New, Old Antique Headboard Idea ALERT – Welcome to my newest obsession!

Am I late in realizing how AWESOME an antique fireplace mantel would look as a headboard? I mean, has this been a thing for awhile and I somehow missed it?

Tonight I was kind of watching HGTV’s You Live in What? (3/3/13 original air date), a show that profiles unusual, usually repurposed, homes. On this particular episode, they featured a church, an old city incinerator and a silo in Southern Georgia. Nothing terribly exciting UNTIL they showed the master bed in the silo home. The bed was made from an old fireplace mantel and chair rail. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that before! I’m not crazy with the red/rubbed/chair rail/distressed look they have on theirs, but I could DEFINITELY get into an old, untouched finish version. I love that there are two shelves on this one, I love the pillars holding the top one in place, and I love the mirror.


At first glance, antique mantels don’t go cheap ($500-$10,000, so the only chance I have at actually having one of my very own is to give them a serious look when I come across them in my garage/estate/barn/thrift sales. I’m hoping I can get away with spending no more than $200. When I come across one, I’ll report back.

Reusing an antique fireplace mantel is not an original idea. Check out these other examples:

White mantle with 3-panel antique mirror above

Another one with pillars and mirror (I think I need that style, for real).

Some are adding an upholstery panel to the bottom, which is a little more formal than I think would work for me.

OMG I need this!

This one might actually work for a king-sized bed.

So I have a new mission: an old mantel WILL be mine. Wait and see…






To Sell Or Not To Sell Ralph Lauren’s Blackwatch Bag – That Is The Question

I had a wandering eye growing up in Topeka, Kansas. A wandering eye for things I couldn’t afford. I liked expensive purses but had no intimate knowledge of them whatsoever. No idea of cost, where to buy, and certainly no one I knew to ask. One year, out of ignorance, I asked my mom and grandma to “go halvsies” on a Louis Vuitton for me for Christmas. SURELY the purse wasn’t more than $150 or so, or so I thought. Bless their hearts, they checked into it. And the result was advice from my grandmother: “You’d better go to college and get a good job, sweetheart.”

One of my best friends growing up was my cousin, who was worldly and fashionable and from the big, booming metropolis of Kansas City. She had the cutest clothes, the best hair, and her accessories were always top-notch. And she was far more beautiful than me, so I pretty much idolized her from top to bottom.

When we were teenagers (she was only 11 months older than me), she had the coolest purse that I LONGED for. It was a plaid Polo Ralph Lauren Blackwatch Plaid Speedy/Doctor’s Bag and I was obsessed with it. Too shy to ask to borrow it (plus she’d definitely have said “fuck to the no”), I just silently sat in reverence. This bag was IT. This is what hers looked like:

Ralph lauren speedy blackwatch purse


So I let it go. Even when we were roommates in college, I let it go. Instead of the tongue-lashing response that a well-placed request to borrow would bring, I let it go.

Cut to twenty years later and everything from everywhere ever can be found online. Eventually I recalled my lust for the line and I did a search. You can still get them, but finding a new one is going to take some patience and some cash. So I wait. I wait to be struck with the need to spend hundreds still on a bag I have wanted for almost 30 years.

There’s a whole Ralph Lauren line with this particular style of plaid, called “Blackwatch”, and Lauren isn’t the only one who have used the design in their, uh, design.

From golf shoes to golf bags, to overnight bags to crossbody bags and wallets, just the Ralph Lauren line had something for everyone, if you could afford it.

Ralph Lauren Blackwatch products from the late 1980s.

Ralph Lauren Blackwatch products from the late 1980s.

So the other day I took my life into my own hands and visited the city’s Goodwill OUTLET center. If you haven’t been to one yet, it’s an experience.

From what I understand, the outlet center is where Goodwill items from their “regular” stores come to when they don’t sell. And it’s not set up like your average Goodwill store. They bring out items in big, 10-12-foot bins and people just dig through them. And dig they will.

Instead of paying for your items by the piece, you pay for everything by the pound.

On this trip, where I was seriously unprepared to compete with the mostly-Spanish-speaking customers who were smaller and quicker and could fit into tiny spaces better than me, so I mostly watched and learned. BUT I did pick up a few things, and one of them was the Ralph Lauren Blackwatch backpack below.

I also grabbed a few random items that didn’t amount to much: an unused pair of Teva flip-flops, a silver server like my great grandma used to use at Christmas and a few other items of no real consequence. All told, I spent under $7.

So I would guess that this gorgeous bag set me back a cool $3 all told.

It’s seen better days. There’s a rip on the back side where the strap meets the bottom part of the bag, which means I need to get it repaired, probably to cost me $30 or so. It also needs a serious cleaning – not sure what all the scunge is inside but I have identified pink fingernail polish inside the side zipper. So it’s not perfect. But isn’t it gorgeous anyway?

20160127_114549-1.jpg 20160127_114603-1.jpg

So for that price, I could definitely turn a profit on this item. SOMEONE would go for it and pay probably ten times what I paid for it – but I am holding out. Why? I don’t know – it’s money and if I turn enough profit on all of the things I collected and could sell for a profit, I could afford to buy a Blackwatch bag that doesn’t need repairs. What will I do? I don’t know…

I’m not the only one who is in love with blackwatch tartan (check out the tennis racket sleeve!). I have found several sites that highlight the Ralph Lauren line and others.

This isn’t the end of my love affair with these beauties. I am officially on a mission to find as many of them as I can. What do you think of them?


GOP Convention 1976 Swag

It’s not very popular to be a Republican these days. I could rant. I won’t.

These souvenirs from the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri were kind of sight for sore eyes in a local antique mall today. This is the first time I’ve seen any memorabilia from the event for sale in my journeys, so I had to have them. The blue t-shirt has seen better days and I can’t read what size it is, but I’d guess a Large. The convention logo is in pristine condition though and I think it’s a pretty nice piece of local history.

The bag, I don’t think, was ever actually used. I may have to think about what to do with these guys.

I could really upset some bleeding heart friends by wearing the shirt…



1960’s Bahamas Map/Ad Still Works

Grand Bahama Island Site of the New World Riviera, one of the fastest growing RESPRT/RESIDENTIAL/INDUSTRIAL areas in the World. LUCAYA/FREEPORT Depicted areas of interest: Mangrove Cay, Water Cay, Cormorant Point, Grand Bahama Hotel, Oceanus Inn, Bahama Cement, West End, JackJars, Airport, Holmes Rock, Seagrape, Set and Be Damned, Eight Mile rock, Harbour, Imperial Bahama Floating Hotel, King's Inn, Oil Buckering, Pub on the Mall, Holiday Inn, Lucayan Beach Hotel Casino, Freeport, Lower Conch, Green Cove, Gold Rock, Bell Channel, Riding Point, Halls Point, Cormorant Point, Riding Point, Pelican Point, Carrion Crow, Deepwater Cay, Sweetings Cay, bird Cay, Burrow Cay, Cross Cays, Orphans Cay, Abaco, Great Sale Cay, Smithspoint

While living in Miami, I went to my fair share of estate sales. It was my attending sales so much that led me to work for the region’s best estate sale company. At one of those sales, in one of the not-nicest homes in the area, I ran across this poster in the bottom of a closet. It was such a sad, rolled-up crusty thing that when I took it to the door to have a price assigned to it, I was waved away. “Ehhh, keep it, honey,” the woman running the sale said.

I’ve admired it for over two years. I kept good care of it because despite the holes and rough edges, I knew that I could work with this piece. It was just a matter of finding the right frame/decor/room/space opportunity. The map pointed out lots of destinations or points of interest, and whoever owned the poster also added their own notes. It’s so cute and retro. The little fish images, all of the boats, the famous JackTar Club, which opened in 1960. (Reference here and here.)

Grand Bahama Island Poster











This fabulous black frame came in to my life in Indiana roughly a year later. I couldn’t have paid more than $5 for it; it’s pretty rough.

Grand Bahama Island Poster












Grand Bahama Island Map Fish cropped












Cut to today, when I decided I wanted to talk about the Bahama poster. I needed something to set over it so it wouldn’t roll up and the old, crusty black frame with the knot that comes out was right there.

I’ll be getting this to the framer next week. Be prepared for updates.

“Grand Bahama Island

Site of the New World Riviera, one of the fastest growing RESPRT/RESIDENTIAL/INDUSTRIAL areas in the World.
Depicted areas of interest: Mangrove Cay, Water Cay, Cormorant Point, Grand Bahama Hotel, Oceanus Inn, Bahama Cement, West End, JackJars, Airport, Holmes Rock, Seagrape, Set and Be Damned, Eight Mile rock, Harbour, Imperial Bahama Floating Hotel, King’s Inn, Oil Buckering, Pub on the Mall, Holiday Inn, Lucayan Beach Hotel Casino, Freeport, Lower Conch, Green Cove, Gold Rock, Bell Channel, Riding Point, Halls Point, Cormorant Point, Riding Point, Pelican Point, Carrion Crow, Deepwater Cay, Sweetings Cay, bird Cay, Burrow Cay, Cross Cays, Orphans Cay, Abaco, Great Sale Cay, Smithspoint



Even Damaged Slag Lamps Are Beautiful!

So there I was, cruising my favorite local thrift store and there it was. This beautifully imperfect slag lamp, in two pieces – just sitting there looking sad!



Having never bought or even thought about buying one of these hard-to-find treasures, I had no idea about, well anything related to it. I texted an artist friend of mine who can do just about anything, including make stained glass, and asked her if she could help me fix it up. “Is it slag?” she asked. Slag wasn’t a term I’d had any exposure to. “Huh?” was my answer. Needless to say, she bowed out quickly, which left me to internet research.

The lamps and their bases are typically made from pot metal, Pot metal—also known as monkey metal, white metal, or die-cast zinc—is a colloquial term that refers to alloys of low-melting point metals that manufacturers use to make fast, inexpensive castings. (Wikipedia:

The slag glass is kind of a tan color when it’s not illuminated but when the light is on it turns to a pretty golden yellow. It’s missing one of the slag panels and another panel is glued together pretty clumsily. AND the metal needs to be repaired in one place. Luckily, the base is still in near-perfect condition (a scratch or two) and the finial was in tact.

Despite its imperfections, this beauty has still earned a place in my living room and it is so freaking gorgeous. My husband even turns it on from time to time to greet me when I come home from work.

I saw two of these exact lamps for sale on eBay last week for $600 or $900. What the what? Wanna’ know what I paid for this one? 🙂

Missouri Artist Jack O’Hara Captured Home State With Charm

I’m a sucker for posters. I ran across these at a local shop today on a random visit. All four of these guys were bundled together and obviously have some age to them. I immediately recognized the three Missouri scenes as Hannibal, Old Town St. Charles and St. Louis.

All four posters / lithographs were created by the same artist: Jack O’Hara. A Kansas City native, Jack O’Hara was born in 1921 and died in 2012. He spent his life in the area and it shows in these images. (See his obituary below.)

They’re charming snapshots of some of Missouri’s most recognizable towns in the middle-late 20th century. (I would guess 1960s-70s.)

The Hannibal street scene shows a large mound, which is an immediately recognizable feature of the town, and it also shows storefronts like “Ice Cream Parlor”, “Mark Twain Museum”, “Gifts”, “Pizza”, “Antiques” and “Museum”. Judging from the t-shirt on the bike-riding kid in the foreground, this was completed in the 1970s.


The second poster, clearly Old Town St. Charles, shows Main Street’s cobblestone streets that still remain today. Also shown are the quaint old-time storefronts and one legible hanging sign for “Antiques”. The cars also suggest that the image was representing the late 1960s or early 1970s.


The third is a riverbed scene that shows an uprooted tree in the foreground and two (perhaps young) people with their backs to the artist, carrying away a canoe towards the water’s edge. Not all that dynamic, but definitely could have been inspired by Missouri streams.


The final one is perhaps the most recognizable of all: St. Louis’s Gateway Arch and the old County Courthouse. Men in suits and hats walk the streets as if the artist is catching “lunchtime”. Cars and clothing suggest the image was also created in the late 1960s or early 1970s.


Perhaps the artist did a series of Missouri towns?

I hope you get a kick out of them like I do. And you wouldn’t believe what I paid for them if I told you.


Jack Butler O’Hara, 91, passed away peacefully on April 6th. After a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease, his last days were spent remaining cheerful and loving. His sense of humor endured and he made the most of the life he had left. Born January 27, 1921 to Ben and Dorothy O’Hara. He attended Southwest High School graduating in 1938 as Class President. He attended the University of Kansas where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta and lettered in track. He also attended the Kansas City Art Institute and the American Academy of Art in Chicago. He was an Eagle Scout and a member of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say. During World War II, he was a 1st Lt. in the Medical Administrative Corp and spent a year in the Philippines. Following his release from the army, he worked in the editorial department at Hallmark Cards. Three years later, he joined Valentine-Radford Advertising Agency and eventually became a partner. After 21 years with the agency, he retired to paint full time. His principle medium was watercolor and, after being accepted five times in the annual show in New York City, he was accepted as a member of the American Watercolor Society. His work is in private and corporate collections both here and abroad, including Senator Nancy Kassebaum and Senator Thomas Eagleton. He is also represented in the permanent collection of the Spencer Museum, Lawrence, KS, the Kemper-Albrecht Gallery in St. Joseph, MO, the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine, the Muchnic Museum, Atchison, KS, the Kansas City Art Institute, the Nelson- Atkins Museum, and the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada. He exhibited numerous one-man shows including a show of Irish landscapes at the Nelson- Atkins Museum of Art. In addition to his landscapes, he became well known for his portraits. He was on the board of the Kansas City Museum, the Nelson- Atkins Council of Fellows and Pets for Life. He was a member of the Kansas City Country Club, the Moorings Club, Vero Beach, FL, the Garden of the Gods Club, Colorado Springs, CO and a former member of the University Club and the Vanguard Club.
He leaves his wife of 58 years, Marie Bell Watson O’Hara, son Thomas Watson O’Hara and wife Laura and twin children Callae and Jack, son David Benjamin O’Hara and son John Burns and wife Catie and their sons Luke and Dan. Jack also leaves his twin sister JeanO’Hara. He was fortunate to enjoy his life surrounded a wide circle of friends.

McNeece Food Porn

Phewww! Sorry ’bout that folks – I had some other obligations keeping me from my beloved blog. But I’m back,  and armed with the WordPress app. In other words: Shit’s about to get real. I’ll be posting from estate sales, thrift stores, garage sales, antique malls and from other fabulously mundane points of fun.
But first, I MUST share the gorgeous quesadillas that Mr. Wonderful made for me tonight. Spoiled rotten? You betcha!


Beef fillet quesadilla served with Hawg Jaw Que and Brew's Mamma's Spicy sauce