Saturday, June 13, 2015

Unique Themed Baby Gift Baskets- More Pics Added!

June 2015....Most of these were created back in 2009, but since that post gets a lot of views, I'm adding some additional pics of baskets that we created that same year...Several people have messaged us over the years with other fun themes including Pirates, Environmentally Friendly, Organic, Ocean Theme, Superheroes & more...Even though these were made 6 years ago, there are some fun ideas that can be adapted for not only newborns but toddlers too.

Bath Time
Styrofoam balls painted blue and then dabbed with a bit of white make great bubbles,
we used a lot of skewer sticks in baskets to prop up items 

Antique Bike

Under the Big Top
The lion's hat is a Christmas ornament and we use actual baby bibs to tie onto the
stuffed animals.

Sweet Treat Trike
These bikes are from the garden department at discount stores

Giddy Up

Sweet Style
You really don't need a lot of items, tying on big bows and accenting each item with ribbons
and tags fills up the space

Beary Sweet
Containers like these are quite easy to find at discount stores

Pink Picket Fence

Safari Sweetie

Wagon Wrangler
Sweet Treat

Cupcake Cutie
Dressing up the stuffed animal in a newborn outfit is a cute way to display it
Her hat is just a plush slice of cake pinned to her head
We used the styrofoam balls here as ice cream scoops
Tea Time Picnic

Hoppy Baby

Baby Bloom
Vintage Toy Luggage

Sweetest Goal

Garden Party for Little Miss Iona Taylor
Secret Garden
Froggy Trike
Old fashion diaper pins you can find at the dollar store and they make great accent pieces

You were made perfectly to be loved-and surely I have loved you, in the idea of you, my whole life long.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

If I could reach up and hold a star for every time you've made me smile
The entire evening sky would be in the palm of my hand.

babies are such a nice way to start people
-Don Herold

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Miss Denise

Denise Spears Adams Chafin 1949-2014

My mom, Denise, created this blog a few years back when she entered the vintage re-sale scene. She was an elementary school teacher by trade but an artist, collector, and treasure hunter by heart. Students, parents & faculty loved her but it was later in her teaching career where she had the opportunity to work in the visual arts department that really lit her spark for teaching and being an advocate for the artist in all of us.  She absolutely loved it. She worked with schools, companies & the community to host art shows, school exhibits, teacher workshops, and was most passionate about integrating the arts into student's lives. She inspired, supported & challenged both students & teachers. A few years ago we were set up at an art show and a parent recognized my mom, (well I should say she noticed my mom's accent - her charming Southern West Virginia twang) and my mom remembered the family and as they hugged, the parent eagerly began to tell the story of her daughter. Her daughter was a gifted painter in high school and it was my mom who encouraged her to enter her work in exhibits & shows, win scholarships, and really helped her believe in herself and her artwork. The daughter went on to art school and upon graduating college decided to become a college art professor herself. The mother was grateful to my mom, even though 15 years had passed, their family still remembered the support & positive influence Denise had on their family. In listening to that story, in that moment, I just remember feeling so proud of my mom. She loved what she did and I hoped she knew the impact on herself & others she had by living her true spark.

After retiring from the teaching world she was able to focus on her love of gardening & flea markets. The gardening bug was from her mom- when I was a kid, my grandma's garden was full of everything from pumpkins, to giant corn stalks to vines of green beans. My grandma knew every flower & plant on her property and loved walking around and telling you about each one. Denise was the same way but roses were definitely her favorite. My mom could spend from sun up to sun down in her plants, yard & garden, and in the last few years I really think that's what kept her energy up & her spirit fed. You would have never known she had stage 3 ovarian cancer, and most people didn't.

The love of  flea markets, auctions, & garage sales was from her dad. I would bet my grandpa was known in at least 5 states as one of the coolest trading & dealing old timers around. The countless stories I've heard about him over the years could easily fill a book or two. People would actually drive hours out of their way just to stop by and see what he had, and most of the time 'folks' really just wanted to sit and listen to him tell stories. He was a true American Picker decades before any reality TV shows.  He taught my mom a lot: to see value in things, monetary value but more importantly the history, the workmanship & the creativity in anything from an antique coin to the engine of a Model T Ford. Denise married her knowledge of antiques and her love of art. Many of her favorite finds she loved as they were, but she also had an eye for finding pieces that she could add to, take apart, re-paint, or "marry" with another piece. In the mid 1990's we had a tiny little art gallery where we held workshops on our back patio & inside we mainly featured her art chairs. Nothing excited her more than finding an odd chair. It was a creative challenge for her to find just the right woman to paint on the chair. It was fun to watch her work, and she loved it.

She & her husband spent several years in retirement buying, fixing & flipping homes. As a kid she would tell me about how she would get a shoe box and the Sears & Montgomery Wards catalogues and cut out sofas, lamps and chairs and glue them into the shoe box to create her dream house. And so it was during these home buying years that she fed her passion to decorate with hand painted murals & themed rooms - like Paris Apartment & Greco Roman Villa.

Years later, she started White Horse Relics, and when I returned from living in Mexico I not only helped with her business but soon after her cancer treatments as well.

She was first diagnosed with 12 tumors, 8 of them the size of golf balls. Surgeries & chemo cocktails followed her for the next 3 1/2 years. We went through just about every western medical treatment, she saw the best doctors on two different coasts. The day she got the diagnosis I looked up an old friend, you gotta love Facebook (sometimes).

His name is Frederick, and I first met him when I was 19 & my Mom and I were at (of all things) an estate sale one weekend, where this artsy & energetic lady was moving and selling a lot of fun stuff. We spent at least two hours just oohing and aweing and picking. And of course she and my mom hit it off, my mom was like my grandpa- people were just drawn to her energy. Because of this new love fest with the cool lady & her neat stuff, she felt open enough to invite us back the next day to a party she was having with friends. That's when we met Frederick. A spiritual healer, teacher & guide who has this calm & knowing energy about him that is intoxicating . People come into your life at certain times and sometimes it's not evident right then as to why. While we stayed friends and kept in touch with him over the next 5 years, it was almost 15 years later that the real reason for the friendship revealed itself. The love, support & guidance that he gave Denise, myself & my girls is immeasurable. It was through the cancer that my mom healed. She learned to love herself, to forgive herself, to feel, to love, to let go. She worked through her hurt and her fear and her anger. It wasn't easy and it took several years, but she came to a place of trust, calm & knowing. Of course she still had hopes & dreams, things she still wanted to do in this life, but we feel she was at peace to make the transition and she went in December of last year at the age of 65.

It's obviously taken me many months to be able to write this post. I would sit at the computer and honestly I couldn't write one single word. The tears would start flowing and the emotions would overtake me and I was paralyzed. I think I felt like as long as I didn't write this, her passing wouldn't be real in some way. With the sweet smiles of my girls & the loving support of a friend, I was able to do this today. Really no words exist that can even come close to describing her, her impact on the people she knew & loved or how much she is missed. It was standing room only at her memorial service in the small town where she went to high school and her mother still lives. She wore many hats in her lifetime ( or as she would prefer to wear 'crowns' ). From the Little Girl skipping down a dirt hollow road in a coal mine town nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, to high school Homecoming Queen, to an Inspiring Educator, to a Beautiful Mom, to an Artist, to a Wannabe Motown Dancer, to a Life Long Friend, to Daughter, to Pinterest Addict, to Sister, to my girl's Amazing Nani & the list could go on....but really to Anyone that knew her she is Simply Unforgettable.

My daughters and I are slowly getting back to creating and hope to continue some of Denise's projects. We definitely don't have her unique eye but I think we do have a bit of her spark & love for creating.

Thanks for taking the time to read this about my mom, she was my best friend and I'm blessed to have been able to call her Mom...Smiles, Ashley

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Adventures.....

As Denise makes her move to the East Coast & my girls and I travel to the Mexican Coast, we're excited to see where our next chapters take us & look forward to finding & creating fun pieces along the way.........

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It's Our Final Month at Antiques on Cedros in Solana Beach, Ca!


As we focus on our move to the east coast & new adventures, we unfortunately have to say a Sweet Goodbye to our booth at Antiques on Cedros in Solana Beach. We've loved every minute of being vendors in this eclectic & beautiful store! A Special Thanks to owners Tony & Wanda, and previous  owners Eldon & Anisa, for all of their positive energy & support for our artwork & fun finds. We've really enjoyed the opportunity to meet & work with this wonderful group of people! Best wishes & continued success to everyone at AOC!
WHR booth at AOC, May 2014

Vintage Sacred Heart Madonna with Blue Glass Bead Rosary & Vintage Prayer Book

Assembled Child's Dress Form with Vintage Doll Head and Santos Crown from Mexico,
Vintage Yellow Glass Bead Rosary from France. Watch & Key parts from my Sweet Grandpa's building.
Our final week is June 23rd-27th.
If you're in the area, stop in and look for many of our items on sale starting the first week of June!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Daughter Nature

Sophia's Creative Design project for April 2014, 
she titled Daughter Nature
 She enjoys this class this semester, the students have a lot of freedom
in choosing the medium and concepts for projects
 Many of these pieces she found in her Grandmother's studio,
others she found at our favorite thrift store
The ears and fur head piece she made from a fur collar she found at the thrift

The hair, also from the thrift, are long clip-in extensions
She cut bangs, added feathers and braided strands
Black feather eyelashes
And I now know what snake bite piercings are

She built the shoulders and thigh bowls in order to plant live plants
At 15, there's a confidence in her that I admire, a trust
 in being open to the creative process, a belief in herself and her vision, all reflecting in her work
 She's fun and inspiring and a Naturally Lovely Daughter


Monday, April 7, 2014

Playing with Dolls, Creating In & Outside of the Box

Love the idea of taking something someone once collected, cuddled, loved or cherished, and re-creating it into something we love. So many mixed media artists are doing amazing assemblages with vintage dolls, parts & pieces. The possibilities are fun to play with & the creative process inspiring. Sometimes it only takes that doll in the bottom of the box, with the missing body & crack running down her forehead, to whisper something to you & before she knows it, she's been crowned! We've 'assembled' some of our favorites.....

A Sweet Memory

Denise made this mixed media doll, titled "My Amazing Grace", in 2013. It's made with items given to her by her dad, old keys and watch parts, and also she included things that reminded her of him, a very sweet and special project. She played around with the idea of painting a face on her, but came to love the idea of the magnifying glass head magnifying the cross.

Amazing Grace by Denise Chafin. Made from new and vintage pieces in remembrance of  her dad.
Includes coal tags, old watch parts, lamp parts, doll arms from a doll he had given her,
earrings,  magnifying glass & more

Amazing Grace by Denise Chafin- SOLD Jan 2014-
A Sweet Lullaby
Recently, fellow artist & dear friend Carol Rea, gave us a box & a bright smile, and we gladly accepted both! Inside the box, vintage dolls & parts she had been collecting. With the smile, motivation to see what we could come up with ...

Playing around with angel wings & an antique birdcage I painted pink.
This was a fairly easy assemblage,
the legs & arms have wire hooks that easily hooked onto the wires of the cage.

After just a couple of hours of 'playing' we're tickled pink on how she evolved.
That's a vintage baby's cup holding the nest inside.
You never know what you may end up using and that's why Denise loves
 to save Everything!- SOLD Feb 2014-

Sweet Dreams

Another girl from our box. I got the inspiration for her from my daughter, Sophia. From the time she was little, she's experienced vivid dreams, scary nightmares & wild adventures in her sleep. So, often times before bed we would talk about where she wanted to go in her dreams. One of her favorite spots to visit & play was the forest.
This cutie had a sweet wig of pigtails, we wanted her eyes to stay closed but every once and awhile,
when you'd least expect it, they'd pop open!
Denise created the final crown & nest touches with vintage porcelain flowers in her vine &
a plump little bird friend to keep her company- SOLD Feb 2014-

Sweet Souls

More sweet faces from our box found their way on top of old tin toys & containers. I especially like the tiny red one, with the vintage natural remedy tin & vintage milagros arms.
Assembled Sweeties- AOC Feb 2014-



This Angel Prince has a vintage Magician's Magic Trick tin toy torso 
Denise liked this cutie bald, but I liked a piece sheep's wool that we hand dyed for a hair-do.
She has a special something inside of her box & I intentionally glued the lid closed, it's a secret between the two of us
She has a bit of a little red head rascal look to her. She has a candy tin body and a headband made from
an old metal frame, bottle cap & lamp finial
You see these souvenir dolls often at thrift stores and yard sales.
This one with his little bald spot & gold sequined suit just called out to me.
I added a large vintage tin heart from Mexico, newer stampings (the heart & flower) and an old sterling
silver rosary I got on my last trip to Mexico City.
My little Jose Raul

A Steampunk Inspired Sweetie

 We added a bit of whimsy to this vintage glass eyed, wooden, Infant of Prague. He was missing his globe and I created one out of Sculpey, but it wasn't quite perfect, so I decided to turn it into a flying earth and gave the Infant some aviator goggles made from vintage clock gears, clear plastic and wire.
A little Steampunk inspired Infant of Prague- SOLD Oct 2013-


 Thrift Sweeties

Sometimes you find those special thrift store sweeties, where you can see potential past the broken legs & hair stubble. One afternoon, a china doll with broken legs, made her way to our garage. There  she happened to meet a lovely floral teapot with a dented lid. The love poured & now they will forever be 'tea mates'. We added vintage pale pink trim, old paper flowers and a crown we pieced together out of metal bits. Her arms are loosely tied on with pale pink ribbon. She ended up traveling half way around the globe to a buyer in South Africa.
Assembled Vintage Teapot Girl- SOLD 2014-

One of my favorite Denise creations! She created this custom vintage crochet, floral and ribbon hat to cover
her strawberry blonde stubble hair. She added ribbon to her sweet dress & placed her riding this gorgeous swan that
she painted and crowned. A really beautiful custom piece- SOLD 2013-
I enjoyed making these boxes, again with vintage souvenir dolls, old postcards, stamps & mixed media

She's an old Spanish sleepy eyed souvenir doll assembled in an old cigar box.
This prince found a home inside a vintage pickle castor- SOLD 2013-

This locked altar box features an old Spanish souvenir doll inside a bird's nest atop a broken metal base

Her crown is off a Christmas ornament & her necklace a newer cross stamping we rusted
We have a few more heads & limbs in our box from Carol & look forward to creating more sweeties...