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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

There's A Whole Lot Of Drooling Going On In Florence Lately

Regular blog readers know that there is so much going on in Florence, that I can barely keep up with it.

We know Itty Bitty Bakery is opening soon. And of course, we have been pressing our noses to the glass on Main St. to see the progress on Quincy's Steak & Spirits, which is also opening soon.

Of course we'll be right there with knives, forks and napkins (as well as a camera and notebook) in hand to give you the scoop.

And we could not help but notice that there is a Sale Pending sign at the former location of Main St. Grill. We're all hoping... You don't know how many people have bemoaned the fact that establishment is gone. It drew people from all over Fremont County, as well as Colorado Springs and Pueblo. I should know, we used to come up to the Main St. Grill when we lived in the Springs.

And, no we haven't forgot about ITO Japanese Steak House and Sushi on Main St. In fact, we just ate lunch there today. And the food and service are always fantastic. The place is almost always packed and we know why.

Yes, there is a whole lot of good food already in Florence and some more on the way! Foodies rejoice!

Itty Bitty Bakery: Sweet Lovers Rejoice!

Sweet lovers rejoice! A new bakery is coming to Florence.

Today was another great-weather day in Florence and the King and I were strolling the antiques district when we came across the folks at the Itty Bitty Bakery (next to Larry's Barber Shop) on N. Santa Fe Ave.

The new owners were busy decorating and getting ready for an opening next week. So, after we stepped inside and drooled about the cakes, pastries and other delectables that would be available soon--we happily agreed to come back next week and take some pictures and spread the word even more about what is looking like a very delicious and stylish addition to Florence's business scene.

I'll give you a hint: Look for hot pink signs and patio furniture you'll know it's Itty Bitty Bakery.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Plethora Of Steampunk At The Iron Gate Antiques Mall

Whew hoo! The new window display at The Iron Gate Antiques Mall packs more steampunk pleasure per square foot than I've seen in a long time. The window was unveiled today--and blog readers are the first to see it, besides the lucky people who were actually enjoying the weather and browsing in Florence today.


Yeah, you found us out! The King of Impeccable Taste might just have a few items in the window, like that wood shoe form steampunk hat stand and the black steampunk hat. He also helped arrange the pegboard.


Rusty, crust and delicious. My kind of stuff.


The Iron Gate Antiques Mall is located at 109 W. Main St. in Florence and it is open 7 days a week.
When I dropped by to see the window, an employee was already putting a sold sign on one item. So, to everyone's amazement--steampunk items are flying out of Florence. I suspect Florence has had steampunk items for decades before so many people knew it was totally cool, delicious, industrial, hip and the in thing.


More good steampunk junk!


Yep, even more. And look in the background. Mr. Smith is watching you! And he's for sale too.

And don't forget the Steampunk Festival. That would be impossible around here, since I mention it almost every post. But no worries, more scary clowns and antiques and collectibles fun will be upcoming.



The "Problem" With Steampunk In Florence, Colorado

We are having a problem in Florence, as many artisans and shop owners get ready for Florence's first Steampunk Festival.

And it's true. I generally ONLY put pictures of this blog of steampunk creations, art or antiques that are for sale. And I always mention where it may be viewed.

But today I ran across a wonderful steampunk creation at Florence Antiques at 103 W. Main St. And the owner of the shop told me it was not for sale. He had a local antique refurbisher make it for him, but it turned out so well, he decided to keep it.

The King of Impeccable Taste and I are having the same problem. He's turning out some steampunk creations that I am literally hiding in my home, because I like them so much. And we've been going through our antiques stock and I've had a hard time parting with a lot of it.



It's pretty amazing what someone can do with some egg beaters, an antique welding torch, some gauges and other gizmos.

And even though this item is not for sale--it's still fun to stroll through Florence's shops and see all the items that are for sale and even the items that are not--as all are one-of-kind treasures to inspire one's imagination. And that, in my opinion is what steampunk is all about at its core.


Steampunk Clocks In Florence, Colorado

Artists and craftspeople are getting into the spirit of steampunk for Florence's first Steampunk Festival and Marilyn and Earl Nall have turned their creative talents to making steampunk clocks.


The clocks are now in the window of Copper Canon Bead and Art Gallery at 108 S. Pikes Peak.

Copper Canon is owned by the Nall's daughter, Marcene Martin.

The Steampunk Festival is April 11 and 12.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Florence, The Steampunk Capital of Colorado?

Is Florence, Colorado now the steampunk capital of Colorado? I cannot say for sure, but I will say the steampunk madness, way in advance of the town's first Steampunk Festival, has taken many shop owners and antiques dealers by surprise.

The King of Impeccable taste just got back from delivering a load of steampunk hats and antiques to the The Iron Gate Antiques Mall, where he will be assisting with heavy lifting for the mall's steampunk window decoration.

Many shop owners and dealers are reporting they are already mostly sold out of anything even remotely steampunk-related, even though the festival is not until April 11 and 12.

I'm not sure where the steampunk capital of Colorado is--but these past few weeks and probably up until the 11th and 12th--it does look like Florence is it.

It's taken me and the King by surprise. We ran around this morning like steampunk chickens with our heads cut off, looking for items for the window--and for sale.

This is killing me, but I am putting up my steampunk doctor's bag for sale. Let me explain. I am not a total steampunk expert, but have been into it for over a decade due to my life-long semi-obsession with all things British. I used to ride and jump horses in the English style. And raise beagles. Someday I'll show blog readers my entire office devoted to hunt country and semi-steampunk style.


I had this doctor's bag in my office. I picked it up at a Fremont County estate sale quite some time ago.

What's fascinating about this one, is it actually has the name and location of the Colorado doctor this bag belonged to--probably a hundred years ago or so.

This steampunk thing is Florence is killing me! I refuse to sell my authentic Downton Abbey beaded flapper blouse! But I might share a picture of it someday. For those new to wonderful world of steampunk and industrial--the general era is from about 1850 to 1880 or so, basically before the Industrial Revolution hit big. BUT some believe the steampunk era can go as late as World War I--which obviously includes the Downton Abbey area. See, of course, I'd be hooked on The Abbey, since I enjoy all things British. I may be the Queen of Questionable Taste, but I do know when good taste hits me between my beady eyes.

Anyway, this bag and many other steampunk hats, hat stands, antiques and industrial items will be displayed in the window of The Iron Gate Antiques Mall at 109 W. Main St. in Florence.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Just When You Think You Found All The Scary Clowns

Just when I think I've located all the scary clowns in Florence, Colorado--some more arise to bite me in my antique-loving tush.


I'll forgive this scary clown because at least he's true vintage and surrounded by some pretty rocking vintage goodies.


But I don't have the same slightly warm fuzzy feelings for this dude. He looks vaguely drugged. Is that a horn, or he sucking on a crack pipe?


Now honestly look me in the eye and my bulbous red nose and tell me that this clown does not look like he has a creepy intent and he is stalking the angel.

What The Heck Is This Doing In An Antiques Store: A Touch Evil

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.

Pseudo-Victorian Funk Decorating With Items Found In Florence, Colorado

It's pretty easy to decorate in any style with items found in Florence, Colorado. My style happens to be gypsy, peacock, pseudo-Victorian funk.

Here's a vignette I created in my home with Florence finds.


The gilt frame has no glass and just frames a beaded purse, a shadow box filled with a cameo and antique linens and wall sconce with a vintage pot metal angel vase. The pseudo-Victorian sconces complete the picture--literally.

Most items were purchased at Good Stuff Antiques on Florence's Main St. The sconces were less than $40 for the set, proving one can decorate with antiques and vintage items--often for less than purchasing new items. Even though some of the items are not of the Victorian era, the true antiques can be combined with other eras to get that pseudo-Victorian funk look.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Gypsy Peacock Pseudo-Victorian Funk Style Home Decorating

When you live in Florence, do as the Florencians do. We moved to Florence, Colorado--the antiques capital of Colorado--a few years ago. We had visited the town to shop and eat when we lived in other areas of Colorado. But it wasn't until I moved here that I became inspired to change my decorating style a little. I now decorate in what I call: The gypsy, peacock, pseudo-Victorian funk style.

Yeah, I just made that up. There probably is no such style--but it's my style.

What does that look like? Some would say a hot mess!


This is the most over-the-top, gaudy, tack-a-licious area in the house. I made the stained glass window years ago--so apparently the seeds of this explosion were already in me way before I became inspired by living in Florence. Some of it came from (GASP!) Hobby Lobby and some came from Florence.


A close-up of the gaudy explosion. The two art glass vases came from Blue Spruce Art Gallery on Florence's Main St.


The peacock vase/jug came from Legends and Lace Antiques--also on Florence's Main St.

But The Queen of Questionable Taste can come out the closet with her head held high. There is just a gypsy funk style going on in Florence even without me. We just visited Sandy Dale's art studio on Main St. and she has a gypsy wagon outside for everyone's viewing pleasure.

And look at this:



This is the outside of the Blue Spruce Art Gallery. If the front of the shop doesn't scream with gypsy-funky delight, then I don't know what does.

Yeah! The Queen has been vindicated!

The Magical World Of Artist Sandy Dale And Her Gnarlies -- Steampunk

Prepare to enter a magical world when you enter the studio of Sandy Dale and her Gnarlies.

The Florence, Colorado artist has shared her creations for many years with Renaissance Festival goers, but also has a studio at 220A W. Main St.


Sandy's artwork covers many medias and subjects, but in honor of Florence's Steampunk Festival on April 11 and 12, we're just showcasing her steam punk-type creations.


Sandy's Main St. studio is open by whim or appointment, so we felt honored to get a peek into her magical world.


Sandy's email is gnarliemother@hotmail.com


Magical steampunk.


A steampunk bird clock that uses a pair of vintage sheep shearers for the beak.

Even the outside of Sandy Dale's studio evokes a magical atmosphere.


Sandy Dale's gypsy wagon, formerly used to sell artwork at fairs, is now parked outside her studio for all to enjoy viewing.


A mural on the outside of the studio.


The world of Sandy Dale and The Gnarlies is complex and magical.



More information about Sandy's artwork is available at: www.linkedin.com/in/thegnarlies and at: www.Facebook/pages/TheGnarlies

In honor of Florence's first Steampunk Festival on April 11 and 12, Sandy will be displaying her artwork in front of King's Flea Market.

Friday, March 20, 2015

This Might Be The Best Steam Punk Window In Colorado

If you weren't in Florence, Colorado on this gorgeous first day of Spring enjoying the delicious steam punk craziness and all the wonderful antiques and collectibles and eateries and party spirit--then I'll remove my steam punk spectacles and shed a little tear for you.

But not to worry. We are weeks away from the Steampunk Festival and generally every day is way too much fun in Florence.

Most regular visitors to the antiques capital of Colorado know about Legends and Lace Antiques at 131 W. Main St. Owner, Sarah, is a true legend in these parts for her window dressing skills. She's also a legend when it comes to making custom lampshades. You know, the mouth-watering, over-the-top lampshades like they have on Downton Abbey. Someday I'll show a picture of a Legends And Lace lampshade in my house.


Steampunk-a-licious.


Double steampunk-a-licious.

And now, a closeup of the steampunk strumpet.


Damn! I cannot stand it when a mannequin looks better than I do.

Yes, it's worth the drive to see this window at Legends And Lace--because my pictures don't do it justice.

And, yes, Florence is having a Steampunk Festival on April 11 and 12.



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

What Would Martha Stewart Do About Florence's Scary Clowns?

I sit up nights wondering what Martha Stewart would do if she was in Florence, 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 clowns 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 mockers before her."


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Florence Colorado: More Steampunk Goodness At Florence Antiques Shop

The town of Florence is getting ready for the steampunk festival. This multi-media steampunk artwork was spotted in the window of Florence Antiques at 103 W. Main St.




I'm almost expecting Jules Verne to pop into Florence any day now.


Florence Colorado: Copper Canon Bead And Art Gallery Gears Up For Steampunk

Copper Canon Bead and Art Gallery is one of Florence, Colorado's newest treasures. The shop has a bedazzling selection of beads, accessories, artwork and collectibles.

But when I stopped in the shop, owner Marcene Martin and her mother, Marilyn Nall, were busy working on art projects other than bead work though.

Like many artisans in Florence, they were also gearing up for the Steampunk Festival, planned for April 11 and 12.

  Marcene displays a steampunk piece she was working on, as her mother works on an alcohol paint project

Copper Canon was located in Canon City, but semi-recently relocated to Florence at 108 S. Pikes Peak Ave. The shop in on a side street, but can also be accessed on Main St. by walking through Florence Antiques.



Every time I visit with Marcene and Marilyn, they are usually working on a project for the shop. Copper Canon has a family feel going on. Often other members of the family can be found at the shop working on a project, or just visiting with each other and customers and browsers.

I'll stop back at Copper Canon to give a blog tour of the excellent selection of art work, beads, jewelry and other interesting items tucked away at this unique shop.

Copper Canon also host a variety of classes, including beadworking, alcohol painting and other pursuits. Marcene said the classes are usually by word of mouth and well attended.

For more information on classes and schedules, Marcene may be reached at 970-333-1773. Copper Canon also has a Facebook page at: Coppercanonbeadandartgallery@facebook.



Friday, March 13, 2015

Florence Colorado: Rest In Peace Faroan, A Fine Florence Police K9 Officer

Rest in peace, Faroan. Not only does Florence Colorado honor and appreciate the work of the humans (refer to a previous blog post, Officer There's A Rattlesnake In My House) but we also value the work of K9 officers.

                                          Faroan and Florence Police Sgt. Sean Humphrey

I literally teared up when I first read this story in the Canon City Daily Record last week. http://www.canoncitydailyrecord.com/News/ci_27664629/Memorial-set-for-Florence-Police-Departments-K9-dog

For those who have never had the privilege of living in Florence or visiting the small town, the city has a huge number of canine friends and dog lovers everywhere. It's impossible to leave the house and not see many people walking their dogs. And every single one of my neighbors has at least one dog and one neighbor has four dogs.

I've had a dog since age eight. I can't imagine my life without man's best friends. The passing of Faroan, a Florence Police Department K9 officer choked me up a little. But what is making my eyes mist, even as I am typing this, is the fact that other K9 handlers from Colorado Springs Police Department showed up at the veterinarian's office in Colorado Springs, as Sgt. Humphrey said his good byes to Faroan.

That's just the kind of state Colorado is.

Today there was a memorial service for Faroan at the Florence city council chambers.

Today there was a brief story on Channel 13, KRDO TV News in Colorado Springs about Faroan's service. The newscast showed a small carved wooden box that held Faroan's cremains.

If the world is attempting to make me cry today--mission accomplished! But they are happy tears. I'm proud to be in a community that honors its own, including man's best friend.

Rest in peace Faroan. And thank you for your service Sgt. Humphrey. We know no other K9 officer can replace Faroan, but we look forward to meeting the newest member of Florence's finest.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Florence Colorado: Good Stuff Antiques, No Doilies or Scary Clown Toys

Do I put my money where my mouth is? I've been blathering on about some of the cool stuff, and about some rather bizarre stuff that can be found in Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado.

But is my house tastefully stuffed with good stuff that I've found in Florence? Heck yeah!

Awhile back I promised a tour of my house. I basically decorate in the gypsy, peacock, pseudo-Victorian funk style. Never heard of that style, you say? I hadn't either, but living in Florence inspired me. So, that's basically what you'll see in my home.

One of my favorite antiques stores in Florence is Good Stuff at 131-B W. Main St. Lots of the "good stuff" in our house came from there. Now that is high praise coming from a picker. That means the prices are good.

I've loved Good Stuff for years. Even my husband, the King of Impeccable Taste loves it.

But what do other people think? I did a quick search online and the reviews of Good Stuff are right on the money. But my favorite review, in part, read,"No doilies or scary clown toys..."

That is INDEED high praise of an antiques store. And I am pretty sure, I know what Florence store that reviewer is referring to when they mention scary clown toys and doilies. Meow! But I will never tell. That is part of the mystique of Florence, finding where the good stuff is and then alternately being scared by clowns.

My most recent purchase at Good Stuff was a large amount of vintage brooches. I have a love of peacock decor and most anything sparkly, shiny, gaudy and over the top. Sure, I love primitives and folk art too--but gaudy is yummy.


I start out with getting this one vintage peacock brooch. Next thing I know about eight more vintage brooches are in my hot little hands. Of course, the owner at Good Stuff cut me a bulk deal without me even asking. I thought the prices were fairly cheap anyway.

So, I get home with my glittery treasures and realize that I don't really wear that much jewelry and certainly not gaudy brooches. What to do?

A few years back, The King of Impeccable Taste found a neat standing lamp at a Colorado yard sale. The King is the original Colorado Picker. The King got some fabric, beads and trim and made some lamp shades.

I decided the lamp need to be tricked out with gaudy brooches. Is this rather like Pimp My Lamp?



Tacky. Tackalicious. I love it. And I love Good Stuff Antiques.

Florence Colorado: Barn & Barrel, One Of The Best Window Displays

  I haven't done an official study, but I imagine Florence Colorado has one of the highest per capita ratios of antiques in the country. And the antiques capital of Colorado also has some of the best window displays I've seen anywhere.


  I'm a sucker for anything vintage and green, whether it's close to St. Patrick's Day or not.

  The current window display and at Barn & Barrel at 119 W. Main St. is delicious and green. Every shade of green from minty to sagey to Ireland. Weathered paint. Ah. Yummy.

  And this is just the window display. The shop inside is also full of tremendously delicious vintage delights.

  Barn and Barrel is one of cutest stores in Florence, but I bet as I take blog readers on more tours of Florence, I'll be writing that about most every store in town. And it will be true! After all, this is True Story Club.

 

Florence Colorado: Steampunk Wine Festival

  It doesn't get much better than combining wine and steampunk in one festival in Florence Colorado. But if one throws in a costume contest, Wild West gunfighters, auctions, vendors and a steampunk ball, I'd say it's Nirvana.


  We'll have more information in the coming weeks on this great festival, as it comes in.

  But this I know for sure: Florence is loaded with tons of incredible stuff for steampunk outfits and home decorating.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Florence Colorado: Taxidermy On Steroids--Part 2

   We all know Florence, Colorado is the official antiques capital of Colorado. And we know I am The Self-Appointed Queen of Marketing for Florence. And we know that our state moniker is Colorful Colorado.

  That means colorful antiques, junk and colorful characters. Let's complete our tour of Taxidermy on Steroids with Mr. Smith. He's not technically taxidermy. Or if he is, he isn't telling me.

  But I am pretty certain Mr. Smith is related to Fartin' Farnsworth.


  Honestly, you don't know who Fartin' Farnsworth is? He used to grace the window of a business is Cripple Creek. He'd draw attention to semi-vulgar t-shirts and other, ahem, gas-related novelty items. And you think Florence has some strange merchandise and taxidermy characters. At least I have yet to locate a whoopee cushion in any of my junkets in Florence.

  Anyway, Mr. Smith is, I believe, distantly related to Farnsworth and he is in the window of Iron Gate Antiques Mall at 109 W. Main St. in Florence. Since Iron Gate is truly one of the best antique malls in the state and a much classier place that where Farnsworth used to hang out--he is simply named Mr. Smith. Smith is missing a few fingers. Probably from a bar brawl with Fartin' Farnsworth.

  Mr. Smith is for sale. Just about anything in Florence is. The nice fellow who was working at Iron Gate today noticed my intense interest in Mr. Smith today. No, the Iron Gate employee did not call the police on me. He knows I am a dealer. The employee told me the mornings he opens up the shop, he knows in his head that Mr. Smith is not real. Don't tell Mr. Smith that. But, almost every time he opens, Mr. Smith gets him since the employee for an instant thinks Mr. Smith is real.

  Smith ain't the most talkative guy but he smells a lot better than Farnsworth.

  So, let's go back upstairs at the Iron Gate and finish our mini-tour of taxidermy on steroids.


    And you really though I was exaggerating when I said there truly is a land of misfit taxidermy in my first post.

  According to the tag, this bird is a blue-eared pheasant. I did not know pheasant had different ear colors. Perhaps his ears were just cold. But this guy is a looker and I'd certainly purchase him if it wasn't for my husband--the King of Impeccable Taste that barred my own taxidermy purchase from our home. Refer to the previous post, Taxidermy on Steroids.




Awww! This is the frowsiest Bobcat I've ever seen. I was eyeballing this little dude a few weeks ago with another antique dealer and friend and we decided the price on this guy just screamed at us to take him home (under $40) but what the heck! Both our husbands were with us and just were not that enthused.

  Okay, I know this taxidermy treasure is a Bobcat and not a mountain lion. But for some reason Frowsy Bobcat reminded me of the time I was walking in a park on the outskirts of Denver metro. I spotted a sign that suggested a mountain lion might spring out and attempt to kill me at any moment, even though I was very close to Denver.

  The sign gave some very helpful tips about how to get the best of the mountain lion, assuming one was not armed with a pea shooter, a bazooka or a gun. The sign suggested that is was important for the human to regain control of the situation by attempting to get ON TOP of the mountain lion. I kid you not. I really wish even governmental and wildlife agencies would contact me for a common sense  reality check. I would suggest to the authorities that once a mountain lion IS on top of you, you are probably toast.

  I was not the only resident of Denver who thought this was hysterically funny that this wildlife sign in metro Denver gave such sucky advice.

  I suggest that someone take Frowsy Bobcat home and practice a half Nelson on him in preparation for walking in Denver area parks.




Ah, we are not in the Natural History Museum in Denver.  We are still upstairs at Iron Gate.

Consider this, a visit to Florence in truly colorful Colorado is really a cheap vacation that will appeal to all members of the family. Most women like to go antiquing. Check. Most men like to go junking. Check. And most kids like to go to natural history museums. Check. And most of us like to have a good laugh. Check and double check.