It’s been gloomy a lot here lately but this scene is simply forlorn.

It was early Friday and rain had settled in for the day. The fog was trying to lift but these bare trees against that fog were just too much to resist. What I wouldn’t have given to have my camera in the seat next to me but had to settle for capturing this with my phone.

One of these days, snow will blanket the landscape and it won’t look so sad. For now, all we can do is seek beauty in unexpected places.

There Was A Time

There was a time you could pick up a cool old coffee can for under $10. I have a few in my collection of random stuff – two hold flowers on the back porch and there are two or three in my kitchen too. All are missing the lids so they came for the bargain basement price of about five bucks.

I’ve seen many coffee cans lately but they’re going for upwards $20 and sometimes $30-$40 regardless of condition. These were over $50.

The market drives the prices but it’s shocking how quickly the tide turns and the prices rise.

Another item that has become almost too expensive to collect is records. In one of these bins, I found a Nat King Cole album that I purchase a couple of years ago for $2. Here it was $18.

The average album price in this antique mall was about $13 but many reissues of albums go for about $16. Since all the cool kids are going vintage I’m guessing prices will only continue to increase.

What do you collect that has seen a rise in prices?

A Signed Rolling Pin?

Occasionally you stumble upon something in an antique store or thrift shop that makes you ponder its origins. I love a good mystery and recently found something that has my imagination hard at work.

Check out this vintage rolling pin that is signed by a whole lot of people!

The ink pen signatures are still easily discernible but there are several in pencil that are darn near impossible to read.

I wonder who these people were and why they were signing a rolling pin. Perhaps a bridal shower gift or a going away present? It’s hard to tell but I love it.

It’s interesting, the difference in the way we value things. The seller had several vintage rolling pins valued at between about fifteen and thirty dollars.

This one was just eight- presumably because of the signatures. However, it was worth more to me than the others because of the signatures and the mystery that they provoke in my mind.

With a vendor sale that day I got this treasure for about six bucks. I don’t need it and have no idea what will become of it in my house but it needed to be rescued and added to my collection of randomness.

Do you have thoughts on who would sign a rolling pin and why? Was it a tradition? Does it have significance? I would love to hear your ideas!

Carriage Shop

You don’t have to travel very far on the National Road in Indiana to see some interesting things. Route 40 is four lane most of the way and cuts through farm country and small towns. You’ll see a lot of kitsch along the way and there are tons of antiques stores as the eastern section of this route had been branded “Antique Alley.”

This is one of many neat things I pulled over to take pictures of during my last trip through. It’s right along the highway in a cute town called Dublin.

Here’s a question – which do you prefer- color or black and white?

Sunset On A Gloomy Day

This sunset occurred on a wet and gloomy day. I had been out antiquing all day and it seemed almost miraculous given we hadn’t seen the sun at all. I was record shopping at the Goodwill and it was raining sideways when I went inside. This was the view when I came outside.

It doesn’t even look real, does it?

This was a stunning surprise after a nasty day and a fine reminder that the sun is still there – even when we can’t see it.

Luckily, the sun is shining here in Southern Ohio. Wherever you are, I hope you do something to enjoy this day!

What Did We Do Before Google?

IMG_5732I stayed in a hotel near Cincinnati last October. It was just one night, I didn’t make the reservation, didn’t take a picture of the sign and couldn’t remember exactly where it was. We were passing through and I took some pictures but nothing that gave any clues as to the identity.

I ran across those pictures this week and, since I can no longer ask the person who would know the answers to my questions, I Googled it. Luckily there are some distinguishing characteristics – it’s a remodeled seventies motel with a gazebo, gardens and a great old farmhouse.

It took about two seconds to figure out it’s the Kirkwood Inn in Mason. It’s close to a really good Half Price Books Store. All you amusement park people might appreciate the proximity to King’s Island.

It’s not the nicest place I’ve ever stayed but it’s a pretty good value when you consider the breakfast buffet served in the house and the ambiance of the garden. It was crowded inside the house that day so we ate outside that brisk October morning. It seemed a little cool but I still remember that meal fondly.

Since my brain preserved those happy memories, I’m grateful that Google helped me recall the rest!

Here are some more photos from the Kirkwood Inn.



Vinyl And Changing Taste


My music tastes have evolved through my lifetime and, at one point or another, I have been a fan of most every style of music. I started out listening to the fifties and sixties rock and roll as well as the eighties country that my folks listened to when I was a kid. As a teenager I learned to love Big Band music and the crooners and then in college tuned into classic rock. Then a taste for classical, the blues and instrumental bluegrass (no vocals please) and a lot of other stuff crept in somewhere along the way.

For the last few years I’ve been listening more to Indie and Americana. The occasional modern country song finds its way into my playlist but I tend to get most excited about the obscure stuff that feels like lost treasure. No Keith Urban or Jason Aldean for me, please.

This year I’ve been listening more to rockabilly and classic country. I can’t put my finger on when the shift occurred but I’m absolutely loving it. The cool thing is that these genres are easy to find cheap as you can pick up vintage records for just a few dollars at any thrift store or antique mall.

To be honest, I don’t know anything about the history of most vinyl. Most collectors are looking for original pressings and know the value of each one. I buy because the music is great. Being cheap makes it easy to explore a lot of different artists and genres for little investment. You literally never know what you might find.

More importantly, there is no better sound than you find on vinyl. I love coming home after a long day to the Temptations or Cat Stevens on the turntable.

You know something else? Music discovery in the digital age really stinks. You just pull out your phone and type in a song name and it pops up at your fingertips. There’s no waiting. No need to listen to the album as the artist intended – you can just listen to the one song you like and forget the rest. But with vinyl, you have to go looking and you get to be surprised by all the odd and amazing things you  find as you flip through a crate of fifty year old records.

I’ve bought vinyl almost compulsively this last week. The lure of discovery pulled me right in. Thankfully it’s not expensive but the bad news is it does take up shelf space!

Vinyl is making a comeback too. Most everyone is releasing vinyl along with their compact disc and MP3 and even the big box stores are carrying it. New vinyl tends to be a little expensive but often comes with a free digital download so that’s kind of handy.

This week I dragged home some classic Conway and Loretta, Jerry Lee Lewis and Eddie Rabbit among other things. So far every purchase this week was a good one and I’ve had fun discovering new tunes!