Old Suitcases, New Decor

Sorry for the long delay–first of all, the photos wouldn’t STAY up on this blog!  I’d get it posted, check it, and it would be fine.  A day later, the Blog Spider had stolen them and whisked them away.  Only a blank white box remained.

It truly was very sad.  Not that I shed any tears over it.  I just went off and did something else.  Now, I’m BAAAACCCKKKK!

So, apologies for that–I’ve tried, honestly I have.  Let’s see if I’m more successful with this post.


Friend Vanna has been working with her family clearing out decades of treasures from her in-laws house.  Make that houses.  And a barn.  And they’ve all been at this for……many years.  We can accumulate a whole lot of stuff in our lifetimes, and I’m pleased to report that her in-laws both had good, long and happy lives.  They are missed, of course, but meanwhile the business of disposing of all the treasures was at hand.

At the end, deciding nothing else would be sold or claimed, Vanna sent me some photos asking if I’d like some of the old suitcases (among some other treasures).  YES, YES AND YES! I replied.

Old suitcases often have been used for happy trips–road trips, airline trips, plane trips.  While participating in the adventures, they get banged up–I’m talking about the suitcases here, but in our case, sometimes it’s us as well, but hopefully not.  Tends to ruin a vacation, you know.  But I digress……

Later, when the style changed, these particular old suitcases were used for storage.  Time takes its toll and they needed a good cleaning and sweeping before I might repurpose them.

Be forewarned:  this  refurbishing takes hours.  I’m not complaining, I’m just saying that there is much elbow grease, soap and water involved, plus in this case, some navy blue shoe polish.

When cleaning old things, be careful with any harsh cleaners–old suitcases may have rich colors, some of it is grime!, but pretty none-the-less.  Using harsh cleaning products can remove some of that color, so be careful using it.  Best to try a damp cloth, some mild soap and see how well you can clean with those.  One of the suitcases had some dried white paint–and a small scraper and rubbing a while on each spot got it off.  In addition, there was some old masking tape which had sufficed for labels.  Over the years, in the heat and cold and dampness, the tape had become one with the suitcase cover, so removing it was not easy.  Ultimately, after scraping and rubbing, and using vegetable oil to try to get some of the stickiness off, I used some navy blue shoe polish to improve the looks.  It worked fairly well.

Note:  old suitcases have a history and a story–they are not supposed to look ‘like new.’  I like the patina of old things–it adds character.  If I wanted all new, I’d go buy from a store.  I don’t.  I want warmth, uniqueness, a sense of theme.  Not everyone likes this approach to decorating and I understand that.  But I do.  It’s also a less expensive way to approach decorating, but frankly I don’t do it because of that.

Finally, I had them ready for display.  So here they are in my family room which has a definite British theme:

A book about England sits on top.

Carrying through the British theme to the mantle, a mug with the English flag insignia and a ‘tea’ lamp (holds a candle) sitting on some miniature suitcases.

THANK YOU SO MUCH VANNA!  They add much interest to the room I think.

Most of these items were from yard sales!  If one will take time, (repeat the mantra), YOU CAN FIND ANYTHING AT A YARD SALE!

Happy hunting!

Friday (and Saturday) Shopping

“What else would one do after an hour of working out?  Go shopping, of course…” Jabber wryly commented.

Yep, that’s what we did on Friday.  Only one sale, but Girlfriend, Thumper, Sosew and Jabber headed on over to it–it was a good one!

First, Thumper tried to tell what time it actually was…..

None of the watches had batteries.  But they  WERE cheap!

(No, she did not buy one.  She just likes to try them on to see how they’d look. Unfortunately, Thumper seldom knows what time it is, but that’s another story.)

Next, Sosew located SHOES.  Loads and loads of 3 and 4 inch high heeled shoes!  With platforms, no less.  They were beautiful and new–and $10.

Sosew modeling for us–the shoes are below:

Beautiful!  Unfortunately, Sosew couldn’t even stand on them.  Never mind, Jabber told her.  You could just sit and look lovely.  (She didn’t buy them, either.)

On Saturday morning, only Girlfriend and Jabber headed off–first back to the same sale where Jabber had been told there was…..not one, not two, not three….but EIGHT!  EIGHT! available!  (The lady had to get them out of storage, she said.)  Jabber was beside her very own self with excitement–she’d been looking for one of these for a very long time (at a yard sale, of course, and inexpensive, of course).  And now…EIGHT! to choose from!  Oh my….

But, the lady had forgotten to get them out of storage, so Jabber decided to get the one and only one right there at the sale!  Oh, my yes!  Jabber promptly named her “Isabella”…..she is now living in the garage momentarily.


“Oh.  You want to know what it was, don’t you?  What it was that was so exciting?  That I’d been looking for for many many years?  Hmmmm.  Ok.  I’ll show you…..”

Yes, my friends.  Living in my garage, now, as I write this is a ……

bare naked lady!

“What?  Oh, you want to know what in the world I’m going to do with it?”

Make her into a Christmas tree, of course.  Wouldn’t anybody?

…..oh go ahead.  Go to pinterest and look up “Christmas Tree Mannequins” and you’ll get the idea……

I’m not the ONLY crazy person on the planet!


I love to repurpose things which I can’t use as they were originally intended….don’t you?

I found this lovely belt at a sale yesterday for all of $1.  Obviously, the days of having a 17 inch waist are very long gone for me–but……the lady (who is a decorator) said, “I always thought it would look so pretty on a pillow.”

Ah ha!  Genius idea!

The Pillow was also from a recent sale–$4!

Bridal Shower

Here is the future bride, my Granddaughter:

Amber is a lovely young woman, our eldest Granddaughter, who is presently a teacher.  He’s a lovely young man, too, and we are so happy for both of them.

Ashley, her sister, is the maid of honor and threw a bridal shower this past weekend at my house–so I have lots of photos.

We had hoped to have the shower outside, but instead we had showers and held it inside.

Some of the guests:


Some of the lovely gifts:



  Kylee is Amber’s niece and will be the flower girl in the wedding.

The food and decorations:  (this was a 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon bridal shower)

Menu:  chicken salad sandwiches on Hawaiian rolls; chips, celery with Buffalo Chicken dip; crackers and cheeses; petit        fours and wedding dress cookies; Mimosas, tea, and ginger Ale.




1.  Groups of 5 dressed one member in a ‘wedding dress’ made out of tissue paper.

2.  Each guest received one of each:  mustache glued onto a popsicle stick and lips glued onto a popsicle stick.  These represented the bride and groom.  The Maid of Honor had previously asked the bride and groom the same questions, but separately.  She read the question out loud to the group along with ONE of the answers.  Each person voted whether the bride or the groom had given that answer.  Example:  How many children do you wish to have?  The answer read was ‘two’.  If the guest thought the bride had given that answer, the guest held up the lips to her mouth.  The guest who made the most correct responses won.  (I didn’t get a photo of the lips and mustaches, but they were quite cute and very clever!)

(Ashley was in charge of decorations and the games.  She also planned the menu.  CCQ Daughter and yours truly did most of the food preparation.)

Here is the group photo:  (I took the photo, so not in it)

(And as Murphy’s Law would have it, the rain stopped right when the party was getting over!)

The New Project…..

“Always a new adventure/project when Bob shows up!” Jabber said enthusiastically.

Bob K. launches a new adventure here in decorating/remodeling/painting.

Indeed!  You may recall that the mannequin “Luther” was rigged up outside by Bob, as well as an upside down Christmas Tree this past holiday season.  Bob is a man of MANY talents, including hanging mannequins and Christmas trees….

“Luther” from Christmas with the Kranks–Luther is trying to get Frosty on the roof.







No, seriously, Bob is a man of many talents.  And he’s a friend both TMWLH and I treasure.

TMWLH. (The Man Who Lives Here). Here he is, relaxing in bed, watching TV.

(Let’s face it Weeders, without Bob the light bulbs in the ceiling wouldn’t be replaced when they go out–we can no longer safely reach them as should  be obvious by the photo above and below.)

TMWLH and Jabber. Somewhere. They can’t recall exactly where.

Not to mention he successfully deals with our small, teething, biting “bear cub”.  So I won’t mention it.

Small bear cub. (aka Poppy)  Which I’m not mentioning.

This year’s project involves changing the hinged craft room doors to sliding doors.

Craft room doors–before changing them.

This because furniture had to be moved every time they were opened or closed AND they never closed easily, failing to latch properly at the top without a loud SLAM to get them to ‘catch.’

Oh, alright.  I wanted them changed.  But the rest is true, too.

I like to close off the craft room for obvious reasons–come on Weeders! I’m not all that neat when things are being created.  Sometimes we must take a break, but who wants to clean everything up and then get it all out the next time?  Best to close the doors on the mess and leave it.

Bob had a great idea–create sliding doors out of the existing hinged doors.  There was wall space on either side of the (rather large) doors and (here it comes–the infamous phrase…) “all you gotta’ do is….” add some width to the doors and some height and design a system for them to slide.

There!  Problem solved.

Well….not quite yet….but, true to his reputation, Bob has designed a system and the doors are up and sliding, but not finished.  All the trim work and painting will come next, and Bob is an EXPERT at creating really nice-looking (spectacular!) remodeling creations.

Bob and I have laughed many a time at the phrase, ‘all you gotta’ do is….” generally uttered by people who have no idea what they’re talking about, telling others how to complete a project.  It is NEVER that easy!  And it often takes twice the time, twice the money, and more than twice the expertise these people consider.  (True confessions:  I’ve been guilty of using it myself.  Now, I’ve learned.)  So when Bob his very own self said, “all you gotta’ do is….” we both  chuckled–and it would be a new adventure in creating and adapting a system to work in the area.  Bob is no stranger to creating sliding doors, having done so in his own house a year or so ago.  Still, every house is different and every situation will require adaptation to get the look one wants for the finished project.

Doors are off and above door has a board added to increase its width.

He’s always in a good mood! Why, sometimes, I have no clue. I’d be pulling out my hair with some of the projects. Infinite patience.

Demonstrating how the doors will slide.

Construction almost done, but finishing will take time. Bob’s finished projects always look fantastic.

Here’s a close up of how the doors slide.  I will post the finished project later.  These will be so much more convenient to use!

Right now they just look utilitarian–but just wait!  Bob always finishes things well.  As sliding doors, they will certainly be more functional, but they will also be a ‘feature’ of the room itself.  I will report!

Holiday 2014 Photos






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Holiday Photos

There was gingerbread making and later decorating by the cherubs, a big party and a smaller gathering, much friendship and warmth shared, baking and cooking and cleaning up, too! Here are some photos of our holiday memories.



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It’s a Wonderful Life themed Christmas Tree

201412311258.jpg In the Craft Room….




Movie Themed Christmas Trees–Nutcracker Prince and Grinch


In one of the upstairs bedrooms…201412310704.jpg

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The skirt to the Nutcracker Prince tree is a black crinoline edged with ribbon (crinoline found at a yard sale—where else?).


Miracle on 34th Street Christmas Tree




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