Rose Bowl Flea Market Finds

One of my very favorite bloggers, Eddie Ross, is leading another fun shopping excursion, this time through the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena, California (if you're in the area on March 8, you must go! Check out this post on my recent trip to Scott Antique Market in Atlanta with Eddie). I thought I'd share two fabulous finds I made at the Rose Bowl market a few years ago.

My husband and I were in CA for three weeks, working with the wonderful surrogate who would eventually give birth to our twin baby boys! At this point we were gathering eggs, making embryos and transferring all of the good stuff to her in the hopes of making at least one baby (were we in for a surprise!).

The day finally came to harvest my eggs after many rounds of shots and medications, a procedure which required my being sedated. This also happened to be the only day during our entire stay when I could catch the Rose Bowl market (and it was only minutes from the clinic!). I didn't care if I couldn't stand up or see straight, I was going to the Rose Bowl! After all, it's not like I had to lie down for a specified amount of time to make the procedure take...my eggs were already safely nestled in their new temporary petri dish home, awaiting my husband's swimmer counterparts to be made into embryos.

Despite my condition, I made several great finds that day. Here are my two favorites. The first is a gorgeous vintage rhinestone belt buckle or scarf holder.

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I've been sort of admiring it every so often in my jewelry box, waiting for inspiration on exactly what to do with it. A couple of weeks ago I had my Aha! moment. We were going to a black tie dance on Valentine's Day and I was looking for the perfect blingy necklace to wear with my little black dress and thought of this.

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I put it on a crystal chain and voila! A very sparkly statement for the evening (and by the way, the vintage rhinestone earrings were scored on ebay).

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The second is this vintage clear acrylic evening purse, which has a diamond pattern and rhinestones on front and an oversized rhinestone clasp. When I bought it I failed to notice (perhaps due to my woozy state) that you can't simply carry items loose in it without some type of covering, unless you want everyone to see your lipstick and unmentionables.

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So, when I carry the purse (which is quite often), I use a colorful scarf (such as one of these) inside to wrap up my belongings and switch it out to match my outfit. Many of the scarves I use were my grandmother's, so I'm certain they feel right at home in the vintage bag.

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You simply must go to the Rose Bowl Flea Market. I highly recommend it, pre- or post-surgery!

Crazy for Quilts

I'm crazy for crazy quilts. The crazy-quilting fad began in the United States in the 1880s. My great-grandmother, Annie Louise Jackson McGlothlin, made the crazy quilt in the photo below around 1890, when she was about 19, at her home on Garden Creek in Buchanan County, Virginia. The time she must have devoted to this beautiful creation is phenomenal. It was made of wool and cotton flannel and measured about 72" x 61". Her quilt is now hanging in the Fields-Penn 1860 House Museum in Abingdon, Virginia, as part of the permanent collection of the William King Regional Arts Center (WKRAC).

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In her book Great Road Style, my friend and long-time director of WKRAC Betsy White describes the quilt as an "organized crazy pattern." I love that description and am sure my great-granny and I would have had a lot in common had we had the good fortune to meet!

Crazy quilts can be found in antique stores if you're lucky; really nice ones fetch over $200. That's not so bad when you consider the many projects you can make with just one quilt, if you're willing to cut it up, that is! The first two projects below were made with one crazy quilt, and the other two with another one (with some left over).

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For our corporate museum I had two square pillows covered with part of a crazy quilt. The color pops when placed on the dark green velvet sofa.

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Also in the museum, I used a small section of crazy quilt to trim the hem of a red velvet valance. The quilt isn't actually sewn on there; it's just pinned and has stayed put for over 4 years! The valance itself was part of a theatre curtain in a former life (more on that in another post).

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From the second crazy quilt, I made this purse (along with another, mentioned in a separate post) and attached leopard ribbon handles and a vintage orange rhinestone circle brooch.

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These are my dining room chair cushions. They are a colorful lot! I purchased the chairs and cushions at Crate & Barrel and then had the cushions covered with the crazy quilt.

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Each part of the quilt truly tells a story. These are just some of the fascinating squares from the quilt that my family sits on daily! First we have someone's initials, perhaps a new bride. Then an American flag, a peacock-like fan of colors and finally an artist's palette. I imagine the women telling stories as they made this, much like my great-grandmother would have done.

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To secure the cushion to the seat, I had two narrow pieces of lime green fabric attached to the back of each cushion so they can be tied around the chair legs. The great thing about the crazy quilt is that it will match any color!

I applied one of the quilt scraps to a lampshade, as shown in another post.

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I even have a modern take on a crazy quilt in our guest room, this one purchased a few years ago at Pottery Barn.

Maybe I have gone a little over the top, er, crazy, for these quilts but enjoying their history and versatility is worth a little insanity on my part.

Crazy Quilt Purse

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Take one vintage crazy quilt. Add a leopard ribbon handle. Finish with a vintage rhinestone brooch and voila! You have a smashing little evening purse. I've gotten so many compliments on this little number. I made several in varying shapes and sizes until I ran out of crazy quilt. Now I'm search of another with wild and crazy patterns, which is not so easy to find.

Check out another post for more crazy quilt ideas!