Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas

Wishing all the happiest of Christmas, renewed faith, healthy family and friends, prosperity,
adventure, opportunity, and above all peace within and around you.
Bless us all, everyone and blessings to you and those you love. Sea Witch

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


The Sea Witch had her Amazon account hacked this Monday and this post is to make you aware of this possibly happening to you this time of the year.  It had been about 7 months since my last Amazon purchase so when a series of confirmation emails from Amazon "thanking me" for my recent purchases I thought "what purchases."  As I read the emails, I realized I was being charged $7.99 for a digital download of Vietnamese music.  The purchases had already totaled nearly $300.00. 

I contacted Amazon customer service and they were fantastic.

  They immediately cancelled my account card and began refunding each of the purchases.  Each purchase had to be refunded individually so it was going to take a little time with the customer rep on the phone.  As we are refunding each purchase, I received another email confirming another Amazon purchase.  Son of a Bee...those hacking #%$&s were at it again.  The Amazon rep put me on hold as this was an opportunity for them to nail these jokers.  About 6 minutes later, the rep was back on the line and began refunding the rest of those phony purchases.  Since I had not used this card in months, I asked the rep how this could have happened.  He said that it is not uncommon for these hackers to use detection software to seek out dormant accounts like mine.  Those dormant accounts are perfect targets for this type of hacking.   The rep said that if you are a shopper that purchases only a few times a year that you may want to delete the card you use right after you make the purchase so it is no longer in a system.

I like Clark Howard's suggestion better and that is to have a low balance credit card that is dedicated to just on line purchases. Since I only have the one card, I am going to obtain a second, low balance card for just those on line purchases should this happen again.  I suspect it will, it is the nature of the online business to be hit.  No one is safe from these despicable hackers. 

Well, this was still not over.  I still had to contact my bank, Bank of America, to cancel the hacked card.

I must share that I have had a love/hate relationship with BoA.  I have been their customer for over 20 years and in the last ten that relationship has really deteriorated.  There customer service has been miserable and the climbing fees have gotten out of hand.  I have been dragging my feet in moving to another institution because I just didn't want to switch all of my on line bill pays, etc.  So when I had to call BoA, I was already prepared to do battle with them.  Not necessary. Their customer rep was courteous and efficient as she cancelled my card but allowed the account to remain open to accept the refunds that Amazon would begin returning to the account over the next few days. They also overnighted a new card to me as it was the holiday season and they did not want me to be delayed 7-10 days.  Okay, who are you people and what did you do with my original banking institution? 

I was totally surprised at the efficient and helpful response I received and today I have my replacement card.  WoW.  I am now rethinking my leaving BoA.  Maybe they are trying to reach out to their customers and I am all for that.  So, what can we learn from all of this?  My suggestion is if you have made any online purchases (several months ago) where a "company" retains your card information, enter that account and delete you card information.  You can always add a new card when you make a future purchase.  Better yet, utilize PayPal or Google Checkout if they provide that option, you will be protected.  Finally, follow the advice of Clark Howard and have a low balance card dedicated to just on line purchases.  That way if you card is hacked, there is a limit to what can be stolen. Never, ever use your debit card for on line purchases as they can empty your bank account quickly and it could take days/weeks before amounts are refunded if they are refunded at all. 

I was fortunate that they only nailed me for about $300.00 before I caught the purchases.  I was lucky that both Amazon and BoA were so sensitive and efficient in refunding/returning the hacked amounts. 

Hoping that your on line purchases are safe and secure.  Have a wonderful week. Sea Witch

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

HMS Ocean - All I Want for Christmas is You

I adore the joy in people and especially love it when they unabashadely share it with the rest of us.  How can you not just sit back and smile until your face hurts.  Whether you are returning home from a long deployment to those who have missed and love you so to the simple joy of dancing in a mall with your ipod over the Christmas shopping days.  Joy...all of it is joy!  How I wish this simple joy would find its way around our troubled world.  It really is about love, you know.  So put your earphones on or your earbuds in, crank up the volume and a special thank you to Mariah Carey for allowing so many to sing along with you.

I hope these make your day as joyful as it has made mine.  Blessings and as much joy as you can possible stand to you and those you love.  Sea Witch

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Finally, a coughless night!

After 15 days of non stop coughing (but no asthma, thank you bronchial gods) I had a coughless night.  It may be because this cold has finally worn itself out but I suspect it was the wee bit of Captain Morgan I dropped in my tea last evening...slept like an old pirate after a 3 day siege and pillage.  Yea, it's all good.  This cold kept me from a ladies gathering but I just couldn't bring myself to be coughing all over good food and friendships. 

So spent a little time pricing items to replenish my booths while I was visiting raviolis over Thanksgiving.  Always interesting the things that sell each year over the holidays.  I can't seem to keep lighting in my booths this year.  It is all moving out.  Now I'm on the hunt for more lighting to offer.

Came back from NY with a Victorian tux/tails from family that asked to sell it for them.  Nice condition and very wearable size. 
Great to wear to a New Year's party...or a Victorian wedding.

Selling quad and silverplate items faster than I can bring them in  That and vintage Christmas balls are the hot ticket items this season.  Brought in a few more pieces of the plate but nearly out of Christmas balls.

Found a terrific set of cast iron book ends with the theme, "The Angelus" from the classic painting of the field gleaners who stop to pray.  These books ends don't move as well as they do in the mid-west and this is a hard to find theme and books at $120.00.  I have it priced "very right" and hope someone will appreciate them.  I often use these for door stops as they are very heave duty and look prettier then a standard door stop shoved under your door.
Came across this lovely and heavy silverplated punch ladle.  Just in time for all of that holiday entertaining. 

Primitive Santa on sweet, seafoam sled surrounded by vintage looking trees. I love bottle brush trees of all types for holiday decorating.

Now that all of my raviolis are no longer sitting in a small high chair, I have brought in my 19th century piece for another to acquire.  Decorated it with a nifty pair of vintage mittens in bright Santa red fabric and soft leather mitts, an oh so soft angora knitted cap for a little one, a happy snowman trio and a marvelous wood clamp with original wooden turnings.  This is a hard to find small clamp that I know will blow out of this booth soon.

I just love this gator head with the Christmas ball in its jaws. LOL  What fun to find this nestled in your Christmas tree.

Coach anyone?  I have three authentic Coach bags that are in nearly new condition for sale.  Two in basic black that everyone should have in their handbag arsenal and one brown leather hobo.

Had to lock these babies up as they would take a walk if I displayed them openly.  

A basket full of wooden blocks poses so many decorating uses.  Blocks are priced individually for personally spelling of whatever floats your boat. 

  And finally, I had to bring in my last lighting piece. A pretty, Williamsburg style, heavy brass chandelier.  This is a nice medium size chandelier so if you have a smaller dining area, it will not overpower.

In between fluffing up my booths, my honey and I are in phase 2 of the "great flooding" in the house.  Carpet is all cut up in three rooms, tiles are popping in the master bathroom and now we are just waiting for the estimates to come in so we can begin selecting replacement carpeting/flooring. Between that installation and then the contractor finishing up the replacement molding we have our December plates full. I'm thinking of pushing this whole mess into January so it doesn't interfere with the holidays.  Yea, now that I said it out loud, I think that is just what we will do. Hope everyone is staying healthy and happy.  Blessings to you and those you love.  Sea Witch

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Sisters Antiques Candlelight Event

  Wednesday evening was the My Sisters Antiques Candlelight Holiday Event and it was amazing.  Took lots of photos and I would have had them loaded and posted sooner, but when I went to upload them I received an error message saying I reached my one GIG quota and until I obtained more space I could no longer load any more photos.  With two blogs and a third one ready to be launched (more on that later in the month), I purchased more space and now I'm back on track with my posts.

 My Sisters Antiques, one of my favorite antique shops in the metro Atlanta area,  is owned by two sisters who are an absolute delight.  They have filled their shop with dealers who offer marvelous antiques and vintage pieces and when you visit their shop they greet you like old and dear friends.  You never want to leave.  This is their second annual holiday event and as last year, it is first class all the way.
Holiday lighting greeted you at both the front and back entrance.  The double red doors of the back entrance seem to be everyone's favorite way to enter and the sisters had pretty wreaths on the doors and lights everywhere.

Not only was the parking lot filled to capacity but the store was wall to wall shoppers.  I love to see shops filled with happy shoppers.

Two lovely tables groaned with homemade cakes, desserts, fresh cheeses and fruits, sparking ciders and punch and of course, Christmas cookies of every type.  All under pretty lights and burning candles.  The 8 inch high Red Velvet Cake and the Coconut Cake were the two hot items to indulge in.  I watched grown men weak in the knees and mothers weeping with joy from partaking in these two cakes. 

So many pretty things to see, so I will let the photos do most of the talking.

One of my long time antique friends, Pam, is an uber talented woman who creates amazing fabric pieces, jewelry and the prettiest garland you will ever find anywhere.  Her items are magical.

I adore these wreaths that are decorated with vintage ornaments.

Sassy Edwardian lady standing in vintage garland and balls.

I wanted this vintage Santa costume but the "sisters" refused to part with it.  I will have to try and wear them down...I want this so badly.

How cool is this Men Working sign?

Can you think of anything prettier then vintage perfume bottles.

How sweet is this vintage poodle?

A Victrola in perfect working order.  Break out those old dance records.

A top hat and wings.  I love this marriage of old and new.

My Sisters Antiques always has the prettiest lighting.

This is a huge figurine and unusual in its theme.  Very 1950s.

Pretty garland filled with ornaments, old lace and lights. 

As you can see by the photos, there was so much to see.  I purchased a few items and among them were a Victorian rug beater, a Victorian compote with cupids and vintage gold tinsel from the 1930s.  These Candlelight events are always so much fun as so many of my antique colleagues were there.  We get to talk and gossip and share what treasure we have found all over pretty lights and homemade goodies.  I hope you have the opportunity to attend these special event where you live.  Have a wonderful weekend all and blessings to you and those you love.  Sea Witch