Monday, August 30, 2010

Old Corbels ~

This is my kitchen fireplace...


Above the fireplace is an old pair of wood corbels.

I purchased this pair of corbels about 15 years ago at the Ventura Flea Market.  They came from my very favorite seller, Buddy. He has the most amazing architectural pieces collected from old buildings....

When I was paying for the corbels, Buddy asked what I was going to do with them. I told him that I was planning to use them as bookends....

Buddy suggested I flip them upside down and hang them
 like sconces....



I thought it was a great idea.

I came home and I added picture hooks to the back of each corbel. Since they are heavy, my husband attached the corbels to the wall with anchor screws.






You can find new Corbels at places like Restoration Hardware 
but they won't have this wonderful patina!!



This set has the best chippy paint... layers upon layers...




Look at he the black areas... 
maybe they came from a building with fire damage!



I added glass hurricanes from Pier One. 
They run about $6 each.
The candles are unscented white pillars from Target.

When bringing home old corbels, I recommend you
 1. spray the wood with a bug killer [like RAID]
 2. place the corbels in an airtight trash bag for 48 hours. 

This will kill any creepy crawlers!



I love the architectural interest they bring into my kitchen.  

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Last Days of Summer ~


It's been exceptionally hot here
and
school starts next week for
these California Girls....

 We are taking every opportunity to
 enjoy our last few days of summer...




A Life without love is like a year without summer....
Swedish Proverb


Have a wonderful weekend my friends!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Decorating with Vintage Books ~

For me, a house is simply not a home without books....
lots of books!



I suppose I developed this love of books from my mother who worked many years as a librarian. I have shelves upon shelves of books... children's books, fiction, non-fiction, reference, educational, professional, biographies, and of course some juicy novels...

Books give a home history and the book titles themselves can reveal a little something about the residents  who live there. 

Some of my book shelves look sloppy and undecorated... and that's okay... I've slowly learned to live with that...

I will admit, I went through a phase where I took all of my dust jackets off my books so that my bookshelves would look more sophisticated.  I think it was a mistake.

I also covered each book in my World Book Encyclopedia set with white craft paper because the hardbacks didn't match my decor {can you say Martha Stewart?}. 

That didn't last too long because my kids could never find the right Encyclopedia... it was then that  I realized my decorating was making it impossible for my children to function in my 'decorated' house.

To make my shelves look prettier, I decided to start collecting 'vintage books' ....

When I first started shopping for vintage books, I would buy anything that was old, well priced and/or  attractive.  

Thrift stores and flea markets, even garage sales are great places to find old books...  

But, slowly, I discovered that instead of my shelves looking "collected" they were just starting to look junky!

SO, instead of collecting books, I decided to focus on collections of books...



This is the pine hutch in my family room. My husband wants to purchase a much LARGER television for this room to hang on the wall {ugh!}.  I would loose the top portion to my hutch, and in turn, I would loose all the wonderful decorating space inside!

I am resisting the BIG television, for now....


Here is a peek into our hutch and some of my favorite book collections: 


This collection of Charles Dickens books was purchased at a Thrift Store....




 A family was clearing out an estate and this set came in while I was shopping.




Sometimes, timing is everything!







Even the inside of the books are beautiful....

Charming illustrations!




A few weeks later, I found this set of Mark Twain books!




That was a very lucky month....




I love the "MT" on the cover of each book... 

Look at the wonderful cloth texture of the cover!




Again, more lovely illustrations...




This HUGE dictionary was purchased recently.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I purchased it to tear up for a scrapbooking project.
  
Once I had it home, I realized it was way too special to destroy!




Charming picture inside the cover...



Amazing size and weight to this one!   

I paid $8.00 for it, score!




I found this collection of Abraham Lincoln books at a Thrift Store....



My husband was a Political Science major in college, 

so I told myself that he would appreciate them...  

Here honey, I bought these for you !



They fit perfectly in our old wicker desk....



This tiny Shakespeare book is one of my favorites... 

perfect green, with silver accents....

so worn and delicate...



my unmatched books are charming too....


Two George Eliot books found at Salvation Army... 

at $2.00 each they came home with me...




I love the graphic design on the covers! 


 I saw these Charles Dickens books at the Rose Bowl flea market.

I really debated buying them...

I already had these titles... 

did I need more?  

My 'other' Dickens book collection is cloth...

These are LEATHER...

of course I needed them!!!



Love the gold "D" emblem on the cover!






My favorite thing about decorating with vintage books is....

books never go out of style... 

They are TIMELESS!!

I hope you enjoyed a peek into my vintage book collection.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Grandma's Chandelier ~

My Grandmother Molly lives in a very charming cottage which was built in the 1920's. She has old heating grates, crystal door knobs in every room, thick crown molding, old windows...in other words...bliss.

Her property also has 3 apartment rentals behind her which she owns. One of the apartments had been rented to the same man for 40 years. I had never been inside that unit until he recently passed away. Before grandma rented it out again, she said I should come look inside... 

She lead me up a flight of creaky stairs to a beautiful sun filled porch. The front door to the apartment had glass panels and I could see into the small light filled room. My heart started beating fast.. I don't know what I expected, I just knew something special was about to happen....  

As she opened the door, my mouth fell open. Up in the ceiling was this old chandelier. It had little to no sparkle since layers upon layers of dust covered it...




"GRANDMA!! "Whose chandelier is this?" 

My grandma said, "It's been here since we bought the place, it's original.. if you want it, just replace it with something else...."

Many of my family had been in the apartment before me. How did they not see the potential beauty in this piece???

My car must have left skid marks as I rushed off to Home Depot!  I picked out an updated fixture and hurried back to make the trade...




Look at the beautiful crystals hanging from it...

not one missing crystal...

not one chip...

It just needed some serious cleaning.




The metal is a bit darker than I am used to.... 

I thought about painting it but then decided to leave it as is.




Each arm has metal shaped like bows... 




Flowers on each arm...




I found this really old birdcage stand within a week of getting the chandelier.. 

Instantly I knew it would be a perfect compliment to the chandelier because it was such a heavy stand. 

Since the chandelier weighs a lot, it required a stand that would hold it's weight without leaning or tipping.




I adore the patina, just enough chippy.. 

The green paint is a wonderful old shade of green... 

love the metal flowers and vines going up the center.




Very sturdy legs...


And a swirl at the top!





My friend, Liz, told me about these unique bulbs. 

 I purchased them at a speciality lighting store. 

I think they add a bit of old world charm, which I love. 

I also replaced the white bulb sleeves. 

I think I prefer to get the sleeves that look like candles dripping.



I love the marriage of the chandelier and the bird cage stand.. 

Something unique to my house with a wonderful memory attached!

Below, is my favorite photo of my Grandmother and myself....




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Friday, August 20, 2010

Succulents and Silver ~



I have been picking up silverplate for a few years now. On any given day, you can find LOTS of it at Thrift Stores, Antique Malls or Flea Markets.  Trays, butter dishes, creamers, teapots, you name it!!

Usually, the older pieces are tarnished and dark. When I first started collecting, I would polish all my silverplate pieces... not anymore... the darker the better!  I never polish... Do you?

When displaying silver, I just have my pieces grouped together on shelves.  It's starting to look a bit cluttered, and boring.  This was becoming frustrating because collecting silverplate is easy, inexpensive, and fun!

My very favorite place to purchase silverplate is Salvation Army.  Most of my silver pieces cost under $7 each.

So.... what do you do with all your silver??

You plant succulents in them, of course!


 I got this great planting idea from my friend, Kymberley, owner of  3FineGrains .

With inspiration, I gathered up my silver and went shopping!!



Can you believe I almost gave away this silver urn? 

It had horrid fake flowers glued into it and didn't look good anywhere in my house. 

Good thing I took a closer look at it! When I removed the flowers, it was stunning!




I love the silver's texture and the little emblem on it...




These horse (or lion?) handles didn't even show before.. 

...and now they are the focal point of the urn!




This little silver creamer is a birthday gift for a very good friend.  

I love the scalloped edge and the delicate silver beading at the top...



I think she will appreciate the delicate etching 
and her monogrammed "B"initial. 



This silver container is an antique butter dish...




Can you see the little hooks on it for the butter knife. This silver piece has a few small dents which adds to it's vintage charm. Love the silver edging at the top. Having the lid to display is a bonus too!



Here's what you will need to complete this project:

1. Silver Containers with at least a 3" depth to hold your succulents
2. Soil made for Cactus
3. Small Gravel to help with drainage
4. Succulents 3 or 4 varieties

At Home Depot, I purchased the smallest size containers of Succulents. Each mini container was approximately 79 cents. I spread a small amount of gravel rocks in bottom of my container, added a layer of cactus mix and then added in my succulents.  I tried to vary the color and texture in each container. 


Here's the BEST part.....

Ready?


This project took me only 10 minutes to complete! Great use of the silver you have piled high in your cupboards!

Perfect little gift, don't you think!?!
Teacher's Gifts
Birthdays
Thank You


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