Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vacation Treasures II

I thought part II of my Vacation Treasures posts would make it live shortly after part I but I've been so busy being teacher since we got back from our trip (and having SO MUCH FUN doing it) that I kind of forgot about my blog. Now that we're back on fall schedule and with baby arriving in just over a month I can see how my blog will be slipping further and further down the priority ladder so I guess I better get used to it. For now, its better late than never, so here we go...

No vacation is complete without a few souvenirs from the trip. Lucky for me there are antique/junk/curiosity shops all up and down Route 1, the road we chose to head up to and back from the Bath/Georgetown, Maine area.

Much to hubby's dismay, I just can't drive by a place like this without yelling, "Ooooh! Ooooh!! Turnaround!" Because he loves me, he did just that.

Junk displayed all over the lawn and porch just becons me to stop and come inside.
After walking through all the rooms of this old victorian-house-turned-antique-shop, there were only two different things (or collections of) that interested me. One was a collection of old casters of all various sizes and patinas. I didn't buy any because I don't currently have anything I would use them on so I wouldn't know what ones to get. However, I imagine that some day I'll come across some funky old junk that I'll want to install some old casters under for results similar to these inspirational pieces:
Hmmm...could I squeeze a couple of these in the girls' room?

Reminds me of the carts that employees unload shipments from in the grocery store. I'll admit I've been tempted to ask a store manager where they get them and how much they cost. I would love one as a funky industrial coffee table.

Okay, that's enough caster inspiration for one day. So the other collection of items that I did end up making a purchase from was a bowl of assorted buttons. My mom has been making some awesome button bracelets lately. She finds the coolest buttons working at Sally's - she buys clothes just for the buttons and has quite the collection started. Now I'm inspired to make a few button bracelets myself. So I spent a whopping 85 cents on these random buttons to add to my small collection (I'm sure she'll share some of hers with me too):
Random variety including some bakelite, mother of pearl, suede, leather, and velvet.

So on the way up to our Maine destination, I only made one stop and spent less than $1. But I could make a whole day of shopping along Route 1 if hubby wasn't along. That's on my bucket list. Along with getting my butt to Brimfield (which should be easy enough to have crossed off the list by now but I just can't ever seem to make it happen) and my biggest pipe dream ever: getting to the world's longest yard sale - "The 127 Sale" (4 days, 675 miles, from Michigan to Alabama). Some day!!

I was hoping to take home some natural treasures from our trip, like interesting shells or rocks, sea glass, or small pieces of driftwood, but my beach-combing efforts were fruitless. One thing I SO would have taken home with me (if I could have convinced hubby to lug it to the car and if it wasn't soaking wet) was this weathered stump:

I would love to use an old stump (or grouping of them) set upright as an end-table type thing. And maybe put casters on the bottom like the inspiration photo above? :)

One of the days while on Georgetown Island, I stopped at a little art gallery that was housed in the town's old post office. They sold original paintings as well as prints and greeting cards made by local artists. Original artwork is not in my budget but I scooped up these greeting card prints that I plan to frame/display at home:

 Although other paintings of the ocean and local scenery were much more bright and beautiful than this one, this best represented the dreary weather we experienced at Reid State Park. I chose it because it was a more accurate memory.

I got this one just because I liked it. Bird theme, go figure. The next day I received a photo text from a friend who happened to be at Brimfield (thanks for rubbing it in Naomi...just kidding!) of a nature ink-sketch much like this but with more of a distressed look and mounted on burlap in a black frame. What timely inspiration for how to maybe display this?
Anytime I'm traveling I try to find a jewelry store that sells silver charms - the traditional dangley kind (not the Pandora/bead style). My mom gave me a silver charm bracelet for my Sweet Sixteen and for a few years that followed, friends and relatives bought me charms to start filling it up. Over time, I've bought my own charms as souvenirs on various trips or to represent milestones in life and it has become more a memory bracelet:

Blurry as usual with my piece of crap camera, but this is my charm bracelet. I realized I have at least a half dozen more charms from trips over the past couple years, including our trip out west, that I still haven't put on the bracelet yet. Shame on me!
So while walking around downtown Bath, we found a jewelry shop that had a decent selection of silver charms, including many "Maine-ish" charms like various bottom feeders, nautical elements, moose, etc.  I hemmed and hawed over all the cliche Maine charms but couldn't make up my mind on one I really loved. I even found a rocking chair to represent the rocking chairs on the porch of the inn we stayed at, but even that wasn't "the one." Finally, hubby piped in when he noticed a charm of a flying eagle. Seeing an eagle was a significant memory from our trip (even though we never saw it fly). So while an eagle is not a typical symbol of a Maine vacation, it didn't matter. That charm was was "the one." I'm not sure if hubby really thought it was a great idea or it was a last ditch effort to get us moving along, but either way it worked. :)

(Since my camera can't focus on a single charm, just imagine an image of a silver flying eagle charm here.)

We had already decided to take Route 1 back home so we could stop at another beach like Ogunquit or York for a little while. And we also had to stop at the When Pigs Fly bakery shop in Kittery to pick up a few loaves of fresh bread too. So of course I also planned to do a little more treasure hunting along the way home as well. As we whizzed past one shop that I remembered passing on the way up, I told hubby to turn around because I wanted to stop this time and he obliged. Excitement welled up inside of me as I approached the door:
The sign out front might as well have said, "Welcome Hailey!"

This funky bench made of old chairs and what I think is a piece of an old door was among the stuff littered around the front lawn that also enticed me to see what creativity lay inside.
I was SO BUMMED to discover the shop was not open and there were no hours posted. Since we were already parked, I walked to the place next door that didn't even look mildly inviting.  It's one of those places that, depending on who you are, it either gives you an instant bout of anxiety or extreme excitement when you first walk in. It was an old, grungy, cement-floored hall crammed full of dusty knickknacks. For me, it was anxiety at first sight.  It was jam packed. Overwhelming. Too much ugly old crap. I can appreciate old junk, but this was CRAP. As in, not looking like it was worth digging through. Nothing enticed me to look around.  But I decided to just take a quick breeze through since I was already there. After walking more than half way around the front room I was about to give up and leave, but for some reason I decided to finish walking around the room. I think I was desperate not to "waste" one of our stops without finding any treasures.

All of the sudden something really cool came into focus - a collection of printing press letter blocks. WOW! I'm drawn to typography and these were even better than my old Anagram letters! The piece of furniture they were stored in was also funky and I had fun opening up all the flat little drawers to discover more letters, numbers, symbols and pictures/logos in various sizes, shapes and colors. I decided to look for all the letters to spell our last name. The vowels had obviously been picked over because I couldn't find a single "I", "i", "E" or "e". So I had to improvise with an upside down "!" for an "i" and the number "3" for the "E"s.  Finally, I was able to put this together:

I'm still contemplating exactly how/where to display this at home and will share once they're up.
Excited about these finds, I decided to finish up my tour of that room in case there were any more diamonds in the rough. I picked through some of the framed art, considering a few old Norman Rockwell prints as a housewarming gift for my little bro to hang in his new place. He's a big Rockwell fan but I didn't think he'd like the particular prints they had there. However, hiding amongst the bigger frames was this little gem:
So the frame is a little beat up and there's a little dirt under the glass, that just adds to the character. I love this Asian-inspired peacock made out of real bird feathers. My photo is big but the frame is actually pretty small. Reminds me of something else I have...
Also made from real bird feathers, this is hanging in my house (previously shared in this post) so I plan to hang my new one with it here:
Why yes, those birds do look a little lonely in that corner and could use another framed feathered friend above or below them.
Content with my letters and bird art, I stopped my search right there, paid for my wares, and rushed back out to the car. I knew if I took too long hubby would start getting irritated that I was cutting into our beach time. When I opened the car door to get in, hubby informed me that the first shop I had walked up to was now open and he encouraged me to go in. I said OK and quickly shut the door before he changed his mind, but I was certainly bewildered. Did my husband just suggest that I go into another shop and potentially spend more of his hard earned money on what he so endearingly refers to as "feces"???

Well this shop was the exact opposite of the one I had just come out of. My first response was extreme curiosity to keep looking, sure I would find 100 things I'd want to buy. Everything was so artfully and creatively displayed with an Anthropologie-meets-country-farmhouse vibe = LOVE. I had so much fun just looking around at everything. No piles. No digging required. No dust. Everything had a cute little tag with the description and price. But it was a small shop and there really wasn't much inventory. In the end, it turned out nothing really called out to me. So I praised the shop owner for his creativity in merchandising and I headed back to the car again, proud I could tell hubby I didn't buy anything else. As we drove off, he confessed that when I came back from the first shop, he was about 5 pages away from finishing the book he was reading and he'd shooed me away so he could wrap it up without distration. Aha. So that explained it!

Speaking of wrapping it up, that's it for my scores from our "just us" vacation. That was a Friday that we drove back home and as the following Saturday morning rolled around, I wasn't even slightly motivated to head out to yard sales. Typically, yard sales ramp up again in the fall and I get a renewed urge to hunt down some great finds but that hasn't happened yet this year. I'm actually feeling a little fizzled out, something I never thought was possible.  It was funny though - around lunch time that Saturday, my oldest suddently announced to me: "Mom!!! We didn't go yard saling this morning!!!" I said, "Yeah, I know." To which she replied, "That means everyone else got the good stuff first!!" I think I've created a monster.

P.S. Tomorrow I leave for my "just girls" vacation/weekend retreat, my final escape pre-baby #3. So stay tuned for Vacation Treasures III. :)

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