Friday, December 30, 2016

What's your Design Horoscope for 2017?

Whether you believe in horoscopes or not, most people think it's fun and entertaining to read them. I've culled some design-oriented information from various Internet sources about horoscope signs 
for 2017 and, if it's on the Internet, it must be true. Right?
Plus, I added a few extrapolations of my own.
So, I offer these horoscope design profiles for the new year . . .  just for fun! Which one are you?

Aries: March 21-April 19
Loves the outdoors and physical fitness. Ideal home: a townhome complex with amenities.  Design profile: Low maintenance, clean lines, efficient layout, fire elements (candles, fireplace). Color: Reds.

Taurus: April 20-May 20
Is practical, loves good food. Ideal home: charming cottage in older neighborhood. Design Profile: Attached to material possessions, enjoys rest and relaxation, warmth, touchable elements. Color: Greens and browns.

Gemini:  May 21-June 20
Loves to party, action-oriented. Ideal home: loft in the city. Design Profile:  Imaginative, likes change, rearranges furniture frequently, avoids clutter, feeling of space. Color:  Yellow.

Cancer:  June 21-July 22
Makes you feel at home, home is your sanctuary. Ideal home: vintage fixer-upper. Design Profile: Thrifty, lots of light, antiques, family heirlooms, old garden furniture, water features. Color: Grays and greens.

Leo:  July 23-August 22
Loves to entertain, a joy to be around. Ideal home: A mansion would be nice! Design Profile: Appreciates luxurious furnishings, superior quality, ultra modern. Lavish, loves drama. Color: Orange and yellows.

Virgo: August 23-September 22
Excellent eye for detail, often architects or designers.  Ideal home: Mid Century Modern. Design Profile: Good sense of space planning, a place for everything and everything in its place, timelessly elegant. Colors: Greens, browns, dark blues.

Libra: September 23-October 22
Social and popular, loves beauty.  Ideal home: Eastern-style apartment with a view. Design Profile: High standards, minimalist, understated design, exotic, loves flowers. Colors: Pastels.

Scorpio:  October 23-November 21
Mysticism, magnetic, intense. Ideal home: Attic loft. Design Profile: Desires privacy, darker surroundings, ethnic themes, opulent bedroom. Colors: Reds and purples.

Sagittarius: November 22-December 21
Loves freedom and open spaces. Positive, optimistic. Ideal home: Farmhouse or mountain cabin. Design Profile: Prefers relaxed, slightly messy design, eclectic, old furniture, dim lighting.  Colors: purples and blues.

Capricorn:  December 22-January 19
Caring, success-oriented.  Ideal home: High-rise condo. Design Profile: Conservative taste, structure, form and durability important. Partial to luxurious window dressings. Colors: earthy tones, browns and greens.

Aquarius: January 20-February 18
Intellectual and independent, loves a sense of freedom. Ideal home: Large spacious house. Design Profile: Has an intellectual approach to design, new and inventive, mixes modern with traditional. Colors aquas, blues, turquoise.

Pisces: February 19-March 20
Mystical, eccentric, compassionate.  Ideal home: A Yurt or a Tiny House. Design Profile: Great ideas, unfussy furniture, close to water, relaxed atmosphere, ethereal, well organized. home provides an anchor. Colors: greens.

There you have it. Does your profile match your actual design personality? 
Will you keep some of these characteristics in mind as you enter 2017? 
Or is it all a bunch of nonsense?

As for me, my profile (Cancer) hit the nail on the head perfectly.
My upstairs walls are all painted gray-green, I love antiques, and thrifty is my middle name! 
Happy New Year to all!


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DwellingsBetween Naps on the PorchCoastal CharmCedar Hill FarmhouseA Stroll Thru Life,
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Reinvented CollectionAdirondack Girl at HeartShabby Art BoutiqueFrench Country Cottage.

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Lifetime Ago -- A Gift from the Past

Recently, I bought a big stack of old magazines for a couple of dollars in an antique mall.
They were all Victoria magazines from the last twenty years or so.

I have become quite a fan of Pinterest but I must say I LOVE magazines.
I love to hold them in my hands and take my time studying every detail of each picture.

While I was paying for these old issues,
the cashier told me the man who was selling them had recently lost his wife
and that he hoped they would go to someone who would enjoy them as she had.

I almost started crying right there in the mall.
It was so touching, I vowed to take care of them for her.

Now, as I wade through the stack, rationing them out slowly each day so they'll last longer,
I'll occasionally spot a ragged edge where a page has been torn out.
I smile, remembering the woman who had owned these magazines, and wonder who she was.
Sometimes, depending on the missing page, I can imagine what she might have been like.

If it's a tea-time article, I picture her at an antique table pouring tea for her friends,
using her grandmother's china and serving dainty finger sandwiches and fancy pastries.

If it's a story about decorating a cozy room,
 I can see her curled up in a comfy chair, reading a good book with a cup of tea.

Maybe it's a travelogue piece about Paris. Then I'm sure we would have been kindred spirits,
both yearning for a magical experience in a beautiful European city. 

Perhaps a garden photo has been carefully removed from the magazine and I know
she must have been an enthusiastic gardener, clipping ideas for next year's perennial bed. 

Sometimes, when I go to an estate sale, I feel sad when I see those things
that were meaningful to the previous owner.  I wonder about her but quickly move on
as I know I'll take care of those special things that I purchase as if they were my own.

So I pack up her ironstone or her vintage silverware and maybe a stack of decorating magazines
and I send her a thank you on the wind with a warm hug. 

"Don't you worry my friend," I whisper. "Your prized possessions are safe with me.
I'll take care of them for you."


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DwellingsBetween Naps on the PorchCoastal CharmCedar Hill FarmhouseA Stroll Thru Life,
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Reinvented CollectionAdirondack Girl at HeartShabby Art BoutiqueFrench Country Cottage

Friday, December 16, 2016

Merry Christmas my Friends!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Taking some time off to be with family and friends. 
We wish you a peaceful and magical holiday. 

Pat, Ron and Roxy

Friday, December 2, 2016

A French Country Christmas

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at the foot of the Rockies!

I had such fun decorating the house this year for Christmas and didn't spend a fortune.
I like using the things that have been passed down over the years
and those things I already have but can be used in a new way.

Like this vintage candelabra.
It usually sits in the front living room window facing the street
but this year I decided to add a little Christmas spirit to the kitchen.
It really makes the kitchen feel festive.

In the farmhouse sunroom, silver bells bejeweled with red satin ribbons 
line the windowsills and the top of the seed bin. 
A family tradition, Ron's mother gave him a new bell every Christmas and he now has about 40!

A metal Christmas tree adorned with Shiny Brite bulbs sits atop the farm table. 
When I was unpacking the bulbs, one fell onto the tiled floor and shattered. Mwaaa!

The foyer halltree has a cheery look with Santa hats . . .

. . .  and a French market basket filled with stuffed toys.

Draping a couple of thick scarves on the halltree hooks adds texture and warmth to the entry. 
I love this scarf from the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. 
The Stanley was made famous in the movie "The Shining."

In the living room, we decided to put our little tree in the front window.
It's simply decorated with white twinkly lights and silver bulbs that I've had for years.

An old toy horse on wheels is hitched under the tree with more bears.

The mantel always takes on a new look each year. 
This year I placed my red-berried wreath on the mantel instead of on the front door. 
Surrounded by vintage books and holiday decorations,
it looks warm and cozy with a battery candle nestled inside it.

The dining room mantel is spiffed up with stockings and red accents. 

A simple centerpiece lies on the dining table with a linen runner and an old ironstone tureen.
I couldn't resist adding a few deer sheds. 

So, from our house to yours, a very Merry Christmas . . .

and a Happy New Year!


A Holiday Conversation with Susan Hays

December 2, 2016

I'm so pleased to feature a special holiday conversation with Susan Hays, the creator of the beautiful blog: "Our French Oasis." Susan lives in a small French village with her husband,
five children, two dogs, two cats and lots of chickens.

How is Christmas in France different than the UK?
The biggest difference is in France the main meal, usually with seafood and/or oysters as an appetiser, is on Christmas Eve, continuing until well after midnight, whereas in the UK the main meal is on Christmas Day and centres around our traditional turkey. Christmas in France tends to be relatively quiet, at least it is here in the Charente Maritime. It is centered far more around family. New Year is the time to party!

How do you decorate (inside and out) for Christmas?
I absolutely love decorating for Christmas and am itching to get started! However, we never begin until after the 1st of December as is far more traditional in France. Our village and town lights will be turned on the first Friday in December and that's when things start to get festive. We start with some twinkling white lights outside around the front entrance and along the driveway gates. Every year, I make a big natural wreath which we hang on the front door. With the cooler winter weather it lasts happily until the beginning of January and is a great welcome for friends and family. Inside we decorate all the rooms we use. I love getting the children involved as much as possible. It gets everyone in a great frame of mind and it becomes very much a family affair.

What is your holiday decorating style?
We tend to be fairly traditional. There is something quite magical about bringing out the same decorations year in year out, things go in the same place and the mantel in the sitting room is always the first to be decorated, a long evergreen garland dotted with small white lights. We always go and choose the tree en famille. It's never a simple job, getting seven people to agree on which tree to choose. We all decorate it with Christmas music playing, a glass of champagne for the adults and sparkling apple juice for the children. We have ornaments that the children have had since they were babies, they each have their own special ones.

Do you have any advice on how to decorate your home in an authentic French Country style?
There are so many different takes on French Country Style and each person has their own personal favourite. For me, it is all about comfort and atmosphere. My home should be a place where friends and guests want to linger a while, where they feel at ease. I like a fairly simple colour scheme with rich textured cushions and fairly bold pieces of traditional furniture. In addition, for me, there should be plenty of candles and a couple of vintage chandeliers, with rugs on the floor and fresh flowers. Plus I have to admit I have a love of French Louis XIV style antique chairs; I love their shape and style!

What is the favorite part of your house?
The favourite part of my house has to be the kitchen. It is very much the heart of our home and is dominated by a large walnut table which we had made for us several years ago. We handpicked the wood in a yacht builder's yard! I always have a vase of flowers in the middle, even in the depths of winter, there is always something I can pick from the garden if I am a little inventive! We also have a collection of antique silver candlesticks and they too live on the table. We light them every evening for our family supper, even if it's a simple bowl of soup and a crusty baguette, candles set the scene and make every meal special. We have a highly efficient wood burning stove in the corner and in the winter it is permanently alight. It's always warm and cozy and welcoming. In the summer the French doors are opened wide to the terrace and it becomes an extension of the room.

Thanks so much Susan! You can read more about Susan's life in France on her blog at

Happy Holidays from our house to yours!


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Friday, November 25, 2016

French Country: Brilliant Ways to Use Bottles and Jars

Some of the least expensive and most beautiful accessories for your home are old bottles and jars.
Their rustic simplicity and practical uses make them perfect for a French Country Farmhouse look.
Easy to find in thrift stores or yard sales, you can often pick them up for a song.

When the light shines through their colored glass, these old bottles come alive, 
sending flashes of light around a room. 
Set them in or near a window where they can catch the changing light throughout the day
and watch the show. 

These muted green bottles are not only pretty, they also have an interesting history. 
I found them at a yard sale; the owner told me she had lived in Asia 
and had found them in a dump. The embossed writing on them looks Japanese. 
I love the shapes and the soft mossy color.

I have two bottles that are actually a window into my own history. 
One is a Shawhan whiskey bottle.
In tracing my genealogy, I discovered one of my ancestors 
on my maternal grandmother's side actually founded the Shawhan Distillery 
and is credited with bringing the bourbon industry to Kentucky.

The paper label, which is hard to find in good condition like this, says Merry Xmas
and Happy New Year and the bottle is imprinted with the words "Shawhan Distillery."

The other bottle is imprinted with the words "Shipley, Wheeling, West Virginia." 
Since my family is originally from Ohio near Wheeling, there's a good chance one of my relatives had something to do with it. I think it probably held some kind of "medicine."

These tiny bottles look sweet in an old window frame, tied with ribbons.

Another type of bottle I love comes snugly wrapped in woven wicker. 
Probably from some sunny place like Italy or Portugal or Spain, 
the warmth of the wicker makes these bottles a popular accessory. 

The large demijohns wrapped in wicker are gorgeous too but a little too pricey for me.
These smaller ones are more affordable and just as pretty.

Of course, the classic is the Mason jar. Used for canning, these teal-colored jars are great for storage in the kitchen, bathroom, or even the home shop. I like to top them with old zinc lids.

Mason jars were invented by a Philadelphia tinsmith named John Mason in 1858.
They were produced by various companies including Ball, Kerr and Atlas.
Most come in either aqua or clear glass. These have wire-bail lids.

Old coffee jars are handy to hold flour and sugar on the kitchen counter.

Bottles and jars make a perfect vase for a simple bouquet or to hold a candle. 
Fill half of the jar with sand and nestle a candle into it.

Whether it's a fancy demijohn or a humble jelly jar, 
bottles and jars are simply brilliant!


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