Thursday, March 13, 2014

Blue and White China plus a new Living Room Vision Board

So, I've recently come into possession of my grandmother's blue and white china collection (which was, to my satisfaction, almost complete.)   It turns out that it's not quite as old or important as she might have thought (she tends to reason that things of great sentimental value to her MUST be worth a great deal) but from what I can tell, this pattern is beautiful but not anything altogether special.  From my internet research, I've determined that the set must date from 1913 to 1920.  The maker was Furnivals LTD out of England, and the pattern name was "Cluny."  It is clear to me that some of my pieces are replacement pieces, as some are missing the gold trim, and the sizing/ink colors are not consistent throughout.  But to me, that just gives it all even more charm.  My sister Jennifer and I split the set, although ultimately if we ever sell it, we would put the set back together.  We divided all plates, soup bowls and cups evenly, and then haggled over the special pieces.  I took the teapot, the over-sized sugar bowl, a small serving bowl, and several small to medium serving platters including what I would consider to be a pickle dish or butter dish.   Jennifer took the soup tureen (the ladle has long since gone missing), the water pitcher, and several larger serving platters. 

I've always felt that this blue and white set would blend well with my Ironstone collecting plans.  But, as much as I love blue and white decor, I love red and black as well and I wasn't sure how I could remake my living and dining spaces to incorporate all of the above in a cohesive manner.  I personally find the combination of red and blue to be appealing.  My best friend is getting married this fall, and we are utilizing a cherry red/turquoise color scheme.  But blue/red can be difficult because of the potential "patriotic" effect it might have.  Now, I want my home to have a modern french country feel, NOT be reminiscent of July 4th all year round.  So, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that the faded ink of the china is more french blue or a very blue turquoise than navy. 

So, I came up with this vision board for the living room that incorporates a few "blue" pieces in and overall, softens the harshness of the red/black color scheme.  I think I like it. 

Starting in upper left corner and working my way down:  The red bowl with balls is mine already, the bench is mine (i.e. the one I recovered from Elephant's Trunk, that Teal lampshade is from Target (Target Floral Toile Teal Lampshade $22.99) ,that M is something I already have in my house (a painted letter from Michael's), that lamp base is also from Target (Threshold Black Orb lamp base, $34.99) the curtains I already own (Threshold Farrah Floral pannels in Black which I got on clearance for $14.99 a piece), the light blue toile throw pillows are a purchase I am about to make from Amazon (Camella Toile Pillow) , the rug is a steal of a deal from IKEA (Tarnby Flatwoven Rug, $99.00 for a 6 x 8) the clock is also from Target Oversized Red Wall Clock $35.99) the IKEA black Lack side tables already belong to me, the blue accent table with glass doors is another Target steal (and also comes in a console table which might interest me) (Threshold Windham one door accent cabinet $76.99) , those are my curtains again folded up, a French Country color scheme I pinned on Pinterest, the IKEA round black/white floral lamps I already own, another beautiful accent cabinet choice from Target: (Threshold Fretwork Accent Table $62.00) some red stand-in couches to represent my loveseat and chair set from Bob's Furniture (Big Kahuna was the set name, now discontinued, in red) , my red metal wall art to bring in a modern touch, that same IKEA Tarnby rug again, my IKEA lack white tv bench, another gorgeous Target lampshade choice (Threshold Flocked Floral Shade Lamp $22.49), my framed rustic picture of Micah (frame came from Michael's crafts) and inspiring barn painting from, and my IKEA black/white Stockholm cushions that I already own, plus another shot of my curtain fabric.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Collinsville Antiques and Ironstone Collecting

I have officially joined the "ironstone" bandwagon.  I've been admiring ironstone collections for some time.  I've coveted those beautiful pieces: the more aged and crazed the better.  But I am not the sort of person to collect things.  I've always been adamantly anti-collection.  I'm not into clutter.  I certainly don't see it as an investment, in the sense that most people I know with a tendency to collect don't make any money from the habit (especially when they are TRYING to make money.)  I think I have always felt that collecting was one short step away from hoarding.  Or maybe the collectors I know, are also, coincidentally, hoarders.

But.  But.  Ironstone is beautiful. And home decor neutral, so it will always go with whatever color scheme I am obsessing over.  (I could also see myself beginning a teapot collection too but that is for another day and another time.)

I took a vacation day from work today, and my mother and I wandered down to one of my favorite local antique shops: Collinsville Antiques in New Hartford, CT.  This place is a former warehouse: it's huge and it's overwhelming and it's a veritable treasure chest.

picture taken from Collinsville Antiques homepage

Today was not at all disappointing.  In fact, at a certain point, I had to STOP looking because I had just passed my $100 target threshold.  My mom is on the hunt for solid brass or pewter candlesticks, so she had her own mission in mind. I snapped a few pictures of the booths that really appealed to me.  The entire place is visually appealing if you happen to be of a vintage mindset.

I wanted this set badly, but did not want to shell out the money (today)  J&G Meakin, circa mid 1880's, Pitcher and Wash Basin for $145

I want this hutch to magically appear in my apartment.

So, now we come down to what I picked out for myself.  I purchased three pieces today.  The first was a very large white ironstone pitcher: the design is simple and the crazing is subtle.  The antique store had it labeled as J&G Meakin circa 1880's.  I bought it for $55 which I thought was a decent price for such a large piece with few imperfections.  The label on the bottom says "Warranted" and not a brand name, but I googled the J&G Meakin markings and I think their labeling seems legit.

The next piece I picked out is labeled, but in such a way that I can't read it at all.  The tag did not specify a maker either.  The mark is imprinted into the gravy boat and it has been partially rubbed away over time.  The sales ticket said it was an early American ironstone gravy boat.  The piece is so aged, that I can't tell if it was meant to be beige or if it was originally ivory and has just darkened over time.  The crazing is significant.  I liked the lines of this particular piece.  The banding is reminiscent to me of dental molding, or early colonial architectural lines.

The last piece I picked out is clearly more contemporary, but I really like pitchers.  It has a traditional grape motif on it, which given the Red Cliff mark on the bottom probably means it's a 1950's piece.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Weekend Pinterest Picks: Future Farmhouse Glam

I am a woman with a bad habit.  And that habit, is visualizing the future.  This has been a problem since I was a child: I like to look ahead!  Pinterest, is, unfortunately, the haven for those of us who spend our time planning for later.  It's an addiction!

Well, anyway, I spend way too much time thinking about the house I want to have when I have a house again.  I miss being a homeowner!  That last house (and life) was just not meant to be.  But the future looks pretty bright!  (On my Pinterest page!)  haha.

I don't want anything grandiose.  I've never been the person who wanted a veritable mansion.  I prefer cozy and intimate.  To me a "big" house is like the 2500+ square foot Craftsman I was living in with my family most recently.  The house I owned with my ex-husband was a 1500 square foot three bedroom and that was perfectly sufficient.   I'm into the bungalow, I'm especially into New England style farmhouses.  That is what I am envisioning.  I want a home that combines my love of french country and rustic decor WITH bright colors and a slightly glamorous feminine style.  (P.S. Take this HomeGoods quiz:  you won't regret it.  It's a fun way to figure out how to define your personal style.)

My results are "Farmhouse Glam with a touch of Classic."  That sounds about right!  Except, I have these ultra modern inclinations thrown in with the bright, bold color palette I gravitate toward.  I'm not as into the whites, browns, and neutrals that seem to typify this style, however, I really appreciate the beauty of simple, white shabby chic homes that I run across constantly on design blogs.

Anyway, I cannot stop pinning inspiration to my Future Dream Rustic Farmhouse Board.   Here are my favorites of the day.  Think of it as a virtual tour of my future home.

Apartment Therapy
Better Homes and Gardens

Tilly's Cottage link
Lauren Liess Pure Style Home
House to Home
Miss Mustard Seed (my favorite home decor blogger!)

Real Simple

Vero Russo
Hooked on Houses
Designer Tobi Tobin's home tour on House Beautiful

Beneath my Heart
Country Living via Primitive and Proper

Monday, February 3, 2014

Valentine's Day Decor

My apartment is naturally decorated for Valentine's Day, between the red and pink color schemes.  However, I couldn't help myself.  I had to add a few additional touches, here and there.

I have a love/hate relationship with this day.  For a huge portion of my life I was one half of a couple.  But even then, I always felt conflicted because Valentine's Day never quite lives up to the hype.  And now that I'm single, and have been for some time, I have decided to re-frame how I look at this day.

For the past couple years I've been trying to embrace it creatively as an alternative.  That includes baking delicious cupcakes, buying myself flowers at times, and of course adding home decor touches.  Here are a few snapshots of my holiday touches.

letters are from Michael's Crafts, I painted two red

Red Heart Felt Mat from Michael's Crafts

Jar Candles from Michael's, Signs made by painting Canvas board with acrylic paint, and then cutting out letters and shapes from damask patterned craft paper, then modge podging each onto the boards.

I had my snowflakes up at Christmas, so adding a few paper doily hearts from Michael's to the display seemed like it fit.  I also hung a wooden heart ornament from Michael's that I had painted red/pink with felt tip markers from the knob and my array of french country inspired mugs that are always displayed are very appropriate for V-Day!

Another view, another wooden ornament hung, plus a Fleur de Lis ornament I picked up on Clearance at Pier One after Christmas in 2010 or 2011.
This Michael's Crafts chainlink heart garland was a natural addition to my already pink bedroom.  I might leave it up permanently!

Another View.  Can you see how the hot pink curtains make the whole room glow pink during the day?