Friday, June 21, 2013

Curtains from table runners....

On my Tray of Bliss today are my pretty window coverings made from $2.50 Table Runners, and topped with handkerchief bunting.
Buy as many runners as you need to cover the window opening, seam one end, making sure you first hang them to get the lengths even, and thread them onto curtain wire.
A friend gifted the handkerchief bunting to I don't know exactly how it's made, but you can find instructions here...
Such a pretty boho or shabby chic result for less than $20.
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Vintage to...

 This group of pretties were scattered all over my home.
Now they are grouped happily together in shades of ivory, turquoise, pink and sage green.
My wedding bouquet, which I made myself, and which recently turned 16 along with my marriage, is far left, a vintage biscuit tin secured for a mere -50c next to it. Then a wire basket which possibly held bath time treats at one point, prettily adorned with the same grey green leaves as my bouquet and the pink of the ballerinas tutu in the picture behind, holds a vintage blue glass jar and a more modern pear scented candle.
When I compose a vignette, I try to use a theme, whether it be colour, era, or some other commonality of features.
This one is a composition of vintage ideas, but is primarily pleasing to me due to the colours. The ivory echoed in both the silk gerberas and roses in the bouquet and the French Pear scented candle. The turquoise in not just the sides of the biscuit tin, but in the shade of the vintage glass jar. Soft pink and strawberry are mirrored in the ballerinas tutu, and the wire basket, and the soft sage grey-green is evident in the bouquet, the background of the ballet scene, and the leaves on the basket.
A pretty Springtime coloured vintage vignette, on my hallway console.
Here are some ideas I use to compose a vignette:
Items of a similar era eg. Vintage, Victoriana, Art Deco
Items with a recurring theme in colour, shape or type, such as vintage kitchenware, vintage dinnerware, finials, apothecary jars, teacups, teapots, compote bowls, Italian, French, Australiana.
Items evoking a memory such as souvenirs displayed on book stands, or in glass jars or a series of Cloche domes or cake stands.
Items from a childhood, wedding, babys' birth or other important life event.
Here is another which is displayed on my bedroom secretaire.
This one is French themed and yet also revolves around a pleasing combination of colours, and also develops the idea of shapes and balance. Note the echoing of shapes in the finial on the left, and the apothecary jar on the right. The books, two French themed and one a favourite Ernest Hemingway Omnibus, all have red spines. The gold is a recurring theme in the colour of the finial, the spines of the books, the goldleaf on the Limoges bowl, the trim on the Mahogany box and the souvenir items inside the apothecary jar. The silver vase and the clear jar, seem to echo one another in reflecting light as well.
This one took me about two hours one night when I was at a loose end. I just kept changing the elements until I was happy with it. In the end, I am really pleased with the composition of it, both in colour and form, and in the selection of items included. They say something about the inner 'me'.

Finally, this last one is simply a stack of much loved books, with a homemade cloche and vignette within, as display on my coffee table. Again, the colour and reflection of light (neutral and nature, matt and shiny), the theme (French inspired), texture (hard and glittering against soft and feathery), and personality and memories (French themed books, a book composed of family snapshots on a trip to France and an owl ornament to remind us of birdlife seen there), all play a part in making this a pleasing collection.
These vignettes sometimes take a lot of time and fiddling, so be patient when composing your own. Make sure you use those elements of shape and form, colour and reflection of light, texture and substance, and personality or memory.
Finally, the vignette has to please no-one but YOU!
 Are there a few pretties in your home that would yield a similarly pretty vignette?
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Every Day is a Little Life....The Five Star Sleeping Space....


We spend a third of our life in bed, yet hesitate to make that an inviting place. I know people who don't even make their bed, reasoning that they're only going to get back into it that night, so what's the point?
The point is that a good nights rest, can change everything. It can change your outlook, your relationship, your parenting skills, your productivity, and the way you relate to the world. So it's worth making the bedroom, and particularly your bed, an enticing and welcoming space.
My own bed, pictured here, consists of the following:
Firm Foam Mattress
Pillow top Mattress Topper
Silky finish fitted Mattress protector
Crisp white sheets
Antique Lace Bedspread
Faux Blonde Mink blanket (out of shot)
Latex pillows with crisp white pillow cases
French inspired scatter cushion
Note the little mound that runs the length of the bed, just evident where the cushion is displayed. That's where the feathers in our mattress topper have gathered over years of use. No amount of shaking and fluffing will dislodge them and we've grown to like them there. Maybe it's time for a new mattress topper, but then I wouldn't have an excuse to snuggle up to The Musician Husband on 'his side' of the bed now, would I?
Today, due to the chilly weather outlook, I will now change this theme to a smoky blue art deco inspired cover with my favourite paisley vintage eiderdown folded for use on the end of the bed. The white sheets will be traded for chocolate brown ones and the French inspired cushion for a pale blue one, swathed in muslin, that is more in keeping with the colour scheme.

I'm not the type to buy new linen every season. I know what I like, and it's not the 'latest' in bedroom design. I like quiet and serene. I like soft and pastel. I love neutrals. I love vintage and antique. So my changes revolve around my collection of those elements.
Bedside lamps are so important too, not just for reading but for ambience. Mine is a little leopard print handbag shaped one, and The Musician Husband has one shaped like a violin. They don't match, but that doesn't matter either.
Our bedside tables hold a host of things from lip balm and moisturiser, to the current reading material and Bachs Rescue Remedy, to tapestry Heat Wheat bags to warm in the microwave and use in lieu of a hot water bottle.

 On my antique desk, just arms reach away, I have a sapphire blue Moroccan tea glass with gilt trim to hold water, and some treasured books and photos. This is not my 'working' desk, but rather a beautiful piece I restored myself many years ago, that serves as a reminder of how handy I once was. I paid just $120 for it, and it's pretty carved Georgian lines suggest that it may actually be worth a great deal more. I don't care though. I bought it because I loved it and have no intention of selling it for mere monetary gain. Stained a deep rose colour, and inlaid with ruby leather, it's a thing of beauty, far too special to be burdened with anything as mundane as bill paying or list writing. It's complimented by a single French inspired chair to sit upon when and if I do use my Secretaire for anything vaguely useful.
One step further away, is my blanket box or Hope Chest as they were once called. It's the very first thing I ever bought with my own money. It had a hefty price tag of $150 back in 1976, and took me six months to pay off. I only earned $36 a week in my first job as a clerk, so that gives you some perspective on what an investment that was for me. It's Hoop Pine and has a cushioned tapestry top and holds blankets rather than Hopes these days. Atop this for ease of use at night, are my faux blonde mink throw rug which I made myself, a vintage pure wool blanket and a French linen sheet, which we use if we just want a light cover at night.
 And let's not forget my Art Deco dressing table. Dressing tables have largely fallen out of favour as the Ensuite has replaced them as the space where we Ladies choose to primp. But I adore mine. It has the most enormous round mirror atop a deep semi circular space that has a glass shelf seated impossibly across it's breadth. It has funny little drawers, just for jewellery and accessories and it's the first thing I see when I enter my bedroom. It never ceases to give me pleasure. It holds many treasures, including a vintage clothes brush and hand mirror, a perfume decanter, a jewellery box gifted to me by The Musician Husband some years ago, and a Royal Doulton bowl, a wedding present, that holds my collection of bangles. There's also some teeny Arabian inspired bottles and jars, that belonged to my Mum. I love that a dressing table can display so many loved items upon it's surface, and yet still have a practical use.
Clearly my bedroom is not the matchy-matchy ideal that is favoured by many these days. But it all works together in a way I cannot explain, except to say that each piece was coveted and searched long and hard for, restored when necessary with patience and devotion and sings it's tune to my soul, combining to render it's own little symphony....
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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Each day is a little life....whirlygig busy-ness...

'Each day is a little life' ... Schopenhauer
Earlier this year, I started a series based upon Schopenhauers quote, which is a particular favourite of mine, and one by which I try to live my life.
Let's continue that theme....
I often wonder why people sigh when they say 'I've been busy', as if it's a badge of martyrdom to be worn with a pious face and a slump of the shoulders. Why is being 'busy' a bad thing, all of a sudden?
I LOVE being busy. I relish a full day, a full week, a full ... life.
What's the point of sitting around doing nothing, when you can be doing something?
Our life is as swirling and colourful as a spinning disco light.
We gleefully lurch from one happy event to the next and never really stop to think about being bored or tired. Sure, we have a day of sitting around doing 'nothing' from time to time. But a day is enough.
And even then, our 'nothing' means we're knitting or embroidering or baking or reading or spending time together playing with the dog or watching a favourite film.
Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with doing nothing either. My question today is simply "Why hate being busy?".
As another poet once said 'Live while I'm alive, sleep when I'm dead'.... oh sorry...that was Jon Bon Jovi, wasn't it? Well, same-same. One generations' rock star is anothers' poet!
That's for me. Each day is a little life and I'll live while I'm alive and sleep when I'm dead, thanks.
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Friday, June 14, 2013

Recipe in a sentence...Roasted Garlic Ricotta Chilli Pizza...

Brush one pizza base with oil and chilli paste, top with ricotta combined with as much slow roasted onion and garlic as you can stand, sprinkle with grated cheese and bake at 220C until golden and bubbly.
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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Scouting the vintage stores

Scouting the vintage stores

Scouting the vintage stores, where one needs to be neat, tidy and comfortable. Forget complex outfits or hairstyles, as you want to be able to whip your gear on and off to try before you buy. Easy slip on-slip off shoes are a must, as is a roomy bag into which to pack your bargains vintage wares. Enjoy!

Miss Me fleur de lis jeans

ADIEU crepe sole shoes

Gucci canvas shoulder bag

Post earrings

59 Seconds beret hat

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Motherly Advice...Do not hurry...

My own photograph...The tree lined avenue at the Palace at Versailles... 
"Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset."

Francis de Sales 

Monday, June 3, 2013

10 ways to support the Arts on a Budget...

I've always been a willing attendee of anything to do with the Arts.
Art exhibits, art galleries, the Ballet, Musicals, local theatre, local dance school productions. You name it, I've been there.
Art as a form of entertainment can be traced back to earliest Human history. Surely the cave dwellers were painting on their walls with ochre, not only to pass the time, but to record events and tell a story.
Most Art seeks to tell a story, whether through paint, film, music or re-enactment.

We adore reliving the stories of other lives through all these mediums, but how to do that when money is tight?
We are masters of supporting the Arts on a budget.

For example, last weekend was spent at a local University campus, admiring an exhibition of student works. This was as enjoyable as a trip to the more notable gallery in our City Centre, and a lot easier on the hip pocket, I can tell you. The works were just as interesting and unique, each telling it's own tale, and perhaps all the more relished for having been created by locals.
We finished our visit, after first speculating on who would have the patience to disassemble an entire house or aircraft, only to reassemble it in a new way to make a statement, with a piping hot coffee in the University coffee shop. We lingered, admiring the towering sandstone faces of the imposing buildings and wondered if the buildings themselves were one of the reasons that students of this particular institution of further education, feel so very important.
We regularly attend Independent AmDram (Amateur Drama..also called Community Theatre and Independent Theatre and Indie Theatre) productions, and often find them of a standard very close to the comparable professional productions for a fifth of the price.
Here are some other strategies...

1. Visit your local Art and Design College on their Open Day
2. Visit street artists and make a small contribution to their talents
3. Support small local Art Galleries by visiting and spreading the word
4. Take an Art course and get to know other emerging artists
5. Volunteer at your local Indie theatre
6. Frequent the cafes and restaurants in the Arty section of your city
7. Support your local schools and Dance schools when they stage their Annual might be surprised at the talent lurking therein
8. Go to the alternative cinemas...the ones that show movies with'll see some real gems!
9. Attend your local Amateur Drama Society productions. You might be pleasantly surprised!
10. Visit the College campuses when they have their Open Day. They always display their students work.

Do you support the Arts where you live? And how do you do it?