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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Will We Find YOU In Florence, The Antiques Capital of Colorado?

Some very talented people have come up with a new marketing campaign for Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado.

I won't go into details, since it will all be unveiled soon. This blog has nothing to do with that great marketing campaign--but will offer  free publicity, if needed, on this blog.

I'm excited about the new marketing slogan: FIND IT IN FLORENCE. The graphics of the new look for Florence's marketing are exciting.

And I'm also excited about a new feature on this blog.

Most people know Florence has the most antiques stores per capita in the state. And we have lots of art galleries, eateries and more. So, finding it in Florence is not only easy for collectors, art aficionados and decorators--it's an experience.

That got the rusty steampunk wheels in my head turning. Yes, it's easy to find IT in Florence. But, will we find YOU in Florence?

I'm a part-time antiques dealer and I love helping find all manner of widgets, gadgets, food and more in Florence. I've been doing it for years. And I love it just as much when I help someone find a treasure, even if it isn't mine--or associated with the shops I have worked in, or currently work in.

BUT what I really love is hearing about the experience and people BEHIND the fantastic things people find in Florence.

I could tell a hundred stories about the interesting people I've met in Florence's antiques stores.

I come home and tell my husband and friends about the cool people I've met and the great items they find--and WHY they wanted the items.

So, I thought: Why not share all these stories with all my blog readers?

Years ago, I used to photograph and write a weekly column. Rather a man-on-the-street piece. One where you just jump out and ask people a question and take their picture for a newspaper. It was one of the best things I ever did. People didn't have time to think, so they often spoke what is in their hearts--and the results were usually heartwarming, poignant or humorous. And honest.

So,  the new feature here will be, WILL WE FIND YOU IN FLORENCE? More specifically, will I find you in Florence? I won't mention which shop I'll most likely be at with my camera and notebook. Or which days. And sometimes I might be in the coffee shop or a restaraunt. And I might jump out and surprise you and ask you what YOU found in Florence. I'll take your picture (with your permission) and ask you to briefly tell what you found and what you are going to do with it.

You'll receive a little card (done on my computer) on bright green paper that will read:

You’ve Been Found In Florence—The
Antiques Capital Of

THANKS for letting us take your picture and share what YOU have found in Florence.

Your picture and brief story will soon be available for viewing at:

That's all there is too it. Within a few days, or few weeks, depending on my schedule, you'll be on this blog and have something to share with your family, friends and people around the world.

I do this for free. No one can pay me to get on the blog. It's just for fun, and because I am genuinely interested in what people think, feel and buy. I'm interested in the experience people find in Florence.

I've already" jumped out" and got a picture and brief story of what a very nice couple in Canon City are doing with their Florence finds. Watch for it soon.

So, will I find YOU in Florence? I hope so.

And if I don't find you in Florence, feel free to send a picture or selfie of you and your Florence find and I might choose it for this blog. Just make sure there is some type of background or landmark in the picture that makes it clear you in Florence.

And I'm also asking people  who have been "found" in Florence, to keep me and blog readers updated on their Florence finds. For example, many of the people I've talked to (without a camera or notebook in hand) have told me they have some great upcycled or art projects planned for the antiques they have found in Florence. And I am curious to see the finished project! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Florence: The Unofficial Steampunk Capital of Colorado?

Is Florence the unofficial steampunk capital of Colorado? I'm beginning to think so.

Let me count the reasons. Florence had its first steampunk festival, April 11-12 of this year. As far as first-year festivals go--it was a success. So much so that Florence is now hosting Punktique.

What's Punktique you ask? Good question. I did a web search and the word Punktique doesn't come up that often. It's a good idea whose time has apparently come. And it's coming to Florence.

Let's backtrack for those who are not familiar with Florence, Colorado. Florence is the official antiques capital of Colorado. More antiques stores, per capita than anywhere in the state. Those of us who work in antiques store here chat with browsers and customers from all over the country--but the majority come from Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Denver. And many of them exclaim, " I had NO idea Florence had all these shops and cool stuff."

Florence also has a history as an oil and coal town. And a history of being a pioneer town that is wonderfully preserved, with more historical preservation in the works.

Many people in Colorado do know about Pioneer Days.

It's the 88th year of Pioneer Days. The main force behind the event is to celebrate the contributions and sacrifices of past pioneers in the area and their descendants--many of whom are still pioneering in the community.

Of course there is a parade. One of the best parades actually. Dancing, art, food, crafts, a tractor pull and more. But one of the centerpieces has been Junktique. Part of Santa Fe Avenue is closed down and local vendors and out-of-state vendors sell their wares in an open air market. There are fine antiques, good antiques and plain old good junk and bargains. Owners of the many antiques stores and art galleries and other business often have sidewalk sales. Junktique is fairly legendary among decorators and bargain shoppers.

And now there is PUNKTIQUE. Florence's first steampunk festival was such a success, it was decided to add steampunk events to Pioneer Days--and now Punktique will stand proudly along with Junktique on Friday and Saturday--Sept. 18 and 19.

Oh, and there's more. So much more. On Sept. 18, there will be a Steampunk Ball Street Dance with Midnight Sun playing.

Yes, the second year of a steampunk festival in Florence. Mark your calendars for April 9 and 10 of 2016.

If all this wasn't enough to convince me that Florence is becoming the unofficial steampunk capital of Colorado--it is that fact that many of the antique and art galleries are resplendent with steampunk fashions, rusty widgets, sculptures, jewelry and more steampunk deliciousness.

And I have it on good authority that many of the shops and galleries' owners were not fully aware of the steampunk mother lode they housed routinely until preparations were being made for the first steampunk festival.

In future blog posts, I'll take readers on an exclusive tour of all the steampunk, Victorian, industrial and generally cool items Florence has year-round.

Florence has a kicking steampunk festival. And now Punktique. And a built-in source of talented antiques dealers and artisans that have been dealing in steampunk, neo-Victorian and industrial items for years.

What will you find in Florence? History. Antiques. Architecture. Steampunk.Junk. Bargains Art. Great food. Smalltown USA. A break from the hustle and bustles (pun intended) of the everyday world.

And stuff like this.

I've given you just a hint of what you'll find in Florence. But the real question is: Will we find you in Florence for Pioneer Days and Punktique? I hope so, because there is quite the experience waiting for you.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Florence, Colorado: Svetlana & Gunnar Piltingsrud On House Hunters -- A Huge Hit

I had no idea who the Florence, Colorado couple was, to be featured on House Hunters on HGTV until two days before the show. And in my eyes, the show was a huge hit on many levels.

Anyone's who read this blog, knows I am a huge fan of Florence and Florentines.

I've seen many episodes of House Hunters with my husband and sometimes we comment to each other that the "house hunters" are whiners. Tee hee! We thought we were the only ones, behind closed doors who dared to think such a sassy thing.

Svetlana and Gunnar Piltingsrud was the Florence couple featured and I noticed they both came across as charming, sweet and genuine folks. Nary a whine!

I've never seen Gunnar, until the show aired. I don't know Svetlana, but I have visited her wonderful art gallery in Florence. And I might have had the pleasure of bagging a vintage find or two for her when she shops in Florence's antiques district. And from what I've seen in those limited contacts--a truly class act.

I'm thinking all these things to myself. Tonight I went to HGTV's Facebook page at: and I chuckled when I read the posts about the Piltingsrud's episode. People were delighted there was NO whining as they looked at the houses--and how the family came across as so genuine--and well, humble and grateful.

I had no idea that people across the nation were a little put off at times from other House Hunter's occasional whining. Svetlana even went to the House Hunter's Facebook page and made a fabulous post concerning whining. I won't ruin it for you--go read it for yourselves.

I'm an unashamed bragger of Florence. Now I am even more impressed. And the Piltingsrud family--well, Florence truly could not have had better spokespeople to represent how most people are here. Hardworking. Some artistic like Svetlana.Creative. Appreciative. Genuine. And not too many whiners!

I'm with all the posters at HGTV's Facebook page. I want to see an update when this Florence couple finishes the remodel and decorating. Their original house was so tasteful, I cannot wait to see what they do to this beauty.

I am hoping the house is eventually featured on one of Florence's house tours. And I am even hoping there might be a fundraising ice cream social, or some such event, on the grounds of this mansion to benefit one of the many art, historical, preservation or cultural programs in Florence. Yes, I am a house addict and uber curious and will come up with any idea to see the inside of the house. Seems like a lot of viewers feel the same way.

The show was also fun, because the producers did a great job of showing other shots of Florence. I did chuckle when a shot of Royal Gorge showed up, and it almost looked like it was suggested it was in Florence. Close, but still about 20 miles away. But the show did such a lovely job of showing the river, scenic beauty and how charming this area is.

The Piltingsrud's did their "decison" chat at the Aspen Leaf Bakery and Cafe.

Yes, it's not only worth the drive to view Florence's architectural gems--it's worth the drive to nosh at the Aspen Leaf.

When my husband and first decided we had to move to this area, we did a drive-by of some of Florence's real estate. One of the same houses the Piltingsrud's viewed, we drove by. And we had the exact same comment. The porch had a lot of spindles in need of work.

I had the pleasure of going into the other house the Piltingsrud's viewed. We were invited there for a birthday party and got to see the main house and the basement apartment. The views are fantastic. And that basement with all the stonework? Pretty amazing in person. And my husband and I had the same reaction to the bathroom--some type of pod.

What a fun show! What fun houses. And what a fun couple! I've been telling people all along that Florence is one of the funnest places I've ever been. I even call it the FUNkytown of Fremont County. Funky in a good way.

And now the whole country knows. Yeah!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Florence, Colorado: These Jersey Girls Don't Cuss & Produce Some Goodies

I just saw some Jersey Girls that don't cuss, know how to behave and produce some real goodies.

I know this bovine beauty is no Snookie. She's better.

And I just discovered her.

Most of us have heard about farm to table, the move to treat farm animals responsibly and agritourism. I have no idea there was such a diversity of agriculture and yummies (did I mention yummies) right in my own backyard in Fremont County. Actually in Florence--the jewel of Fremont County-- with green fields, lots of cows, horses, llamas, goats and chickens.

There is a family business, Jersey Girl Farms, that provides shares in a Jersey Girl. I'm such a former city girl, I have no idea one could buy a share in a moo cow and then pay some for its board and then get lots of fresh, raw organic milk.

Jersey Girls Farms has an adorable Facebook page. Adorable if you like pictures of adorable baby farms animals. It's at:

The farm also offers heirloom pork from very happy porkers that don't know what a cage is and eggs from chickens that also don't know what cages are.

You can read all about it at: But after you are done reading, make sure and fill your table with good, responsibly raised local food.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Florence, Colorado: Victorian Mansion To Be Featured On HGTV'S HOUSE HUNTERS

It will be exciting to see Florence, Colorado get some worldwide recognition, when HGTV airs an episode of the popular series, House Hunters, that features a palatial Victorian mansion.

I already have my TV set on autotune for August 11, at 8 p.m., Mountain Time for HGTV.

The episode will chronicle a couple’s search for more room and the desire for a Victorian fixer-upper, according to the HGTV description.

The featured house will be the Thomas Robison mansion, built in 1895 for the founder of the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad founder. All aboard for an exciting peek into yet another aspect of Florence’s fascinating architecture and history.

I’ve never been in the mansion unfortunately. But I’ve been on many a house tour in Fremont County. In fact, I really should get an award for gawking at the most houses in Colorado. Yeah, I troll real estate online sites even when I am not looking to buy a property.

No, I don’t sing, “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.”  I sing off-key, “Houses Are A Girl’s Best Friend.” Yeah, just try to live in and decorate a diamond ring.

Okay, perhaps I have a penchant for houses of all types. Log cabins, yurts, mansions, tiny houses, Victorian, Craftsman. It matters not.

And how twitterpated I am  a house that I am in driving distance of will be featured on HGTV. If you catch me anywhere in Colorado with my binoculars, don’t call the police. Just call House Addicts Anonymous and report me.

The only downside to Florence, Colorado being on HGTV is that the whole country and parts of the world will now know a little secret: Florence has some of the most fantastic houses at prices more reasonable than most parts of the state. If this nonsense continues, people will figure out that Fremont County also has some of the best weather in the state. No, my career has nothing to do with real estate. I just know good things when I see them.

If you don’t tell anyone about some of these treasures in Florence, I won’t either.