I have been very much in need of a vacation as of late, and since that isn’t feasible with Loving Husband’s work schedule, I have had to pacify myself with looking through our photos from vacations past. One of my favorites was to Colonial Williamsburg in the fall of 2009. I had always wanted to go and even though I lived 30 minutes south of it for a year, I was never able to make it unless I wanted to go alone. During that time LH was always on deployments and had very heavy work schedules when he was in port, and it would have been no fun to go by myself. I was so excited when I finally was able to go see it for myself. While seeing it on line and reading about it in books is pretty great, it still is nothing compared to being in the middle of it all. When you are surrounded by it, it’s like having been sent back in time.
The first really impressive building that you see as you enter via the farm side is the Capitol building (both above). This structure sets the tone for a lot of what you will see reflected in the government buildings. Williamsburg is full of so many interesting and educational experiences, we just loved it! I wish that we had more time there, but the Navy called and we were unable to visit for any longer than we did. Some of the places that you can’t miss are the museums (housed in one building), The Cheese Shoppe, the milliner’s, the gardener, the Palace kitchen (and garden) and you must take the Candlelight Ghost Tour that meets at the William & Mary Bookstore in Merchants Square (we loved it!) We were lucky enough to arrive just as the newest edition to the collection of buildings, R. Charlton’s Coffeehouse, was being opened to the public. Make sure you stop in and try the authentic period hot chocolate; we bought a whole bag to take home with us! On the subject of period treats, there are several restaurants on site that serve period correct foods. We tried a few of them, but our favorite was The King’s Arms Tavern. I had a delicious prime rib and LH had the lamb chop. The atmosphere in the evening is so unique, very romantic. If you plan your visit out before you go, you’ll be able to hit just about all of the displays, parades, lectures and demonstrations that you’d like. You are not allowed to enter ALL of the homes, as some of them are actually privately owned residences, but there are several buildings, especially along the main street, that you are allowed to poke your head into. Some places, like the printer and the farmer, are a little tucked away, but worth investigating. Even if you don’t enter any of the buildings, the area is laid out and planned so well that there is something picturesque and charming around every corner.
The tour of the Governor’s Palace (above) and its formal gardens (above also) is something that you have to do if you are as interested in how the other half lived 200+ years ago as I am. They take your through the main house, the gardens, the kitchen garden and the kitchens. If you like taking photos of yourself, I would suggest doing this here early in the day before you get messy from walking around the dusty streets for hours. There are so many picturesque backdrops here, including tunneled tree avenues! Loving Husband and I took a few of ourselves while we were there and they came out so pretty.
These gorgeous white pierce work dishes are part of the massive and amazing collection of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. If you ever visit Colonial Williamsburg, you absolutely have to visit. Their permanent collection is full of so many beautiful objects. I was unable to take very many photos, because by this time my camera card was completely full and my spare was malfunctioning. Perhaps if LH and I are ever able to return, I will have an empty card! I know that these images below look like they are very scratchy, which they are somewhat because of the museum lighting, but they look the way they do because I have uploaded them in full size so that you will be able to click on them, and enlarge them to really see all of the gorgeous hand stitching covering every inch of them. The items are part of an exhibit called “Quilted Fashions” that was featured at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. Most of my photos did not turn out well; these four below are the best of the ones that I took. The display included many quilts, jackets, vests, coverlets and several quilted petticoats. The stitching was truly amazing!
If you can’t make it all the way to Virginia to visit in person, their website has so much information that I have never been able to get through all of it. Most of their museum collections are on line, there are videos, podcasts, recipes, costume information, maps, and thousands of articles on countless historical subjects. It is well worth looking around!
These are two medium sized fiberglass molded shields by a company called Finesse’ Originals. They were filthy and the paint was chipping off of them like crazy. We acquired them from a garage sale last summer for the combined sum of $8 if I remember correctly. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them at that time, I figured maybe I would wash them and put them in Loving Husband’s Man Room. I was also a little iffy about paying so much for them, but they are decent sized and I had never seen anything like them. We brought them home and sprayed them down, but since they were still greasy dirty, we put them in the garage. They have lived in our garage for almost a year now. I remembered we had them, so I went out there and got them, sat down next to the shower, turned it on and started scrubbing them with a toothbrush. They eventually did come clean, but much of the already separated and chipping paint was lost in the process.
While they were drying, I decided to look them up online to see if I could find out more about the company and to get an approximate date that they were made. I found that the company was active in the 60?s and 70?s, as I had suspected and that they were known for these sort of over the top fiberglass wall art pieces. While I didn’t find any that were at all similar to mine or any that were a coordinating set, I did find a few of their pieces on Ebay. I was completely shocked to see them listed in a range from $300 to $2,600 each! I couldn’t believe it! While I doubted mine were worth that much because of paint loss, I was relieved to see that at least I hadn’t overpaid for them.
I thought about leaving them entirely beaten up and just hanging them on the wall in that state, but I didn’t like the heavy and “dirty” look that I was getting from all of the black background showing through. A little bit of dark showing would have been okay, but there was too much. I thought about painting them completely all one color like you see with so many accent pieces that are in fashion now, but I felt like some of the details would be lost. I wanted more color pops and more of the metallic shine. Once they were dry, I went digging through my paint reserves. I came up with a small can of Rustoleum American Accents silver metallic (not shown), a small can of Olympic admiral blue, a tube of Liduitex Basics cadmium red and a bottle of Plaid Folk Art warm white. The tube was left over from college; the blue can was bought as oops paint for $1 and the bottle was bought for 50 cents on clearance. The silver was bought at full price, but was left over from another project as was the paint brush. I used under $1 worth of paint, so I’m figuring the grand total cost for this project to be around $9.
I repainted the red parts red, the white parts white and any of the gold or silver parts that had chipped away I painted silver, blending into the gold where needed. I also painted the black background with the navy blue paint. I didn’t paint heavily so that things wouldn’t look cartoonish, but I allowed the background and brush strokes to show. It gives them an aged appearance without looking like they had been used as oil pans (like they did when we got them). We hung them staggered on the wall to the right of the larger window in the bedroom. They are so different and unique; we are very happy with them and how they turned out!
I recently came across this awesome Anthropologie installation mimicking a wysteria vine made by Ruthi Audu on a wedding blog (Once Wed). It is SO pretty and the placement of it in a home-type setting started me thinking about where I could put one of them here in the house. I followed the link to her blog, but there were no instructions, so I really examined the pictures closely and I think that, for the most part, I’ve figured out how Ruthi made hers. Since I planned to publically post this project, I didn’t want to exactly copy her method. I played around a little with some tissue paper and came up with a couple of different ways to get the draping flower effect of a wysteria vine. I think her method looks better than mine does and so I might mix ”flowers” of my style and her style together to construct the installation in my craft room. I will have a ton of empty wall space and I think that putting it in a place similar to how it is in her photo below will look awesome. I will have a seating nook by the window in the front, so I think this would be something really special to drape over the ceiling and down the wall. I used white tissue because that is what I had on hand, but you can use any color you’d like.
I just think this is a fabulous idea and it’s really cheap to make! Above you can see Ruthi’s wysteria and real wysteria. I hope you like the tutorial below for my version. I also just wanted to note that her blog says that if you want one of your own, you can hire her to come and make you one.
- You’ll need scissors, a needle with large eye, beads, green yarn cut into lengths and tissue paper. I think the whole cost of the project is less than a penny per “flower”. My Yarn is salvaged from an old sweater and the beads are left over from a project that I did in college. My tissue paper was free; a former friend gave me a huge stack of it that she bought for a couple cents at an auction of flower shop stock. I just cut around the ivy leaves.
- The lengths of yarn depends on how many of these you are going to make and how long you want them to be. I cut mine to various lengths no longer than a foot. I would cut them 3 inches longer than you want the actual “flower” to be, so that you can tie it off and such. Cut one long rectangle about 2 inches long and 3/4 of an inch wide out of the tissue and set aside. Then cut your petal pieces. I freehand cut flat-top tear drop shapes in 5 basic size ranges. The number of petals depends on how big you want the end product to be. When you are finished with the cutting you will move on to forming the petals.
- The Gallery depicts a visual progression of how the petals are formed. You can enlarge the images by clicking on them. 1. Fold the petal in half and crease. 2. Twist the small end of petal like the end of a candy wrapper. 3. Open the petal like a leaf. 4. Fold the twist into the inside curve of the petal. Repeat this with all cut petal pieces.
- In the Gallery is also a visual tutorial to make the bottom bud of the “flower”. 1. Take your one rectangular piece and place a single bead in the center. 2. tri-fold the paper lengthwise around the bead. 3. Fold the paper in half width-wise with the bead at the center. 4. Bring the two ends together and twist like a candy wrapper. 5. Tie the very end of your yarn to the twisted part of the paper piece and trim as needed. I use a double not just to be sure it is secure.
- Now you can start threading your petals! Stack the petals in a random fashion onto the needle by piercing through the twist and the curve of the petal. This helps the paper maintain its shape. Start with the smallest set of pieces and work your way up to the larger to achieve the tapering effect. You can turn the petals this way or that when you are finished to make sure the yarn, etc is covered. Folding, pinching and shaping of your pieces can be done at this point too. When the “flower” is complete, loop your leftover yarn and tie it to create a way to hang it. In my sample I twisted it around a birch branch that I just picked up out of the back yard. You can do this or hang them on anything you’d like really. The more you make and the more loosely they can hang the better they will look.
I think in tight groupings these would really look good! Including the cutting, I would estimate that these took me 10-15 minutes each. It would go really fast if you had two people cutting, two people twisting and one person threading.
I love French Corbeille beds! Along with heavily carved English tester beds and colonial four-posters, they are my favorite style of bed. Everything about them is so pretty! Many times they have beautiful carving and are covered in plush, luxurious fabrics. We had to buy our bed in a hurry when we moved here because our old platform bed had been disassembled and reassembled so many times that it would not stand another move. If we would have had ample time to search for a bed, I would have waited and saved for something like one of these featured in this post. We have a pretty iron bed, but it’s nothing like these beauties. Maybe next time we’ll have enough warning to keep an eye out for something really special. The first piece that I want to share with you is the gorgeous button-tufted king-size bed from Layla Grayce in natural linen (shown above and priced at $4,050). While this bed is NOT an antique, it is in the same Corbeille style and just as lovely. I love beautiful fabrics, something as simple and crisp as this combination can be breathtaking!
Neither of the two pieces featured above and below are actual vintage pieces either, but they both perfectly represent the Corbielle style and are very nice. This bed shown in the photo above is actually just set dressing for the wallpaper produced by Designer’s Guild. I have no idea who made the bed, where you can buy it or what it costs because there was no information provided. This particular piece doesn’t have the padded foot-board, but instead has the partial corner posts that you sometimes see on this type of frame. I think I would always bang my feet or knees on them, but they certainly are pretty! This beautiful robin’s egg blue and white piece from Riverside Furniture in the image below could be so elegant in the right setting (priced at $1,300). Many of the Corbeille beds are upholstered in sections like this example. I’m undecided on whether I like it upholstered in panels or as one solid piece.
I think that this 1920?s frame set (shown below) from Chedwich Antiques ($2,117), even though it has some “different” fabric on it, could be so pretty in the right space. The fabric looks like a linen with some sort of velvet flocking. This would be so adorable in a little girl’s room!
I’ve saved my favorite example for last! This gorgeous bed is the type of bed dreams are made of! It is another piece from Chedwich Antiques, however it has been sold and therefore there is no price listed. I would probably have a heart attack if I saw the price tag anyway, so maybe it is a good thing that they removed it! The description states that it has “deep champagne sateen cotton with a devore chenille figured velvet in differing hues and tones of blue” and “The frame has the traditional cream craqueler finish with an additional wash of blue over it.” It is definitely worth following the link to see the close-up photos for yourself!
Earlier in the week I posted some great estate sale finds that we recently made and two of them were this awesome 1950?s travel poster and this HORRID 1993 picture frame. Between the two we spent $8. The poster is an original Northwest Orient Airlines lithograph. It was a little banged up and the airline logo was cut off of the bottom. Even so, I am ecstatic that we were able to score it for $2! We’ve been looking for a friend for it so that we would have a pair, but no luck yet. During my research I’ve found out that this poster in good condition runs between $800 & $1200! I would guess that even in this condition, because the main artwork is still in great shape, that it is still worth a few hundred dollars. The frame was $6 and was not only ugly, shiny, plastic and mauve, but parts of the ugly was coming off showing the raw glue spotted “wood” underneath. I bought it because I felt that I would end up paying way more for a heavy duty frame of this size if I passed this one up, so I went ahead and got it. We needed a big sturdy frame to protect our new treasure, so I thought for a few minutes about what I could do with it and come up with a great solution!
The first thing I did to the frame was to break off as much of the loose plastic as I could so that whatever I did to it next would have a solid base. Then I cut the paper away from the back and removed the cardboard backing, the faded old Monet poster and the glass. I had to take out the glaziers points and unscrew the hanging hooks to do this and I set those aside. I decided to do a simple fabric covered frame, but I had to find something that I felt would match the poster, but wouldn’t be too crazy to fit in somewhere in the house. The paper has yellowed a little over the years and the bright white of the buildings is now a light ecru color, so that is the color I chose to go with. I went to my fabric shelves and looked for something similar and I pulled out unbleached cotton that I had. I measured how far it was around the frame (as in each piece of it, not the circumference) and then how long each side was. I cut pieces of the linen 1/4 inch wider and 3 inches longer than my measurements were. So now I had 4 pieces of linen and a frame.
I wrapped the fabric around the sides of the frame lengthwise and sewed it with a simple stitch along the back of the frame. I made it tight but not TOO tight because once you put the glass back in it will take out the slack. You want the fabric to be centered in both directions. I started about 1.5 inches in from the corners and sewed straight to the other end, stopping about 1.5 inches away from it because the corners take a little configuring and you want a little mobility for that. Once I had all four sides sewn on, I folded and cut the corners to make two angled edges on each that would fit together like the corner of a blanket. When I was happy with how they looked I sewed them from underneath, or inside some people call it, so that you couldn’t see the stitches when I was done. I repeated this on all four corners and completed stitching up the ends on the back as well. We cleaned the glass really good, put it back into the frame and reattached the hanging hardware. To spruce up the poster itself I took a white plastic art eraser which is good for cleaning up artwork and won’t smudge or spread stains. This immediately got rid of 3/4 of the marks of the piece like they had never even been there. I straightened the one rip and smoothed it out and folded about 1/8 of an inch on the edges where it was too big for the frame. We laid the poster face down on the glass and Loving Husband held it while I arranged it and made sure that it was flat. Next, I put the cardboard back over the back and LH reinserted the points to secure everything back into the frame.
All I can say is that I am extremely pleased with the finished project and the frame is perfect for the poster. It fits in with our decor, matches the poster and doesn’t detract from it at all! One expert I spoke to about the poster said that we were lucky to find one at all, and it is unbelievable that we got it for $2! Right now it is hanging in our bedroom, but next time we move I will hang it in our dining room for all our visitors to enjoy!
Last summer we went to an estate auction that was way out in the boonies on a farm. I was interested in a leaded glass window that was in a pile of old rusty, nasty beds and chicken things leaning up against an old rotting coop. Long story short, I won the window and as we were standing there the iron bed (there was a big brass bed too) went up on the block. We only have company that requires a bed twice a year when my father comes to visit and we had just bought one for ourselves, so I was very surprised when Loving Husband started bidding on and won the antique iron bed you see below. It included a base board, a head board and two side rails. Since it’s an old bed (over 100 years old), it’s not meant for your typical modern box spring and mattress set; it’s also a strange size, not a full and not a double. There was a thick layer of black paint, some olive green paint and the bottom layer was a very rich gold color backed with yellow. It’s really too bad that there was some rust on it because I liked the gold a lot, it had a luminous quality to it like a pearl paint almost (see foot also below).
LH spent many hours outside with sandpaper in one hand and a drill with the wire bristle attachment on it in the other. He finally got the whole bed down to the gold layer and sprayed the dust off of it. The fun stuff began when we started painting it. He picked black hammered texture spray paint and since it was his project, I went along with it. It took us two sessions to get it all sprayed and dried. Once it was finished it looked really good! Our bed is black iron and they ended up looking very similar. We had to build a very basic box structure with internal supports to serve as a platform on which to put the mattress. At the moment we are using it with an inflatable mattress because we are still holding out the hope of eventually finding one similar to the size of the bed. My father used it over the Christmas holidays and he loved it. I’m really pleased with the way it turned out and LH is very proud of his $28 antique bed! Below are some photos of what the finished project looks like!
Instead of trolling the thrift stores as usual we’ve been busy doing some antiquing and auction shopping as of late. I wanted to show you guys a couple of the really cool things we bought, if you’d like a closer view, simply click on the images to enlarge them.
We actually found this watercolor in an antique shop UNDER a pile of rusted metal light fixtures. I managed to pick it up for $20. I just LOVED something about it. It’s a depiction of a cavalryman of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw (possibly the Lancers of the Vistula Legion) during the Napoleonic war. Of course the painting isn’t that old, it’s actually from the 60?s I believe. I cleaned it; we bought the lovely silver leaf and linen frame from the Goodwill for $4. The blue linen pattern acid free mat was custom cut for the piece and cost $12. Total cost $36!
I researched the artist who is S. Pajackowski. He was born in 1900, but I can’t find any information on when he died. The few paintings of his that I was able to find online sell for about $350-$400, so not bad for under $40!
This unfinished painting is on the BACK of our painting. I’m not really sure what it is exactly, some sort of polish procession I guess. They appear to have been part of a book at one time and were since removed.
It’s hard to say that one or the other of this group is my favorite; all three items in this post are great! But I really LOVE this vintage pram. This is in such awesome condition that I honestly don’t think that this was ever used with a child. There are no rips or wear marks on it anywhere, no staining, it has all of the original parts including the cloth covered mattress and the mosquito net. When I saw the Perego Confiori stroller in forest green and white, I HAD to have it. The auction house sold it as a buggy pram (the two photos below) and a car seat that was out of date. Once I got home and could really look at it, we figured out that it wasn’t a car seat at all (Loving Husband figured it wasn’t from the get-go). What they were calling a car seat is actually the seat for the summer stroller configuration (the two photos above). The hood over the bassinet collapses, the little window on the apron snaps up or down and the entire apron can be removed if you want the pram open. You can remove the bassinet and replace it with the stroller seat. This seat can be adjusted into several different reclining positions, the surrey top can be attached, there is a bracket that can be flipped up and that holds the mosquito net off the baby’s head. It also came with a matching cover that would go over the top of the stroller to cover the baby for sleeping.
I know what you are thinking… We don’t have a baby! True, true, but I figured that it was well worth the $100 price tag, because if we DO have a baby (we are trying) I couldn’t get a new stroller half this awesome for $100. This thing is in such good condition, it’s like old-new stock and we love vintage, so it is perfect for us, it’s even LH’s favorite color! If we don’t have a baby, at least I have an interesting piece to use when staging photos of the baby items I make. Also, I could sell it online. Less mint versions of the same buggy have been going in the $300 range on eBay (even with $50+ shipping) and most of them only have one set of the parts, either the stroller or the bassinet and none of the accessory parts! I feel like it was a hell of a deal even though it was way more than I would normally consider spending. Something about it just called out to me!
This (above) is the reason why we went to the auction in the first place! It is a handmade vintage/antique pattern case! It is solid wood, all brass pulls and glass in the windows with 2 replacement pieces included. I had been storing my vintage pattern collection in Rubbermaid storage drawers which were becoming stressed under the weight. I don’t have to worry about that anymore with this; now I have plenty of room for all of my patterns to be spread out into their categories and then put into separate drawers by size range and even one left over for other stuff! The drawers aren’t completely full, so I have room to grow! It’s 21 inches deep, so that’s a lot of drawer space! This one set me back $80, which I don’t think was too bad for a handmade item like this. It seems like anything with more than 6 drawers in it sells for WAY more than I’m willing to pay. All of the little apothecary chests, old safety deposit boxes, seed chests, etc, etc; they all START at about $300. Taking that into consideration, I felt lucky to get my hands on this one for a relative pittance. The only bad thing about it is that Loving Husband tore his abdominal muscle while moving it into the house and has been out of work and on Vicodin for a week. It really isn’t THAT heavy, but it’s very awkward and he should have let me help him when I offered. Hopefully he will be well again soon, but the medics said 6-8 weeks.
During our two weeks in Memphis we did a decent amount of thrifting. Usually the thrift stores are one of the first places that we hit when we spend any amount of time in a new city. We also found some good yard sales and a couple of estate sales. I’d never been to an estate sale before this trip, but now I’ll be on the lookout for more!! You guys know that I always come home with a trunk full of books no matter where I go, I just can’t help myself! This trip was no exception. I do have to say, that for a state that is stereotyped as being full of uneducated hillbillies, I came across a more “sophisticated” level of literature in the Memphis thrift stores than I have anywhere except the Bloomington, IN GW that is right next door to IU. Most of the books shown here came from thrift stores and a couple came from Burke’s Books, but were so cheap that I had to list them here. If they came from anywhere else, it is noted. I really had some luck with patterns and sewing supplies this time around which is rarely the case when thrifting. Maybe part of it was the antique stores I visited or maybe people in Memphis don’t like sewing as much as they seem to have everywhere else we have been! The patterns were even cheap! There are only 3 patterns that I paid $2 each for. Forty-five of the patterns came in a single box for $10, 12 of them were purchased 3-for-$1 at an antique store, about 10 came in a single bag from a yard sale for $3 and the rest were approx 35 cents give or take a nickel. Not bad for some really cool old patterns in decent shape, almost all of them were complete and some even uncut!