Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Trip to Visit My Sisters

All year I look forward to our annual Sister's Retreat...and last weekend it finally rolled around again.  In the spirit of sisterhood, I've asked my sis Kate to explain our annual get together and why it's so special to us, why it's always a hit, and why someone usually ends up crying (and how that's usually a good thing...)  Thanks Kate!

The five Moore girls, as we were known for years, span 17 years and, at one time, the entire continent (I lived in Atlanta, another sister in Sacramento). We’re newlyweds, divorcees, working moms and stay-at-homers. And still, despite the frantic mental arithmetic of time zones, these are the first people I call when delight or disappointment strikes. When people ask how five far-flung sisters are so tight-knit, my answer is invariably this: The Sister’s Retreat.

(Lain, Charity, me, Kate and Noel in 1986)

Every year we get together, no matter how tight our budgets or how busy our lives are. (The one exception was when we went in together to buy our parents a trip to Alaska as a retirement / 40th anniversary present. Sacrificing Sister’s Retreat was hard, but worth it.)

 (Kate, Noel, me, Lain and Charity at the retreat last year)

Each time we gather, it is in a different sister’s city. We shop or yard sale, depending on the season. We eat copious amounts of food, some homemade (recipes to follow another day!) and some on the town. We put on fashion shows with clothes we’ve brought to swap. We get pedicures or attend plays. Always, always, we talk.
We share our secrets for keeping sane or for keeping on top of laundry. We reminisce about our childhood. Sometimes we confront each other, which leads to both tears and greater closeness. Sometimes we confront ourselves, which leads to both tears and greater clarity. Above all, we redefine ourselves to one another and rediscover the joy in our relationships. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Good Cleaning

After a trip to the thrift store, everything needs a good scrub down. Here are a few tips and favorite products that make things easier.  (By the way, this isn't a sponsored post--just good, old fashioned loyalty to great products I want all my girlfriends to know about).

Some things are easy and I just wipe them down with a gentle cleaner (my favorite is Mrs. Meyers Clean Day because it smells like basil) or soapy water.  Dirty or germy things get a trip through the dishwasher (have you heard about Lemi Shine? It's the missing ingredient in dishwasher soap that makes glass sparkle!), washing machine, or at the very least a Clorox wipe or bucket of bleach water.  A note on silver--I use my grandmother's silver spoons on a daily basis and even throw them in the dishwasher.  I never polish them (and you don't have to either).

I run the clothes, fabric or stuffed animals through the washing machine on as hot as possible.  Stuffed animals get thrown in a pillowcase, which keeps their fur from rubbing off on the sides of the washing machine.  If you're trying to freshen up a piece of upholstered furniture, vacuum it and use Febreeze or vinegar water.  This may do the trick, but for some pieces, it's just not enough.  That's when I bite the bullet and pay for a professional to clean it (I have someone I really like who specializes in vintage upholstery--it's worth asking around).  My sis, Kate, swears by Nature's Miracle, which you can buy at pet stores.  Just that info alone tells you to put it on anything that smells gross, and it'll freshen it.

For musty items that aren't easily cleaned, like old suitcases, dresser drawers and books, I like to put a few pieces of charcoal inside.    Other options are baking soda and kitty litter, but I've found the charcoal to work best for me.  Be sure to buy the kind without lighter fluid.  Books can use the charcoal treatment and Clorox wipes are great for board books, but just forget about anything with mildew.  It will eventually eat through and eat away at the books around it.

One product I use all the time is Goo Gone.  It's great for removing the whole price sticker and not just the paper.  It's cheap too--you can get it at the dollar store.  Another product to pick up while you're there is the little green scrubbies in the kitchen area.  I cut them in pieces so I can just use one and toss it.
What did I miss?  Please share!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Friends and Finds

 While at Alt, I got to know a whole new set of ladies when we went on a thrift store tour.  They are extremely creative and talented women and we became instant friends. 

We spent the afternoon shopping some of Salt Lake's best thrift/vintage stores, including Abode and Decades (oldies but goodies) and eating an amazing lunch at Les Madeleines, (new to me).  I love food that is intended to be sweet, but twisted to be savory.  I fell in love with the lavender lemonade and rosemary shortbread cookies.  I'm putting those on my summer recipe list.

My best and favorite finds:

A pair of vintage curtains for $2.  I picked them up and put them back.  Then I tried to get the girls from Modern Kiddos to buy them.  They said no, so I put them back.  I walked away, then I walked back.  The end of that story is obvious, but the next chapter is yet to be determined--what am I going to do with them?  Any ideas?  I cannot (meaning I'm not capable of) walk by amazing vintage fabric without buying, or at least touching it.  There, I said it.

A black pitcher (also $2) to add to my white pottery collection.  I do have a few other black sheep in the mix, but I usually gravitate to white.  I adore how the clean lines pop against any backdrop.  Right now they're lined up on my kitchen windowsill.

Finally, a metal box to hold doodads in the little-little's room.  I love the way strong materials (like metal, rich fabrics or great wood) look in a kids room next to their plastic toys.  I think it's pretty.  Thrift stores and garage sales are excellent places to buy metal baskets or boxes.  They're the same ones sold in the vintage shops, only cost a lot less.  I don't usually know what I'm going to do with them when I get them, but they have great functionality and work in any space (any room, most styles) and work their way through my home happily.

Interested in what the other ladies (with fabulous taste) found?  Check out their finds here, here and here