Monday, April 21, 2014

Vacation Home part 2

A couple of months ago I shared with you the beginnings of a dream project HERE. We have been busy at work completing our new vacation home! We closed on the house last month and came up to Utah last week to begin furnishing. It's been both fun and stressful to decorate a house from scratch in just a couple weeks time, and of course, on a budget!

So, where does one start with an empty house? 
With the basics-


Start with the essential pieces. I went to a reputable furniture store and ordered a leather sofa and loveseat, king size bed with matching chest, and two twin beds. I wanted these pieces to be sturdy and of good quality.Then you can add in the secondary pieces of furniture such as coffee table, end tables, nightstands etc. I've spent this week hitting all the local consignment stores and have found some super bargains.




I found this fabulous mission style dining set on craigslist for only $250! 


It's very helpful to pick a color scheme for the whole house. I chose black and taupe for my neutrals with browns, reds and sage greens for warmth. Using the same colors throughout a house makes transitions between rooms comfortable and provides unity.
 I still need nightstands in the master bedroom, but notice the footboard? It has drawers for extra storage!

The twin bedroom has a mix of old and new. The beds are new but I've had the matelasse spreads for years, I made the pillows out of leftover fabrics from a previous project, and the sweet little end table came from a thrift store.


I've got a another bedroom and a home office to furnish. Then come the accessories. Stay tuned!
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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Wedgwood Wild Strawberry

 For a simple Easter table setting I pulled out one of my favorite patterns, Wedgwood Wild Strawberry.

 I worked in the china department of a large department store when I was still in high school and chose my china patterns for what we used to call a trousseau. I selected a simple all white dinner plate and added these beautiful salad plates painted with strawberries and blossoms. They are English bone china. My parents took a trip to England and my mother brought home eight salad plates for me to tuck away for the future.


 A few years later when I was engaged, I was still working part time in the china and silver department. Scott and I were registering for wedding gifts and I walked him through the rows of lovely china patterns and informed him that I already had many of our dishes. I remember him standing there, I believe overwhelmed by the sheer number of colors and patterns of plates-something most young men never think about! He said, "Well, I don't really care which dishes you've selected, as long as it's not these."  And of course, he was pointing right at the Wild Strawberry plates!
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! Of course he was terribly embarrassed when I explained that those were indeed the dishes I already had, but not to worry, the dinner plates were a nice plain white.
 I think that made him feel better. 

I do only pull these pull these out in the spring. Here I've used a sage green burlap table runner that I made last week and some chunky green goblets by Libbey. I was lucky enough to find some vintage linen napkins embroidered with our initial. 

Wild Strawberry is actually one of Wedgwood's most popular patterns and they make a huge variety of accessory pieces. There's even an oven to table line to match the fine china. I only have a few of the extra pieces most of which I have found second hand.




For the centerpiece just a rustic basket with some narcissus and a little glittery chick.
I still love these plates and think they're perfect for a spring party. My favorite dessert to serve on them? 
Strawberry shortcake, of course!
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Alabaster Easter Eggs

Alabaster is a smooth marble like stone mined in many parts of the world, especially Italy. Because of the wide variety of luscious colors and beautiful veining, alabaster has been used for decades to make gorgeous decorative 
Easter eggs.
They are lovely and smooth, cool to the touch and 
have a nice weighty feel to them.


I have a small collection that I have nestled into an 
ironstone bowl.

On my dining table  I have several bowls filled with my many eggs - alabaster, painted wood, Ukrainian, and some new fluffy ones made from flower petals.
I love the sunny bright colors of  my egg collections! 
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Waterford Biscuit Barrel

I found this Waterford biscuit barrel a couple of years ago at a thrift store. A "biscuit barrel" is the English name for a cookie jar. It was very dirty and full of small soaps, but I knew what it was immediately. I think I paid $3 and when I got it home and cleaned it up it was clearly marked "Waterford" on the bottom.


Alas, it had no lid. I tried to find a replacement online but the replacements I found cost $75! For just the lid!

So I've been on the hunt since then and look what I found yesterday, another jar with a lid.  Would it fit? I decided it was worth the $2.50 gamble.


Ta da! A perfect fit! Yes, I know the Waterford lid is cut crystal, but this is a pretty good substitute. 

These jars became very popular when President Reagan used to keep them on his desk full of jelly beans.

I love how it sparkles!


These typically retail for about $135.00 so I think I got a steal for $5.50!

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Apothecary Jars


I started collecting apothecary jars some 30 years ago. What's an apothecary jar? They are glass containers with a lid that pharmacists would to use to store medicines and herbs.
(source:cowan auctions)
 I thought they would make inexpensive canisters to keep on my kitchen counter so I started picking them up at garage sales and thrift stores. 
I usually can find old jars for $5 or less.

 I keep so many different pantry items in my jars -
brown rice, cornmeal, cookie cutters,

 tea bags, dried beans, pasta, 

nuts,  white rice, and sugar.

Vintage jars come in a variety of shapes - square, oval, rectangular, and octagonal. 


 My favorite lids have ground glass edges.


Newer jars have become extremely popular in home decor and come in lots of shapes and sizes.








They are fun to swap out seasonally, or to use every day.
Do you love these jars as much as I do? What do you display in yours?

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Bridal Shower



Spring is lovely in Arizona, gardens are in full bloom and the air is scented with sweet orange blossoms. Love is in the air too and one of my good friends has a daughter getting married soon. I hosted a bridal shower for her yesterday so here are a few photos of the event.

Mina wants the "burlap and vintage lace" look for the wedding. She also likes all of the fun chalkboard art that is popular. Our bride is also a very accomplished violinist so I wanted to incorporate some music themes into the decor. Roll that all together and here is what I came up with!

My co-hostess Lisa found these darling invitations online from Wedding Paper Divas. 
It was exactly the look we were going for.


For the last bridal shower I hosted, I made this rosette banner that said "A Love Story". It was easy to change it to "A Love Song" for Mina. I made a chalkboard that says "Mina and Chris, 
Making beautiful music Together"

I cut paper hearts out of old sheet music and hung them from my chandelier. I ran layers of hearts through my sewing machine then  folded them open.

I wrote about my doily table runner HERE. I had a good time finding vintage doilies for the table setting. 

 I usually pull out my trusty ironstone plates and platters but I didn't want to cover up all of the lovely laciness  of the doilies, so instead I went with all crystal and glass on the table. 
 So fun to see the lace showing through.






I do love to use  vintage silverplate for a party. You can find old pieces like this at almost antique store for very reasonable prices. Then mix and match your favorites.!
(I don't know anyone who likes using a plastic fork.)


Now for the menu. I laid out fresh berries, Greek yogurt and homemade granola for breakfast parfaits,




 two kinds of quiche - cheddar broccoli or bacon and onion
 sweet orange rolls

 cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting,
 and a green salad of tender spring lettuces, mandarin oranges, craisins and jicima with an orange vinaigrette. Almost everything was done ahead of time to make the morning of the shower easy.

The bride received many necessary items for 
starting her off right!



 I found this cute printable chalkboard label on Pinterest. Here is a link so you can download it for yourself 
Matchbox label. I added a scented votive and handed them out as favors for our guests.


It was a lovely morning with good friends and a darling bride!
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