far as the decorating and painting was concerned, at first I had to keep the colors the same. So, I started in the living room and asked permission to sponge the blues, creams and whites that were present in the room. After they saw the job I did, I was able to change the colors throughout. We also had to get special permission for painting the outside. The first yellow the Historical Society approved, based upon a sample I presented, came out all wrong! It looked like a cheap, artificial daffodil. I hated it and shed a lot of tears. As you get to know me, you will find that nothing upsets me like the wrong color! So I went to my friend at the Historical Society and showed her the swatch. Well as it turns out, their color sample booklet was more than 17 years old and the lady at the store couldn’t get a correct match with what they gave her. So, with Memorial Day weekend approaching, we came up with a plan. I was to get out there and paint like a wild woman throughout the weekend, while all who would express concern attended their picnics! I was to get the entire front done and if anyone questioned me, I was to say that the first (and incorrect) coat was the primer!

Below are some photos of the transformation as it began. The people in the town drove by, beeping and cheering us on. Sometimes, as they went on their walks, they would simply stand by and watch.

Blogs to come will illustrate an evolution of changes. Then, we will be up to date and entering into the changes for this season. I’m so excited!

Get out there and paint! (May, 2008)

I remember leaving, this particular day, exhausted but feeling good!

The day worth waiting for! I made the mosaic boxes and Wayne came and put them up!

He even brought all the flowers for the boxes and all the flowers in containers!

The awning poles were still up...What a pain to get down. I don't know how Wayne did it!

It just got better and better!

A bit of a difference...No wonder they beeped and cheered!

It Was A Clear Case of Cottage Abuse!

Once upon a time, this classic Cape Cod cottage made a visual statement of style and grace, as it stood at the intersection of Route 6A and Underpass road. Well-known for its lush plants, flowers and garden arrangements, this one time flower shop, provided both townspeople and tourists alike, an inspirational place to purchase garden pleasures, as well as a warm welcome into the town of Brewster.

In the year 2005, I moved onto the Cape. Even though I settled into a family owned cottage in South Chatham, (the “Sound Side” of the Cape), because of strong childhood ties, I often visited the town of Brewster (the “Bay Side” of the Cape). My heart would sink every time I saw what happened to this little place! And, as I made new acquaintances and friends, I discovered many people would be saying the same thing I would be thinking and saying to myself…“Why doesn’t someone do something with that place?”

One day Wayne and I drove down Underpass Road, discussing a storage place he was considering renting. It was brown (ick!) and had garage bays. Well, he thought it had great potential for storage, a much needed work area, and the ability for use as a sales/flea market venue. “Oh! And you can sell your furniture here!…Just paint it up and sell it!” Well, that was very nice, but his enthusiastic vision made me highly annoyed! As my eyebrows became knitted together, I could feel I was making another major investment in wrinkles! As we neared the end of the road and intersection, I said, “Why can’t we ever rent something like that? (And I pointed across the street to the little woe begotten, abandoned cottage.) Surprisingly, Wayne said, “We can!” How could this be? It wasn’t even for rent!

Let's fast forward past all the hours of waiting to hear if the owners would rent it to us, the town meetings to see if they would allow the property to be an antique business, the presentations we had to make to the Historical Society, the Conservation Committee, the Police and Fire Departments, (even the Shell Fishing Department)! Everyone had some type of input and something controversial to say about it. "The intersection it's at is too busy...It's too close to the wetlands...It's been abandoned for years; why can't the owners donate it to the town?"
However, we won and then, REJOICE! The little abandoned treasure, which once fell victim to a clear case of cottage abuse, was about to be rescued.

We began by rolling up our sleeves and the rest, with more to come, is history! Personally, I’m really looking forward to how it evolves this year! Please enjoy these photos from the past…Then, watch it blossom!

Here are some "before" pictures of our journey.

March 2009

Sometimes it's really good to look back and see how far we've come!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Good Fairy Came Last Night!

It must have happened while I was asleep...If I knew "She" was coming, I would have stayed up, like a child waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve! I have no idea how she got here, or if in fact, you could have seen her shadow magically moving across the starlit sky. All I know is that when I woke up this morning, I received a gift. Several people who are new to me, and one dear friend, left messages in response to my latest blog, "Another Bend in the Road"! All that writing, correcting and fiddling around with the posting of pictures (frustrating) reached some new blogging friends, out there in the blog-es-phere. Thank you so much!

So without further delay, I hope you enjoy the little "Thank You" card, created just for you. Once again, the "notepaper" background came from a stored picture of a piece of my painted furniture (pictured below). The directions for this little computer ditty, lie within the blog, "That was Then, and This is Now".

Today my spirits are high, because the Good Fairy came last night! I believe! I believe! Pieces of Dreams

Custom Order ~ Ribbons and Roses on Yellow Stripe

Side View ~ Note the dry brushed legs

Top front view

Close up of chosen area

Cropped piece ~ Now it's my Notepaper!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another Bend in the Road...

The minute I woke up on this sunny, but crispy cold, Cape Cod morning, I knew that Wayne and I would be forced to close a chapter in our lives (and I am not usually very good at that). So hopefully, this blog creation will provide a little therapy for me, as well as some interesting information for you. As a matter of fact, Wayne is at the shop we we had, as I type along with my trusty assistant, Boo Boo Kitty. (We have a system, I get the ideas and Boo nudges my arm and makes clumbsy attemps at adding his two cents by "paw typing".) Any way, the shop really is a sweet little place! But, like many of us, it has issues and a story...

One very snowy day in February, 2009, we treated ourselves to a break and went on a quick drive. As we pulled over to answer the cell phone, we noticed that a quaint little charmer had come up for rent! We suddenly became overwhelmed with excitement because, since finding out some very threatening real estate status changes regarding the cottage we were renting in Brewster, it seemed as though instead of snow falling upon us, it was sparkly little pieces of God's fairy dust. This had to be too good to be true! Are you kidding? We began counting all the reasons on our fingers...A few doors up from the Chatham shopping hub, which is a big draw, especially in the summer... located next to a busy restaurant with the popular Chatham A's baseball field behind...abutting a public parking area. The place seemed guaranteed to be bustling with car, bicycle and walking traffic!

So, here we are, about one year later. As yesterday's light snow becomes dirty in some places and melts a little in others, Wayne is moving out of the place that we painstakingly repaired, painted and charmed up with creative gardening vignettes, just brimming with all the cheerful flowers Cape Cod is known for. It seemed as though each little bloom held another high hope. But as the flowers began to fade into fall, so did a business that never really blossomed into the bouquet of success it was supposed to be.

One fall evening, I returned home with a heavy heart, after spending all day at the shop, feeling as though I had been put into an isolation booth. Since the summer help we had in our Karen's Garden Cottage Antiques shop in Brewster, had returned to her home in Colorado, my original plan was to split my time between both shops for the slower, off season. But rather than putting myself through all of that, I had (with Wayne's help) the presence of mind to realize it was time for me to return to my original shop, prepare for the holidays, and say good-bye to a place that disappointed me so deeply...Kind of like discovering you've been betrayed by someone you thought to be a friend.

So, you say, Karen what have you learned? Well, it's true when they say, "Things aren't always as they seem." We thought we had location, location, location. But when the trees grew full with leaves, it seem as though someone snuck in and set our scape on automatic "zoom-out"... It created problems with visibility. Also, we trusted the landlord who was adamant that he would never sell the property. Always negotiate a lease that states that the lessor will not be able to put up a "For Sale" or "For Rent" sign until the last 30 days of giving notice for terminating your stay. In our case, the sign went up during the crucial time we were trying to establish our business. We can't beat ourselves up over that. Also, although a bad economy can provide you with lower rent and other benefits, don't fall for it unless you are selling some sort of survival staple, i.e. food, energy, etc. Trust that little voice whispering some sort of warning in the background...If you can hear it, it's worth listening to! We should have never been two people with three shops. Somehow we forgot about a common phrase we hear and say almost everyday..."You do the math"! And most importantly, if you dare not to be a "Monday morning quarterback", as Wayne would say, you opt to take that opportunity to reach for the stars and it doesn't work out, don't consider it "failure"...It's a "learning curve". For after all; what are we if we aren't willing to learn?

In closing, here's a quote worth mentioning: "The bend in the road, is not the end of the road, unless you refuse to take the turn" ~ Anonymous
Pieces of Dreams
Below is a quick little tour and a forever memory!

We repaint all the vintage wicker we find.

Twig and floral window dressing - This was fun to create!

Sweet pieces of green and pink, including hand painted lamp shade.

Haywood Wakefield Wicker, 1870...Rare find.

Hand painted, yellow and white stripe corner cabinet, with various pieces of vintage wicker.

Fall 2009

Monday, February 15, 2010

That Was Then, and This is Now...

Since discovering that I wanted to start a blog, I have spent the past few days relentlessly, fiddling around with the computer. If those of you who have really come to know me, had a crystal ball view of my compulsive struggling, you would do a double-take and think my surgery and resulting hormone changes, had left me completely mad. But guess what? In my own awkward, yet determined way, I have navigated around, learned so much, and have actually become very excited about it. A few days ago, I didn't even know how to do many of the techniques in this post...I'm actually showing off for you, and most likely you don't even know it, because I am doing it by using many of the things of you and your children use every day. But that's okay. Wayne's Antiques is open today, and I am back here in our living space, so very amused. Sort of like the cat with the tinsel, kind of thing.

So, let me tell you about these latest creations of mine. The featured top photo is something that I created out of something else, which is something I love to do.It's actually a picture of a new arrival in our family, imposed upon a picture of a piece of my hand painted, Pieces of Dreams furniture. With photo programs being so different, I won't get into too much detail of how it was actually done. But perhaps this could inspire you to do something similar. You could even take a close up photo of fabric, wall paper, a bouquet of flowers, what ever tickles your fancy. After saving your photo in your computer, you pull it up and crop it into a desired shape. Then you go to another stored photo, copy it, and paste it onto your cropped creation. After that you look into your program for the "Insert" tab, hit text, pick a font and a script color, type it into the box and place it appropriately onto your photo and background. And, there you have it.

You know, it's all part of a journey. Long ago and far away, I had been an administrative assistant, armed with a state of the art electric type writer and white out. Then I became a stay at home mom. My then husband was the computer genius in our family and credibly noted for his knowledge at work...The "Go to" guy. Anyway, one day I heard this alarming bit of news. It was about this terrible computer virus that was ripping its way through the New York/New Jersey area. Well, I ran to the phone and left him a voicemail. "There is a horrible computer virus going around. And, with the amount of time you are on that computer, you are going to get it and bring it home! You better spray your computer with Lysol! Please tell everyone about it, because you are all going to get sick!" There! I did my wifely duty and beyond. I have now saved the lives of my husband and everyone in his office. Later, my husband called everyone into his office, called me on the phone and said, "Okay, I want everyone to listen to this!" Much to my surprise, as my message was being played, there was an overwhelming roar of laughter, rather than cries of gratitude. Needless to say, I was better known at his office for my dinner parties and baked goods, rather than my computer expertise. But, "That was Then, and This is Now!" Pieces of Dreams

This is the piece I chose for its design.

The corner design of this piece is what I thought would work best.

I used the auto-crop option in Microsoft
Picture It, placed the shape over the
design, and like magic, there it was!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine Sentiments In All the Right Places

It wasn't our plan, but this Valentine's Day is just going to have to be different. I've just been through a surgery that not only leaves me confined to the first floor of our winter living space, but also without the ability to drive. Last Wednesday marked one week for me returning home from the hospital and about to embark upon an 8week recovery period.

It was really very tough, at first. I had to do everything, and I mean everything, with assistance. Thank God I have a wonderful caretaker, with the kindest patience, by my side. And, let's face it, there are times when it gets really inconvenient to live in the back and above space of an antique shop. But then there are those times when it really works out great. Like, coming home from the hospital, with all the retained intervenes water suddenly deciding to do a quick body exit, and hardly being able to walk. Antique dealer to the rescue! No, he didn't ride in on a white horse and sweep me off to "Le Toilette". He came marching in with a 1870 Boston potty chair, placed it in a corner, and warned me that there may be splinters because it is very old.

Besides all of that, he's been cooking, too! I've been getting breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed...Gee! Some people only get that on Valentine's Day!

So, although this may not be the year to go out on the town to kick up our heels and enjoy "Valentine's fare", or make some type of complicated dinner, complimented with a chocolate delight artfully decorated with rose petals. It is the year to realize that we find Valentine Sentiments in all the right places! Happy Valentines Day!

Pieces of Dreams

Friday, February 12, 2010

Introduction - A Journey to the Sea!

Originally from New Jersey, with an 11 year adventure in TN, it came time to make a change. After considering my two children and living situation, in 2005 I took the opportunity presented me, and was able to migrate north, to fulfill my all life long dream of living on Cape Cod. The kind friend who drove me and I, came over the bridge at 8:39 pm on March 31st (we really pushed it, since I didn’t want to become an “April Fool”, on top of everything else I had recently been through) in a jam-packed and tarped Ford F150, dragging a U-haul. Certain circumstances led me to do exactly the opposite of what my father had asked of me...not to look like the Beverly Hill Billies when coming over the bridge.

So, during the quiet, dreary, off-season on Cape Cod, I settled into a cottage owned by my father and his lovely lady, located in South Chatham. It is tiny, defines the word "quaint", and is located on a sandy lane, nestled within the sea pines. A lovely Cape Cod Sound beach is just a short stroll away. By August,and to my surprise, I had met my love. I'm now engaged, own the cottage and during the cold off season, live in the back of our antique shop, located on scenic 6A in Brewster. Late spring thru early fall, we live in our family farm house in Chatham.

My fiancé and I have many things in common, one being we both own businesses that tie into each other. His motto: "Items of interest, bought and sold", making his shop the treasure hunt extraordinaire. I'm located in a garden cottage just down the road, and present a decorative venue, filled with pretty vintage embellishments and hand painted furniture, set in, what I hope to be, inspiring vignettes. Together we traipse along the Cape to this place and that, gathering our treasures. It works out perfectly...I get the pretty stuff, especially if it is pink and/or has romantic flair. Even though it can be very hard work, (dirty, too) we love to do the hunting and get to enjoy our finds for a little while, as they sit upon display in our shops. Then, at a fair price, you get to keep them!

I fix up, paint and artistically enhance, many of the vintage pieces we find, and create decorative originals out of others. We work very hard together, i.e., we are always fixing things up, and look like it, as we are usually covered in sanding dust and paint. But, there does come a time for fun, by entertaining and enjoying family and friends, or relaxing with one of the interests listed in my profile, while spending treasured time with each other and our cat named, "Boo".

For more to be revealed, you will have to follow this blog, as I lead you upon a creative adventure of decorating, painting,trash to treasure creations, business tips, recipes, food and decorative presentation, etc. These passions of mine, become all woven together with my journey along the Cape Cod sea, splashed by sentimental snippets of the past. So I share with you, dear readers and fellow enthusiasts, pieces of my life and my ever so sacred, Pieces of Dreams!!