Friday, January 29, 2010

White, Silver and Wood

With Hubby out of town all week, I decided to paint our kitchen walls. But let me just say (in case I've implied otherwise), that I absolutely dread painting. I think by far the hardest part for me is just getting started.

For example, I put on my calender "Paint Kitchen Tuesday." Wednesday came and about 5pm, I called my Mom and said, "ugh, I have to paint the kitchen some point." It was 6pm before I started and almost midnight before I finished.

I painted the walls Simply White (eggshell finish), which is the color we used on the cabinets, shelves and trim (in semi-gloss). With a fresh clean slate, I then experimented with creating a not so kitcheny kitchen!
Jennifer over at The Newlywed Diaries inspired me with this post! As I began gathering up some not-so-kitcheny items, I started to gravitate towards all things white, silver and wood.

I added a clock, some candlesticks, an alabaster bud vase that I put toothpicks in (to add some wood) and my sweet little owl figurine.

I didn't spend very much time on arranging things - can you tell? I sort of began with the basics of all the whitewear dishes and drinking glasses we'd be using on a regular basis. To balance out those kitchen items, I added my Grandmother's old candelabra, her big silver tray and her old little lamb print...oh, and her old owl print that I reframed. xo

I tried to break away from my previous tendency to create too much symmetry. I still tried to balance things out, but in a more irregular way.

I like how the light reflects on the silver things.

I also really love my owl figurine.

And look, here we are...I think this will be Hubby's favorite not so kitcheny addition to our shelves. xoxo

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Petaled Friends

I'm thinking spring. It's hard not to (despite the snow) when you see bouquets of tulips and daffodils in the grocery store. So I've gathered some photos I took of the flowers we enjoyed last year to tide me through the next couple of months of winter.

The first spring flowers that grace our land are the blossoming fruit trees - they are absolutely breathtaking.

These were the first peonies I clipped at the flower farm. They were so gorgeous and delicate and their pink blossoms enormous!

We have some very old lilac bushes that probably need some serious pruning. They are a bit tattered and worse for wear, but still produce the most fragrant smelling flowers. I take this as my cue to gather them up in bunches and spread them throughout the house.

This was the bouquet I was most proud of last summer as it was the very first clipping from our newly planted rose and peony bushes.

These are the first clippings from the Little Lamb Hydrangea bushes I planted.

These are also Little Lamb Hydrangea but were clipped towards the end of summer, after they turned from milky white to a blushing pink.

And these were the last of the rose clippings before the frost came and lulled everything to sleep.

I've missed my petaled friends and can't wait to see them again this spring.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Transfer Ware

I received a request to post on my collection of transfer ware. I have three different patterns, a collection that started when I inherited my Grandmother's red transfer ware.

They were her everyday dishes that I grew up with. She lost many of the original plates in the California earth quakes. However, it was a pattern that continued to be made, so she was able to order replacements.

This is the mark on the back.

I display the red after Thanksgiving as they're part of my Christmas decorations. They stay up until spring, when it's time to display my teal blue transfer ware.

I bought these at an antique store in Washington state. They were on clearance and I almost passed them up thinking that although they were so beautiful, what would I ever do with them? That is the day I thought of putting up my different collections by season - and that is how I rationalized buying them!

This is the mark on the back.

This was taken last spring...which was the first spring I displayed them on the shelves.

The brown transfer ware goes up in fall. I came upon my brown transfer ware at Marshall's department store, and thought they would be perfect dishes to use for Thanksgiving.

This is the mark on the back of the plate.

If we didn't have the open shelves in the kitchen, I don't think I would have started collecting the other two patterns. But the open shelves are like a blank canvas, and can create a completely new look for the kitchen depending on what I put on them.

Soon I will be taking down the red transfer ware and putting up the teal blue bird transfer ware. This time, I'm going to try something different and attempt to create less of a kitchen feel and more of a 'room' feel.

Jennifer at The Newlywed Diaries posted on this look here and I really love it! So we'll see how I do - suggestions always welcome!

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Beautiful Marble Frame

I have to tell you about this amazing find... As an antique frame collector, I was in awe when I recently came across this beautiful marble frame. The oval frame is 9-1/2 x 12 with a 5x7 opening. It's a lovely size for an intimate portrait although I've temporarily inserted a print of one of Matisse's nudes, which I think goes quite nicely with the rounded lines of the carved marble.

The aged marble indicates that it's probably from the late 1800's. The oval detail is so beautiful and in such perfect condition that holding the frame made me feel as if I was granted a pleasure typically reserved for museum staff.

But I wasn't in a museum. I was standing in an antique store thinking that this little gem would cost hundreds....hundreds upon hundreds of dollars - oh, who will be so lucky to have it? But as I turned to look at the price tag (adhered with Scotch tape), it read, "$75." I may have started to hyperventilate at this moment because I couldn't believe something so rare and so beautiful and in such pristine condition, could be priced so modestly.

So I splurged big time and brought her home with me.

I absolutely cannot wait to learn more about the origins of this lovely frame. This is such a part of my love for antiques - discovering the amazing stories that come along with them.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Evolution of the Stairs

I finally got around to painting the stairs! It was a job I was dreading but now that it's done, I can't help but ask myself why I hadn't done it sooner. Well, I know the answer to this...I've been busy doing other things.

I painted everything Simply White by Benjamin Moore except the stair treads which are painted Bennington Gray, also by Benjamin Moore.

This is what the stairs looked like when we bought the place. Miraculously, they haven't changed much in terms of the bare bones. There have been a few treads replaced, a new railing installed on the upstairs landing, and an electrician wired in a light fixture. But other than that, all they've required is a fresh coat of paint.

But a space can change dramatically through changes that are made elsewhere. This is the case with our stairs. After the dormer and six new windows were added upstairs, they saw their first breath of sunlight...oh, happy stairs.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Where The Wild Things Are

Well, this morning they were here! We were treated with an unannounced visit from the infamous Gilhouley Elk Herd. It was such a wonderful, wonderful surprise as their migration path runs through our property, and for years we've been keeping an eye out for them.

I quietly stepped out on the porch to try and capture their blessed visit before they slipped away.

But they kept coming...

and coming...

and coming...

until finally, the line ended.

Dressed in my pajamas, I stood there on the porch and just watched them peacefully make their way through.

The sound of sixty or so elk crunching through the frosty grass was exhilarating to hear.

We've only seen this herd once before - in a field up the road where there are no houses for miles. We've seen lots of tracks, some right in front of the fence, but until now the herd had always alluded us.

It was a beautiful way to start the morning. It makes me so very happy to have these friends nearby. They are such beautiful majestic creatures and it was a pure honor to set our eyes on them.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Country Cabinet

Our basement laundry room moonlights as extra storage for odds and ends.

Before the contractors showed up for the second half of the house renovation (when porch, dormer and dining room were added), I came upon the above cabinet on one of my excursions into the city. I mention this because despite being in construction mode, I couldn't maintain the will power to abstain from decorating-mode.

I thought the old country cabinet would be perfect for the laundry room as it would add some nice old-fashioned character as well as provide some extra storage for my collections of transfer ware, flower vases and all our extra Martha Stewart white ware pieces (our everyday dishes).

I like having something that is enclosed so that dust is kept to a minimum and there are no critters lurking about when I need to retrieve something...this includes the ocassional field mouse, lizard, frog, salamander or eek, spiders...all of which have been sighted at one time or another. But really, it's the spiders, as I am one of those people who abhor spiders, yet can't bare to hurt them.

The cabinet also provides extra drawer space for items I don't use frequently.

At some point, we'll completely enclose the laundry room from the rest of the basement and perhaps add some heat so that doing laundry this time of year doesn't require wearing a hat or gloves. We also need to fix some parts of the old drop ceiling as it was disturbed when the electricians and the plumbers swept through with their updates.

To give the laundry room a more comfortable cozy look, I got a nice chunky jute rug for the floor. It was also a really cheap option I found at Home Goods - only $30. For its size, I thought it was a lot more charming than the synthetic rugs you get at Home Depot or Lowe's.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A New Old Mirror

Behold my new office mirror! Remember the old gold one? Well, it wasn't really what I had in mind when I decided to put a mirror here, so I've been keeping my eye open for something else.

Due to the sloping ceiling, the size of the mirror had to be somewhat compact yet I also wanted it to fill the entire space. I also wanted to hang a mirror and not art because I wanted to brighten up this part of the room as much as possible.

This photo gives you a better perspective - my desk is to the left.

I love the combination of the gold top and gold frame with the cool brightness of all of the mirror panels. To me it has quite a lovely modern yet antique feeling to it. And I can't say that I've ever seen an old mirror quite like this one. I've seen new modern mirrors, similiar to the Shabby Chic look, but never a piece that included wood framing.

When Hubby asked, "is that a new mirror?" I used one of my old lines and replied, "no, of course it's not a new (technically speaking) mirror." He caught on to this awhile back so now I always say it slyly and use extra emphasis on the word new. Of course, I just had to follow it up with, "but guess how much I got it for?"

Now he was being sly as he loves to throw out low ball figures when I ask him to play this game - he guessed $37.50. Well, I paid $40 for it. It was $45 but I offered $40 (I know, some nerve to be so cheap!). But isn't it lovely? And it's such a steal. Hubby thinks so too even though it's an entire $2.50 more than what he guessed.

I would like to just say that it took some extra effort to capture this mirror without finding myself in the reflection! Whenever I see pictures of mirrors in magazines, I always wonder how they get the shot without them in it! It's very difficult because if you take the shot too far off to the side, it distorts the image. This is exactly why I have yet to post on the other new mirror I bought to replace the cabinet we moved out of the dining room!
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