Monday, April 25, 2011

One Thing Leads to Another

Gallery walls aren't exactly big news or even anything new - heck, my grandmother had one in her family room going back as long as I can remember - probably installed in the 60s or early 70s. But I had a big wall to fill and was tired of looking at pictures sitting around and propped up against stuff so I got over my fear of commitment and started hanging some stuff.

I think part of my hesitation was that I'm really not in love with any of this art, except the two small oil paintings which my Dad painted when he was a teen, but it goes with the Pottery Barn look of the rest of the room and the mix of gold, antique white with gold and natural frames goes with some of the other elements in the room - the oiled bronze curtain rod, lamp, cabinet hardware and ceiling fan, wrought iron on the chairs, antique brass door knob, and some other gold and white and gold frames, so for now it was the easiest solution. I'd like to update and modernize the entire room but there are so many other things on my list I don't see it happening any time soon, so for now I'm working with what I have.

I started out by laying the frames out on the rug to get an arrangement I liked. In addition to the similarly toned frames most of the pictures are architectural in nature with a few landscapes and the one woman, but her colors are similar to the two Italian-looking prints so I think it still works. I also threw in a gold glittery key (Christmas ornament from WalMart) to fill in some space.

Once I had an arrangement I liked, I made newspaper templates - usually I just eyeball it and do pretty well that way with smaller arrangements (I did the mirror and plates over my dresser by eye) but this was the most complex arrangment I've tried so I decided to actually measure and plan. I layed each frame on a piece of paper and just roughly cut around it, it wasn't exact or straight. I hung it on the wall, trying to keep the straight edges at the top and where I needed the frame to line up with another. I didn't bother with templates for the smaller pieces, figuring I could eyeball those once the big stuff was hung. I measured down from the top of the frame to the wire and then measured on the paper and marked an "X" - I use picture hooks rather than nails, so I just made sure I put the bottom of the hook at the "X" and not the nail.

I hammered everything in and carefully tore the paper away and hung everything. To do the key I just used small finishing nails in between some of the details. If you look carefully you can see them, but they're not immediately obvious.

I used this technique in my old bathroom to hang a small washboard and at work to hang a bunch of old saws  - nothing has ever fallen off but if you have kids you may want to look for a better way to attach stuff.

So once I had everything in place I rearranged a bit on the console table, which is currently covered because the Furry Ones have scratched it all to heck and refinishing it is also low on the list. Again, I think it works for the current style of the room which I call early Pottery Barn meets Tuscan villa.

Now, as far as the "one thing leads to another" - what I've worked very hard to hide in the above photos is the corner of the room to the left. My old stereo system is there - yes, I've had it since college, yes, it is huge, no I'm not so old as to have ever owned an 8-track. But it works and I don't have time to convert everything to digital so there you have it. You can see a small bit of it in the below photo. 

It was angled in the corner, but the Boy Cat kept jumping down behind it so I had to pull it out for him to get out and after a few times of doing that I just left it all askew. So while I was prettying this side of the room I decided to pull it out altogether and put a chair in that corner. Then I added the iron tree on the side wall (I'm working on my family's genealogy so I have an idea to personalize that, when I get around to it). Then I added an old baker's rack I was planning to use outside this summer, but I think I like it there for now so I tossed some stuff on the shelves that show and will add some stuff to the lower shelves, when I get around to it.

So, I'm really happy with how this side of the room has turned out. And I can't show you the other side right now.

I'm linking up to DIYbyDesign's Swing into Spring Party. Come take a look at all the great ideas for spring.

Dear Spring, Please Get Here Soon

Until it does, here are some pictures from a recent trip to Longwood Gardens, the former duPont estate near Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. While the flowers and trees were in bloom, it was still cool enough to need a wool coat. Things are looking up for this week though, its supposed to be 80s at least in the beginning of the week.

Flower gardens

This eagle? hawk? is part of a stone whispering bench.

The formal topiary gardens.

Italian water gardens.

Espaliered fruit trees.

Green wall lining the hall to individual rest rooms.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Tisket, A Tasket, An Ice Cream Soda Basket

I did these ice cream soda inspired Easter "baskets" a year or two ago so this is the only photo I have, but basically it was just two cute spring-themed plastic tumblers from Target and I layered jelly beans, M&Ms, and other small Easter candies to within an inch or so of the top, then I put in a poof of plastic Easter grass and stuck in some colorful bendy straws. I think they turned out pretty cute.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

An Easter Table Even Twitter Would Love

Hello! Easter is Sunday so a week (or two?) ago I changed out my St. Patty's Day table for a spring-ier one.

I started with a Robin's egg blue linen tablecloth. My table is rectangular, the tablecloth is square. Stuff like this doesn't bother me, I just centered it and let the wooden table ends show; other times I've tossed it on diagonally and even round ones work if you fold them down to make a runner. Instead of placemats I put a folded Pier 1 napkin in similar blue tones beneath each plate - the end hangs down over the edge of the table. All of the linens were thrift store finds.

My place setting consists of repro jadeite dinner plates and chicken themed salad plates - both of these came from Marshall's many moons ago. The cottage floral napkins are also super old and I've folded them into a pocket and tucked my silverware inside. Each setting also has a footed hobnail milkglass goblet and a fun bird-themed glass, all thrifted.

In lieu of a runner, I've placed two pierced milkglass plates and two round sunflower mirrors (Isn't the color horrible for a sunflower? And so plastic-y too! They're destined for a makeover at some point, but the color worked with my theme even though green sunflowers are weird) down the center of the table.

For a centerpiece, I placed two milkglass bowls on top of the plates and nested some gold glittery birds left from Christmas into them. I don't do plastic Easter grass because of the furries (it is dangerous like tinsel if they eat it, and the boy kitty likes to eat random things he finds) so I shredded some newspaper to make the nests - eh, it needs work, but will do for now.

On top of the mirrors I placed some small apothecary jars, you may remember one of them from this thrift shop post, and filled them with some cute pastel eggs from Michael's, the only thing I bought for this display. The colors are not too sugary sweet and they have little speckles which don't show up very well in the pictures. I also put two of them in little egg cups which I think are the cutest serving piece anyone ever invented.

So there you have it, my sort of Easter-y, bird-themed spring tablescape.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

It's Not Spring without Lilly Pulitzer

Lilly Pulitzer clothing is known for its fresh, fun approach to color and patterns.


Lillian Lee McKim was born into a socialite family in 1931. In 1950 she eloped with Peter Pulitzer, grandson of Joseph Pulitzer of Pulitzer Prize fame and they settled in Palm Beach, Florida. Peter owned several orange groves, so Lilly decided to open a juice stand on Via Mizner to sell homemade juice made with her husband's produce. Because she got messy making her fresh squeezed juice she asked her seamstress to design an easy to wash, colorful, patterned shift dress for her - hence The Lilly shift dress was born. Soon patrons of her juice stand took notice of Lilly's unique dresses and wanted to buy them, so she started selling them.

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who was a friend and former classmate of Lilly's, was one of the first celebrities to be seen wearing Lilly's new dresses and was even featured in Life Magazine wearing one, which helped to launch the brand.

Peter and Lilly divorced in 1969 and shortly after she married Enrique Rousseau and, while she changed her name to Lillian McKim Rousseau, she continued the business name of Lilly Pulitzer.

The brand was popular through the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, but in 1984 Lilly decided to retire and shut down the entire operation. When she did so, she discarded the design archives, so older prints are hard to identify, although there were some distinctive ones shown below, such as "Streaker," "Disney," and "Bicentennial" (featuring Ben Franklin). In 1993 the brand was revived, and while Lilly is not involved in the day-to-day operation, she does serve as a creative consultant.

In addition to clothing for women, children, and men, the revived Lilly brand has branched out into bedding (now discontinued), fabrics, perfumes, candles, purses, stationery, sunglasses, and shoes. The brand is sold in 70 Lilly Pulitzer Signature stores, several company owned stores, and upscale department stores such as Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus and Nordstroms and of course eBay is a terrific source for bygone prints you may have missed the first time around and terrific vintage patterns. I'm currently offering the following Lilly items in my eBay store:

Liza Capris in Cuba Libre - Size 0

Lilly Capris in Twist - Size 0

Ford Breast Cancer Cotton Bandana - So Cute for the Preppy Pooch

Lenore Skort in Zoo Patch - Size 8

Liza Capris in Crabby - Size 6

Clubhouse Plaid Skort - Size 6

Silk Scallop Hem Skirt - Size 8

Croc Monsieur Strapless Dress - Size 6

A-Maze-ing Lenore Skort - Size 6
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