Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Succulents Add Simple Charm


Succulents seem to have made a comeback.

My apartment in college was filled with succulents: jade, aloe, burro's tail, hen and chicks, Christmas cactus, kalanchoe . . . That was in the '70s. In moving state to state during the years after college, I betrayed these unassuming natural friends by giving them all away to new homes. I honestly hadn't thought much about succulents since. I was so over that phase.

Until last year, when my now daughter-in-law told me she and my son were incorporating succulents into their wedding bouquets and table arrangements.

They chose a pretty and versatile hen and chicks variety, along with the show-stopping spider agave to create an element of surprise in her stunning bouquet and my son's boutonniere. I was instantly won over once again by the charm of these versatile, fleshy plants.

Have you ever seen a more lovely bouquet?


You might remember my earlier post about the teacups, saucers and teapots I collected for the wedding reception centerpieces. They looked breath-taking on the the tables, filled with lovely flowers and the occasional succulent surprise.


During the reception tear down, I wrapped up a handful of the hen and chicks in wet paper towels, tied them in a plastic grocery bag and carried them home with me on the plane the following day.

I planted them in a variety of vintage aluminum tart cups and molds. They look darling on our dining room window seat.


Hen and chicks are among my favorite succulents. The color of this specific variety is so serene and the mothers propagate plenty of chicks that can be harvested to create new plants. They're easy to take care of (a misting of water every couple of days) and they take direct or diffused sun.

Whether used as home decor, incorporated into wedding bouquets or planted in an outdoor rock garden, succulents are an easy way to add simple charm to any setting.

Make it a great day!




Friday, June 27, 2014

Frolicky Fun or a Sad Story?


That's not a garden statue. After an absence of several years, the fox are back in our neighborhood. A family of four.

We live smack in the middle of the city, but our acre lot backs to a wooded ravine that drops off to a small creek. The wildlife are abundant:  deer, raccoon, woodchuck, turkey, opossum and fox are among the most common varieties.




Year-round, turkeys call our yard home. We've had as many as 23 in the yard at a time. Generally, they visit in groups of four to seven. They scratch up the garden, trample the plants, poop all over the place, lounge under the evergreen trees and chase the ice cream truck. Despite the havoc they wreak on the yard, they're fun and interesting to watch.


A few weeks ago, this young hen proudly, but cautiously, paraded her 10 poults through the yard. We only saw them once.




Not long after we witnessed the tiny turkey parade, the foxes appeared in the neighborhood. Which is why I think we haven't seen the tiny turkeys since. I hate to speculate why they're no longer around.

Earlier this week, while these two foxes played around the yard, the fox in the top photo stood watch.

They tussled and chased each other around playing with a couple of the moulted turkey feathers that are so common in our lawn. They looked like a couple of kittens playing with a spool of yarn.

I'm glad to have the fox around to keep the rabbits out of the garden. But, I hope the young hen and her poults moved to safer territory.

Make it a great day!
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Sunday, June 22, 2014

My New Green Red Glider


For the past 20  years or so, this wicker loveseat has been the centerpiece of our cozy covered porch that overlooks our large back yard. Please pardon the bad photo--it's the only one I could find at  the moment.

When I bought this loveseat at a garage sale, it was probably already 15 or more years old and had seen a significant amount of wear. I never would have dreamed it would have lasted this long. Although, the past couple of years, I prayed each time someone sat on it that they wouldn't fall through to the floor!


Introducing safe seating, a pop of color and an eco-friendly solution.


This wonderful glider is my Mother's Day gift. But, it was back ordered and just arrived this past week. I'm so excited that it's made of recycled plastics and is guaranteed not to fade. It's so comfy while being environmentally responsible.


It allowed me to change up the look of the porch a bit, but it still coordinates with my sweet yellow quilted chair covers. I moved my Swift Premium box, which some of you may remember was on my front porch and am using it as a coffee table.



The Canada Dry crate will be a handy place to set drink bottles and glasses to keep them from being batted around by our black lab's tail. A vintage ice chest with a soft top pairs nicely with the glider and creates an additional seat for guests, when needed.


The globes hanging from the vintage chandelier in the corner glow in the dark. My little neighbor girls really enjoy them.

I'm looking for a new outdoor rug to tie things together a little better. The old rug has seen better days and now seems too small. Didn't have time for shopping this weekend. Next weekend, perhaps.

Now we're gliding in style.

Make it a great day!

Monday, June 16, 2014

What a Sale! Everything 75¢!


Every Saturday morning I head out before 8 a.m. to run my errands:  laundry, P.O box, ATM, etc. Last week, I took a detour to follow a garage sale sign on a whim. Not that that's unusual or anything. It was just an abrupt detour (I did signal my turn, though).

When I pulled up in front, my heart started racing. I could see from the street, I was going to like this sale. Two young women were frantically staging their mostly antique and vintage wares and apologetically told me the sale didn't start for another 15 minutes and they really needed that time for set up.

One of them said, "I hope you wait, or at least come back. Everything is 75 cents today. It's our second and final day."

Wait? For 75-cent vintage goodies? Heck, yes!

I usually go for the "smalls" and this sale had some great ones. I could have loaded up my entire car with great stuff, but I'm trying to cut back with an eye toward downsizing. Sales like this one make that a challenge.

Here is some of my loot.




Teacups: 75 cents for all. They're so sweet.

Mirror tray: 75 cents, chip and all. I use vintage etched mirrors and mirror trays in my decorating year-round. But, at Christmas time, with the twinkle of lights and candles, they create a magical look around the house. I am especially drawn to mirrors with age flaws, such as this one.


Set of five dishes--Mason's Ironstone, England:  75 cents for all. Watch for this pretty vintage set to appear in an outdoor project in the next few weeks.


A lovely 22-kt. gold Royal China Co. plate also will be featured in a future garden project. A real bargain among bargains at 25 cents.


A girl can never have too many silverplate pieces. Fill them with rose petals in the summer, vintage ornaments in the winter or serve fresh berries out of them at a backyard barbecue. This one was totally black with tarnish. It cleaned up beautifully, but I'm waiting for some degree of tarnish to reappear. I like that used, mildly neglected look.

Yep. 75 cents.


And 75 cents for both decks of South African Airways playing cards. I snap up interesting decks whenever I find them to use in my handmade For Giggles and Grins ephemera journals. I'd never come across this set before.


The 75-cent orphan salt shaker is destined to become a handmade decorative tassel.



75-cent Haeger pink dish has a detachable flower frog and built-in candleholder. It's in mint condition. But, I'm not a fan of pink and will probably list this one at some point.


Pretty vintage linen tea towel will look nice in someone's kitchen.


Love this kitschy metal rooster tray from the '50s or '60s. It's in very good vintage condition and was 75 cents, of course.



Wonderful Treasure Island book, copyright 1947, has a colorful illustration on the inside cover and fly sheet and illustrations throughout. This treasure needs a good rubbing alcohol bath and it will be fit for the rental book inventory. 75 cents.

Grand total:  $7.25.

Make it a great day!
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Sunday, June 1, 2014

With Treasure Hunting, Timing Is Everything



For quite some time now, I've been meaning to stop by The Humble Home, a charming little shop that specializes in retro and vintage home decor. It's owned and operated by a former colleague of mine and his wife. They've been open two years or so and I never seemed to get around to stopping.

One recent Saturday, Hubby and I were out and about and decided to stop in. Boy, am I glad we did. What an enchanting store! It was chock full of unique antique and vintage furniture, architectural salvage, home decor and art.

My husband found this beautiful German religious print and had to have it. As you can see, all but a few scraps of the ornamentation have come off the frame, along with a good deal of the silver paint. The print itself has significant water stains. But, the artwork is gorgeous and the flaws add to its beauty (in our opinion).




The owner hadn't even priced the art because she had just picked it the previous day. She had set it out only minutes before we arrived that morning and figured she'd have time to price it before someone came in.

Her price was right, we knew exactly where we would hang it and before she could blink it was SOLD.

Now it hangs in our foyer where we had a space that we hadn't been able to find the right piece to fill.





This stunning tabletop mirror caught my eye just as we were preparing to pay for the print. I collect vintage etched glass mirrors, but I didn't have anything in my collection like this gorgeous item.

As with the antique print, this piece didn't have a price tag. You guessed it. She had just set it out minutes before we walked in. It's as if she knew we were coming. Again, price was right. SOLD!



The mirror itself is in near mint condition. The sterling footed frame shows a bit of discoloration, but I had to look hard to find it.

The etched design and the detail on the frame are so elegant!



Currently, the mirror decorates my August Stickley post office table and shows off a pale pink cake stand and my grandma's tea cups. But, I'm pretty sure it will find a prominent place in every season of the year. I'm already thinking about how I want to use it at Christmas. The etchings look a bit like snowflakes, don't ya think?



Yes, with treasure hunting, timing is everything. Had we walked into that store even a day earlier, we would have missed out on two fabulous finds. Perfect timing.

Make it a great day!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

To Paint or Not to Paint?


Years ago, I found this terrific metal chair at a local thrift store for $3. It was love at first sight, even though I didn't know exactly where or how I would use it.

Over the years, I collected three more. I picked them all up at the same thrift store. All at different times. All for the same low price of $3. In the back of my mind, I envisioned painting them bright colors and strategically placing them in our vast backyard garden.


They might look at home alongside the vintage bicycle and tricycle.


When I recently pulled the chairs out of the back shed where I had stored them out of sight since I purchased the last one,  I was surprised at how rich the rust and chipping really was.

I like it so much I'm thinking about not painting, but instead, simply applying a clear coat sealant to prevent further deterioration.




What would you do? Paint or not paint? Give me your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Make it a great day!
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