Like the gulls that crowd around the local beaches here, summer seems to fly by as quick as you can blink. I nearly had to do a double take today when it struck me that we'd come to the end of July. Perhaps I'm biased (given that it's the month that I was born in), but I rather love July - even with its sweltering dog days, scorching sun (poor Tony got a terrible burn earlier this month, but thankfully he's recovered quite a bit from it at this point), and scads of insects (I'm looking at you, mosquitos!).
The same sun that can sear flesh in a matter of minutes can also feel as sweet and welcome as a hug from an old friend, and though - thankfully - summer is not over yet, today does mark the end of one of its most wonderful months. As such, before we kick off August anew tomorrow, I wanted to share some of the highlights of my birthday back on the 10th with all of you.
The day began bright and early - and in fact it was gloriously bright out, the rain that has plagued this summer pausing for this particular Tuesday (a birthday gift from the universe perhaps?). My mom and Tony busied themselves downstairs for nearly an hour, sweetly, beautifully decorating the dining room with streamers, oodles of pink and white polka dot balloons, festive place settings, and even a generous sprinkling of lovely little decorative plastic crystals all over the (pink plastic tablecloth clad) table.
Growing up my mom always made a point of decorating the kitchen and/or living room for our birthdays each year, and this being the first one that I'd been back in Penticton for in several years, I adored the fact that she was as keen to festively kit out out house as I was to bound downstairs with the same enthusiasm I used to have as a youngster on this special morning.
We only stayed a moment to admire their work however, as we had a full day in Kelowna planned and were already running a little behind schedule. The drive out there was quick and beautiful, with scarcely a single wisp of a cloud to be seen in the sky.
The first place we stopped at was an charming shop that Tony and my mom had recently been to, but which I'd never visited before, called Dragonfly Quilts that specializes in selling handmade quilts and vintage houseware items.
Fantastic as I think quilts are, as you can imagine, it was the vintage pieces that really caught my eye. The store is beautifully arranged, somewhat by colour and somewhat by type of item, amongst which one could spot everything from a late Victorian era biscuit tin to several different mid-century Pyrex colours and patterns.
Perhaps because I'm used to a.) the astronomical prices vintage pieces often commanded in retail setting in Toronto and b.) because I see what things are listed - and sell for - on etsy every day, I was absolutely pleased by how reasonable the sticker prices were at this shop.
Adding to that lovely factor was the very friendly proprietor, who sweetly complimented me on my vintage style and struck up a conversation about vintage stores (fashion and otherwise) in the area, as well as other points pertaining to a topic that - as you all know - I can talk about until I'm blue in the face, vintage collecting.
We chatted as I took in the shop, which while not overly large, is carefully, wonderfully curated and filled - but not unpleasantly crowded - with a very tempting array of vintage houseware items. Though Dragonfly Quilts doesn't stock vintage fashion per se, they do have a small number of yesteryear accessories, such as gloves and brooches.
A pair of the former (pictured above draped across the radio in our living room), as well as an utterly darling trio of vintage chalkware bluebirds (pictured below) came home with us that day, and believe me, it was tricky to stop at just those purchases, as there was so many terrific, well priced items to be had. Needless to say, we shall be returning to that shop again (especially as there aren't too many vintage stores around these parts at all, let alone ones with such an amicable, enthusiastic staff).
After that we headed over to my little sister's house for an afternoon visit. I was delighted that she wasn't working that day, as it meant I got to spend time with her on my birthday for the first time in far too many years (this being due to the fact that I'd been living in far flung corners for the past several years, not right here in the gorgeous Okanagan where she resides).
She gave me a darling pair of gifts, both of which I just love to pieces - are using around the clock. I couldn't help but smile and feel touched when she said that she absolutely wanted to make sure she gave me something that involved the word vintage for my birthday, and the set of Minnie Mouse OPI nail polishes does just that.
Fabulously, and purely coincidentally, the cute towel and washcloth set she gave me matched the balloons that my mom and Tony used as part of my decorations incredibly well.
As the sun was shinning like mad, we popped into the backyard for a little bit, with my sister's incredibly adorable Olde English Bulldogge, Beau, in tow, where Tony used my sister's Nikon camera to take a really lovely photo of my mom, sister and I (yes, I know, I don't exactly look like either of them that much, but that's ok, I like being the redheaded sheep in the family).
This picture means a lot to me, as it really drives home the fact that, after so many years away, I'm actually living in the Okanagan again and that I get to celebrate important events like birthdays and everyday moments alike with my family once more.
And here's me (I think my sis took these pics) with my ultra precious canine nephew, Beau (he's almost a year old and just the sweetest, friendliest, wrinkliest thing imaginable), who is making his Chronically Vintage debut here today.
After that our little group split into two parties. My mom and I wanted to do some intensive consignment store shopping, which wasn't of too much interest to Tony and my sister, so the went off to go fishing at nearby Shannon Lake, while my mom and I hit on of our favourite Kelowna consignment stores, called Second Time Around, for a couple of hours (we would have stayed longer, but they close at 5:30pm, which is a rather odd in between kind of time to shut their doors, if you ask me).
Though this shop doesn't specialize in vintage pieces, and I didn't find any pre-sixties items, their prices aren't too steep (higher than say Value Village, but not unreasonable by consignment store standards) and I did pick up several tops, a marvelous grey cardigan with beautiful beading on it (that my mother spied first - stellar find, mom!), and a few purses, all of which were on sale for $2 to $4 a piece.
Once we were done shopping we called Tony to come pick us us, dropped my sister back at her house, and headed home to Penticton for the evening. After a lovely, summery meal (including a big bowl of a gluten-free version of my all-time favourite pasta salad that I'd whipped up in advance the night before), I got to open my birthday presents (Tony and my parents spoiled me with really thoughtful, terrific gifts, some of which I plan to chat about in future posts for sure), and then tucked into a big dish of homemade (by my mom) gluten-free Rice Krispie Squares (which is what I requested when my mom asked me what I'd like for my birthday dessert).
I hadn't been feeling to great the night before and didn't sleep one wink (though I did veg in bed for five hours straight), so by the time time the end of the day rolled around, I'd been awake for something like forty hours straight. Not, mind you, that I really felt tired until after we'd eaten - must have been all the excitement of the day keeping me going.
Hands down this was one of the best, most enjoyable birthdays I've ever had, and I can't begin to thank Tony and my family enough for everything they did to ensure that I had such an amazing time. I hope with all my heart that this birthday represents that kind of year that lies ahead for me, and after such a top-notch celebration, am already counting down the months until my 29th rolls around!