Friday, February 17, 2017

French Country: Little Tables Follow Me Home

Little tables always catch my eye.
Even though I really don't need another little table.
I've convinced myself I can always find a place for a tiny table.
How much room can they take up anyway?

Sometimes they'll squeeze into an empty space next to an easy chair.
Just right for a cup of coffee or a magazine.
A Goodwill find, this little beauty that I painted and distressed has curvy French lines.



Little tables are like those adorable dogs you see at the animal rescue organizations. 
How can you not take one home with you?
They're just so cute.
(This little one came home with me!)


Little tables are perfect tucked into a small space to hold a CD player and a wire basket of CDs.
This one was just made for my vintage glass jars.


Another little table I fell for at an estate sale is this gold metal one with a glass top.
I slid some European postcards between a mirror and a glass top
for a fun look in the living room.


This round table came home with me from our local Paris Street Market
and made itself at home next to my couch.
The top is wood and the legs are metal.


We discovered this table at a yard sale.
Missing its top, we had a piece of thick glass cut to size.
It spent the summer on the patio and now nestles next to a cozy chair in the sunroom.
Visually, it takes up very little space.


Another little wire-framed table soaks up the morning sun in a southern window.


Little benches work well as little tables too.
This rustic bench caught my eye at an estate sale on a rainy Friday. 
It was tossed into a muddy back yard, too "rustic" to sell.


But the bright green was so fresh, I could picture it on my front porch.
The green is almost a perfect match to the green of my house. 
Once it dried out and Ron evened up the legs, it looked like it belonged.
A steal for $2.


Finally, this mid-century metal stand thinks it's a table.
I couldn't pass it up because it was RED!
It's been just about everywhere in my house
but I think I finally found the perfect spot for it in my office. 


Little tables fill a niche without a lot of fuss. 
And you have to admit, they're so cute, you just have to take them home.

It followed me home, dear.
Can I keep it?

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Friday, February 10, 2017

The Best Seat in the House

Has this ever happened to you?
You go into a store for a magazine and come out with a gigantic clock?
Yep, been there, done that!
But this time it was so worth it. 


We'd just strolled down Santa Fe Drive in Denver, had lunch at a Mexican restaurant,
peeked into a few gallery windows, and popped into an antique shop on the corner . . . 
just to look around, mind you.

 I wanted to see if they might have the little white enamel pitcher I'd been looking for.


A bell tinkled and a friendly voice welcomed us as we opened the door. 
"Hello!" he said. 
At first we thought it was the shop owner and we responded with friendly hello's 
but didn't see anyone around.

"Hello!" the voice said again. This time we looked around and spotted a pretty gray parrot in a big cage eyeing us. We said hello to him and he immediately responded with a cheery "Hello!" 
Such a lovely welcome.

So, we were looking around, about ready to leave, when I saw a Bergere armchair 
in the back of the store. It looked a bit shabby but so inviting.
I dragged it over to a desk about the size of mine at home and sat down.


The deep seat was sooo comfortable.  A few stains marked the tapestry but it had a lovely design 
on the back, seat and padded arms. So pretty and a steal on sale for $29. Sold!
If I didn't like it, I could always put it in my next yard sale.
And oh yes, I saw this exact same chair in an antique store recently for $112!

As we left the store, we heard a little voice send us off with a cheery "Hello!"


I couldn't wait to get this chair home and try it out at my desk.
By the way, I purchased this desk when it was painted five different primary colors.
Sanding and painting it white revealed a gorgeous piece of furniture.

Ah. The chair was the perfect size. I could sink into it. Lean back into it. Rest my arms on it. 
It was the most comfortable chair I'd ever sat in. 
I was sure my productivity would soar in this wonderful chair. 


Initially, I was going to paint the dark wood white to match my desk 
but the more I looked at it, the more I liked the contrast.


One of my favorite quotes is from the Impecunious Collector's Guide to American Antiques.
John T. Kirk advises, "Buy it ratty and leave it alone."
Gotta love that!

 I did very carefully clean the tapestry with Woolite Upholstery cleaner but left the stains and worn spots alone. I liked the stories this chair told with its scars and splatters of blue paint.


This chair . . . I knew it was meant to be.
And the stains? What stains? That's just patina!
And so much better than an enamel pitcher!
Hello!

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Friday, February 3, 2017

A Field of Dreams

I love books.
I could spend hours, maybe even days, in our local library.
It's big enough to have a decent selection, yet small enough to know where everything is.


Our 500,000+ square foot downtown library is amazing. The architecture alone is spectacular. 
But it's so big, it can be a bit overwhelming.


However, our little neighborhood library, the Eugene Field branch, is just right. 
Kind of like the three bears' story. 
Just right.


I love to read and usually check out three or four books every couple of weeks.  
I always select an extra book or two in case I don't really like a book once I get into it. 
There are too many books I want to read to wade through those I don't love.


I've been going to my local library for years and never paid much attention to the name
-- the Eugene Field Library. Until a day not long ago when I was at an estate sale.

Always on the lookout for old books with beautiful covers, 
I spotted a thin faded-cream volume with daisies on the cover. 
Upon picking it up, I was pleasantly surprised that "Brilliants" was written 
by none other than my very own Eugene Field.


It was in poor condition, its pages loose and likely to escape at any moment. 
So I clutched it tightly and took it home with me.


Then I decided to find out more about my library's namesake. 
Do you ever wonder who these people are that public buildings and streets are named for?


I found out Mr. Field had lived in my neighborhood for two years in the 1880s as the editor of the local newspaper, the Denver Tribune. He was most well known as an author of children's poetry.


Interestingly, his father, Roswell Field, represented Dred Scot 
when the slave sued for his freedom in 1853. 
Although he was unsuccessful in his fight,
his case was instrumental in eventually abolishing slavery. Fascinating.


While in Denver, Eugene Field lived in a sweet little cottage
which was later saved and moved in 1930 to our local Washington Park
thanks to Margaret "Molly" Brown's foresight and means. (She's always surprising me.)
It served as a small branch library and now houses the non-profit organization, The Park People.


Next to the little house is a wonderful often-photographed statue called "Wynken' Blynken' and Nod," portraying Field's most famous children's bedtime poem, originally titled "Dutch Lullaby."


The story is about three children who fall asleep dreaming of sailing
among the stars in a boat that's a wooden shoe.


This lovely bronze illustrating the poem was donated to the Eugene Field library.


My little Eugene Field book is now tied securely together with twine 
and holds a special place on my mantel, an appropriate nod to a man who loved books.


"Wynken, Blynken and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
into a sea of dew . . . "


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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Quiet Time - Feb. 2017

Sending you a few quiet moments.

Giant cottonwoods line an old irrigation ditch, frozen over and covered with snow, 
on the northeastern plains of Colorado. 





"Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience."  -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have a beautiful day,
Pat 



Friday, January 27, 2017

French Country: Romancing the Home

What does a romantic room look like? Feel like?


Romantic doesn't always mean roses and candles, although those things are nice too.


To me, a romantic home is one that makes my heart thump a little faster.
But softly.


For me, a romantic home has a sense of history or a feeling of being transported to another era.


Family heirlooms like leather-bound books, old photographs, a black velvet riding helmet, 
or a pair of fancy white gloves can lead your mind into a romantic fantasy that you can bring to life.


Ron and I met in an antique store 
and have always enjoyed going to estate sales and thrift stores together.  
When we find that special piece and know just where it's going to live in our home, 
there's a sweet moment between us. That's romantic!


Setting the mood in your home amps up the romantic quotient. 
Romance your senses with these tips.

Turn off the phone. Play some soft music.
We love Chet Baker's husky voice and seductive trumpet. 
Give your gauzy drapes a spray of linen or lavender water
and open the window so the scent wafts into the room.


Stash your clutter in a basket, switch on your table lamps and douse the overheads.


Make a home-cooked meal and serve it on your favorite dishes. 
It doesn't have to be fancy, just from the heart. 
I make a mean pesto pasta that pairs well with wine and anything chocolate.
Make movie night special.


Hold hands while you stroll around your garden,
noticing unexpected beauty.


And if none of these things work for you, 
a simple bouquet and a few candles always say romance.
💘
Happy Valentine's Day!

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Light and Texture in the French Attic

Welcome to my "French Attic" 
-- my private little upstairs space where I write my blog and read and daydream.
Please, come on up. 


The sun is slipping away so early these days, but I'm just not ready for these dark days.
So I'm making some changes in my office to make the most of the daylight hours. 

Here is a "before" picture.
Notice how the outdoors changes with the seasons. 


And here's the "after."

 I swept the sheer curtains to the side of the tall windows instead of tying them in the middle 
to let in more light. I even washed the windows (inside and out!). What a difference! 
Who knew they were so dirty?


Another change in this space was moving my big red leather chair and ottoman 
to face the windows instead of into the room. 
I wasn't sure how it would look until I lugged it around and tried it. Yes! It works!
It's a perfect spot for reading or just watching the noisy Canada geese fly by on their way south. 


Light and texture are two important design elements that bring a French feel to any space.
As the light outside changes throughout the day, this room is bathed in dramatic shadows.


I removed the shabby chic floral slipcover, revealing the rich red leather
that seems to feel more like Fall/Winter than the summery print did.
It's a simple change that gives the space an atmosphere of sensual warmth.


Draping a chunky white throw and an airy piano shawl over the back of the chair
also lends some interesting texture to the smooth leather 


A sheepskin and a textured blanket on the leather ottoman cozies up the space and says 
"put your feet up!"
(Loved this book; you might enjoy it too.)


Roxy thinks this window seat is a good place to watch for squirrels . . .


or maybe take a little afternoon nap.
She blends in so well, sometimes I can't find her nestled in the blankets.


The top of a red mid-century modern stand in the corner adds a nice shiny accent 
and holds some of my favorite finds including 
a vase of white silk flowers and a vintage beaded compact.


On the opposite wall, an old wicker planter corrals favorite magazines 
and displays my collection of monogrammed linens. 




And a stack of vintage suitcases, a poster of Venice and an old hall tree in the corner 
makes me dream of traveling somewhere exotic in the winter months to come. 


My "French Attic" faces east and the morning light pours into this room, 
the windows unfettered by curtains and the glass sparkling in the sunlight.
I can watch the silent snow dressing my street in white in the morning
and the full moon floating up over the rooftops like a giant silver balloon in the evening.


As I watch the day drift by my French Attic windows,
I find a peaceful solitude in this room of my own.

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