Saturday, June 30, 2012

My First "Roadside Rescue"!

Sometimes, following home decor blogs is like a lot like reading romance novels, you know?  "Breathlessly, Charmaine swooned upon seeing the perfectly intact Louis XIV chair and cormandel screen lying discarded on the dung heap".



Um, yeah, right.  And just like with romance novels, I always think - "Hey!  Why doesn't that ever happen to me?"

Ditto Goodwill/Salvation Army shopping.  "Look at the perfectly *marvy* 9,394 piece place setting of Reed & Barton's "Love Disarmed" sterling I found at the local Salvation Army here in Shlabotnickville and it only cost me $4.39!"  Meanwhile, the Bethlehem PA Goodwill where I stopped is full of Precious Moments, Princess House crystal and ugly cafeteria-style ironstone.



But, finally - it happened to me.  Yep, it did, and at the very end of the lane on which I live!

I found *this* yesterday - waiting for the waste disposal technicians:

Hey - that's my house!

No cracks, no chips, no de-silvering, no "age spots".  Tight frame as well (that somehow doesn't sound...right  lol)

Nice detail on the frame:

I'm not sure how I'm going to proceed, but I believe this is the piece I've been looking for to hang over my bar area:

More to follow; now I'm off to the local sludge refinery; I hear someone found an entire service for 12 of "Flora Danica" there just last week!  ;)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Raising the "bar" on Hollywood - Part Deux

This charming fellow came to live at my house this weekend - courtesy of an eBay purchase:

Isn't he great?  He's reproduction of a circa 1940s martini shaker and I am in love - can you see his bowtie?

He's a *perfect* companion to this:

My parents' West Bend penguin ice bucket!  Although they used it for potato salad, it's a perfect bar accessory, and will definitely have a place of honor on my bar table!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I had a little nut tree...

I had a little nut tree,
Nothing would it bear
But a silver nutmeg
And a golden pear

The King of Spain's daughter
Came to visit me
All for the sake
Of my little nut tree.

This was one of my favorite nursery rhymes as a child, and I've always loved pears.  When I was in elementary school, my mom would make sure I had a pear in my lunch when they were available.

One of my hauls from Home Goods (the Mecca of miserly DIY decorators like yours truly) was a plastic box of faux red apples and green pears.  They were allegedly scented like the fruit, but whatever they had been scented with had long faded and frankly, I'm glad of it.  They are very lifelike and for a long while I had them in a glass bowl in the living room. They look like this (not my photo - you can tell because it's *good* - lol)

Her dress was made of crimson, 
Jet black was her hair
She asked me for my nutmeg 
And my golden pear

And I then I saw a decoupaged pear at Confessions of a Plate Addict - using French script from The Graphics Fairy.  It was like sensory overload, and I *had* to do it.  My "victim", however, was not one of the pears from the Home Goods box, but rather a big giant pear I had picked up somewhere else.  I think it turned out very well.

I said "So fair a princess
Never did I see
I'll give you all the fruit
From my little nut tree"

As for the smaller pears, I silver leafed them (I was fresh out of nutmegs to silver leaf, so my pears are silvered instead of gilded) with Rub 'n  Buf and I'm also very pleased with them.  I think they will be beautiful in a crystal bowl in my living room.  Here's one next to the Big Giant Pear for size comparison.

I danced o'er the water, 
I danced o'er the sea
And all the birds in the air
Couldn't catch me

Friday, June 15, 2012

Raising the "bar" on Hollywood

OK...OK.  No more puns (maybe)

I am an unabashed fan of the Golden Age of Hollywood.  Brad who?  Tom wha?  Exactly three current Hollywood stars do anything for me, and they are Liam Neeson, Daniel Craig and Jean Dujardin.  The rest - meh.

Give me...

John Payne...
(remember him from "Miracle on 34th Street"?)

the insanely hot Robert Mitchum...

the glamorously swashbuckling Stewart Granger...
(whose ability to look hot and virile in tights was of course second only to...)

Errol Flynn...
(the original Tasmanian Devil)

the never ubiquitous and always iconic
Cary Grant

and my personal favorite - the baddest bad boy of film noir - 
Steve Cochran...

over ANY modern "flavor-of-the-month"

I think that the 30s/40s/50s era of Hollywood - especially say from 1939 - the mid 50s - is a perfect compliment to the French apartment style I'm desperately trying to cultivate ("desperately" being the key word here).  I have a small bar area that consists of a demi-lune table that is vaguely French (via the now defunct Bombay Company).  The metal is silvery pewter, which works for my living room.  I have a small collection of vintage bar stuff - coupe glasses, bar tools, books, etc. - and I'm hopefully going to be collecting some more.

vintage martini glasses

(notice their size - they are NOTHING like the ridiculously
oversized glasses sold today.  This way, you can actually have
*two* drinks before dinner and not have to be poured into
your dining chair)

Right now the area is a mess because it's striped up with my fevered attempts to find just the perfect shade of  grey for the living room walls.  Thankfully, that mission has been accomplished.

I am considering a Venetian glass mirror, or perhaps a very ornate frame that I can silver leaf and use for a mirror frame.  I'm still on the lookout for that item.

In the meantime, I've definitely decided to use this iconic photograph by the great society photographer - Slim Aarons - as part of my bar area.  It screams elegance and taste and just takes me to a place where things were a little nicer, a little more formal and a lot more gracious.  It's called "The Kings of Hollywood", and I cannot think of a more appropriate title, can you?

Here's a close-up of the photo:

Clark Gable, Van Heflin, Gary Cooper and Jimmy Stewart
New Years' Eve, 1957
The Crown Room of Romanoff's

They don't make 'em like this any longer - and it's our great loss.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Copycats R Us

I live in the "Slate Belt" area of PA.  In addition to it having the most unappealing area name (except for maybe the "Rust Belt" area), it's rural, which is a good thing.  I've been a reverse carpetbagger for almost 20 years and have always lived on acreage.

I have been renting at my little place for 3 years now, and it's never had a house number.  Generally, it's not an issue as there's no US mail delivery here and I have to use a PO box.  But since none of the other houses on the lane are numbered, I know it's frustrating for the UPS/FedX/oil guy/gas guy/Fuller Brush man to try and find the right address of anyone who lives here.

One of my favorite blogs is Confessions of  A Plate Addict.  I've used a number of  Debbie's ideas around my home with great success, and when I saw her flower pot wreath, I fell hard.

I won't tell you how much it cost me to make it - let's just say I now understand the value of those 40 foot long receipt tapes from Michaels  :D

The only changes I made to Debbie's method was to use a raffia wrapped wire to secure the pots since mine will be outside.  I plan on bringing it in during the winter months, but I think it should withstand the other 3 seasons.

I also painted my house number (freehand, and I'm kinda rather proud of how the numbers turned out) on a piece of the ubiquitous rock that was mined in the area.

Now, if Liam Neeson and/or Daniel Craig ever decide to visit, they'll be able to find me easily.  Thanks, Debbie! :D

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Decoupaged Foyer Table

This is my first attempt at decoupage since it was hugely popular around 1971.  I was 10, and I decoupaged an octagonal wooden (can we say heavy?!?) purse.  It was painted banana yellow, lined in royal blue velvet and painstakingly applied guimp trim.  The image was a bird and flowers.  It actually sounds a lot worse than it was (maybe...memories have a way of rose-coloring themselves

I have a small table I use for mail & keys.  As usual, I have no "before" photos, but suffice it to say it was a nondescript brown wood with a nondescript blah pull.

I lightly sanded it, and painted the top with Benjamin Moore's "Queen Anne Pink" (a pale cameo color) and the remainder of the table with Behr's "Quietude" (one of the many pale gray samples I had in my search for the perfect living room/dining room color).  I then used a dark stain (brush on, wipe off) to age it.

After painting, I decoupaged the top with images from a designer scrapbooking paper pad I bought at Michael's.  It's called "Life's Journey"  Since I use the table for mail, I thought the postcard & invoice images were appropriate.  The lining for the drawer is also from the same paper pad.  I used some of the same dark stained used to age the wood to further "age" the papers; I dampened a paper rag with the stain and wiped it lightly over the papers.(As always, I apologize for the quality (or more accurately - the lack thereof) of my photos)

My favorite part, though, is the key.  It's 3-dimensional, but flat (does that make sense?)  It's also available from Michael's in the scrapbooking section.  I used Modge Podge to apply the decoupage.

Finally, I switched out the ugly metal pull for a clear glass knob.

It turned out rather well, I think.  I'm glad I aged the piece; otherwise, it would have been too sugary and twee for my needs.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Happy (early!) Birthday... me!

Like so many people, I am a huge fan of Amy Chalmers at Maison Decor.  Along with Rosemary at VillaBarnes and Kathleen at Musings From A French Cottage, she has been so helpful to me.  Kathleen was the first blogger I emailed about a tutorial, Rosemary held my hand when my first attempts at transfers with a blender pen were not successful, and Amy helped me find the perfect shade of gray for my living room and dining room - thus saving me from a black hole filled with sample pots from Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore.  

I follow these three blogs avidly (along with way too many others - lol).  When Amy started posting about her new shop, that only added to my fangirl-dom.  Then one day, a picture appeared on her blog:

The post was about creating a lamp from the candlesticks, but my eyes immediately zeroed in on the china cups (apparently so did a lot of other eyes - the cups received a LOT of comments!).  I emailed Amy to ask if they were still available - and they were!  So now they are mine...

....and they are gorgeous! <3

They look beautiful in my bowed glass china cabinet.

If anyone is interested, they are only "recent" vintage (circa 1980 - 1986), but they look old-world, don't they?

The back says Narumi Bone China - "Rouge" A6125...

...but my research leads me to believe they are actually Mikasa "Rouge" by Cathy Hardwick. thinks so, too:

The photo makes these look lavender, but they really are pink.  If there was such a thing as "Tiffany Pink", this would be it!

I am just thrilled with my self-birthday gift, and thanks so much, Amy - for your inspiration and kindness.