Saturday, November 27, 2010

Finds, loot, stash...from the Fancy Flea

From my last post, I had mentioned that I'd show you my snazzy finds from the Flea - so here they are...a lovely little chest of drawers in miniature size  (it's probably 18 inches tall, with little drawers).  All handpainted - you can see it on the left behind the blue candle.  Then, from the same artist, a handpainted candle holder to go with it all.  That's the one with the yellow circle with the dots on it.  So fab in the studio!
 Here we have a bumper set of chandelier crystals - just waiting to be transformed into some jewelry.  Or some "faux chandelier" treatments of my own.  See, I'd love to own a chandelier and decorate the studio with it, all Parisian attelier inspired and generally decadent.  But I live in a climate that only resembles Paris on the hottest days of summer - the Parisians install a "tropical beach" called the Paris Plage by the banks of the Seine in August just to try to make it bearable.  If you could get out of town, you would....and it's like that much of the year here.  So, practicality wins out, and a ceiling fan wins.  Doesn't have to look like an ordinary fan though.  And so hence, faux chandeliering - I'm slowly but surely adding bits of crystal on where I can and stringing it from other beads, and fishing line if that's what it takes.  Its as faux French as my command of the French language is...
 Now isn't he just looking all mysterious and evocative sitting on the top of the painted chest?
 and here it is, the piece de from the Fancy Flea...the typewriter.  You remember I said I was going to take a chance on buying it, because I wasn't really all that sure if it was going to work.  So last weekend, I took it out of its case (the original) and gave it a good once over with the eyeballs.  Well, pretty soon I could tell that a key seemed to be stuck in the operative position.  One that was not about to allow any other keys to do what keys were meant to do (i.e. strike paper.)   Other than this, however, it seemed to be in pretty good shape.  A couple of hours of typewriter research go by.

Who knew that there was a market for vintage typewriters in this age of technology?  Not I.  But, "Each man has his peculiar interests" to quote Lincoln, and so it goes with musty old office equipment also.  I found a place that repairs them about two hours from where I live.  Not really fancying the drive, but what can a seeker of art supplies (oh yes, that's why I wanted this baby to work, so I can use it for making vintage looking text to add to mixed media work) do?

Well, one invites one's handy husband to take a look at one's "new" typewriter.  So get this!  My husband - who took apart many of his family's appliances as a child and apparently reassembled most of them - fixed up the vintage typewriter for me!  He whisked it off to the garage, and emerged with it cleaned, oiled, and running beautifully.  I couldn't believe it.  I ordered it new ribbons this week - and it should be in pretty good shape at that point.  Particularly for a 75 year old machine.  Did you know there is a typewriter database?  Oui.  Mine is a 1936 Royal Model 0 standard portable typewriter; I'm very pleased with it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Fancy Flea

My new friend Kim, (who I just met this week - this very week! how fortunate am I?! ) is featured in the bible of artsy style Where Women Create magazine.  Because of her wonderful art blog Dear Daisy Cottage, I found out about a lovely, French-style flea market right in my hometown - Lakeland, Florida.
This pinnacle of gorgeous baubles and hip rediscovered treasures is called "The Fancy Flea" and what an apt name it is.  It's just like a flea market except much, much better because its filled with all the things that an artsy wacky chick such as myself needs.  Handpainted furniture, vintage chandelier drops, fashions from the early 60's, homegrown plants, handmade jewelry in unexpected jingles and luscious drops.

When I saw Kim's posts on previous Fancy Flea events, I thought, "well that must be in some wonderfully hip and totally artsy place, like Portland, or Seattle, or San Francisco, or anywhere that's at least a thousand miles from where I live.  Le sigh."  Turns out that sometimes artsy and fabulous can be just an hour down the road!

Isn't it interesting how you can let go of your convictions that nowhere near you can possibly be fun, when you just look around a little bit with fresh eyes?

Yes, the sky was really this blue, and these birdhouses really looked like they were about ready for me to take up residence.

 So many yummy flowers and vegetable plants for sale - even European olive trees!  How I'd get one of those back in my rather tiny car, I'm not sure, so I settled for treasures from the market that were a little more portable.  Specifically a portable Royal typewriter from the mid 1930's!  Now I just have to find somewhere to clean and oil it, and replace its ribbon.  I'm told it works fine otherwise...I took a leap of faith on this one.  It was just that kind of day.
I've been totally in an orange frame of mind for a while - which is funny because it's not a color I wear or anything, but somehow its snuck all over my studio at home too.  Which is probably why I got a super fab nested box of drawers painted all pink and yellow and orange and teal at the Flea.  Did I mention it was handpainted?  Did I mention it was $15?!  I do love it a lot.  I'll show you a photo of my flea market finds soon... 

And if I hadn't already spent a bit more than I intended...and wouldn't you with all this luscious temptation....I sure would have loved one of these juicy ripe purple goodies.  Intense, non?

I bet you're making mental plans for their next Fancy Flea event in your mind, aren't you?  I am!  I'm not sure exactly when the one one is yet myself, but I think it will be in the spring.  Yes, we have beautiful weather here in the spring too.  Summer is another matter, but we have gorgeous Novembers, and simply lovely Aprils.

Is there somewhere near you that is unexpectedly artsy and cool, and you just never realized it?  Maybe there is, and it's just waiting for you to discover, or re-discover.  Thank you again Kim - you're a treasure!  If you'd like to see more photos of this beautiful event, please stop by Kim's blog (this is the post where she talks about her visit to the Fancy Flea) - I guarantee you will be as charmed by her as I was, and her photos are much better than mine - simply to die for!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dancing with late summer

In the part of the country where I live, autumn meanders slowly into our lives.  It teases us with the occasional day of weather in the 70's, then unerringly shoots back up to sticky before you know it.  This dance of climate uncertainty straggles through October, leaves still mostly green, grass baked from a long summer, stillness daring the cooler nip of fall to just try and intrude.

I wait for the spell to pass, as do we all.  I begin to doubt that the heat will ever break.  I swear that it has never been this hot, for this long, in any other year ever.  Despite global warming, the weatherman assures us that this is not a record.

Due to a love of ritual raindancing I decide that surely a change in the season could be prompted by my dusting off the lovely copper and plum jackets in my wardrobe.  Perhaps an attempt to don wool (and get strange looks for my trouble.)  Perhaps the conjuring works, as eventually we do (shhhh! don't scare them off!) get a few cooler days, to reassure us that the autumn change will finally arrive.

On one of those days, when you feel that you can safely leave your air conditioned home to go about touring, you might take the time to seek out the few corners that still exist in my overdeveloped state (you have to look hard) where time doesn't change any faster than the weather does.

Where the occasional sigh of Spanish moss as it drops from the live oak branches high overhead is about as clear a sign as you'll get that autumn winds will truly arrive.  Well, maybe.

Oh, I do envy the people that have four seasons.  My heart practically aches when I see pictures of fall colors on the mountains of the Blue Ridge. The misty otherness of Halloween celebrations on the Oregon coast, or my own memory of the bright dance of trees in Washington state.  But for now, this is where I am, and  it does have its own peculiar charm.  The wood creaks just a little more as the summer dampness dries, the cicadas stop their chirps, perhaps they share more certainty that autumn will finally arrive.

PS - A special note of thanks to all of you that are following my blog - I do appreciate it!  I don't post very often, not for lack of intent, but keeping up a blog is rather time consuming and if its an art blog, like this one, then even more so because, well, all those pictures! I do wish Blogger was a little less clunky in formatting and easier to stick the pictures where you want, and the size you want, etc. It's hard to retain a steady readership when you don't post often, and so then one doesn't get much commentary and traffic, so (confessional) it's less motivating to post to begin with.  I do it too - stop following blogs that don't update often.  I'm guilty as much as the next.  Anyway, thank you all for sticking with me even though I'm your friend you don't hear from too often.