The weekend search for antiques and other inspirations

One of my favorite things to do its to hit the road in search of new treasures for my clients and for myself.  This past weekend it was off to the final extravaganza of the season at Renningers Antique Market in Mt. Dora.  On the way back to southwest Florida I stopped in Arcadia's historic district to browse at some of the antique shops.  Spectacular Spaces found some great inspirations for accent pieces.

Below, from the Vintage Garden in Arcadia.  Filled with shabby chic antiques and garden decor.  


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Travels: This Week I'm in a London state of mind

I am not sure exactly when I fell in love with London.  But many years ago it became my city.   Again and again I return.  And when I leave, I always wish for more time.

My favorite visit here was with my late father for his 70th birthday.  We covered every inch of London and a lot out of the city during our two-week visit and being able to show it all to him was a memory that I cherish.  Standing on the white cliffs at Dover that he had seen from a naval ship when he was only 18.  Taking trains from tube stations that he had been in during the Blitz.  Seeing Winston Churchill's burial site.  And touring Buckingham Palace and my father saying, “I can’t believe they let us in!”

Photo of Wrenda with phone booths

London  is a city that has my heart.

That is why having this entire week on my own, free to do anything I wish is such a gift.

Soon after arriving today I headed for the Thames Beachcombing Tour. London Walks bills it as 10,000 years of history beneath your feet.  For a history freak like myself, this is pure heaven.  A chance to peak into lives that were here so many years ago!!!  Sign me up.  So, I met up with Fiona, an inter-tidal archaeologist who is also a leading authority on the Thames shoreline.  It was worth braving today’s cold and rain take part in this fascinating tour with 10 other hearty participants.

The brochure says that you are guaranteed to find stuff, and find stuff we did.  Clay pipes, pieces of beautifully decorated bowls, Roman tiles that go back 1800 years, lots of metal remnants from a boatyard.  Just fascinating...

For the remainder of my first day in London, I did a quick run past Buckingham Palace.  The standard is flying, the queen is in. 

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Antique Market Find: Discovering a neglected treasure and bringing it back to life

It was a very sad, shabby cabinet that had been propped up in the dirt.  Almost an afterthought.  Neglected, it looked like it had all but given up being noticed, much less purchased.   No one even stopped to think of the possibilities.  In all fairness, it had lots of competition in the acres of treasures at Renningers Antique Market in Mt. Dora this past weekend.  But this was its lucky day and mine.

The nice vendor said that it was a very old medicine cabinet that he had taken out of a farmhouse in Alabama that was facing demolition.  He was only asking $30.  We did not try to deal.  We knew we had something special.

My husband, a miracle worker at bringing old pieces back to life, could restore this primitive piece back to its earlier days.  Inside there were marks from medicine bottles. Upon cleaning off the layers and layers of dirt and taking it apart, a label on the back of the mirror revealed that it was over 100 years old.  After some minor repairs and cleaning up the original hardware, careful not to remove any of the remaining paint, it almost beamed with thanks for saving it.

It now hangs proudly on the cottage bathroom wall of a collector of all things shabby and primitive (me). Someone who appreciates its peeling paint, distressed wood and deep nooks for treasures.  It is a treasure itself.  Purchased from the nice vendor who did not recognize the gem that he brought from Alabama to Mt. Dora so we could take it home and give it a new life.

Changing seasons and thinking of North Carolina

Photo of a Louisburg College SignThis is the time of year in southwest Florida when we eagerly await any sign whatsoever of a change in seasons.  Although temperatures are dropping and leaves are turning in other parts of the country, we are still basking in the summer sun.  Instead of picking up beautiful leaves for arrangements, we are happily picking up shells on the beach.  But long for a peek at fall.

This is when I always think of North Carolina.  My first two years of college were spent at Louisburg College near Raleigh.  Fall was beautiful with cool breezes, football games, homecoming, friends and the excitement of the beginning of another college year.  I remember walking to classes and just taking in “fall.”  I felt such a sense of place those fall seasons in North

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