Holiday Open House at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

Holiday Open House at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market

The warehouse at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market was awash with holly, greens, and festive floral arrangements for its Holiday Open House this week.  Here are a few photos of some truly inspiring holiday decorations.  Please do try this at home with gleanings from your winter gardens, woods, and trails.

Wreath of densely packed succulents

Wreath of densely packed succulents

The moss softens the texture of this twiggy wreath from Oregon's Best Specialty Growers

The moss softens the texture of this twiggy wreath from Oregon’s Best Specialty Growers

Vintage Santa and holly from J Foss Garden Flowers

Vintage Santa and holly from J Foss Garden Flowers

More woodsy wreaths from Oregon's Best Specialty Growers

More woodsy wreaths from Oregon’s Best Specialty Growers

Garland from scabiosa pods, J Foss Garden Flowers

Garland from scabiosa pods, J Foss Garden Flowers

These potted succulents reminded me of a box of living ornaments

These potted succulents reminded me of a box of living ornaments

More vintage trimmings at J Foss Garden Flowers

More vintage trimmings at J Foss Garden Flowers

Orchids in a white bucket

Orchids in a white bucket

Books for sale -- The 50-Mile Bouquet

Books for sale — The 50-Mile Bouquet

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and twinkling lights

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and colored lights

Vintage Seed Catalogues

February 18, 2011

My mother used to order her garden seeds from Burpee

I’ve mentioned before that the Elisabeth C Miller Library at the Center for Urban Horticulture is an extraordinary resource.  (You can link to the library here: http://depts.washington.edu/hortlib/index.shtml). On my last visit, I learned that the library has a vintage seed catalog collection going back decades.  I remember my mother ordering her vegetable and flower seeds from the Burpee Seed Company, and their old catalogues were included in this extensive collection.  What a find!

Vintage seed catalog

The collection is housed in file drawers

Vintage seed catalog, Elisabeth C Miller Library

Beauty Tips

February 9, 2011

Vintage Noxzema jar and toiletries

“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be restored,
     renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed;
     never throw out anyone.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.”
     — “Beauty Tips” often quoted by Audrey Hepburn, written by Sam Levenson

Vintage clip-on earrings

My friend Carol gave me some of her mother’s vintage clip-on earrings.  I don’t wear earrings, but found some unconventional ways to use them.  I love the idea of re-purposing old things to extend their useful life.

Clip-on earrings make lovely scarf clips or brooches.  Or you can use them as little “clothespins” to hang paper cards, photos, magazine clippings that you keep for inspiration or future projects.

Earring used as a scarf embellishment.

Earring used as a scarf clip

Earring used to clip a card to a twine clothesline

Vintage Ornaments

December 11, 2010

Here are a few vintage glass Christmas ornaments from the ones we used on the farm during my childhood:

Watercolor sketch of vintage Christmas tree ornaments

Watercolor sketch of vintage ornaments from my childhood

Vintage Food

December 7, 2010

“I wanted my daughter to know her past, to eat what I had eaten in my
childhood. . .”
     — Laura Esquivel, Between Two Fires

My 1972 edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook

Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Cranberries

I think of Pineapple Upside Down Cake as “vintage” food, something I ate in my childhood.  My mom seemed drawn to recipes with canned pineapple in them.  Dole and Del Monte have been canning pineapple since the early 1900s, so this must have been one exotic fruit that my mother ate as a child.  Perhaps it was considered a rare treat back then. 

When I was growing up, my mom had many different recipes for jello-based salads that included crushed pineapple, Philadelphia cream cheese, and Cool Whip. My mom would pour the drained pineapple juice into juice glasses for us kids — it was evenly shared, so we each got just a swallow or two. I never make these salads in my household, but I do occasionally like to make Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

I use an old standby recipe from my 1972 edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook.  However, for this most recent baking, I substituted fresh cranberries for the cherries.  It was a festive holiday dessert.  And delicious, too!

Preparing the patterned bottom of my Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Cooling on the kitchen counter

Lovely Old Things

June 7, 2010

Vintage embroidered linens, Farm Chicks Antique Show

Things Men Have Made
by D. H. Lawrence

Things men have made with wakened hands, and put softly life into
are awake through years with transferred touch, and go on glowing
for long years.
And for this reason, some old things are lovely
warm still with the life of forgotten men who made them.

Let Me Grow Lovely
by Karla Wilson Baker

Let me grow lovely, growing old —
So many things do;
Laces, and ivory, and gold,
And silks need not be new;

And there is healing in old trees,
Old streets a glamour hold;
Why may not I, as well as these,
Grow lovely, growing old.

I think these two poems capture the allure of old, worn, vintage objects that were used faithfully in everyday life.  I can see why I am drawn to old, handmade things like the items at the Farm Chicks Antiques Show I attended this past weekend.

Vintage chickens

Vanity plate

This weekend my sister, brother-in-law, husband and I took a road trip across the state to Spokane for the Farm Chicks Antiques Show.  I first became aware of the Farm Chicks when I came across their book, The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen: Live Well, Laugh Often, Cook Much by Serena Thompson and Teri Edwards.  Since reading that the authors were from my state of Washington, I’ve been wanting to attend one of their antiques shows and sales.

The Farm Chicks book

I had no idea that the Farm Chicks were such a major phenomenon!  This year’s event was held at the Spokane fairgrounds, and they attracted a big crowd.

Long line waiting to get in to the Farm Chicks Antiques Show

Inside, there were almost 200 vendor booths packed with vintage and country-themed items.  I enjoyed looking at the old, worn things that called to mind my childhood on the farm.  Some vendors re-purposed old items and gave them new life. 

Vendor at the Farm Chicks Antiques Show

Vintage apron with red rick-rack and white button

Screen door with hook

Crowd reflected in someone's prize mirror

Lovely embroidered linens

Although I’m a country girl at heart, I’m not at Farm Chick because I can’t carry off the glitz and glam that these women revel in.  I loved people-watching, and took some photos of women who epitomize the Farm Chicks style:

Pink boots and feminine skirt

A vendor adding up sales on a calculator

Stylish shopper

Cowboy boots and ruffles

Vendor's apron made from vintage handkerchiefs

Shopper resting between purchases

One-of-a-kind head band

My sister and I had a wonderful time at the show (our husbands took off on their own Spokane adventures). The Farm Chicks have certainly tapped into something — it was fun to be with a community of women share a common interest in all things country.

Iridescent Rust

May 4, 2010

Old truck parked along Greenwood Avenue North

Magical, lovely rust stains

Rusty truck door and handle

I love this old truck that I pass along Greenwood Avenue North on my way to work.  I can only hope that I will wear out as beautifully.

Rust
by Hudson Strode

Rust has some roles to play —
Its dust besmears the escutcheon
Of a vain respectability,
Mouldy with its varletry of mediocre mouthings.
Rust smells hard
And pungent,
Like stale spice.
But in sophisticated sunlight
Its strangely burnt-out roughness
Is more subtle
Than gold.
Love,
Rust-stained,
Gives off a magic iridescence
And sometimes strikes immortal song
From a languid poet.
A feat of genius is a flake of brain-rust.

Vintage Valentines

February 14, 2010

Vintage valentines from the 1960s

Valentines from my classmates in the 1960s

“Teach us to delight in simple things.”
     — Rudyard Kipling, “The Children’s Song”

Big valentine my daughter made when she was 5 years old

Happy Valentine’s Day!