Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thrifting Haul - Amazing Estate Sale

I had a pretty crummy week at thrift stores. One great find, but that was it. One great estate sale more than made up for it though!


First up is the thrift store find. And what a find! These two awesome pieces of Mid Century wall art were leaning against a bin at a Salvation Army. I grabbed them as soon as I saw them. I love the wooden people and the green fabric background is great too.

Now, on to the estate sale finds!


First find was this melamine fish tray. I love the design on him, and haven't been able to find out any information on him. Apparently the former owner was from Turkey, and the words on the back are not in English, so it might be from there. Either way, I think it's cute!



This wall clock was a great bargain, but when I got it home and plugged it in (yes, plugged it in), it didn't work. At least clock repair kits aren't too expensive. It will be in working order in no time, and it's such a cute vintage clock!


I found a set of ten of these wooden fish pieces. I'm guessing they're supposed to be coasters, but the indentation is pretty small, so they must be for tiny glasses! I think they'd make a cute art installation swimming along a wall.


Before my last thrifting haul, I had never even seen a travel clock. Now, I can't seem to stop finding them. I love their retro look though. Both are black, but one has silver accents, and the other gold.



I have no idea what this is. It's on particle board I think, but I just thought the bird design was too good to pass up. It has a small hole in the middle, so it might make a cute clock!


These plates were labelled as a set of four. After searching everywhere, the fourth plate never showed up. The people working the sale said it might have been mislabeled, and that there probably never was a fourth plate. But thanks to mislabeling, I got them for a lot cheaper than the asking price! They're Couroc, and they're wonderful. I love all the birds, especially the middle one! I really want to keep these since they match my Couroc owl plate, but I guess I'll let them go!

Most of these will end up in my new Etsy shop - Tess and Ivy Vintage. If you see anything you can't live without (from here or any past thrifting hauls), be sure to send me an email for a special readers-only price!

Be sure to share your great finds!


Monday, October 28, 2013

A Trip to Tow



No Etsy shop of the week today. I was out of town for the first part of last week and forgot to set one up.

Instead, a slightly picture-heavy post of the trip my son and I took to Tow, Texas. Rhymes with "cow" for inquiring minds.


My grandfather owned a ranch in the sleepy little town. Now, it belongs to my uncle, so we decided to head down for a visit. I haven't been in probably 14 years, and my son has never been.

Clockwise from top left: The old windmill, a 
falling-down chicken coop, the remnants of the old 
hog barn, and one of the many old hog feeders.

When my grandfather owned the ranch, it was actually a working ranch. He moved his family from Iowa in the 50s to Georgetown, Texas and had a large farm with chickens, hogs, corn, and more. When the government decided they wanted to build Interstate 35, they needed a large part of his land, and gave him a take it or take it offer. With the money from the land, he purchased the ranch, and moved the hog farm out there.


My son enjoying the freedom of the open land,
one of hundreds of "Loose Livestock" signs we saw,
a few of the cows we encountered, and a gorgeous buck.

Now the ranch is going back to its wild state. The old hog buildings are falling down, and the only animals on the ranch are either deer or a neighbor's cows being allowed to run the land.

The remnants of the fireplace in the old house,
the well and majestic oak over it, a rock wall built (sadly) 
by slaves, and a piece of bedsprings from the late 1800s 
still inside the borders of the house.

My grandfather purchased the ranch from an older lady whose grandparents had been the original settlers on the land. When she was a baby living in the old stone house shown above, Comanches attacked them. My father remembers visiting with her and seeing the tomahawk head that was stuck in their door.

I love history like that, especially when I'm able to actually walk and explore in the areas where it happened. We found a lot of flint chipped off from when the Comanches made their arrowheads, square nails, old bullet casings, and even a flint scraper that they used to clean the hides of the animals they killed. When my dad was a kid, he found hundreds of arrowheads, and even an old tomahawk head.
The old sign, one of a few graves for confederate soldiers, 
and a grave from one of the town's founding family members.

The old Tow Cemetery was originally on my grandfather's land. When my uncle took possession, he deeded the cemetery to the city, but we still visited. I took so many pictures of old gravestones; not sure why, but I found them fascinating. The oldest was from the late 1700s, which is pretty old for Texas. It was also interesting to see the graves from confederate soldiers and Texas rangers.

And then my son found a tarantula hole and even saw the creepy spider. Probably the highlight of that little boy's trip!

The old trailer.

One cool thing on the ranch is the old abandoned trailer. My grandfather's hired man lived in it, and when he died, everything was just left as is. Over the years, animals and insects have taken over, but it's still fascinating to me to explore inside (as long as I don't fall through the rotting floor...). Not much left to take, but I did find a couple of birding books and a cute retro bandaid tin that came home with me. The trailer is so cool in a creepy sort of way!

The inside of an abandoned dance tavern.

All over Tow and the surrounding little towns are numerous abandoned buildings. I have a thing for anything abandoned, and always want to go inside. Most places were completely boarded up, but when I stopped to take pictures of this tavern, the glass in the door had been busted out, and the door pried slightly open. So naturally, I squeezed inside. Everything was still there! I think they just closed their doors years ago without removing anything. Dusty decorations, an old cash register, deer heads on the wall. The cafe side next to the dancing part even had all the tables, menus, and a wonderfully retro couch inside. Sadly, I think it would have been stealing to remove anything, so I just took a bunch of pictures instead. And if it's not stealing, somebody tell me so I can grab some things next time!


When in Hill Country, one has to stop and climb Enchanted Rock. Basically, it's a huge chunk of granite, but it's beautiful, especially when near the top. My son and I didn't make it to the top though. He tired out when we were really close, but I didn't want him exhausted for the somewhat steep descent.

Left: the pit at Cooper's Bar-be-que, Right: Kolaches in West.

No trip to that area is complete without sampling the local fair. And when in Llano, it's practically a law to eat at Cooper's. A huge pit full of slow-cooked meat, delicious sauce, and amazing sides and desserts. It's a Llano tradition, and definitely worth the trip!

On the way home, we stopped in West to pick up Kolaches at the Czech Stop. Another delicious tradition. So incredibly good!

It was a wonderful trip. It's a beautiful and peaceful area down there, and we didn't want to leave. There's something amazing about being miles away from anyone else and the only sounds you hears are crickets chirping and cows lowing. Hopefully, we'll be able to make that trip more often.

I came home with some great finds too! I cut off a couple pieces of that really old bedsprings shown above, and also brought back some rusty hinges and a few pieces of wood. The wood was from the hog barn, which was originally the large chicken barn my grandfather built in Georgetown. He tore the chicken coops down, and used the wood to build the hog barns, so I wanted to bring a piece of that home with me. Now I just need to decide what to do with it!

And now that I'm back in town, I'll be trying to get back into my regular posting schedule! Except a great thrifting haul and a yummy cookie recipe later this week!





Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday's Seven - Apple Treats

My fall baking mood is still going strong. And after having the best apple cobbler ever at Cooper's BBQ in Llano this week, I've been craving anything and everything apple.

I've found seven fun apple treats this week, from cookies, cakes, and breads, to pies, tarts, and fritters.

Be sure to check out the featured sites and get the recipes to make these delicious treats for yourself!


1. Deep Fried Apple Pie Bites  |  Beyond Frosting
2. Apple Toffee Pudding Cookies  |  Crazy for Crust
3. Apple & Spice Oatmeal Cream Pies  |  Lemon Tree Dwelling
4. Apple Cake with Streusel Topping  |  Nisa Homey
5. Caramel Apple Cider Bread  |  Spoonful
6. Apple Hand Pies  |  Misc Finds 4 U
7. Maple Apple Tart  |  Frock Files

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Best Brownies


Bonus that they're also the quickest and easiest brownies ever!

This recipe originally came from my mom's high school friend. While visiting her friend's house one day, the girls made a batch of brownies. My mom was amazed at how everything was just thrown into a bowl, stirred, then baked. Wonderfully fudgy, moist brownies with practically no prep time. And unlike brownie mix with its long list of unpronounceable ingredients, you know what's going into these.

These aren't healthy by any means, but they're the perfect treat to satisfy that chocolate craving in a hurry. They're also great if you wait till the last minute and find yourself without a dish to bring to a party or potluck. Not that that ever happens to me... But it's great to have a simple and delicious recipe in your recipe box just in case. (OK, it happens more often than I care to admit!)


The Best and Easiest Brownies
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable or Canola Oil
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 3/4 Cup Walnuts, Chopped (Optional)
  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
  2. Pour into a greased and floured (or spray with a cooking spray that contains flour) 7" by 11" or 9" by 9" pan.
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven until a toothpick comes out clean. Reduce the oven temp to 325 if using a dark nonstick pan.
  4. Try to let them cool for a little before digging in!
My son hates nuts in baked goods, but since I love them, I didn't want to leave them out. So instead of mixing the walnuts into the batter, I sprinkled them on top over half of the batter after pouring it into the pan. That way we both get to enjoy the brownies! Best of both worlds.


Hope y'all enjoy!




Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Thrifting Haul - New Favorite Find

It was a good thrifting week. I ended up with lots of great finds, including my newest favorite find ever! I'll save that one for the end though. No cheating and looking ahead!



I have a hard time resisting anything Christmas. And when it involves cute retro Christmas designs, it's pretty much a guarantee that it will be coming home with me! I love all of these albums. And so far, the ones I've listened to sound as great as they look! And yes, I'm listening to Christmas music in October. Don't judge me.


It's not Christmas, but how hilarious is this album? I love the illustrations on it! I haven't listened to it yet, but it had to come home with me!


I've been eyeing these mugs at a frequent stop for about 3 months now. But they've been on the "fancy and expensive shelf" so I always passed them by. But this time I was without cash and had to reach the $10 credit card minimum, so I picked one up and found out they were actually a bargain! I now have a set of six, and they're the cutest mugs. Seriously though, why can't I stop buying mugs?


This little vase has the most beautiful and intricate inlaid wood design on it. It's pretty amazing to look at in person. I ended up paying a little more than I normally would, but it's just so well done.


Why do thrift stores always insist on putting sticky tags on the worst possible spot on items? I found this adorable vintage traveling clock that folds up into a little compact. In case the red crayon writing on the case wasn't enough, they stuck a tag right on the face. I'm still working to get the residue off without damaging it. Don't get me started on the silver-plated glasses that Salvation Army wrapped in cheap packing tape...


I found a baby owl trivet to go with my bigger one. So cute, so little. Had to get it.

And now, for my most favorite find ever!


I almost missed this amazing piece of Mid Century gravel art. It was standing up on the bottom shelf at a store, tucked to the very back. Had I not bent down to pick up something else, I never would have known it was there. I'm so glad I spotted it! I couldn't get my hands on it quickly enough. 

Gravel art is so awesome, and these birds are no exception. It's my first time to ever find any and it's in amazing shape. It's currently hanging up in my room. I don't know if I'll ever let it go! I thought I would just hang it for picture taking, but it ended up looking so great on my wall. When will I learn? Apparently not until I'm featured on an episode of Hoarders...

Any great finds this week? Be sure to share!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Etsy Shop of the Week - Donna Mibus


Welcome to the fifth edition of the Etsy Shop of the Week! Each week I choose a wonderful Etsy shop to share with you all. We can all have fun finding new products for our homes and lives, not to mention some wonderful gift ideas for our loved ones (or ourselves!).

Today we get to meet my mom, Donna, from the self-named Etsy shop, Donna Mibus!  She designs and paints Mid Century inspired work. Can't wait to show her paintings to you!

So, let's meet Donna!

1. Tell us about your products and your Etsy shop.

My art is inspired by my love of all things Mid Century Modern. The colors. The chairs. The lamps. The accessories. It's all just so happy and fun! My Etsy shop was born out of necessity, really. My finished paintings began taking up room, and were starting to take over the house. My husband suggested selling them, and my daughter suggested Etsy. It's been a great adventure, and my favorite part has been getting to know my customers.

The cat! The clock! The lamp! The plant!
Love it all! Great colors, too.

2. What is your favorite thing to paint?

I have two favorite things to paint - my Cat in Chair paintings, and my Space themed paintings. My Cat in Chair paintings focus on the Mid Century items I'm most fond of; the chair, the lighting, and the artwork. I create little scenes that I want to step into. And my Space themed paintings let me cut loose with my imagination. I've always been crazy about outer space and futuristic things (never missed a Jetson episode growing up).

One of the many Cat in Chair paintings.
Loving the monochromatic color scheme!

3. What are some of your favorite pieces currently for sale in your shop?

I have a space themed one that I'm very fond of. It has a family of aliens. Mother and child sit safely in the flying saucer while the father stands gazing at the strange city before him.

Never thought I would describe aliens 
as cute, but these are! Love the 
pattern on the sky as well.

This painting is one of my other favorites. It allowed me to combine my cat in chair subjects with my aliens subjects. Total fun!

She does dogs, too! And loving 
the gravel art on the wall!

4. Can you tell us 3 fun facts about yourself?
  • I am learning to play the violin (my husband is my teacher)
  • I am teaching myself to juggle (always wanted to juggle!)
  • I have a twin sister (not identical)
One of the many Mid Century abstract
paintings she also creates.

Thank you so much Donna (mom!) for give us a behind-the-scenes look at your paintings! Be sure to check out Donna Mibus on Etsy to pick up some original paintings for yourself or a friend. Also be sure to check out the links mentioned below. She now offers quality reproductions of her original designs, available as prints, framed prints, stretched canvases, giclees, metal prints, acrylic prints, phone cases, and even greeting cards! (Whew!)

Wouldn't this make the best
Christmas cards ever?

To keep up with everything Donna is busy designing and painting, be sure to check her out here:
Image Kind - Prints and Stretched Canvases
Artist Rising - Prints and Giclees
Fine Art America - Prints, Phone Cases, Greeting Cards, and More

If you have an Etsy shop and would like to be considered for an upcoming feature, feel free to send me an email!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Saturday's Seven - Fun Halloween Treats and Snacks


Halloween is getting closer! My son is all ready with his chaps, spurs, and cowboy hat. He's even got a stick horse (or 3) to take with him! Darn those good thrift store deals. He's got a whole corral now, but I just can't resist a 99 cent hobby horse! Anyway...

So to get in the Halloween mood, I've found seven fun Halloween recipes. Nothing too gory or gross (except maybe the eyeball... But I made a version a couple of years ago, and it was both amazing looking and tasting, so I had to share!). The rest of them are sweet, cute, and perfect for all ages.

Have fun visiting the featured sites and enjoy getting into the spirit of Halloween!



1. Spider Cakes  |  Not Martha
2. Candy Corn Cheesecake Mousse  |  Glorious Treats
3. Creepy Eyeball Panna Cotta  |  Kitchen Table Scraps
4. Meringue Bones  |  Martha Stewart
5. Mummy Dogs  |  Chaos in the Kitchen
6. Spiderweb Cupcake  |  Ambrosia Baking
7. Curried Devil's Deviled Eggs  |  Hi Cookery

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thrifting Haul - A Shippy Day

I hit up a new Goodwill this week and an old favorite store that I haven't visited in far too long. A few good finds, and one great one that I love! But I'm going to make you wait for that one!


The first ship of the day came in statue form. The Egyptian (?) man standing on the boat is some sort of metal, and the base is marble. He's old and heavy, and so far I've had absolutely no luck in finding out anything about him. But that's ok, because he's cool!


This baby brass giraffe was motherless on a shelf. But don't worry. I rescued him. He leans really far back, but somehow balances. I rotated this picture slightly so he doesn't appear to be leaning much. Before rotation it looked like I have serious angle problems with my picture taking. He's my first brass animal that's not a bird. Maybe I should start a giraffe collection too!


Of course, more wood. These are a few of my favorites from this week. A friend from church found the amazing turtle bowl. I love the leaf, but can't decide if I want to paint it or not. It's so pretty as is. I have four of the light platter and am really excited to paint them!


I couldn't resist this old needlepoint of the blue-eyed girl. It's so cute and she's holding a cat. Enough said.


I couldn't decide on these 2 wall plates right away, but now I'm really glad I brought them home. They're 3 dimensional and really cute. But they're really heavy! I'm scared to hang them for fear they'll come crashing down.


And now, my favorite find and the final ship. I spotted this at Goodwill and it was in my arms approximately a millisecond later. It's an awesome Mid Century wall hanging of a Viking ship. And it's pretty big - maybe 40" or so, hence the reason for the horribly lighted picture on my wall. Way too big for a lightbox! 

I absolutely love it. I hung it up to take its picture, but it's staying up until I finally decide to part with it. Or maybe I should say, if I decide to part with it...

Have any good finds this week? Be sure to share!

Linking up with The Cottage Market and Sir Thrift a Lot

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Modcloth Private Labels - Bea & Dot and Myrtlewood

I discovered Modcloth and few years ago and have been in love ever since.

The vintage-style clothing is incredibly cute and flattering, the accessories are adorable, and I pretty much want to own everything in the decor section!

And now, Modcloth has their own private label brands! They've designed two fun vintage-inspired lines. With these new private label brands, you can be sure that the sizing will always be consistent, a huge plus when ordering online. No more "one brand's small is another brand's large!" Also, the pieces will be available in a large range of sizes, from XS to 4X, so practically everyone will be able to find an adorable piece that's perfect for them!

Let's explore the new lines.

First up is Myrtlewood, featuring classic and feminine pieces. They all have a timeless appeal that you can trust will never go out of fashion.


First from the Myrtlewood collection is the And Many More dress. I'm loving the sweetheart neckline and of course I would pick the dress with dots! It has such a sweet vintage look to it, and could easily be worn for years to come. Be sure to go check out the back - if possible, it's even cuter than the front!

My next favorite is the Phone Booth Bell Dress. The cut is amazing, the color is amazing, the buttons are amazing! Basically, I love everything about it.

Modcloth's second line, Bea & Dot, is named after the founder Susan's grandmothers. It features the same beautiful vintage styling, but gives the pieces little updates with fun and playful patterns, colors, and details.

First up from the Bea & Dot collection is the wonderful All Aboard Game Dress. It takes a classic silhouette and gives it new life with the fun board game square-inspired pattern along the bottom. So cute!


At first glance, this next dress is just a sweet black dress with white polka dots. But let's look closer...


The dots are actually little beetles! I guess with a name like the What'll It Beetle? Dress, I really should have seen that coming. Either way, I love it! I love that the dress combines such a flattering, classic cut with such a playful fabric! What a great way to give a classic piece new life.

Be sure to check out Modcloth's two new private labels - Myrtlewood and Bea & Dot to find some great new pieces that combine beautiful vintage styling and fun new looks in a wonderful variety of sizes.

Have fun finding your new wardrobe staples!

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

DIY Children's Art Gallery Wall


While visiting my dad a few months ago, I spotted a box of old frames in the garage he was planning on donating. I gasped in horror at the thought of losing the frames and immediately tossed the box into my trunk. I had no plans for them yet, but I knew they would eventually come in handy.

And now, they finally have!

I started teaching Sunday School this September and decided to redo the room my class was in. I hung up lots of cute thrifted artwork, but wanted a way to let the kids display their work without relying on the old bulletin board.

Cue the frames.

I chose six 12" by 16" frames, removed the backings and glass from each one, and spray painted them a glossy white.

After hanging the frames on the wall, I needed to figure out a way to hang the art inside so that they could easily be replaced whenever the kids drew something new.

I decided to use everyday wooden clothespins. I cut Command Strips (find them here) in half lengthwise so they would be skinny enough to disappear behind the clothespins, and stuck the clothespins to the wall inside each frame. 


Now the artwork hangs beautifully inside, and it is super easy to remove an old piece and put a new masterpiece in its place. The kids in my class love that they can switch out the picture inside their frame anytime by themselves. (And yes, I have an extremely small class!)

One of my sweet girl's self-portraits

This gallery wall would be wonderful in any child's bedroom or playroom (or schoolroom if you're a fellow homeschooler!). 

With nothing more than some thrifted frames (or a handful of super inexpensive frames from Ikea!), a can of spray paint in any color, and some clothespins, you can have a great way to display your child's every growing collection of art.



Have fun creating!

Linking up with Thrifty ThursdayThe Cottage Market
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