Friday, March 15, 2019

Keeping the Country Spirit Alive and Well

The year was 1978.
A new magazine hit the racks called Country Living.

It's hard to believe that was more than 40 years ago. It certainly inspired me 
(along with John Denver's songs) to move from California to Colorado in 1979.


The nascent magazine eventually would lead me 
down a winding path to develop my own decorating style. 


Yes, we go way back and I still enjoy this magazine that was 
"committed to bringing warmth back into readers' homes."

Here's an early issue that I still have. Check out that price of $1.95!!


Granted I worked my way through many looks before finally settling
on a style - French Country.
But that was after I'd lived through Southwestern, Farmhouse, Country,
and what Ron called  my "Mary Tyler Moore" look.

Mauve and black, oh dear.
I do wish I'd kept that chaise lounge though.


I recently found a beautiful coffee table book published in 1988 called
"Country Living Country Decorating."
It's a compilation of the best of the magazine over the first ten years
and sure brought back a lot of memories with lots of gorgeous photos.


My favorite feature in that magazine was always "Country in the City."
So this post is a tribute to that time-honored magazine and especially that feature.


I learned to appreciate ironstone,


Mom's dishes that had been handed down,


and hand-stitched samplers.


One of the things I learned from "Country in the City"
is that you don't have to live in the country to feel like you do.
And so many country things complement French Country style. 


It's the feel of a room rather than a particular style.

Country living is all about homespun and heartfelt.

It's about hooked or braided rugs, folk art, baskets, and quilts,


primitive painted furniture and wooden bowls . . .


 and all those things that honor individual expression. 


A wood-burning fireplace warms a room but a gas flame works just as well.
And nothing says country like a roaring fireplace.


Thanks to Country Living magazine for reminding us of the value of home, heart and hearth
and for keeping the country spirit alive and well.

***

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Friday, March 8, 2019

Trek to our Mountain Log Cabin

Trek seems to be the right word for this trip.
It connotes an adventure, an arduous journey, a dangerous undertaking. 

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.
Okay, I guess we have to delete arduous and dangerous but other than that, it was an adventure. 


We'd been longing to visit our rustic mountain log cabin that we bought this past year
and had been wanting to see it again.


We'd been collecting things here and there we thought would be nice in the cabin
like old snowshoes, pillows (that I made, ahem!), wildlife mugs, and a super-comfy chair.
I'm eager to get up there and decorate!


And we thought "wouldn't it be beautiful in all that snow?"


However, we knew the Colorado Rockies had been having a banner snow year and that we 
probably would not be able to get up the narrow unpaved, unmaintained road at 11,000 feet. 


Still we decided to head up into the mountains, just to see how far we could get. 
It would be a pretty drive if nothing else. 


It was fairly passable up the rough county road 
until we reached the "No Winter Maintenance" sign.
The only tracks we saw beyond this sign were snowmobile tracks. 


Although we only had about five miles to go to the cabin, 
we decided not to be too adventurous (foolish?) 
and turned around at the first wide spot in the road. 

I don't like turning around on this road in the middle of summer 
let alone when there's a foot of snow on the road that drops off steeply on one side. 


So we headed for nearby Fairplay to check out the pioneer museum in the snow. 
It was definitely worth the detour.

You can read more about Fairplay by clicking HERE.


Yes, we had a beautiful drive in the snow-covered mountains but we soon realized
we probably wouldn't make it in to the cabin until April or May. 

That little cabin has been standing for a hundred years so I guess it's not going anywhere. 
Sigh. 

****

Friday, March 1, 2019

Easy Ways to Accessorize your Kitchen

When you have a tiny kitchen like I do, you have to be creative in giving it some personality.

Here's a shot of my compact kitchen.
There's a small stove on the wall opposite the mirror.
And that's it.


The easiest way to jazz up your little kitchen is with accessories.
Since French Country style leans toward soft and muted colors,
colorful accessories can liven up this room. 

I enjoy decorating my kitchen with farm animals but you could pick
your favorite accessory and repeat it throughout the kitchen for more impact.

Love ironstone?
Fill your open shelving with it.


Or maybe you collect silver or copper.
You can always find a spot to squeeze in a pretty silver tray or a copper tea kettle.




For me, farm animals add a simple touch of Provence to my kitchen.
You'll find lots of cows in this room.



Bring on the cows, roosters, pigs and sheep. 
Then add some pretty glass bottles to catch the light.


I love the pig on this lard tin
and pops of red energize this space.


Don't forget the roosters. This symbol of Provence is a must.


The top of the fridge is the perfect spot for a big basket or two to add texture.
 I love the juxtaposition of the wire hen against the woven basket.


Original artwork is an easy way to add color and a fun farmhouse feel.
Those 1960's paint-by-number paintings are inexpensive and charming.

I won this vibrant rooster painting by an art teacher in an auction.


If farm animals, copper or silver aren't your thing,
collectible kitchen items can add a warm feeling to your kitchen.


A large, round breadboard is on my wish list if I can find an affordable one.
Meanwhile I love this hand-carved board.


It may be small but my kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in my house.


And it's not because the wine is stored there!
LOL!

***

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Friday, February 22, 2019

Hunting and Gathering -- Find of the Month

Welcome back to my new feature, Hunting and Gathering - Find of the Month,
where I share a new treasure recently found. 

Today, I'm sharing an unusual find -- a vintage metal caddy.

I loved it but wondered what it was used for.

Today it holds mason jars filled with vintage clothes pins.


The inside of the metal caddy is divided into three sections, one large and two smaller. 


Although it appears to be a bit banged up, 
I love the beautiful blue paint which appears to be original. 


The sides and bottom are pierced with round holes. 
Why do you think it was made this way?


We were stumped until we found a similar photo on Ebay 
that was described as a hotel maid's cleaning products caddy.

TIP:  When researching your vintage find,
try using several different keywords in your search if your first try doesn't work.
After several attempts, we finally found this item under "vintage industrial caddy."


This beauty also corrals old books and plants nicely



and makes a pretty rustic container for picnic supplies or seasonal decor.


Hey, it could even be used to tote cleaning products!
I'll have to alert my maid. LOL.

What do you think it was for?

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Thank you so much!

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Friday, February 8, 2019

How to Change Your Look with White

February is our coldest month here in Denver, 
a time when we shelter in place and snuggle close to a roaring fire.
It's also the ideal time to change the look of your rooms.

It's actually easy and very inexpensive.
Just move things around, mix and match what you already have, and bring on the white stuff. 
No, not the snow! 
Your white ironstone, white furniture, and white accessories. 


Add a few interesting pieces that warm up the white such as linen, baskets, old books or silver. 




I decided to make over my dining room. 
Here's the "Before" picture. 
See if you can spot the "After" changes in the next photo.


This photo shows the "After" dining room with a few changes.
I created a new look without buying anything new. In fact, everything is old. 

Some changes are subtle like the long white tablecloth;
others are more obvious such as the styled bookcase. 


I love the look of old books so I gathered most of mine into a bookcase
 that had previously looked like this. Before ...


And here's the "After" picture.
I think the old books add warmth and texture to a room that might look cold on its own
plus they're a striking contrast to the white ironstone. 


Here's a "Before" shot of my little French side table 
with an ironstone pot filled with pine cones. 


And here's the same table loaded with decor books, a cement urn and a candle. 


Another "Before" picture of my vintage medicine cabinet.


Medicine cabinet 2.0.
 The rich woods in the table and cabinet and a little bling
bring sparkle and warmth to a dark corner. 


So, how many changes did you find in this little makeover?
I hope you have fun adding white to your decor for a brand new look.

***

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Just subscribe in the upper right column of this page.
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Thank you!!!

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