Monday, November 26, 2012

November 19-25

Thanksgiving week greetings everyone! 
One of my favorite Thanksgiving vignettes was when I used hay bales, American flags, Indian corn and pictures of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Something about bringing in the Native Americans and Americana that works every time.
Thanksgiving at Curious Sofa, Prairie Village 2009
 The weather has been outstanding here in Kansas City which is always good to get people in the mood for the Holidays. My heart will forever be in support of the small, brick and mortar independent retailer so when Black Friday comes around, I always hold my breath hoping it is a good day for those who still own a store. I will never forget the work, merchandise, customers and long hours involved in keeping up with the fourth quarter of retail life. It's a time we all love and dread at the same time!

I am often asked if I miss the store this time of year and I have to say no, sorry, I do not. I think I still remember the pain more than the joy. The days prior to a Christmas Open House were always so grueling... the boxes, the glitter, the ladders, and the shelves packed too full of stuff and inevitably the heartbreak of selling out of something that a customer wants because you just didn't know how much to order and then (always the pessimist) I knew January was coming when it would all come to a screeching halt.

But yes, I do miss seeing the friends and customers that made it in only once a year. I miss the oohs and aahs and compliments of what the staff and I created. I miss the customers that would bring their visiting friends into, "their favorite shop " and of course I miss buying bigger items for you to give as gifts or to decorate with.

But not to completely skip my retail gene, this past week I loaded the website with many Christmas items. Some decor, some gifts, some tree trimmings. Many of the antique items have sold already but many remain. Take a look:
Trees, trees, trees- we've got 'em. Feather, wooden, bottle brush and more.
Wool mice, Victorian stocking, Vintage Santa, Glittery sign

Vintage skates to toss over a sled, glittery boot to fill with candy, bird ornament, gold clock ornaments.

Set of 2, snowflake ornaments, vintage mercury ornaments, glittery icicles, bottle brush icicles.
And this week I found some ideas and images on Pinterest to share:

How cool to add a small step stool as a side table?
Got pictures? Keeping the pictures black and white or sepia tone and all the frames black too adds real drama in what could have been a hodge-podge of colored pics and random frames.
I also have a board on Pinterest titled Wallpaper Love, because I do!
I know we have seen every concoction of homemade garlands and banners these days but I did lovet how these were fringed. Easy enough to do with crepe paper or even typewriter paper.
The ultimate cozy cottage living room; all neutral colors too!
Clever and funky; using old cheese graters as lanterns. Put glass votives inside to keep them from getting too hot.
When I see something expensive that we could easily make, I have to make note. This chair, covered in crochet doilies and possibly decoupaged is $998 at Anthropolgie! Really??
A dog lover forever, I can't help myself to post some of these cuties.
Every year I love seeing new Christmas tree ideas too. Here are a few good ones:

How crazy is this?! Cut large pieces of cardboard or plywood into a tree shape. Secure to the wall and start hot gluing or taping every little thing you desire. This could be made into any theme from any trinket: hardware, craft scraps, jewelry, tiny toys... the list is endless.
Fallen branches or drift wood, cut to length and wired together on the edges to secure.
Always a favorite: Use an old fallen branch in a cool pot. It's the ornaments that make it.
Random salvaged wood cut to length.
More is more! If you have the area to do this, go to town.
Simple is always better.


Antique Samovar, Wooden Shelf

XXL Ironstone Water Pitcher, Metal Shelf
Primitive Dolls, Mint Green Farm Scale
And your Sunday's message. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nov 12-18 Last week at Curious

Well it's time for me to get this blog moving again!

After lunch with a friend last week (who I never thought even knew I had a blog) he said, "Why are you not blogging anymore? You're such a good writer." Well that shocked me and although I can't completely agree about the writing part, I will admit I have missed posting here. I just assumed people would rather jump over for a quickie on my Facebook page rather than stroll through a long blog post on who knows what. I have also been torn over just what to blog about because there can be a fine line to walk between personal commentary or a random observation on style.

Then, overnight it occurred to me that I could blog about all the smaller posts I did on Facebook for the week prior and embellish the captions all the more here. So let's try this out.

- November 12-

NEW ITEMS JUST IN and available for sale at
I'm a sucker for these Victorian style religious prints. This one with a scripture quote from Matthew 19:14; "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me." How sweet to hang this in a child's room?
I also have a weakness for any kind of display item. Forever the retailer I guess, I am always collecting, selling and using mannequins, torsos, random doll arms and legs to showcase jewelry and accessories. This item sold out this year and now is back in stock. Sturdy, wood-like resin with movable arms secured with rope. Imagine in a mens boutique to display ties!
Selling jewelry online has been quite a lesson. Sometimes I like the cheaper 'junky jewelry' and other times I want to sell the things I would actually wear daily. I just discovered this line (above) and fell in love with the rough, steampunk, antique look it has. Although still affordable (none of it over $35!) it is well made and has the handcrafted look we all love.
I have decided to add more religious items to my website. It's a personal mission of mine and also sells pretty well. Crosses work for rockers, church ladies and anyone of faith. When I find cross jewelry that has a bit more of an edge like this one, all the better!
Finding and selling unique items online can be daunting. I want to sell one-of-a-kind items, but once found, then shot, then sold- that's it! Gone forever. So when I can find a manufactured item that looks handmade from older items, hooray for us! Now I can reorder and reorder and customers stay happy. Such is the case of this chunky, button necklace. Not just a few buttons on a string, but clusters like beads with added crystals, pearls and all wired with a handmade touch.
Another example of a funky iron cross with an open brass heart charm. Get creative and paste a little photo inside the heart.
I am happy that many of my online customers understand my love of old, chippy, stained china. (My sister doesn't, but that's another story). When I get something in like this it usually sells pretty fast. When I am tempted to keep it, that's always a good sign. This pitcher has a wonderful, rounded shape perfect for a flower vase.
Speaking of stained china.... how much older and funkier could this be!
Just in time for Thanksgiving. Use this luscious velvet runner as the centerpiece for your table in fall colors of browns and golds.
I've concluded you can never have too many textiles. Especially something like this one which is smaller and can be used on a table or draped over a curtain rod as a makeshift valance. A big, open weave but still sturdy and in excellent condition.
I love seeing ironstone pitchers lined up on a shelf from tiny to extra large. This is the super tiny size, only 4" high.
Crafters and artists love these wooden drawers to stash all the stuff we seem to accumulate in our studios. Also great in the kitchen and bath.
Add this little wall shelf to a cluster of pictures to make an interesting vignette. I added it above a mantle to showcase some of the Christmas items just in. Take a look:
At one time, this tiny shoe had a pin cushion inside. Feeling crafty? You can remake or simply use to stash some Q-Tips, earrings or stack of business cards.
I am forever on the hunt for vintage jewelry. Just in time for fall is this amber crystal brooch.

- November 13 -
- November 14 -
Once a week on Facebook I like to post my favorite images and ideas from Pinterest. Above, these golden tipped feathers would be the best inexpensive (and easy!) project to add to your Xmas decorating. Try silver too. A little paint, a little glitter.
The thrifty side of me loves seeing expensive (West Elm) items like this and wondering how I can make it myself. Maybe a fallen branch, painted silver, then adding those tiny candle clips you see at the antique shows which are normally used on Xmas trees. Hint: I buy tiny, skinny candles like this from a Catholic supply store.
Why do the Scandinavians know just how to do the minimal thing so right? Don't want to do the whole Xmas tree thing this year? Prop a branch against the wall! Done.
Hanging outside a pub... Beer bottles as a chandelier.
Pinterest is inundated with palette projects and many of them kind of silly- but this, although a lot of work, I liked because it made the staircase so wide.
Like many of you, I never use my front door. I enter through the back porch into my kitchen and every time I notice how my interior kitchen door (painted white) looks awful against my exterior color door (painted rust). When I saw this I thought, duh, just paint the trim a completely different color!
How simple is this? Buy a bouquet for someone and before giving write a big message in white paint on kraft paper and wrap.
Do you love silver like I do? Some too tarnished to use? Pile in a pitcher, urn or vase as instant flowers.
I saw this on Pinterest and stared at it wondering what is it? Then I figured it out: plastic coffee lids! Showing that when picked carefully and framed right anything can be art.
A kitchen store in San Francisco with beautifully handwritten quotes from Julia Child's on the front windows.
My dream kitchen. Rustic, linen, minimal.
I loved the rustic with the crystal and especially the champagne bucket.
Top Chef contestant with a wall of herbs at his restaurant.
- November 15 -
A few Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas:

- November 16 -
Add a bit of old lace to a jacket.

- November 17 -
More items for sale at
For the artist and crafter, I have 2 sizes and three colors available of these great carousels to hold everything in your studio or kitchen.
Hang ice skates near the mantle, on the front door or porch for the holidays.
Rare gray and red granny square throw. Throw over the back of your sofa for a Xmas touch.
Another great kitchen scale for display. These go fast!
A wonderful, soft crazy quilt pillow.
More vintage jewelry. Just in time for the winter coat, a chunky blue crystal brooch.
Crazy quilt Victorian stocking.
Amelie lovers: A small concrete Garden Gnome.
For the globe collector: A tiny vintage globe bank.
For the doll collector, dress maker or use for display: Three doll parts and pieces.

Get ready for New Year's Eve: Vintage Rhinestone Necklace.
Here is the unusual Xmas gift for the creative one in your family. Heart locket necklace that opens with a quote.

- November 18 -
And ever Sunday on Facebook, I add a Sunday message.

So that is all the stuff I posted on Facebook last week.

I have also been busy updating my booth at Lone Elm Antique Mall in Olathe, KS. We had our Christmas Open House last weekend and many came out to stock up for the holidays. I moved into a larger space two months ago so now you can't miss me. I am the first booth down the first isle as you enter. It has many of the items I have online and a few other goodies. I have also added a rack of cool clothes that I have curated; a little country, a little classic; shirts and jackets. I call them Curious Threads.
Some of the 'Curious Threads" I have added to my booth at Lone Elm Antique Mall.

The Kansas City Star hired me to style a photo reminiscent of my new obsession, Downton Abbey. It appeared last Sunday in the Star and tomorrow they are back to shoot another story with me on how to display your Christmas cards in unique ways. (Stay tuned!)

I have been doing some freelance graphic design work too (a long lost love from my commercial art days), managing some businesses Facebook sites and doing some casual photography for that .

I worked on a photo shoot for Silpada jewelry last month which was me putting on my old combat boots and getting back on the set again. Easy enough and all the gals there are great.

November 30 is the date for SHINE; an entrepreneurs workshop Carol Spinski is having. I will be speaking on branding your business with Amy Barickman and Karla Nathan. This to coincide with the Holiday magazine release by Matthew Mead featuring a story with Carol, Amy and I. (MUCH MORE on that issue to come!)

I have many more items ready to post online. It is a full time job shopping, shooting, posting and organizing these goods for you but I have to say I like doing it a lot. It never fails that many dealers I run into always say, "I could never do that!" But I love the computer, the shopping and the selling so it works for me just fine and it is the bulk of my business and income, so I am grateful for those of you who have shopped it. I am also headed to the Atlanta Market in January to see many retail friends and scour for new items for you.

Speaking of, I am in the middle of still trying to upgrade the website. I may change the design and navigation to make it even more user friendly and safe. I just learned my shopping cart system is one of the safest (hack free) versions out there which e-commerce experts are becoming more and more concerned about, so this is a very good thing for you! I spent a lot of time and money making it look the way it does now, but as with anything, you learn what you should have done and now have to keep up with the times and change it.

So that's it... I've been busy as all of us have been and eager for the season and what the New Year brings (and my baby Pearl is good too!)
Blessings to you all and Happy Thanksgiving!