Thursday, September 25, 2014

My love of old hurricane lamps

I blame CK for this post.  He had a post about design on his blog here:

In the comments section I mentioned which time periods I liked as far as design (1920s-1930s) and I also mentioned my love of hurricane lamps.  I've been thinking lately about what I would like to post about, and the minute I thought about my lamps, I thought, that's it!

So I have no idea how old any of my lamps are, and until this post, I never bothered to research anything about them.  I didn't buy and collect them because they were worth money, I collect them because they have aesthetic value to me. I love the weight of them when I pick them up.  I love the cool feel of the glass in hand.  I love the beauty in their curving lines, and I love that they are practical as well as beautiful.  

I purchased my first oil lamp (a reproduction) in 1982.  It has a glass top and a wooden base.  I got it for the look, but I was also moving away from home for the first time and I wanted to make sure I had a source of light if I couldn't afford to use electricity, which as it turned out, was pretty prescient.  I was very poor when I first went out on my own and couldn't afford to use electricity for anything that wasn't necessary.

Later when I was living in Arkansas, I discovered Quattlebaum's junk shop.  I was like a kid in a candy store there, they had junk, but also antique oil lamps and iron beds (both of which I began collecting) and I was hooked.  I became a regular customer, haunting the aisles and the shelves every week when he brought in new products from estate sales and other places where he found these treasures.  

Now I'm a long way from Arkansas, and there are no junk shops in Maryland like you would find on every back road in Arkansas, so I have to satisfy myself with getting to the weekend flea market a few times every few months and picking up the occasional lamp, or part of a lamp.

Currently I've found myself in the possession of two very old bases (first photo on top) in which they have a base that has the brass threads for the burner on the inside of the glass neck.  Reproduction lamps and reproduction burners are made to screw into threads on the outside of the glass neck.  So I've been unable to find a burner to fit either base.  In the picture at the top, I placed a burner and chimney on top of one of the bases, but they re not secured.  

In addition to the oil/hurricane lamps, I've also started picking up lanterns, antiques and reproductions. I don't know why lamps have captured my attention so thoroughly, but I do love looking at them.  Currently I have lined all the shelves in my daughter's old room with various lamps and lanterns.  I'm actually out of room to put any more up there, so I don't know what I'll do if I find another I can't live without.  

Recently I've begun picking up old milk and medicine bottles.  I love clear glass, etched or pressed. I also collect dishes like that.  I wonder what my fascination is with old glass. Oh well, I guess I should get back to researching them.  Maybe I'll find out how old they are or find replacement burners for those two older bases.

My baby is doing okay

I've had the chance to Skype with my son and his girlfriend, plus we've texted and Facebook messaged.  M says I've had more regular contact with him since he left the country than when he lived nearby.  She's right, but it's never enough for a mother.  Here are some of their touristy pictures in Taiwan.  He also tells me he is learning a little Chinese, but he's picking up the everyday slang better.  At least that's what I think he was referring to.  I still miss him.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I must have been lazy in a previous lifetime and am making up for it inthis lifetime.

What a long, slow process cleaning and decluttering can be.  So how long ago did I clean out the attic so a new roof could be put on?  Oh yeah, last May, almost five months later, and I'm still dealing with the repercussions of that event.  When I emptied the attic, stuff went into my son's room and our sunroom downstairs.  We just had the second, of two massive, multi-family yards sales to sell the stuff that was in the attic.  So now that the attic clutter was out of the sunroom, I could tackle the other clutter that was already in the sunroom before we added all the a stuff from the attic.  That clutter was golf stuff, yoga stuff, sewing, craft, tools, office papers, and all sorts of other things.  I didn't think to take a before picture, but that is just about done, and it has been exhausting.  It turned into more than just cleaning.  We hauled all M's band equipment up to the attic, because the band is no more since 2 players moved to California.  We also hauled my sewing machine, table, and all my fabric and craft supplies to the attic.

Next I had to move junk and furniture out of the room so I could clean all the windows, wash and polish all the wood trim.  I next noticed all the walls were scuffed up, chipped, and dented from guys hauling band equipment in and out over the years, so I touched up the paint around the room.  It wasn't easy matching a faded, 9 year old paint job, but we got so close that it's not that noticeable.  Then I ended up hauling all the furniture back and forth between the living room and sunroom, mixing and matching the furniture until everything fit.  I was beyond exhausted. All this is going on in the midst of still teaching and grading, plus I've been getting ready to take a really fast weekend trip up to NY to see family.  Then as soon as we get back, another sister is coming to see me.  Then the following weekend we're flying to Miami to see the Green Bay Packers play.  Then when we return from that trip, we will have workers in here to gut the upstairs bathroom, because we just don't have enough chaos in our lives.  Below are the pictures of our cleaned up sunroom.  It only looked close to this, briefly, in 2005 when we first moved into this house.  For 8 of our 9 years in this house it has been the band room and junk room.  I feel like I can breathe in this room because all the clutter is gone.  I can't even remember the last time you could see the floor.  Ahhh.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


My child

Before I knew you
I longed for you,
but I did not worry about you.

You were somewhere out there,
beyond the farthest reaches of heaven.

God knew where you were.
You were safe. You did not hurt. 

You were loved.

So I could go about my life,
without a gaping hole,
knowing that someday,
you would arrive,
and I would hold you in my arms.

Now, at this most heart wrenching time,
I need to remember this.
I need to be firm in my certainty,
that you are somewhere out there,
beyond the farthest reaches of heaven.

God knows where you are,
You are safe. You do not hurt. 

You are loved.

So I must go about my life,
Certain that this gaping hole,
will someday be filled again.

We will arrive in a common place,
and I will once again, hold you in my arms.
For that is the way of life and love.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

If at first you don't succeed

I decided to dig out my sewing machine today, I've been working all out as usual and decided I needed a little creative play time.  I'm still learning how to sew, but in my own way.  I look at pictures of items I'd like to make and then I do.  I don't use plans or patterns.  I don't measure, just eye ball it. I'm a firm believer in, "if there's thread on the bobbin and spool, use it until it runs out."  So often the thread I sew with doesn't match what I'm sewing.  It's not hard to change a bobbin or thread a needle, so I don't know why I resist. All this often leads to less than stellar results, and sometimes products that are nothing like what I planned to do.  Today was one of those days.

I planned to make a tote bag like I've done before, only this time I thought I'd put a flap on it so things wouldn't fall out if it tipped over.  Because I really wanted a full peacock front and center on the bag from the patterned fabric I had, I cut the sides bigger than I normally would.  I thought it would be fine, I was wrong.  The bag was so big that it was too big to be a purse or tote bag, so I turned it into a messenger bag.  I tried again and this time got the purse sized bag I was going for.

I put a Velcro closure on the outside flap, and a keychain loop.  Inside I have a zippered pocket on one side and a Velcro pocket on the other side.  

This is the messenger bag.  There's just a zippered pocket inside.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Facing Fear

Fear is an interesting creature. It's part of our human make-up, it's what allowed us to survive and not get eaten by strange noises from the jungle, well, um, fear combined with running like hell.

Some of us have very little fear in our lives. We get to a place where we're comfortable, a place of predictability, low-drama, and we ride along with the traffic of other people who want to get by and not have their feathers ruffled by other people, tough decisions, stress . . . fear.

Then there are the adrenalin junkies, fear is their drug of choice. They enjoy the rush of being in that brief window with fear, not knowing if they'll come out alive on the other side. I've never understood adrenalin junkies. I never wanted to press my luck. In general, I've preferred to be safe.

That said, even though I don't go out of my way to create fear in my life, and I don't avoid drama, confrontations, difficult decisions like some do, I don't usually bring fear into my world . . . at least not consciously that I'm aware of. 

Currently, I have some fear.  My baby is on the other side of the world.  He's in a strange land where he doesn't know the language or other people, other than his girlfriend.  As a mother, this brings me fear.  I can't simply get in the car and get to him if he gets in trouble.  I'm having to will myself not to dwell on what might happen, and instead focus on this wonderful opportunity he has for growth and experience.

Then, I also wonder about his fear.  He doesn't like to fly, yet he just willingly spent about 17 hours riding in planes to get to Taiwan.  He also knows he's working without his "mom" safety net, yet he chose to do this.  My son has never liked fear.  Fear has held him back in becoming proficient in learning a musical instrument, of trying to master sports, because he feared other people looking at him and judging him.  At least, from my mother perspective, this is my understanding of the choices he's made thus far.

So when he chose to make this trip, to put himself out there, risk so much, face so much fear, I was impressed.  I hope this experience is wonderful for him.  I hope he learns and grows and becomes the man I've always known he could be, if he just overcame some of his fear. 

Last full day in Europe

Ahh, all good things must come to an end.  Our European vacation is drawing to a close.  We leave Nice this morning to drive back to Barcelo...