Sunday, July 29, 2012

Screen Printed Shaving Kit

My most popular screen print item this past week was the Fish Print Shaving Kit/Toiletries Bag:

Screen printed fish (fish graphic from The Graphics Fairy)

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This item is available at The Gypsy Chix Company.

Love this print, such great detail!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Furniture Flip Friday

I was walking through the thrift shop a few weeks ago when I came across this end table for $5.95!  It was solid with no broken pieces.  The inside was in pristine shape.  I snatched it up! 

I let it sit in the garage for a few weeks while trying to decide on a color.  What color would sell quickly on Craig’s List?   That’s always a tough one.   I finally decided on light gray since I had some extra lying around.

I made some home-made chalk paint and lightly distressed the table after painting.  I stayed with the original hardware by spray painting the pulls in copper.  I also waxed the sides and front and sealed the top since I know this is the area that will get a lot of use and wear.

Here is the before picture:

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And the after:

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This piece sold within a few weeks on Craig’s List for $50.  Love it when they go quick!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Tower Bridge Looks Like it Belongs in A Fairy Tale

This is one of the coolest bridges I have ever seen. Plans for the Tower Bridge were devised around 1876 when the east of London became crowded and a bridge across the Thames seemed necessary. 

The bridge used to open almost 50 times a day but now it is only raised about 1,000 times a year.  Bridge lifts are pre-scheduled (for cruise ships, etc) so check the bridge's website to find out times.

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But the best view requires you to be on the bridge – see what I mean, looks like a fairy tale bridge!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Look Left, Look Right, Look Both Ways

Where am I?

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Did you guess right?

Since Londoners drive on the left side of the road, it's important to make sure you look the right way when crossing the street. Often times you will see directions painted on the street at crossings to remind you to look the right way. This was definitely the hardest thing to get used to and London streets can be so busy! If you go with kids, please be careful!
Happy Traveling!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Vintage Saturday

Some of my cool vintage finds from this past week.

A Vintage Bread Box:  SOLD!

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A Vintage Cheese Box

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A Vintage Kodak 8mm Brownie Movie Camera Eastman Kodak Company

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What’s your favorite item?  I’m loving some vintage cameras right now!

Friday, July 20, 2012

I Went to My First Auction – Hooked!

I have been toying around with the idea of going to an auction and since the weather was not cooperating for boating, I decided to find an auction to go to instead.  Luckily, I was able to talk hubby into going with me!

After quickly searching the internet, I found an auction that sounded interesting and was only about 40 minutes away.  The auction started at 10:00 a.m., but by the time I decided to go it was already noon.  I called the auction to make sure it wasn’t too late.  The lady that answered the phone told me to come on out.  The auction would be going on until at least 5 p.m. 

Hubs and I headed out and found it pretty quickly.  At first there were signs “Auction Ahead” and then there were lots of cars with very little parking!  I didn’t care, I was super excited!

There were two auctions going on at once (outdoors).  Household items were being auctioned off in the front and tools and furniture in the back.  My mind was going a mile a minute trying to figure out if I should go to the back or stay in the front! 

I finally saw something that I wanted to bid on, but found out you needed a tag with a bidder number in order to bid.  I went to the little trailer to pick mine up.  I told the lady at the trailer that this was my first auction and she smiled and encouraged me to have a good time.

I walked away with my bidder tag in hand and headed to the back where I saw a couple things that interested me.  The auctioneer then picked up a vintage Smith Corona typewriter and something inside of me said “I want that” so I raised my hand for my first ever auction bid.  I wasn’t going to stop until I won that thing :) 

SOLD – for $12.50!  I won!  Yeah, I won!

It was a fun kind of rush – I won three more lots/items before we headed home.  

I am definitely hooked….

I love auctions – who would have known! 

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Can’t wait to go to my next auction.  Have you ever been to an auction and what was your first find??

Thursday, July 19, 2012

London’s Iconic Red Telephone Booths; A Little Red Eye Candy!

Those adorable red telephone boxes that adorn the streets of London were designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. The color red was chosen simply to make them easier to spot.

I read an article while in London that said some people in the UK want to get rid of the red telephone booths.  I will admit that I saw some that either had grafitti or broken glass.  I stepped into one to make a pretend phone call and it smelled of urine - yuck!  Pass the hand sanitizer please! 

But those that were intact were beautiful - I say don't get rid of them London!  They make for a great marketing opportunity.  I stopped by to take a pic whenever I had the chance as did countless others. 

They’re nostalgic to say the least… I would love to have one sitting in my backyard although I’m not sure if my neighbors would appreciate it very much!

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Big Ben

I’ve always heard the term “Big Ben” and now I can say I have seen it in person!  Exactly what is Big Ben?

Technically, Big Ben is the massive bell inside the clock tower located in London.  The name Big Ben actually refers to the clock's hour bell, the largest of the clock's five bells. The other four are used as quarter bells.

The origin of the name Big Ben is not known, although two different theories exist.

1.  The first is that is was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, the first commissioner of works, a large man who was known affectionately in the house as "Big Ben".

2. The second theory is that it was named after a heavyweight boxing champion at that time, Benjamin Caunt. Also known as "Big Ben", this nickname was commonly bestowed in society to anything that was the heaviest in its class.

The clock was the largest in the world and is still the largest in Great-Britain. The clock is known for its reliability, it has rarely failed during its long life span. Even after the nearby House of Commons was destroyed by bombing during World War II, the clock kept on chiming.

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Data Source
Big Ben Source of historical data

Friday, July 13, 2012

Zig Zag Lines in London

I remember when I first watched the Disney movie “Parent Trap” when Lindsey Lohan (yes, this was a long time ago!) went to London and they showed these zig zag lines in the streets.  I didn’t think they were real until I went to London recently and they really are in the streets!

Unfortunately, I had no idea what they meant.  I later found out that these lines are normally found on either side of a pedestrian crossing.  Motorists should not overtake the leading vehicle within these lines nor park inside the zig zag area.  These lines can also be found near school entrances and exits for the same reasons.  

Since I wasn’t driving, I guess it’s a moot point, but at least now I know!

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It kind of just looks like someone messed up while painting the lines :)


Thursday, July 12, 2012

The London Eye

The London Eye opened in 2000 and is the world's largest observation wheel. It is the fourth-tallest structure in London, offering panoramic views that extend for some 25 miles if the weather's clear. Passengers are carried in 32 "pods" that make a complete revolution every half-hour.  The Eye can accomodate 25 passengers.   

We were told the views at night are even more spectacular.

I really wanted to try this out, but as you can see, it was rainy most of the time we were there.  

Our Tip: As our bus tour guide told us – DON’T call it a ferris-wheel :)

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Buckingham Palace; Changing of the Guard

Queen Victoria was the first person to reside in Buckingham Palace in 1837.  Today, part of the palace is still used by the Royal family with a number of rooms reserved for staff members living there. In all, the palace has about 600 rooms.

We did not do a tour of the Palace, but we did get there early enough to see the Changing of the Guard…..sort of.

The changing of the guard takes place daily at 11 o'clock in front of Buckingham Palace.  A colorfully dressed detachment, known as the New Guard, parades along the street in front of Buckingham Palace and during a ceremony replaces the existing, Old Guard. The ceremony, which is accompanied by music played by a military band, attracts hundreds of visitors.  Below, you can see where people are starting to line up.

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From my experience, there are two parts to the ceremony and you have to choose which one you want to see most in order to get the best viewing spot.  We did not know this going in, but can now pass this advice along to you!

Spot #1 – get as close to the high black fence as possible to see the actual changing of the guard ceremony.  You will have to get there early to get a good spot (at least one hour in advance).

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Spot #2 – Get behind the roped off area right in front of the fence with your back to the Palace.  From this vantage point, you will be able to see the guard marching on the street in front of the palace and will be able to get some great unobstructed photo’s.

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We stood for a long time before things got rolling.  They clear the street area in front of the Palace about 40 minutes before the ceremony starts, directing you to get behind the roped off area.  There are mounted guards/police that help keep the streets cleared.
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Was it worth it?  I did not care for the long wait and feel that I was only able to see half of the ceremony.  I guess if I ever go back, I might get the spot against the fence to see the actual changing of the guard.  If you have limited time in London, I would recommend skipping it.

Buckingham Palace New Guards

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Costa Coffee, Now that’s One Big Cup!

On a dreary day in London in 1971, a cup of Costa coffee was poured for the very first time.  Creators Sergio and Bruno Costa, first sold their coffee to a handful of local caterers.  A few years later, they opened their first coffee shop and today Costa is the largest and fastest growing coffee shop chain in the UK.

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We figured this must be London’s version of Starbucks, so we stopped in on a cold April morning to warm up a bit.  I let hubby order me a cup of coffee while I sat down.  Now he knows I usually order a small or medium in any drink I ever get, so I have no idea why he came back with this:

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You know your drinking a large cup when you have to use two hands!

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LOL, I didn’t even finish half of it!

If you ever go to Costa, you have to try the Flat White.  The Flat White is a coffee drink concept originally from Australia and New Zealand.  Somewhat richer than a latte and creamier than a cappuccino, it is a full flavored coffee with a velvety texture.  It takes some skill to produce a Flat White.  Each drink is hand finished with a distinctive 'florette' pattern – so cute!

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Yummy!  Have you ever had a Flat White?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy Endings, A Story About a Boat

What do quasi empty-nesters do with all their new spare time? Well one thing you can do is buy a boat….which is exactly what we did! We have never owned a boat before and took a chance buying one off Craig’s List. Here is a pic of our new toy:

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We spent a week cleaning it up and waxing the oxidation off to bring out the shiny red fiberglass.

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See the difference?

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I read up on boat safety and bought or borrowed all the things we needed to get our boat ready for its maiden voyage. I even bought some vinyl lettering and named the boat “Happy Endings” which is also my blogs tag line.

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We had two brave souls ready to go out with us and show us the ropes (they were previous boat owners)! I was so excited to get this thing out on the water; I had always dreamed of owning a boat. One of our favorite past-times is to go up to Put-In-Bay on Lake Erie. I love the lake atmosphere – lots of fun in the sun!

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We headed out early one Saturday morning and were at the lake within an hour. We got her off without a hitch and explored most of the lake within a few hours. We docked the boat and ate lunch at this cute little restaurant. After lunch, we headed back out.

This is where the trouble begins….

About 10 minutes into our ride, the engine stopped. Hubby looked down to discover we had been taking on some water – oh crap! The guys lifted the engine compartment and there was lots of water….the bilge pump was not working. We waited about 10 minutes and got the engine started again. We slowly made our way back to the area where we had parked but before we could get there, the engine died again!

Luckily, hubby knew someone else at the lake who had a boat and was able to find us and tow us to our dock. Boaters in general seem to be pretty nice, there was at least three other people that stopped and asked if we needed help – made me feel much better.

Once we got the boat out of the water and on the trailer, we noticed that the propeller blades had been damaged by the low water levels on the lake! Another set-back. Fortunately, the previous owner had given us a brand new propeller when we purchased the boat.  I just didn’t think we would be using it so soon.

Bet you wonder what was I thinking on the way back....

Yep, I’m ready to get rid of this thing already! Our first day out was supposed to be enjoyable and relaxing and it ended up stressing us all out a bit.  I know it was worse for hubby since he was doing all the driving, backing up the trailer, etc.

We got back home and talked about it; hubs is taking it as a challenge! He wasn’t ready to give up. He said the first couple hours were so much fun and deep down, I knew he was right!

I learned a lot from that conversation. I was ready to give up on the first weekend because things didn’t go perfectly. I sometimes give up way too easily. I need to take on his attitude when things get tough. 

So you see, owning a boat has already taught me a valuable lesson.  Here’s to hoping our next trip out has a “Happy Ending.”

  Happy Ending

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