Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Modern Magazine Debate

Sometime last year while I was just searching around the Internet for some creative ideas, I ran across several online magazines that caught my eye.  After peacefully perusing their colorful pages with the simple move of my finger, I had a realization that at that moment, I was contributing to a better environment.  I was doing my little part in helping to prevent the piles of paper waste that come from printed magazines.  Even better for me was that a few of the magazines I found were actually...are you ready???  They were free!  Imagine that... In a world where we pay for practically everything, you can get a couple hours of quality reading with interesting articles, fabulous graphics and all the joy of your favorite hobby right at your fingertips.  Let me just say, I am hooked.

So what do you think about the way modern technology is cutting in on our slow dance with a good ol' printed magazine?  For me, I still love both formats, but I must admit something.  Since hubby got me an iPad this past Christmas, I just love that I can access digital magazines whether by downloading and owning a "copy" or simply finding them online and reading from one of many awesome sites.  Did I mention how bold and colorful the digital pages appear on a screen or how cool it is that I can read in a dark car on a road trip?!  The opportunities are endless.
So how about the classic paper printed magazine?  You know, the one your mom {or is that only my mom?} has hundreds of.  It's a funny saying in my family that my mom and her older sister got the "magazine gene", as the middle sister jokes.  Yes, I think the gene can exist and the symptoms of having this gene include the desire to purchase, read {and re-read, again and again}, mark favorite pages with Post-it notes and store stacks, hey even shelves of magazines for decades.  I have seen first hand how this gene works and I pray it's not hereditary!  So far, so good for my sister and I; we aren't showing symptoms yet.  As for all those old magazines, mom always says style comes around again but I think it's best to say that those magazines from 1980 or 90-something have style many of us don't want to relive.

My mom knows I love her, despite her wacky gene, so I have to just acknowledge that though her old school Better Homes and Gardens and Victoria magazines from the 90's aren't really my taste, she has my approval on her Flea Market Style Magazine collection.  I think I read all of the print copies while on vacation relaxing poolside last summer.  Thanks and I love you, Mom!

So now comes the big question.  What do you prefer, paper or digital magazines?  I am quite sure you have all laid hands on the smooth pages of one of your favorites, but what about a digital magazine?  Whether you have or not, I have to share one of my favorite digital ones called Sweet Paul Magazine.  It's a smile on a gloomy day with all kinds of awesome like food, recipes, crafts, and style to name a few.  I love the creative, colorful photos and that the whole magazine seems to breathe a sunny vibe {maybe because its always gloomy here in Germany?...hmmm}, and I am pretty sure you will like it, too!!!  Be sure to check it out and let us know how you stand in the modern debate: print or digital magazines??  Happy reading!  Xo~Mollykid

Sunday, March 17, 2013

For the Love of a Vintage Bottle

Once upon a time a girl spotted a beautiful green vintage European wine bottle at a flea market in a small town in Germany.  She happily paid 3 euros for that little gem and brought it home thinking it was a chic little addition to her home decor.  Little did she know that would begin her "love" of the beautiful green glass!
I assume you know who that bottle collecting girl is, so I wanted to share a little glimpse of her {my} green vintage bottle collection.  Since we have been living in Germany for the last three years, I have developed quite an interest in these fabulous pieces of glass.  In fact, I could say they are one of my vintage obsessions. Each one is unique in shape and color and all have given me a little test when it comes to cleaning them up.  The best part is they all bring awesome personality into our home.

Once I had a couple of them, I started feeling like I would lay off buying them, but I am not going to lie...I kept finding ones that were all different from the others, thus the collection grew!  I must mention that the prices I find these for are almost ludicrous compared to what you would see them for at Pottery Barn or any other popular store.  Are you ready?  Most of my bottles are between 3-5 euro {about $4-7 U.S. dollars} and amazingly enough, the biggest one in the picture above was free!

Now to answer a question from one of our readers: how do I get them so clean?  This can be easy, but can also be difficult...depending on what was in the bottle prior to it being discarded.  Here are some of my best tips for cleaning them.  The main cleaning agents I use {not always together} are vinegar, dish soap, baking soda and hot water.  I always clean them in the bathtub so I have plenty of room to work without accidentally hitting it on the sink edge and risking a fatal accident to the glass.  I spread out a hand towel on the bottom of the tub to protect it and the tub from scratches.  Once the towel is wet, it stays put very well and allows me to move the bottle about freely to move around the cleaning solution inside.  This is a delicate process for glass to be moving around in the tub {think disaster if it breaks and you have to clean it up!!} so make sure you aren't in a rush for this step.

I begin with a bit of very hot tap water in the bottle, I cover the open end and carefully shake back and forth to remove any debris.  I do this a couple times and hold it to the light to see what I am faced with.  At this point I fill the bottle with some vinegar, maybe 2 cups or so {I really don't measure} and the rest of the way with hot tap water to the top.  Be warned that vinegar creates a little pressure in your bottle when you shake it with the end covered so be careful not to spray yourself.  Also, if you have some stubborn stains, you can try baking soda with the vinegar for a bubbly cleanse.  I then let the bottle soak according to how dirty it is, and sometimes an overnight soak is necessary.  You can find some long brushes in our German stores that people use for the wall heaters and I bend it to be able to scrub the inside of the bottle.  If you don't have a brush, you could use a wire hanger along with a rag to clean inside.  If the rag gets stuck, simply make a hook with the hanger to pull it out slowly.  Also, make sure not to scratch the inside of your bottle with the hanger end.  Once you have soaked and scrubbed your delicate glass baby, you can rinse with warm water until the water runs clear.  To dry, I usually find a quiet, traffic-less place in my house to prop it upside down.  This allows the water to run out freely.  Also, you can use a dry towel, roll it from the corner until its long and thin.  Insert the end into the bottle and wiggle around{holding carefully!} until the majority of the water is dried and voila!!!  You should have a clean bottle ready to display.
I hope these tips are helpful for you and your vintage bottles.  Do share any tips you might have on getting these beauties cleaned up in no time, we would love to hear them!  Happy collecting...xo~Mollykid

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hello Spring, Are You There?

Hello Friends, how are you on this fine day?  We are smack dab in the middle of the weekend and Mollykid is more than ready for Spring!  Who doesn't love the brighter colors, the sunnier days and the flowers popping up all over town?  Well, I love those sure signs of Spring but good old Mother Nature just isn't having it here in Germany just yet.  We had a weird return of snow earlier this week, and with low temperatures, it just won't melt fast enough!  Let me tell you, the people living around here aren't too keen on it since we have had a record dark winter.  In anticipation of the upcoming season, I have decided to devote this post to some of our favorite signs of Spring.
This picture was taken at a butterfly garden nearby in Luxembourg quite some time ago on one of the kids' class field trips.  Picture a giant greenhouse, bright and sweaty with humidity and heat, and nothing but greenery, flowers and thousands of butterflies all around.  I think they actually play games with humans to see how much they can freak you out when they come within centimeters from your face before they change direction or choose to land on your arm, your shirt or even in your hair.  For people of all ages, this is a really up-close look at these beautiful, gentle creatures that you won't soon forget.  I invite you to visit a local butterfly garden in your area this season.   

With Spring comes flowers of all kinds!  This is one of my favorite colorful accessories, especially when I can buy cheap, simple ones to have in my home.  I love my local Aldi store for a bundle of fresh tulips, usually on any day but Sunday when they {and everything else here in Germany} are closed.  For 1.99 euro {about $2.50} I can have fresh flowers on my table for about 8 days.  When you cut the stem about 1.5" up from the end before you put them in water, they do nothing but bloom and spread good cheer.  Of course there all all kinds of flowers at your neighborhood flower shop or why not plant some outdoors for some color?  Here are a couple other favorites...

Here in Europe, April is the month that the local flea markets begin starting up, and if you know me at all, you know I l-o-v-e fleas!!  Since many areas are thawing out from the cold winter weather, Spring is a great time to get out and check out your local markets, as well as venturing out of your comfort zone to check out something new.  One of my favorite markets I found last year was in Homburg, Germany...only a 15-20 minute drive from Ramstein and the Kaiserslautern area and 1 hr 20 min from the Bitburg and Spangdahlem areas.  A real flea heaven {ahhhhh...} for European treasure lovers.  They have their dates listed from April to November 2013 so you can plan ahead.  Here is the link for their schedule so you can check it out: 
While the United States has always sprung their clocks ahead for daylight savings time, Europe still awaits that traditional sign that Spring is nearing.  While we do lose an hour of sleep, its really not a loss at all since we gain valuable daylight for longer, {hopefully} nicer days.  Along with this comes St. Patrick's Day, Easter and Spring Break.  Need I say more about how nice it is to have Spring approaching?  What do you like best about this season?  Do you have any special seasonal projects you are working on?

Thank you for joining is to a colorful season! xo~Mollykid

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hello Friends,
It's been a few days since I have written but don't think I have forgotten about you. I was on a trip that I am dying to share with you. Let me just say...Polish Pottery! I will share some great info with you here soon {perhaps after I finish doing my chores from being gone this weekend!}. I hope you had a bit of sunshine shining on you today, wherever you are in the world. I know I did and it was so nice. 

So what did you do this weekend? Go anywhere exciting?? Do share, we would love to hear all about it ♥ xo~ Mollykid