Friday, December 25, 2015

~~ Christmas Greetings from the Foot of the Rockies ~~

Taking some time off this week to be with family and friends.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Friday, December 18, 2015

~~ It's All in the (Vintage) Details ~~

"Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it."
-- Confucius

We've all heard the phrase "It's all in the details" but most of us are so busy 
it's easy to miss the beauty in those little things that fill our everyday lives. 
As the frantic holiday season is upon us, 
let's take a breath and try to savor those details before they slip away. 

In photography, as in painting, we must notice the details 
in our compositions for our pictures to work like . . . 

a candle in a twisted metal holder reflected in a mirror,

simple lines of a birdcage against a sheer curtain on a winter's day,

white flowers reflected in an oval mirror,

scalloped lace edging against a contrasting texture,

feathery seed heads on ornamental grasses in the winter sunshine,

brass and enamel knob on an old oak cabinet,

intricate designs on vintage silver,

delicate detail in a gesso mirror frame,

a preserved leaf in an old book,

and the way light and shadow play on a vintage metal stand.

When your families and loved one gather this season, 
take a moment to notice the smallest details of your life:
your mother's hands, a child's smile, snow floating by your window, 
the colors of the flames in your fireplace. 

Life is in the details.
What little things would you photograph for your composition? 

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

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Friday, December 11, 2015

A Simple Vintage Christmas

I like to keep things understated for Christmas.
With vintage family ornaments and a few natural touches,
my decorations are simple and heartfelt.

The foyer gets a wintry revamp.

Some twinkly white lights, pine cones, silver ornaments 
and a feathered friend here and there bring the outdoors in.

I love how this vintage candelabra casts a double reflection in my front window. 

I remember these foil icicles from my childhood tree 
which we always decorated on Christmas Eve.
Adding a few chandelier crystals creates shimmer and movement.

Remember when we had to carefully place each individual icicle on the tree?
My sister made the tiny snowmen. Aren't they sweet?

What's under the tree is just as important as what's on it. 
A lace-trimmed bucket of bears, some new, some old 
including the one given to me the day I was born. 
Can you guess which one it is?
(Hint, it doesn't have any eyes!)

A box of toys for good little boys!

This little vignette on the living room mantle includes a vintage figurine 
and a silver ornament atop an old Boopie glass turned upside down.

White and silver on the coffee table.

The dining room mantle features a silver horse bookend
and some snow-dabbed greenery and red berries.

A little touch of Austria graces the china cabinet.

A simple centerpiece on a milkglass cake stand with some jelly-jars to hold candles
adds a warm glow to the dining table. 

On the front porch, a weathered ladder forms a festive backdrop
for a wreath and an old pickling crock. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas
with family, loved ones and furry friends.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Winter White -- First Snow!

About four inches of fluffy white snow fell on our street overnight and turned everything white --
 my favorite color!
I thought I'd venture outside early this morning and take a few pictures of this magical landscape.

Saint Francis looks like he's wearing a white scarf and hat in this tranquil corner of the garden.
I feel like I should whisper in his presence. 

Even in winter, the sun shines in a cornflower blue sky almost every day, 
and, at a mile-high, the snow usually doesn't stick around for long. 
So, I rushed outside before the snow was all gone.

The contrasting textures of a metal lantern, a rusty nail and an old juniper post 
form a perfect backdrop for freshly-fallen snow. 

It wasn't a heavy snow . . . 
just enough to accent the forms and shapes in the garden. 

This long-needled pine gets me in the mood for Christmas!

A dusting of snow clings to this rusty metal arch in my side garden 
as the sky begins to show signs of blue. 

A weathered juniper arch with a blanket of snow anchors the wildflower garden 
as more blue sky peeks through the clouds. 

The sun has broken through. Soon, the snow will be all gone.

I'm sure it will snow again this winter but that first snow is always special,

Friday, November 27, 2015

Be My Guest -- A Room with a French Twist!

Bienvenue! Welcome!
It's the holiday season and that means guests.
Are you ready?

I'm excited about my first houseguest since I revamped my guest room.

We transformed the office into a comfy cozy guest room with a French twist.
Of course, it takes more than a pretty room for a guest to feel at home.

So, here are a few suggestions to help make your guests feel welcome:

Perhaps most important are fresh sheets and a light blanket on the bed with fluffy pillows. 
Having an extra blanket handy for cool evenings and fresh towels in the bathroom are appreciated.
Flowers and a lamp next the bed are a nice touch too.

Extra hangers in the closet and space in the drawers for clothes are necessities. 
And little things like tissues, a new toothbrush, and magazines say welcome.
It's always a good idea to have a trained guard dog on alert to provide security.

A clock on the wall and a big mirror are essential as is easy access to the phone and computer.

I wish I had room for a comfy chair in this room but an ottoman will do
for putting on shoes or sipping morning coffee while planning the day.

The yummy smell of homemade cookies will make your guest feel special 
while a fresh-bathed dog provides non-stop entertainment.
She also teaches yoga classes!

Make time to catch up while playing a game by the fire.
Dominoes anyone?
These are vintage ivory-colored pieces from the 50s. I think they're bakelite.

And as evening steals the day, enjoy a glass of wine by candlelight.
A toast to friends and family! Sante! To your health!

Friday, November 20, 2015

November Estate Sale Treasures

Yard sales may be winding down as the summer months fade and winter scratches at our doors 
but estate sales are still beckoning me from my jammies and hot coffee on early mornings.

TIP:  I've discovered that the best time to go to estate sales is Thursday morning. 
That's when the dealers check them out and buy all the best stuff. 
It used to be Fridays but more and more people are starting on Thursdays.

We always check Craigslist first thing Thursday morning to see 
if there are any good sales in our neighborhood. 
This Thursday we struck gold at a beautiful old Victorian not ten minutes from our house. 
The owners said everything had to go so they could renovate.
(I liked it just the way it was.)

I love to go to sales at old houses just to look around inside. 
The details in these vintage beauties are so gorgeous, 
it's worth going even if you don't buy anything.

Like this stunning foyer with original tin ceilings, drop-dead chandelier, and fancy woodwork.

And original patchy wallpaper clinging to plaster walls. 
I hope the people renovating this old place keep at least one wall intact to preserve 
the history and beauty of bygone days.

But on to the treasures. I've recently been collecting old books and found a lovely tome containing 
the complete collection of Thomas Moore's (1779-1852) poetry and melodies. 
A mere $5 brought it home with me. 
At first, I was attracted to its beautiful rich brown and gold cover.

I had to do a little research on Moore but discovered he was known as the National Bard of Ireland 
and wrote many popular folk songs. He was also a close friend of Lord Byron and Percy Shelley. How thrilling!

After I take it home, I'll pop the book into a baggie and put it in the freezer for a couple of hours to discourage any unwanted visitors that might have been hiding between the yellowed pages.

Moving into the dining room, we admired the tiled fireplace and oak mantle. 
And there, resting against the mantle, was something I'd been looking for.

An old medicine cabinet! When I asked about the price, another $5, I practically shouted, "Sold!"
But it reeked of must and had several layers of grime on the lovely old oak.

Underneath all that grime, it had a beveled mirror and curved woodwork 
and a breathtaking little dangly knob that I fell in love with.

Once home, I took the medicine cabinet outside to clean it. 
The inside smelled like something had died in it 
so I mixed up some white vinegar and water and gave it a thorough scrubbing.
Then, I opened the door and let it air out in the mile-high sunshine all day. 
I brought it in at night in case it rained or snowed, then repeated the steps again the next day.

By then, it was smelling better so I rubbed some antique improver into the wood. 
It's sold in most antique malls and contains natural oils and emollients. 
I hoped the scrumptious odor would soak into the wood. 
As I worked on this piece, I realized someone had added two curved wooden edges to the shelves, probably to keep things from falling out. But they weren't original, so we took them out.

Time to clean the beveled mirror. 
As I wiped away the grime, the silvered beauty of the old mirror shone through. 
Note the curved trim, so graceful. 

Here's a closeup of that gorgeous dangly knob that I loved at first sight.

Next, I clipped some fresh lavender and bought a "Clean Linen" air freshener 
and tucked them both inside. Much better.

Finally, I positioned the cabinet on a table in front of my wall of mirrors in my dining room
atop an old lace tablecloth that I'd found at another estate sale. 
At the time, I didn't know what I'd do with it as it didn't fit any of my tables. 
But I knew someday it would find a home.

I lined up three little white creamers on top of the cabinet. Perfect.

To balance the arrangement, I re-positioned an oval mirror across from it. 
French Country style often includes timeworn wood so the addition
of this little oak cabinet and the old newel post warm up the space.

I hate to think that magnificent old house, probably from the 1890s, 
will be scraped clean inside --  modernized with stainless steel and granite,
smooth new walls and floors that don't creak.