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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Confessions Of An Antiques Store Worker: That Cast Iron Is Going To Abu Dhabi?

Confessions of an antiques store worker? No, you won't find anything too spicy here. Just mildly amusing or heartwarming. But then, just about anything amuses me or makes my heart melt.

Here's the latest--Who Says Antiques Can't Be Fun?

Truly, I cannot imagine when someone is ringing up a purchase in a big-box store that they are told where the customer is taking their purchase or who it is for. That's the advantage of working in an antiques store in a small town--Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado.



A nice lady who just moved to Florence came in to purchase a cast iron griddle. She took some time deciding which one was just right. Then she flipped the griddle over and said, "This is rather ironic!"

The griddle was made in Florence. Florence, Alabama--but close enough.

I left her alone to decide and she came to cash register with her purchase. It wasn't the Florence one. She liked the patina and feel of the other one. For those who don't know the joys of cast iron--each one has its own personality.

"This is going to Abu Dhabi," she stated.

I had never thought about it before, but I imagine that the capital of the United Arab Emirates does not have a huge selection of vintage cast iron cookware made in the USA.

Of course, I would never be so bold as to ask why she needed a cast iron griddle in Abu Dhabi. OK, I would be that bold--but she told me before I asked. She will be spending two months there to welcome a new grandchild and her son's cast iron was sullied by a roommate in Abu Dhabi who didn't know that it is a travesty to soak cast iron in the sink.

Yes, antiques from Florence go all around the world. It's a toss up which is more interesting--the actual items being purchased or the stories the people have who are doing the purchasing. I think I'll go with the people and their stories.

Last month a young man came in ye olde antiques store. He was a handsome Japanese fellow who was dressed in nice athletic shoes and jeans and a shirt, but he was wearing a plaid bathrobe over his street clothes.

I'm on the edge of being as old as Methuselah, so I was not sure if this was some new hipster fashion in the USA--or in Japan. The only reason I bring it up--it comes up later in the story.

He dashed around the store (using sign language mostly) asking me to open all the cases that had vintage eyeglass in them. He tried them on. I said,"You are going to wear these?" He said, yes.

By the time we were on our fourth or fifth pair, I was pretty sure he couldn't wear all of them. He ran to the cash register and purchased four or five pairs. He barely spoke English--but I understood that he owned an antiques store in Japan. I asked if people in Japan liked American antiques. For some reason I could not imagine that they would--at least in large quantities. And especially turn-of-the century eyeglasses. He assured me they did.

He flipped out a few hundred dollar bills and indicated he did understand American money and would not know how much he was supposed to get back. So I tried to explain. He had come from Denver and was going back to Japan with all the eyeglasses the next day. I kept asking him how he found out about Florence, but his English was not good enough to understand.

A short time later another antiques dealer and friend came in the store and I told her a nice guy from Japan was buying up all our eyeglasses. "Was he wearing a plaid robe?" I said, yes. She told me he was at another store she was visiting, running through the store with his robe flapping, buying all the eyeglass he could find.

So, you never know what a day in the antiques capital of Florence will bring. Cast iron destined for Abu Dhabi or massive amounts of eyeglasses headed for Japan.

Florence is currently out of eyeglass mostly--but will be restocking soon. 

Confessions Of An Antiques Store Worker: Florence, Italy or Florence, Colorado?

I've worked a few places in my life. And they all have had their moments. But truly the most interesting jobs I've ever had is working at several antiques shops.

Confessions of an antiques store worker? No, you won't find anything too spicy here. Just mildly amusing or heartwarming. But then, just about anything amuses me or makes my heart melt.

Here's today's--Who Says Antiques Can't Be Fun?


My confessions come from working in Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado. No, I've never worked with either of the Keno brothers (pictured above), of Antiques Roadshow fame, but I did get to see them years ago in Denver at an Antiques Roadshow taping. And they are just as hyper and charming, jumping all around the furniture, in person as on TV.

Today I was working at ye olde antiques store and a father and daughter came in. He purchased a few old bottles and some Life magazines. He bought his daughter a nice, but inexpensive turquoise ring. She thanked him profusely.

I was warmed by it. Just observing a father and daughter out for a fun day was nice.

As I handed him his bag, he said," Today my wife is arriving in Florence, Italy. So when I talked to her I said, 'Well we are ALSO going to be in Florence today!'"

I chuckled. "Where are you all from?"

He said Colorado Springs, but he just had to come to Florence today--so he could feel a connection and make a little family joke and memory about them all being in Florence today, even though his wife was visiting their other daughter who was studying in Florence, Italy.

I said,"And that begs the question, which Florence is the better place to be today?"

He laughed, but I could tell he thought it was a tie, because each parent was sharing a special moment with their daughters in Florence, at almost the same moment.

Monday, November 23, 2015

SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY: Shop Florence or Be Square

Yeah, yeah--I guess I could be subtle and tell y'all to come to Florence the antiques capital of Colorado and shop like crazy in some subtle and marketeering way on Small Business Saturday--Nov. 28. Nah, I'm not going subtle. Enough of that.

I think I'll go the guilt trip way. Or perhaps the slightly humorous way. I don't know. I haven't made up my mind. I just write and I think. Or think as I write.

As you can tell, I usually don't think much before I write. I was thinking (which always gets me into trouble) that I should tell people that Florence is the antiques capital of Colorado and loaded, yes loaded, with antiques stores. Then I should tell them most of the stores are in charming historical buildings. And then, that the heartbeat of America is small businesses and supporting one's community. That's all true. But first people have to know certain small businesses are even out there.


No, no--this isn't a good reason to shop Small Business Saturday--even though it is TRUE that people do get more personalized help with annoying questions at small businesses.

Now, I don't consider ANY question anyone asks annoying. But today I did hear one that did annoy the heck out of me! NOT because a customer asked it, but because of what it implied.

Customer: Geez! Do you get any business here?

Me: (thinking) Why, yes! I am ringing up your order, even though it is small. But I reply: Well, I only work here a day or two a week. But some days, yes, and others not as much.

Customer: I'm not sure why you are even open on Mondays!

Me: Where are you all from?

She mentioned a state on the East Coast.

Me: Well, how did you end up here, in the antiques capital of Colorado from (blank)?

The customer yells to a relative," Did you know this was the antiques capital of Colorado?"

The relative answers, that she did not--even though she is building a home in another part of Colorado and her contractor told her she had to come to Florence.

And therein lies the problem!

Florence, Colorado is a rather unique town. It has more antiques stores per capita that anywhere else in Colorado. But it also has world-class art galleries, excellent eateries and gifts and quality handmade crafts and gold-mining supplies, beads, jewelry-making supplies, rocks and more.



Maybe if we hired this hunk, a few more people would realize that Florence is one of  the  most quintessential small locally-owned business towns in the universe.


Not recommended. Besides, Florence only has two liquor stores.


Ah, recommended! Keep calm. Mall shopping is fine sometimes, but being able to walk from store to store is a quaint village-type setting--much better.

So, really. Shop Florence on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28. But better yet--shop anytime you want to find things you just won't find in big-box stores--all year-round in places like Florence.

But I really should let you in on a secret. Florence truly does have some fantastic antiques and collectibles. But the town also has:


Oh--yeah! Don't worry. This ain't a stuffy antiques town. We have taxidermy so cheap you'll wonder why you didn't get Uncle Fred a huge deer mount for under $50 before. You'll find stuff so funny and charming and unexpected, you will wonder why you didn't make the trip to Florence before.

Fremont County's Newest Newspaper: FREMONT COUNTY CRUSADER

Fremont County has a new newspaper--Fremont County Crusader.


The weekly newspaper is available at various locations throughout the county and also by subscription.

The Fremont County Crusader is an independent newspaper with a conservative and constitutional foundation. Besides covering conservative, constitutional and religious issues, the paper also covers a variety of local news, charitable events, art and cultural events and feature stories.

More information is available at: www.FremontCountyCrusader.com

Fremont County's Newest Treasure: ELEVATED Magazine

You are going to love this. I often talk about all the treasures in Fremont County, on this blog--and the newest treasure I stumbled upon is a delightful treat. Elevated Magazine just released its third issue (Dec. 2015 + Jan. 2016) and it is beautiful. And free!

You can find this stunning magazine, celebrating local merchants and artisans in the Royal Gorge region, at many locations in Canon City.

Look for this photo on the front cover.

                                                 Photo by Dawn Lincoln Photography

I found my copy of Elevated Magazine today at The Iron Gate Antique Mall in Florence. And I couldn't be more delighted. There is top-drawer photography, stories, ads and information celebrating what is special about this region.


I've seen magazines similar to this in Aspen, Vail and other areas across the country--but I've got to say that Elevated Magazine is so cool, enticing and well-done and I've not seen a better magazine of this type anywhere.

I'm predicting Elevated Magazine will be a huge hit not only with tourists, visitors and locals--but it will grow into all areas of Fremont County.

More information about Fremont County's newest treasure is at: www.elevatedmagazinecolorado.com or at its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ElevatedMagazine/timeline

Sandy Dale & The Gnarlies Holiday Open House In Florence, Colorado

'Tis the season for a magical time. And what better time to journey into the magical world of Florence artist, Sandy Dale and The Gnarlies, as they invite one and all to a holiday open house at their studio, Friday, Dec. 4 from 5 to 8.m.


Sandy Dale's (and The Gnarlies') studio is located at 220-A W. Main St. in Florence. Yes, Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado.


Everyone is invited. There will be punch, cookies and perhaps a new addition or two of The Gnarlies.


This is a picture we took last spring at Sandy Dale's studio, right before Florence's first steampunk festival. But there will be new creations at the studio for the holiday open house.

Besides being able to visit with Sandy Dale and The Gnarlies, there will be a sneak peak at Dale's latest artistic adventure--Rat-A-Tat Bindery And Book Repair.

More information about artist Sandy Dale and The Gnarlies is available at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheGnarlies-148314498558258/timeline

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

B & B Pawn and Antiques: New Business In Florence--The Antiques Capital Of Colorado

Florence is the antiques capital of Colorado and last week the town's newest business--B & B Pawn and Antiques opened at 727 E. Main St.

B & B Pawn and Antiques opened last Friday and Sunday we stopped in to see what we could find. Yes, we found bargains!

Florence's newest business is located in a two-storey building that formerly housed a Mexican restaurant.

The bottom floor is dedicated to the pawn section and had a good selection of tools and those garage and household-type items. Down in the basement was the bargain room. We scooped up a few bargains down there. But what really interested us was the upstairs, which is where the antiques and collectibles are.

I predict B & B Pawn & Antiques will become a picker's paradise. Prices on furniture, lamps and more were so reasonable we could not resist snagging some more bargains.

We talked to co-owner Allen Berner who told us that firearms, more pawned items and antiques are on the way. But we found the place well-stocked, considering B & B had only been open three days when we arrived.

                                   Allen Berner, co-owner of B & B Pawn and Antiques

Berner said he and co-owner Jim Toothaker both enjoyed careers in law enforcement for about 20 years each and when deciding which new career path to take, they decided on pawn items and antiques. "We both like old stuff," he said.

Oh, yes. And we love old stuff too. But what we really liked were the prices. No high-faluting prices at B & B.

                                An old map upstairs at B & B depicting some of Florence's businesses


The name, B & B, according to Berner came from each partner's middle initials--so each would get equal billing.

B & B Pawn and Antiques is open seven days a week. Hours are: Monday through Friday--8 to 6, Saturdays--9 to 5 and Sundays, 11 to 4.

The Pour House Coffee Shop: Artist & Community Gathering In Florence, Colorado

I've been telling people for years that they are missing out if they don't live in Florence, Colorado--or at least visit it and enjoy. Why? Because for a town of just about 4,000 there is more going on than in most larger burgs. But it all boils down to world class. Around most every corner, there are world-class artists, antique dealers, a coffee roaster extraordinaire and some culinary delights that are wonderful.

But most importantly, there is a sense of community here. No, not a sense. There is community here.

This blog post, we'll focus on Kenny Paul, that coffee roaster extraordinaire and owner of The Pour House at 202 W. Main St. in Florence.

                                         KENNY PAUL at THE POUR HOUSE COFFEE SHOP

I've only been in Florence a few years, but even I know that the experience, ambience, food and coffee at The Pour House is worthy of a standing ovation.

What some don't know is that The Pour House has a gallery of artwork decorating most every corner of the vintage building. A visit to The Pour House isn't only a treat for the taste buds, it's a treat for the soul.

So imagine my delight when just a few hours ago I discovered that Kenny is hosting their first ever--Artist & Community Gathering at The Pour House, Nov. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m.

I ripped the last flyer, advertising the event, out of his hand. I often do that to people who are passing out flyers in the antiques district--and then I  post the information on this blog. Why? Because I have a great passion for all things local. Shop locally. Thrive locally. Enjoy locally!

                              THE POUR HOUSE COFFEE SHOP at 202 W. Main St., Florence, CO

No worries if this first-ever artist and community gathering comes with too short notice to attend. Kenny noted that this event will happen the second Thursday of every month from 6 to 8 p.m. It's a chance to talk to local artists that display their work at The Pour House, as well as get together as a community.

As if that wasn't enough--The Pour House will be offering complimentary wine from the Vino Salida Wine Cellars.

And really there is even more! Most of us know that besides the world-class coffee at The Pour House, there is also a tasty light menu and baked goods available. Even more! That Truck will be parked outside during the Artist & Community Gathering. will a full menu available. Additionally, That Truck will be at The Pour House every Tuesday from about 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to give Florencians and anyone else fortunate enough to be traveling through our quaint town a chance to enjoy another local culinary experience.

 I haven't had a chance to check out That Truck yet. But I'm pretty sure that if it is a collaboration with The Pour House--it will be fantastic. You can be sure, I will be checking it out and going into my Fremont Foodie review mode in the near future. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, you can be assured readers will be getting an honest (but less than world-class review) from me, because I only came in third place when interviewing for a restaurant review job several years ago at a large Colorado newspaper and also annoyed the heck out of celebrity chef, Lidia Bastianich many years ago in Manhattan.

But don't take my word for it (even though you should). If you've been to The Pour House, you know this is one of Florence's treasures. And if you haven't--you will be delighted. Check out the reviews on Google and other sites for The Pour House. Nearly flawless! As with many things in Florence and Fremont County--it is worth the drive to experience what we are all fortunate enough to experience any time we desire.



More information about That Truck is available at: www.thattruck.com

And more information about the world-class coffee at The Pour House is available at: http://www.florencecoffeemerchants.org/


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Who Says Dogs Can't Be funny? Cute Halloween Dogs

I admit it. Sometimes we like to dress our pooches up for Halloween. They like it almost as much as we do.

Yes--it's a devil dog. He's finally expressing how he feels when a few months ago, I made him do his imitation of Donald Trump complete with a combover.


No comment, except: I thought you loved me!


My eyes tell the story: It's 1932 and I just spent a long day in the soup lines. Brother, can you spare a dime--or a Milkbone?


You dare dress me up as a hippie? What do you think this is--Woodstock. Dogs don't give the Bronx cheer--but this is my version of it. I stick my tongue out at you.


Arggh! I am not sure what this costume even is! I show my hot distaste for it by yelling.


I do believe this tiny, little sombrero makes my nose look bigger.



Maybe if I look at the floor and imagine a huge, hot meaty burrito--all of this Halloween nightmare will go away.


I feel like I am caught in a time warp. The Rocky Horror Show. Perhaps if I do a jump to the left, I can escape these humans.


Darn it. This is getting ridiculous. See that collie in the background. I'm going to telepathically send a message to the humans that he should be next. But the collie is really a big ninny when it comes to getting into costume. I sit here patiently and put up with it, while killing them softly with my eyes.


Heh! Heh! You should have ran when you had the chance silly Collie. And yes, that witch hat does make your nose look bigger too.





Humans. Sigh.


There was only one way to distract the humans from dressing us up. I donned my specs, sat in the easy chair and read them a story about how dogs love everything about being with humans (from eating their delicious food, sleeping in bed and going for car rides) EXCEPT putting on clothes.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

If You Enjoy Southern Colorado--You'll Enjoy This Blog

 I love all of Colorado, but my heart is really in southern Colorado. And if you left your heart in southern Colorado also, then you'll enjoy this blog at: www.southernrockiesnatureblog.com

Chas Clifton, writer of the southern Rockies nature blog, left a few comments on my blog. I could tell from his comments that he knew way more about history, ghost towns and southern Colorado than I or most people do. And that intrigued me, since I am always in awe and appreciate when people come along that I can learn a thing or two about my favorite subjects.

It took me a little time to check out Mr. Clifton's blog, and it turns out that I was correct. This gentleman has a lot of knowledge and unique perspective about southern Colorado.


Mr. Clifton describes his blog as: Where Nature Meets Culture--Plus Wildfire, Dogs, Environmental News, And Writing With A Southern Colorado Perspective.

We need more of that--writing with a southern Colorado perspective. Check out Mr. Clifton's blog. And if you have any links or information to blogs and other writings that explore southern Colorado--let me know and I'll happily give a mention on this blog.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Florence, Colorado: Nightmare On Main St.

There is going to be a nightmare on Main Street in Florence, Colorado. No, it has nothing to do with a nightmare like being trampled by hoards of enthusiastic antique shoppers in the antiques capital of Colorado. It has everything to do with having a good time for Halloween and raising some money for The Rialto Theater.


Are you kidding me? Only $3 to have the bejeezus scared out of you? That's a bargain! I usually pay way more than that to scare myself. OK, I actually am rather frugal and scare myself for free every morning when I look in the mirror.

I'll be there. You can recognize me by the costume I'll be wearing. It won't be exactly like the picture below, but my costume will be similar.


See, I am a scary Halloween monkey. And if you look closely, I'm even dressed a bit like an Italian opera singer, in honor of The Rialto Theater's Italian roots.

OK, I am making that up. But can you blame me for using any excuse to use this wonderful picture? No, you cannot. And don't even try. Just make sure you get to the Rialto and buy a ticket for Nightmare on Main St. and buy plenty of food to help out the cause. If you don't, this scary monkey might just be a little annoyed and haunt people.

Florence, Colorado: The Historic Rialto Theater

Florence, Colorado has treasures almost everywhere--but one of its finest treasures is The Rialto Theater at 209 W. Main St. The grand old building was constructed in 1923 as an opera house with nearly 900 seats. By 1927, the grand old dame was used for screening movies and by 1969 it was closed and ever since has mostly been undergoing painstaking restoration.


The Rialto, named after a section of Venice, Italy--stands as a historical testament to not only the Italian culture so vital in Fremont County, but to the grand era of opera houses.

After years of ups and downs, the theater has seen some majestic restorations, but is still in need of more funds and community volunteers to complete the decade- long project.

I've only been in Florence a relatively short time, but have been following the progress of this massive undertaking. We were fortunate enough to have a private tour of The Rialto, given by Suzanne Phipps, who was instrumental in raising funds and completing projects--shortly before her death in Dec. of 2014.

More recently, city leaders and other civic leaders have taken over the restoration project.

The Rialto has a new (and under partial construction) website at: http://www.historicrialtotheater.com/

Some have estimated that it will take about $1 million more to complete the project and open the doors to opera, theater, community gatherings and more.

I think of Florence (pop. apprx. 3,800) as the little town that could--and will. I think they can do it.

I got a bit curious about the history of opera houses in Colorado. So I went to: www.operaoldcolo.info/houses.html

I know the Rialto is a historical and architectural treasure, but just how rare is it in the state of Colorado?

There were about 150 opera houses built from about 1860 to 1920 in Colorado, according to the historical opera house website. That was the apparent heyday not only in Colorado, but across the USA. Of course, tastes changed. In the 1920s, the silent movies, automobiles and other factors changed people's habits in entertainment.

So, by that standard--Florence's opera house was built in 1923, just as the heyday of opera houses was winding down.

I scanned the website to see if the Rialto was listed. I was surprised that it was not. According to the website, Florence had a previous opera house built in 1903, that is now apparently a bank parking lot.

According to the website, only about 46 (or approximately one-third) of Colorado's original opera houses have been identified and many of those 46 have been so substantially remodeled or renovated that they can barely be classified as historical opera houses. Sad. About 17 remain in mostly intact condition. Buildings, that is, that were significantly associated with opera in the past, still are, or ones that will be fairly soon.

Seventeen. Sad.

But, Florence's Rialto Theater is not on the list. It's not even mentioned.

Do we have number 18 here?

Regardless, most people in Fremont County agreed The Rialto is a treasure that needs to be restored, not only for the historical record, but for the community treasure it was, still is and will be even more so in the future.


Florence, Colorado: Who Says GITMO & Antiques Can't Be Funny?

Who says GITMO and antiques can't be funny? Come on, I can't make this stuff up. But this week, someone I am acquainted with DID make Guantanamo Bay AND antiques funny--right here in Florence, Colorado.

We noted a few days ago that Florence made the national FOX news, reporting on Pentagon officials touring Supermax in Florence and the state penitentiary in nearby Canon City as possible places to relocate Guantanamo Bay detainees. I happened to be watching from a Japanese restaurant on Florence's Main St. when one news camera crew was packing its gear. I had no idea what it was all about until I saw the FOX national news the next day. And someone told me it was also on a local (Colorado Springs) NBC channel.

Ah, but they reported the straight news. Boy, was I in for a treat today when I discovered there was yet another news report that was delicious. Yes, it's the one that proves Gitmo AND antiques can be funny.

I was casually strolling down Main. St. when Larry Nelson, owner of Florence Antiques, informed me that Florence had been on the news. I said I knew and I had done a little mention of it on my blog.

No, I was told--Larry Nelson himself was on the news. Larry escorted me and my unsuspecting spouse inside Florence Antiques to Larry's computer where he showed us the news video.

For our local readers (and our readers out of the area) below is a picture of Larry I took last year when we were doing steampunk events for the steampunk festival last April. Yes, that's a steam gauge in Larry's mouth. And yes, I am giving you a hint, that FOX 31 News of Denver was in for a journalistic roller coaster of a ride.


Yes, Mr. Nelson is wearing overalls. But that's besides the point.

Let's backtrack. I used to live in Denver, for a brief time, and I remember watching Justin Joseph on FOX 31 News. I always considered him as a journalist that stood out from the rest. And Joseph did not let me down. But I am fairly certain that when Joseph set out to report on the Pentagon officials in Florence AND the antiques scene in Florence (the antiques capital of Colorado) he had no idea he would inadvertently be shooting the next pilot for a new reality show about the Florence antiques scene, starring Larry Nelson.

Most of us in the antiques trade in Florence, already knew Larry would make a good reality TV star. We just didn't know how he'd play out on the telly, since we'd never seen him on the telly. I'll get to that later.

Here's a link to the FOX 31 News video, featuring Supermax AND Larry Nelson. I can ASSURE you that even though Supermax looms large in reality and in legend on the outskirts of Florence proper--Mr. Nelson's personality loomed larger that Supermax, Guantanamo or the Pentagon. Stinking Pentagon. We don't need no stinking Pentagon officials--Florence has Larry Nelson and that's enough, thank you very much!

http://kdvr.com/2015/10/13/pentagon-officials-look-at-colorado-prisons-as-possible-homes-for-guantanamo-detainees/

The news video starts with Larry narrating," Welcome to Florence, the capital of antiques."

The news package is actually a work of art--interspersing shots of inmates, barbed wire, Supermax and some really cool Toby mugs in Larry's antiques shop.

I really have to tip my vintage hat off to FOX news. Even on the national story, they balanced the Gitmo story and Supermax with the antiques culture in Florence. But FOX 31 in Denver, really did it up right.

There were a few interviews with folks (on the streets of Florence) who were not terribly happy about Gitmo folks potentially parking their felonious butts in Florence, along with the rest of the inmates.

Now, Larry Nelson of Florence Antiques--he has few qualms about that. "That's OK, they won't get out of there," he told the reporter with a hearty laugh.

OK, everyone knows deep down that we are much more interested in antiques in Florence and eccentrics like Larry Nelson, than we are in what goes on at Supermax. Most people agree that no one has ever escaped--and if they did, I pity them, because they really don't know what type of folks live in Florence. But they do now.

And what other antiques shop owners and dealers wanted to know (all of whom had NO idea Larry had been on the news until I told them) was if this brought a few more browsers and customers into Florence. Larry had told me that people actually told him they saw him on the news in Denver and drove to Denver to see what he and his store were about. Watch the video! Larry just got Florence, about a zillion dollars worth of free publicity. There we hoards of people browsing in Florence right after these multitude of stories played in Colorado Springs, Denver and nationally.

And how does Larry play on TV? You be the judge. But I can tell you--that's exactly the Larry most people know in Florence. He does translate to TV.

I told another dealer about the video. She and I went back to Larry's store and she saw the video and I watched it for the second delightful time. The other dealer insisted that Larry shop for his own reality TV show immediately. Actually she had told Larry that last year. I seconded the motion. Only time will tell. But I guarantee you--I don't know anyone besides Larry Nelson and Justin Joseph of FOX News 31 that could have made Gitmo AND antiques funny.

But what was really funny was that Larry didn't seem to understand what the other dealer and I were telling him about--that he plays well on TV and we were not joking when we said he needs to get his own TV show.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Florence, Colorado: Makes National FOX News

On Oct. 13, we and an out-of-town guest, were sitting in one of our favorite restaurants (ITO'S  Japanese) on Florence's Main St. when we noticed someone with a huge video camera. Being the nosy (um, curious person) that I am, I left my shrimp tempura bento box behind for a moment and ran to the window.

I saw the fellow pack up his camera in an unmarked SUV, so we couldn't figure who was in town.

Apparently he was part of FOX News, because this morning the story about Florence was all over the national FOX News channel, and then on the local evening news.

The story was about Pentagon officials coming to Florence to scout SuperMax (and the state penitentiary) in Canon City to possibly relocate Gitmo prisoners.

Interesting.


I won't comment on the wisdom, or folly, of that possible action.

I will comment on the fact that it was nice to see Florence's lovely Main St. in some of the shots. There were shots of people strolling down the street and some glimpses of Spirit Riders, The Iron Gate Antiques Mall and Florence Flower Shop.

Yes, we are home to Supermax. But we are also the antiques capital of Colorado and home to some wicked awesome eateries. And it was nice of FOX News to interview someone on the streets of Florence and also to give a balanced picture of this town. Supermax AND charming shops and eateries.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Touch Evil: Who Says Collectibles Can't Be Funny?

What the heck is this doing in an antiques store? Being the Sherlock Holmes (ette) of antiques in Florence, Colorado--I like to think deep thoughts about antiques, collectibles and other inanimate objects. I like to wonder who brought them into a store and where the items journeyed before they came to Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado.


Tee hee!

Can you even guess what this is? I didn't know until I read the tag. My first guess was a cousin of Gumby with a grass skirt. Perhaps a distant relative of the animated character,  lived in the Pacific Islands or went on a vacation and got a sunburn.

I was wrong. But that happens a lot, so I am used to it.

Once a fellow co-worker and friend told me, "You know, you are a touch evil. And you ENJOY it!"

I try to take everything said to me with a thick skin and a twinkle in my slightly evil eye and glommed on to the fact that she said a TOUCH evil. Not totally evil. And yeah, I like it. A little.

So, that's my hint about this object. It's just a touch evil.

Any more guesses?

OK, I'm not totally evil and won't keep you in suspense. It's a voodoo doll.

I didn't see that this item came with any pins. But if it did, I would have stuck a pin or two in it (in some not too painful place, since I am only a touch evil) and "zapped" the person who brought this into an antiques shop.

Hmmm. Seems like there is yet another category of antiques. Oh yeah, I could bore myself and talk about RECOGNIZED categories of antiques and collectibles. But what fun would that be.

The new category is Purgatory Antiques and Collectibles. I heard a nasty rumor that Kovel's is coming out with a price guide in this category on the twelfth of never.

Why Purgatory Antiques and Collectibles? That refers to items that are not crummy enough to be thrown out, donated to a charity or re-gifted. But are way too crappy for an antiques store, but someone tries to slip them in anyway and hope no one notices.

Perhaps we can start a National Purge Purgatory Day and have bonfires to rid the world of these items.

Is It An Antique Mall or An Antiques Mall?

Is it an antique mall or an antiques mall? Antique store or antiques store?

You say tomato and I say tomato. OK, say it however you wish, as long as you don't write: I want to eat a tomatoe. Eeek!




I am not a grammar cop, but it recently came up in conversation when I noted that Florence was sometimes touted as the antique capital of Colorado and at other times--the antiques capital of Colorado.

I asked a few people which they thought was correct. Some believed it was antique capital and a few more believed, antiques capital.

I explained that it is quite simple. If one refers to a town as an antique capital, it suggests the town itself is an antique. Perhaps the first capital in the state? If one refers to a mall or shop as an antique shop, then it suggests the shop or mall is an antique. I went on to say, that if I refer to a woman as an antique, I am saying she is old. If I refer to her as an antiques woman--I am suggesting she is an antiques dealer or into antiques.

 But here is where I rest my case. It's Antiques Roadshow, not Antique Roadshow.

So, that is why I refer to Florence as, the antiques capital of Colorado.

And today,or tomorrow, thank your English teacher if you know the difference when to use antiques or antique. Or the difference between your and you're--as in you're not paying attention to your English teacher.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

We Found YOU In Florence, Colorado: Kate Hamel of San Rafael, CA

Yes, we Found You In Florence, Colorado: Kate Hamel of San Rafael, California!

We have a feature on this blog called: Will We Find YOU In Florence? Florence is the antiques capital of Colorado. And as such, the town gets out-of-town, as well as local visitors. I thought it would be interesting to randomly ask people what they found in Florence, as I likewise, find them in Florence.

Recently we met Kate, who is a truck driver.


She walked into The Iron Gate Antique Mall recently and was thrilled by all the awesome shops in Florence. She is pictured with what she found in one shop, some bars of handmade soap.

In the course of her work, Kate has been from Vermont to California. She's made many deliveries to the Denver area and has been to Pueblo, but has never taken the cut-off from Pueblo and visited Florence until this visit

Recently she had a delivery to make at Fremont Motorsports, located at 600 E. Main St.( www.fremontmotorsports.com)  and used the time she had waiting to make delivery to explore the town.

Kate, besides enjoying a successful career as a trucker, is also a furniture designer. She is working on launching her own furniture company. She promised to send pictures, to be posted on this blog, of her reclaimed furniture designs, as well as the link to her upcoming website.

The fact that Kate is creative and artistic, added to her delight in discovering the unique vibe of Florence.

"I've met friendly people, seen wonderful antiques stores and met guineas, chickens, rooster, mules..." Kate said.

Yes, Florence had lots of great antiques shops (more per capita than anywhere in Colorado), and many friends people and animals. But we've found that the people who visit Florence are also extremely friendly and have interesting creative pursuits.

Kate also enjoyed the history of the town and the scenic beauty. Yes, we found Kate in Florence. And she says she was so thrilled with what she found in Florence, that she'll be back. So, it's likely we'll find first-time visitor, Kate Hamel, in Florence again.

But will we find YOU in Florence? If we do, we'll give you a card with the address to this blog and take your picture and ask you what you found in Florence.

And even if I don't find YOU in Florence--you are welcome to send your own pictures of what you found in Florence, for possible inclusion on this blog.

Who Says Collectibles Can't Be Funny? What Would Martha Stewart Do?

I sit up nights wondering what Martha Stewart would do if she was in Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado browsing and noticed the amount of scary clowns running amok.

Would she run screaming to the offices of Architectural Digest for a cleansing? Or would she do what the Queen of Questionable Taste does and look those scary clowns in the eyes and immortalize them for the whole world to see?

I think she is a brave and talented woman with impeccable taste who would figure out a creative way for people to use scary clowns in decorating.

If she were as scared of the clown collectibles as I was, I think she'd have too much class to show it.

Since I have little class, I'll just keep on showing the tour of Florence's scary clowns and giving myself the willies.

 Oh my goodness! I can't decide if that's a price tag around the clown's neck or he's finally had enough of this cold, cruel world and decided to do himself in. Please, don't do it clown!

 OK, I give this clown permission to do himself in.

 Stop the madness. This isn't Ringling Brothers. This is Florence for goodness sake!


This clown is saying,"Ssshhh! I have a secret. The Queen of Questionable Taste must die soon. She has done more to discredit our kind than all the previous generations of clown collectibles mockers before her."

Who Says Collectibles Can't Be Funny? Scary Clown Parade

Just when you thought the scary clown invasion in Florence, Colorado was over--I captured one of the biggest parades of the pesky collectibles yet.


Notice the sign, left by the seller of this clown: Nods Off To Sleep. I tell ya what, I won't be nodding off to sleep if he's in my bedroom.


OK, I'm not the biggest antiques and collectibles expert in the universe. But I have a decent knowledge. And this glass clown bumfoozled me. Not only does he look like a deranged pirate clown--but he has a special skill. He's a slightly naughty clown. It took the King of Impeccable Taste to point out to the INNOCENT Queen of Questionable Taste that this nasty clown is an ashtray and if one puts a cigarette in the middle there, well, um, ah--it looks like his winkie. I assume winkie is the correct term for a clown's private parts.


Some things are better left unspoken. I have no words for this clown--except to get the hell out of the city limits of Florence by midnight or I'll sic the clown with the winkie on him.


Oh, God! The humanity. Apparently the clown convention was meeting in Florence.


Apparently even Jim Beam has went over to the dark side with this clown liquor bottle. I think I'll need a snort or two before I upload the next clown picture.


I think this clown would make a great anniversary gift. Just make sure you don't value your significant other--because I smell divorce papers coming down the pike after someone unwraps this gift.

Who Says Arts & Crafts Can't Be Funny? The Worst Atrocity I've Ever Seen

You want ugly? You want something so horrific it will burn your retinas? Then don't look at this picture. It's the worst of crafts and collectibles. It's the worst mankind can create with a pair of pantyhose, some poly fluff and some demonic artist inspiration.

When The King of Impeccable Taste saw these, he dubbed them Adam and Eve and suggested they go hide their shame. I was too fixated on the fact that these creations from hell were showcased in a frigging Cup O' Noodles box. I kid you not. True story! Everything on this blog is  true--but this is really true. And what transpired after I took the pictures is also true.


I don't have a good enough camera to pick up the fact that these pantyhose beauties were VERY pilled. Like somebody had rubbed them way too much.

I screamed and took another picture and the owner of these geriatric soft poly fluff porn dolls actually told me I could take them home for FREE!

I gasped and looked at him and said, "I thought our vague friendship meant more to you than that!"

Apparently it did not.


Hell no! These atrocities and the frigging Cup O' Noodles box stayed in this store. If I took these home, I'd be demoted from The Queen of Questionable Taste to The Queen of Satan's Interior Decorating Staff.


The Queen of Questionable Taste is a part-time antiques and collectibles dealer and a mocker of  tacky, ugly, FUNky  and horrid collectibles and other questionable items, but takes special glee in mocking scary clowns. The Queen appreciates a good antique and some collectibles, but insists that another man's trash is always trash--unless of course someone is willing to pay the big bucks for it. The Queen used to be a newspaper reporter and also wrote for a major national magazine. The Queen enjoys decorating her home in the tacky pseudo-Victorian gypsy funk style, gardening, reading and acting offended when her husband, The King of Impeccable Taste, makes folk art out of junk he scrounges for free from alleys and other people's yards and out of the Arkansas River. The Queen and her husband have lived in colorful Colorado for over 20 years and LOVE it.