It’s a great day to come see us at the Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days! The weather is fantastic, the tents are up, the beauties are out, Tammy is almost done merchandising everything and talking with everyone, Lois is busy wrapping some purchases, Walt is taking money, and I am staying out of the way! 😉
Traveling home to West Des Moines from the Memorial Day show in Spirit Lake, Tammy and I got to play ‘tag’ with several thunderstorms. First we got to see a beautiful sunset!
Then came the rainbows. Check it out – I’ve never seen horizontal rainbow before! Look closely just above the horizon.
Then we caught up to one of the storm cells…
But we made it home safe and sound – and all the bugs got washed off the windshield and grill!
Many of you know that Walt and Lois live in Spirit Lake – which is why we do two of our shows there. Many of you also know that they actually live on Big Spirit. While there, we were treated to some pretty cool rainbows Saturday evening as some storms passed by. If you look real close on the fourth picture you can see the very faint second rainbow to the left of the bright one!
This year a beautiful Steuben Blue Aurene vase adorns our annual postcard. And if you’ve ever stopped by our booth – you know we LOVE Steuben Aurene Glass. But just what IS Steuben Aurene Glass?
Let’s start here: Aurene glass was made by Steuben Glass Works – which was an American art glass manufacturer. The company was founded in 1903 by Frederick Carder and Thomas G. Hawkes.
You might know the name Hawkes – he was the owner of the largest cut glass firm in Corning, New York. As for Fredrick Carter – he was the head designer for Stevens and Williams (based out of England) and when they passed him over for a promotion, Hawkes convinced him to become the artistic designer, production supervisor, and marketing director of the new Steuben Glass Works factory – located in Corning, New York – in the county of Steuben (pronounced with the accent on the last syllable) – hence the name!
When Carder arrived, he immediately began to produce crystal blanks for the artisans at the Hawkes factory to cut – which ensured his success. But his passion was colored glass – and in 1904 he invented Gold Aurene.
The name Aurene comes from the Latin word for gold and the English word sheen. It is produced by spraying clear malleable glass with a metallic chloride – and then heating it in a patent-protected process – which caused the glass surface to “crackle into millions of tiny lines that reflect light like a layer of oil floating on water” — creating a luminous and iridescent finish. In 1905 Carder added additional colors including cobalt blue, green, red and brown.
Around the same time Tiffany Co. was producing a similar iridescent glass called Favrile. Both Carder and Tiffany thought “their” recipe or process was the victim of corporate espionage and took one another to court. The judge personally went and observed both “secret” processes and found that while the glass looked similar – the methodology used to create Favrile and Aurene glass were indeed very different. And if you take the time to feel the finishes – you can tell the difference yourself.
We have both Steuben and Tiffany pieces on our table. But to be honest – Steuben Aurene is our favorite. You should stop by and test feel it for yourself!
Are you ready? We almost are. Just some few last minute details to complete then we’ll be ready to roll out the welcome mat! Remember, our first show is just 9 days away in Spirit Lake, Iowa in the Expo Building at the Fairgrounds. We look forward to seeing your smiling faces there!
We’ve had an eventful fall.
On September 21st Mom, Dad & I headed out for our annual buying trip. First stop — Ottumwa, Iowa where I was speaking at the SE Iowa Non-profit Summit. Mom & Dad had the opportunity to watch me in action — for the first time — at my “real” job. It was a little nerve-racking to have them in the conference room with me — yet at the same time I saw it as a blessing. It’s truly very difficult to describe what I do for a living and now Mom and Dad have actually experienced it first hand. They even did the exercises and worked in groups with the other participants. 🙂 How cool!
As soon as I was finished we got on the road to Oklahoma City. We hit our favorite antique shops first thing the next morning and got to Carmine, Texas on September 22nd just in time for dinner at JW’s Steakhouse — yum!
Saturday and Sunday we shopped and shopped and shopped the Round Top Texas show. We found some amazing pieces including:
- A pair of Swedish dichromatic glass birds from the 1960’s
- A Moser intaglio vase with a signature dragonfly
- Two hand blown bimini salt dishes
- A signed cobalt-cut-to-clear peacock vase that you’ve got to see to believe!
We left Texas on Monday and started back north. At our second stop on Tuesday we noticed that Mom’s left hand was swollen. And to tell you the truth, we didn’t think too much about it at the time. Mom had popped a pimple on her index finger Sunday night — and we thought we might need to get her a drawing salve when we stopped for the night. So we jumped back in the car and continued to head north.
That night we ended up in Murfreesboro TN — and Mom’s hand MORE than swollen — her index finger was HUGE. So after talking to the pharmacist we headed to the local teaching hospital. Seven hours and something like nine residents later — and after Mom’s finger had been thoroughly poked, lanced and squeezed — they sent us to the 24 hour Walgreens for antibiotics (where we had a run-in with a local cop, but that’s a story for another time).
The next morning Mom’s hand was looking better so we continued our shopping spree at Antiques I and II. That night we made it to Indianapolis and had a wonderful dinner with my brother and sister and their spouses. That gave us the opportunity to attend a three-day auction outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
We were so excited about this auction. The on-line pictures looked great. They had a ton of Victorian hand blown vases, brides baskets and pickle castors. They had beautiful Cranberry and Vaseline pieces. They had czech signed cut-to-clear vases, moriage and even some high-end cobalt RS Prussia. Everything we love. All in all, they had listed over 1000 pieces. We had saved our money. And we were psyched and ready to bid.
And then we walked in the building…
- Pickle castors packed so tightly on a table that you couldn’t pick one up for the fear of damaging something.
- a 12″ cobalt carnation mold RSP bowl in the middle of a stack of ten other bowls.
- an 18″ Steuben blue aurene lamp shade shattering into a thousand pieces because it was pushed off the table when someone put something down on the other side of the table.
I have never seen so many items crammed on so few tables in my life. And surprise, surprise, surprise, the pieces we did have the courage to pick up were damaged! We had planned our entire fall buying trip around this auction — and it was a total bust. We were soooo disappointed.
In hindsight it was a blessing in disguise.
Since there was no reason to stay we made the decision to head towards Chicago — but about an hour into the trip Mom mentioned that her hand was causing her some discomfort — and when we took a look at it we made the decision to drive straight through to Des Moines.
We went to Urgent Care first thing on Friday morning. The doctor there took one look at Mom’s hand and told us that her best friend was one of the BEST Orthopedic Hand Surgeons in the country — and 45 minutes later Dr. Young was examining Mom’s hand.
Dr. Young suspected that Mom had a MRSA infection and felt that the best course of action was to go in surgically and remove the infection before it got into the tissue, tendons or blood stream. So we admitted Mom into the hospital and she had emergency surgery that afternoon.
The surgery went very well. The infection was just under the skin and was limited to the index finger and just above the top knuckle of that finger. Dr. Young opened up those areas, flushed them out and packed them to draw out any remaining infection. She also sent a sample of the infection to the lab to grow a culture — to find out if it was a MRSA infection and to identify the appropriate antibiotic.
This picture is a day after surgery and what you’re seeing is the ends of a 14″ packing strip that Dr. Young put into the wound during surgery. In cases like this they do not close the wound. They want it to heal from the inside out. So Mom started a daily regiment that included intravenous antibiotics, packing removal, salt water whirlpool soaks and the repacking of the wound. The doctor, Mom’s nurses and even the occupational therapists all said this was going to be a VERY painful process — but Mom insisted it was no big deal. And when asked about her pain level from 1 to 10, she often said 1 or 2.
Mom’s a rock star!
Three days later we found out that indeed Mom had a community-based MRSA infection. Community-based MRSA infections are less dangerous than hospital-based MRSA infections — but they are still very resistant to antibiotics. And on day seven Dr. Young didn’t like what she was seeing. The hand looked better and mom wasn’t in much pain, but her inflammation numbers told a different story. So Mom went under the knife for a second time.
Obviously we were nervous — but without cause — everything went very well.
This is Mom’s hand two days after the second surgery — day nine in the hospital. Believe it or not — it’s looking much better! How can you tell? We’re starting to see wrinkles in her hand! 🙂
They finally released Mom after 12 days in the hospital. To go home they had to put a port in and teach me how to give her daily intravenous antibiotics. We also had to take Mom in every morning for a whirlpool and do another soak every night. But Mom got to go home — well at MY home — and she finally had got to have some home cooked food!
This is Mom’s hand on day 14. It’s looking great!
Mom had out-placement skin graft surgery on October 25th.
Finally, Mom and Dad had the opportunity to go home to Spirit Lake on October 28th. And then they headed to Florida on the 30th. This picture was taken on November 9th at her 1st follow-up with another doctor in Florida.
Yep. We’ve had an eventful fall. Some might say we’ve had a tough or difficult fall. But that’s now how I would describe it. I would say we were blessed!
- Mom is going to be fine and she will have full use of her hand.
- I was given the gift of spending five weeks with my parents.
- I rediscovered what a wonderful man my brother is when he came and stayed with us for a week.
- I watched my Mom set the standard as she handled this whole situation with patience, grace and humor.
- And after going through this ordeal my husband & father have a new-found respect for one another.
When I look around us and see what else is happening in this world — I’d say God has been very good to us and we have a lot to be thankful for!
We’ve had our fair share of rotten weather at outdoor shows.
- Snow in October at the Cranberry Festival.
- 70 mph straight-line winds in Okoboji.
- Tornado sirens going off in Walnut.
- And last August in Oronoco, rain & more rain.
At Oronoco Gold Rush 2016…
- It poured Thursday night during set-up.
- It rained Thursday night while we slept.
- It rained Friday morning.
- It rained Friday afternoon.
- It rained Friday night.
- It sprinkled off and on a good portion of Saturday.
And then finally the sun decided to bless us on Sunday.
OK. The weather was BAD. But let me give you the good news. The volunteers…let me say that again, THE VOLUNTEERS at Oronoco Gold Rush SAVED THE DAY!
The ground was pretty much saturated before we got there. So there really wasn’t anywhere for the water to go. So when it started raining on Thursday — it only took about 10 minutes before the water in our tent was mid-calf!
We were devastated. We knew we couldn’t expect customers to walk through 8 inches of water to shop! And with so many friends that we only get to see at Gold Rush — the idea of having to shut down was — well — horrible.
But it didn’t take long before the Oronoco Gold Rush Committee Volunteers swooped in. The fire department pumped the water out of our booth yet that evening. Our soaked tablecloths were washed and dried by a kind-hearted volunteer. Friday morning (at 5am) Skyler & Beau were at our booth — armed with a electric pump — to ensure that we would be ready for business at 8am. And then the whole committee checked back on us, regularly, all weekend long.
Yep. It rained. And it rained long and hard. The support we received however from the Oronoco Gold Rush Committee allowed us to be open and serve our customers — without having to “wade in the water.”
So a BIG THANK YOU goes out to the Oronoco Gold Rush Committee. Those folks take a lot of grief, don’t get paid, and in 2016 had to deal with unbelievable weather — and they do it year after year with patience and a smile. We’ll never forget 2016 — not because of the weather — but because of the good people of Oronoco, Minnesota.