The year of the purple unicorn

It’s that time of year again – when moms like me agonize for months over an idea for a Halloween costume and then slave away for weeks on it all to culminate in 2 hours of a sugar induced frenzy.  This year marked a new era for us at Casa Crafter – it was the first year Little Betty decided on her own what she wanted to be.  I was so nervous, all the while begging internally “Please not a princess, PLEASE not a princess!”  And so I was moderately relieved when she declared she wanted to be a purple unicorn.  And since I am nothing if not an accommodating mommy, I produced this for her:

I used Butterick 3899, size 3.  I definitely could have gone down a size.  It was an easy to read and follow pattern and I had no issues with it.  I used a short pile silky faux-fur with satin lining.  It was not too hot for a Texas Halloween as I feared it might be – maybe because it was so baggy.  Little Betty got lots of compliments and was very proud of her costume!  I was just happy she didn’t refuse to wear it, always a major concern with a 3 year old!

She had so much fun trick or treating with her besties – they were basically beside themselves with glee, zipping from house to house collecting candy with such zeal it was like they were afraid it might run out.  Afterwards we came home where she was allowed to pig out on her loot while watching The Great Pumpkin.  Certainly a perfect night for a 3 year old.

How did your costumes turn out?

Exhibit 976 why Mr. Crafter is the best husband ever

I know I’ve been talking a lot about how awesome Mr. Crafter is these days, and I would totally tone it down if he would quit doing awesome things but he has done something so incredible that I just knew you would want to know about it.

Some of you long time readers may remember a post I made about a year and a half ago about seeing the best vintage lamp ever in a shop in Chicago that was not for sale.  It broke my heart, and you can see why:

Yes, friends, that is a 1950s squirrel lamp with fiberglass shade.  It is the mothership of vintage lamps.  The pinnacle of lighting greatness.  The holy grail of 1950s functional art.  I have never stopped talking about it, and bless his precious soul, Mr. Crafter has been listening.  Ever since then every time Mr. Crafter has gone to Chicago, he’s made a visit to the shop and tried to talk the owner into selling it to him.  She loves the lamp as much as I do and could not be persuaded.  Believe me, Mr. Crafter has exceptional acquiring and persuading skills.  His whole career revolves around getting impossible things to happen.  This lady was not budging.  So the other day I squealed like a 14 year old girl when I got this picture texted to me:

I love this man.  Seriously, this is probably the sweetest thing he’s ever done for me.  I am giddy with love for my new lamp and my thoughtful husband!

Doesn’t it look like it’s always been in my house?  I feel that it’s finally come home where it belongs.  I made sure to put it right by our couch and TV so that I can maximize my time gazing at it adoringly.

Is it not the most perfect lamp in all the land?  Have you ever seen anything so beautiful in vintage home decor?  And most importantly, how in the heck is Mr. Crafter ever going to top this one?

A little bit of vintage Kitschmas goodness…

You know I can never resist vintage Christmas doo dads.  I love me some vintage Christmas, whatever time of year it is.  And this week I ran into a few gems I just had to show you.

I’ve been on the lookout for one of these little Christmas trees for a long time.  But they always seem to be about $100!  Re-donk-ulous.  So when I found this little beauty for $22 I knew my search was over.

I’m also just mad for the framed ice skater painting.  I love it SO much.  Not exactly Kitschmas, but it’s going to go perfect in Little Betty’s room with all her framed vintage silhouettes and ballerina pictures.

How great is this elf?  I just love her.  Not sure how exactly she’s going to fit into my Kitschmas display but never you fear she will be prominent.

And how about this pine cone elf, santa, and snowman?  Aren’t they just the sweetest?  And I’m proud to say they were only $4-$6 each!  Unheard of, as many of you probably know.

I’m getting so excited for Christmas already!

My holy grail of bakelite

It finally happened.  After about 2 years of faithfully searching the internet, antique shows, high end antique stores, and putting the word out to my favorite bakelite dealers, I have found it.  My bakelite holy grail.  Feast your eyes, friends:

Isn’t it glorious?  Doesn’t its perfection hurt your eyes?  I am beyond thrilled!  Ever since I became aware of the existence of this piece by stumbling across a picture on our old pal, the internet, I have been determined to score one for my very own.  It wasn’t easy!  It took a lot of persistence, but don’t you know, recently this beauty popped up on ebay!  I was prepared to blow our 401k on it if need be, but luckily it did not come to that.  Apparently I am the only one in a frenzied panic over procuring a wood and green bakelite acorn clamper bracelet.  I won it for a very fair price – it was meant to be!

I love love LOVE how it’s half wood and half bakelite.  And the bakelite parts are a gorgeous marbled green.  The wood acorn has a few nicks in it, but hey!  This thing is probably 70 years old.

But the best part is that with this acquisition I have completed my ideal bakelite trifecta:

Oh yeah.  Acorn earrings, squirrel pin, and acorn bracelet.  My woodland bakelite fantasies are complete.



The Whimsical World of Mr. Crafter

I recently mentioned the creative, inventive spaces my incredible husband has created in our homes over the years and you asked to see pictures.  I finally dug some up (with help from friends – thanks Lisa!) and am excited to show you his biggest projects!

I guess I’ll do this chronologically.  About a year before we got married we bought a cute little 1960 starter home.  We were attracted to the fact that it was clean, cheap, and in original condition.  We did a lot to this house and it was totally adorable by the time we left.  It was even on HGTV!  But the real gem of this house was the backyard.  It had been neglected over the years, but the large lot was a patchwork of flowerbeds and paths with no lawn whatsoever.  We couldn’t wait to get back there and start bringing it back to life!  Mr. Crafter’s very first brainstorm came when we tore the clothesline out.  It was in a narrow space created by the garden shed, the privacy fence, and a boxwood.  He decided it was a perfect space for an astroturf outdoor bowling alley, which it definitely turned out to be!

He scored that old high school gymnasium scoreboard while scouting props for a production company he was working for at the time.  The best part was the loud buzzer.  Luckily our neighbor had as crazy a backyard as we did and loved it!  This picture was taken right after we got married 7 years ago – our arrow sign is congratulating us.

The bowling alley ended up in a book called ManSpace (amazon link here) and is a great gift idea for anyone who wants to encourage or inspire their men to follow their design ideas.

After the bowling alley, I fully embraced Mr. Crafter’s wild ideas.  For example, soon after that we bought a 1960s Shasta Airflyte and decided to rip out the large raised beds on the opposite side of the yard to create a sweet little yard for our trailer.

What we didn’t expect was that ripping out the raised beds would create LOTS of excess soil.  No problem!  Mr. Crafter had the brilliant idea of using that soil to sculpt an octopus rising out of the lawn that we would plant sod on.  You can’t see it in this picture because it’s behind the lilies.  This is the only existing picture of Dr. Octopus, sadly:

Thanks Lisa for finding it and thanks Alex for modeling it!  You can’t see his long winding tentacles here unfortunately.  There were more than a few parties that wound down with a handful of people passed out relaxing in his grassy embrace.  His bowling ball eyes, however, were the best part, I think.  They matched the bowling ball finials on the fence, another Mr. Crafter contribution to our yard design.

It was sad to leave this house, and the yard especially, but we did.  The next house was during the time I was pregnant and Little Betty was an infant, so not much got done to that house.  But of course Mr. Crafter had to leave his mark in some way!  Now, you should know that Mr. Crafter is, no joke, one of the top 3 James Dean nerds in existence.  Little Betty’s middle name is even Rebel (and no, her real first name is not Betty.)  In this house Mr. Crafter created a to-scale replica of James Dean’s 1955 New York City apartment in our guest room.  For years he had been pouring over photos of it with a magnifying glass, trying to identify every book and knick-knack on the shelves and buying what he could identify on ebay.  And finally he had enough to build it.  Here is the real room:

And here is Mr. Crafter’s room:

Mr. Crafter was so meticulous he even made sure the knots in the pine were in the same places as the real room.  He has plans to re-create this project in the upstairs of the barn.

And now, here we are in our dream house and even though he’s been busier with work than he ever has been in his entire life, he has made time to leave his mark on our new home with his project of turning our barn/his office into a 1955 Mobil gas station.  It’s really coming together, but just you wait!  A year from now I’m sure it will be even more insane.  We have plans to turn this into a proper guesthouse with the James Dean room upstairs and an outdoor bathroom off the back.

I am a lucky, lucky girl to be married to such an amazing man!



Warrenton – the finds!

So, as I said, Warrenton wasn’t the free-for-all of awesomeness that it usually is, but never fear – we did come away with some goodies! Wanna see?

You already saw the great Dr. Pepper soda machine and reach in cooler that are now gracing our deck.  Well what do you think was one of the first things I saw on day 2?

And it was cheap!  But I wasn’t sure Mr. Crafter would be down with another one so soon after the Dr. Pepper scores.  So I texted him a picture and went on about my day.  His response a few hours later?  “Please tell me you got that!”  So I went back and loaded this little lady into the van.

The barn/gas station project was a major focus of this round of Warrenton.  The mister was focused on scoring some signage and he did not leave disappointed!

These have since been hung on the barn and look great.  I’ll show you soon.

You know we had to get blow molds, right?  Well this one cost a pretty penny but I absolutely could not say no to Bella Lugosi’s Dracula:

I also couldn’t say no to this cute/creepy lollipop jar.  Little Betty sure does love her lollipops!  The surrounding deer are Warrenton finds too.

And you remember the miles of pine cone elves I showed you in my last post?  Well of course one of them came home with me:

And remember the shelves full of dead stock Acme children’s boots?  Did you ever doubt that Little Betty now owns one of those pairs?

I usually don’t show you too much of what I buy for the store, but I did want to show you a couple things from this trip that were for the store.

First, I am fully in love with this spooky painting of owls.  It’s huge, the colors are great, and it’s perfect for Halloween!

And last is this uh-may-zing pair of 1930s art deco style lamps.  They have metal shades and are all original.  They look gorgeous lit up.

And that’s it for Warrenton fall 2012!  Can’t wait for spring already…