Although I have never drunk green beer nor walked in a Parade, I do enjoy all the fun of St. Patrick's Day.
So, what fun it was to visit recently with my old friend Paddy Ortega (you don't have to be Irish to like St. Patrick) in his little shop.
He rose from his chair to greet me when I came in. "Wanna, me dear," he said, smiling broadly and tipping his hat to me. "What a fine day it is when you come to call." He bowed and tossed his hat onto the chair.
I smiled back, feeling instantly happier, as I always do when I talk with Paddy. "You know me," I said. "At my age, I don't need anything, but I do enjoy looking around on the rare occasions when I get out."
"Wanna, you just look to your heart's content. I am going to go check on my cock-a-leekie soup. Well, others might call it sopa, but that's neither here nor there. I'll be right back," and he disappeared into his cozy living quarters behind the shop.
Paddy might live in El Paso, but his heart is in Ireland, that's for sure.
Look at that delightful little Irish cottage.
Oh my stars, it's a dollhouse!
Paddy's dad is a baker, so there are always some fresh goodies for his customers. The cookies were great, as always.
Aha. A new book to read.
Paddy has collected all kinds of St. Patrick's memorabilia, including antiques and reproductions.
He bounced back into the room. "Got any questions?"
"That's an intriguing looking book," I said.
"Ah, you are not familiar with sea fairies, I see," Paddy said. "Well, we don't hear much about them in El Paso, do we? I learned more at the last book festival when I met a visiting professor from Ireland at the university."
We talked a bit about various local writers and such, and then a bing sounded from the back. "That's the timer. Gotta go add something to the pot! Be right back!"
I munched on my cookie and looked more closely.
When Paddy started his little shop, he sold cassettes, now it's dvds. He probably has Celtic Woman.
You just cannot believe this man. Food for the soul, food for the body!
"Hey, mija, if you want to buy the makings for soup, I got a chicken in the frig," he said, bouncing back into the room. "And that bread Papa makes is as good as any in Ireland!"
"And these Irish papas, er, potatoes, are the best!" he chuckled.
"You have some intriguing things, Paddy," I said.
"including all the old familiar sayings and whatnot."
"Yep, top o' the mornin' and all that!"
He gestured. "That pottery is a big seller. All hand thrown."
"And you can't beat candles in this area!"
"If I were a few years younger, I would say, Kiss me, I'm Irish! Aw, what the heck - kiss me, I'm Mexican!" and he laughed uproariously at his own joke.
"My daughter would like those quilt squares," I offered.
"She inherited the quilting gene from my mother, her Granny."
"Ah, you don't miss a note, do you, Paddy."
And as I left with my Irish music, a bag of cookies and the makings for my supper, Paddy sang me out the door as he returned to his rocking chair. "When Irish eyes are smiling ..."
Paddy may not have had a blarney stone in his shop, but he sure knows how to pile it on!
This project began as "something for St. Patrick's Day," and since I wanted to use items in my stash and had just completed a Valentines shop it seemed fitting to do another little shop.
However, when I looked through my stash of furniture and shop fixtures, nothing clicked for me, so I decided to work on accessories first and then see what happened.
I began looking for green glassware, including Chrysnbon. When I saw that dome, I thought it might be useful.
I found green Chrysnbon candlesticks, green pottery, a green pepper teapot and a pot of gold. The pot was all gold, so I painted the pot black. Here you see the beginnings of some of the things I made, as well, including two different book titles, various posters and signs, and some candles.
And, to balance all that green, I added white plates, cups and saucers, a pitcher, etc.
Among items I didn't use were the lamp, the green vase, and the sweater.
More items from my stash; didn't use the clock.
I made this box because I had a nice collecton of St. Patrick's cards.
Here I have filled the box. And for sure one of the things I wanted to use was this little hand made thatched cottage. It has been hidden from view for years because I couldn't figure out how to furnish it because it is so tiny. Now it doesn't matter, because it deserves to be front and center in this setting.
When I began looking at my furniture pieces again, I knew what I wanted: a cottage look, more rustic than the lacy and pastel Valentines pieces of my previous shop. These seemed likely possibilities.
I began by removing the door because I wanted all the display area I could get. The next thing I did was to make a new shelf that would extend a bit further to give it the look of a hutch, rather than a bookcase. I glued together and clamped two layers of thin wood veneer, sandwiching an old credit card in between for more stability. I used a stain pen in Red Oak for the finish, matching as closely as I could the existing color. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take pictures of this process.
It held a lot of stuff, including another arrangement I made in an old metal basket on the lowest shelf. I used PaintShopProX to make all the graphics, including the shop sign in a Chrysnbon frame. I used the same Red Oak stain on it.
The candles on the tray are by Belara Beach Originals, although I added labels and the bases, which were made from some pastel snaps, probably scrapbooking items in my stash.
My first thought was to use a lace cloth on the table, but when I found a personal tattoo of a shamrock in my stash, I used it in the center instead. It really doesn't show much in the final version, but I know it is there.
My late mother-in-law, Ruth Newman, made lovely shadowboxes in the 70s and we visited many secondhand stores and antique shops when she was searching for items for them. I was with her the day she purchased this little flat-backed vase, one of a pair, in a small antique shop on Alameda Avenue. She used one in her shadow box and gave me this one.
It is a treasure for another reason, as well, because it is also a collectible made during the period of 1945 to 1952 when Japan was occupied by the US occupying forces
after World War II. You can read more about Ruth's shadowboxes here.
I made the arrangement using some pale green and white hydrangeas I had made in a workshop and various other bits.
Next to the arrangement is a plate of cookies. I had the glassware in my stash, and the cookies also came from Belara Beach Originals.
I used the green Chrysnbon candlesticks and three of the books I had made.
When I think of Ireland, I think of woolens and linens, so these were items I chose from my stash.
The bench was made by Jack Chastain of Prescott, AZ, and as soon as I found it in my stash, I knew how I would use the woolen throw. I learned this trick of inserting heavy foil inside the folds to make the fabric manipulable from the late Beth Lane, a dollmaker and special friend.
It folded naturally then across the bench, although I put a small dot of glue to hold it.
I purchased the wooden bowl from Sir Thomas Thumb on my first trip to Tom Bishop's Chicago International, and it seemed ideal for this purpose. That rustic little broom underneath was intended for the setting, but I forgot it and by the time I was taking pictures didn't want to go back and retake.
I also purchased those wonderful leeks in Chicago, although I don't recall the maker at this moment. I don't remember now if I made the breads or they were purchases, although I wrapped them with cellophane for the scene. I don't remember where I got the cabbage, either. The pig towel was one of a pair in my stash.
The potato crate was also in my foods stash. It may have been a swap. I added the stain and the lettering for this scene.
The hat was a heavy metal fob like piece with a link which I have had for years. I painted and flocked it, intending to use it this way to hold something, but when I got it finished, I knew just where it had to go...
... on this rocking chair.
This crocheted throw was so GREEN that it never worked anywhere until now. Although beautifully made, it was stiff, too. To get a natural look, I first covered the chair with cling wrap, then sprayed the back of the throw with water to soften it, coated it with glue, and shaped it in place. When the crochet was dry, I removed the plastic and then put a small dot of glue on the seat to hold it.
I wound up not using this cozy chair, so back in the stash it goes. Total items in this setting:
four pieces of furniture, plus the sign, and at least 68 accessory items.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing the process for creating this setting, as much as I enjoyed creating it.
Erin go Bragh!