Saturday, October 26, 2013

Autumn in the Blue Ridge Mountains

October Toccoa River Walk

The Taccoa rocks.

As we move deeper into autumn, I've noticed nature has been busy readying itself for winter these past weeks here in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia.  I watched as the ground bees excavated a hole and buried themselves making a warm underground home for winter and "our" chipmunk hasn't been seen in days.  A little garter snake left the green areas, crossed the drive and headed to the rocky mountain side now hunting for a suitable place to slumber.  Our little fence lizard, who we named Brutus, the constant guardian of our stone steps over the summer hasn't been seen since the full moon.

The forest dwellers and mountain folk alike have been readying themselves for colder weather.  The smell of wood burning fireplaces has begun to fill the evening air and the wood cutters who have their stands set up at the base of the mountain are happy as their inventory is low.  The talk going 'round says that this promises to be one cold winter.

Over the past couple of weeks my hikes have been on the old wood roads which take me back to the mountain creek areas.  I've been saving a walk down to the Aska area of the Taccoa river until the colors were just right.  It was a delight and I am happy to share the sights and activities with you.

Even though it was brisk there were many of us enjoying what the river had to offer today.

The Taccoa rocks in the Aska area of Blue Ridge is a popular destination for artists and photographers.

This artist from Atlanta made the trip with two friends from Marietta to paint the river views this weekend.

Some times even when you have work to do you must heed the call of your soul.

You can't walk the river bank here so I'm taking the high road up on the mountainside looking down upon the river.

Whenever I see the enormous boulders I think of the ancient glaciers whose ice flows created these mountains.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

On Autumn's Doorstep

The talk has turned to all things October like slow foods, pumpkin muffins and a splash of Baileys in your weekend coffee.  With baking friendly temperatures and fun activities like pumpkin hunting October really says hello to community festivals and fun times.  October is also an important organizational month for any home.  Here's a short check list to keep the Holiday and busy social season on track.

1.)  Get your fall cleaning done by the 20th of the month.  You'll thank yourself over and over again!

  • Clean windows for fall and winter.
  • Clean window sills.
  • Get the cobs webs down before the Halloween decorations go up!
  • Clean out the refrigerator.
  • Pressure wash outside areas where needed.
  • Vacuum registers.
  • Clean all your fall and winter bed clothes and blankets.
  • Pack away your summer clothing.
Add your ideas to the comments!  

2.)  Been too busy to decorate?  Get your front door, porch and window boxes decorated for Autumn.  If you do, even a bowl full of apples sitting on the table will feel like fall.

3.)  Find three fun outfits to wear for expected social events.  Don't forget to check out Etsy's vintage shops!

4.)  Select the dates for your Holiday parties and get them on the calendar.

5.)  Shop for your updated autumn home decor on Etsy!

6.)  Stock the pantry for fall.  By stocking the pantry with aromatic coffee and tea, real honey, real maple syrup and the staples to make cookies, muffins or biscotti.  You'll be prepared to knock everyone's socks off when the mood hits to surprise everyone with an old fashioned homemade treat.

7.)  Make life easy by preparing slow foods in the crock pot.

This week I'll be hunting around for fun inexpensive porch decorating ideas so I'm ready to decorate the porch this weekend.

What is your autumn game plan?
Have a photograph of your front porch or door all decked out?  Send it to me and I'll post it!

I'm looking forward to seeing all your homes and ideas!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Vintage Ideal?

This has been my "go to" quote for inspiration of late.  Perhaps it is a vintage ideal, but wouldn't all our lives be improved if we could just Do It Anyway?  My Grandmother would have loved this quote.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Danish Modern Mid Century Modern Teak Bowls and Home Decor - Design, Care, History and Shopping Tips

Vintage Teak Bowls Trays and Housewares

A Profile of Vintage Danish Modern


Mid-Century Modern Offerings

Want to begin accumulating vintage Danish Modern and Mid Century teak for your home?  Or perhaps you are an avid collector seeking information?  While vintage Danish Modern Teak furniture costs are soaring, vintage teak wooden serveware and housewares, such as salad bowls, cheese boards, salt and pepper grinders and sets, trays, as well as candlesticks remain affordable.  Some vintage offerings are down-right inexpensive.  If you are willing to put a little time and effort into refurbishing many vintage Danish Modern pieces can be picked up for a song.

These vintage "touches" will help transform your contemporary modern minimalist pieces and deliver the authentic vintage vibe you seek.  For beginning collectors, I recommend creating a purchasing plan which includes creating a wish list of items you would like to use daily and those which you want to purchase as an investment.  Learning a little history, design principals, and understanding the vintage market prior to making purchases will ensure you get the most value for your money.

A little Danish Modern History

From a design aspect the Danish Modern movement began in the 1920's; but really took hold in the early 1930's continuing through World War II.  It has been said during the depression years and World War II into the post war era, European and Scandinavian designers took to their roots in both design principals as well as materials.  These new designs, born of frugality, honored the past but perhaps more importantly displayed an awakening spirit of hope for the future.

In Danish Modern furniture design, prior to using teak, many Scandinavian designs were made of local woods such as pine.  An American aesthetic for darker woods influenced Danish Modern designers.   Additionally, the advent of new post war glues and technologies such as bent plywood (which made for a stronger union of wood and metal) opened the door to exciting new affordable designs.  Once Danish Modern designers discovered teak, known for it's attributes of being a hard, lightweight and water resistant wood,  Denmark quickly became the largest worldwide importer of teak in the 1950's.

High consumption combined with poor forestry and plantation conservation practices, during the thirty year period between 1950 and 1980, accounted for the decline of teak resources worldwide and the consequential spiraling cost.  In the early 1980's many countries instituted policies to improve and maintain teak conservation practices.  Exports became regulated and plantations were governed to assure teak remained as a sustainable resource.  Why is this important?

Availability impacted both price and design.  As you will learn the age of teak importers, not coincidentally, ended in the 1980's. During that 30 year period of time not only product design but also manufacturing practices changed in order to remain competitive in the market.  Many Danish modern designs which heretofore were executed in Denmark with imported teak, were now manufactured in the country of origin.  Indeed, designs were changed to provide a more economical use of wood.  A good example of this is evidenced with the evolution of the country of manufacture of Dansk bowls; early bowls were manufactured in Denmark but quickly began being produced countries like Thailand and Malaysia. Indeed, even now, global teak availability and prices are impacted by the practices during this thirty year time period. Hence, making  the purchase of vintage teak products is not only fun but also affordable and a "green" practice.

When considering mid century teak salad bowls, serveware, candlesticks, toys and trays for purchase you owe it to yourself to 1.) know a little history, 2.) define your budget and, 3.) understand basic construction and design in order to maximize your options.

A Bit of History - Vintage Teak Serveware and Housewares Mass Market Manufacturers - Importers

Resourcing information for Danish Modern name designers such as Kay Bojesen, Hans Bolling, Jens Quistgaard, Richard Nissen and their piers on the internet is a fun ride and you will find rich information. Conversely, there is much less information available for mass market manufacturers and importers.  The latter being my main focus, because their products are reasonably priced and readily found online.  Take a moment to discover the mass market manufacturers/importers in the mid-century tableware and housewares game.  Knowing the names and a bit of the history will afford you many design and price options.

Mass Market Teak Housewares Manufacturers

Dansk Designs - 1954 - 1991 Formed in 1954 by Ted Nierenberg with designer Jens Quistgaard.  In 1974 Dansk removed all designer references and changed their back-stamp to Dansk International Designs LTD. Dansk was purchased in 1985 by Dansk Acquisition Corp and was later purchased by Brown-Forman Corporation, under it's Lenox brand umbrella.  In March of 2009 Clarion Capital Partners LLC purchased all the assets of Lenox from the Brown-Forman Corporation renaming the company Lenox Corporation which has kept the Dansk product name.[1]  There is abundant information about both Dansk and Jens Quistgaard online which I will not further duplicate here.

Dansk Trademarks over the years.

Dansk Teak Package Care Instructions 

The following care instructions came with each wood item from Dansk Designs.
"Dansk Designs advises you to treat your wood pieces tenderly.  Wood is sensitive to extremes of temperature, humidity and dryness.  So store it in a well ventilated area away from radiators and strong sunlight."
"To keep this piece lustrous, clean it by wiping with mild soap and warm water.  Dry thoroughly.  And give it an occasional beauty rub with ordinary mineral oil."

*I would only note that today it is recommended you use food grade mineral oil.  Which can easily be found at most big box stores, as well as hardware and home improvement centers.

Buying Tip:  While Dansk was sold only first quality in the finer Department Stores, they also sold seconds and closeouts through a network of Factory Outlet Stores.  Look for tags which may show the item was a second.  Further, make there aren't unsightly knots and be sure all staves and inlay work are tight and sound.  Aging glues and exposure to water can compromise the joints and the structural integrity of your piece.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Another American Institution Closes It's Doors - Beaver Brand Hats 1860 - 2013

Beaver Brand Hats 1860 to 2013 - A Eulogy

Vintage Beaver Brand Hat

I always wanted to be a cowgirl, just like Annie Oakley or an indian like Sacagawea.  I confess I can still fantasize about being a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition or being a ranch hand out west.  I wished for and "Santa" delivered my first western hat when I was three.  When I was eight my parents purchased my first authentic cowboy hat for me at a "real" western store in Arizona. I'll never forget the smell of leather and the sound of the scuff of shoes on the worn hard wood floors.  My hat was a natural cream color, traditional cowboy hat which I would wear with my red and white gingham check shirt and blue jeans.  I was one of the good guys! And now to you I confess, over the years, western style hats and old hats in general have been a secret love.  

Christmas 1958 wearing my pajamas (the kind with the feet in them) and my new hat!

Nothing says the west like the silhouette of a cowpoke or a cowgirl on a horse wearing a well worn hat. From my earliest memories as a child I wanted a horse and to ride the range.  I saw cowboy's and cowgirl's as free thinkers, independent soles who had the tenacity to help shape a nation.  Like many a cowpoke, I can "hear a song" when seeing a hat; feel that special tingle when you slide it on your head, undergo a transformation of self and spirit.  Whoever you were, you are now a cowgirl or cowboy.

American manufactures like Beaver Brand, Stetson, Resistol, Levis and Remington are a part of our history.  Just saying the names releases the magic of the old west, spurring a memory, story or song.

Here's a verse from one favorite, Chris Ledoux's ballad, "This Cowboy's Hat":

You'll ride a black tornado, cross't the western sky
Rope an ole blue norther and milk it till it's dry
Bull dawg the Mississippi, pin it's ears down flat...
Long before you take this cowboy's hat....
Now partner, this ole hat is better left alone,
She used to be my daddy's, but last year he passed on.
My nephew skinned the Rattler that makes up this ole hatband,
But back in 69 he died in Viet_Nam
Now the eagle feather was given to me by an indian friend of mine
But someone ran him down somewheres round that Arizona line
And a real special lady gave me this hat pin
But I don't know if I'll ever see her again.

More lyrics:

Please pardon my romanticized ramblings and look past the tear that fades down my cheek.  The Beaver Brand Company has died and another piece of America and Americana has died with it.

After 153 Years Beaver Brand Company Closes It's Doors to Hat Making

Since 1860 Beaver Brand made hats by Americans for Americans.  Beaver Brand originated in St. Louis, The Gateway to the West, coincidentally the starting point of the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804.  This was where settlers would stock their larders for the trip out west.  They produced hats under the Langenberg brand.  In 1928 they moved to the small town of New Haven, Missouri.  Many workers were second and third generation hat makers and purchased the private company in the early 1990's.

Their moniker was "Beaver Brand - Always a Standard of Quality".  They delivered exceptional quality in timeless styles; it was one of the few companies in the world where you could custom order a hat to your specifications.

Their hats are a part of the western collective consciousness and they will be missed.  It was said in the old west a person could tell where you were from by the type of hat you wore.  In many ways it's still true today.  You can go anywhere in the world, if you're donning a cowboy hat, you're American.

Although they ceased production around October of 2012, on July 20, 2013, Beaver Brand Company will formally be liquidated in an auction located at their manufacturing plant in New Haven, Missouri.  If you're in the area and interested in attending, the auction preview is July 19, 2013, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm and the auction begins at 9:00 am on July 20, 2013.  American history for sale, I'm sure there are some true treasures to be found.

Among the things being auctioned are:

"advertising, International Time Recording Co Endicott, NY antique time clocks, original art works by Jonathan Wright, Beaver Brand Hats lighted sign, antique 14 drawer cabinet units, massive antique glass front hat display unit, salesman sample hat travel cases, original Beaver Brand Hat boxes, labels, old photographs 1860’s, HUGE LOT OF PRODUCT-various styles of hats, 12+ denim jackets “Don’t Mess With My Beaver Brand Hat”, antique oak office chairs, awesome Beaver Brand Hats lighted advertising sign, hat catalogues, fern stands, oak farm style table"  From the Auctioneers advertisement which can be found here:

A moment of silence please; take off your hat, hold it over your heart and say a word or two for a great American company; the Beaver Brand Company.  While you're at it you may want to say a prayer for all American businesses.  Large and small we need all the help we can get.  Please remember: buy local, buy American, support small business.  It is the heart, and sometimes the soul, of America.

The vintage Beaver Brand hat pictured is available in my vintage shop.  UPDATE - The hat shown has SOLD!

Thank you,
Debra TheInspiredTrader

Monday, June 24, 2013

June In the Garden - What's Blooming

The Mountain Laurels are In Bloom

This post is for my friend, who I'll call Rev, a Georgia girl living in Paris, France.  I know she gets homesick and who can blame her when the Mountain Laurels are in bloom here in the Blue Ridge mountains it's a beautiful sight!  The pollen has been so bad this year you can see the build up on the leaves.

The buds are as interesting as the flowers are beautiful.

In white.

Beginning to open.  In pink.

In full bloom!

Bumble bee feeding.

I think this is a yellow jacket perched on the leaf  to the right.
He waited in "line" until the bee was finished with the blossom.

It's interesting to see so many different species of nature's pollinators at work.

Elsewhere around the property the day lilies are beginning to open (the ones which haven't been eaten by the deer). The fern beds are full and the snails are everywhere.

In this garden post I stayed small with close ups.  The next garden post will be the bigger picture.  Rev, a little bit of Georgia for you!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Keep Summer Cool - Crafts - 60 Minute DIY Craft Project

Super Easy 60 Minute Summer Table Decoration Craft Project

I'm saying a BIG HELLO to summer with this super easy and fun craft project decorating pillar candles with starfish.  Looking for a poolside, crab boil picnic or beach wedding table decoration ideas?  This adult craft idea makes an upscale table decoration for evening poolside dinning or as a beach wedding table decor.  I confess when I found these dead stock starfish my mind couldn't help but think of all the cool craft projects for them.  This is a simple and softly sophisticated use of dried natural starfish which are available in my shop.

Let's get started!

What You'll Need:

  1. Candle or candles.
  2. Starfish.  I used my smallest starfish which measure 1" to 1 1/2".
  3. Glue Gun
  4. Multi Temp Glue Sticks
  5. Loctite Fun-Tak
  6. Pencil with eraser end. (not pictured)

Step One:  Creating a Design

Take a two to three inch strip of the Loctite mounting putty and roll it into a thin round rope form.  Remove bits and roll into tiny balls.

Apply the tiny balls to the center of the starfish and create a pattern on your candle.  The advantage of the Loctite is if you don't like your design you can move the starfish around until it's just the way you want it.

Plug in your glue gun and insert a glue stick a couple minutes before you are ready to glue so it has a chance to preheat.

Step Two:  Attaching the Starfish

One by one, remove a starfish from the candle so you can easily glue it back in place and keep your lovely design.

Remove the Loctite Fun-Tak from the starfish and place a tiny amount of hot glue to the center of the starfish.  Allow it to cool just for a moment and carefully pick up the starfish by the legs and place it on the candle pressing the center with the eraser end of a pencil to avoid burning your fingers.

Repeat until all your starfish are attached to the candle.  Note:  This is an adult craft project because it requires the use of a glue gun.  Take extreme care when applying the molten glue to the starfish and applying it to the candle.

That's it!

Table Decoration Ideas:

Whether you are creating one candle for the perfect poolside romantic dinner, several for a casual outdoor seafood feast or a beach themed casual outdoor wedding reception these fun table decoration ideas will make entertaining fun and a snap.

  • Use rolls of brown craft or shipping paper to line your picnic table instead of using linens.
  • Use the Loctite Fun-Tak to secure the paper to your table on the corners so the wind doesn't blow your table covering away!
  • Create a base for your candles with sand which you can nestle your candles into.  This also is a safety precaution if a candle tips the sand will keep the hot wax of your table.
  • Use candles of different sizes to add dimension and interest.
  • If you have them use glass hurricane covers for your candles.
  • Use a galvanized bucket(s) spray painted white or light blue as wine or champagne coolers.
  • Keep it simple by using raffia to tie paper napkins rolled up with plastic utensils presented in a natural basket for large groups.  Especially good because they can be prepared way ahead of the party.
  • Use economical paper plates with natural wicker paper plate holders.
  • Use plastic champagne glasses to serve individual shrimp cocktails with the sauce in the bowl of the glass, a wedge of lemon and beautiful pink shrimp hanging on the rims.  These are not only fun, but give a nice  pop of color!
  • For a more intimate dinner, us vintage melamine plastic ware in place of paper plates.  Think soft colors; white, robin's egg blue, jade or sea-foam green will carry the beach theme.
  • For the Fourth of July - use a mix of vintage red white and blue melamine serveware.  Such as was manufactured by Dansk Designs.
Dress your table with this fun and easy project.

When your special event is done - these candles won't go to waste!  Use them around the house, on your porch or in the bath to bring a little summer nature into your home decor!

If you want more information to purchase starfish please use these links.  I have starfish available in two sizes tiny and small:

Starfish - Natural Bay - Tiny - 24 Count
Tiny 1" to 1 1/2" Starfish

Starfish - Dried Natural Bay Starfish - 24 Count
Small 1 1/2" to 2" Starfish

I hope this project has inspired you to get creative and have fun entertaining and being crafty this summer!

Cheers!  Deb @ TheInspiredTrader

You can find me on Google+ here!
Facebook: TheInspiredTrader on Facebook

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Finds and Features

Ecologically Friendly  Sea Shell, Starfish and Ocean Specimen Collecting for your Home Decor
Starfish - Dried Natural Bay Starfish - 24 Count

Walking the beach and shell collecting is a fun and family friendly way to while a morning away when on an ocean side vacation or if you are lucky enough to live close to the beach.  But you have to get up early to beat the die hard beach combers for the best shell specimens.  Don't forget to take a little beach bag to carry along for your treasures.  

Worn and sea tossed shells are beautiful in a little bowl or small basket and will make you smile each time you lay eyes on them and remember shell hunting.  Collections of shells displayed in watery blue Mason Jars along with larger specimen make a visually interesting display.  We have such a connection to the ocean seashell and ocean specimen displays almost immediately put you into relax mode when you want to decompress from a long day.  What to do if you don't live close to the beach and want to include seashells and beach decor in your home?  Shop online!

Seashell Decor - Summer Finds:

TheInspiredTrader was featured on the Steal the Look:  A Watery Blue Bath with Shells, Starfish and Sand Dollars a Beach and Nautical Decor post on the REMODELISTA web site which included a link to our vintage Starfish for sale on Etsy!  This beach bathroom is superlative!
Steal This Look: A Watery Blue Bath, Seashells Included by Alexa Hotz

Summer is almost here and we know beach cottage and nautical home decor is a nice way to bring nature into your home.  So seeing our listing for vintage natural dried starfish featured on the home decor and interior design web site REMODELISTA ; not only excited about us about the feature but also that it highlighted the important consideration that vintage and estate sea shells and specimens are recognized as a eco-friendly way to collect.  By shopping and purchasing vintage dead stock and estate specimens for your collection and beach cottage home decor you help ensure the environment isn't further harmed.

Featured - Natural Dried Starfish, Coral and Sea Shells

24 Natural Dried Starfish by TheInspiredTrader on Etsy
24 Natural Dried Starfish by TheInspiredTrader on Etsy

Decorating with seashells?  Wondering where to buy seashells?  Shop these seashells on Etsy!
Large 10 Inch Natural Spiny Conch Shell No. 3
Large 10 Inch Natural Spiny Conch Shell No. 3 by LakesideCottage on Etsy

Vintage Natural Nautilus Sea Shell
Vintage Natural Nautilus Sea Shell by SouthernBellaVintage on Etsy

It's feels good to know you can collect quality specimens and stay green!  Look for more summer inspired beach decor and DIY's to come!

Friday, May 31, 2013

How To Clean Brass with Natural Products

Cleaning Stained Vintage Brass - A Tutorial

Hollywood Regency Floor Standing Solid Brass Candlestick Holders

While cleaning a vintage item is never in question, whether to polish or not to polish brass, copper and silver is for many vintage sellers.   In general, patina is highly sought after, removing patina from vintage and antiques devalues the item.  Given the choice, I always opt for patina, in my shop I opt for a jeweler's cloth to clean and lightly polish most vintage jewelry.  However, with metal home decor and kitchenware the line is blurred.

Patina is one thing, stains are another.
I was faced with this exact situation recently with these three extra large floor standing brass candle holders.

The tallest candlestick stands 26 3/8 inches , the medium candlestick 21 1/2 inches and the smallest 18 inches tall without candles. These mid century solid brass Hollywood Regency style vintage candle holders were meant to be elegant and beautiful - to make a visual statement.  To have a presence in a room.

Taking this into consideration, I decided to polish.

All three had staining similar to the one pictured here on the left.  Who knows what from or how deep the reactive stain reached, committing to them was a risk.

I knew I could use a commercial brass cleaner and 0000 fine steel wool, available in the grocery and hardware stores.  Very expensive and who wants that in their kitchen sink and going down the drain?  As many of you know, last year I moved from Orlando, Florida to the mountains of Blue Ridge, Georgia.  Moving to a more natural location has heightened my senses to be even more ecologically minded in the way I live. Our cabin, on septic, is located right across the road from the Taccoa River, so I wanted to be ecologically responsible in my choice of treatment.

I found several web and blog sites recommending this or that all natural treatment.  What was lacking was examples of how well the suggested treatment worked as well as before and after photographs.  Several of which didn't work, or didn't work well enough to deal with the staining on my brass candle holders.  I'll talk more about that later.  Let me share what did work the best first and what you'll need to get started.  Relax it's all natural and probably in your kitchen pantry right now!

Things You'll Need

  • Spoon - I used a stainless steel spoon, a wooden spoon would work also.
  • Flour - I used regular unbleached all purpose flour.
  • Kosher Salt
  • Vinegar 5% to 6% acidity - I used cider vinegar but you could use white vinegar.
  • Bowl - I used a plastic mushroom container which I wash and keep for projects like this.
  • Cotton Swab - To apply the paste directly on the stain.
  • Sponge - to apply the paste for over all treatment.
  • Olive Oil - to protect the metal from the air after it has been cleaned and polished.

Prep Work

If your candle holders break down into smaller pieces - take them apart one at a time and wash with warm soapy water and dry with a soft cloth or kitchen towel.  This will remove any oils,dust and surface dirt allowing the mixture to reach the metal more efficiently and uniformly.

Many older pieces of brass have been lacquered.  It's important to know if your piece has been lacquered you will have to use more traditional treatments to remove the lacquer prior to polishing.  This treatment will not remove lacquer.  For pieces which are lacquered you can use a traditional brass cleaner with 0000 fine steel wool, being careful not to rub in a circular motion or apply so much pressure as to deeply scratch the surface of the metal.  Fine marks can be buffed out with a lamb's wool buffer attached to a drill.

Step One

Mix the paste.  I wasn't and didn't exactly measure the ingredients and I made them in batches; treating and cleaning over a couple of days without issue.  I did attempt to stay somewhat consistent and used a heaping 1/4 cup of flour, kosher salt and vinegar per batch.  I doubled this when applying the overall treatment.  You can adjust for too much vinegar if your paste is too thin by adding equal parts of flour and salt until the mixture is thick enough not to run.

Staining prior to treatment.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spring 2013 Casual Fashions Accessories and Jewelry

Spring 2013 Casual Fashions - Vintage and Handmade

It's been an unusually cold spring, but mid May brings thoughts of dressing our homes and ourselves for warmer weather.  My thoughts wander to lightweight and comfy clothing, dipping my toes into the warming waters.

Enjoy the kiss of spring, the caress of soft breezes and the glint of sunshine on silver and nature inspired jewelry in this casual chic outfit.  Anyone who has been in my shop knows my love of vintage Taxco, Native American and Southwest jewelry.  I can't help but imagine beautiful casual jewelry paired with some of the finest vintage and handmade spring and summer fashions available on Etsy.

Beach Inspired Jeans & Tee 

Beach inspired, in soft grey and black, this striped tee paired with Levi jeans is accessorized with beautiful simplicity:  Coach purse, vintage Taxco and handmade sterling silver jewelry.

Whether you're walking the boardwalk on the east coast or west, you will turn heads in this outfit which goes easily from day to evening.  A slightly nautical striped tee in long sleeves will keep you warm as the sea breezes cool and the sand has given up the heat of the day.

The neutral tones will accentuate your features and you will shine!

1. Vintage Taxco Sterling Silver Chandelier Earrings by TheInspiredTrader
925 Taxco Mexico Sterling Earrings Drop Chandelier Style w Hematite Signed
Vintage Taxco Sterling Silver Earrings by TheInspiredTrader
2. Handmade French Stripe Bamboo Jersey Blouse by THIMBLEandACORN
3. Vintage Black Levis 501 Jeans by Flying A NYC
Vintage Levis 501 black jeans size 31 x 31
Vintage Black Levis 501 Jeans by Flying A NYC
4. Handmade Rainforest Jasper and Sterling Silver Ring by AstrasShadow
Rainforest Jasper and Sterling Silver Ring: Green, Pink and Gold Colors Orbicular Rhyolite Ring Size 9 New Handcrafted Jewelry
Handmade Rainforest Jasper and Sterling Silver Ring by AstrasShadow

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Wild Violets are Blooming

Wild Violets and Mason Jar Terrariums

Wild Violets are Edible

My front yard is carpeted with lovely wild violets.  Also known as Violas.  Do you know the flowers and the leaves are edible and can be used in salads, to make teas, flavored water and vinegar.  You can even make wild violet jelly.  While I'm more inclined to purchase it, there is a lovely shop in North Carolina which sells wild violet jelly and syrup on Etsy.  I am going to make violet vinegar very soon and will post on the experience.
Half Gallon Blue Ball Mason Jar by TheInspiredTrader on Etsy

Wild Violets Make Good Terrarium Plants

They're so irresistible I used one as a prop for a large half gallon vintage Blue Ball Mason Jar which I think would make a stunning terrarium container.  In fact violets make wonderful terrarium

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Honoring Boston

Boston - My kind of town!

When I was a child my family lived in Massachusetts for four and a half years while my father was stationed at Westover AFB.  My mother had a friend who lived in Boston and we traveled there to visit her as well as the usual shopping and sightseeing.  I saw the Beatles there.  While I haven't been to Boston in over 30 years, I keep the city in my heart and fond memories.  Never more than yesterday and today.

Pat from LakesideCottage on Etsy, one of my Etsy Integrity of Vintage teammates created a small tribute treasury.  Boston, our team of 175 members are with you.  Keeping you in our prayers.  Click on the link below photograph of the tribute and it will take you to the treasury, where you can show your support by leaving a comment.

Click here to go the treasury to leave a comment.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Anniversary Celebration

TheInspiredTrader's 2nd Anniversary!

Vintage Online Store
Anniversary Sale

I am pleased to announce our annual vintage online store Anniversary Sale Celebration has begun!

Thank you for making TheInspiredTrader's first two years on Etsy such a success!  

Friday, March 29, 2013

Benton MacKaye Trail Day Hike to Long Creek Falls

Day Hike to Long Creek Falls on the Benton MacKaye Trail

     The Benton MacKaye (MacKaye rhymes with sky) trail was named for the man who envisioned the Appalachian Trail and can be accessed through the Blue Ridge Wildlife Management Area.  It includes about 300 miles of trails which intersects with the Appalachian Trail in several areas.  The drive in is on gravel road USFS Road 58; it's about a 6 mile journey to the parking area at Three Forks.  The beautiful drive is bordered with the Noontootla Creek on the right and mountain side on the left.  Noontootla Creek is a noted trout stream and we saw several occupied camp sites right next to the stream along the way.

Mountain side sneak peek on FS 58

     The road is single lane gravel, it is well maintained and graded, making it accessible with most vehicles.  However, there are no guard rails, and passing oncoming traffic is very tight.  Meeting opposing traffic was a little scary as you can't always see around the turns for oncoming traffic and it's a tight fit for two vehicles.  Drive with caution! I was glad my hike guide was driving!

Benton MacKaye and Appalachian Trail

     The Benton MacKaye trails intertwines with the Appalachian Trail here in Fannin County, Georgia and much of the trail shows the markers of both trails.  The Benton MacKaye trail marker is the diamond which is about 7 inches tall and 5 inches wide.  The Appalachian Trail marker is the rectangle which is about 7 inches tall and 3 inches wide.  Guided hikes are available through The Lilly Pad Village and can be arranged by calling (706) 534-1317.

     The Long Creeks Falls hike is an especially nice day hike, 1.1 miles in length to the falls, where paths are reserved for hikers only; no horses, mountain bikes or 4 wheeler's allowed.  It is a dog friendly trail and it was fun to see many dogs enjoying themselves along the way.  I was glad to have a guide who knew which side paths provided great photo opportunities and some assistance climbing the steep rocks next to the falls to get to the higher tiers.

Appalachian Trails and Benton MacKaye Trail sign post.

Let the hike begin!