Category Archives: Shopping

The Book Carriage

A nice addition to the new businesses on Oak Street in Roanoke, Texas is The Book Carriage. This independently owned bookshop is located on the north end of the new old town area.

The area just under the hanging quilt is a coffee, tea and pastry bar. I’m not a true coffee drinker (decaf only for me and not even half as strong as is currently popular), but I have tried the tea and it was a lovely treat.

This shop is a good meeting place, too. Twice I’ve met my friend, Geneva (My Heart’s Song) there and we’ve had a pleasant visit at the tables downstairs.

Unfortunately, they don’t serve sandwiches, but if they did, I’d be one of the first in line.

The stairs lead to a balcony furnished with tables and chairs.

Local artists are featured on a regular basis and the balcony is one of the display areas.

Off to the left of this photo is the children’s area, which is quite nice. I can’t think why I don’t have a picture of it, except that it had been a very tiring day and we were in a hurry.

Aside from books, The Book Carriage also sells coffee mugs, jewelry (handcrafted, I think), greeting cards, small toys, puzzles, stuffed animals and the featured artwork.

Local musicians play on Saturday nights at 7:30.

Their bookclub meets on the 2nd Sunday at 4:00 and members receive a 15% discount when purchasing the selected book.

Go here for their home page which has a menu with lots more information.

(My apologies for the fuzzy quality of the photographs.)

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Filed under Books, Bookstores, Fort Worth/Dallas, Local Shopping, Shopping, Texas, Texas

Old Fashioned Pie Shop

It’s almost like stepping back into the past. Time is just sort of suspended once you walk in the door.

1930s music is playing, the lady behind the counter is making pies, photos of old family picnics decorate the walls, and the candy you remember as a kid is right there on the shelf.


Fizzies

How long has it been since you’ve had a Black Cow (I didn’t even know they were still made), or an O Henry candy bar?

And candy cigarettes??? Who would’ve thought they could survive in this O-So-Politically-Correct-New Age?

My friends and I fake-smoked and ate a lot of those little abominations and get this: we understood the difference between candy and the real thing. Just as playing with all those squirt guns and cap guns didn’t lead to actual Bonnie & Clyde type criminality, “smoking” those sugar sticks didn’t result in an addiction to nicotine.

I digress.

If a really wonderful dessert is what you seek, this is it.

The Key Lime Pie may be the best I’ve ever eaten, and the Blackberry Cobbler is great, too.

Although they have seating both inside and out, I always get mine to go. The servings are generous enough to share or put some back in the fridge for later.

You won’t see a huge case full of everything – their products are handmade and fresh and therefore, limited. Kind of like you’d expect from a Mom & Pop type store because…well, that’s what it is.

The Oak Street Pie and Candy is located right next to the locally famous and original Babe’s (more on that later) on Oak Street in Roanoke. Babe’s offers nothing for dessert – unless you want some honey on your biscuit – so the Pie Company is really convenient for that after dinner sweet.

The last time I dropped in, a young mother was there with her 2 children and I heard her telling them that some of the candy was the kind she ate when she was a kid (I’m guessing in the early 1990s). We struck up a conversation and she said they lived in Flower Mound, a very nice and spanking new affluent town which is booming. However, she brings the kids to Roanoke to see that there’s a different kind of life, where things are valued for their longevity.

Roanoke has done a really marvelous job refurbishing their old town section. They’ve kept the old and the new is well integrated.

More on the rest of it later.

I wanted to begin with one of my new favorite places.

If you want to visit them online, go here. The price list is for whole pies, but they sell single servings, too. Looks like they sell boxed lunches and that a lunch menu is coming soon.

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Filed under Antiques/Vintage, Cafes/Restaurants, Food, Fort Worth/Dallas, Local Shopping, Old/Vintage, Restaurants, Roanoke, Shopping, Texas, Texas

Cozy Shopping

Can’t make it to England for spring break?

If you’re in north Texas, do the next best thing: pay a visit to The British Emporium in Grapevine.

It’s owned by 2 English ladies,Sheela Kadam and Alexandra Evans.

This is Sheela and her son.

There are lots of British products, so it’s easy to miss something; if you don’t find what you’re looking for – just ask – they’re always friendly and helpful.

A Large selection of tea, bags, loose, black, or green:

Biscuits:

There’s quite a variety of U.K. foods, including frozen items.

Almost 20 years ago when I helped plan a cream tea for the ladies at our church, I bought clotted cream there. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen it on the shelf of any other grocery store on this side of the pond.

This is a fun place and a unique one. The other British shops I’ve seen weren’t nearly so nice or as comprehensive in their stock.

Loads and loads of gift items: everything from china tea pots, cups and saucers to English newspapers, British comedies on DVD, music CDs, greeting cards, playing cards (perhaps 15 different kinds), electric kettles and books.


Ahhh, the books.

As you can see it’s not a huge selection, but that’s okay because it’s a good one. And it’s not static. There are different ones each time I visit and sometimes it’s really difficult to choose just one. Or two.

At Christmas you might find unique board games, such as Beatles Monopoly.

Last year I took some nice photographs before Easter but lost them when our hard drive crashed, but I think they’ll be decorating again for it soon.

During the various English celebrations (such as the royal wedding) the shop invites patrons to join them for planned events.


Even Indian food specialities have their own shelf.

And that shelf above Sheela’s head? Containers of loose tea and hard candy. If you prefer something more personal than pre-packaged tea or candy, you can do it the old-fashioned way and have your selection weighed out and bagged for you.

Not going to be in the area? Then you can shop from their online store, here.

Some of my photos are a bit blurry, but you can go here for their tour of the store.

Then for a relaxing lunch after shopping, I recommend that you go 1 block south, then 1 block west to Beatitudes Tea Room.

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Filed under Books, England, Food, Grapevine, Local Shopping, Shopping, Texas, Texas

Christmas gifts that make a difference

This has been going around on email, and despite my efforts to locate the author, I must leave it as anonymously written until I learn more.

Most of the ideas in it are quite good and are ones I’ve been thinking about lately, even before it was forwarded to me from a friend.

“Christmas 2011 — Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods — merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!

It’s time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?

Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the Benjamines on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants — all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn’t about big National chains — this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine. THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.”

If I had written this, the last bit would’ve read:

“The birth of Jesus has nothing to do with any of this. Is He honored by all thoughtless, out-of-control spending?

We should bestow gifts that are meaningful and have integrity. Christmas never was intended to increase the strength and economy of a repressive, Communist government. China holds the note to an increasing mountain of American debt. They get stronger as the U.S. grows weaker. Neither our country nor our fellow countrymen are honored by feeding the Chinese coffers.”

You can make a difference this Christmas. Help your community keep jobs.

Please, buy American!

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Filed under America, Christmas, Current Events, Faith, Local Shopping, Made in the U.S.A., Shopping

Magazines – R.I.P.?

This evening I was typing in a comment on a new blog Letter Better, and as it grew longer and longer, I realized that I shouldn’t monopolize that space, and just do my own post on the topic.

Here is the original post. The title is “How Does Your Reader Buy Books and Other Things You Should Already Know”.

The blogger wrote: > “Know thy audience,” could be the first rule (and only one that matters) in any class on the business of publishing. It usually means, “Understand who will be reading your book,” meaning the person who likes to read your kind of book,<

Comic books and general publishing are the subject, but magazines are mentioned, too, which opened the door (as Perry Mason used to tell Hamilton Burger).

Magazines have increased incredibly in price. Generally, quality is poorer, the content is low, they are stuffed with rude, offensive advertising and have become little more than catalogs and propaganda. And never mind that a huge portion of advertising consists of pharmaceuticals. Pages and pages of it.

Then there are the lessons in liberalism.

Better Homes and Gardens has highlighted very favorable quotes about Al Gore and then they put First-Teacher-in-your-face Michelle Obama on the cover. How about something nice about Ricky Perry? Right, I'm still waiting for that one.

Guess what? I canceled my subscription.

Those of us in fly-over country are too stupid to know what to think about anything, so the editors/writers have taken an increasingly teacher-like attitude to us, their readers. The people who keep them in business.

Lately I've been sorting through a big stack of magazines – clipping out pictures and articles to use in altered book projects – and I'm seeing a steady decline in content but I don't think the professionals realize it. They know their sales are down, but they either don't understand why or they're too stubborn to change.

Their solution? Two page spreads telling us why we should be buying magazines. Not an improvement to a better quality product, but just telling us dumb Americans to buy more.

Someone should remind them that books can be bought online and mailed to my house cheaper than I can buy most new magazines. That the internet is chocked full of beautiful pictures and quality writing. That I can buy vintage magazines at the antique mall for about the same price as a new one and usually the quality is surprisingly better.

Victoria
is an exception. It folded a few years back but restarted again a couple of years ago (by following that link you can order a free issue). It's not exactly the same as it used to be; some aspects have improved, others need more work. But it's a quality magazine and so far it’s avoiding the overbearing tone they had adopted before the failure. I think the current editors understand their readers. Ladies don't buy it to keep up with gurus. We choose it for beauty and loveliness and Victoria delivers.

Big publications aren't too big to fail.

Remember, McCall's is no more.

You can thank Rosie O’Donnell for that.

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Filed under Current Events, Shopping

Vintage Formals

More photos from the Lone Star Antique Mall in Haltom City, Texas (near Ft. Worth).

Probably early 60s

Just inside the door to the right. I think the code on the tag for this booth says HO.

Mid to Late 60s

The dress above, as well as the pale green with the shawl, and the blue one are from Ruby Grace’s booth. Their website has more prom dresses and formals.

1960s Formal

Late 50s or early 60s - Front

The Back

40s

I didn’t get the name or code of this booth, but it’s a bit farther toward the boutique, when leaving Ruby Grace’s.

40s

Oh, that I would fit into one of these lovely dresses …

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Filed under 1950s, 1960's, Antiques/Vintage, Dresses (Including Formals), Fashion, Femininity, Shopping

A Day Out

A lovely day today – my friend Mo (also from Tulsa) and I went to the Lone Star Antique Mall in Haltom City. It was really nice getting out of the house – even though the winds were terrific.

First we had lunch in the tea room.

The handmade chocolates in the case are by Sweet Shop USA, Mount Pleasant, Texas. (Isn’t that a nice name for a town?)

The nice lady who provides live music was there today, and played the grand piano.

Several girls were having special lunches with their mothers or grandmothers. This sweet little girl rather timidly went up to talk to the pianist.

I thought it was very kind of her to play tunes today that the children would recognize, like the theme from Sleeping Beauty.

Our waitress (who was showing me her vintage apron) was excellent. (Sorry the photo is a bit fuzzy; I only took one, so it was this one or nothing.)

Next Time – the Formals.

For other posts about Lone Star Antique Mall, go here and here.

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Filed under Antiques/Vintage, Femininity, Local Shopping, Made in the U.S.A., Shopping, Tea, Texas

Sweet Talcum Powder

One of my favorite passages from Harper Lee’s book “To Kill a Mockingbird” is:


“Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.”

Many ways of life have changed since I was a girl, and true to my aging, I don’t think hardly any of them are for the better. And being from the south, one of the things I miss on a daily basis is floral scented talcum powder. When I was a girl, a lovely scented powder could be bought at the dime store.


Powder was available in a variety of fragrances, even at Dime stores. Brands such as Cashmere Bouquet and Evening in Paris were sold for very little money, therefore ladies in any income bracket could afford it.

If you had an Avon Lady, she would bring it to your door. It came in boxes,

Or tins.

One of my favorites as a girl was Here’s My Heart.

If you needed a new powder box and puff, that was available, too.  There was a wide variety, everything from less than a dollar, to something very nice from a department store.

I miss powder.  Yes, I know.  I’ve read the stories about how it can cause ovarian cancer. Flirting with danger is never advisable, but it mystifies me how people can excuse driving after drinking – immediate death – and cringe and swoon over bath powder. Sifted cornstarch can make a passable substitute if one wants to avoid the danger.

We live out in a rural area. Wal-Mart just does not carry enough to choose from. They have Shower to Shower, generic Shower to Shower, baby powder and some in plastic containers with a thin puff. The drug stores don’t offer anything better. The discount perfume stores at the mall in the city carry some nice ones for about $12.00, but I just don’t want to spend $12.00 a month on powder.


The absolutely loveliest I’ve ever had was Pretty by Elizabeth Arden. My husband’s employer gave out Red Door gift cards for the spouses that was one of the things I bought. Apparently, Pretty is now running over $35.00, so I’ll just have to wait and hope for another gift card.

Well, here’s what I do: I buy the cheap baby powder from either Wal-Mart or the dollar store, pry off the plastic lid and add essential oil to it. The ones that I usually use are lavender, carnation, and jasmine – about 4 drops each. (Peppermint would be a fun one to use at Christmas time.) I let it sit for a couple of weeks, shaking it up every now and then. And then I pour it into my powder box.

It doesn’t fool me into thinking that I’m using Oscar de la Renta or Pretty, but it’s nicer and more feminine than Shower to Shower. And it costs a whole lot less than $37.50.

Now, if I just knew a good source for a nice fluffy puff….

This post linked to Frugal Friday @ Life as Mom where there are lots and lots of links to frugal postings.

*Update, November 16, 2011: The last time I added essential oils to a basic powder it took a little more than I remember. This is something that needs to be adjusted by each person to suit their own preferences as to more or less fragrance.

Also, Dollar Tree sells a lavender scented body powder made in the U.S.A. Considering that it sells for merely $1.00, it’s surprisingly quite nice.

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Filed under Books, Femininity, Fiction, Making Do, Shopping, Thrift, Using What You Have

Reading Material

As a quick look around our home will tell you, I love to read. Books, magazines, old letters, vintage catalogs (!), clipped articles, and yes, even cereal boxes. When I go to the antique mall or a garage sale, rarely do I buy anything that isn’t printed. Occasionally a pretty dish or a doll. Maybe a vintage article of clothing or old sewing supplies.


More often, my treasure sack contains various types of ephemera: old sewing patterns, a pattern catalog from the 1950s, a 16 Magazine from 1965, Needlecraft Magazine from 1932, a very well-worn elementary reader from the 1930s, a slim WWII volume: This is the Navy, a 1960 Montgomery Ward catalog, the little booklet/catalog that came with Barbie dolls in 1962, an old drama script, a handmade wedding album from the Depression, old high school and college yearbooks, cookbooks, paper dolls (!), school room ephemera (the seasonal cardboard cut-outs that teachers used to decorate their door with). Let’s pause and take a breath. (And yes, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition. It just didn’t sound right when I used “with which”.)

I just love the printed word.

However, not all printed words.

A few weeks ago Joe and I went to the Grapevine Public Library to see what offerings were in the Friends of the Library nook. These are items which have been donated to them, which they can’t keep and they will let you take them home for a donation to their funds.

One of the employees was re-stocking the shelves and I asked her if they had any donations which were too tattered to put out and that would go straight to the paper recycler. I explained that I like to do paper crafts and find it very difficult to tear up a book to use for projects (and I can never alter one that I liked). I explained the caveat that the books cannot be prurient, even for crafting. Can you just imagine a collaged piece from a Harold Robbins book?! Yikes!

(As a Fawlty Towers fan, I first typed Harold Robinson, then caught myself and corrected it. I think the Waldorf Salad episode was my favorite one.)

Anyway, she said that they had just received a large donation (I’m guessing several hundred books), most of which wouldn’t sell and that I could go into the office and look at them and see if there was anything I liked.


She showed me the Jalna series of books by Mazo de la Roche. The Jalna books were a popular series, the first of which was written in 1927. The lady told me that they would not sell.


Also there was the World War II collection by Winston Churchill, missing one volume.

On and on it went. I ended up with 41 books in my stack, knowing that only a few would end up as craft material. One slightly unpleasant aspect of all of it was the pricing. These were books without a price tag. Buyers are expected to come up with what they think is reasonable and fair. My general rule of thumb is a garage sale price. Magazines are a dime, children’s books and paperbacks a quarter and hardbacks .50 unless in very bad condition. But she wasn’t happy with my offer of $20.00.

Now, before you hit that comment link about how greedy I was, take a deep breath and remember that she considered all of these books unsaleable. They would get nothing for them when sent to the pulp mill. My choices were 39 hardbacks and 2 paperbacks (39 x .50 = $19.50 + .25 +.25 +$20.00). So, I offered her $25.00 and she accepted.

My plans are to read the Jalna series this summer, then perhaps start on the Churchill books this fall (they are huge – over 700 pages each; the usual goal of 1 book per week will collapse with those).

Many of the others are simply old novels. Maybe I’ll read them and then be willing to tear out the pages. But maybe not.


Three of them were old looking and when I read the titles I thought, “Surely I won’t mind tearing these up.”

Then we got them home and I really looked at them (I didn’t spend the time to look them over carefully while at the library).

One of belongs in a genealogy department because it’s an 1886 list of Illinois Civil War veterans, which includes their dates of service and promotions. Scratch this one from the scrap heap.


The next one is an 1898 volume called “The Lives of the Saints”. Even though we aren’t Catholic, a saint is a saint and my husband is particularly interested in St. Theresa of Avila, who is chapter one. Scratch this one from the scrap heap.


The last really old looking one was called the Illinois Blue Book, 1933-34. It was a state government book published in 1933. Alright! Here was one that I could use! A lot of cool looking photos of state officials and lists of government projects … and then right in the center is this gorgeous section of photos and drawings of the “Century of Progress Exposition 1833 – 1933, Held at Chicago, May 27 to Nov. 12, 1933”.

Argggghhhh!

And ebay? Ebay?? Someone save me from ebay. (However, I just got the bid on the most fantastic bundle of 1965 and 1967 Seventeen magazines. I’ll share the photos with you later.)

*Updated May 26, 2013

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Filed under 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960's, Altered Books, America, Books, Chicago, Cookbooks, Crafts, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Faith, Family, Fashion, Fiction, Grapevine, History, Humor, Internet links, Local Shopping, Sewing, Shopping, Texas, Vintage catalogs, Vintage Magazines, Winston Churchill, World War II

Made in the U.S.A. – Green Rugs

When I needed new rugs for the bathroom, I looked around at Wal-Mart for something a little more versatile, something that wouldn’t scream “this crazy lady is using a bathroom rug by the front door”. And I needed them to be machine washable. Our home has carpet only in the bedrooms so, we have several rugs around the house (under my computer chair, in front of the doors, by the wood stove, etc. ) and I like them to be of the same type so they can be used interchangeably.

After finding these at Wal-Mart about a year ago, I bought four and have been very happy with them. Recently I decided to buy a few more but our local Wal-Mart no longer carried them. So whenever I was in a different W-M, I would go to the housewares department and see if they had them.

(Now you’re probably thinking that this crazy lady was going from W-M to W-M just looking for rugs, but I wasn’t. However, when we need things when we’re traveling, that’s where we go. )

We went to Tulsa to see my mother for Mother’s Day. When we needed to get some snacks and stretch our legs, we stopped at a Wal-Mart in one of the little towns off I-35 and eureka! I found them. These newer ones are a little larger and a slightly deeper green but in the same tone, so they’re still okay to intersperse. And instead of $6.00 each, they are $9.00.

If green scatter rugs are something you’re in the market for, check these out. They’re stocked with the runners and larger rugs and not in the bathroom towels/rugs area.

These fit the bill:

1. Although no one will mistake them for Neiman-Marcus closeouts, they look just fine to me.
2. The price is right.
3. When the dog is naughty or we track in mud, I just throw them in the washing machine, then hang them up to dry. Occasionally if I need one quickly, I’ll toss them into the dryer with a dryer sheet for static; but I imagine they’ll last longer if I don’t do that too often.
4. They’re made in the U.S.A. – which really puts them at the top of my list.

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Filed under Made in the U.S.A., Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Shopping, Thrift