Monday, August 22, 2011

Antiques and fabric

I love antiques.  For some reason I have always enjoyed old things.  Old furniture, old pictures, old movies, just old stuff.  My dad enjoyed auctions and flea markets and I obviously learned it from him.  I must add that my dad enjoyed the flea markets of old not the flea markets I see around today.  These new flea markets are just a place for folks to sell new things at a seemingly discounted price.  That's not the kind of flea markets I grew up frequenting.  The old time flea markets were where folks gathered to sell their belongings they no longer a huge garage sale.  For me it's sad to see the "real" flea markets becoming a thing of the past.

So has the factory outlet store.  Nowadays they have these factory outlet shopping centers that really aren't outlet stores.  They are just brand names selling their wares and trying to get you to believe you're getting a wonderful bargain.

For me a factory outlet store was usually in a basement or an outbuilding next to the factory that makes the product they're selling.  My best example is a fabric outlet store.  My mom knew the best places to get fabric at discount, and I mean real discount, prices.  Where we lived near Scranton, PA there was a business that had a building filled with bolts of fabric.  Their flawed bolts and pieces of fabric went to an outbuilding where they sold them as seconds.  You could go in the outlet store and see hundreds of blots of fabric lining the walls and in bug wooden bins.  Oh my, I can remember walking up and down the aisles just breathing in the smell of all that lovely fabric.  My mom would pick out some bolts and take them up to the cutting table...a really huge table in the middle of the store. 

A gentleman would come up, usually the same one that had so nicely greeting us at the door, and take the bolts and one by one unroll them to see how damaged the fabric was.  My mom would either decide that the flaw was workable or she would have him put the bolt back.  My mom would usually get a "few yards" of each fabric. 

To this day I can see the man grab hold of the end of the fabric and whip it straight out the the bolt would start rolling.  He would unroll at least a yard or more then measure out the amount of yardage mom wanted.  When he would get ready to cut it off the bolt he would look where to cut and then move his scissors up at least half a yard and then make his cut.  The fabric would get folded and we would go on to the next bolt.

I swear that my mom always got two to three yards more then she ever asked for.

Nowadays you go into a JoAnn fabric store or another fabric store and they line up the fabric with their measure, straighten out the fabric and then carefully slide the fabric over the measure until they reach the desired yardage.  Then they bend lower to the mark and take their scissors and cut exactly on the mark...never giving even 1/8 of an inch of leeway on either end of the fabric.  Also if they get to the end of the bolt and there is even 1/16 of fabric left they ask if you want the extra and charge you for it.  I mean just inches of fabric and they charge for it.  To be honest when that happens to me I always say "No thank you".  It usually startles the employee and they tell me that it will have to be sold as a remnant and I always respond with "If you don't want to bother dealing with a remnant just give me the extra few inches."  Oh no they can't do that so they can take the time and go ahead and sell it as a remnant. 

I do long for the days where the almighty dollar wasn't always the desired prize.

Anyhow, back to antiques.  While on vacation we went to a few antique stores.  Both my sister, Lindy, and I love antique shopping and that love has been passed on to Lindy's son, Hammie.  He just loves antiques.  I hoping this love will be passed onto my children but for now Hammie is the antique buff.

While in one antique store Martin and I came upon what looked like small antique tractors.  They were so unique so I snapped a few pictures of them.  While looking at them I noticed they were made out of old sewing machines. 

Those of you interested in sewing, antiques of farming will find these quite fun to see. 

Seeing the old sewing machines made me think about who owned them and what kind of garments they helped create.  I know that sewing machines don't have a "life" but for someone they were probably something vital to their family and very necessary during frugal times.  Then I think about how they went from an important part of a family to being turned into a decoration.  I am glad that they didn't end up crushed to pieces in some dump and someone was able to create a piece of art out of them.

While looking in the same store I found a button pillow.  I don't know the real name for these pillows but that's what our family called them.  My mother made many of these and I recall with fondness the memory of her sitting on the couch sewing away with her needle and thread.  At this store they were selling this one that my son, Martin, is holding for $25.00.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer with family

Along with our vacation we had a memorable time visiting with some family.  David and Cheri Denny (our cousins) came to Alaska to visit.  We had a blast and it was wonderful for our kiddos to get to know more family.

Then we had the extreme pleasure of having a night with Scott and Susan Brooks, our cousins, living in Florida.  I had never met Susan before...much to my dismay and I hadn't seen Scott for over 30 years.  Talk about a long overdue visit!!!  Anyhow, we had supper with them at Cracker Barrel and had a wonderful time.  Hammie and Martin could have stayed for hours listening to Scott talk about his dad in the war!

It was even more than wonderful to reconnect with family.  These cousins are children of mom's brother Larry and Jeannette Brooks.  We've all gotten older but I must say that Cheri and Scott look much the same.  I wish I could say the same for myself!  Hopefully photos to come at a later date.

Vacation was fabulous

We had a wonderful vacation.  I have to download my photos from my cell phone and then I'll be able to post some for everyone.  In the meantime just a brief overview of our trip.

We flew into JFK airport in NYC and rented a minivan.  We drove that night to Atlantic City.  Some folks we met earlier told us not to go to Atlantic City since it was very run down and dirty.  We already booked the hotel so we were stuck.  I'm glad we were stuck because we had a wonderful time.  Atlantic City was wonderful...not dirty...nor rundown.  We spent most of one day on the beach and swam in the Atlantic Ocean.  All of us had a good time. 

We left Atlantic City and drove to Cape May, NJ to catch the Lewes, Delaware ferry.  By taking the ferry we bypassed the Washington, DC traffic in heading toward Florida.  We stopped off in Savannah to eat at Paula Deen's Lady and Son's restaurant.  We were quite excited to eat here since we heard nothing but rave reviews about it.  Wow, were we disappointed.  Some of the food was cold, some was dry and just not good.  It was not worth the money.  I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone.  I'd take Olive Garden any day over Lady and Son's .  Oh well, at least we could say we've been there.

We arrive in Orlando and went to the Condo we rented for the next several days.  Sea World one day, Aquatica the next and Discovery Cove for day three.  All were fun but Discovery Cove won our hearts.  We swam with dolphins and learned to snorkel among all kinds of fish and rays.  The lazy river was very lazy because you just snorkel the entire river.  It was a great day.

Then we headed off to Daytona for Martin's visit to the speedway.  It was hot each day but particularly hot at Daytona.  It was an interesting visit and then headed toward Tennessee to Dollywood.

I loved Dollywood and would go back in an instant.  In fact we want to plan a full week in the Smokey Mountains including Dollywood.  The kiddos liked it to.  Martin became addicted to roller coasters!

After Dollywood we headed to Gettysburg and had a nice visit although it, also, was way to short of a stay.  We need to return to finish the tour.  The kiddos did get to see the battlefield on horseback!  That was fun even though they said their patooties were numb after it was over! 

Then back to JFK for our return flights.

I'll post more at when I've got some time and the photos get downloaded.

Take care!