Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pinterest Project #24

I pinned this on Pinterest a couple of years ago.

I thought it looked cool.  I tried to follow thru and see how much it cost but it was a catalog link from overseas and was outdated.

Dead end.

Yet, the bases actually remind me of the brass Alter Candle-holders my mother has.  I remember my dad bringing them to her from Thailand when I was 5.  And I've watched my mother drag them all over the world, polishing them every year around Christmas.

My mother had a lot of brass. She did a lot of polishing.I thought she was crazy. I was never gonna have a bunch of stuff around that took that much work. No silver. No brass.

And for 26 years I meant it.

Until I saw these.  So I start thinking to myself if I can find some of those alter candle-holders, I could leave one as is with a large candle, and take a portion of the other out so its shorter and slap a brass tray on the top and fill it with candles.

Our new house has a great spot for that. And brass on that dark red brick floor....

So I began searching for a pair of them. Not such an easy task. They are over 40 years old. And a search on EB and a few other sites was a shocker.  Over $100 to get my hands on them. Plus shipping.

Hmm. Maybe I will keep looking.

One day I was wandering through an antique place in Central Texas looking for I don't remember what.... and out on the patio I find a pair of them!

In seriously bad shape. As in they have been sitting out in the rain. If you didn't know what they were you might not guess, because they were brown.
They were also $15 for the pair.  Of course I bought them.  I knew it was going to take some serious work to get them looking like they are supposed to.  But I knew their potential.
I could do this.

I also talked to the owners of this mall about brass cleaning products people use when they sell antiques. The lady was telling me all about a product she likes and has seen many people use.  The guy leaned over and said follow me, I will show you the finished product. We went to a booth and he showed me an old spittoon. He pointed out how the polished look was kinda scratchy looking. I didn't like it - and neither does he, which is why he showed me.
He pulled this stuff out of the back and showed me. Said it was the best in his opinion and that I would have to find it online. They didn't even carry it. So I snapped a picture and hit Amazon when I got home. Score! he also said it was expensive, but I disagree with that. The first clean up I used more than I normally would, sure, but otherwise I think its really close to Brasso. Not as bad as I was expecting at all.

I love this stuff. One of the best things about it is that since its not a liquid like Brasso, it doesn't leave the white build up in the etchings. You can get it all off. The build up is one of the things I didn't like about brass. It just doesn't look right.

Four months of work.  That's what it took - off and on - to get the candlesticks cleaned up. I went to bed with some cramped up hands and forearms more than one night.
It was worth it.

Even Hubs noticed right away when he came home and said he liked that.

 Of course I had to have the large candle special made. You can find some alter candles that will fit it in Catholic supply shops, but they are like $80 each. And only come in white. No thanks.  I found someone on the interwebs that made me the size I needed. Much cheaper...although shipping about doubles the price.

And so begins my new love affair with brass.

Never would have seen that one coming.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Whose Doll Is It Anyways??

I know, I much for getting back to writing. I am happy to say that I finally am over being sick. But Hubs was home for a short rotation so it was fast and furious getting things done around here. And now he's gone again.

So this story is actually from two rotations ago.

For Christmas, Mouses big brother gave her an American Girl Store Gift Certificate. Since there is a store in Dallas, which is only about two hours away, and we have family there, Hubs decided he needed to take her so she could spend it.  She was foaming at the mouth and had a list ready.....that she had compiled while perusing the online store.

I can promise you that neither Hubs nor I was thrilled about this. Especially with the child that can spend an hour (not kidding) in Claire's. I have already had the privilege of going to this massively overcrowded and stupidly expensive store, and Hubs has zero interests in dolls.

But off we went.

First, Mouse wanted her new American Girl Doll to have her ears pierced.  Wait...what? Get a dolls ears pierced? And pay money for it??? Both parents are horrified at the thought....but it wasn't our money so we marched upstairs to get in line.

And I do mean line. Like we stood in it for 20 minutes just to get to the front to tell them what we wanted.  See, it was done in the beauty salon. Not a people beauty salon you understand..... a DOLL beauty salon. And the sign informed us that the wait (after you get to the front of the line) was currently at two hours.

No. Way.  We were going to have to wait two hours for this???? Thankfully we found out that all we had to do was make it to the front of the line and they would do ear piercing immediately. No wait beyond that.

There is a God.

As we stand in line for foreverrrrrrrrrrr, we start people watching. Not like there is anything else to do. While waiting to get a DOLL'S ears pierced. There were 5 ladies behind the counter working away. I had to wonder what it was like for this to be your employment. "So, what do you do?"  Not that I'm saying there is anything wrong with this, beats fast food for sure.

There are posters up all over with the prices of the hairstyles. Different dolls had different choices depending on the hair type they have.The ladies clean the hair, trim it back into shape and then style the do you payed for.  And do they pay. This starts at about $20.  I don't pay $20 for Mouses haircuts, so this was a shock to Hubs and my system.  Are you kidding me???
                                                                     Standing in line.

After 10 minutes Hubs began to squirm. You could see that dazed look enter his eye. The trapped animal panic.

So you can imagine the kids around us started doing the same thing. Kids and guys....about the same patience level, right?

A couple of people up we noticed a very nicely dressed mom and her beautiful daughter. The girl looked to be about 4.  Mom was pushing a stroller with all her shopping bags hanging off it (and we were at the Dallas Galleria folks) and it looked like the girl was her only child with her. I wondered if the child still used the stroller...she was kinda too old for that....or whether mom just still used it as a shopping cart. It is handy like that if you are a power shopper and haven't given the stroller away yet.  Or maybe there is a younger sibling somewhere.

Anyway- mom gets to the poster, holding TWO dolls and asks the daughter which hair-do's she wants.

And the child? Not the least bit interested.  She had the trapped animal, bored out of my skull look that Hubs was wearing.  She was being very well behaved about the whole thing while she stood there, but there was no interest. She wouldn't even give mom an answer....just a lazy shrug of the shoulders.

Mom looked a little distressed.  So she turned around and decided what to get.  And I'm watching this whole thing play out and realize they really aren't there for the child.  They are there cause mom is going to spend $40-50 to fix these dolls hair.  And its not like the hair was very bad off to begin with.

That really puzzles me.  Why does a grown woman want to spend that kind of money to fix doll hair.  Why is it important enough to stand in a line for 20 minutes to deposit the dolls, and then wait another two hours for them to be done? Even supposing she has more money than she knows what to do with.  Is she just a crazy adult doll lover? Is it somehow a status thing? Something the moms compare at play dates? I would have liked to know because I find most people have REASONS for what they do, even when it looks crazy to us.

Hubs is really getting antsy now. He starts asking if we are done after this. Nope. Mouse has a list and we already found out what she wanted was out of stock so she was going to have to shop. She admits that there is something else but she doesn't have enough money. Dad volunteers to help her out.

Hah! Note to kids: take dad and make him stand in a line for a long time. Its financially beneficial.

About that time the couple in front of us had issues.  Here we have a family that looks middle class. Dad is in work coveralls that look like a construction worker. Mom is rather over weight and so is daughter. Daughter looks to be 10-11ish. This family is obviously here for the daughter. Mom shows her the poster when we are close and asks which style the girl wants.  She proceeds to pick out a style that does not go with her dolls hair type. Mom points out which section to chose from. The child starts throwing a two year old fit. It was ugly. And they get her settled down in a bit. Not a single word of warning or reprimand.

You have got to be kidding. We would have removed our kid from line and left. Who rewards over the top ugliness in a child that age???? Just wow.

Finally we make it to the head of the line and the ears are pierced in about 2 minutes and we move down stairs to finish up the gift card. Dad is past his limit at this point and just pushing to find something so we can leave. And to make a long story short -- Mouse ends up with about $50 in extra merchandise just so dad can  escape!


And brilliant.