Total Pageviews

Showing posts with label Royal Gorge Region. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Royal Gorge Region. Show all posts

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Florence, Colorado: Who The Heck Is Beatrice Bloggaire And Scruffy?

Who the heck is Beatrice Bloggaire and Scruffy?

Beatrice Bloggaire And Her Dog, Scruffy

Beatrice Bloggaire, as the cartoon shows, has grabbed her notebook and pen and is ready to see what she can find in Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado. Beatrice is my alter ego. But the name of her/my dog is really, Scruffy. They do say dogs and their owners look alike. Yes, we are both a bit plump and scruffy.

                                                               A Picture Of The Real Scruffy


Someone came up with the brilliant idea of creating alter ego cartoons for this blog. It makes it easier to go about Florence and Fremont County and other parts of southern Colorado and see what is happening in semi-anonymity. 

Now, some people do know who I am. I'm not that good at keeping secrets! But when a blog goes worldwide, one likes to protect one's identity. 

Awhile back I was having a conversation with an artist and business owner in Florence. We were talking about how I could assist the town, free of charge, in promoting all the exciting people and events and things in our fair burg.

I asked the artist, if television or media people came to Florence, who would be the best on-camera spokesperson for the town. I readily admitted it would never be me. I don't do well in front of cameras or on the radio.

The person said they would never do it. My estimation of the person was they would be well-spoken and suited to the task. They explained why they never would. It turned out that the person was chosen as the artist of the month on a well-known worldwide online selling venue--complete with a picture and story.

The artist was in another town and just browsing in a store when a stranger screamed and rushed the artist and said they recognized them from the online site. Just that minor brush with celebrity was enough for that Florence artist to keep a low profile.

Plus, when people know who you are--the focus often moves from the art, antiques, culture or town you are attempting to focus on.

Some of us thrive on being known. And that's fine. And some of us thrive on having only our work known. And that's fine. And some of us thrive on having the work of others or of a town known. And that's fine. I'm in the latter category. I want to stories of the people and things in Florence, and the stories of people who visit Florence, in the spotlight--not me.

So, Beatrice Bloggaire, happily stepped up to the task and will do it. Nice thing about Beatrice, no one will ever recognize her in a store and rush her! And Scruffy is often wearing his Halloween devil outfit and is incognito anyway.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

#IFoundYOUInFlorenceColorado

I am not a stalker. But the question is: Will I find YOU in Florence, Colorado?

Not that long ago, I started asking people what they were doing in Florence and what they were intending to do with what they purchased in our fair burg.

Every one has a true story, but I didn't expect to find people from all over the state, country and world hanging out here buying really unusual things or planning to do interesting things with semi-common items.

But what I also didn't expect was the find that NOT one person refused to get photographed and asked a few questions for this blog. I do this blog semi-anonymously. I don't have anything printed up directing people to the blog. Nor do I publicize this blog much. I just do it for fun.


This all started as a slight twist on the marketing campaign in Florence: #FindItInFlorence.
I have nothing to do with that fine campaign, but think it's very clever and was happy to see Find It In Florence signs go up all over town recently.

So far I've met the most interesting people by asking people what they are doing in Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado.

You wouldn't think there would be a common thread among dozens of people picked randomly over a year or so period. But there is. Every single one of them was fulfilling an unique dream, hobby, community service or intent on preserving history.

So, since this little venture has proven so fun to me (and I hope you) I do believe I'll continue this feature.

You never know when I'll pop up and ask you what you found in Florence. #IFoundYOUInFlorenceColorado. But will I find, YOU next as you visit the antiques capital of Colorado?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Florence,Colorado: Build It, And They Will Come

Today a nice antiques store browser told me that I should contact HGTV (Home & Garden TV) about Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado.

The browser told me this spontaneously, as she was happily treasure hunting, having no idea--I just might take an interest in her idea.

Actually HGTV did visit Florence about two years ago for an edition of House Hunters that featured Svetlana and Gunnar Piltingsrud and their historic Victorian house. You can read a previous blog post about it here: http://truestoryclub.blogspot.com/2015/08/florence-colorado-svetlana-gunnar.html

But this visitor today was saying that Joanna and Chip Gaines of the HGTV hit show, Fixer Upper, should be fascinated with Florence since there are so many antiques and collectibles that fit with their renovations.

I'd actually never thought of that--but excellent idea. I know the town will welcome them (or anyone) with open arms. It sounds rather fantastical--but it's not really. As I've noted on this blog, people come to Florence from all over the world. Not that many--but enough to surprise me.

And we have many people who own shops all over Colorado and come to Florence, because the variety is stupendous and the prices are usually lower than in other parts of the state.

A Denver-area customer told me the other day that shopping in Denver's antiques district is pleasant, but the prices and selection aren't as good as Florence.


Florence has built it and they will come. They've already come. But more and more visitors to Florence are expressing opinions that there is something special about Florence and think more people need to know.

I agree!

As blog readers know, Colorado Life magazine people were in town last week and a story and photo spread is in the works.

We also know the Netflix movie, Our Souls At Night, starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford, was partially filmed in Florence last fall. Millions of people will be likely watching the movie and wondering where it was shot. And yes, many of the props were purchased right in Florence's antiques district.

Yes, many people are working tirelessly to get Florence the recognition it deserves.


Florence is one of the most quirky and interesting towns in Colorado. For years, its been a slight secret, but word is getting out.

And Florence isn't just about antiques. The picture above is just a sampling of all the outdoor art visitors can experience for free, just by strolling residential areas or taking a short drive.

You can tell the townspeople care about art and beauty. One would be happily surprised at all the homeowners turning stumps into works of art with the help of Fremont County artist, Sheldon Roberts.


Art and whimsy is in almost nook and cranny of our fair burg. I love this delight in front of the Blue Frog Gallery on Florence's Main St.

Some day I'll have a "tour" on the blog of all the outdoor art there is in Florence.

And some day we'll get the word out, even more, about all the delights in Florence, to more print media and television.

But in the meantime--remember, people have built it in Florence and they will come.

Will we find YOU next in Florence, walking the streets filled with art, antiques, eateries and friendly people?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

#FindItInFlorence --I Found A Colorado Life Magazine Writer And Photographer In Florence, The Antiques Capital Of Colorado

Today I found Colorado Life magazine staff writer, Lisa Hutchins and Joshua Hardin, the magazine's photo editor, in Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado.

Every day is a good day in our fun burg, but today was one of the best days ever.


Front row: Joshua Hardin, photo editor and photographer; Lisa Hutchins, staff writer; Elsie Ore, co-owner of Heartland Antiques and Heartland Boutique; Florence mayor Keith Ore and co-owner of the Heartland stores. Back row: Rena Pryor, manager of The Loralie Antique Mall and owner of Bizzy Bee Honey Farms: Peg Piltingsrud, co-owner of Fox Den Of Antiquity and pioneer in Florence's Antiques Capital Of Colorado status.

I've been a subscriber and admirer of Colorado Life magazine for many years. Refer to my March 2016 blog post about this remarkable magazine--written way before I knew the magazine was honoring Florence with a photo spread and story. http://truestoryclub.blogspot.com/2016/03/colorado-life-magazine.html

In that 2016 blog post, I mention the world-class writing and photography and commitment to digging deep into the real Colorado. After spending an afternoon with these friendly and professional magazine folks, I can say what I wrote over a year ago, is even more deeply felt today.

For those readers who don't live in Colorado, it might be hard to imagine that a state with so many wildernesses, geographical divides and diversity of people and scenery are tight-knit. It's true. As we were all chatting around a table at Florence's Aspen Leaf cafe, what came to the forefront is that all of us love the towns we live in, but love Colorado as a whole and it binds us together.

It's the love of Colorado that Colorado Life magazine captures perfectly in each and every issue.


Check out the magazine's website at: www.coloradolifemagazine.com


You heard it here first: What happens in Florence--doesn't stay in Florence.

We rarely let anyone leave Florence without a parting gift, even if it's simply the memory of a fun and friendly welcome they can take home with them. But Joshua and Lisa were treated to some jars of Bizzy Bee Honey Farms raw honey, compliments of Rena Pryor.


We took a leisurely tour of Florence's many shops and galleries and also at the 1923 Rialto Theater on Florence's Main St. Pictured above is,  Keith Ore, Peg Piltingsrud and Joshua Hardin discussing the fact that the partially-restored Rialto is one of Colorado's few existing theaters that have the original fly towers intact.

I know a fair amount about Florence's history and attributes, but today I learned almost as much about the town in a few hours than I've picked up in the last five years since I've chosen this town as home.

I'm not sure when the Florence story will appear, but when I know, I'll post it. In the meantime, those wishing to experience Colorado Life magazine, information on subscribing is at its website, or single issues are available at the check stands at the Big D Supermarket in Florence.


And I know when Colorado Life's Florence story hits the stands, I'll learn even more about our town. Best day ever!

So, will we find YOU in Florence next?


#FindItInFlorence -- I Found The Kissing Camel Women's Club In The Antiques Capital Of Colorado

So who did I find wandering the quaint streets of Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado, this time?

I saw a Grayline tour bus park on Main St. We don't often see tour buses in our fair burg, so it piqued our interest.

There was a sign on the side of the bus that read: Kissing Camel Women's Club. Kissing Camel is a community in Colorado Springs located close to the stunning red rocks and scenery of Garden of the Gods.

Naturally I was wondering about the club and why they stopped in Florence, when Ginger Hanson, the club's outgoing president, dropped into ye olde antiques mall, after a delicious lunch at the Aspen Leaf.

She said the club is simply a group of neighbors devoted to friendship, education and culture. The club was formed in 2009 to share community, friendship and fun and now has over 150 members.

 The club recently decided to enjoy short day trips to Colorado destinations and chose Florence and Canon City as one of their first adventures.

Hanson and fellow club member, Nancy Vessel, took a trip down memory lane in many of Florence's antiques stores--before heading off to tour the Abbey Winery in Canon City.

                                       Nancy Vessel and Ginger Hanson: Browsing In Florence

We're thrilled that some of the neighbors and friends that form the club decided to visit their neighbors to the south in Florence.

More information on the women's club can be located at: http://www.kcwomensclub.com/


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Fremont County: 18th Annual Great U.S. 50 Yard Sale, May 20 & 21

Junkers and bargain hunters unite! The 18th annual Great U.S. 50 Yard Sale is almost here and Fremont County has a whooping good time scouring every hill and dale for treasures.

This event is also called: The Nation's Yard Sale. I personally call it: The Greatest Show On Earth.

I'm still tingling over the gorgeous handcrafted twig end table I got for just $5 a few years ago at the sale. You know, the kind that usually sell for about $100 in those woodsy, lodge-type stores. But none of that around here on May 20 and 21. It's the time to NOT pay full retail, get some exercise and visit with folks.


Canon City has a huge yard sale at the Depot Park that is not to be missed. I've scored plenty a bargain there. But people set up all over the county from Penrose to Florence and beyond.

And word on the street is that there will be a big yard sale at 1009 E. Main St., across from the Big D Supermarket in Florence.

And here's an interesting story about the history of this fantastic yard sale that has become a traditon for many across our great nation: http://953wiki.com/local-article/eighteenth-annual-great-u-s-50-yard-sale-nations-yard-sale/

Friday, May 12, 2017

#FindItInFlorence: We Found YOU In Florence, Colorado--Gary & Pam Holder of Pueblo

Florence is the antiques capital of Colorado. The town has the slogan: #FindItInFlorence.

I like to do a little twist on that and see if I can find YOU in Florence. You never know when or how I will pop up with my high-tech $29 cell-phone camera and a piece of scratch paper and ask you what YOU found in Florence and what you are going to do with what you found.

This time I was fortunate to find a lovely couple, Gary and Pam Holder of Pueblo shopping in Florence.


The Holders purchased a porcelain knob with SUNDRIES painted on it with a patent date of 1890. They told me they were planning on putting on their pantry door for a unique vintage touch.

Within about 10 minutes of leaving the store (in their car on the way home) they called ye olde antiques mall and asked if I could ask the antiques dealer who owned the other porcelain knobs to give them a deal if they purchased them all.

No problem. Everyone in Florence works to make visitors to our fair burg happy.

The Holders returned today and purchased the rest of the knobs to use on their kitchen cabinets.

The antiques hunters thought this would be the perfect conversation piece in their open concept home, where the kitchen can be see from many other rooms.

Now we don't kiss and tell on this blog. But the price of these antique knobs was fairly reasonable. Besides the great price and the wow factor--there was yet another reason the Holders wanted this unique find. "You simply can't find them!" Gary said.

They searched the web and a few had surfaced, but already sold and none others were available or the knobs had writing on them that wasn't as compatible with a kitchen.

I asked what the availability and prices were on reproduction knobs? Yikes! I don't condone reproductions, but I was just asking.

 OK, I was fishing around to see if Florence has the real deal for less than reproductions.

According to Gary the price for the real deal in Florence was significantly cheaper than reproduction knobs.

And these knobs are genuine apothecary knobs. Pretty cool.

Yet another example of the creative and knowledgeable shoppers we meet in Florence all the time--and yet another example of how if you #FindItInFlorence the price and uniqueness of many items here beat what's in the online venues.

And I always offer all the folks featured in We Found YOU In Florence, Colorado, the opportunity to send a picture of their completed project done from items found here. And then I'll post it on the blog so all can see the clever ways folks come up with make antiques and collectibles a part of their home and life story. And even if I didn't find YOU in Florence and you want to share what you did with an an item found in Florence, fell free to send a few pictures and a brief description for possible inclusion on this blog to: FlorenceColorado@yahoo.com

So, will we find YOU in Florence next?




Thursday, May 4, 2017

Florence, Colorado: What's Worth More? Bakelite Bracelet or Littonware Microvave Casserole..

Such fun. One can opine and guess what the trends in antiques and collectibles are. I work in an antiques mall, so I can see in real time what some of the trends are.

But it's much more entertaining to me to see what actually sells for more online to see what the trends really are.

So, what's worth more? A tested bakelite bangle bracelet with hand-painted flowers OR a four-quart Littonware microwave casserole? Huh? OK, I didn't even know what a Littonware microwave casserole was until I started digging deep to see what the current trends are. I was raised in the era where microwaves were some new-fangled things that were a Death Star in disguise. Sure, I use them--but with extreme caution and suspicion. And I never suspected older microwave cooking vessels were something that great.

So, let's start with the bracelet.



Pretty. Real bakelite. Hand painted flowers.

And now, the contender.


A four-quart Littonware mictowave casserole. I know nothing about microwave casseroles and even less about Littonware. But I'm guessing Littonware is circa 1970s or 80s. This puppy has a chip in it. The bracelet does not.

And which item is worth more?

The casserole of course. It sold for $45.

The bracelet, a mere $29.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Farm To Table Meats Coming To Florence and Canon City

Awhile back I was working at ye olde antiques mall and naturally I ask browsers what they are looking for.

It never ceases to amaze me that there is a "true story" behind most every person I meet in Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado.

This time I got to talking to Neil Fischer, the executive director of the Farm2Table Producers Alliance. He was searching for some crates for his direct-to-consumer mobile markets he helps set up all across Colorado.

We got to talking about the antibiotic-free and pasture-raised meat his alliance facilitates in getting direct to consumers.

Though most of the group's activities take place around Parker, areas of Denver and Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, I asked if Florence or Fremont County was going to have these mobile markets, where customers seeking free-range, pasture-raised meats using humane practices could shop.

He said it was a possibility.

Our brief chat was months ago. He gave me a business card, which I filed away. But today I went to the website and Florence and Canon City are now hosting these mobile markets.


If you visit:www,Farm2TableMeats.com you can read about the relationships the Alliance forms with  honorable ranchers and producers all over the state. It's a great concept and the array of choices is dazzling.

Of course there is beef, pork and free-range chicken. But there is also fish and game, such as elk. And the bison hot dogs, well they look yummy.

But what got my interest was the alligator Cajun sausages. I haven't tried these yet--but I will. All I can tell you is that alligator in any form is delicious!


It's very easy to order online and the order will be ready to pickup at their mobile locations. And it also looks like the mobile markets also have many of the huge selection in stock also.


The website also lists all the places these mobile markets are. But I'm excited to see that on the first and third Wednesdays of every month (May through October) the Farm2Table Meats mobile market will stop in Florence from noon to 1 p.m. in front of Salvage Antiques at 208 W. Main St. And from 11 to 11:30 in Canon City at the parking lot west of the Safeway.

Yum!

You'll Flip Over FLIP SISTERS VINTAGE MARKET!

OK, you all know I like it when antiques, collectibles and vintage goodies all meld with a sense of humor.

And I can see the Flip Sisters are having some fun!


Now that is dedication!

I happen to have a soft spot in my heart for dumpster diving. Not that I've ever done it. One reason is I'd probably get stuck in the darn thing with all my creaky bones. But one day when my husband and I were coming out of Hobby Lobby he saw a dumpster that called his name. The only thing I heard calling my name, was a voice telling me to be the lookout for the cops or Hobby Lobby employees.

Turns out that dumpster dive netted us a vintage fishing creel that netted us nearly $100.

But I digress, because the really exciting news here is that on May 19, 20 and 21 starting at 10 a.m. the Flip Sisters Vintage Market will kick off at the Cliff's Edge on 103 Main St. in Westcliffe.

The market will also be happening again from July 1 to the 4th.

Now being the inquisitive person that I am--I've been to Country Woods Designs Facebook page at:
https://www.facebook.com/Country-Woods-Designs-407956789278974/

Be prepared to be amazed and awed!


And if you want to be inspired with world-class interior joy again, go to: www,countrywoodsdesigns.com

I imagine their repurposed items are just the tip of the iceberg and people attending the Flip Sisters Vintage Market will be thrilled!

See, there's talent all over southern Colorado--and it's always my pleasure to highlight it even when it's a few scenic miles down the road from Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado.

Florence, Colorado: Current Antiques & Collectibles Trends

In the last blog post we covered a little of what Japanese antiques dealers are taking back to Japan and the trends that seem popular with them.

Anyone who can predict antiques and collectibles trends with amazing accuracy is someone I admire. Because it is difficult. As we joke around the antiques store, when someone knows what the trend is, it will change.

So, here's my observations on trends--not based on any expertise, but simply observing what dealers from Colorado and around the country are buying for their stores--and watching what customers are buying for their own homes and gifts. And occasionally sneaking a peek of what people are buying on the internet.

First, the general trend among customers that are buying for themselves is usually they are buying something that supports one of their passions. You can see that trend in my Will We Find YOU in Florence posts that highlight what people are buying in Florence and what they plan to do with it. We've had people who are buying old tools and supplies to go off the grid. People are buying practical items that can be used. Maybe the items won't be used for their original purposes, but they will be used--not just collected

I've noticed most antiques stores (at least in Florence) sell a significant amount of old windows and doors.


Photographers use them for picture frames and do-it-yourselfers cover the frames with chicken wire and hang kitchen utensils.

Primitives has been strong and are continuing. But not some primitives. Things like glass butter churns, sifters and pre-1940s kitchen utensils have been decreasing in popularity. Of course there are exceptions. When I mention trends, I am talking about the low to mid-grade areas of collecting and purchasing. Things like fairly common canning jars, etc. are a slow sell. But a rare fruit jar--that's another story.

Example: The flour sifters with the formerly popular red and green handles are lagging. Selling online or even in brick and mortar stores for about $8 to $15 and slowly. Very slowly. But a 1950s flour sifter with a picture of a woman in her kitchen on it--selling briskly for $30 to $50 each.

The typical pioneer type kitchen things are a little less popular right now--at least here.

But here's what's hot. Dough bowls. And we have several in Florence. With stands. And we've sold a lot recently. The pictures of antiques and collectibles I'm showing are not of specific ones in Florence, but similar. Stock changes quickly.


And hay trolleys. I honestly didn't know what a hay trolley was until I came to work in Florence's antiques district. Trolleys are hot, because customers are telling me they are turning them into lighting fixtures. Pinterest has a lot to do with driving trends. Customers see it on Pinterest and then want to make their own decorating statement. And customers are also telling me that the prices in Florence on items such as hay trolleys and huge dough bowls (even without the shipping) is way lower in Florence.


I have a personal like (and collection) of Victorian items. Long live the Queen! But that isn't the hottest trend right now--at least among lower end collectors like me and my friend. We chuckle and say there is more left over for us--at great prices.

But at least in the mall I work in, there is an exception. Victorian era silverware and utensils.


But we have at least one dealer in Florence that has a steady supply of silverplate beauties at very nice prices.

Advertising items and signs in the lower price ranges sell well--but not as well as in years past.

And anything to do with fishing and cars. Well!


Whenever we get the 1958 Colorado license plates in--they ski right out the door. As well as a lot of our matched plates from the 20s and 30s.

Now, let's get to the trends that are surprising me. I talk to a lot of local dealers and ones from across the country. But let me make it clear, we are not talking about Stickley furniture or rare Van Briggle. The market for those items I imagine will always remain strong. We have all noted that American oak furniture and pottery such as Hall, McCoy and Roseville have generally decreased in price. It sells, but very slowly and at prices sometimes half of what they sold for a decade or so ago. Depression glass, Jewel Tea collecibles, etc. same story. Again--there are always exceptions.

People often bring items to the stores to sell directly to dealers and when people are told that grandma's china, clear glass pieces or Depression ware are not worth much--they are surprised.

I've had a longtime doll dealer tell me there is always a market for the rarest of the rare--but antique dolls that would have sold in the mid-range years ago--barely register interest now.

I've always had a passion for old bowls. But I've noticed that the really old bowls aren't raising much interest. Pyrex bowls and containers are in. Melmac and Melamine bowls generally command higher prices than Jewel Tea bowls and such.

The trend towards the 1960s and even 1970s and 80s kitchens are starting to really trend.

I'm not exactly sure why the Depression era and pioneer era kitchen items are lagging and things as new as the 1980s are just starting. I have a theory that people are attempting to outfit their kitchens in a way that reminds them of their childhoods. And almost no one is around that remembers being in the kitchen with mom during the pioneer times.

I was talking to one customer about the fact most women love bowls because it reminds them of licking the bowl or whipping up some from-scratch dessert with mom. And even in the less hectic 1960s and 70s and 80s when most of us where kids--we remember that was the one time when we chatted and had fun with our mothers without the distractions of TVs in the kitchen or cell phones ringing.

Yes, Pyrex is in. And vintage Tupperware. But the real surprise, to me at least, is that vintage Rubbernaid is even hotter right now than Tupperware.


Now this pictures is actually mine--from my own stash. Yes, these Rubbermaid measuring cups are popular.

In 1996 I was coming back from a road trip to Nebraska to visit my father. I stopped at a yard sale on a whim and for a few dollars I picked up several pieces of vintage Guardian Ware pots. I sold them at such a huge profit I was able to pay for our entire trip.


Still pretty and unique. But it sells for a fraction of what it did 20 years ago with the exception of a few pieces.

What's hot now is another type of aluminum ware.


Something like this aluminum pot will now pay for some of a road trip where Guardian Ware would only pay for an inexpensive lunch. Hot! Hot! Hot!

And bread boxes.

I've been cluing my husband into some of these trends because he likes to shop more than I do. I like to shop, but I'd rather talk to customers or write about antiques and collectibles.

I asked him today what he thought a NEW 1950s PINK and copper bread box would go for.

He answered," $150."

I complimented him on his guess as I snorted, "Try $450 sucka!!!"

You want to see the bread box that went for $450. Sure you do. And it's not mine. I guess I won't be going on any road trips to Nebraska or anywhere else for awhile since I have NO pink bread boxes.



Pink, Turquoise. Orange. Red. Trending my friends!

And avocado green (ick) and harvest gold and that slate blue from the 1980s is coming up. I'm sorry, but someone had to break it to people gently.

As I have always told people,"What you think is worth money probably isn't. And what you don't even think of--is probably worth money."  Hmmm. I usually just take a shot in the dark, but that time it turned out I was correct.

Maybe someday we'll do a feature on the blog called: What's Worth More? Yes, I think I'll do that. I like to shock the crud out of myself.

Did You Know Florence, Colorado Is Getting Popular With Japanese Antiques Dealers?

Did you this blog relishes the idea of digging up obscure happenings going on in Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado? Well, you know it now. So no excuses in not knowing a little of what is going on.

Did you know that Florence is gaining a bit of popularity with antiques dealers from Japan?

About a year ago a nice young Japanese man came into the antiques mall that I work at. He stood out because he was wearing a bathrobe. Oh, no--don't worry. He was wearing shoes and pants and a T-shirt also. His bathrobe was one of those cool ones--sort of plaid that was reminiscent of the 40s and 50s.

He had me open every locked case that had eyeglasses. He only knew a few words of English, which is great because my Japanese vocabulary is limited to sushi and a few other words that have nothing to do with antiques shopping.

But through patient slow speech on both our parts I understood that vintage eyeglasses were a hot commodity in Japan. I'm not talking cat eye glasses--I'm talking the Civil War era and turn-of-the century ones.



He had a shop in Tokyo, I believe. He said he did not really understand how American money worked, so I was glad he ended up in Florence where everyone was going to assist him honorably in that.

I asked him how he ended up in Florence. He said something about being in Denver and at the last minute realizing there was an antiques town he had to come to. He seemed to the thrilled and was literally running through the store scooping up eyeglass treasures.

I didn't think much of, except how nice and hip he was and how I had no idea Japanese antiques store owners would get so excited about a town they stumbled across.

I didn't think there was a trend brewing.

Fast forward to the present. I don't work that many days at the antiques mall, but I see a Japanese man in a bathrobe running through the store. Almost a year has passed since I had seen him. This time he understood American currency and knew a lot more English. He snapped up more eyeglasses and ran out of the store. We didn't get much time to talk, because anyone who has ever been to Florence knows it takes one to two full days to totally go through all the stores.

Again, I didn't think there was a trend until the other day when another Japanese man came in. His English was quite good and it turned out that he had an antiques stores in another major Japanese city. I told him another fellow antiques dealer and countryman had been in a few weeks earlier.

I noticed this man shopped the exact same way. With a mission. Walking briskly and almost running and knowing exactly what he wanted. And no haggling on prices. I love ALL our customers, but the gracious yet purposeful and fast shopping is so different than most dealers that come from many parts of the USA. The attitude conveyed by body language was that they were delighted to be here finding treasures at a fast clip and at prices that didn't merit dickering.

Now this Japanese antiques store owner was going a different route. I didn't take pictures of his actual purchases because I know when people from out of the country are wanting to cover all the ground they can quickly.

But here's some pictures from the Internet similar to what he was purchasing.


Yes, a Buddy Lee advertising doll.

And quite a few pieces of pottery banks and such that were not name brands, but had a sense of humor or whimsy.

And I got the impression the prices in Florence were very reasonable.

I had no idea of what the trends are in Japan. But I am learning from my customers.

And from other brief research I did, it seems many Japanese purchasers of antiques and vintage items are fascinated with Western themes and kitschy or whimsical items that are American made.

Well, all that and more is to be found in Florence. And who knew that Japanese antiques and collectible dealers are discovering Florence. Now we know.

So, what the trend from dealers from all over Colorado and other parts of the country? I'm not an authority on antiques trends--but in the next blog post I'll share what I observe through transactions with hundreds of customers.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Florence,Colorado: RECLAIMED WOODWORKS Making Used Wood Into...

Chances are if you drop a business card, a flyer, a poster or brochure at one of Florence's antiques malls, I will find it and you might end up on this blog, getting a little free publicity.

Free publicity? Why, you ask? Just because I can--and it always a pleasure to unearth yet another talent in Fremont County.

As we all know, Florence is the antiques capital of Colorado. But there are also many talented artists and artisans.

I came across the business card of Tiffany Dennison of Reclaimed Woodworks. Her business is located at 430 E. 3rd St. in Florence and the phone number is 719-429-6916.



I found this picture of some of Tiffany's signs at the Reclaimed Woodworks Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/tiffdenn35/

Pretty nifty signs. And there are several more pictures of her handiwork on her page, to feast your eyes on.

According to the Facebook page, Reclaimed Woodwork's motto is: We make used wood into something great!

I would say so!

I really liked this functional kitchen island made from reclaimed antique wood and salvage from an old butler's pantry.


And here's the other view of this great Reclaimed Woodworks creation.


Yet another example of all the hidden talent in Florence and Fremont County!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Fremont County, Colorado: Helping Children Under Stress

I found this gem while perusing the classifieds in the Canon City Shopper. It's a great way to comfort children in stressful situations.

And it's something most anyone can do, even those on a budget.

Police, sheriff, fire and ambulance services in Fremont County carry a supply of stuffed animals to give to children during calls. And stuffed animals are also given to children at Christmas.

One can donate either new stuffed animals or ones in good used condition at the Burger King in Canon City or at the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Or pickup arrangements may be made by calling either 269-1697 or 671-2902.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Florence,Colorado: SQUEE! I Am So Excited Again About The Antiques Capital Of Colorado

Be still my heart! I am SO darn excited! And most people who know me, know I don't excite that easily. But it's finally happening, right here in Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado.

Most of us in Florence know our town is one of the best kept secrets in Colorado. In fact, I've even seen advertising saying that.

I've only been living in Florence about four years--and blogging about this fair burg for about two. And in these scant few years I've been amazed at all the talent hiding out in Florence.

I've often thought to myself, that all this talent should NOT be a secret. So, I've just shared with the world some of the quirky and fun things in this town. And occasionally some of the more serious aspects of things in our town and county.

I write this blog semi-anonymously.  I don't mention my name. And about 90 percent of the time, most people don't know I am writing about them or the town. When I do tell them WHY I am snapping pictures or asking questions for my blog--NOT one person has ever refused or even asked if I can be trusted to use their information. AND that shows me the character of Florence --friendly people who are happy to talk about Florence or what they found in Florence with no reservations or suspicions.

I have no ties to the chamber or any merchants groups. I just want to share this neat town with others.


Our historical buildings. Our eateries. Our world-class art galleries. And our wonderful antique shops. But most of all--I want to share stories. Art, antiques, culinary creativity and more would mean nothing unless we knew the story behind it.

I've told a few people, that while I do love antiques and have a general knowledge of them--it's the story behind it that illuminates me. The history behind an object. Or more importantly, the story behind what moves people to want an antique or art object.

And why am SO excited today?

I am horrible about checking my emails. But I got an email weeks ago (that I just read today) that Florence is going to be possibly covered by a magazine. SQUEE!

I won't mention the name of the magazine yet. But I subscribe to the magazine and it is a wonderful publication.

For years I've read this magazine and thought: Florence would be great for an article in this magazine. I've even mentioned it to a friend or two in private. But I'm fairly shy--even though you'd never know it--and never summoned the courage to contact this magazine and ask if they would feature Florence.

Well, a writer from that magazine contacted me!

And I can't tell you how excited I am for the town of Florence. Oh, I guess I can tell you. Because I just did.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Penrose,Colorado: Yummy Wildcrafted Jam & Jellies

For some time I've been saying there are more treasures packed into Fremont County, a relatively small and rural area, than one might imagine.

Part of the fun of living in a place with a slower pace is discovering these treasures and savoring them one at a time.

I love simple treasures and pleasures of all sorts, but finding ones of the edible variety is usually my favorite.

When we first moved here, not that long ago, we stopped at the popular Coyote Den Coffee Shop on Highway 115 in Penrose and saw a table of jams and jellies. I bought a few jars and loved them. Then I lost track of where to get them.

Then this last Christmas when I was in Penrose enjoying the park committee's Christmas light fundraiser I noticed a table of these wonderful but elusive jams and jellies again.

Not only do they taste beyond glorious, but the ones I purchased have no citric acid. That might not be important to some folks, but I suspect I have a sensitivity to citric acid--and it is very difficult to locate jams and jellies commercially that don't contain it.


I've just enjoyed Living Greens jams and jellies twice that I've stumbled across them. But now I finally was able to find its website and Facebook page and I'm even more impressed.

This small Penrose business wildcrafts, or gathers all their plant and fruit ingredients ethically and sustainably from Colorado non-domesticated plants.

I did not know this wonderful business also crafted pure plant therapy skin care.

More information on these great products are available at: www.LivingGreensColorado.com The website is a great read on what goes into this process and the passion behind giving Colorado's living greens the respect they deserve.

But it's at Living Greens Facebook page that one can find out at what festival, craft fair, show or venue is scheduled next so you can purchase the products in person. Here's the link: https://www.facebook.com/Living-Greens-Colorado-367484606677769/

And of course Living Greens phone number and P.O. Box is listed on both sites in case you can't wait for the next public event and want to order.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Florence, Colorado: Antiques Capital and Bargains Galore

I'm cheap. I could write a whole blog just on being thrifty. Wait, I'm thrifty and that sounds better.
Yet my house is decorated with all sorts of antiques and vintage items. How do I do it?

Years before I ever moved to Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado, I'd make the short drive from Colorado Springs to take a look at the stores here. That was a long time ago, before there were as many stores and galleries and there are today.



I purchased that art deco style bowl for $7 in Florence at the annual Junktique open air market, held in Sept. as part of Pioneer Days. That was the first bargain I purchased in Florence nearly two decades ago. And the Victorian solid oak sewing cabinet the bowl is sitting on--is the last thing I purchased a few weeks ago for under $150. No, it won't be the last thing I purchase though, because the bargains are just too good.


I go for over-the-top gaudy Victorian things at times. Don't hate me--I just can't help myself. I love this Victorian hanging magazine and periodical rack with the angel and all that fancy scrolling. I don't store anything in it--I just use it as a wall hanging. Under $40.

I purchased it at The Iron Gate Antique Mall (during a sale). The Iron Gate is now The Loralie Antique Mall, located at 109 W. Main St.

Speaking of sales and bargains... I find bargains all year round here. But I think January is one of the better months to pick up exceptional bargains. January isn't as slow as one would think in the antiques capital. Lots of people have Christmas cash and lots of dealers come into town looking to replenish stock in their out-of-town or out-of-state shops. And many dealers with booths and shops in Florence are having sales to make room for new spring and summer stock.

Naturally I don't have time to get to every venue in Florence to scope out every exceptional buy--but here's one of my favorites.


Yes, it's a vintage hand-stitched dinosaur quilt. Child-sized, but fairly big. I'm not a textiles expert, but I'd say it's from the 1920s to 1950s and in nice shape. I nearly fell over when it came into a dealer's booth at The Loralie Antique Mall, 109 W. Main St., because of the price tag of only $20. And then I really was delighted when the dealer marked it down to just $10. Wh-a-a-t? Yes, $10. Don't worry, it's still there. Or it was a day or so ago. I didn't snap it up for the simple reason, I don't have room in my house.

Then I got to looking at some of the other sales dealers at The Loralie Antiques Mall are having right now.


Yes, a whole shelf of markdowns in one booth.

And some dealers have put their whole booths on sale. Sales range from 20 percent to 75 percent off.


See, 75 percent off in one booth.

Yes, Florence has bargains galore.


Change At The Canon City Queen Anne: High Teas and High Fun

As a total fan of anything British, Victorian and cultured experiences in dining--of course I was a fan of the Canon City Queen Anne.

For those who don't know, the Queen Anne is one of Canon City's many architectural jewels and a wonderful place to enjoy a high tea, a luncheon or dinner in a Victorian atmosphere. Many an anniversary, birthday, girls day out or special occasion has been enjoyed at the mansion.

I recently enjoyed my anniversary dinner there (my first time at the Queen Anne) and just a few weeks ago enjoyed a Christmas Tea there with co-workers from a Florence antiques mall.

So, it was with sadness I read an email today from the proprietors of The Queen Anne, that things will be changing.

Change is often good, so we wish Al and Linda Ballard, the owners, the best as they embark on new adventures.


Linda will eventually be turning in her apron to tap into her interior designs training and skills to assist seniors. And Al will be planning bus tours to fun locations, also for seniors.

But not to fear. Even though there is a new chapter in the lives of The Queen Anne proprietors, the reservations-only Queen Anne teas and lunches and dinners and cooking and baking classes will go on through Dec. 23, 2017. Phew!

So there is plenty of time to enjoy a special Valentine's tea. An anniversary. A birthday. Just a fun experience for no other reason that one deserves it!

More information on the new chapter in the lives of the Queen Anne folks is available at: http://thecanoncityqueenanne.com/2017changesqueenanne.html

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Florence, Colorado: All I Want For Valentine's Day Is Lamb Livers

Are you totally stumped about what to get your Valentine? You know, the person who has everything? Never fear, I have found the PERFECT gift. Lamb Livers.

More accurately,--a vintage tin that used to hold lamb livers.

No, no. I am not suggesting you give your Valentine anything gruesome that would remind them of the Valentine's Day Massacre.


I'm suggesting that you can purchase the weirdest, I mean, um the most unique Valentine's gift ever in Florence, which is the antiques capital of Colorado. Now we might be able to dub Florence as the epicenter of the most tasty and funky Valentine's gifts ever.

I've never been probed by aliens and I've passed all my mental health exams, but I am convinced there are hidden messages in some of the window displays in Florence.

IF you have the courage, continue reading this blog to see what I mean. Or better yet, next time you are in Florence--see for yourself.

Yes, this tasty vintage item is actually in the Valentine's window display at The Loralie Antique Mall, located at 109 W. Main St.

Read on--we'll have some more interesting views of what happens in Florence.

And always remember: What happens in Florence, doesn't stay in Florence.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Florence, Colorado: What's New At The Loralie Antique Mall

There is always something new (and old) in Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado. No one could keep up with all of it, but some of us have to try.

Here's just a little of what's new at The Loralie Antique Mall, 109 W. Main St.


This picture is from one of the mall's newest and most popular vendors. As we like to say in the antiques trade: Hoosier Daddy? Actually we don't say that--we just think it. We say, Hoosier cabinets and they usually sell pretty quickly. Notice the very large dough bowl with a stand. If I told you the price, you'd be amazed. Reasonable! Dough bowls and dough troughs sell quickly in Florence.


Here's some more treasures from this new vendor. Yes, that's a huge bank of post office boxes! And yes, that's a Brach's Candies rack. Sorry, it already sold--for under $50.


More items from one of the newest vendors. Jars, sleds, tools, primitives galore. Notice that well bucket on the table between the sleds. SOLD! But don't worry, they brought in another one. This vendor specializes in farm-fresh primitives and is always bringing in fresh finds at great prices.



This picture is from another vendor's booth. It's the wall of hankies. And these vintage beauties are priced reasonably. Why am I showing the famous WALL OF HANKIES? It will make sense an upcoming blog post why vintage hankies are very useful for an exciting new crafts project.