Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy May Day!

I was lucky enough to take a break in beautiful Santa Barbara wine country at the beginning of the week.
This part of California is as close to the Garden of Eden as any I know.
Rose hedges were all in bloom.
My favorite kind of garden chairs next to the lavender fields.
Wine barrel country too!
The fields had just been trimmed, but some wise person left a bush for the inevitable photo, thank you very much.
Hated to leave the bucolic scene for blustery New Mexico. We had snow flurries today! Hope you have a cheery first day of May. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Little White Treasures

I still hear stories of the family christening gown being called into service generation after generation. White has always been traditional for ceremony. And for children, holiday finery was almost always white.

All lacy and pin-tucked, they elicit tales of grandmothers and grandfathers alike, because babies of both genders formerly wore gowns indiscriminately.

But fine antique baby things don't have to have the baby to go with! They stand alone on display in a charming way. They are symbols of cherished memory. Of loving and being loved. Reminders of the sweet and brief moments of infancy.

Recently a beautifully ruffled gown turned up in a nursing home thrift store. Opening it's aged folds I found a small note tucked inside that read simply,"My baby dress." How tenderly that keepsake had been guarded over the years.

It isn't only the beauty that admirers respond to, but the residual joy woven into a gown's very threads.

I like to play dress up with my own grand-babies, and love to loan gowns for a romantic photo shoot. And what a happy occasion it can be to begin a new tradition with a borrowed story. Add a little monogrammed towel to tuck under a chin, or over a new mother's shoulder, and you have a truly original and priceless gift.

Little Eva napping in her everyday garb.
Thanks for stopping by! AND. . .Thanks to Kathleen from Faded Charm for hosting White Wednesday!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tick Tock Tick Tock

It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.

On Being Idle


One of my favorite activities is sitting with a magazine and listening to the tick of the clock. If books are the poetic soul of a home then the ticking clock is its whispered heartbeat. Sometimes its rhythm is company enough. How many anxious moments in a day do we gaze in its direction and depend on it to be our "Regulator"? Maybe it just wants to sit quietly with us and hum, or joyously chime. Today, just for a little while, I'm going to let time have its way.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Deep Purple Dreams

When the deep purple falls, over sleepy garden walls,

And the stars begin to flicker in the sky,

Through the mist of a memory, you wander back to me,

Breathing my name with a sigh. . . .

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kitchen Whites

I have lived in my rabbity-roomed pueblo style house for a dozen years and have every day of every year known that my kitchen is crazily too small. I've always envisioned tearing everything out and having a euro style kitchen minus built-ins.

My son-in-law Dan, a "doer," as my 89 year young mother-in-law would call him, advised that removing the overhead cabinets on one side would be a really easy operation. This renovation took place one day without prior notice. Dan simply arrived from his own home four hours away with the proper tools in hand. "She's not ready," my daughter cautioned him. And she was right. But who could resist such an offer? We pulled everything out of the cabinets before I left for a day at the shop.
The morning after the cabinets came down, the nursery crew, aka "doers in training" helped with the paint job.
Eleven o'clock pm with the paint dry. The clock covers the electrical wires waiting for a stove hood that may never materialize. I want a fancy French farm house looking one. The bottom right cabinets were also taken out making room for my vintage kitchen cart and trash bin. The lamp was a temporary necessity, but we now prefer it.

The amount of visual space is startling. For now I don't want to put anything on the walls. I have stopped hating my kitchen, and don't feel like I need a thing. Yet we actually have LESS storage space!

I found this compact home made vintage shelf just BEFORE the renovation, already painted my color. It replaces the missing dish storage, and all the flatware is now countertop. Easier than ever to reach.

I enjoy seeing my favorite things everyday. Everything is within reach and completely easy to maintain in order.

The final photo shows the back side of the storage shelf and items on a separate counter on the dining room side. Intended as a breakfast bar, we found we use it to stow mail, keys, etc. (sometimes lots of etc.), and to serve a crowd. We feel more prepared than ever to do just that.

Thanks for stopping in!


I have linked to Happy To Design for Sunday Favorites!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mixing and Stirring

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.
T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

This gorgeous vintage looking lace is actually a new piece made by my old-fashioned (in the best sense of the term), beautiful, and talented daughter-in-law Shanti. She lives with my son the beekeeper and their sweet daughter in Washington State. Happy Birthday Shanti!

It's always such a nice surprise to find the Lilacs blooming again. We just take them for granted and they are so short lived. It's a great gift for a gardener without thumbs of ANY color.

Cruel, maybe, but isn't she a beauty . . . . Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Anti-Anxiety Lifestyle

Back when I started selling antiques I thought that I gravitated toward stocking embroidered pillowcases and 50's print tablecloths because they sold well. But I have come to learn that I collect linen the way some old ladies collect stray cats. I offer premium items for sale, but I'm always coming across exquisite flawed specimens for practically nothing that I just cannot leave behind. I now have a few spectacular samples that are my absolute favorites.

Tablecloths in particular lend themselves to camouflage by layering; the fancy ones peeking through underneath like frothy petticoats, and displayed with prints on top or with white on white (yum). Layering is also practical for infatuations with smaller cloths that won't cover a large dining table. Use an inexpensive damask cloth (which you can find EVERYWHERE) underneath.

People often think that's too much fuss and trouble, but I do it because it's so EASY! Nothing is faster and easier than whisking off a jammy cloth and throwing it in the washer after a meal. Our mothers and grandmothers knew this. They had tons of cheery tablecloths that they hung clotheslines (which got them outside a few times a day--try this as a mood elevator). And restaurants do it too. Peel off the top layer, and "NEXT!"

We keep a pile of bibs and placemats in the sideboard for the grandkids. Nobody even has to get up from the table to fetch one. And their parents feel so much better about sitting down to pretty linen. But why having a beautiful table should cause anyone anxiety is beyond me. Passing through and seeing my covered table several times a day works better than a pill.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

White Wednesday at Cabin and Cottage

White ironstone is fabulous any day of the week!

Botanicals ready to frame
Crochet sea stars

Mixed shades of white with silver and cut crystal

Never enough French

Sheer, woven, and smooth whites

White table linens mix with any china

Alabaster lamps and milk glass urns make terrific accessories for an all white setting.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Country Diary

Many of you remember THE COUNTRY DIARY OF AN EDWARDIAN LADY published in the early 80's, now out of print. Edith Holden was an early sort of 'concept' blogger minus the computer. She kept a log, but the only web would have been the spidery kind. She had such a need to share the beauty surrounding her that she drew her own images, gathered her own research, and meticulously hand lettered each post! Whom did she imagine would ever get to appreciate her wonderful project when it was finished at the turn of the LAST century? We always try to have a copy of her lovely work, and it's striking how respectfully cared for these gorgeous old books have been. A whole new audience is beginning to discover her nature drawings again.

Edith's bird renderings are particularly pleasing to me. And bird themed items remain very popular in general. But of most particular appeal these days are antique birdcages. Instead of a canary, they seem to hold the memory and imagination captive. Every one's grandmother had one "just like that one." Everyone wants one, and the variety is remarkable. Not only are cages wonderfully decorative as is, but they hold limitless creativity as to where they may be placed and what they may contain. They have ageless appeal and cross gender lines. My own preschool Texan grand-daughters became captivated last summer with a simple-lined, largish, three-domed, powder-pink beauty that I acquired at Canton, and which they adopted as it lay astride the Toyota waiting to be reconfigured into the impossible load. They left acorns and leaves in it overnight in hopes of trapping their three-legged, freedom loving, yard squirrel Chuck. They were twice disappointed. Not only did Chuck fail to oblige, but Nanny took the cage with her. This could be one story which ends, "my grandmother had to have one just like it."

Friday, April 9, 2010

New Shop Views

Wicker Console Table

Wedgewood & McCoy

Lace Tablecloths & Curtains

Vintage Glassware
Rustic Garden Elements
Greeting Cards
Victoria & Romantic Homes Magazines
Gentleman's Wardrobe With Pharmacy Jars
Vintage Luggage
Rusty Tin Box & Wire File Baskets
Beautiful Table Runners, Plain & Fancy
Floral Painted Desk
Fabulous Lidded Ironstone Pot, 19th Century Botanicals

Signed Italian Bust

Beaded Bag

Doilies & Laces

Vintage Children's Clothing

Wire Basket Detail

Antique Mercantile Stand With Wire Baskets (16)
Three Piece Antique Wicker, Settee, Rocker, & Side Chair

Thank you for stopping by!