Sunday, August 23, 2015

Transitioning to an Autumn State of Mind





My house is a shambles.  Half painted kitchen cabinets in the front hall and on my dining room table. Paint-spattered drop cloths all over the floor.  Bathroom sink and faucet sitting on the coffee table. Cans of paint everywhere.  

We'll be going back to the cabin soon to try and make some headway with the remaining items on our to-do list and with all the pre-preparation (painting bathroom vanity and kitchen cabinets, ordering fixtures and other materials, ordering a replacement window with tempered glass, and on and on and on), it's been hard to squeeze in any meaningful blogging time over the past few months.



For a while now, posts have been less frequent since I must fill every spare moment with seemingly endless cabin-related activity. And most of my photos tend to be detailed, close-ups....that way you don't see all the chaos just outside the frame ;-)


Chaos that is driving me crazy, since my favorite season is approaching.  Fall.   I had all kinds of ambitious plans that I wanted to complete in time to showcase all the fun fall- and Halloween-themed projects I have in mind (if I love fall, I really, really love Halloween).  But all this has taken a back seat to our all-consuming cabin project and our deadline for getting our certificate of occupancy, which looms ever-closer. 

But, ready or not, September 1 is just a few weeks away...and it's time to start getting my head into an Autumn frame of mind.  I'm being inspired (and urged onward towards warm fall colors, pumpkins, and Halloween creatures) by all the early fall, transitional fall, and just downright, full-on fall-themed posts and images that I'm starting to see everywhere. 

So, even though I've only accomplished or partially accomplished a few California-house projects...



......and my house looks like a tornado just ripped through.....I've taken a first, tiny step towards fall by creating a pre-autumn, transitional vignette in the only part of my house that's untouched by all the craziness and isn't completely cluttered--- the book-nook on our stairs.



No pumpkins, fall leaves, mums, or anything else obviously Fall used here, not yet....



I 'shopped' my house and used what I have at hand.... books in soft neutrals and faded jewel colors...





....a mix of objects in bronze-y gold and silver and pewter, a variety of other textured items.  All this says I'm starting to think about fall.






A note about using reflective glass: poor Madame Pompadour is somewhat obscured by the shiny reflection of the glass in the oval frame below.....



Here she is looking so much better with the glass gone.  This is why I'm liking so much the idea of affixing an image directly to a piece of wood, sticking it in a frame, and foregoing the glass altogether...





Without the glass, colors are deeper and richer, and if the image is decoupaged or transferred to wood or metal, you get a nice texture as well that somehow makes the art piece look more custom and personal.  I created the large, gold-framed eighteenth-century lady picture below by repeating the process I used to create my decoupaged horse wall-art piece above (click here to see how I did that).....  



.....using the empty frame I picked up during recent shopping trip (click here for more on that).....



....and clip art that I found at the The Graphics Fairy (click here for this website). Using my ink jet printer, I printed the image onto a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 ivory colored, linen-style resume paper and decoupaged it to a piece of thin plywood and then inserted it into the empty frame.

I love the contrast of the neutral graphite-and-white of the drawing (it looks like the original might have been in pen and ink or an etching??) with the lavish, deep, rich gold of the frame.  






Happy pre-fall and thanks for visiting!

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Linking to the following this week....
Bouquet of Talent at Life on Lakeshore Drive
Idea Box Thursday at Mila's Little Things
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home




Sunday, August 9, 2015

4 Reasons to Collect Vintage Silverware




Collecting old, vintage silverware is weakness of mine, along with red, blue, and brown transferware, chocolate, and anything dog- or horse-themed, among others.  Why collect old silverware?, you might ask.  I suppose the answer could just be because I like it, but, for me, there must always be a reason for everything....so I did a bit of self-analysis and loosely organized the results into four categories.  


1. Pretty Patterns

I love the way a pretty silver fork or spoon feels in my hands, and using vintage silverware with it's intricate, old-fashioned patterns makes every-day eating feel special and elegant.  




OK, not every meal is a leisured, sit-down affair and I don't always have the time linger over each meal and think about how special and elegant  I'm being.   But even if it is a quick bowl of cereal and cup of coffee in the morning while I watch the weekday news before I hit the road, on a subconscious level, it feels a little different from just using some run-of-the mill, stainless steel nonentity that I purchased from some big box store or chain retail place.  

Not that there is anything wrong with stainless steel; depending on it's design, stainless steel can live in total harmony right alongside vintage silver.  I have a nice collection of stainless steel knives, forks, and spoons with handles that look like old, tarnished silver (or old pewter) that looks very nice indeed sitting next to my vintage silver-- but that can be a separate post.





I never get tired of marveling at the detailed, intricate designs of these old pieces....



Mixing up a wide range of patterns and design eras can lead to an interesting, collected look when setting a table....which leads to Reason 2.





2. Personalized Tablescapes

I have a full set of matched, vintage silverware and serving pieces that was a wedding gift from my mom that I love to use for very special occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.  




But I also love to mix all the different silverware patterns that I have collected over the years for an interesting, eclectic look for less formal occasions and for every day, quick meals.  




Whether it's for a sit down meal (unfortunately rather rare in our house these days) or I'm just plopping down on the sofa with my cereal or a plate of brownies, choosing the flatware is a fun activity that allows me to appreciate and enjoy not only my silverware collection, but all the various plates and bowls I've collected over the years as well.  




Picking which fork or spoon to use, along with the right bowl or plate, is rather like picking out your outfit every day, and gives you the opportunity to be creative and think outside the box for every sort of occasion.





3. Holding History in Your Hands

One of the reasons I collect old and vintage things is my love of, and fascination for, history (one of my favorite subjects in school).  Many of the patterns on old, vintage silverware have been discontinued and are no longer available new, and using these old pieces allows you to create one-of-a-kind, highly personalized tablescapes with items that have a unique story behind each one.   




I love to turn these things over and look at the marks on the back....and if I have time, do a little research on the Internet to try and figure out their provenance, how old they are, who made them...  

As with all collected old things and antiques, it's fun to speculate about who owned them previously, where they originated from, how they ended up in the antique where I found them....  

That is part of the fun of antiquing I suppose (for more on my vintage collecting and antiquing adventures click here and here).  





4. Because My Mom Did

Growing up, the 'silverware' drawer, was filled with, you guessed it-- pretty, mismatched silverware that my mom had collected over the years.    This isn't something that I started off doing automatically when I was an adult on my own-- I started off with an inexpensive set stainless steel flatware. I suppose this was a sort of modest rebellion against what I had grown up with.  

But I soon course-corrected, and, as with the overall decor of my home, moved away from a modern, contemporary table-setting style and filled my 'silverware' drawer with a growing collection of eclectic, vintage silverware.  




Even though I've evolved back to a style that reflects what I grew up with...there are differences between my style and my mom's.   When my mom visits, she has her favorites that she likes to use (smaller, more delicate pieces).  I like silverware with bigger, heftier handles that I can get a good grip on.  I'm also a spoon fanatic, and probably have more spoons than anything else (because of my cereal-every-morning habit). 

So I tend to collect both finer, more delicate pieces as well as pieces that are larger and more robust.

I found most of the spoons shown below at an antique store in a tiny town in Utah, they made their first (tarnished) appearance in this post.




A quick note on the practical side of using old silverware on an ever-day basis:  

  • I wash everything in the dishwasher (no hand washing)
  • Using (and washing) old silverware constantly seems to keep it from getting tarnished.  It does get a bit yellow over time, so on occasion I go over individual pieces with silver polish, but for the most part, there doesn't seem to be a need for constant polishing if you use it all the time (it doesn't get that near-black tarnish that silver gets if it sits out too long).  This is a good thing, since constant polishing will strip away silver plate over time.

Do you like to collect vintage silverware?

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Thanks for visiting!

Linking to the following this week....
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home