Friday, August 23, 2013

Say Nice Things About Detroit

I know most of you have heard some rather harsh things about Detroit, and rightfully so. However there are some amazing things about Detroit that you won't hear about in the news. I grew up in Detroit (yes Detroit, not the suburbs surrounding Detroit). And I would be a liar to tell you that it wasn't a rough and scary childhood. Detroit public schools were not a fun learning environment for me, either. But I am who I am today because of my childhood, and I like who I turned out to be as an adult, so all is good.

One of the things I love about Detroit, is that it is full of the most creative souls on the planet. It is full of art, innovation and energy. Detroiters are survivors. Whatever comes our way, we just get back up and keep on truckin'.

The Heidelberg Project is a perfect example of the resilience of Detroiters. Tyree Guyton started the Heidelberg project over 25 years ago. He took abandoned homes and made them into colorful, creative works of art. He had neighborhood children help. They were thought-provoking, energetic, interesting, beautiful...and too much for some people to understand, including the mayor. They received awful criticism from many people.  They were demolished. Tyree didn't give up, he was strong and determined and he knew it meant something. He created another Heidelberg project, this time with a little more support. And once again, down it came. And once again he went to work. And it was incredible and this time he had even more support and more publicity and  gained credibility as an artist and an innovator for the city. Heidelberg Project has been visited by celebrities, been featured in documentaries. Tyree Guyton has gone on to educate children in the arts, and travels the world. Just this past May there was a fire/possible arson at Heidelberg, destroying much of the project. The next day he and many volunteers were cleaning up, and making plans for the next project, He is the epitome of Detroit to me and he is an amazing character. For more about the Heidelberg project, check it out on Facebook or check them out here:

I grew up with the arts. My father was an artist, my grandfather was an artist, my uncle was an artist and my aunt was an interior designer (which was the field I ended up in as well). My son, at the young age of 10, is an artist. Its in our genes.
My dad studied at the Center for Creative Studies, with a full scholarship, (this is also where he met my mom).  He worked at the Detroit Free Press as an editorial artist and a cartoonist. He also ended up teaching cartooning at the Center for Creative Studies.
Some of his covers of the Detroit Magazine.

The asparagus Festival was a big deal. We had the original framed in our family room growing up. Its actually quite large. This festival was such a fun time and good memory for my dad. He talked about it often.
The Punch and Judy hung in our bathroom.

A 1973 Calendar pull out from the Detroit magazine. So funky and groovy. I have promised my son to have it preserved and framed for his bedroom. This is one of his favorites.
Check out more of his fun art
And my grandpa was also an artist. He was a designer at GM and he also went on to design many other products such as MacGregor Golf Clubs, Delta Faucets and much more. He designed many cars for GM. You can check out his gallery here:
My son will be selling his art (yes, he is only 10) next weekend in Hyde Park, here in Florida. It is his second time selling his work, so I have high hopes for his career in the art world. He is off to a great start, and has a supportive family.  I will be posting pics of his illustrations in my next blog. Yea, I'm kinda proud.
So, say nice things about Detroit. I know its hard, but trust me, if you want to see incredible architecture, great art, amazing music, delicious food and genuine people who are tough but kind,  Detroit is the place for you.
Art is in this family's genes, what talents have you inherited?



Sunday, August 18, 2013

Our Plants Went for a Swim

My husband has always dreamed of having a fruit and vegetable garden. He has talked about it off and on for several years.  Florida is garden challenged, unless you are growing citrus fruits. There are factors such as the sandy dirt, the extreme heat, the crazy downpours, the armadillos and snakes, just to name a few obstacles. But Greg was determined. He did his research, like a good boy, he brought a primo dirt that he mixed with some other stuff, like a little chemist. He purchased a small greenhouse with shelves. He would even come home from work everyday for lunch to tend to them. (I already told him that I would not partake in any of this gardening crap. I'm busy enough, for crying out loud!) The deal was that the greenhouse would be kept inside our pool cage until summertime when we use our pool daily, then it would be moved outside the pool cage. That was the deal. Well, as those plants grew, they became heavier. And when the became heavier, the metal shelving started to buckle. And at some point on memorial day, a gust of wind combined with metal legs ready to give, crushed my husband's dreams. The whole greenhouse tipped into the pool. So not only did every single plant die, our pool was now a mud swamp. And it took about 3 weeks of intense cleaning to get it back to a swimmable quality.  
So this year he has decided to start a new hobby.  I hope it is a useful hobby, like vacuuming or cookie baking. (By "useful" I mean useful to me).
So back to gardening and planting and such. I was on the hunt this summer for a big cool looking desk for temporary usage. I have drawn up plans for a built-in desk and shelf unit, but finances mean I have to wait until next year. So I found a sweet looking black industrial desk at a thrift store. A beauty in perfect condition for only $50. They were using it to display a crap load of these incredible vintage planters, which they were going to have to find another spot for. So I got them to make a deal (since I was buying the desk). I purchased them all. They are so lovely!

The bird ones are my favorites.
Unique, fun, vintage. Don't have to be used for just plants. Candies, coins, paper clips...its all good.
Details HERE
If you think you have what it takes to start your own garden, don't forget to do your research. Its a crazy world out there, and mother nature can be one crazy bitch.
Fun vintage nature and gardening books will teach you everything you need to know with super cool retro pics for added enjoyment.
These and more available HERE
And just for the record, I will have you know that we have a chive plant that is close to 15 years old and still going strong. It has endured 3 moves and is older than my kids are. Seriously, chives? Why not raspberries, or avocados or tomatoes, or something useful and delicious? I told you Mother Nature was a bitch.
So, does anyone want to trade a bag of chives or spearmint (we have loads of that useless plant too) for some grapefruit or avocados?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Planet Mushroom

True story here, etched in my brain forever. When I was about five years old, living in Detroit, I had a best friend named Patrick. We would like to play with our hot wheels cars on a tree trunk by my driveway. The tree trunk was always covered in nasty mushrooms, you know, the poisonous kind. So, my mom would always tell us not to eat them. Well, Patrick and I were getting kind of curious WHAT WOULD happen if we actually DID eat we devised a plan, that the next time my mom came out with the mushroom warning, we would both lie and tell her that we ate some so we could finally see what would happen.
So, mom came out, asked if we ate any mushrooms and I said, "yes" and then my mom asked Patrick and he said, "no". (So, at 5 years old, I learned the lesson to never take any thing a man says at face value). Well, mom rushed me into the bathroom, made me drink Syrup of Ipecac (medicine to make someone barf, they do not make this anymore, this generation should be very grateful). So I spent the next 12 hours in the bathroom barfing, while my older demon brother let all the kids in the neighborhood come in the bathroom and watch me. (This was before Cirque du Soleil was around, so we had to take what we could for entertainment). And in the back of the crowd, I could see my little pal, and I thought future husband, Patrick. Quiet. Ashamed. Thankful he said, "no".......
So 19 years later I marry Greg. Greg told me on our first date that he hates mushrooms.
That is the mushroom story. The mushrooms are continuing to curse me. They seduce me with their 70's retroness, they tease me, they call for me, begging for forgiveness of past wrongs.....
The Wonderful Flight of the Mushroom Planet. This book is hot. I have had the luck of finding this book  three different times, and three times this book sells immediately! So, the next book I find, I have promised myself that I will be reading it. I need to know just what makes this book my best seller. Does this magical place has rivers full of Ipecac?
Mushroom canisters, all sizes and styles. Available to store dog biscuits, cookies, coffee, family jewels or secret stash of money to hide from your spouse...You name it, I have a mushroom canister for you!
Check it out here
And if you ever find a mushroom hanging around your yard, and it looks yummy and you are too lazy to hit the grocery store, and maybe you are trying to go organic and maybe its time to make dinner......You just may consider plunking that mushroom out of the earth and taking it into your kitchen to add to the marinara....Who knows, it could be safe? I mean, edible mushrooms DO have to grow somewhere. Some of the ones growing around your house, just may be safe. How can you know the difference between the mushrooms that will kill you, the ones that will give you a nice buzz, or the ones you can sauté with garlic and put in your sub with a bit of mozzarella?
You can educate yourself by having a nice handy mushroom reference guide. No kitchen is compete without this!
Details here
Oh, and to Patrick: We SO would have been married if it wasn't for that early betrayal!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Big Rip Off and The Big Score

Last week my family and I got to spend a week in beautiful St. Augustine. Upon unpacking I realized that I forgot to pack something. Not a big shock, in fact expected. But this was a necessity! I forgot to pack my night cream! Yes, being out in the sun all day, I really needed to get some good thick night cream on before I went to bed.
Now here is the part about how my kids are the coolest kids ever. They were begging for me to take them to the Flea Market. Yes, begging. I told you they were awesome, could I be any prouder? So off we go to the flea market, which was actually kind of a decent flea market. And lo and behold, there was a booth full of all sorts of Olay, Loreal etc. So I decided to pick up a jar of some night cream while I was there, saving myself a trip to Walgreens. First warning, the man operating the booth was drinking a Busch beer. When I told him I was paying with a credit card, (he had a square), he told me he had to charge me a dollar extra. When I told him that it was illegal to charge extra for credit cards, he tried to make it seem like it was tax. Anyhow, I was desperate for that damn jar of Olay night cream, and it was hot, so I paid and left. Got home, eagerly opened my goods and here is what I got:
Yep, Walmart Equate in the box. My husband said, "Its a flea market, what'd you expect?"
So I was feeling a little bitter, but I had to carry on, the thrift stores were calling my name. So I headed off to a place called Second Time Around Thrift. I was still feeling burned about the flea market, but this gem of a place made it all better! Some may think it was a junk pile and extremely unorganized, but these are my favorite places to go to. I like to dig and find treasures, and I find I have the best luck at places like these. I found lots of goodies, all priced to go.
These are just a few vintage books that I nabbed:
I left there with a few boxes, here were some of my favorite vintage books.
click here for details.
My 10 year old son discovered, in the piles, a true treasure. Of course, this is a gem he will be keeping for himself. Its killing me not to sell it, because I know I could get some big bucks for it. But my son is the worlds biggest Garfield fan. He owns at least 100 Garfield books, huge fan! So he found it, and he deserved to have it for himself. The joy he gets from this, it worth more than any money I could sell it for and I'm happy to hang it up in his room.

It is pretty awesome, and my son is amazing at finding cool stuff when we go shopping together.
Oh, and if you were wondering, we did spend a lot of time at the beach, at least 5 hours a day. Love it there, and if you get a chance to go, check out Second Time Thrift on Old Moultrie Rd.
So have you been tricked or scammed in your shopping adventures? Tell me about it, so I don't feel like I'm the only one.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Hello world! I finally got the blog going after pestering my husband for the past few months to help me. My computer skills are lacking, to say the least. So being the good man he is, he finally decided to put an end to my nagging and help me get this show on the road. 

The good news is that at this very moment I have zero followers, so being that this is my first attempt at blogging, all my errors will probably go unnoticed. 



So to introduce myself, My name is Tara, I am a mom to two of the coolest kids ever, and I am married to a somewhat tolerate fellow. I will tell you more details later about my ultra cool life and family in future posts (oooh I bet you can't wait). The real reason I am here is to share with you my love of vintage finds. I operate two Etsy stores, both are full of all sorts of vintage goodies. 

Last week, I discovered this gem. OMG, seriously, how was this ever supposed to be for a young child?




Seems innocent enough, right?


Okay, yea, puppet girl is kind of creepy looking...She received these lovely red shoes. They make her dance like a banshee. So much so that she isn't able to stop. She neglects her duties, including caring for her elderly grandma. So, why not  just take off those shoes, creepy puppet girl? No, this is what she does:



Yep, she cuts off her feet.


So, there you have it. A Living Story book made for CHILDREN.
If you want more details, check it out here: