Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Looking Up

I love old buildings! I love the craftsmanship that went into making a building beautiful. I admire the intricacy in the moldings and trim. I'm amazed at the ornate detail in things as small as an elevator button. And one thing that I'm attracted to is the old tin ceilings. It astounds me that such detail and design was put into something that you would have look upward to notice. It is because of my admiration of the design of ceiling tins that I have manged to acquire a collection of them. I use tins all throughout my home.

I have old, authentic ones.

(The crown molding and the shelf
are made using ceiling tin)
(We cut apart a tin to make the four small squares)

I have reproductions too.

Aahhh, the beauty of a ceiling tins!

Up against a brick wall...

above photo: source unknown

Exposed brick walls. How do I love these...? Let me count the ways:
  • A good brick wall conjures up a sense of history in a home. The more aged the brick looks, the better.
  • A brick wall needs no adornment. It stands alone, naked, and still looks great.
  • A brick wall is the perfect feature wall. How can your eyes not be drawn to its strength and character?
  • Warm colour is added to the room naturally. Brick warms up the space, so even an all white palette seems cozy.

    photo source: Country Living

  • A brick feature wall makes a statement. Everything looks better against it, and it is the perfect backdrop for a great chandelier/lighting fixture, a stand-out piece of furniture, a great flooring material. Basically, it is the starting point to an amazing room.
  • A brick wall naturally looks better uncluttered. It is the pattern, texture, colour - and it invites more, but in a restrained way. It can hold court with other great elements, but not too many. In essence, a textured wall - like brick- coaxes the eye to steer clear of visual clutter. It is our job to take the less is more cue.

    photos (above and below): Wish magazine

***Note to self: Add a brick wall to my dream home list. What's on your list?

A Few Updates...

Just wanted everyone to know that, although I mentioned I would be hosting another great give-away with Matthew Mead this week, we have had to postpone it until next week (technical difficulties). However, the contest will begin next week, and I will give you advance warning: trust me, you don't want to miss out on this one, as there a few extra goodies being thrown into the prize barrel. I also thought I'd let you know that today is the official release of his new book, Entertaining Simple. It's in bookstores everywhere, so check it out!!

Also, if you are wondering where all my blog links are, don't fret. I had so many that they were starting to take over! So, I have created a whole new page where I can fit as many as I like. Just look to my right sidebar for the blog button link, and it will take you there. Because I have more space, if you would like to be added just send me an email. Also, I try to visit as many blogs as I can, but have you seen that list? I think I am going to have to do a rotating schedule...I limit my blogging time to late evening, for the most part, so it gets tricky...
How do you manage to be a friendly blogger to all your favourites?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Where's My Head?

Oh dear! I totally forgot
to pass some more fun info on to you.

(I apologize Heather!)
Heather has a wonderful tutorial on her blog BeTasseled.
Now, with last weeks post and this one,
you have even more tassel making inspiration.
What are you waiting for?
Go make a tassel.

Ooooo La La!

Most people Spring clean. I Fall build. I don't know what it is about the Fall, but I suddenly get the urge to build items for my home. I'm not sure if it's the nesting instinct left over from having my last three children born in the Fall months. Or if it's the desire to have a nice home for the holidays. Or maybe, I no longer feel the need to work on outside projects, so I can devote my time and energy to the inside of my home. Whatever the reason, I have the urge to Fall build.
And so it was on Saturday.

I went into my garage and found an old door
that I bought months ago at a thrift store.
(You see those french doors? I have plans for them too.
Won't they look great on a garden shed?
That project will have to wait until next Spring)

My trusty assistant (aka: hubby) cut the door in half,
leaving the vintage doorknob,
and reattaching the hinges.
In the meantime, I sanded some metal legs
that we bought months ago
at that big blue box store that sells Swedish furniture.
The legs needed to be sanded
in preparation for their makeover.
Then I primed them with a good primer.Next came a few coats of satin black.I sanded the door where there were chips and dings.
The sanding uncovered a few layers of paint.When the legs were dry,
we screwed them onto the door.

And voila! A beautiful desk was born! Don't those legs give it a French flair?It looks a bit like a grown up version of the tray
from my previous post.

I'm enjoying the combination of cream and black lately.
This beauty is going to find it's way
into the master bedroom.

I think I'm feeling a bedroom makeover coming on!

A little ditty...

Well, I just received word via email that my blog has been nominated for a little something over at Divine Caroline, which is a great site devoted to sharing inspiration and stories for people like you and me. So, if you are so kind as to take the time to pop on over there and vote for me, I will blush pinker than I have in a long time. You can easily register, then vote away!
Thanks everyone!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Housing Problem

The problem with real estate in the Miami area is not only that there are too few buyers, but also that getting a mortgage loan is now very difficult for almost everyone. The banks, which created this mortgage mess in the first place, with the help of unscrupulous mortgage brokers, are now giving loans to only the most highly qualified people. Down payments have to be at least 20%, but are often more like 30% or even 40%, and interest rates are higher for all but those with the highest credit scores.

With the dearth of PMI, private mortgage insurance, which is required by banks for those who have less 20% to put down on a house or condo, loans at more than 80% loan to value have all but disappeared. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is some very good news for buyers who want to live in places like Miami Beach, where homes and condos were very often unaffordable for all but those with high incomes.

Prices in Miami have fallen 20 to 30 percent in many pricey areas, and many prospective buyers who were unable to buy in Miami Beach, now have the opportunity to own a house or condo in the Miami area; if they can get a loan, that is.

Another bit of good news is that August real estate sales results were recently released, and according to an article today in the Miami Herald, sales of single-family homes rose 22% in Dade County from the same period a year ago, and condo sales rose 13%. In Broward County, home sales rose 13% in August from the same period a year earlier, and condo sales remained flat.

There is still a glut of homes and condominiums for sale in Miami. According to Ron Shuffield of EWM, the over supply of homes and condos remains very high, with Miami-Dade experiencing a 32 month supply of houses, and a 41 month supply of condos on the market for sale. In an even market place, a 6 to 12 month supply of inventory is the norm.

Sunday Dinner...

Ever since I was a young girl, Sunday dinner has been a tradition held close to my heart. With five siblings, mealtime was often served dine and dash, with little emphasis placed on the intricacies of setting a table or the Norman Rockwell image of a family gathering to slowly dine and reconnect over a meal. Indeed, protecting one's food from nipping brothers was more of a priority than sitting straight in one's chair and keeping elbows off tables.

Sundays, however, were the exception. I have many olfactory memories of roast beef cooking in its savoury juices, Yorkshire puddings bubbling away in muffin cups, and the distinctive scent of turnip and broccoli wafting through the kitchen. Whether tucked away in my room reading or outside, playing, the delicious scents would inevitably find me, and the rumblings within my belly would begin. One by one, my siblings and I would wander out to the kitchen, voicing the question, "Is supper almost ready, Mum?" Often we'd be sent back to where we came from so as not to be in the way or, conversely, given a job such as stirring the gravy, setting the table (one fork, one knife, paper napkin...), or of you were a strong boy, given the job of mashing the potatoes to creamy perfection.

photo source: wikipedia.org

As our mother served up our plates (which she always heated in the oven for us), we'd bellow to each other to come to the table. Manners were always minded a little more, conversation would extend beyond requests of "Are you going to eat that?", and although elbows still resided casually on the table, it felt special to me. I imagined that people driving by would glance in the window, smile and dub us very Norman Rockwell indeed. Sunday dinner and all its traditions were very important to us, and made us feel very civilized, almost refined, and definitely warmed us through and through. Sunday was even special enough to warrant dessert, a real treat in our home. Usually it was one of my mother's apple pies or crumbles, or sometimes it was simply sticky pudding cake straight from a box. Either way, the special nuances of the meal have remained with me, and Sunday dinner is a tradition that I carry on with my own family. Times may have changed and my own husband often assists with the meal and its preparation, but the meaning has remained the same: Sunday is a special day, deserving of a fine meal, and is a day where we come together as a family to eat, laugh, and sadly, are subjected to my husband's favourite radio show: classic country. Oh well, it can't all be perfect!

After all, our last name isn't Rockwell, is it?

This post is dedicated to my "long-suffering mother" who has cooked more meals than she could ever count; and to my husband, who made the entire Sunday dinner today in all its glory. Dinner hasn't tasted that good in a long time...and I didn't once ask, "Is it ready yet?"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Q and A and Tray Chic

Thank you all for your sweet comments about my chair. You've made me excited to start on it's makeover. I just need to find the right fabric. I know the color is "in" but, the vinyl has a few holes in it so it needs to be redone.

Hooray! Some of you asked questions on the last post. And for those of you who've asked me questions on older posts (the dollar frame project, etc.), I'm just getting caught up, so be patient with me.

Q: Jenn asked about painting her chandelier. I tried to email you Jenn, but the info was wrong so I'm answering you here.

A: If your chandelier does not have a really shiny/glossy finish you should be able to spray paint it without any problems. If it has a mat finish, like my lamp did, &/or feels a little rough when you touch it, the paint should adhere just fine.
If it has a really shiny/glossy finish, you'll want to sand it first with a medium grit paper. You just need a light sanding. Then, to be safe you should prime it with a primer made for metal, before you spray paint it. Because it's not going to get a lot of wear, these steps are enough.
I like using Rustoleum brand paint in a satin finish. I like the sheen of a satin. Then if you lightly spray a metallic over it, it will really have a warm finish. Be sure to keep a good distance when you spray the metallic. You only want a dusting of color.

Q: Rambling Girl asked if there were any tutorials on how to make tassels.
A: Elise at Nest Sweet Nest did a tutorial on tassel making. I heard about it from Darlene at Darlene's Days. She's made a few cute ones too.

Q: Sue asked how I come up with so many ideas. Am I working on something all the time?
A: I am happiest when I'm creating. And I AM working on something all of the time. Once I tried to write down all of the things that I wanted to accomplish in my home. It was SEVERAL pages long! I made the mistake of counting each thing and figuring out how long it would take if I did one each day. It was overwhelming! Now I just try to do the ideas that excite me most each day. It's more fun for me, although it frustrates my family. One of my sons jokingly refers to our house as "The house of unfinished dreams" because I have so many ideas and not enough time to do them all.

Q: Runner Mom asked if I upholster too.
A: I've recovered chairs, and made slipcovers, but my thrift chair would be my first big upholstery project.

Q: Carla asked what color and brand of brown spray paint I like.
A: I used Rustoleum's Espresso in satin for this project. I think that it's a nice brown.

Now, I can't leave you for the entire weekend without something fun.

I bought a very large tray at the thrift store. It was rather plain and was stained an orangish color.

I sanded it and primed it.
I spray painted it Heirloom White
and sanded the edges for a distressed look.
I added some retro hardware that I'd sprayed black
with a bronze metallic dusting.
I spray painted four finials.And "ABRACADABRA!"
Those pretty finials are now fancy legs.
Then just to make it "tres chic",
I added some fleur de lis rub on decals.
It's not a plain tray anymore!

The Wow Factor...

(my girlie wearing glittered glasses and chatting on the phone...oblivious to me!)
As you may know, I love to take the ordinary, and inexpensive, and make it extra special. I glean inspiration from magazines and decorating books, and often look at the ideas and think: a) how can I duplicate that on my budget and/or accessibility from my small town and b) how can I tweak it and make it better, or just my own?
Like many of you, I scour the Dollar Store, department stores, hardware stores and thrift shops to see what calls out to me as a potential project. Typically, I don't make things all that much, but what I do do, is wield a can of spray paint and glitter things with aplomb! As I type this, I have Martha Stewart's lovely silver glitter stuck between my fingers...a side-effect of my latest adventure with my two favourite mediums!

I spied this crown early in the summer at Winners/Homesense. I absolutely love the image of the crown, almost as much as the chandelier! Looking at it in its original form, it didn't hold a lot of appeal to me; however, visions of it sparkling with regal purpose inspired me to add it to my cart, for the royal price of $16.99. After carefully smuggling it inside (my dear husband would not have shared my enthusiasm for it), I hid it in my usual spot, and promptly forgot about it...until yesterday!! Out onto my ugly gravel front path I went, and added yet another colour to the stones. A finishing dusting of glitter, and this is the beauty I ended up with:

Another project I just completed was this drum shade. I also purchased it at Winners, for the grand price of $14.99. Now, it was pretty handsome to begin with, but like most women, I figured I could change it into something even better! So, after poking around in my crafting supplies kit (my junk drawer), I found what I was looking for: the fun, and always whimsical, pom pom fringe!! Just about everything looks better with that, so while I was cooking dinner, I was also heating up the glue gun, and embellishing...too bad dinner didn't turn out as fancy!!

Speaking of cooking, I made pancakes last Sunday (as I always do); and because I had spent part of the previous evening flipping through Matthew Mead's new book, Entertaining Simple, which he had just sent me (thanks Matthew!), I was inspired to try one of the many great ideas in the book. Now, I have to tell you, there are so many easy and creative ideas in this book, you'll be instantly party planning and making to-do lists!! I won't get into too many details yet, as the book won't officially be released until September 30 (mark your calendars, ladies!!), however, I will show you what Matthew inspired me to do with my pancakes that morning:

Seriously, who would have ever thought of that? Pancakes on a pedestal!!

How pretty is that??!! When you think about it, isn't that where a pancake should be? I mean, doesn't everyone love a delicious, moist pancake...dripping in maple syrup and butter...with yummy add-ins like tart blueberries, fresh apple slices, and chocolatey chips?? FYI: those are the kinds of pancakes I make each Sunday, the apple being my favourite.

Now, has anyone ever priced the Silver Sage silk drapes at Restoration Hardware? Well, they are a pretty penny indeed. But look what I found at our local Zellers (Cdn) store! They may be faux silk, but the package said colour: Silver Sage, and they are a perfect match to the wall colour in my dining area! And since I was due to take my summer curtains down, the price couldn't have been better either: I spent only $14 a panel! Made my heart do a flip-flop, I tell you!!

So, in case you need reminding, hunt, root, search, scour the most unexpected places for what you are looking for. If you find something that will almost do, think of ways to repurpose it and make it work for your home. Oh, and stock up on a little spray paint and glitter while you are at it. Now, I'm off to work some bargain magic in someone else's home!!


***Look forward to another great, BIG giveaway involving Matthew Mead next week. It is bigger and better than the previous give-away with even more chances to win!!


Now, what projects have you done lately on a dime??

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm Back, I'm Catching Up, And I'm Crazy?!?

Hoooray! We're up and running again.
And if you think I accomplished creatively, wonderful things yesterday... I'm sorry to disappoint you. I did manage to catch up on a little laundry though. Speaking of catching up, I want to thank those of you who have passed along awards to me. I really appreciate your thoughtfulness! For those of you who've tagged me and want me to list weird or random facts, I've decided instead...(oh, you know I'm a rule breaker!) ...to spend a post answering questions. Hopefully, you won't be bored! Feel free to ask about painting, decorating or past projects. And just to get you started, Darlene asked: Are the forks [on the fork rack] sturdy enough to hang things besides keys? The answer is: Yes. I've hung jackets on it. But I wouldn't hang my ten pound purse on it.

Now, I want you to see one of my latest
thrift store finds.
As I stood in the thrift store,
I thought I heard it call to me:

"Joy, buy me please!
I'm only ten dollars.

You know you have a soft spot for wing back chairs.
Look at the detail on my legs.
I'm unusual. And you like the unusual.
I'd look great spray painted.
I'd be pretty easy to reupholster.
Please don't leave me here.

I want to go home with you!" Now I'm beginning to question,

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Internet Frustrations

Hi my friends!
I am experiencing internet difficulties.
I'm posting this at my husband's work.
I didn't want you to think I forgot you.
The internet company tells me someone should be out by tomorrow.
Silly internet!
Don't we all have a love/hate relationship with it?
And what good is a computer without it?
I mean, how many games of spider solitare can you play
before boredom sets in?

I'm off to find another creative outlet for today.
For those of you who've asked me questions,
I promise I'll get to you as soon as I can.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Stick a Fork In It

This cute little display hangs in the hall to my kitchen,
right between two doors that lead out of the house.
I wish I could take credit for making the coat hanger.
Our niece and her husband made it
and gave it to us for Christmas a few years ago.

Isn't it wonderful?They bought the forks at the thrift store
and used reclaimed wood from an old fence.

(I can take credit
for making the picture hanging above it.)

Autumn Days

Autumn has well and truly arrived and we have had some lovely golden days recently. I love the mellowness of Autumn, the misty mornings and the rich shades. One of my favourite poems is Ode to Autumn by Keats, you can read it here if you are not familiar with it.
Here are a few recent photos taken in the garden. Our raspberry canes have been prolific this year and I have enjoyed fresh raspberries for breakfast every morning for weeks now.
Amazingly, this young russet is no more than two years old and barely five foot high, yet it has been weighed down with the most succulent tasting apples!

I spotted this beautiful butterfly on a rotting apple and was quite taken with its rich, seasonal colours.

This little fellow is not one of my favourite Autumn visitors! These spiders always appear at this time of year and I often find myself walking into their webs when making my way down the garden first thing in the morning! Not a pleasant experience for someone who isn't too keen on spiders!

I am surprised how quickly the leaves are falling this year, there is a row of poplar trees near our garden and the leaves are falling so fast that have almost covered the grass - think we'll have to get the rake out this weekend!

We have had a very busy time here at Vintage Home; thank you to everyone for your custom and kind words. We've been updating the online shop on a regular basis so there is always something fresh to see every few days. A few of our recent finds are shown here, there's this charming print, what a bonnie baby!

This stunning handstitched Welsh quilt will keep out those Autumn chills!

The intricate patterns can be seen in all their glory on the pink reverse.

Here's some frivolous fun for you - a gorgeous vintage hat covered with purple pansies!

This super old French coffee pot has pretty roses decorating it!

That's just a taster of the recent additions, there will be many more to see over the coming days, including Victorian religious prints, another exceptional handstitched quilt and a variety of extra-special homewares and pretty china. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Seasons Change...

Well, the boxes were finally cracked on my fall decorations, and the first place I addressed was my fireplace mantel. Considering I hadn't dressed it up for summer, a change was long over-due. My fireplace is visible from every corner and is truly the focal point of my living room (considering my puny television is hidden away in an armoire...sooo passé). Thus, the time was right for a little decorating make-over!
I have to say, I am pretty pleased with the outcome. I incorporated many of my favourite things: my vintage chemist's bottles, my new/old platter, my love of crows, apothecary vases, and nests, and stepped out of my usual colour palette, and injected a modest splash of autumn's signature colour:
Of course I kept a little blue in the mix...

My love of crows at this time of year is legendary, so I figured he deserved to be elevated on a sweet, little cake platter. I love cake platters...

I thought I'd show you another little fall vignette. Don't be too dazzled by my artistic skills. I can hook you up with an original drawing of that pumpkin if you like...