Lights Are On

I missed last week's entry mainly because on Tuesday and Wednesday the electrician came to get our remaining power outlets and lights working. The main wait was for city permits. Since we arrived in October, we have been living without lighting in about half the house including the front entry and hallway, living room, second floor hallway and stairs, family room and dining area with the exception of the overhead chandelier. We were running extension cords so we had one lamp and TV going in the living room and a lamp in the dining area which we have been using as a work space. The electrical box was 40 years old and they are kept outside here in AZ since there are no basements. It was no longer safe so I had it replaced at the same time.

About 90% of the job is done, one of the new sconces was missing the backplate so it could not be installed. Also, the white outlets do not look good on the wall with the black wallpaper so I am going to order black outlets to blend in better. I found some attractive metal outlet covers on Amazon in both black and white and when I tried to install them, I found the bottom holes do not quite match up. Luckily the electrician has parts he can add to get the holes to match. This is a good reminder for me to go ahead and order the parts so I can schedule a time to have the job finished up. In the meantime though, no more extension cords to trip over! I am so used to the electrical not working that I never think to turn the lights on. I will need to get back into the habit.

The bad news is that the new electrical box is too high and the final electric company inspector would not allow it to pass, even though no one else throughout the day had a problem with it. He was going to require me to have everything ripped out to lower the box including the wall pipe, plantings and part of the brick patio which would have been $$$$. I called the electric company to try and reason with them and as I have experienced in the past, they were wonderful. The electrician and designer talked and the compromise will be that a wooden platform be built that anyone can step on to more easily reach the electrical box. The electrician contacted a framer who was going to charge $650 to make a simple platform out of plywood. That was out of the question but Kuochun had the great idea to see if the local Ace Hardware could do it. Steve at Ace has been so great to us in the past. The last project was cutting a piece of luan to fit the back of Mother's armoire. They built the platform in a day for only $88.93, the cost of materials and $40/hour labor. Now I just have to find someone to remove the two rosemary plants (and hopefully relocate them) and someone else to install the platform. I have extra cement tile so I thought when the front tile work is eventually done they can cover it so it looks more attractive. I had this done in my breezeway at home to cover the crumbling concrete step so I know this is possible.

It turned out to be such a busy week that I did not post any new jewelry lots between February 28 and March 12. I have been keeping up with shipping a large flat rate box loaded with jewelry every Monday evening. This past Monday it was lots of sterling silver statement jewelry including pieces from Mexico. I also included the first half of the amazing sterling silver and bronze jewelry from Bora. I have been a big fan of their jewelry for many years but unfortunately much of it is beyond the price range for the caravan. Every year in Tucson I look at it, sigh and do not buy. The booth is always super crowded on the first day of the show which is when I normally attend. However because I was not able to get to the show until Monday this year, the booth was much less crowded and I was able to take an indepth look at what they had to offer. I was happy to see that they have a more budget-friendly but fabulous collection of hoop and slip-in earrings and bangle bracelets in mixed metals and textures, some with gemstones as well. This time I shipped all of the earrings and next time it will be the bangles and other pieces I selected. There is a little collection of cat jewelry - pendants and rings as well as a few pendant necklaces and rings, all with genuine stones.

Time is flying by - it was already time for Old Brick House Vintage Market, the weekly pop up in Mesa we have grown to just love. Well it looks like I will need to send a U-Box home for sure. Mother found more furniture but this time for Arlington Heights. They had a white marble rectangular table with a black curly cast iron base. It is a reproduction but will work beautifully as her dining table at home. It is a perfect match to her kitchen and built-in cabinets. She already has a pair of black wrought iron chairs with leopard print fabric to use, all she will need is another pair of chairs to coordinate. We also bought a cabinet with hutch, Mother really thought it would fit in the front entry, I knew it was going to be too wide but thought if we cannot find a place for it here, it would look great in her sun room. Sure enough, it does not fit. Mother also found a Craftsman-style standing coat rack which was painted black that she is using in her bedroom to hang purses. I am such a cookie monster that I need to pick up one of each flavor of the homemade cookes - this time there were chocolate chip, sugar with pink frosting and raspberry cheesecake. I bought the light colored rustic wood riser I had my eye on last time but did not get. And we found a two-tiered metal rack in the sale section to put in the kitchen. We have one more month to attend the sale before we head for home. We are really going to miss it!

I posted a couple of quick lots March 12 - firstly, this grouping of sterling silver statement rings with genuine stones by celebrated jewelry artist Kathy Sands. She is not Native but her designs are uniquely hers, many with religious themes. The first thing we did in Tucson was make a beeline for the booth specifically looking for the Kathy Sands pieces but someone had beat us to it and purchased about half the quantity. There were only rings remaining. Mother bought a thunderbird ring for herself and I purchased these rings for resale. The arrow ring has sold, the other rings are available.

I also posted this grouping of Santo Domingo tribe earrings - they are famous for their multi-stone mosaic inlay. These earrings are high-quality and the artists took things up a notch by including sterling pieces in the mosaic patterns. Unfortunately there were no takers but I am hopeful that they will sell as they are very popular online.

Last week was jam-packed as well - Tuesday was house cleaning day and after that Mother and I headed to north Phoenix to Jackson Hewitt inside Walmart to meet Melinda so they both could have their taxes prepared. Melinda was able to complete hers but Mother was missing some information which we gathered up and were able to securely e-mail. However the second go-around is not providing everything the accountant is looking for so the ball is back in our court.

After that, we headed down the street to The Sicilian Butcher, Melinda has been raving about it for years and we have been wanting to try it. It was hopping for a Tuesday night but we were able to find a table in the noisy indoor dining room without a wait. They are known for their craft meatballs and build a pasta dinner by choosing a meatball, sauce and fresh pasta shape. Melinda went with her standby of steak meatballs, mushroom sauce and spaghetti. I opted for the chicken parm meatballs with vodka sauce and rigatoni. Mother is not a pasta nut so she selected the bruschetta flight, choosing four different types. I thought it was good but not quite what I expected. The meatballs were tender but just tasted like regular chicken meatballs, they had no sauce or hint of cheese. The rigatoni was very small, more like penne size. I am not a saucy person but there was next to no sauce on the pasta, it was not nearly enough. Also, the parmesan cheese was put on ahead of time instead of at the table so by the time it got to me, it was melted which was not appetizing. We were not offered a dessert menu so I cannot speak to the desserts. Overall I would give it a 3.75 out of 5. Later I found out The Sicilian Butcher is part of a restaurant group which includes Hash Kitchen. Mother and I had a similar experience there which explains things! I was very glad to be able to try it, I would be interested to see Kuochun's take on it so I would go with him in the future. When we go back to have Mother sign her tax form, possibly I will stop by The Sicilian Baker which is attached, I love a good Italian bakery.It was a quick turnaround to 7:30 AM the next day as the two and a half month wait to have Mother's closet organizers installed was finally here. When the remodeling was done, there was no provision for closet organizers so the closet was completely empty and not usable. It is a double-sized reach-in closet. Above is the drawing, the closet has two sets of sliding doors and a small pillar between which is in front of most of the tall hanging space. The installers had to deal with rainy weather but did an absoutely flawless job. Mother is so happy that she does not have to live out of bins and rickety rolling racks anymore. I will most definitely have Desert Sky Closets back once the upstairs is remodeled.

Saint Patrick's Day took an unexpected turn for Kuochun and I as I was alerted to a very cool piece of artwork up for sale on Facebook Marketplace. It is the Viking ship by Witco - famous for 1960s tiki style furniture and art. It is rare and pricey! I have been looking for a statement piece for Kuochun's room and this is ideal. The colors of black, white, yellow and teal perfectly match everything else I have selected so far. Also, since Kuochun's room is open to below and the wall below has very colorful wallpaper, the art needed to look good from the first floor as well. I can totally see painting this wall teal and with the art it will look smashing. I was not able make the trip to pick it up until traffic time on Friday. I did not want to wait until the next day and potentially miss out so Kuochun and I took the drive out to Youngtown AZ which is next to Sun City. I had never heard of it. The cute little house was in a modest neighborhood and totally painted white so we were in for a big surprise once we stepped inside. The entire house (except for the kitchen which was surprisingly normal) was decorated in MCM kitsch! The owner had other Witco pieces including a bar with two stools and a bench with pads. He said he needs new eyeglasses so he thought, what can I sell to pay for the glasses? I think he should have kept it! He showed us around the house and we were in awe. He has a small outdoor space which was decorated with Heywood-Wakefield rattan furniture and tiki figures. He had a huge Easter Island figure in the corner but made of resin, it would have weighed a ton in stone! Kuochun never saw anything like it and wanted to take photos but was afraid to ask. I have seen homes like this on the Facebook groups but never in person! It was very nice for him to show us around.

After that, we decided to find a place for dinner nearby. I found Father Sarducci's Pizza, Pasta & More (and wondered if it was named after the Saturday Night Live character.) The online menu said they had a cod and fries special and a butterfly shrimp and fries special for $12.99 and $13.99 respectively. Since I do observe meatless Fridays during Lent and Kuochun loves fish fry, it was a perfect choice. When we arrived, the dining room was empty and the server was hanging out outside. She asked if we were there for karaoke and I said no, for dinner. She invited us in. We ordered garlic parmesan knots with a side of marinara while we waited for our dinners and it was a good thing we did. It took a long time to receive the food but it was really good! I had 7 large shrimp and the fries were great. Some other folks did arrive after us and everything they ordered looked delicious too. I am going to suggest to Melinda that she try it since she lives close by. A great value and definitely a small town feeling!

The next day, another quick turnaround as I promised I'd take Mother to the farmer's market since she did not get a corned beef dinner for Saint Patrick's Day. We stopped by AJ's Fine Foods on our way home Friday night but they were sold out. We had not been to the Uptown Farmer's Market in Phoenix yet this trip so even though I just passed throught the area the night before I headed over there again. The weather was amazing so it was loaded with people. I love the breakfast burritos but there were literally 50 people in line so I did not wait. We got our favorites from Baker Thirteen - apricot walnut bread, sourdough, cookies and scones. When I was looking through the list of vendors I noticed Chubby Cheeks Cookies, they sounded good and when we came across the booth I found they were only 4 for $13 which I thought was very reasonable for huge cookies. They were all delicious - Nutella, salted caramel and cookie butter but the chocolate Oreo cookie was to die for! Oh no, another cookie resource. We stopped by an Italian food booth and got some fresh pesto (no pine nuts which is unusual but cuts the calories) and a foccacia bread. It was pricey - $10 for a small container of pesto and $17 for the foccacia. The pesto is bright and tasty and makes a great sandwich spread. I have not tried the foccacia yet. We also bought homemade nut butter - classic peanut butter and cinnamon almond butter. We have not tried them yet but they look great. They better be at $25 for the pair! We did not buy anything perishable except for the pesto because we knew we were going to stop for lunch.

We missed out on Pane Bianco the last time we were in the area because they close at 3:00. I thought Mother would love it so I took her there for lunch. It was early for lunch for me but I chose the chicken salad sandwich and Mother selected the BLT. It came with fancy coleslaw, I am not a coleslaw fan so I did not eat it. My sandwich was not what I expected, it was plain chunk chicken and greens with dressing - hence, the salad. The bread looked like pita with the insides hollowed out and I thought it was very sour tasting. The dressing was bitter and salty, so my three least favorite tastes were all in combination. Mother enjoyed her sandwich and slaw, but only ate half the sandwich and forgot to eat the rest. I really wanted to love this place because it is adorable and the chef's pizza is regarded as being the best in the world. Maybe I will give it a second chance if we are in the neighborhood.

We had to leave the area quickly because I thought I found a dining table and two chairs on Facebook Marketplace. It was out in Gilbert which is about 45 minutes away from where we were. I dropped Mother off at home and Kuochun went to Gilbert with me. Unfortunately for the first time I did not purchase what I went to see from Facebook Marketplace. The chairs were new and the upholstery wavy. The photos made it look like there were black cushions but there were no cushions. The table was more beat up than expected and had a bad staining job. We flipped the table over and found a sticker which read Made In Vietnam for Target. I was looking for an authentic set so it was a no-go. The seller asked for feedback later as she was on the phone with the electric company when we arrived. I let her know in a nice way and she did change the listing to say MCM Style but did not reveal what the sticker on the table said. Buyer beware!

On Sunday I posted this mixed lot of Native American jewelry. There are some great pieces here but only the coral earrings and two pair of turquoise earrings sold. The other items are all available. As usual, turquoise reigns! I thought someone would at least pick up the onyx pieces, they do not match exactly but are both exceptional quality and look great together.

I also did a quick post of all of my remaining vintage Native American rings. I have rings for both men and women. Three of the rings sold - from the first photo, bottom row second from the right and second photo, also the bottom row second from the right and the large scalloped ring on the right which is not on the display. All of the others are available.

It has been a while since I have posted anything online and I do not want to lose Vendoo listings again so the plan is to get back to getting all of the vintage Native American jewelry collection posted. I left off with cuff bracelets and still have about 15 to go. Then I will work with necklaces. We have not had a sunny day which would be ideal for taking outdoor photos of the necklaces on my mannequin but by mid-week next week we are supposed to have several sunny days in a row. I also need to take the time to get the remaining garage items out on Facebook Marketplace. Time is getting short, we are quickly approaching only having a month left to go before we head home for 6 months.

Until next time!