Total Pageviews

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.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

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

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: 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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

Florence Colorado: Taxidermy on Steroids

  Have you ever asked yourself where the land of misfit taxidermy is? Sure you have. You just don't want to admit it. Ya know, sort of like the land of misfit toys? Apparently a great deal of it ends up in Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado.

  I support the Humane Society of the United States and other animal charities. But, deep in my heart, I have a slight and tepid love for scruffy taxidermy. I went to a 12-step program to try and get over it--but it didn't work.

  So, today I took a mini-tour of Florence to see what I could find in the way of misfit taxidermy. What you say? I have no life? I have nothing better to do that browse, gawk and mock taxidermy. Yeah, it's all true and I'm proud of it. It only took about 12 minutes this morning for me to assemble this tour of Florence's fun and funky taxidermy.

  And who am I? The Self-Appointed Queen of Marketing for Florence, Colorado. Translated that means, I just do this for fun and am in NO way associated with the Chamber of Commerce or any of the other fine organizations that promote Florence and Fremont County.

 Full disclosure: I do work in the antiques trade and do have a booth or two of my own in the fine town of Florence. And I do occasionally sneak into a shop or two in town and "help" the owners in exchange for some junk.

  In case anyone (and none of my blog readers would really think this) feels I am having a bit too much fun seeing what is really in the shops and booths in Florence--I'll start my taxidermy tour in my own booth. I'll shame myself.

  Those who live in Florence will recognize this beautiful item. It came out of a restaurant in town, that sadly went out of business. I purchased it for myself. BUT in an ironic twist and reversal of normal gender roles--my husband barred me from bringing in this stuffed Walleye fish with a beer bottle puttied into its mouth, into our humble home.

  What? My husband has no taste when it comes to decorating! Observant blog readers will see that I placed the hapless Walleye in a vintage wicker baby buggy. I was trying to recreate the scene from Rosemary's Baby where Rosemary looks into the buggy and sees the spawn of Satan. My husband was not too amused since he has NEVER been very keen on Satan--and apparently is not too keen on stuffed fish either.

  And where was this hideous picture taken? Actually in one of the finest antique malls in Colorado--Iron Gate Antique Mall at 109 W. Main St. In fact, all of them were. But they were all taken upstairs--where there actually is excellent stuff. And downstairs--well, some of the finest antiques and collectibles in the state, at quite good prices.

  Let's continue the misfit taxidermy tour.

  I can only say one thing about this poor turkey. Well, he's actually half a turkey from what I can tell. But I never claimed to be a turkey or taxidermy expert. All I can say is this Thanksgiving I will be trekking to Whole Foods and buying one of those Tofurkey things--tofu that sorta tastes like turkey.

  Speaking of eating, the King of Impeccable Taste (opposites do attract) just came home and claims it is dinnertime.

  No worries, I'll continue, if I must, on the tour of taxidermy on steroids in the next post.