Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Thought I'd have a bit of fun with an Etsy team creative challenge.
Each month, I find obscure 'special' occasions, draw out two, and members can challenge their creativity by crocheting something for one or both themes.
July's choices were National Hot Dog Month and Blueberry Month.  Guess which I chose?  :)
 The amigurumi ketchup and mustard bottles need some work, so the bottles will not be available for sale.  I am hoping to re-work them into something I'm happy with and have a pattern available before too long.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Vintage Fun

I have mentioned my Grandma Dobson previously...where I mentioned how sure I am that my love of glassware began with her.  I firmly believe my love of yard sales also started with a visit to Grandma.

This past weekend, my husband, oldest daughter and I went to the Treasure Hunting Flea Market at nearby Heritage Village.  My daughter thought perhaps she could find some items for a  low enough price that she could turn around and sell them on eBay.  After all, the end of her free education (well, not exactly free, we pay taxes) is soon coming to an end, and university is not cheap.  Especially if you plan on attending one that's not exactly within driving distance.

While there, we did find some goodies, and actually did buy a few.  Whether or not they are worth anything...well, I'm finding out now that searching for information is almost as fun as looking at everything at the flea market!
One item I did find was a Cap'n Crunch bank.  Years ago (for those too young to remember) breakfast cereal often had some cool freebies, either in the box, or fun things you could mail away for.  The Cap'n Crunch bank was one.  This guy was in very good shape, and I just had to have him.  I found out afterward, that they have been selling for anywhere from $14 US (not in very good condition) to $50 US!!

I currently have him listed on Etsy, and will leave him for a bit, but am also considering listing him on eBay instead.  Here, if I have heard correctly, I must thank those scammers on eBay who would list something for pennies with an exorbitant  shipping price to avoid paying eBay their final value fee--eBay now takes their FVF on the shipping cost as well.

I also picked up a set of 4 carnival glass goblets.  My daughter made me promise I would not keep these--we really don't have room in this house, but I LOVE carnival glass!  I have to take pics of these and list them on Etsy, or eBay, as well.
What really caught our eye was near the end of our 'shopping'.  On the ground under a large table was a box of frames.  On top, a framed black and white print of a man.  The original photo was vintage, you could tell from the pose, the clothes, the hair...but there was just something compelling about this man, and my daughter had to have the picture.  I agreed...we hadn't fully decided, when the man behind the table quoted us a not-to-be-turned down price on the whole box which helped us make our decision.
Once home, we looked at the picture.  The backing paper was brown, very dry and brittle, and glued along the back edges of the wood frame.  There were the numbers '12 04' in red, and a stamp below with the name of a business (the picture is downstairs at the moment, and I'll admit I just don't feel like running down just to do an exact quote right now), Tschirhart was the name.  The address was 85 Pitt St. East in Windsor.  Cool, local!  But, a Google map search, street view did not show us any such business, and a regular Google search showed lawyers at that address.
Which is understandable, I'm sure 'piano and player piano' businesses aren't exactly a dime a dozen nowadays.
So...how long ago did this business exist?  A look at the phone number on the stamp is a very good indication.  Now, phone numbers are 10 digits, you must dial the area code as well, and as long as I've been alive, we've had 7 digits for local calls.  The phone number for Tschirhart's shop?  896-K

THREE digits.  So far, the best  I could find was this was before the mid 50's.  My father is pretty sure it was much earlier.
So...way cool!
Again, I will have to take pics of this find.  I am not sure if we'll wind up putting him up for sale or keeping him, but I am having fun trying to learn about him.  If we do sell him, I honestly think I'll miss him.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The $4,000 doodle

I think I've decided to leave yesterday's post up.  If anything, it could be a lesson on why sleep is important. 

While on Etsy this morning, a seller posted a comment in the forum.  I'm still trying to figure this seller out, whether he posts just to get a rise out of people, or he sincerely is trying to sell his work for the prices he is asking.  I won't paste his work or his name here, but I will give you a general idea of what it looks like: 

Imagine this done in marker, on a wrinkled piece of art paper torn from a spiral art pad, with a picture that looks like it's taken on someone's carpeted floor.  With an asking price of $4,000.
Of course, the 'artist' spent hours on that (my representation took about 10 seconds, but it is very close), and take your pick of different drawings:  goat, mask, horse...they all look almost identical.  And apparently, the artist studied some kind of relationship...can't remember his exact wording, lines?  geometry?  Alcohol?
Keeping this $4,000 doodle, ooops, masterpiece in mind, please take a peek at my daughter's drawing.  Now, obviously, she's not in the same class as the artist I've mentioned, and has not studied any relationship between lines and shapes other than one year of high school art class, but if I *have* to pay $4,000 for one or the other, hands-down, I'd pick hers. 
Another difference between the two, the 'artist' stands firmly by his prices and his boasts of his skills, while my daughter claims she is no artist.  Ah, modesty.  :)
This is one of her more recent drawings, and isn't one of her best. 
If by chance anyone is interested in an 8 x 10 print of this, it will be printed on acid-free paper on our HP colour printer and shipped sandwiched between cardboard to prevent wrinkling and bending in the mail.  $20 includes shipping anywhere, and all profit will go to my daughter, to put away for school, or spend as she sees fit.  I can be contacted at crochetsal (at symbol here) yahoo (dot symbol here) com.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


When I'm really tired, I tend to get 'goofy'.  I laugh at almost anything, come up with silly ideas which, sometimes when I've gotten sleep and look at them again, sometimes can be a little stupid.

After working my 3rd midnight shift, and having a routine that basically equalled a 12 hour day with only 2 broken hours of sleep, when I got home this morning, I was tired.  I was home early, so sat up to see the girls off to school, and kept busy weaving in ends on some squares for a friend.  12 squares, 4 colours each square...that's 96 ends to weave in and trim off.  I looked at the little pile and proudly announced:  "Cool!  YARN BARF!"

Thankfully, I do not work tonight, so will hopefully get some sleep and have a much clearer head in the morning.  Which means, I could look at this post in the morning, think "OMG, I posted THAT?" and my finger won't hesitate over the delete button.  Or I could just leave it up, cause I think we all should give in to the 'sillies' once in a while.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Down Memory Lane

Occasionally, I browse through sites like Etsy and eBay for vintage glassware and the older Avon bottles--figural, animals, etc.
I am fairly certain this love of glassware began with my Grandma D.  Grandma lived just a few blocks from us in a very small town, and we were allowed to walk over and visit her at a young age, even having to cross one of the main streets.  Nowadays, I'm not sure if parents are a little more watchful of their young kids, but anyone who grew up in Wheatley in the 70's knows how small a town that was, and just how non-busy Erie street was.
Grandma's house was like a treasure box, always something more to find.  She had colourful glass vases and goblets lining the windows they could line, and adorning the bookshelves in her front room, dressers and anywhere else that needed a pick-me-up.  I remember on top of her television she had a balloon couple, I believe they were Royal Doulton.
Occasionally, Grandma would let us go up to the attic and look around and through boxes that were stored up there.  What treasures!  Old workbooks from when my father was younger, some clothes, some glassware, and a certain kind of magic that if I close my eyes now and picture the attic, I can still feel.

Once we moved to a town about a half hour away, visits were fewer and farther between.  But, there were times I stayed with Grandma for a few days.  One day, we went 'yard sale-ing'.  There was a house on one of the backroads in between Wheatley and Leamington, and I can't remember anything else that was out for sale, but there was one piece that caught my eye.  A blue wedgewood looking candle holder with a lid, complete with the old Moonwind scented candle inside.  I picked it up, looked it over and just had to have the piece.  It did have a very small chip on the inside of the lid, but I loved it anyway.  This was the beginning of my Avon collection.

My grandmother passed away in the mid 80's, but to this day, I still visit her house in my dreams, always looking for something but never really finding it.

In my most recent window shopping, I came across a shop with a listing for a pair of these holders, minus the candles, on Etsy.  I just had to make these mine and contacted the seller, who replied quickly and is willing to ship these to Canada for me.

The picture is property of debster222 and is used here with her permission.  

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Morning Walk

I really must learn to listen to myself.  I decided this morning to take the dogs for a walk down the trail, and thought "Maybe I should take my camera", but then figured "Nah, the same stuff will be there next time"
Already, in early May, it's feeling like a mid-summer day.  Walking along the trail I could smell 'fresh':  the flowering trees, the weeds along the side of the trail, and even just the grass and the trees.  I must admit, there was a short span behind the fishery where the smell wasn't so pleasant, but later on, mingled with the fresh green smell was the smell of paint.  Almost heaven.  :)
At one point, my part-shepherd started to pull and I looked farther up to see a rabbit on the side of the trail.  The rabbit hopped ahead on the trail as we walked, then hopped across it.  Stopped, watched us, hopped a little farther, stopped...repeated this once more, then hopped into the bushes.  As we approached where the rabbit had left the trail, I looked over, and sooooo close, there he was staring back at me.  Ideal camera time.  :(

I will say, for relaxation, it was an awesome walk.  The smells, the sights, and the birds and insects chirping and singing.  For excercise, not so much.  Both dogs insisted on marking twigs and dandelions as we went--I didn't know females did this too, but I swear, Daisy-dog stopped more than Buster did!  There is nothing like a dog stopping to smell things along the way to remind you to stop and smell the roses, although I prefer my roses over their 'finds'.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Story of Jack the Cat

Not the complete story, but one that starts when we first met Jack. Sadly, it is a short one. Jack was at one time a beautiful grey cat, that much could be seen despite the fact that he was little more than skin and bones covered in hair.
Yesterday, he approached my daughter and her friend outside, meowing, and apparently looking a bit scary. We offered him food, then water, but he wasn't interested in either. With only an hour left to get ready and be at work...I took him to the vet. If you are the owner and lost Jack and have missed him since(my daughter's friend named him)please know that he once more had someone who cared for him and yes, loved him, even for that short time. And stop reading now.


 If you are Jack's owner, and noticed he was getting sicker, yet insisted on waiting, thinking he'd get better, then realized he needed professional care and dumped him, I hope you get what you deserve.

Maybe you couldn't afford the vet bill, but some vets will work with you in emergency situations, and perhaps the vet bill, had you taken Jack in earlier, would have been less than what I wound up paying for your cat. I'll say here, that with two kids, two cats, two dogs, a mortgage and various other bills, I couldn't really afford to pay for *your* cat either. But I treated it like I would one of my own.

For yes, at one time, Jack did have owners. He was not shy around us, even walking into the cat carrier at my daughter's urging with no fuss. And sometime in his short life (they estimated he was about a year old) he had been neutered. You at least got that much right, Jack's previous owner.

 The vet checked him over, and I'll sum it up here for you. Jack was severely anemic. His gums were not pink, but white. He was bone thin, and had residue from diarrhea around his anal area. When the vet felt his abdomen, she commented that there was gas in there. Unfortunately, not in the intestines, but just in the abdomen, which meant he could have sustained internal injuries. The vet added that there was also feces in there. She gave me a couple of options, after asking if I planned on taking the cat in if he were to pull through.

The answer, in case you feel the need to ask, was yes. She was going to hook him up to an IV, get some fluid, antibiotics and food in him. But, she recommended a blood test. I found out the result of the blood test while at work, and knew that with all Jack's problems, this on top of it didn't leave much hope for his survival. Jack had feline HIV.

 I made the decision to have him euthanized rather than trying to prolong his life and see him suffer, even if he did pull through after spending hundreds of dollars, his life wouldn't be long by any means. So, Jack's previous owner, not only did you put Jack through a lot of pain and suffering just letting him go like you did, but you risked OTHER CATS' HEALTH, too. Cats that have responsible pet owners, that wouldn't just drop their cat when he was sick.

There was a small part of me, after I made the decision, that felt guilty euthanizing someone's family pet, but that was the part of me that couldn't understand how someone could bring a cat into their life and then just abandon it in its time of need. The larger part of me was angry that someone had let Jack get so sick. And angry that they let him go so some cat lover who really couldn't afford it, would take responsiblity for him and see he was taken care of.

 I paid that bill today, and almost cried when I left. Not for the money, but for that poor cat who really did deserve better.

And here, Jack's story ends. No beginning, no middle, just an end that spanned in all, about an hour and a half, only 1/3 of which we had the pleasure of knowing him.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

A Farewell.

I have to say, this past Christmas was probably one of the worst I've had, yet at the same time, one of the better.

I'm sure I've mentioned before how my mother could drive me crazy, and at last, I just stepped away from the games and the verbal abuse a few years ago, and saw my mother only at family functions. I know she didn't feel good about herself, and that's where the insults came from, but that didn't mean I had to put up with it, and I still do not regret that.

But, as crazy as people can make you, you can still love them.

December 20th, I got a call from my sister: my mother had gone to the hospital where she'd just a few weeks before had scans and fluid drained from around her lungs for a breath test. They found fluid again, more than the first time (that was 1.4 litres) and were keeping her in. A bit of backtracking here, when she went in around the beginning of the month, they found nothing, drained the fluid, and my father was told there was blood in it. Although it wasn't always the case, the doctor said, it *could* be cancer. She was home a few days later. My mother being as hard-headed as she was (no mule could match her for stubborn), we figured it couldn't possibly be cancer: there was no way a cancer cell could survive in her body, she'd outlive us all.

But on the 21st, another call from my sister. One lung had collapsed, and they discovered a previously undetected tumour in her other lung. The doctor said it could be a few days, or a few months...

I drove up to Windsor with my sister, and my youngest daughter. My mother was in CCU (cardiac care unit), and appeared to be unresponsive. I told my daughter she could say hi to Grandma first.

"But she can't hear me" Allie replied, seeing the closed eyes.

"Yes, yes, she can hear you." I said. Allie stepped forward, said "Hi, Grandma" and my mother tried to speak, but the sound came out as grunts only.

I stepped forward, leaned over, put my hand on her arm and said "Mom, it's Sally, Allie and I are both here."

She tried again to speak, and struggled to pull her hands out from under the sheets. Dad helped move the sheet and mom lifted her arms for a hug.

Mom passed away just before 7 the next morning, December 22nd.

Two days later, Dad asked if I could go over, the minister was coming to speak with him about the memorial service, which was to be held after Christmas. The minister asked if anyone wanted to say anything, I can't remember if it was my brother that volunteered first, or if I did. Dad commented that of all 5 of us kids, he was sure it would be me and my brother that would get up in front of people to say something.

For the next few days, I wondered, what on earth to say. I hadn't spoken to my mother in a few years. I couldn't get up and say that. I couldn't get up and outright lie either. I thought of backing out, there was time...but then I remembered Dad's comment, and the look on his face, and felt that this was something I just had to do.

But the question of what to write was still there.

It had been years since I'd left high school, but waiting till the last minute for writing assignments 'way back' worked then, maybe it would work at least this one more time. The night before the service, I sat and I wrote.


Dear Mom:

I put this off, hoping it would be like when I was in high school: I'd just whip something up for my homework the night before, it was so easy to fill a page with words and be happy with the first draft. I wrote, setting my pen down on stark white paper and writing whatever came to mind. Tonight, it's not so different: I'm sitting staring at the stark white screen of my computer monitor, with my fingers fidgeting on the keyboard, but at the same time it's very different. I'm not writing from some corner of my mind, I'm writing from my heart. And although I'm not being graded today, the words are more important than anything I've written before.

What will I remember?

Laughter. Smiles. Silly little jokes, like the one where you perched on top of the television (back then, they weren't flimsy little flat screens) and making a crack about being “on” TV. Handmade playing cards cut from bristol board with drawings of trees on some of them. Learning to crochet from you, or trying to, being right handed it was difficult to learn from someone who was left-handed.

Your strength. There have been some rough, emotional times, and although you didn't always show it, on the inside, you were hurting as much as the rest of us.

There are also things I won't remember:

Mom, we didn't always see eye to eye on things, but this was okay: you and dad raised us to have our own opinions, and even if we did argue, there was never a doubt that love was still there.

I won't remember words said in the heat of the moment, or the times there were no words for days or weeks. There is no room for these memories.

What will I remember most?

The last time I saw you, Mom. We hadn't spoken much for some time. I saw you in the hospital bed, I said “Mom, it's Sally” and you raised your arms, I saw how difficult it was, for a hug, and I knew you still loved me.

As I woke up this morning, a poem I'd read in one of Mom's books suddenly came to mind, I'd like to add the first verse of Elizabeth's Allen's 'Rock Me to Sleep' here:

BACKWARD, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,
Make me a child again just for to-night!
Mother, come back from the echoless shore,
Take me again to your heart as of yore;
Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care,
Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair;
Over my slumbers your loving watch keep;—
Rock me to sleep, mother,—rock me to sleep!


I had worried that I would get up in front of everyone, and break down and be unable to finish. But I stood at the little podium, faced those who had known my mother, unfolded my paper and read. A calmness settled over me as I read, and I was able to read the entire piece, as short as it was, along with a comment before the poem, how I felt that the memory of the poem had been sent to me for a reason, that I was sure my mother would have wanted it read.

After all this, you may ask how this could have been one of my better Christmases?
I got to spend time with my father.