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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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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Timeless Tapestries

Tapestries are a textile art form made of fibers woven on a loom  depicting decorative scenes and motifs. They are usually made of natural fibers including wool, silk and linen and are heavy in weight due to the fact that the warp thread is completely covered by the  weft. Are you with me?

About 15 years ago Tuscan style decorating was very popular and I saw a return to decorating with tapestries. They convey a sense of richness, warmth and history. I love tapestries as wall art which is how they were originally intended, to decorate and insulate drafty castles!

On our visit to France a couple of years ago I was overwhelmed with the sheer volume of tapestries hanging in the museums, galleries and cathedrals. Those artisans had some serious needlework skills! In medieval times tapestries told stories, allegories and history teaching tools. One of the best known series of tapestries is The Lady and the Unicorn. Each large scene represents a different sense - touch, taste, sight, hearing, and smell.

I found a reproduction many years ago at, yes, a thrift store! I paid $12.
 It hangs high in my living room vaulted ceiling.

This hunting tapestry I did pay a bit more for, $100, found antiquing. I've used it as the  color scheme inspiration in my living room.

You can find tapestries in any color scheme and many different motifs - fruit or floral, pastoral, religious, landscapes, medieval, Victorian and even contemporary.

A close examination shows the individual stitches. 
Many times tapestries are signed by the maker or artist.
So now that "Farmhouse" and Midcentury Modern are the decorating trends is there still a place for tapestries in home decor?  Of course!
 Used sparingly a vintage tapestry can bring some color and texture to all that neutral I see going on.
Needlepoint is a form of tapestry and pillows are great way to incorporate this  art form into your decor.

And don't forget the tabletop. Tapestry runners look elegant on a sideboard or console table.

An old tapestry makes a great base for a tablescape. 

The French Tangerine: ~ antique tapestry:

Country Living and Urban Outfitters show tapestries that create a headboard.
In the master bedroom, Smith hung an 1854 textile in place of a headboard. The wall art is actually pressed sea kelp, purchased at a flea market during a vacation in Paris. #countryliving #bedrooms:
urban outfitters tapestry/head board                                                                                                                                                                                 More:

And don't forget about using tapestry fabric for upholstery and window treatments.

Don't be afraid to use this ancient art form in your own home. It is truly timeless!

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