Saturday, March 9, 2013

Vintage Charlotte Lives!

Vintage Charlotte Pop Up Events     Vintage Charlotte Rentals


We've launched Vintage Charlotte!  After a long process of website building, tuning, thrifting, and photo shoots the website is up and running.

The pop up events site has moved from the original wordpress site to the new Vintage Charlotte domain and we are still organizing great wedding, style, and vintage markets in the Charlotte, NC area.

Our biggest addition is that Vintage Charlotte now provides vintage rentals for weddings, engagement parties, tea parties, or any other special occasion.  We have a variety of assorted vintage china, flatware, and decor to add some classic flare to your event.

Stop by at www.vintage-charlotte.com for the latest news on upcoming pop up markets, or if you're interested in our vintage rentals, to browse our inventory.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lego Lichtenstein

A while back I decided to undertake a winter project and create a 4' x 4' recreation of Roy Lichtenstein's "Girl with Hair Ribbon" out of legos.

Here is a picture without the border.

I had so much fun with it that I decided to make another.  I chose a different Lichtenstein painting this time ("Fast Car") and blew it up to 4' x 5'.

A little background on the process.

Step 1: Buy lots of legos.  I purchased them from a online lego supermarket (www.bricklink.com).  They have pretty much every type of lego you would ever need and the prices are good.

Step 2: I built the back from a sheet of plywood and some 1" x 2" wood bracers nailed to the back.  


Step 3: I then glued lego base plates over the entire wooden board in order to be able to stick the lego pieces on.


Step 4:  The tedious part!  I gridded out a 8.5" x 11" picture of the painting and just like that project most of you have done in grade school I recreated each square of the sheet in legos on the main board.  I had to order parts several times as I never ordered enough legos at once.


Step 5: The finishing touches!  The boarder is made from black flat tile legos stuck on in a 2" boarder around the picture.  The boarder overhangs the board slightly to conceal the wood behind.  After the legos were all on, I painted the boarders of the wood for a nice finish


This project was very time consuming but still a lot of fun.  Overall cost was around $350 for the first one and $600 for the second.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

DIY Patio Project from Salvaged Material

Today was just the kind of day that makes me glad Amy and I moved to Charlotte. Its only March 1st and yet the sun is shining and the thermometer is pegged at 79 degrees.

I couldn't pass up the chance to get outside so I spent the day working on a backyard patio at our new place. The area was covered in vines, leaves, and trash before I began so it took a good amount of time to get everything cleaned up and ready.

I had a budget of $0 for this project. Ok, I didn't do it all for free. I had to spend $40 on the patio furniture (craigslist), a few bucks on the planting pots (thrift store), and about $10 on potting soil from Home Depot. Everything else was free.

I got the bricks from a guy not to far from us (via craigslist) who was tearing up his patio to build a wood deck. The soil in the backyard is a thick red clay that worked well to fill in the cracks as mortar. The concrete pavers were buried in the backyard under mud and leaves. A little cleaning up and they made a nice border and walking stones.

Amy and I bought a ton of seeds to plant so I decided to build a raised planting bed (the idea courtesy of our gracious Irish hosts Alfie and Margaret). I used a wood pallet from home depot that they generously donated. They probably would have had to pay to have it removed so I was really doing them a favor. I knocked the boards loose from the pallet and nailed them together leaving an open bottom for drainage. When the it gets closer to planting time I will fill it up with potting soil and drop in the sprouted seeds we have in our indoor greenhouse.

And that was all there was to it. The grand total on the project was $55 or so and took about 6 hours. Check out the pics below.

Photobucket
I had some left over brick and stone so we made a little fire pit.

Photobucket
The one regret is that I didn't take a before picture to compare with the finished product.

Photobucket

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Etsy Shop Up and Running!

www.Etsy.com/shop/ShutterandSparks

Our new shop is up with a few orders already under its belt.  The shop uses a unique pricing concept as far as Etsy shops go. Each week on Tuesday morning we will post 10 new items and at that time the 10 items from the previous week are dropped in price!


The items for sale drop in price by 25% for the first 4 weeks.  Once they reach the 4th week they will stay the same price until they are sold.

These price drops will occur on Tuesdays at Noon EST so if you are waiting to buy an item, you will know exactly when the price will be changed. Price drop times are designated in the item listing.

The goal of this shopping experience is to offer great items at prices that our customers approve. There is a little bit of fun and chance involved, so if you love an item and you love the price, buy it before someone else does! If you love an item, but not the price, wait a week and come back, but be careful, someone else may have that same idea!

Check it out! www.Etsy.com/shop/ShutterandSparks

Friday, December 30, 2011

Catacombs and Crepes.

We arrived in Paris after a 5 hour train ride and made our way to our hotel for the night.  The hotel was nothing special but it was clean and we quickly settled in.  We had an aggressive agenda for Paris and we made the most of our short time there before our flight home.

Our first stop was the Catacombs.  The Catacombs were originally a stone mine beneath the city that was eventually closed due to the vast cave-ins it was causing around Paris. The city eventually decided to use it as a place to store bodies after the cemeteries around Paris began running out of space (a problem that lead to diseased water and seepage of bodily fluids from the mass graves into the basements of adjacent homes). The bodies were originally just tossed down shafts into the catacombs. Eventually a man decided to spend some time and organize the bones into walls (made of femurs and skulls) and other strange sculptures. It must take a pretty disturbed person to want to volunteer to do something like this.

After convincing the clerk we were students (getting half off the admission price) and walking down a dizzying spiral staircase and lengthy stone corridor we got to the good stuff...

Photobucket
The long corridor
Photobucket
Creepy off shoots from the main walk through the Catacombs
Photobucket
A sculpture made by a mine worker of the Palace he could see from his prison cell before he was released.
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket
I touched it...
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket
There were weird shrines throughout
Photobucket

Photobucket
A cave in area.
Photobucket

Once we were out of the macabre maze we grabbed some crepes (apparently tons of dead bodies make Amy and I hungry) and headed over to the Notre Dame.

Photobucket
No hunchbacks here.
Photobucket

Photobucket

Our final stop was a the Eiffel tower. We were so exhausted from the endless walk over there that we just snapped a quick pic and hopped on the metra back to our hotel.

Photobucket

And that's that! The end to our 3 month European adventure. The flight back to Chicago was surprisingly enjoyable, save for watching the movie Contagion, and we were glad to be back state side. Now, time for the Holidays!

Our Last Workaway - Salles, France

Our final workaway brought us to a tiny village called Salles about an hour North of Toulouse, France. We were picked up from the Montsempron Libos train station by Fitz (one of our hosts) and drove about 30 minutes to their quaint farm. We arrived well after the Sun went down so we didn't get to see the property right away. We walked into their beautiful home (an old renovated stone building) and sat down with Ann and Fitz for a home cooked meal. We spent some time getting acquainted before turning in for the night.

The next day we took the grand tour of the house and of the surrounding area and talked about some of the work we would be doing while staying with them. Over the next week and a half the agenda consisted of rebuilding a tile roof and painting the frame of the terrace, installing a rain gutter and rain barrel, pouring cement and setting posts for a new and improved chicken enclosure, and enjoying the surrounding area and the company of our hosts.

Photobucket
This was an old house on their property that they plan on restoring as a vacation rental.
Photobucket
Here is a view of their house from the courtyard.
Photobucket
This was a nearby village with an old church.  They host arts and craft  fairs here in the summer.
Photobucket
The old stone built church.  There were some interesting grave stones in the floor...probably secret entrances to crypts filled with the knights templar treasure!
Photobucket
The local Chateau.
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket
Me working on the tile roof
Photobucket
Amy sitting down on the job
Photobucket 
We cooked thanksgiving dinner for our hosts one night.  We had turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and brownies for dessert.

Ann and Fitz were gracious hosts and we enjoyed the 10 days we spent with them.  Our original plan was to spend another month in Europe but all of the moving around had taken a toll on us and we were ready to be back in the good ol' USA.  We switched our flights to December 5th and headed to Paris for a quick visit before flying home.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The French Riviera

Saying adieu to Switzerland, Amy and I took a train from Bern to Nice, France.  We were thrilled with the Swiss hospitality but the numbness in our hands and toes sent us in search of sunshine and warmer weather.

We arrived in the evening, after the 7 hour ride, and were pleased to find what we were searching for.  We headed to our bags at our hotel (Comte de Nice), which was surprisingly full of German guests and staff, and checked in for the night.  

The next morning we were scheduled to pick up our rental car so we grabbed some food at the local street market (60 cents for a bag of dates and a pear) and took a walk through the city towards the Mediterranean.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Nice is a "Nice" place, had to throw that in there.  The streets are clean, the air smells of the sea, the people are friendly, and the city feels like an actual city instead of a strip mall of tourist shops.  I can see why the rich flock to the French Riviera.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

We finally arrived at the beach and spent some time walking along the Boulevard towards the rental company.  And now for my plug for the rental car company "Sixt".  First off, super friendly staff and good prices.  Secondly, free upgrade to a Mercedes!!!  The only downside was the driver had to be the person whose credit card we used which meant Amy was driving.  She was not too pleased and I don't blame her because driving a big car down narrow European streets with motorbikes cuttin in and out of traffic is not enjoyable.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Big pimpin'

Anyways, we picked up our bags from our hotel and started driving along the coast.  Our first stop was on an empty beach on a peninsula dominated by million dollar homes.  The beach was loaded with sea glass (we filled a glove with it due to our lack of any other suitable container) and we enjoyed the view of the sea with Nice and the mountains in the background.  

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

We drove the entire day, taking in the scenic views and met up with our first couchsurfers, a younger couple living in Aubagne.  

Joel and Hortense (our CS hosts) recommended that we visit the Cap de Caneille cliffs so Amy and I left in the morning and headed that way.  We were glad we decided to go because the views were spectacular.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Amy hanging her feet over the edge.  No thanks!  I got as far as laying on my stomache and peeking over the edge.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
A strange cave in the rock nearby.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

After the cliffs we drove to Aix-En-Provence and walked around the city before driving a good ways to our next couch surfers in a small town called Virages.  

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
They were setting up for a Christmas festival which made us miss Chriskindlemart in Chicago.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

We met our hosts at a bar and they treated us to a drink before taking us to a local spot with a view of the entire town.

  Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

We then headed to their place where they cooked us a delicious dinner (aperitif, salad, truffle eggs, a baked pumpkin dish, and pears simmered in red wine).  Stuffed and full of wine we turned in for the night.

One of Amy's attractions that she wanted to visit was the Fraganard perfume factory so the next morning we headed straight there for a tour.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
The essence use to be extracted by laying the flowers face down in animal fat and changing them everyday for up to 3 months.  Now they just use chemicals to extract the essence.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
This is where the "Nose" sits and makes perfumes from over 250 essences.  There are only 50 "Noses" in the world and it takes 9+ years of training to become one.

After a long drive back towards Nice we arrived in St. Paul de Vence, a hill top town full of nothing but art galleries and cafes targetting tourists.  

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

We spent some time walking around and then drove to the top of a nearby mountain where we relaxed for a couple of hours and took in the view.

We met up with our final couchsurfers later that night (A young couple who spoke very little English).  We tried our best to communicate, and although it was a little ackward at times, we enjoyed the stay.

The next morning we dropped off our car in Nice, booked a room for the night, and toured Nice.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Hotel Negresco where Amy's grandpa played chess during WWII.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
A great street market we strolled through.  
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Candied fruit, mmmm.  Amy didn't like them but I thought they were good.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Nice from the city Chateau.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Relaxin' on the beach.  The weather was beautiful.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
There were nude sunbathers all around the beach.  We tried to leave them out of the pics, this is a "PG" blog ya know.

Our French Riviera excursion had to come to an end so we took a train the next morning to our next workaway in a little village north of Toulouse.