Sweet Love Stories

I have a weakness for small, lonely, odd and adorable vintage knick-knacks. It makes me happy to hoard them and display them all around me in the studio. I grabbed a handful from the aviary and had them pose for pictures so I could tell their stories. (Because they can't talk, silly.)


Saying Goodbye To A Longtime 4-Wheeled Friend

Dearest Durango,

With a heavy heart, I bid you adieu. For the past 11 years you have carted my ass around infinity and beyond. You have been my road trip buddy, my confidante, and never once judged me for hauling home old paintings, bowling balls, rusty metal, several sofas, more-vintage-chairs-than-I-can-count and other tchotchkes I didn’t need. We have rocked out together, unapologetically singing happy pop songs and yelling to Rage Against The Machine with the windows down, looking like tools but feeling free as birds. I know how happy it made you when I shared my food scraps with your floor mats and let the kids climb through your windows Bo and Luke Duke style. Thank you for getting me from point A to point B, and point Y to point flea market. And I will never ever forget the time you gave me a boost with your hood so I could get into that massive commercial dumpster while the kids kept a lookout for the bad guys. Good times.

I will forever miss your dust covered dash, your stale but comforting scent, your squeaky doors, the way your seat spoons me, and your most charming quirk: that obnoxious sound the locks make when I hit 10 mph. I can only compare it to the horrifying sound that I imagine Bert would make if Ernie decapitated a pigeon. The only things I won’t miss are the stack of greenbacks I dish out to fill your super sized gassy tank hole and the agonizing pain I repetitively experience after smashing my knee into your rusty trailer hitch. I apologize for all the f-bombs I screamed at you when it wasn't really your fault. Clumsy knees on clumsy girls never learn.

I hope your new owner will treat you right and refrain from farting into your seats as you take on many new forks in many new roads, while singing loudly as long as it isn’t "today's country", because I know you'd rather blow your headlights out with a 50 caliber sniper rifle than hear Rascal Flatts.

Most importantly, don’t forget to smile and slow your roll so you can enjoy the new journey into destination unknown. I sure am going to miss you, D.

10-4 good buddy,


P.S. If you find yourself left for dead in a junkyard, give a holler. I've got your back as long as you promise we can dig around for old chairs before our escape. 


Valentine Greetings

Using my trusty camera along with some shop items and props, I had a bit of fun and threw together a handful of extremely romantic Sweet Love Vintage Valentine greetings for your Honey, Sweetie, Babe, Smooshypants, Boopsie-noonies, Babykins, Muffin Man, Punkinpoopoo, Shish Kabob, Butthead, or whatever term of endearment you call your love.

You've been naughty and you need a good lashin', Valentine.
I'll get the Latisse. Rawr!

An X and an O for my very special Ho. Be mine, yo!

I sorta love you like I sorta love my bed head.
You're funny but kinda gross and I'm always unsure about you.

I'm stiff for you. Can we play in the coffin now?

And my lips and my knee pits
and my neck and my toes
and my cheek with the mole
where that one black hair grows.

I need you're luv as much as I need spell chek.
Happy Velantine's Day!

I'm tired of you, Boo. It's time to put the brakes on this relationship.
Honk! Honk!
I can sum up my love for you with 5 sounds:

You may be dingy, but you are so tweet. Let's get squirrel-y. Stat!

Big exes and ohs from Sweet Love Vintage!


Introducing 2012 and Misfits In The Studio

Happy salutations, Two-Thousand-Twelve!

It's really quite nice to meet you and your nice, clean slate of possibilities. I would like to dirty up your spotless surface with my mish mash of goals for the next 3 to the 6 to the 5. On this list I shall include the important but predictable resolutions such as being a better wife and mother, continue leading a healthy lifestyle, self discovery, getting organized, more balance, more flossing, more patience and more random acts of kindness.

I have recently acquired a few used and abused goodies to assist me in some of my more challenging New Year's Rezzers:

Rez #1) Becoming a better decision maker with help from Magic 8 Ball.

I've been a lady-in-waiting to find Mr. Right Magic 8 Ball. I refused to buy a new one because I knew I'd run into him at some point and I burst into a joy explosion when I find something that is on my wish list while on the vintage hunt. Going to Mass Production Plastic Landfill Mart and grabbing it from the toy shelf is so not the same. I was at a favorite thrift recently and saw some creepy ceramic pixies for the shop. As the evil elves and I were having our stare-down, the corner of my eye saw him:

My two blue pupils locked with his single black and white pupil and I cradled his round husky body gently. So what if he's got a bit of a belly. The holidays just happened, haven't we all gotten a little rounder? With a magic wink, he told me it was love at first sight. After all, he loves a girl who is choice challenged, a great belcher, AND loves scuffed up goods at pennywise prices. He proceeded to tell me his divine purpose in this lifetime was to help me with decision making. I asked him if we'd be together forever, and he replied, "It is certain."

I am a horrid decision maker. I bolded that because it's not just horrid, it's horrid. Case in point: I will agonize over the decision between 2 cans of tomatoes on the grocery store shelf. But this one has more sodium! This one has a better volume-to-price ratio! Is the inside of this can lined with PVCs? We don't even want to discuss how annoying it is ordering with me at a restaurant. Now I can consult with Ocho when I need to make critical decisions. Should I wear the black yoga pants with the hole or the black yoga pants without the hole? Should I paint the dining room teal blue? I do need a change in there, it's been a week since I've done something different. I don't do well with the staleness of a house that never changes. Ocho's also a good guy to have around when Hubby and I argue. We can ask for his opinion on whatever matter is in disagreement. Hubby doesn't know this, but Ocho usually sides with me because he likes my shake style, which is more rock-a-bye-baby than I'm-gonna-strangle-you, and he thrives on the music I play for him during the day. He's sort of like a plant that way.

Pretend Rez #2) Use every little ounce of time to my advantage without distraction.
Real Rez #2) Work on improving productivity and don't be so hard on myself when I waste 2 hours pinning on Pinterest.

I'm looking forward to improving productivity with my new friend in the Sweet Love Studio. Let me introduce you to Notorious Biggy Hourglass:

When I have a yucky-like-barf task at hand (anything business-ey, calling the cable company, photo editing, housework), I will flip Notorious Biggy Hourglass and I cannot do anything else during that hour. Not even an email check, because that leads to some link or another, which leads to youtube, then comes the drooling over Pinterest food porn. The next thing you know I'm flinging open the kitchen cupboards, there are crumbs everywhere and condiment slop on my black yoga pants with the hole. A regular old clock just wouldn't be the same. I enjoy seeing the sands getting sucked down through the glass and watching the time disappear in front of my eyes. Plus I totally dig having sand in my studio in the dead of Wiscosota winter.

Rez #3) Make more time to focus on creative projects.

Notorious Biggy will help with this one too. I want to find more days to flip him and give myself 1 hour of some form of non-job related creativity. The "Be Fly" inspiration board is the place where I started tacking up some of my creative ideas and drawings. I have some projects that have been lurking around in my mind which I'd like to work on this year and hoping by tacking up ideas where I can see them, it will help keep me on track, and maybe even finish something! I'm super awesome at not finishing things except for the leftover food on my kid's plates. I've always got all these great ideas but it's super hard for me to focus on one idea and follow through. (With the exception of Sweet Love Vintage, which was started on a whim and to my surprise is still here almost 3 years later!) I've learned that with every creative thing I've ever started, it has lead me to something new and different, and I grow right along with it. This used to scare me and I hated that I could never stick to one thing and go with it, but I have realized that living a creative life for me means learning, evolving, making mistakes, growing, expressing, and the desire to inspire others through humor and visual storytelling. My stories can come in the form of painting, decorating, photography, writing or drawing.

I've got some decorating projects I want to finish and I plan to keep plugging away on my little drawing art blog. I look forward to the creative path it leads me on. Instead of being fearful, I'm embracing the nervous excitement of the unknown and fully living my creative life by making more time for it, even if it's just one hour of sand through the hourglass at a time. You should consider getting your dirty paws on your very own Notorious Biggy and make some time to live creatively. Tell the story of who you are through a new hobby, cooking, making music, decorating your spaces, writing or simply get out the Crayolas and play. It's pure goodness for the soul, I promise.

Rez #4) Be more in the present reminded daily by Gramps Om.

I have a slight obsesh with 1960s Japanese posable dolls. Their huge eyeballs and long snake-like limbs excite me more than this nutcase. When I found Gramps the first thing I did was play with his freak-show-flexible bod and settled on a nice meditative om pose. A little reminder for me to slow down and breathe, let go of past events that don't serve me and not project worries of the future. Be grateful. Be present. Remember that this is right where I'm supposed to be. He will also remind me to meditate daily, something I want to do so badly. I try most days, as in today and yesterday. This article on 7 Ways Meditation Increases Creativity makes me want to prioritize it even more.

This fella has nothing to do with meditation, but you should know he makes me want to talk in "french accent voice". I am over the Parisienne moonlight giddy for mid century Dakin Dream Pets:

Le peu-peu skunk avec beret and moostaash is tres ador-a-bluh! J'adore big time! Moi wasted much time one soleil day on le ebay and la etsy searching for more ah-nee-mals to add to le collek-shee-own. Bonjour, majhor dee-strak-shee-own.

My quirky misfits will all gather on my newly installed shelf to the left of the inspiration board. Did I ever mention I live in an "I Spy" book? Let's play! I spy, with my little eye: A sunny bunny, conjoined elves, 39 alphabet letters, a real preserved baby duckling, one creepy doll head, a red fire hydrant, a ratty bed head, a rainbow colored army, 2 xylophones, Snow White and 6 dwarfs, a cross dressing bull, 2 wind-up chatter teeth, {this is fun!} a jovial alligator, 3 elephants, a bride and groom, a baby with no arms, 12 clown heads, 1 zebra, an albino deer, a boy named Butch, and 3 monster finger puppets. That is only a handful of what you can see in the pictures and I'm so grateful to have such a fun space to work in filled with things that are totally representational of who I am and what I love. If you aren't smitten with your workspace, please resolve to fill it with things that make you smile and inspire you daily.

As if I can fit any more characters in my studio, I had absolutely no choice but to make room for this furball:

A giant vintage Wile E. Coyote complete with furrowed brow and sinister grin. No way in the ACME factory was I going to let him get away. Now I will remain on the lookout for a jet pack and his nemesis. Meep meep!

I can't leave you without a peek at this living, breathing furball:

I thought I better clarify living and breathing, so you didn't think it was a disturbing piece of 19th century Victorian taxidermy. He goes by the name of Bogie and he is chillin' like a villain on the new-old 1970-something chair that sits in the corner waiting for a human or furry visitor. This book nook also doubles as a spot for me to sit and peruse my growing library of favorite books.

That about sums up my 2012 plan. I am going to do my best to make that clean slate of possibilities filthy with goodness this year.

My wish for you is to dirt-ify your clean slate with gratitude, lots of belly laughs, healthy living, happy thoughts, a creative life, and most importantly, {insert your big dreams here}.

Hey Ocho, can we make it happen?


I'm Over It.

I take it back.

The Pissy Patty attitude I had in my previous post of not feeling fly.

I needed to vent to get myself through the hump of burnout that happens to me from time to time. Now I am back and as CEO of SLV I have made an executive decision to change my attitude by counting my Be Your Own Boss Blessings:

By Sweet Love Vintage
  1. I work with Me, Myself and I. I get along with Me the best and sometimes Myself gets on Me's nerves but for the most part we are all friends and work well together. And we all have the option of online social networking when we get sick of each other and need a break.
  2. I can play super loud music that launches f-bombs everywhere if I need to blow off some steam without annoyed co-workers telling me to "turn that sh*t down".
  3. I can dance and sing loud shaking my booty without annoyed co-workers telling me to "sit that sh*t down".
  4. I can make my lunch at 10:37, noon or 3:12. I can stink it up with as much garlic, onions and canned fish as I want.
  5. I can take expressive breaks to draw or write for my art blog or other creative thing around the house such as making something out of deer antlers or turning water into wine. It's really just Kombucha, but wine sounds better.
  6. I can wear the same outfit to work 5 days in a row without strange looks.
  7. I can drop food and eat it off the floor only getting strange looks from the dog.
  8. Oh yeah, I have a furry friend that is doggone lucky not to be kenneled all day. He's my non-judgmental, quiet, nerdy confidante that occasionally takes walk breaks with me when I need fresh air and to clear my thoughts.
  9. If I forget to brush my teeth I can walk upstairs or just skip it all together. Options!
  10. I have the luxury to get outside for exercise when it's gorgeous out. Major perk.
  11. I get to take pictures of things I love on my travels. Like funny vintage taxidermy:
  12. And old Fords. I've been obsessed foreva and eva.
  13. The flexibility rocks. I work on and off constantly. It does include nights and weekends but there's time off here and there and everywhere. Workin' 9-5 Dolly Parton style just isn't me.
  14. Vacation time never runs out. I recently hit New York with Hubby to visit my sister, and we had so much fun! It was glorious soaking in the stimulating inspiration everywhere through my eyes, ears, nose and taste buds. I also played with my food in public cuz I'm classy like that. That would never go over at a "real" client lunch meeting in the conference room.
  15. I get to be on the fly. Every day is a new adventure! Sometimes the adventure is nothing more than a trip to the post office, lunch at school with a kid, and a spur of the moment decision to drive somewhere. Not sure where, maybe Jack's Junkyard. Shucks. Forgot to brush. Jack won't notice, he's missing molars.
  16. This brings me to the eccentric people I run into. I've run across many-a missing teeth, eye-patches, big beards, strange hats, the creative and colorful, unusual speakers, the creepy but harmless, the creepy and I'm-getting-out-of-here, and your normal run-of-the-mill ordinary. I love this diversity and hearing and wondering about their stories.
  17. I learn important information every day from either Google or a fellow picker/antique dealer. Just yesterday at an antique shop when I was examining some old fishing stuff, I met a lady who told me the story of her cousin's friend who knew this guy who died from Tetanus from an old rusty fishing hook that got stuck in his finger and apparently your jaw doesn't lock up until the very end, which I did not know! I thought it locked up right away! See? Important information.
  18. I love love love having business lunches with my fellow Etsy friends The Mina Bucket, Mill Street Vintage and Pretty Girl Shop. Here we are at our recent*cough* business *cough* lunch that went from 2 until 8 and involved wine, beer, food and gallons of laughs. You must check out their shops as they are crazy talented!
  19. The BEST thing about my job is that I have the privilege of being at home for these two little buggers that have a tight grip on my heart:
I'm over it. The burnout.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going for a hike with those two little buggers and the furry nerdy confidante.

While I count more blessings like these gorgeous fall colors.


Be Fly

fly (fli) , adj. cool; awesome; stylish; fun

The owner and curator of Sweet Love Vintage is so fly.

Truth be told, I haven't been feeling fly.

I'm suffering from a bad case of online-vintage-store burnout.

How do I know this?

Because I came home with a freakin' pitchfork the other day.

That's right. A pitchfork. What in the Hell-man's Mayo am I going to do with an old rusty pitchfork? Use it to bail the imaginary hay on my imaginary farm after I gather the eggs from my imaginary chickens while stepping in imaginary horse poo on my way to the kitchen to fry up said eggs laid by Mavis McMuffin, my favorite imaginary chicken with one leg? (Her hop is adorable by the way.)

I'm certain I could think of something cool to do with the pitchfork, but that's not the point.

The point is, I'm tired. I'm tired of hauling home the 1960s and it taking over my garage and my house. My active mind is exhausting me with it's I'm-gonna-do-something-with-that-so-don't-get-rid-of-it mentality. Like those 5 rusty handsaws leaning against the wall going down to the basement just waiting to give somebody Lockjaw. They've been lurking there, eyeing up my klutzy limbs for months.

Though I do need to use creativity to run my shop, I'm getting bored with the repetition. My item descriptions stink like the horse poo on my imaginary farm. How many more times can I say awesome, fantastic, fabulous, swell, terrific, amazing and any other overused descriptive? The same ol' same ol' is killing me and my lack of effort in adjective-ville is obvious. Since my energy has not been into it, it's very hard to motivate myself to get back in the game, but Curious and Sweet Love are back in school, which means our summer playtime is over and I need to up the ante.

To distract myself from the burnout, and to satiate my craving for a creative project, I started a new blog. A space to post my art, random thoughts, things that inspire me, music I love - a place to catalog my daydreams and express myself. This Sweet Love Vintage blog has taught me that I totally dig this writing thing, but I am the most comfortable and feel my truest self when I do it visually or in my brief, sometimes nonsensical, poetic run-on style. Which is the style you'll find on The Art Blog of Sarah Leu. That's me!

Check it out and if you decide to follow me I'll be happier than Mavis McMuffin when she had two legs. I have no idea of where it will go, or how often I'll post, but Doc Burnout* told me to quit stressing about starting another shop to sell my art, and just have some fun making it for awhile. So that's what I'm going to do, and since I don't have the attention span to spend hours on a single piece, I'm retreating to my 6-year old self again with a single marker and simple drawings. For now anyway.

I think having this new blog will help me to feel fly. Like Superman when he's in the sky.

Maybe my superpower will be to make you smile or inspire you along the way.

After all, that's one of my favorite things to do.

And in case you were wondering, I am going to do something with these old rusty handsaws.


Something fly.

*My therapist, whose name has been changed for privacy to something obviously fake, but totally fitting.


Snoozefest Turned Love Shack

This is a before shot of my and Hubby's lame bedroom. Can you say snoozefest? Yawn.

We've been in our house over 3 years and our bedroom was more stale than the popcorn I occasionally find in my bra. The color we chose for the paint when we moved in was not a horrible color but it matched the ugly bedding we had, so we just lived with it. I finally decided I couldn't take it anymore.

This color was too dark and dreary for a hit-the-snooze-button-8-times kinda girl so it was the first to go. I wanted to wake up to something bright and happy. Something that would make me open my peepers with a smile while singing "tra-lalalalalalalalalala!" and put a morning skip in my step so I figured key lime paint would do the trick.

Once again, like Curious' bedroom I had to press my thrifty button into overdrive. I don't make millions with Sweet Love Vintage or my random art endeavors, but even if I did, It's not my style to buy new, trendy, high-end decorating pieces. I need a room to be decorated with fun personality, things I love, pieces that have a story and character, a mix of styles, and always a sense of humor or a surprise tucked in there somewhere.

I found this vintage arm chair at a yard sale for 5 bucks. (giddy-up!) This is my future meditation chair. Neither I, nor my overactive mind have zenned out in it yet, but I'm super awesome at shoving clothes behind it and tripping over it in the dark.

I traveled through my portal to Awesometown where I scored a pair of 1960s sunshine yellow glass lamps for $12. They are perched on an art deco black dresser and on an old table that I layered with a suitcase to match the height of the dresser. I have old suitcases all over my house as side tables and such, and they are great for layering and storing things. I store lots of air in mine. I threw a large thrifted flokati rug on the floor so I can feel soft shaggy fuzziness on my feet when I wake up, but more importantly so I can lay on it and make fur angels.

I invested in new bedding because I'm not a big fan of sharing bed bugs or dust mites with strangers so I picked up a cheap dark brown quilt and new light yellow sheets. The three jewel toned embroidered pillows along with the black and white damask curtains are from Pier 1, and were the only other new purchases (and my biggest splurge) in the whole room. At the edge of the bed sits a vintage lime green and white chenille bedspread.

Old sheet music is right up my eye candy alley when it comes to vintage graphics. The titles and pictures tickle my funny bone and I like to wake up to something smile worthy besides my bed head. I admit I haven't been springing out of bed singing "tra-lalalalalalala!" like I was hoping, but I do sing whatever the latest song stuck in my head is.

The other morning it was "Jimmy Crack Corn".

Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care, Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care, Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care... and how in Jimmy's name did I get this song stuck in my head? Aretha Baby, where are you when I need you?

Then I started thinking about Jimmy and maybe I should care. There's obviously a reason he cracks corn. Maybe I should write my own story about Jimmy and the perils of cracking corn. Maybe I'm just cracked corn. Or just cracked. Cracked and corny.

Yes, these are things I think about. Things I think about while lying in bed waiting for the next time I must sling my arm out and hit snooze again.

Even waking up in this bright and cheerful happy place, I still hit snooze.

The good news is it's only 4 and a half times now instead of 8.