Friday, February 16, 2018

Look What I Won !!!

Hi Friends, I can't wait to tell you what I won!

Something that sure brought back a lot of memories. 
Remember when we typed on manual typewriters, forcefully striking the keys, untangling them 
when two keys got stuck together, returning the carriage when the little bell dinged, 
and starting over when we made a mistake?

Computers have certainly made typing a lot easier but you just can't beat 
the old vintage typewriters for charm.

Yep, I ended up with a real beauty and here's the whole story of how I won it.

At a recent vintage market in Colorado Springs, 
I entered my name in a give-away and pretty much forgot about it. 
Then, one day a week or so later, I received a phone call saying I'd won a gift certificate 
at my favorite antique mall in the Springs. Yay!

Colorado Springs is only about an hour from Denver so Ron and I
hit the road in search of bargains. 
After a couple of days of snow, we had a perfect Rocky Mountain day 
with sunshine, blue skies and 55 degree weather.

Something at this mall had caught my eye the last time I was there -- a vintage typewriter.  
I wasn't sure where it would fit and it was a little more than I wanted to pay but, with my gift card burning a whole in my wallet, I decided to go back to the mall and see if they still had it.

The Sweet William Antique Mall lies on the edge of a historic district
called Old Colorado City on Route 24. I love this mall.
The salesperson really gets into the spirit of days gone by with an amazing period outfit
and a wavy bob. Isn't she adorable?

Plus all of the booths are fantastic with a varied selection.

I was looking for an old typewriter for my office. 
I'd seen a couple previously but, sadly, they were both gone this time around. 
So we kept looking.

Guess it was meant to be.

I found a 1920s Underwood typewriter that was perfect. Not too big, case included and those wonderful shiny keys trimmed in silver metal. The carriage bell even dinged!

I happened to meet the owner of that booth and asked her if it was her best price. 
It had already been marked down $10 and I didn't expect a discount. Still, never hurts to ask. 
She was such a sweetheart and reduced the price another $15.
That and my gift card and I said, "I'll take it!"

Before we began our return trip to Denver, we drove a few blocks to Old Colorado City
and walked around the 1800s streets, oohing and ahhing at the gorgeous architecture.
Pikes Peak, a massive 14er, dominates the sky and seems to rear up right from the sidewalk.

We found an amazing restaurant called Paravicini's Italian Bistro and enjoyed our lunch
in an old renovated building. If you go, I recommend the eggplant rollatini. Yum! 
We're already planning a return trip this summer
when we can sit on their patio and admire Pikes Peak.

We learned that Old Colorado City was founded in 1859 as a supply hub for the new gold mines.
The town boomed in 1891 when two more gold strikes in Cripple Creek and Victor
created additional demand for supplies.

Back home, I knew my vintage typewriter would fit on a shelf in my office 
but I thought it would be more visible on a retro metal stand I had.

I decided to style the stand with a few office accessories.

I love the feel of this early typewriter and the images it evokes.
I wonder about the women who used it almost one hundred years ago.

And today, it still works.
As the words on the top of the typewriter say, it's a real Champion.

So, a beautiful Colorado day, a fantastic lunch with my sweetie, antiquing and a gift certificate.
My kind of perfect day!


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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A New Look for an Old Crate

Please note:
Last week I experienced some technical difficulties with my computer and am not sure this post was distributed to everyone. Therefore, I'm sending it again to all subscribers under a different name.
The original post was called "French Wine Crate 2.0."
My apologies if you've already seen this post. If not, please enjoy.

Have you been wondering whatever happened to that rare French wine crate 
I uncovered last summer in a dusty basement at an estate sale? 
Well, here's a little hint.

You might remember my post about that wine crate.
Here's a link if you missed it.  Wine Crate Find

The crate was perfect for containing a sparkling centerpiece on the dining room table.

But you know we can never leave well enough alone, right? 
I wanted to find another way to use this beautiful crate and I found it in the kitchen.

By turning the crate on its end I was able to make some space on my kitchen island 
and now I'm using it to hold bottles of wine and cooking utensils. 

Looking at the wine crate from the side,
you can still read the beautiful French writing on the front.

This really opened up the counter space and gave me a little more elbow room.

The display makes me think of a fancy kitchen store like Sur la Table.

This stand-alone cabinet is handy for parties, baking or unloading market baskets.

Don't overlook everyday objects like these Prosecco corks
when creating a unique accessory.

Cheers, my friends!

So, what do you do with your wooden boxes and crates? Love to hear from you.


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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Making the Most of Small Spaces

Just because you live in a small space doesn't mean you can't have a beautiful, stylish home. 
We live in an old Victorian cottage that can be a challenge when it comes to decorating. 
Small rooms, doors everywhere, and dark little nooks. 
And, for someone who loves to collect, it's even more of a challenge. 

My number one rule:  Buy something, get rid of something. Declutter!
And yes, I count paperbacks and belts!

So, how to make the most of your small space? Here are a few ideas to consider. 
Of course, everyone has a different situation and a unique style 
so feel free to adapt these tips for your needs.

That brings me to my second rule: Live with what you love. 
If you're not a minimalist, find a way to display your treasured belongings. 
Make it work but remember less is more.

Something to keep in mind when it comes to your collections -- don't over-accessorize. 
Chose a few of your favorite accessories to display on the mantel or bookshelf. 
You can always switch things out every now and then to use other pieces of your collections and 
to keep the look fresh. Keeping accessories simple on your tables and shelves opens up the room.

A general rule to make your room look bigger is to limit your color palette to neutral, light colors. This will expand the visual flow of your room and make it appear larger. 

An accent wall in a different color may break that flow and chop up the space.
I tried an accent wall once in a dark red, which I thought was chic and dramatic. 
Over time, I realized it was just too much and felt like I'd hit a dead-end road. 
I toned it down, painting the entire space (living and dining rooms and foyer) all the same light color (Benjamin Moore Khaki). It's a color I've never tired of and goes with everything.

Speaking of accessories, one of the most effective accessories to make a room feel bigger is mirrors. Placed on a wall opposite a window a mirror reflects light into the room and visually expands
the space. Besides mirrors are one of those things I love to collect 
and I have them in every room of my house, even the kitchen.

Another easy tip is to keep your window coverings light and high. 
Hang them above the top of your window and expand their width by hanging them 
on the outer side of your window. 
I like to use an airy linen panel or a sheer that lets in the light and provides a little privacy.

Moving to the kitchen, keeping your counters clear of too many items 
will help make that space appear calmer and larger. 
Use unusual containers or baskets to hold your silverware or to contain utensils. 
Don't overlook vertical space in the kitchen. I'm lucky to have high ceilings. 
I display some collectibles on top of my cabinets and my pots and pans on the wall.

Another storage option is stacking vintage suitcases. 
They look warm and inviting in any room. 
I stack mine in my bedroom; they hold family photos and keepsakes. 
I also tie luggage tags on the handles stating the contents, 
making it easier to find what I'm looking for.

Take advantage of little nooks by turning them into an office space or a pantry. 
The hallway off my kitchen was narrow and not much use until I had a pantry built
on one wall giving me a lot more storage space. 
The top has glass doors for display with solid doors on the bottom for big items.
An additional pantry space fits on the landing and holds non-perishable food. 

Upstairs, I had two closets built in a space that we never used. 
We were lucky to find the original doors in the attic.
Then I tucked a pretty desk and some shelves in between them for a perfect office. 

I've saved the biggest tip, literally, for last -- furniture. 
Don't cram too much furniture into a space and keep it in scale with your room. 
I finally traded in my big sofa for a smaller loveseat that fits the room so much better. 
I found this lovely white loveseat at an estate sale for about a hundred dollars and gave my 
oversized sofa to some college girls renting the house across the street. Everyone wins.

Another tip for furniture is to use round tables. 
They take up less space and are easier to move around. 
I have a round antique dining table and recently switched out my big rectangular coffee table 
for a small oval 1940s table that works much better. 
Another estate sale find, it was interesting
to learn that this table once belonged to a former Colorado governor. 

I have to admit I stored my big coffee table in the attic. 
Who knows when I might finally find my dream mountain cabin! 
I hope these tips help you make the most of your small spaces.
Good luck and have fun! 


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Friday, January 26, 2018

~~ Six Ways to Add French Soul to your Kitchen ~~

Many of us who love the ease and warmth of French Country style would like
to enhance that feeling in our kitchens -- the heart of our home.

So, here are six simple ways I add some warm and welcoming
French soul to my kitchen.


1. Mixing textured and smooth surfaces, vintage and modern, old brick and stone, wood and tile all contribute to a rich depth in the kitchen.

Marble countertops look beautiful but stain easily and require maintenance so you could consider white quartz or butcher block. I have a slab of marble on top of a wooden cabinet that satisfies my "marble envy" without having to re-do my countertops. 


2. Most authentic French Country kitchens do not have built-in cabinets. Rather they incorporate stand-alone furniture such as hutches, armoires, cupboards and open shelving.

This small cabinet gives my kitchen a curated-over-time feel and adds the warmth of natural wood as well as extra counter space. 


3. Color plays an important role in the soul of a French kitchen. Soft, muted tones bring the feeling of country to the kitchen. If you have an island, you could consider painting it a different color than your cabinets for contrast and to enhance that feeling that it was collected over time.

My walls are painted a pale buttery yellow and my cabinets are a creamy white. It's interesting to note that yellow is considered by the color experts an uplifting color, offering hope and happiness and giving warmth even on a cold, cloudy day. White opens our minds to create and appears fresh and clean, both appropriate colors for a kitchen.


4. Although the most critical things in your kitchen are probably your appliances, I think a farmhouse sink with a French-inspired faucet adds tons of French soul. A farmhouse sink is definitely on my wish list.

Note the beadboard backsplash that gives the kitchen a French farmhouse flavor. Old black and white Parisian postcards and a market basket rev up that French soul mood. 


5. What French Country kitchen would be complete without accessories? Accessories are a fun and inexpensive way to add warmth and charm to a room that can feel too sterile. Whether it's copper pots and pans, fresh flowers, an ironstone collection on display, or a strutting rooster, accessories complete the story.  

Baskets for storage, rush seats on chairs, or fabrics (toile, lace, ticking) on window treatments
or skirted under your sink all add more texture and age.

Use old pitchers or crocks to hold a bouquet of cooking utensils and old wooden spoons. 


6. And finally, my number one way to add French soul to your kitchen is, ta dah, . . . a chippy old farm table! If you have room in your kitchen for an eat-in space, a worn table and chairs will make your friends and family feel like they've stepped into an old-world French farmhouse oozing with soul and character.

Because my kitchen is so small, I placed my farm table and chairs in my adjacent sunroom but it works just as well. Note the contrast of the distressed table with the elegant candelabra (purchased at the Vintage Whites Market in Denver!)

There are many more ways to add a little French soul and style to your kitchen 
such as artwork, white dishes, farm animals (my personal favorite), or lighting.

I hope this post may have given you a few ideas to try
that could add some French soul to your kitchen.


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Friday, January 19, 2018

~~ A Post on a Post ~~

A post on a post? Why not? 
You won't want to miss this post . . . I didn't!
Find out why I went dumpster diving for a little piece of history. 

It all started when contractors started to demo an old house on our block.

The housing market in Denver has exploded recently and many of these lovely small bungalows 
are being scraped down to the ground or are popping their tops to add more square footage. 

The next few photos are about five minutes walk from our house in an old neighborhood. 
Such a dramatic change. 

Usually,  a modern structure that doesn't fit with the character of our old neighborhoods 
is hastily constructed where a lovely little bungalow once stood. 
Or a block of cracker-box "slot" condos that house too many people, increasing traffic 
and taking up limited parking spots, changes the vibe of these turn-of-the-century streets. 

It makes me sad to see the character of our historic city being overly-modernized,
especially when it happens on my street. 
These boxy condos are everywhere you look. 
How'd you like to live right next to the new lite-rail/noisy freeway?

So, back to my story.
This pretty Victorian on our street that was being demoed had lovely stained-glass windows 
and white columns on the front porch supporting a balcony. 
We kept an eye on the pillars the workers had leaned up against the house. 
I have been known to "rescue" alley finds 
but I restrain myself from actually taking anything from someone's property.

Then came the day when an enormous truck arrived to remove the full construction dumpster. 
I watched out my front window as the truck backed up to hook onto the dumpster.  
That's when I saw a white column sticking out of the top of the dumpster. 
I called Ron and we rushed outside and approached the workers in front of the house.

"Could we have that white post in the dumpster please?" we asked politely.

"Sure, but make it quick before he drives off."

We ran to the truck driver and asked if we could have a minute to rescue the column. 
He nodded and said the boss had told him to wait while we got it. Such a nice bossman!

So, we tugged and pulled until we were able to remove the pillar from the dumpster, 
thanked the driver, and scurried home with our treasure.
I didn't know what I was going to do with it but not only was it part of our neighborhood history, 
it was chippy and white and I loved it. I knew I'd find a home for it somewhere. 

Ron set about removing rusty nails from the top.

Inside, I tried it here and there and finally found the perfect spot for it in my "attic" office.

The top piece of the post was missing so I put an old plate on top 
and nestled a spider plant on it in front of the window.

That plant has a fun story as well. We were leaving an estate sale and saw a man loading a big spider plant into the back of his truck. That's when I saw a baby spider get torn from the mother plant. 
After he left, I ran over and retrieved the little baby from the sidewalk. 
I plopped her into a glass of water when we got home and she immediately grew some healthy roots. Now she's potted atop my rescued post and sending out more babies.

So, this story ends well for everyone.
The orphaned spider plant has a home, the rescued post adds a dilapidated grandeur to my office,
and the history of our old neighborhood has been preserved.

The End (or is it?)