Friday, April 29, 2016

Adding a Little Bling to French Country with Silver

French Country design is known for its effortless blend of comfort and elegance,
featuring things with a timeworn patina, whether it's a painted cupboard or a hazy mirror.
What better way to incorporate this aged beauty than with old silver.

Just look at the gorgeous detail on the edge of this silver tray. 

I'm no expert on silver but I know what I like. 
I've recently started adding to my silver collection
 and I find I love the sparkle it adds to a room of soft muted colors. 
This beautiful water pitcher is a perfect vase to hold dried hydrangeas on my mantle.

The wonderful thing about silver is it can look as if it's been passed down for generations 
(if you let it tarnish) or like it's shiny and new (if you polish it). 
Either way, it adds depth and beauty to your rooms.

I actually enjoy polishing my silver and watching the gleaming shine reveal itself  as 
I wipe off the black tarnish. Cheap plastic gloves will protect your hands from turning black too. 
I found this out the hard way.

Most of my silver pieces are actually silver plate -- a thin coating of silver fused to a metal, 
usually copper or nickel underneath. Silver plate is less expensive than sterling silver.
I like to tuck silver candlesticks in here and there and mix in sugar bowls with old books.

One of my favorite silver pieces is this little creamer I found at Goodwill for a couple of dollars. 
I couldn't even see the design when I bought it, it was so tarnished.
What a joy it was to discover an "S" monogram, which happens to be my last name.

I also adore this large loving cup. It's engraved "Coors Handicap 1961." 
A yard sale bargain, I let this piece tarnish lightly because I prefer the nostalgic feel it evokes.

These little stemmed dishes are very inexpensive at thrift stores or estate sales 
and are great to hold all kinds of things like a candle or these old doorknobs.

I bought this charming toast holder at a London flea market years ago. 
Now it holds bills to pay or I'll be toast!!

A reproduction Sheffield, England silver shell makes a unique spoon rest on the stove.

In the bedroom, I display silver items such as a small covered dish (for earrings maybe?), 
an ornate butler's dust pan and brush to sweep away crumbs on the dining table, 
and a silver-colored Avon jar embossed with a woman's head. 
I know it's not real silver but thought she was so pretty.

Pretty vintage silver adds a bit of bling to muted palettes 
and seems to bring reflected moonlight into your rooms.

Here's a detail of the dust pan. Too lovely for crumbs!

Monday, April 25, 2016

My Garden Visits -- First Signs of Spring

Spring arrived officially about a month ago but we are just now seeing 
the first true signs of Spring in soft pinks, bold reds and yellows, and pure whites. 

Spring is my favorite season in the garden.
Here's an overall look at the back yard as Spring begins to touch the landscape. 

Parts of my garden that look rather plain in the summer have come alive with Spring color. 

The last of the snow (I hope) has melted, 
bringing down a carpet of pink crabapple blossoms on the garden path. 

These Angelique tulips are some of my favorites with their soft pink blush.

Although the outside of a double tulip is breathtaking in itself . . .

. . . sometimes the inside of a tulip steals the show.

Nearby, rock walls look more striking next to gold allysum and blue forget-me-nots. 

Out front, blankets of white candytuft greet visitors.

And you just can't beat red tulips for drama whether they're flirting with passersby
in front of my white fence . . .

or cozying up to a bleached juniper branch in the garden.

But despite all of this delicious Spring beauty, 
some visitors to my garden think nothing can beat that first bath of the season.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Five Tips for Your Best Yard Sale Ever !

Sometimes you have to let something go to make room for something new.
Sometimes it's a relationship. Sometimes it's a chair.
Are you spring cleaning?
Time for a yard sale!

Here are five tips to help you have a successful yard sale.

1.  Start early.
If you have the space, store everything you might want to sell there throughout the year.
Big plastic tubs work great. When it's time for your sale, you'll have everything in one place.
You can always retrieve items you've decided to keep.
Check with your local city government to see if there are any restrictions on yard sales.

2.  Be organized.
A day or two before your sale, get everything out where you can see it.
Price items with sticky circles or masking tape.
If in doubt, check Ebay and Craig's List to see what similar things are selling for.
Adjust for yard sale bargain prices. Make sure you have lots of one's to make change.

3.  Advertise.
List your sale on Craig's List the day before and be sure to include your address.
I can't tell you how many sales I've read about but didn't know where they were.
Make large signs on bright heavy paper with the address clearly shown.  BIG.
Make your sign stand out. Post at major intersections in your neighborhood.
Did I say make it BIG?

4.  Start on time and have everything ready.
You'll miss the early birds if you're not open when you said you'd be.
Set out your tables early and arrange things neatly.
Move your cars so people can park conveniently in front of your sale.
A few colorful tablecloths covering the tables, balloons, or bright flowers attract attention.

5.  Be friendly and willing to bargain.
Approach people with a smile and a friendly greeting.
Price items a couple of dollars more than you want so you have room to negotiate.
People love a bargain.

Don't forget to take down your signs after the sale.
Happy sale-ing!!

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

My Garden Visits: The Potting Bench

Nothing says spring like a potting bench. 
It may be too early to plant but it's never too early to putter!

Time to move all the junk that has piled up on it over the winter, 
scrape out the dirty pots, and prep for planting.
Soon the bench will overflow with flowers, clay pots and bags of dirt. 

It's the ideal place to warm up those lazy muscles, 
dig some things out of the garden shed and start planning the garden. 

My potting bench is homemade. A found window, some scrap lumber, a few accessories. 
It's the perfect size to fit in the little nook behind my garden shed. 

It's fun to hang up some old gardening tools

and display some vintage enamel pans with an old thermometer. 

Clay pots march across the top shelf, awaiting their orders.  

A cute little basket with tiny watering cans adorns the window.

A lower shelf is a good place to store some galvanized pans and more watering cans. 

My potting bench is prettier with packs of flowers 
waiting to be planted but it's still too early for planting. 

But it's never too early to dream.

P.S.  Just when I thought it was safe to go into the garden, Wham!
Another snowstorm hit the Rockies!
The mountains got up to four feet of snow so I guess we were lucky with about eight inches.
Still, it was a heavy wet snow and I hope my plants and trees weren't damaged.

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Friday, April 15, 2016

The Thrill of the Hunt

If you're like me, and you probably are, you enjoy the thrill of the hunt 
as much or more as actually buying the thing. 
I can't wait for the weekend when estate and garage sales announce the hunt is on! 
Release the hounds!
Time to hunt!!!

Everything in this photo was purchased at an estate or yard sale for under $5.
The candleholder is actually a traveler's ashtray with a hinged lid!

I'm not a hunter and would definitely be rooting for the fox 
but I do understand the thrill of the chase. 
The best part would undoubtedly be riding a magnificent horse in my stunning hunting outfit! 
Love those tall riding boots and stylish velvet helmets.
But, I digress. Back to the hunt!

Scattered throughout an estate sale,
I might discover little treasures such as this charming silver trophy. 
I love the inscription:  "The Young Farmer's Club, Best Sheep in Show, 1942."

Soon I catch the scent of my quarry.  When I spot that special item I've been looking for, 
my heart skips a beat and I zero in on it. Hopefully, other hunters stay out of  my way. 
Did I bring my riding crop?

I've been hunting for a pretty urn
and thought my old doorknobs here resembled eggs tucked into a nest.

Once you start collecting a certain thing, say, ironstone, you're always on the hunt for more. 
When I go to a sale, I usually go to the kitchen first to see if they have anything on my wish list:  ironstone, old silver, or unusual glassware.  
I didn't know what this little piece was until I researched it and discovered it was an egg cup. 

I recently spotted this wonderful marmalade jar. Uh oh, I feel another collection coming on.

I'm always adding to my collections but try to restrain myself to just what I truly love.
For instance, I recently swooned at a display of ironstone creamers and wanted to buy the whole bunch. But, I only purchased two pieces that I didn't already have to add to my little collection. 
One is by Coors, the other is Buffalo china.
They're sitting atop an oak medicine cabinet found at an estate sale for $5!!!

Then it's on to the living room searching for mirrors, artwork, baskets, or decorative items 
like these French leather opera glasses. 
I love the words "Beauchamp" and "Paris" imprinted on these old glasses.

A bedroom might offer up a vintage pom-pom chenille bedspread or some delicate linens. 
I'm always hunting for grain sacks but they're so elusive. 

However, I did recently find this vintage Jade-ite lamp for $5 in an alley sale 
that was perfect for my guest room.

And now the prize of the hunt:  vintage books.
I love their scent--old paper, worn leather, secrets like these cutout paper dolls tucked inside.
Finding such a treasure makes me want to shout with joy.