Monday, November 29, 2010

Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn, Riverside

Here's to the start of a New & Wonderful Week Friends!!
The Friday after Thanksgiving is a day my family looks forward to all year.
Not because of the unbelievable crowds & prices on Black Friday,
but for the yearly 1st night lighting of The Festival of Lights in Riverside, California at the historic Mission Inn.

It's an awesome evening of Christmas Magic, filled with music, lights & fireworks!
Did I mention they put up more then 3.5 million lights?
Talk about a nightmare if a bulb burns out! lol

The countdown begins...
10, 9, 8, 7, the crowd is getting excited now... 
6, 5, 4, the sound of children screaming with glee is in the background...{oh, sorry that was me} 
3, 2, 1, the lights are all turned on simultaneously as a bombardment of fireworks shoot from the roof of the Inn!

Can anyone give me a 'WOOT WOOT'!!!
Urban dictionary definition:
An expression one may utter in complete approval or joy.

Expression of simplistic ecstasy.

An expression of absolute happiness, totally euphoric.

I guess that just about sums it up perfectly!!! ;)

While watching a fireworks extravaganza, surrounded by millions of Christmas lights,
I'm pretty much 6 years old again.

Ooooooooo, ahhhhhhhh...ohhhh, wowww, sooooo coooool!!! 

That was the extent of my ability to verbalize, as I was completely mesmerized by this beyond amazing start to the Christmas Season.
Here's wishing you a Magical Beginning to your Holiday Season Friends!!!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Shelf Life...

Greetings Sweet Hearts!
What inspires you to create a room or a space the way that you do?
Is it a beautiful picture from a magazine or book?
Is it something you saw in a movie, that you fell madly in love with?
A booth in your favorite antique mall that captured your imagination?
Or maybe it's simply, one piece.
One perfect piece of something, anything, that sings to your soul & says, this IS who I am.
For me, it's my antique Round Top Texas, tin ceiling tiles.

They capture the essence of everything I LOVE.
Their subtle,  neutral color.
The tarnish & tatters of age.
The remembrance of an era lost.
The attempt of ornamentation with limited means.
The dream of their journey, until they got to me.

To me, that's the magic of choosing something old over something that's new, the story.
Looking at this sweet little wall shelf, one could never imagine the story it has to tell, but it has one.
I bought this shelf new from Pottery Barn.
It has hung on my walls for over 20 years.
It was once as white as snow, with lovely glass windows in the door & on the sides.
I have always adored it.

This sweet little shelf, once bright & new, has endured more then most people have. You see, there was a fire.
The fire was so hot, it shattered all of the tiny glass window panes & the smoke was so thick, it's snow white paint turned as black as coal.
 In despair, I flung the sweet little shelf out onto the pile of ruble that once was my life.

Un beknowst to me, the little shelf had been spared.
Someone had taken it from the ruble, still seeing the diamond in the rough.
They knocked out the remaining pieces of broken glass
& sanded off most of the black soot
that covered it.

When my little shelf made it's way back to me, I cried in joy & in grief.
I cried for the things I had loved & lost.
 I cried for something loved & lost, that was given a new life & found it's way home.

This little shelf hangs on the wall next to my bed now, filled with the little things I love.
A silver baby mirror & brush.

Old tin types & hand rolled thread.

Baby shoes & clock faces.

Business cards & button cards.

White linen & rusty tub feet.

Holy cards & an antique hair comb.
The little shelf reminds me everyday of the possibility of pain & joy,
of death & rebirth.
It's why I love my ceiling tiles & it reminds me of who I am.
Subtle but strong, living my life in greys,
rusty & tattered, enjoying the patina of age,
coming from a lost era of innocence, still looking back,
& always dreaming of the journey that waits, just around the next corner.

I am joining Debra of Common Ground for her Vintage Inspiration Friday post. There are many lovely links to visit and I hope you will enjoy them as well.

I hope all of you friends, had a Blessed & Loving Thanksgiving!
Mine was PERFECT, proving you can still teach an old dog new tricks! ;)


Monday, November 22, 2010

400 Friends, a Giveaway & a Thanksgiving Blessing

Say WHAT? 400 Friends?
When, Where, How, Why?
It seems like only yesterday I was on my way to Texas & stopped by Glendale, Arizona to personally deliver my '300 Friends Giveaway' to Carol Anne of Carol Anne's Boutique.
What a wonderful morning we had getting to know each other, opening presents {she brought me some too!}, having a marvelous breakfast & finding out how very similar we were.

That was almost exactly 2 months ago & now,
how very lucky I am to have 100 more friends, today.
Thank you so very much Sweet Hearts, for making this one of the most amazing adventures of my life!

In Celebration of all of you, my friends, let's have a Holiday Giveaway.
That's right, you heard it here 1st...vintagesusie is having a GIVEAWAY & all of you are invited!!

So, what are the rules you may ask?
We don't need no darn rules friends!!
You need not become a follower or add the badge for this giveaway to your sidebar.
You need not wear a pin on your shirt with my face on it or hire a plane to write vintagesusie & wings across the sky.

Simply leave a comment to this post & your name will be thrown into my favorite cowboy hat, for the chance to win untold treasures!

I will pick a name out of my hat on December 13th, 2010 & on that night the lucky winner will be announced to all the world! How exciting, right? Another Christmas present to open!

Now, about the gift. I'm a thinkin...
somethin from Texas of course,
somethin I make, {jewelry always sounds good}
somethin pretty, somethin blue,
somethin old & somethin new!
Hey, I think some one's getting married!! LOL 

I will provide Sneak Peeks of the Grand Prize throughout the Giveaway, so stay tuned!

As you can probably see from my photo's, I've been playing dress-up today.
Johnson Brother's Vintage China
kinda dress-up.
I brought out the Wedgewood Wine Chiller & the Brighton Wine Glasses that I ADORE, along with the mercury glass candle holders & my new Pottery Barn burlap table purdy!
So I wonder, how will this Thanksgiving be?

This Thanksgiving, I will remember the lessons of last year.
I will laugh & love myself & my family, with all our beautiful imperfections.
I will not stress over the little stuff & if I do, I won't be upset with that either.
I will feel grateful for yet another year to share with my family & friends.
I will feel blessed for all the love that surrounds me everyday.

I will remember the people I don't even know, fighting in places that I've never seen,
risking their lives & missing their loved ones, so my loved ones & I can sleep in peace.
Even with our trials, we all have so very much to be thankful for friends.

I wanted to share this quote with you, I found it so lovely & true.
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow." ~Melody Beattie
Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving Friends filled with Blessings, Love & Laughter!


Friday, November 19, 2010

DIY Heirloom Necklace

Happy Friday Sweet Hearts... TGIF, right!
This week has flown by with Thanksgiving preparations & a birthday party to throw! {yes, that would be my own, lol} The pine needles have been racked, Christmas lights have been strung, wreaths deck the hall, a Honey Baked Ham has been ordered & the countdown has begun. My holiday goal for this year is to simply relax & 'Go With the Flow'. The words "Get away from the bird!", now live on in infamy.

With Christmas right around the corner, I wanted to share with you my very favoritest necklace that I have ever 'Heirloom Necklace'. By now, most of you know me to be completely sentimental & overly nostalgic. I wanted to create a piece of jewelry that could be worn close to my heart & could hold some of my most precious mementos, my very own heirlooms.

I started with a handful of memories.
From left, my Mother's 18th birthday, 10k pearl & ruby ring
a sterling silver art nouveau girl my Father bought me when I lived in Utah back when I was 20
a locket with my Wedding picture in it, along with a picture of Courtney & I in Florence, Italy
a metal my Father won in 1953 for the 440 yd dash
a Liberty dime pendent that Robert bought me when we were at Mount Rushmore
a copper football from the 50's, my Dad was Captain of the football team
another track metal my Father won in 1952 for the 440 yard run
a 50's baseball mitt charm for Robert's baseball team he played on when we 1st met
a Saint Frances religious metal
Courtney's Brownie pin
the '74 charm from the tassel on my graduation cap
a mounted Indian Head penny given to me by Robert's parents
a locket with pictures of Kai & Courtney in it
& a tiny chain with my Mother's initials JB on it,
pieces of my heart!

I used 2 different kinds of chain. A heavy antiqued silver chain to attach the charms to & a smaller brass chain on either side of that, to get the desired length I wanted. The charms were all attached with simple jump rings & a brass clasp was added to one end. {my necklace is 18" long, not including the brass clasp} 

When I was at the show in Texas, I got so many wonderful compliments on this necklace, everybody LOVED it...but most importantly, I LOVE it! Everything on this necklace means something special to me.

What an amazing gift this could be for someone you love or even for yourself! The biggest challenge is gathering the 'handful of memories' & even those can be found in some of the most unlikely places.

I am joining Debra of Common Ground for her Vintage Inspiration Friday post. There are many lovely links to visit and I hope you will enjoy them as well.
Have a Fabulous Weekend Friends!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Final 21 ~ 30 Truths & Angelino Heights

Greetings Sweet Friends...
How would you like to go back in time with me to the 1880's, when Los Angeles' very 1st suburban tract was built? With the on slaught of Midwesterner's arriving daily fresh off the train to settle in Los Angeles, they flocked to our city's first suburb, 'Angelino Heights'.

I have lived in So Cal my entire life & yet had no idea this amazing area existed until my sweet sister Sara accidentally came upon it after going to an open house in Echo Park...what a FIND! The entire 1300 Block of Carroll Avenue is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Here's one of the original maps of the tract as it was 1st conceived. Built on a hill high above LA, this location was attractive to home builders & buyers alike who desired both a pleasant view and the peace and quiet of suburban living.

Angelino Heights boasts the largest concentration of Queen Anne and Eastlake style Victorian homes in the city, most of which are on Kellam and Carroll Avenues. Most homes here do not have garages, because, of course, in the 1880s people did not have cars, but carriage houses can be seen on some of the properties.

Walking down these streets, remembering back to the Age of Innocence, really was such a delight! Even though theses gorgeous Victorian's are in various states of renovation, they all shine as bright as diamonds in the Los Angeles sun. 

So, enjoy the view while I finish my FINAL 10 Truths... ;)

Day 21: (Scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you got into a fight a couple of hours before. What do you do?
Not waste a second & as quickly as possible, get to her side & help support her & her family in anyway I can. Is there another answer here?

Day 22: Something you wish you hadn't done in your life.
This is a very private & hard question for me, probably the hardest so far. Choices we make when we are young, are often not the same choices we would make today. But then I think about how my WHOLE life would be different had different choices been made. I would most likely not have the beautiful daughter I have today & without her, I would not have the joy of my life, Kai. Judge me or accept me,
I believe in pro-choice. 

Day 23: Something you wish you had done in your life.
I have had a GRAND life!! I have done more & gone more places then I could have ever imagined as a child. But I guess, looking back, I wish I had enjoyed & participated more in high school. I wish I had gone to dances & proms & assembly's & football games, joined a few clubs, tried out for a few sports. You never get those years back & to have not enjoyed it to the fullest seems such a shame now!

Day 24: Make a playlist to someone and explain why you chose those songs.
I Hope You Dance by LeAnne Womack
The Climb by Miley Cirus
My Wish by Rascal Flats
Beautiful by Christine Aguilera
What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
Live Like You Were Dying by Tim MacGraw
Don't Fade Away by Wille Nelson
Landslide by Fleetwood Mac
For Everyman by Jackson Browne
I send these songs of inspiration out to anyone feeling lost or alone. Music can lift you up & bring hope when you think there is none...these are some of my favorites!

Day 25: The reason you believe you're still alive today.
Pure & simple LUCK my friends!!! ;)

Day 26: Have you ever thought about giving up on life?
I think most people have had that thought at some point on their journey through life, don't you? It's the follow through that is so incredibly tragic. I remember in high school, after my Mother had died, feeling so small & scared & alone. It was dark one night when my Father & I were driving to some insignificant location. I told him I didn't understand the purpose of life, that life hurt & was hard & could be so heartbreaking. He quietly said, "Your right Susie, life isn't easy, but it's definitely better then the alternative." That stuck! 

Day 27: What's the best thing you've got going for you right now?
My AGE! The wisdom that comes with being my AGE. The grace I feel in allowing myself to Age. The lack of concern of external opinion that Age can give you. The clarity of what's important & what's not that AGE can teach. The Ageless Wisdom of TRULY knowing is short. Grab it up in both hands, tell the people you love, everyday that you love them & if you really want to do something, do it NOW. Sometimes, there are no tomorrows. 

Day 28: What would you do if you got pregnant (or got someone pregnant) right now?
Well 1st, since I don't have periods anymore, I'd consider it an immaculate! Then, I'd have a baby & be a very tired ole Mama!!

Day 29: Something you hope to change about yourself.
Nothing, I'm perfect!! LOL No, not really, I'm not perfect. But you know what...that's ok now. Time can teach us acceptance & the beauty in imperfection...

It can allow us to see the little nuances that make each of us who we are as Amazing & Splendid...

Tarnished & Tattered & Shabby & Chic, are now cool & awesome...

Chipped paint & rust is better then brand new...

Repurposed & restored absolutely ROCKS...

What an AWESOME time to be on This Ride!! 

Day 30: A letter to yourself.
I will let Rascal Flats write that letter for me..

I hope that the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you want to go,
And if you're faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin' till you find the window,
If it's cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile,

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.

I hope you never look back, but ya never forget,
All the ones who love you, in the place you left,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
And you help somebody every chance you get,
My, you find God's grace, in every mistake,
And you always give more than you take.

But more than anything, yeah, and more than anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
This, is my wish.

I know, I'm corny huh?
I want to thank Miss Linda from Ye Olde Crones Gazette for sharing her 30 TRUTHS with me. She not only gave me the chance to get to know her a little better, but also allowed me the opportunity to share my own TRUTHS with you.

{This house was used in Michael Jackson's video 'Thriller', how cool is that? It's the scene when his girlfriend is running up the steps into the abandoned house.} did you like these AMAZING Victorian's??

To imagine these beauties sitting on a hill overlooking what is now Downtown Los Angeles, is hard to believe...

And yet, here they stand...

& have stood...

for more then 100 YEARS!

If you venture to Los Angeles & LOVE Victorian's as I do, take some extra time for this beyond fabulous walking tour of 'Angelino Heights' is soooo well worth it! You can also go to the Los Angeles Conservancy for information on guided tours, which would give you all the wonderful history of these beautiful houses.

Thanks for coming along with me Sweet Hearts, not only on this tour, but on my tour called LIFE. It's always an ADVENTURE & I'm so happy to be sharing it with you!!