Tag Archives: ooooh-shiny!

In the Eyes of the Beholding Thrift Shop

I was running errands today, enjoying the 1,675% humidity courtesy of the light rain shower this morning. It’s Wednesday, which means local thrift stores have pulled all their hauls from the weekend for sale. Usually I can find something fun like a pretty glass or tea cup. Those items are pretty easy to recognize. But sometimes I am flabbergasted at how some stuff gets identified.

I was perusing a beautiful dry sink (identified as a “table with drawer”) that was way out of my price range when my eyes alighted on the item inside the bottom shelf.

Pretty, no? And I bet most of you can tell it is a chamber pot. To be precise, an antique Staffordshire porcelain chamber pot in almost perfect condition. No chips, no cracks, and the gilt is almost like new with very few exceptions.

I have a thing for orchids* and I loved the design. You can’t really tell, but the design is outlined in brown and filled in with gold. It hardly had any scratches inside. It was immaculate!

I took it to the front desk to check out and the lady running the register remarked on it. Hilarity ensued.

Cashier: Oh, so happy someone is taking this bowl home. It’s so pretty.

Me: Bowl?

Cashier: Yes, the owner called it a fruit and salad bowl.

Me: A salad bowl??

Cashier: Yes….why?

Me: This is a chamber pot.

Cashier: ………….

Me: ………….

*both of us burst out laughing*

So you see, it’s always a question of angles. One person saw the item in a different way, for a different use. And interpretation, like beauty, is always in the eye of the beholder.

I just hope the previous owner never served food in it. To anyone 😀

*I have a thing for most flowers, really, but orchids remind me of home.

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Cole Portering Over Velvet

One of my favorite songs is I’ve Got You Under My Skin, by Cole Porter. It tends to describe me well when it comes to……well, me going to the thrift store. I see something all dusty and in disrepair and it gets under my skin until I bring my vision to life. Y’all have seen my other blog, Junk and Glue, and know what I mean.

And now, it’s all about velvet. But not just any velvet. Velvet used to be a very expensive fabric. Back in the Middle Ages, it was made solely from silk, which gave it a lustrous sheen and lasted forever. With the advent of industrialization, velvets were made from other fibers such as cotton. And then came synthetic fibers and nowadays velvet is something you can now find off the rack at Target™. Good quality velvet is usually made from a mix of rayon and silk. If you want all silk velvet, you will pay hundreds of dollars per yard. And I am neither rich nor insane, so that’s out. But you can’t compromise on the quality of velvet. Cheap velvet falls apart rather quickly, but the good stuff wears well over time, adapting a soft, rich sheen with age and use.

So, now that you have a primer on velvet, you are wondering why I even bring it up. Well, A) it’s my blog and I write the fluff I like, and 2) I want velvet in my life. And I don’t mean a jacket or a shirt, or even a pillow. I mean I want it ALL OVER THE PLACE: furniture, drapes, accessories, rugs, and PJs. I understand I can’t have everything in velvet. But I really, really want a sofa in soft, luxurious velvet, with some feather alternative-filled cushioning (real feathers are good and all, but I don’t want to trigger anyone’s allergies, nor do I want quills sticking my skin).

Isn’t she absolutely gorgeous?? Yes, that’s a pink velvet sofa and I want it with the burning power of twelve Betelgeuses. Look how plush it is. I want to be able to sink into the sofa, and the big plus with this is one solid cushion, nowhere for remote, socks, or change to slip between. I want to be Great Garbo and tell people I want to be let alone with my sofa and a cocktail and Netflix. In short, I am old enough to want to luxuriate while I watch “Flea Market Flip” and plan on upcycling a ratty old suitcase into a coffee table.

I am full of contradictions, I know. But I also know me, and I doubt I will ever have a sofa like this. It’s wonderful and classy and feminine, and impractical and  high-maintenance and over-the-top. So I will just admire her from afar, and dream of the dreams I could have enjoyed while napping upon such luxury.

But a velvet chair? Oh, yeah….That I can justify 😉


Turquoise Dresses….So Exciting!!!

As I live and breathe, I will never understand the evul that women do.

Sitting at the airport, I had the opportunity to be roped into a rather unconventional conversation. I was sitting there, minding my own business, when two lawyers begin to talk about upcoming nuptials. At first I thought they were talking about marrying each other, but no, one has a niece getting married and has been trying to talk sense into her to reign in expenses. From what I understood, the young woman wanted to have swans waddling around the reception area and a cake designed by Duff Goldman.

I’m pretty sure she watched Father of the Bride, and paid no attention to Steve Martin.

I smiled to myself, thinking of the havoc the swans would unleash on poor, unsuspecting guests, when the lady lawyer turned to me and asked out of the blue what I thought about spending several hundred dollars on a bridesmaid gown. I choked on my coffee and said, “Excuse me?”, which in turn released a floodgate of drama. The gal in question wanted her bridesmaids to wear gowns by Badgley Mischka, and shoes to match. I gaped at her. Badgley Mischka??? Number 24 on my List of Things to Do Before I Die is “Own a pair of Badgley Mischka shoes”. It’s on the list FOR A REASON!! (Oddly, on my List of 100, four of them involve shoes:#12- Louboutins, #24- Badgley Mischkas, #38- own a pair made by Daniel Day Lewis, and #87- own maroon Converse All-Stars. That’s the only shoe item I have thus far achieved scratching off my list). For those that are fashion unconscious, Badgley Mischka is a design house famous for their wedding and evening gowns. And by that, I mean one of their gowns can go for five figures. The shoes tend to be far more affordable, in the $300-600 range. So for this gal to ask her attendants to spend over four figures on a bridesmaid gown and shoes is a bit extravagant. Trying to quell the ire of the lady, I did mention that at least the gown could be used again for formal occasions, but then the gentleman lawyer broke in with the most important observation ever:

If women hate being caught in public in the same outfit, why would you subject your attendants to the same fate?

Now, that’s pure genius right there. Personally speaking, if I spy someone wearing the same outfit I am, I see it as a reflection of good taste, not a reason to freak out and hide and wonder if it’s not too late to go home and don a sack cloth. I understand the reason for that tradition (dress similar to confuse evil spirits), but it hardly fits in this day and age. I was a bridesmaid fifteen times, and with two exceptions, the dresses made me look like I was sticking out of the frosting on a cupcake. And every time we attendants absolutely and unequivocally loathed them. If I didn’t know any better, I would say the brides made us wear those ridiculous tulle-tufted, pastel-colored, stiff-necked, bouffant-sleeved taffeta atrocities because they hated us. I much prefer the more relaxed convention some brides take now, letting the bridesmaids choose any gown as long as it is in a specific color or style. This way the attendants can stand out and still be a recognizable group without being clones. It also lets the attendants stay within their own budget, and not at the mercy of a bridezilla whose only thought is to have people comment about her extravagant princess fantasy. A word of advice to would-be bridesmaids: always ask what the bride plans for your dress, and don’t be afraid to give her input. She is your friend, and she will pay attention to make sure the day is good for everyone.

Unless she hates you. Then get ready to look like a turquoise cupcake 😉


Nerd Christmas

As y’all are aware by now, I am a nerd. Established 1974, when I first watched Star Trek episodes in Spanish. That intensified when Star Wars came out, and cemented for all time when Ricardo Montalban resurrected his role of Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Don’t be fooled. I hate Ewoks.

Anyway, I wanted to get a black pre-lit Christmas tree for the longest time. No, not to match my soul but so I could display my space-themed ornaments, thinking the black would be outer space and the lights would be the stars. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?? But the topper….well, that was a quandary. I really wanted to get something like an exploding Alderran or the Pillars of Creation, but the ones I found were too pricey, so I made my own Death Star topper out of a styrofoam ball, felt, and pipe cleaners. It’s not to scale, but it will do until I take the time to make one with LEDs in it.

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Aggie’s Christmas Gift Guide, 2015 Edition

Don’t worry. As much as I ❤ my Soma™ PJs, they are not on the list this year. Why? Because they should be on EVERYONE’S list every year. And not for special occasions, either. Soma PJs should be a staple in every gal’s wardrobe. Trust me on this.

This year, being cognizant of a distinct holiday fatigue, mostly due to the season being kickstarted in August, I complied a few items to help with the eventual stress that most of us who wait to shop for the perfect gift at the last minute will suffer.

lavender gift set

Who doesn’t love the calming quality of lavender? L’Occitane™ offers a wonderful gift set that will render anyone mute with appreciation. Or make them SQUEEEE!!! Either way, it’s sure to be a keeper.

If your beloved is more of a techie and/or sports type, consider gifting a set of headphones. Just not any headphones.

bose headphones

Behold the Bose™ NFL Edition headphones. Yes, they are pricey, but we are not just talking quality and sports fanaticism here. I love mine because they block out everything, including the smoke alarm. Which could be a bad thing, but that’s what I have kids for.

Last but not least, what is the holiday without some bit of indulgence? Or a lot of indulgence. I won’t judge.

moscow-mule-gift-set-o

Williams-Sonoma™ offers many food-themed gift sets, but my pick is obviously the one to which I can add vodka. The Moscow Mule gift set comes with everything you need except the booze, but I’m sure most of us already have that in our stocks, right?? And bonus: you can use the mugs for hot chocolate, too, which you can get at the site.

I hope you have enjoyed Aggie’s Christmas Picks for 2015. I also hope one or two find their way under my Christmas tree this year. I’m not picky, but just FYI, I already own the headphones 😉


Sew Done

A few weeks ago, I regaled you with the tale of my sewing machine redo. Fun times, right? Who can forget the spider in the glove, or the tetanus scare?

I know I can’t.

Here is the before:

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Honestly, I still like the rusty look of it. But the after is still rather stunning.

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I went looking high and low for a glass top and the cheapest I could find was $80 for a 16″x 24″ size. As luck would have it, the antique store where I bought the machine had that glass top outside and the owner let me have it for free, since she couldn’t figure out what to do with it. Totally winning!!

As I was leaving with it, I noticed she had yet another antique sewing machine, everything in good condition except the table. And my eye wandered to it. Do I have a place for it? Do I have a plan for its future use? Of course I don’t! But it can sure be pretty as a sideboard 😀


Music to My Eyes

I’m not one to shirk technology. I have my share of CDs and DVDs and whatnot. I draw the line at mp3 players, though. No matter how hard friends and family try to make me adapt to the changing times, I still can’t get used to downloading my favorite music to a portable player with earbud attachments.

Hell, the Walkman™ was an issue for me.

Anyway, one thing I never outgrew was my deep appreciation for vinyl. No, not the wearable kind. I’m talking about LPs, 78’s, good old fashioned records. I still own a turntable, and have most of my dad’s LP collection from the 70’s (Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, baby!), plus boxes of LP’s dating back to the 40’s. Most of those I got at a blind auction decades ago for $5. Best buy EVAH. I still have the very first album I ever owned: Asia by Asia. It was a birthday gift from a friend, and still one of my favorite things.

One thing that always bothered me was leaving them propped up in a shelf. Seemed a shame to hide the album artwork, so I managed to convince Hubby to take me to the Swedish Junk Place to get some frames for them, and I finally got around to hanging them up where I wanted.

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90125, Synchronicity, American Pie, Tubular Bells (special pressing), Outer Space Inner Mind, Asia, Eye in the Sky, and abacab. I wanted to set up the turntable under the albums but Rockband stuff is a bit bulkier than I expected. Also, not mine, so don’t judge.

One day I hope to do a mirror image of that with the classical albums, if I have room. At least it fills up an awkward space in the bonus room. Of course, it also brings attention to the crack in the wall. Something else to get fixed soon.

And I will patch it up, while listening to Leonard Nimoy 🙂


In a DIY Mood

I went out to the garage a few weeks ago, and tripped. If it hadn’t been for a pile of clothing headed to Goodwill™, I would have been in need of facial reconstructive surgery. It wasn’t pretty, and neither was my vocabulary. But I was gracious enough to acknowledge that most of that was my fault. I have been neglectful of my list of projects and let them pile up in the garage. For a while it was difficult to get anything done due to the scorching hot weather. But this is Texas and I am not waiting for the two days of fall to get here, so I sucked it up and got back into crafting with paint.

I’ve had a small chest of drawers that have been storing some extension cords and leg weights. Don’t ask. Anyway, it was painted a celery green with butterfly handles. Perfect for a little girl, which no longer exist in this family due to that pesky “growing up” thing.

(Yes, I cried when I took it outside to prep with primer.)

Anyway, I decided to repaint and repurpose the chest of drawers. The half bath upstairs has no storage of any kind and the chest is small enough to fit alongside the wall. Now that Hubby is gone I have to keep myself busy doing all the projects I kept putting off. I had purchased some Martha Stewart Paint™ in Polished Silver because A) it was on clearance, 2) it was shiny, and iii) I couldn’t make up my mind on what color to use. So after literally months of deliberation I finally dragged the dresser outside and painted it.

silver dresser diy 1

Wow, did it turn out pretty! Too pretty for the bathroom upstairs, so I am placing it in my bedroom for now. There’s an empty spot where his dresser used to be, so it will fill the area nicely until its return.

silver dresser diy 2

A slightly blurry close-up of the silver. Silver leaf would have been shinier, but far too expensive to use on a cheap little dresser like this. I’m ambivalent about the drawer knobs, but they will do for now.

This was the big project yesterday, but I had other smaller ones I managed to do as well. I ended up painting vases and turning them into vahses. Yeah, I don’t get why there’s two different pronunciations, either. But it sure sounds grand, doesn’t it?

Next up will be the thrift store folding chairs. If all goes according to plan, I will have them finished by October.

Of 2017 😀


Home Improvement Part…. I Have No Idea

Slowly but surely I am upgrading each room in the house. As much as I would LOVE to have the Flynn Ryder twin come in and give my house a makeover worthy of Architecture Digest™, we just don’t have the moolah for that. Still, some things are worth improving due to the certain disrepair that comes with age. The bathroom tops that list for me, narrowly edging out the kitchen by a tenth of a hair. Water damage, mildew damage, curling iron damage…. it all adds up. So this year’s home improvement lottery winner was the main hall bathroom. Yes, my sanctuary will have to wait a few years before I can bring it up to Empress standards. It’s a sacrifice I was willing to make.

This is the bathroom before.

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Not bad, but you can’t see the water damage behind the sink (THANK GOODNESS!!). It was a waste of space, having all that countertop and uncomfortable to have the sink right by the door.

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I’m a Jewelry Jinx

I’m one of the most minimal people y’all will ever know. About the only constant piece of jewelry I wear is my wedding band. But like a magpie, I do love, and I mean love to own bling. And mostly the fashion stuff. Who doesn’t love a huge neon pink rock on their finger, right?

That’s why the Ring Pop lollipop is so popular, my friends.

Anyway, like all women I have my favorite jewelry lines. Depending on the occasion my taste in bling changes. If I have a formal to attend (and those may be in my near future again, much to my feet’s chagrin), I tend to pick very bold pieces. If I’m going to a tea, I favor more whimsical items like flowers. If I’m going to lunch with Hubby, then I opt for just earrings. Even if the occasion is cleaning the bathroom, I do wear something blingy, like a tiara. Don’t judge me.

kirks folly dragonfly necklace

A few weeks ago, I was shopping for upcoming birthdays and decided to get my nieces some pretty fantasy jewelry. They loved my dragonfly necklace and I thought it would be nice to get them similar necklaces. Kirks Folly™ is my favorite jewelry for whimsy. So I go to their website…. and there is a “Thank You” posted to all their customers for a great 35 years. Undeterred, I go to QVC, and find it GONE!! As if this wasn’t bad enough, my favorite jewelry company, Lia Sophia™, declared bankruptcy a few months back! I’m in a total panic now. I do a search for Nolan Miller’s line, and….. gone. Kenneth Jay Lane? Discontinued. And with the passing of Joan Rivers, I worry that her line will also go the way of the dodo. I love her bee pins, and I am angling for her grape cluster pin before they discontinue it.

Now I have to go shop around for whimsy. Again. Which is fine since shopping is one of my gifts.

I just hope that Lolita™ never, ever retires.