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The Camptown Ladies sing this song,
doo da, doo da,
The Camptown racetrack’s five miles long,
Oh, de doo dah day.
– Stephen Foster (1826-1864)

I have been humming this very vintage song lately.  Not because I’ve ever been to the camptown races (or even know what they are, if I’m honest).

I have a rather frilly and can-can-esque vision of the “camptown ladies” from the song in my head (probably wrong and sexist to boot but I’m a little afraid to google “camptown ladies”) and I had no idea that the song’s writer was walking around (and probably humming some annoying song from his village mistral), well before Canada’s confederation.

I can’t help but be impressed.  200 years is some serious longevity for a song that isn’t, y’know, required singing like the national anthem or 99 Bottles of Beer On the Wall.

I wonder if, in 200 years, people will be walking around humming one of Taylor Swift’s extremely catchy/annoying songs.

Ack!  Just a second while I (groan) shake it off, shake it off.

Or as we’ll sing it in the year 2214:  Shake It Off 99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall while We Stand on Guard For Thee.

Anyway, back to the camptown races because yep, that song is annoying me almost as much as Taylor’s is these days,  and I believe it all started with the doo da-s.

Yep, it’s all their fault.

On account of the fact that I have recently become the proud owner of four of them.

Doo dahs, that is.

Two amber ones:

amber depression glass curtain tiebacks

And two purple ones:

purple depression glass curtain tiebacks

I can’t decide which colour is my favourite.  The purple ones remind me of the beautiful glass we have found while beachcombing in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.  Apparently the process used to make glass back in the day meant the clearness (insert technical glass-making term here) wasn’t stable and over time, glass would turn a lovely purple hue.

I love beautiful mistakes, don’t you?

So yes, the purple ones are wonderful.  On the other hand, the amber doo da-s are like owning a piece of tree sap that has turned into something mystical and fairy-like and gorgeous.  As a result, both pairs have been given pride of place in our living and dining area.

amber curtain tieback holding beige curtains

Note to self: get curtains befitting amber gorgeousness

I looked these flowery beauties up online and they were frequently described as “antique, Victorian depression glass”.

I’m not quite sure how something can be of the Victorian and depression eras simultaneously.

Sounds a bit like time travel to me.

But, despite their muddled pedigree and annoying accompanying campfire races ditty, I really do love the doo da-s.  They used to sit on my friend, Mother Nature’s window sill, catching the light and sparkling it around on the beamed ceiling at her house.  Before that, they were at Mother Nature’s oldest sister’s house, having been rescued from a yard sale, auction or some other upcycling venue.

One lovely day, Mother Nature asked me if I wanted the doo da-s for my very own.

She said she wanted to give them to me because I would “do something with the doo da-s”.

Do something with the doo da-s.  Haha.

See how I almost wrote an annoying song there?

Anyhoo, we brought the doo da-s home and Practical Man got out the measuring tape so they would end up equal distances from the floor, once installed.

Boring measuring and blah blah blah but, with happy results.

purple curtain tiebacks holding back red, toile curtains

Yep, this is more like it. Love the purple and red combination.

They make me smile (and hum an annoying little tune).

Yes ma’am, I think to myself, those are some mighty fine doo da-s.

Doo da, doo da!

Sorry.

Shake it off.   Shake it off.

 

Copyright Christine Fader, 2014.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet         You might also like my book.

 


I had a run-in with The Nature today.

It tried to fool me with its sunshine and lovely temperatures.

And then, it attacked my ankles.

It’s my own fault, really, for not putting on the bug juice that Practical Man pointedly left out for me.   Perhaps it was The Nature’s way of evening the score.  After all, I was yanking and digging grass and weeds out of our flowerbed with some zeal.  That’s probably tantamount to a leg wax for The Nature.  And, it was much too warm today for me to sport my trademark out-in-The-Nature rubber boots.  Mocked by many, my rubber boots have prevented plenty of unjustified assaults by The Nature and I L-O-V-E, LOVE them. But today, I recklessly left them inside and trotted out into the great vampire bug, all-you-can-eat-buffet, brazenly naked around the ankles.

I hate it when things are my own fault, don’t you?

The flowerbed and I have called a cease-fire so I have time to smear myself with liberal doses of anti-itch goo (which is apparently flammable, it says on the label!) everywhere I can find evidence of The Nature’s wrath.  Note to self:  Do not use anti-itch goo while camping and then try to warm ankles by the fire.

Flaming ankles would be much worse than itchy ankles, even I can admit.   You may laugh but, I can’t be too careful.  I come from a long line of accident-prone people (including one person who cut herself, to the point of bleeding, on an onion bun.)

Flaming ankles are totally in the realm of possibility.

On the plus side, before I foolishly headed out into The Nature, we spent the morning wandering yard sales in Westport, a quaint waterside village nearby.  The whole town was having a festive time trading their own junk for their neighbour’s junk, because at a mere 10 or 25 cents for many items, “how could you lose?”  You apparently couldn’t because it was a phrase I heard repeatedly, as we wandered.

I found this and immediately had a crush:

pink punch bowl with cups

Everyone should have a pink punch bowl with nine matching cups, don’t you think?

And, at a mere $10, how could you lose?

Actually, $10 is less a crush and more a commitment for me.  So I hemmed and hahhed for all of three seconds and then someone walked by and said to her friend, “how could you lose?” and I took it as a sign.

You can’t mess with that kind of magic.

I’m not into pedigree, especially when it comes to old stuff.   I just like what I like.  But, I am curious about this.  It doesn’t have any maker markings that I can find.  It seems to have a sort of strawberry pattern to it and it’s heavier than depression glass, although similar in hue.  A search online yielded nothing that resembled it, so now I’m even more curious.  I doubt it’s valuable, I just wonder what vintage it comes from.

Here is what it looks like up close:

pink punch bowl pattern

 

The pattern is slightly raised and bumpy.

Not unlike my poor, poor ankles.

But, at least they’re not on fire yet.

 

Copyright Christine Fader, 2014.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet         You might also like my latest book.


If you’ve ever found yourself struggling to fit a giant vat of olives into your fridge or an 84-roll mega pack of toilet paper under your bathroom sink while wondering why on earth they had seemed like such a bargain at the membership-only warehouse store:

You might understand our house.

Our house

Photo: our house (the weeding fairies have obviously been there, whew!)

Oh sure, there was no photo ID required or free samples like at the membership-only warehouse.   But, as we strolled around looking at the house and property the first time, we could see that it had good bones and underneath all the neglect and grime, it had potential.  In short:  it was a deal.

My husband, Practical Man, loves a deal.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s why he married me.

Almost positive.

Or, maybe it was for my membership-only warehouse card.

Anyway, the property was great but the house was a mess and it was much bigger than we needed.    3+2 bedrooms.   In Canadian real estate vernacular that means 3 bedrooms on the main or upper floor of the house and two in the basement (often desirable in case you have teenagers or trolls you would rather keep partly underground.)

Just a reminder:  there are two of us.

No growing, space-hogging children.

No gigantic, space-hogging pets.

Just space-hogging vintage vehicles (my idea) and assorted practical things (definitely not my idea) that need yard space.  But, we really just wanted a small-ish house.  Yet somehow, we ended up with five bedrooms (albeit two for trolls).

I know, I know.

But, try to remember:  it’s like the 84-roll mega pack of toilet paper.  It was a deal.

So, the upshot of all this is to confess that I commandeered a room (or two), one of which we call, “the dressing room”, because naturally, every room needs a name since we have so many darn rooms to keep track of.  I think “dressing room” sounds very shi-shi or possibly Mariah Carey-ish or Jennifer Hudson-ish but my room is less personal shopping mall and more grown-woman-reverting-to-some-girly-persona-she-had-never-actually-had-as-a-child.

Cecily Barker flower fairy

Beautiful Cecily Barker lithograph from her flower fairy series (gift from my sister)

This room is entirely comprised of objects found, purchased at auction or in a thrift store except for a few items given to me as gifts by thoughtful people who played right into my designer-ific master vision.  The 10×11 feet of space seemed to give me just enough room for all my girly infatuations to come bubbling up from I don’t know where.

Actually, I know from where.

I blame it on the 1980’s movie, Top Gun.

Dressing table

Dressing table with original, squinty/streaky glass

Kelly McGillis’s character had a gorgeous Porsche Speedster (drool!) and lived in a cute ocean-view cottage that was decorated in a sort of beach-cottage/shabby-chic look that I remember noticing.   And, since the sweet little cottage from Top Gun inspired the room, I’ve decided that it shouldn’t be called the “dressing room” anymore. (even though that does appeal as it makes me sound a bit like an upstairs character in Downton Abbey.)

Instead, we’ll call it the Top Gun Room.

Couch view

Folded quilt made for me as a child by my great-grandmother; quilt on couch back made by someone else’s grandmother (purchased from thrift store)

As you can see, it’s mostly pink.  I’m sure that’s the first thing you thought of when you conjured up your image of a place called the Top Gun Room, right?

And yes, I’m aware that it’s completely self-indulgent.

Also, I’m not even sure I like pink, yet, I have a pink room and I also wrote a very, very pink book.   I feel like it’s becoming a theme, but it’s not my fault.

vintage barkcloth curtains

Vintage barkcloth curtains (Value Village)

I had planned just a few touches, but you see, the giant can of pink paint costs barely more than the teensy can of pink paint.  So, Practical Man was quite right to suggest that it made no sense to buy the amount I actually needed when it actually cost so much more per brush stroke.  Except, I really only needed about 400 brush strokes and now I have around 50,000 brush strokes of “bridal rose” still available.  That’s a lot of pink paint to go around.  As a result, it sometimes tries to splash into other places outside the dressing room.

Y’know, just the odd chair, bookshelf, or picture frame.

Room view - window

Photo: waterfall dresser, vintage barkcloth curtains, armoire, watercolours of our garden roses painted by my mom

When this happens, Practical man mutters pointedly, “the pink is travelling” which I think is code for, “Good grief, isn’t that paint can empty yet?”

If you’ve ever bought the giant vat of olives, I know you understand.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2013.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet         You might also like my latest book.