Category Archives: antiques

ferns, ghosts

I am enchanted by ferns as-of-late. Their imagery keeps coming my way! And antique mirrors (this one has such a pretty fern-like carving adorning its top). Here’s one I came home with a few weeks ago. I finally got around to cleaning it up and it currently sits on my studio floor.

Walking through the woods last weekend, I noticed hundreds of patches of pretty ferns. Little One was quite smitten by the ferns too! He even tried to eat one. I think next time we’ll collect some to press as a memory for our forest walks during his babyhood.

The other day while perusing in an antique shop I found this photograph of a lady in the prettiest lace dress holding a bouquet of ferns.

I was so surprised when I lifted the photo out of the folder for a cleaning…another version was behind it, this time her lace dress fading away to reveal ectoplasm underneath (yes, I know it was a glitch in the developing process but oh to dream). If you read this blog you already know delicate, antique lace is one of my favorite things.

Started collecting mini greenhouses. I have two! However, I can’t find a fern small enough to live in the tiny greenhouse.These little conservatories have been enchanting me ever since I found the larger one in a church thrift shop. They live on top of my curio cabinet in a sunny corner of my room.

And the newest photos for my collection. I think I’m going to paint her this summer when I get back in my studio.

And here she is, as a ghost:

A happy, long weekend to all those in the United States, summer has begun!


modest indeed, but I do love old tobacco tins to store my paints, lace collars to sew on cozy cardigans and tiny manicure scissors just because they are so petite and pretty.

thank you for all your comments on my ceramic platter painting from last post. The platter was kiln-fired at a studio shop so I really don’t think I will be doing any/many more in the future. Maybe I’ll buy some craft-store ceramic pens to experiment at home for fun though.

inspiration: the harvest dance

So fitting for this time of year! Last week’s estate sale find, a framed print from 1840 The Harvest Dance. The muted colors are so perfect and totally inspiring me right now. Maybe it’s just the chilly (and very rainy) day we are having today here on the east coast.

I absolutely love these double dancing figures.

Thanks to everyone who commented on my autumnal coat from last post. I can’t wait to wear it this cold season!


I can’t even begin to say how thrilled I am about this weeks treasure hunting! I found a Davis sewing machine. And the very charming machine still purrs like a kitten!

I am in the midst of researching how to oil her. And the bobbin is very strange…it’s in a bullet-shaped casing. And the base of the machine is a wooden box covered in faux alligator paper. How completely charming everything was made back then.

Then I found all these vintage dresses and things (which I am in the process of hemming and fixing on my other machine). And a pair of black corset lace oxfords which I have been searching for forever. They fit.

And her…

I didn’t realize till later that she is a lamp! The cord is antique, it has cotton-wrapping around it so I don’t dare plug her in. I am trying to decide how to replace the peachy silk, if at all.

Illustrations by Philip Henry Gosse A History of British Sea Anemones and Corals in the found book Victorian Delights
Beautiful and inspiring use of color.

Thank you all so much for your words about my necklace!

some things…

I have been busy making the most fanciful necklaces to go with my newest paintings. They are constructed of giant keys, snippets of my theater paintings in cameo form and lush velvet ribbons and bows. Different from my vintage locket necklaces, and I’m so excited about them. I still need to take photos…and tomorrow one will go up in my shop.


Louise from Art and Ghosts has a newish blog called Milk Tooth which is so nice to visit. Yesterday I was visiting there and she had a post about the Humpty Dumpty Circus, a toy that I had seen at the museum in Vermont. I managed to take a little snapshot of it, it really is quite the toy!

I do appreciate this old imagery in the museum setting. Folk art or toy, there is such painstaking craftsmanship in these pieces. I still had one more set of photos to share from the museum, which has such a crazy huge collection of circus items- folk art, toys, posters. Even a 1920’s carousel.

These carved elephants were in a circus procession which included over 4,000 pieces.

There were themed carts, this on one of 100’s in the procession.

A few other things, some curtained theater imagery which has been inspiring me as of late:

This model took 40 years to complete and has over 3,500 little pieces!

And speaking of theater imagery, the other evening was spent at the breathtaking Radio City Music Hall, which is the most magical place to see Tori.

She looked mad leaning over her piano. Such a passionate artist, an amazing show that had me swooning for days.


Perfect inspiration came in the mail the other day.

Beekeeping journal from 1897.

And a detail of wallpaper, from the doll house museum at Shelburne.

Yesterday was spent taking out a yummy pile o’ art history books from the library and scouring them like mad.

Thanks to all for your sweet (and very inspiring) words about my Honeybee Theater painting as well as my foraged handful o’ green acorns. Silly, but I sometimes forget how fortunate I am to have acorns at my toes and big old oak trees above my head. They are so abundant here and it’s easy to take them for granted! So I can share their magic with you here. I will personally answer all your questions about my work very soon. For now I need to turn off the computer for a few days and totally immerse myself in my artwork. There are two more theater paintings in the works.

artist house

My Aunt Diana has the most beautiful antique farmhouse with the prettiest things. The are a household of artists and sailors and I think they combine the two very nicely! The other weekend she hosted the most amazing baby shower for my cousin Deirdre. The event was so beautiful I just had to share…

Nests and delicate little blue and white eggs were the theme. These found treasures were lined up on the white mantle (along with found sea shells, a ship painting overhead, crystal from the chandelier and a little pink bird perched above).

The kitchen has a giant blackboard and we doodled and wrote Deirdre messages.

A side table in the dining room was adorned for spring and baby! This just makes me long for spring!

For favors my Aunt Diana stitched up heart sachets stuffed with lavender and sewn with vintage buttons.

We ate yum carrot cake cupcakes. They were so pretty! And I am just noticing all those pretty antique books behind the cupcakes (I was a bit distracted at the time) on a folksy shelf my uncle crafted.

Just like a natural history museum. I snuck off during the present-opening to oogle over my aunts fantastic nest and egg collection, the best and biggest I’ve ever seen.

And another sweet corner from the house (that has me longing for the colors of spring)

And back on the home front…
Been busy sketching, preparing. Sunday painting clothes include old jeans, cardi’s and vintage aprons.

Wall behind desk (I am a bit obsessive about making tints from my favorite paints and swatching them out on paper for future reference). The painting with the girl and the gypsy cart was recently removed from my sketchbook (ouch!) and will be made into a print very soon. I wish I knew where the picture of the bobbed girl is from, she is a favorite.

Have a blissful, beautiful rest-of-the-week, all!


A golden November day, the sun poured through my windows like honey.

Found the prettiest vintage butterfly locket broach on ebay to house a mini print of one of my prints, but I don’t know if I can part with it…

With old Japanese faux pearls and a velvet ribbon around my finger to remind myself to sell it one of these days. Its golden, has a butterfly AND a locket for goodness sake!

A favorite crisp, clean part of my painting room (except the growing feather collection in the windowsill) I keep running out of places to keep my little finds!

And, new treasures! The little oval shaped framed portrait was given to me by my aunt, its so delicate I love it! Some acorns and pinecones from my forest walks, two new lockets to fill with mini prints for my etsy shop, a little ceramic wasp trinket box from anthro and other little things to admire..

A new painting I’ve been working on. I am loving this one and I am so anxious for the glazed layer in the background to dry so I can proceed. Hopefully by tomorrow afternoon. There’s another element to this piece but I’ll keep it a surprise for now…

On a more grim note (but appropriate for this time of year) I wanted to share some very old folksy headstones just a short walk from where I live. The cemetery is so old, with headstones dating from the early 1700’s! I went there today to admire the stones for the millionth time since I move here. These headstones fascinate me to pieces!

Mr. Aaron Burroughs. Born 1655, died 1755. I can’t believe he made it all the way to 100, back then. I love how they portrayed the wig!

Rebecca J. Bourroughs. She died in 1796. She has sort of a Martha Washington look, doesn’t she?

Poor Jonathan Darling. He only made it to 13.

A very bad attempt at cross bones from 1771. The lettering is pretty though.

This is my favorite. The folk art design, lettering and style is exquisite.

Yesterday was spent at my parents house Halloween Party. I was a kitchy little sailor girl (again). Today I worked on cutting watercolor papers for my new sketchbook (for my doodles and writings) went for three walks, painted, and sorted through my antique photos. Sundays are the best, as we usually don’t go anywhere and have the day to ourselves entirely!
Daylight savings. Hello dark late afternoons, endless grey and frosty windows. Hello November.

Tell me, what is your favorite part of November?

snowy day

Today is snowed and snowed. Despite the inclement weather (all the pretty fall leaves are now frostbitten!) I spent the afternoon painting a field of wildflowers amongst other things (painting update very soon!). Snow in October!

Anyway, I picked up an antique dresser set yesterday for a song! It’s beautiful and inspiring (I think its from the 30’s but not sure) and it came in an old tattered yellow box with the original fluffy pink cotton to keep it safe. I was thinking about pretty dressing tables and my mother’s stood out as the best I’ve seen. She is such a lovely decorator. Her vanity: (and me trying to move out of the way of the camera!)

Now I’m on the hunt for a vanity to display all my yummy vintage things. I am imaging something 20’s, 30’s or 40’s.

I have been collecting antique picture frames for my paintings. Managed to stockpile a bunch. They make some neat repros but I really want to stick to antique frames, from victorian to the 40’s. It’s a real treasure hunt and I feel that I’m recycling while finding unique frames. I have to admit I have some 60’s frames that are pretty neat though (I think they are the 60’s version of the victorian repro). In the past couple of weeks I found some Victorian frames all under 10 dollars but the plaster filagree adornments (covered in gold) were broken off in sections. Does anyone know if there is a remedy for this? It was sad to leave them at the store but I felt that fixing them was a hopeless cause.

Currently I am absolutely coveting frames such as these for my paintings: (sorry I can’t remember where I found them but it was an antique shop and the first and last one was around $100) These were found online, I didn’t actually buy them, but I am wishing…

Try to ignore the images in the last two. I’d pop them out and put little intricate paintings inside!

A heads up, there will be a giveaway very soon!

xoxo sarah