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Monday, July 17, 2017

My Favorite Tapestry

The online decorating website Havenly challenged me to  answer an interesting question – do I have a favorite piece of furniture or décor that I have highlighted in my home over the years? Haha, yes! Several! It was hard to narrow it down but I thought I’d share the story of my favorite piece of artwork in my home – my antique tapestry.

Twenty five years ago my friend Becky started a home décor business specializing in European tapestries. I thought they were beautiful and was in the process of renovating a 100 year old Victorian house. We had a large front parlor with deep red walls and 10 foot ceilings. I had the perfect spot for an Old World tapestry but they were kind of pricey. One autumn afternoon while antiquing in the New Jersey countryside I spied a large hunting themed tapestry nailed to a back wall in the shop. 
I paid $100 for it and gleefully brought it home. I hoped my friend wouldn’t be too annoyed with me for not buying one of hers. When I invited her over to take a look and get her opinion her jaw dropped. She said this particular piece was made in Belgium on antique looms and was worth close to $1000. Score!

The tapestry looked great in my old house for many years but then we moved across the country to Arizona. We built a new home and I wondered how my traditional furniture would work there. I did have vaulted ceilings in the new front entry and took my color scheme for the living room from the colors in my beloved tapestry – reds, browns, and warm neutrals.

Fast forward 18 years and we have moved again, this time to mountains of Utah. My home is a bit more casual this time with leather and some mission style furnishings. Will my antique tapestry fit in?

Of course! I firmly believe in adding in vintage pieces to almost any style of décor. An antique piece of furniture, accessory or artwork gives a room some personality and uniqueness that you can’t get from an IKEA showroom.
So now my tapestry hangs in my new mountain home. It fills in a large wall very nicely and once again provides some warmth and color to my mostly neutral furnishings.

If you have a special piece that you love how do you feature it in your home?

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Moving to Midway

Be careful what you wish for... 

We've been trying to sell our house for a year now and it finally happened! My husband took a job in Phoenix 18 years ago and while we have made many friends, I admit I've never gotten used to  the heat, the cactus and the scorpions. So now comes the overwhelming job of packing up a 4500 sq ft house with 18 years of accumulation!

 As you know I'm a "collector" 
( I prefer that term to "hoarder").
It's been a challenge to decide what to part with and what to keep. I've never read Marie Kondo's best seller  The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up  but I've heard enough about it to understand the basics. Her philosophy of keeping the things that bring you joy and getting rid of things that no longer serve a purpose for you (but might to someone else) is very helpful.

My best advice regarding prepping for a move is to start early! I thought I had done a pretty good job of decluttering the house and staging it to sell, but now that I am actually packing boxes I realize I have way too much stuff.  I don't need dozens upon dozens of Sharpies, pens, pencils, paper clips, old photo frames, duplicate snapshots, 3 sets of measuring cups, 8 dozen mason jars, etc.

You all have drawers like this, right?

Our move is complicated by the fact that we'll be living in our vacation cottage while we build our new dream home so most of our belongings will go into long term storage.

Three years ago we built our dream vacation cottage in the charming village of Midway up in the Utah mountains. We liked it so much that we decided to move there full time.

 The cottage is little smaller than we would like so the next step is to build this...


And off we go!

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Monday, May 1, 2017

Discarded Demijohns

We were driving down the street in the Gastown section of Vancouver, Canada when I spotted it sitting on the sidewalk in front of an antiques store. A huge bottle in a wicker basket. "STOP! Go around the block, I have to go look at that bottle!" We were vacationing with our three kids and our daughter-in-law, celebrating one high school and two college graduations. With all 6 of us in the minivan we had driven from Salt Lake City to Vancouver where we would take a cruise to see the sights of Alaska. Needless to say the car was packed. 

Scott drove around the block and I hopped out. Inside the shop I asked about the large bottle in the basket. "Oh yes, the demijohn?" the owner said. " The demi what?" I thought. I was still pretty new at the antique business and while I had a good eye for vintage European pieces I still had a lot to learn.

We managed to squeeze this huge demi john into the back of the minivan which meant that suitcases had to be rearranged  with one under our daughter's feet for the rest of the trip home. I don't think the kids will ever let me forget that one.

Since then I have bought and sold dozens of  demijohns sometimes called a carboy. They can be found at many flea markets and have become a very popular decor item. These large blown glass bottles were encased in wicker or sometimes a wooden crate to enable them to be transported without breaking. Demijohns typically held potable liquids such as wine, ale, or other spirits. Carboys were used for chemicals. These old discarded bottles are usually quite dirty (just hose them off) but have wonderful earthy texture and can lend an air of European farmhouse style to your home!

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Do you have a charm bracelet? Or perhaps your mother or grandmother had one? I was given a charm bracelet when I was about 8 years old and have collected many charms over the years. 

This month my book club read  The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. It is a delightful story of a widower who discovers a charm bracelet that his wife has never worn and sets about to learn the story behind each charm.
That is the fun of a charm bracelet, it is like wearing a scrapbook! Each charm evokes a memory of a place or special event. The hostess asked us to wear a charm bracelet (if we had one). 

I  don't have just a charm bracelet, I have a charm necklace! I decided years ago I had so many charms that I'd put them on a long chain. 

My charms help me remember trips to the coast of Maine, seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up at night and skating lessons as a young girl among other things.


Charm bracelets can be theme oriented like this one of flowers and leaves,  

or these two with only heart charms.

This gold charm bracelet oozes elegance. 

Many ladies collect charms from their travels. 

My grandmother gave me this bracelet after she returned from a trip to Mexico.  

I believe my favorite charm is of the historic Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. It pops open to reveal the famous pipe organ inside. I sang there with my high school choir 
 on several occasions.
My only grand daughter turns eight in just a couple of weeks. I've decided to give her a bracelet and a single charm to get her started on her "jewelry scrapbook".

Do you have charms that bring back special memories?

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"Be Not Weary" Spring Dinner Party

  I was asked to be in charge of a dinner party to commemorate the founding of the Relief Society (my church's women's organization). I really liked the bee skep centerpieces I used for a function last summer so I decided to rework them and chose the theme "Be Not Weary in Well Doing" since service is one of our main missions.

The little honey bee is very industrious. It has a lifespan of only a few months and contributes only 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey to it's hive. Yet since many, many bees all work together they are able to produce enough honey for themselves and more to spare.


Spring is at it's finest in Arizona right now so my committee chose to have an outdoor dinner in Sandra's garden.  We used all white serving pieces layered on yellow and white tablecloths with burlap toppers. 

The menu consisted of an enormous salad bar with more than 30 different toppings! We also served homemade orange rolls and a cupcake and cookie buffet.

If you look closely you can see little sugared bees on the cupcakes!

We sent our guests home with a favor bag of  Bit O'Honey candies.
Even though we may only make a seemingly small contribution to our community or neighborhood, if we all work together I believe we can accomplish great things!

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