Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Collections in a frame

Please follow the link below to my new Whimsybop location to read my newest post about framing my collections - hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Stay Tuned!

Hello Whimsyboppers!
  I know, I know - it's been a while and I apologize for that. Life is crazy at our house with LOTS of renovation projects and yard work going on, along with graduations to celebrate! 

  I want to let you know that I'm in the gradual process to move this blog to a Wordpress site. The reason it's a gradual process is because WP is much more technical than blogger and it's taking me a while to learn how things work (it hurts my little brain)!    
   In the mean time, I would LOVE it if you would be so kind to visit me at where you will read my most popular Whimsybop posts from this site and hopefully very soon I'll get started at writing new posts again. Also, please tell your friends about - I just love making new friends! Thanks for your continued support and friendship - it means so much! Wishing you a Happy Summer - TJ Foster

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Welcome to our House at Christmas!


    I've finally finished decking the halls and am ready to start my Christmas baking. Before I grab my apron I thought I'd take you on a tour of the house and show you some of my favorite Christmas collections that I get to enjoy one month out of the year.

    Call me crazy but I have a habit of buying EVERY old pair of ice skates that I come across during the year - I just can't help myself! Old ice skates remind me of my childhood days in Ohio, skating on our family pond with my three siblings. My skating really wasn't THAT great but the experience was truly wonderful and so are the memories. I put a little jar inside each skate and fill with greenery from our yard.
   If you know me well, then you know that I am attracted to all things quirky and red - which puts Santa at the top of the list! I'm drawn to Christmas snow globes, kitchy ceramic reindeer and chubby Santa dolls (and anything else). I get so excited when I find a good treasure at a yard sale or thrift store - it's Christmas in July baby!
   My sweet friend Joan surprised me with these two beautiful barrister bookcases when she moved from her historic home and into a condo. They make a perfect display for my collection of vintage Christmas.

      I've been collecting these Christmas elves for about fifteen years, scouring thrift shops, flea markets and church rummage sales. Finding one today is like finding a needle in a haystack now that the popular "Elf on a shelf" has taken America by storm (don't you wish you came up with THAT great idea!). These playful pixies sit in the main foyer atop the piano and welcome guests into our home.   


   Now we're in the living room, also known as the "library" since that's what the former owners called it. The rear of the room is my favorite spot, I just love these old windows (although they are very drafty). When it snows it looks as if you're looking into a winter snow globe - absolutely spectacular! During the winter months our family sits around this table (bundled up with blankets and sipping something hot) and putting a jigsaw puzzle together.
   The room has four built-in bookshelves which are fun to fill with goofy & colorful things so the room doesn't feel so formal and stuffy. I've been collecting vintage snow globes for many years and enjoy showing them off here (trust me, there are many more scattered around the house). These silly ceramic Santa's (try saying THAT ten times fast) are my newest collection!
   These choir boys (and girls) are a fairly new collection as well. They are such fun in their bright colors and are fairly easy to find at the antique shops in town (like Bell Treasures, which is my favorite!). I love these funky plastic churches too - are they great, or what?
   I'm a huge fan of Poinsettias - the challenge for me is keeping them alive until Christmas and then when it's time to throw them out I am riddled with guilt, (I'm usually sick of them by February). This year I put a few small Poinsettia pots in an old suitcase next to the old adding machine that my husband and I picked up on a trip this past summer - I just love it!
  The bamboo birdcage was given to me by my friend Paula from church. I filled it with my collection of "Shiny Brite" vintage bulbs and it is now one of my favorite displays in the living room. I love it perched on top of my stack of old suitcases.

    In 2001 our family was stationed overseas and we bought a live tree on the first Saturday in December. By the end of the week we lost so many needles that we decided to buy another tree, except there were no more live trees available on base. We went to the PX and purchased a 6ft artificial tree, brought it home and gave it a boost by putting it inside the little red wagon - and thus a tradition was born! When we moved into our present home the thought crossed our minds to buy a larger tree but we haven't the heart to give up our little tree in the Radio Flyer, which I think is pretty adorable, don't you?
   There are seven fireplaces in this old house, although we haven't tried using any of them since moving in five years ago. I fill them with candles and the fresh holly, magnolia and pine boughs from the yard.
   The mantle in the living room is filled with classic childhood toys such as Etch-A-Sketch, Mr. Potato Head, Barbie, Gumby & Pokey, Raggedy & Andy, and other of my personal favorites. Die cast ornaments replicating vintage peddle cars from my Hallmark Kiddie Car collection are also part of the fun!  

   The dining room is where all things bright and shiny are on display - especially now that I've recently painted my dining room chairs PINK!

   I just bought this white Christmas tree at a thrift shop this past summer - now I need to find it's twin so I can have a matching one on the other side of the window.  

   My favorite room in the house is the kitchen, probably because that is where you will find LOTS of color - especially at Christmas time! My red Formica kitchen table and green celery walls make the kitchen look festive throughout the entire year. I display my collection of vintage cookie cutters on a small tree on the window sill or on a wreath hanging on the pantry door (this year the wreath won). 

   I also love to display my old Christmas aprons in the window as curtains - be aware that direct sunlight will make the colors fade and weaken the fabric.  


    My collection of old tin Christmas boxes is fairly new (which explains why there are only four pictured here). They are made by Ohio Art and are the same size as a typical recipe box. I keep Christmas recipes, gift receipts and lists that keep me sane during the holidays. The biggest challenge is finding these old boxes in good shape - and when I do find one, I am giddy like a school girl! 

   The butler's pantry (which my dear husband recently remodeled for me) is a perfect place to display red & green plaid picnic baskets, vintage tablecloths and other fun things that I love. It is also my baking spot where the cookie sprinkles run wild!


   I keep the upstairs hall simple with this single table which displays my collection of nativity sets. For the longest time I only had one nativity set, the wooden one on the right that I purchased 26 years ago when I was in the Navy stationed in the Philippines. Recently I started finding little plastic nativity sets in thrift shops from the 1950's & 60's and just love collecting them! 
             I can't tell you how much I love topping the stairs and seeing this display. It fills my heart with profound joy and thankfulness that God would care about humanity so much that He would give the ultimate gift to redeem His people - His son Jesus. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." - John 3:16 
   This concludes our Christmas tour - don't forget to take a cookie with you as you leave and please tell your friends about Whimsybop!  Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas full of God's abundant blessings!

 Joy to the World - The Lord has come!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Treasure Hunt in Lebanon, Ohio

   My daughter and I made a fast and furious trip to Cincinnati, Ohio this past weekend to visit dear friends and to bring a very special "package" home. 
   My friend Holly recommended a visit to her favorite antique mall in Lebanon, Ohio called "Lebanon Peddler Mall" where she and her husband Ryan sell used books, music and movies in their VERY COOL booth called "Revolved Media," (please "like" them on fb). 

   The antique mall was so HUGE that we spent about FIVE hours shopping and having a blast! Autumn did her very best to try to talk me out of some things (she's really good at that) but this photo of this pre- "Chia Pet" head is proof that she couldn't talk me out of everything!

   I think "Smiling Jim" is my favorite find because my dad's name was Jim and thinking about him always makes me smile! I'm planning on planting some moss on top of his head - what do you think of that?
   The "package" that Autumn and I towed home is our sweet little 1969 Volkswagen Bug "Myrtle" who joined our family during our USMC days at Camp Pendleton, California. For the past seven years Myrtle has been loved and cared for by our dear friends Cody, Lisa & Tim, who are God's hands and feet serving Cincinnati through BLOC ministries - God bless them!

For information about Lebanon Peddler's Mall, Revolved Media and Bloc Ministries, please check out the following links:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Happy Anniversary Baby!

Today marks the 25th Wedding Anniversary to my beloved husband, DC.
   So what does twenty-five years look like in tangible terms? Well, for the Fosters it’s two kids, four cats and one dog. It’s ten houses, eight cars, one vacuum cleaner, three coffee pots, two toasters, five televisions, three gas grills, two washers & dryers and three queen-size mattresses.
   What does twenty-five years of marriage look like intangibly? Of course it looks different to everyone, but the short list from my perspective looks like this:
  • It’s the ebb and flow of forgiving one another.
  • It’s the continual battle against selfishness and self-centered behavior.
  • It’s loving each other through those times when quite honestly, we don’t even like each other.
  • It’s being committed to one another regardless of ____________.
  • It’s the acceptance that we will not always be young, vibrant and beautiful. Our skin sags, our hair grays and our stride slows. The bathroom scales remind us that we are no longer lean and trim; the mirror laughs at us and whispers that we are becoming our parents in more ways than one.  
   As we’ve been married these twenty-five years, I realize more than ever that marriage is more about the journey than the destination; it’s trekking through life with another human being who encourages you to be the best you were created to be. It’s a journey most enjoyed hand-in-hand, laughing often and gazing forward with optimism rather than looking behind with regret.
   Marriage is stamping our passport with triumphs and disappointments, with joys and sorrows. It’s filling up our scrapbook with all those precious and special things that make our lives together uniquely ours and proof that our lives were well-lived.
   Marriage is having faith that the God who brought us together twenty-five years ago will carry us through for the next twenty-five years. It is trusting that God’s plan and timing is always perfect and accepting that we’re not promised twenty-five more years.
   Happy Anniversary DC - I'm blessed to have been your traveling companion on this journey with you and I look forward to seeing what we'll stamp in our passports in the years to come!   

Monday, April 28, 2014

Hi Whimsyboppers! I'll bet you've been wondering where I've been lately...well, I'm still here, I've just sort of lost my groove. Between doodling, running my Etsy shop and taking care of my family, I just haven't had the extra time to sit and write. Please don't stop coming, I promise I'll be back soon! :)

Monday, March 3, 2014


   Last night before I went to bed I called my teenage son over and read to him (from my laptop) that school was cancelled on account of an imminent snow storm that was predicted to hit our small town. Naturally he was excited to the bone, I however had my doubts since weather predictions are sort of hit or miss in our part of the country. I went to bed aloof and was utterly shocked this morning to awake to blustery swirls of the white stuff flying through the air in a mad frenzy in the space between dirt and the heavens.
   In a mad panic I jumped out of bed and donned layers of flannel, wool and fleece. I trotted downstairs, grabbed my car keys and rushed to the post office (after sweeping snow off the car) with a package of doodles that I promised would be mailed today. While out, I made a quick stop to stuff-mart and bought the typical snow storm necessities: milk, bread and toilet paper (wouldn't want to be snowed in without those!). When I arrived home, I parked the car close to the road (in case we were REALLY snowed in), put the windshield wipers up (so they wouldn't freeze to the glass) and walked up the driveway to the house where warmth and the smell of hot coffee greeted me. Ahh, a warm & cozy house with nothing to do but doodle all day - how divine!
   Here's the scene looking out my window from my drawing table - it looks like Narnia doesn't it? Inside this boxwood garden is where we enjoy bonfires during the chilly nights of late summer and autumn (oh what I would give for a s'more right now). In snow storms such as this we need to keep an eye on the boxwoods - too much snow will cause the branches to break.
   I wasn't brave enough to go out and play in the snow today but my son was. Last year  Brian's snow sculptures of "Shaggy & Scooby-Doo" were the talk of the town - this year he decided to make "Olaf," the fun snow man from Disney's newest animated movie "Frozen."
Speaking of frozen, did I mention that our home is cold and drafty, partly due to the single pane windows that are probably as old as the house? Oh well, I love our old gal and wouldn't trade her for the world (as I sit here with a hat & scarf, four layers of shirts, two layers of sweat pants and two pairs of slippers over my socks). I'm quite a sight to behold on the outside, but am warm and content on the inside as I enjoy the undeserved blessings that the good Lord has bestowed upon me. May you also find warmth and contentment on this chilly and most wonderful frozen day the Lord has made!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

What to do with an empty box of chocolates?

   In case you haven't figured it out by now, I am a shameless packrat when it comes to certain things - like my accidental "collection" of empty heart-shaped boxes. I have no idea when I decided to stop throwing them away and to start holding onto them (let's just say it's been a while). I keep them stacked on the floor in the corner of my closet and during the month of February I let them come out to play.

      In case you've ever wondered what to do with an empty box of chocolates, I've found that they make fun February centerpieces for the table and unique displays around the house. They also make adorable boxes for one-of-a-kind gift giving. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

    I love to display my costume jewelry in a heart shape box on the vanity in my bedroom. I fill each little compartment  with small broaches and hair pins that I've collected through the years. I keep a clear sheet of vellum (cut in a heart shape) over the jewelry to keep the dust off.

   Vintage beads make delicious eye candy - just remove the inner compartments of the candy box and pile on the color! It's adorable on a bedroom night stand but also cute perched atop of a glass cake stand in the dining room.  


    My friend Nannette and I have exchanged vintage handkerchiefs in the mail for many years now (they're easy to tuck into a birthday card). If we exchanged Valentine gifts, this is what hers would look like.


    My daughter is a softie for vintage gloves. I've been collecting them for a while and now have enough to surprise her!  (Shh, don't tell!)


   Here's another idea if your Valentine enjoys sewing or quilting. Each little compartment is filled with a sewing notion - almost better than chocolate! 


   Here's an idea for a teacher, secretary, or student - a box full of office supplies such as paper clips, rubber bands, erasers, pencil sharpener, glue stick, push pins, SD card and thumb drive - who doesn't need that stuff in their desk drawer?


   Here's an idea for the handyman in your life - enough nuts, bolts, washers, screws and nails to keep his tool box full for another year of honey-do projects! This is also a great idea for those who are moving into their first house or apartment.


   This last box will forever be a beautiful memory to me of my two amazing & clever kids! Eight years ago on Valentine's day they presented me with a clue to a scavenger hunt which took me throughout the entire house in search of more clues. In the end, guess what my gift was - a box of chocolates! Every year when I re-open this box, I get the gift of remembering a truly sweet time when my kids were precious little ones.

   You can make up your own scavenger hunt or for more fun, make a puzzle where the pieces have to be put together in order to read the clue which will lead you to the prize (a great idea for lots of kids to work together for a big prize at the end).

   Whatever you choose to do with your empty box of chocolates is entirely up to you - but don't be too anxious to throw it away. Remember to think outside of the box and keep a space in the corner of your closet just in case you decide to hang on to it.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Collecting vintage plates: The Twirling Room

    When we purchased our home four years ago (built circa 1874) it came with something that we Foster's were unaccustomed to: a formal dining room. Of course we had dining rooms in previous homes but those rooms were inadvertently transformed into home office, playroom or home school classroom, depending on which life stage we were in at the time.  
   While waiting to move into our home, I must confess that I had every intention of reverting back to my old ways. With two teenagers in the house I imagined an exciting game room complete with a pinball machine and maybe an air hockey, ping pong or pool table - which made a whole lot more sense than a dining room that probably wouldn't be used at all. 
   I proposed the game room idea to my husband who looked at me like I was out of my mind. "No way," he exclaimed, "We're finally going to have a dining room and actually use it this time!" His reaction surprised me but I quickly recovered and was happy to begin the quest for dining room furniture (little did I know how long the quest would actually take). 
   The dining room remained empty for well over a year as we focused on furnishing and decorating the rooms we used most. In the mean time the room received a fresh coat of Martha Stewart's "Vintage Map" paint and bright white trim.
    One day my daughter and I were playing around in the empty dining room and began to twirl and dance. Influenced by our love for Jane Austen novels and period films, we filled the room with echoes of our best British accents and unbridled laughter. From that day forward we dubbed the room "The Twirling Room" and made a proclamation (to the men of the house) that whenever someone came through the room they had to twirl. Needless to say, our son never stepped foot in the room, but my husband, however playfully went along and twirled about with great animation when his favorite girl was around to watch.  
    Eventually the dining room acquired a table which my mom and I found while antiquing in the darling little town of Buchanan, Virginia. The table, over one hundred years old, can be extended from a small table about the size of a card table into a large banquet size table that seats up to sixteen when all leaves are in place. 
   Since buying the table I've slowly been filling up the room with an eclectic mix of period pieces that compliment the room, including enough chairs to fit around the table since the table didn't include chairs (I have ten so far). Besides filling the room with furniture, I've also been busy finding antique china plates, platters and vintage glassware. I'm still trying to get enough plates to decorate the walls, and once I do I'll begin hunting for plates to use at the table.
    I'm not a professional decorator by any means, but I do envision my formal dining room as a whimsical and unpredictable surprise for my guests. I'm still not sure how to pull it off (oh, how I wish that HGTV would find me), but I'm fairly certain that it will include painting some furniture pieces and covering the chairs with upholstery fabrics in lots of delicious color.
   I feel so incredibly blessed to have such a beautiful room to share with others and I must confess that we Foster's thoroughly enjoy entertaining friends and family in our very first formal dining room ever!
   Stay tuned for photos of the room as the decorating progresses (but don't hold your breath, it could take a while as my budget and energy allows). I will update as projects are done but until then you might just catch me twirling when the mood hits me!



Saturday, October 26, 2013

What to do with an old pop crate?


We've recently renovated our master bath and I now start the process of decorating it - the fun part! Remember when I was trying to figure out how to display my s&p collection and a Whimsybop reader suggested using a pop crate on the wall? Well, I finally got to try it! I put one on the wall and filled each grid with a belt. I have to say that the leather and distressed wood combination looks like a beautiful piece of art hanging over my towels and I love it!