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Sunday, 16 December 2012

Gold Christmas Silver Christmas

I have been longing for some formal glassware for some time now.  There is a certain person in my household with what I like to call "butter fingers."  I've lost count of the number of glasses that have slipped through his hands and smashed to a million pieces on the floor.  And what do I end up with?  A cupboard of mismatched glasses.  Entertaining usually means a scramble to come up with a selection of glasses that look halfway decent on the table.  Imagine my delight when I came across a set of six rocks and six tall tumblers of Culver glassware in the Cranberry Scroll pattern.

I've always preferred simple, clear, cut crystal in the past but something about the deep red windows and the unabashedly glamorous gilding has me in love.

And then if that was not enough, on the same thrift outing, sitting beside this wondrous set was it's metallic opposite, a set of six silver fade roly poly glasses and a dozen silver fade tall tumblers.

All of a sudden I am inundated with a plethora of choice.  Should I choose a gold Christmas setting or a silver Christmas setting? 

 The gold, so very Hollywood Regency or the Silver Fade, so very Mad Men?  It doesn't help that I have a pair of vintage brass deer and pair of vintage silver deer, all thrifted.  Which would you choose?
And now I leave you with something that has nothing to do with being designer-y and colour coordinated when setting a Christmas table and everything to do with just revelling in colour.

Yes, a vintage Christmas tablecloth!  What could be more delightful than pinecones, poinsettia, holly berries and candles?  Here is another vintage tablecloth to dazzle the eyes.

Because if you can't revel in colour at Christmas, when can you?  Here's wishing you a Wonderful, Joyful and Colourful Christmas!

I'm linking up with Apron Thrift Girl, A Stroll Thru Life, Coastal Charm, Ivy and Elephants, Sir Thrift A Lot, Thrifty Groove, Knick of TimeThe Charm of Home, My Romantic Home, A Living Space.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Black Friday Sale On Now At L'Heure Bleue At Home

For years, I would hear tales about Black Friday South of the border and for years, we would have to console ourselves with Boxing Day sales which seemed quite mundane in comparison.  With the influx of American stores setting up camp here, Black Friday has finally come to Canada.  Yay!  The local mall is opening up at 6am tomorrow.  Do I dare?  It'll be a regular work day for me but I'm having a Black Friday sale over at L'Heure Bleue At Home's Etsy Shop.  Enter Coupon Code bleue15 for 15% off at checkout. Sale is on throughout the weekend.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Orange You Lovely

Do you find time just running away from you?  One minute it's Summer and the next it's Autumn and not just the beginning of Autumn but Halloween.  I do find decorating for Halloween problematic especially as it involves the colour orange.  I think I've said before that orange and I have an uneasy relationship.  There is something so bold and assertive about it.  Lately, though, I have been warming up to it and, in tones of sienna and russet, I've even begun to think of it as a punchy neutral.  Of course, having an overgrown man-boy in the household who adores pumpkins means that I must learn to love orange especially if it comes in the form of a pumpkin.

I picked up a vintage charcoal black Pyrex casserole dish recently.  I do adore it as the charcoal black gives it a contemporary edginess that's perfect for Halloween dinner.

I thrifted a trio of milk glass vases as well.  I think this qualifies as a collection.  I adore milk glass vases as well as I consider them classic and timeless pieces that work with any colour scheme.

Of course nothing says Autumn more than a carpet of rust hued leaves.

Oh, and apples of course.  You know Autumn is here when crates and barrels full of sweet, crunchy goodness appear one day at the grocery store.


Thursday, 25 October 2012

A Tailored Bathroom

Recently,  I was hit by a realization so simple and obvious that I felt, most embarrassingly, like the most ignorant of would-be home decorators.  This all started when my discontent towards a certain metallic gray shower curtain reached a peak.  The tiles are an unremitting gray and the same gray in the shower curtain meant, far from presenting a pleasing continuity to the eye, instead emitted a terrible dullness.  It didn't help that the bathroom doesn't have a window so there is no source of natural light to perk up the gray dullness. At this point, retiling is not an option so there was nothing to do except play around with accessories.   So off to Ikea, Monsieur and I went, to look for a new shower curtain.  My current curtain was Ikea's Saltgrund:

It is innocuous in and of itself but not paired with a gray tiled floor and a gray tiled shower stall.  I had taken a peek at their online catalogue and had my eye on either Farglav:
or Uddgrund:

I was particularly taken with the crisp black and white graphics of both which I thought would leap out in the natural light deprived bathroom.  Would you like to know which one I chose?
Even though I was leaning towards Uddgrund, the crisp tailored simplicity of Farglav with its black borders won me over.

Which one would you have chosen?  And then I succumbed to Ikea's plethora of choice and decided that new towels were in order as well.  Monsieur picked out the black towels and I must give kudos to him for such an inspired choice.  Funny, I have been a white fluffy towel kind of girl for a long time and, if you had asked me a few days ago to consider black towels for the bathroom, I would have looked at you in appalled horror.  But somehow the black towels looked "just right" with the clean lines of the shower curtain.  And when it was all hung up, I realized that subconsciously I had, all along, had my inspiration as this,

It's been hanging on a wall on the bathroom all this time.

I do adore the mimicry between the black border of the frame and the black borders of the curtain.

So, what was my realization?  It was that the shower curtain acts as a fourth wall, an accent wall.  And, unlike an actual wall, it is incredibly easy to change out if one realizes one has made a "mistake" as I did.  Although, I have always believed that there is no such thing as a mistake in life if it leads to something better.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

A Little Light

Have you noticed that the addition of just one thing in your home can set off a domino effect of change?  With the addition of a new dresser, this meant some rearranging of furniture.  A dresser that had formally been in the bedroom was moved out in a hallway.  This hallway is a challenging space as it has no windows so there is no source of natural light.  Any sort of decor attempt tends to get lost in the gloom.  Whatever is placed there needs to be able to shine in the dark.  As well, I do prefer a sense of uncluttered calm.   I have to say that the blank canvas that was the dresser top was a little unnerving.  So much space!  So much choice!  What to do?  Luckily I had recently thrifted four Festivo candle holders which had been on my wish list for a while. So on one corner, they went.

To thrift four of these candleholders at once was a wonderful experience.  It was the first time I had ever held one in my hands.  They are wonderfully heavy and the textured surface gives the glass a surprisingly tactile feel.  Even though I loved the simplicity of the grouping of twinkly glass candleholders and the subtle way they echoed the crystal knobs of the dresser, I thought that it all looked a little too spartan.  Then this weekend, I thrifted a little white ceramic lamp.

It was the second day of a sale so I was able to pick it up for a few dollars.  I adore the lamp's curvilinear lines.  For some reason, I have been obsessed with vintage lamps and white ceramic lamps in particular lately.

It is always evening in that hallway and, when turned on, this little fellow gives the space a sense of intimacy.

 It came with a ruched pale blue shade which is in good condition.  I'm not too sure about the ruching as it seems a little too frou-frou for me.  Please advise.  Would you keep the shade or change it out?  And if you were to change it out, what colour would you pick? A minty green to echo the watercolour paintings or a bright teal blue to make it "pop"?  Any advice would be appreciated!

I'm linking up with Thrifty Groove, My 1929 Charmer, Cap Creations, Southern Hospitality, Coastal Charm, Hey Whats For Dinner Mom, My Romantic Home, The Charm of Home, Apron Thrift Girl.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Affordable Luxe

I have heard it said that luxury is expensive.  And, up until now, I believed it to be true.  Back in my woefully ignorant past, I thought that one could only buy furniture in a big box store for big store prices.  I am embarrassed to even say how much I paid for my bedroom set.  I realized recently, while staring at the mountains of clothing that were being stored "temporarily" in suitcases, that we were in dire need of another dresser.  But paying full retail for a quality dresser was just not within the realm of possibility. And so the night before going out "saling", I made a heartfelt wish for an affordable dresser.  The next day, I saw a tallboy dresser that had me do a double take.  I recognized it as from the same line of furniture as my bedroom set so I knew that, new, it's retail price was well over four figures.  After a bit of an internal struggle over its merits (affordable at well under $100, made of maple, made in Canada) and a bit of haggling with the owner,  this tallboy came home with us.

It is across from the master bed.  Now I know that it isn't "done" to have matchy-matchy furniture sets but the room does look so polished & together now.   Besides the extra storage, looking at it first thing in the morning makes me extraordinarily happy,  I think it reminds me that wishes, even small, frivolous ones, are heard and granted.  

It really is a tallboy as it is just under 5 feet tall with deep, spacious drawers.  No excuse now for haphazard piles of clothes any more.  Looking at the tablescape makes me happy as well.  Beribboned padded bulletin boards are one of those crafter/DIY "musts" that fly around with regularity on the blogosphere.  The problem was that I never seemed to get around to making one.  And then what do I see while out saling?  A padded, bulletin board crisscrossed not just with ribbon the exact shade of lilac as my pillowcases but studded with twinkly rhinestone buttons as well!  I figured the $3 price tag was less than the cost of materials and well worth sparing this crafter neophyte hours of hairpulling frustration.

Funnily enough, even though my taste has been veering more and more in the direction of vintage of late, especially Art Deco and MCM, I don't have a lot of vintage things on the dresser except the paperweight.  Well, I suppose one can't really count the geode which is as old as the planet.  I guess there aren't too many vintage-y things that are lilac or lavender.

My growing obsession with vintage paperweights is a story for another day.  For now, all I will say is that  it is possible to have lovely, beautiful things in one's life even on a shoestring budget.  Luxury really is affordable and within reach.


Sunday, 29 July 2012

Summer Dreaming

The weather reports say that this is a record breaking summer.   Hot summer days put me in mind of travelling, especially the leisurely sort of travelling of yesteryear.  While out and about this weekend, I spied something on the "free pile" that made me stop and take a second look.  For some reason, I've always hankered after a vintage train case.  There is something so very ladylike about carrying a train case while stepping forth on one's travels, preferably via first class on a locomotive or luxury liner.

Do you remember the movie, "Out of Africa"?  After I saw it, I was obsessed with the Edwardian safari look.  This train case makes me think of exotic travel to foreign lands and gazing at wondrous, wild animals.

I think, though, it is better to turn one's thoughts to cooler climes and things that evoke cooler temperatures.  I do find that I tend towards the colour white during the summer months.  I picked up a little white Wedgwood vase which is to be seen below on the left.  I admit that I have a great fondness towards white vases.  There is something so serenely classical about them.

The Wedgwood vase joins my collection of Kosta Boda snowballs and other white china pieces.  Looking at this mantel top, I realized that I simply cannot resist vintage Scandinavian art glass, especially the snowballs and pick them up whenever I'm out "saling".  Just looking at them makes me think of frosty, chilly snow.  Here's a Swedish polar bear gamboling with a couple of snowballs.

Even this pair of Swedish glass giraffes, those denizens of the hot savannah plain, make me think of ice and snow especially when rendered in glass.

What are you dreaming of this summer?

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Vintage Man Style

Thank you so much for all of your well wishes and prayers in my last post.  I do think that your prayers created an invisible safety net of support that means so much to us.  There isn't much to say when one's partner says, "I am so very, very tired."  Tired of illness, of pain and the betrayal of one's body.  My heart squeezes tight and I search for something to say besides talk of doctors' visits and tubes and needles.  I was out yardsaling when I saw something that made me stop and hesitate.  Monsieur was so supportive over my vintage Redman picnic basket find but I had begun to think that many of my finds weren't very masculine.  I wanted so very much to bring home something that was "Vintage Man Style," something that would be all his.  So what did I find?

A vintage metal picnic cooler by Thermos!  There is something about the hunter green that makes me think of lazy summer days with not a care in the world.  At the moment it is sitting in a corner of our home holding up a collection of potted plants.

It makes me think of Spring and Summer, the seasons of growing things.  The large plant in the middle is a basil plant which is under Monsieur's care.  There is nothing like fresh basil in a salad or pasta.

Of course, after all that exertion with tending plants, one needs a cool breeze.  Looking more closely at the picnic cooler, I have to say that I adore the sturdy latch and handles.

One must reward oneself, on a hot summer day, with delicious ripe strawberries.  Monsieur is quite pleased with his "Vintage Man Style" cooler.  Mission accomplished, don't you think?

I am linking up with Her Library Adventures, Apron Thrift Girl, Southern Hospitality, A Stroll Thru Life, Coastal Charm, Ivy and Elephants, Knick of Time, Thrifty Groove, The Charm of Home.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

A Vintage Picnic In the Garden of Eden

There are times when life hits a roadblock.  Recently, the downturn in health of a significant other has meant a trip to emergency, multiple blood transfusions and then daily visits to the hospital.  All of a sudden, yardsaling, home decor and writing about such things seem to fade away.  However, at the urging of said significant other, I did manage to go to a sale recently.  I have to admit that it was a very much needed stress release to get up, go saling and go to the hospital bursting with news of my find.  So what did I find?  I knew as soon as I saw it sitting underneath a table that it was a fabled vintage Redman picnic basket.

This basket is enormous, most definitely what could be termed a "family" picnic basket.  I opened it up and saw plastic cups, plates, vintage packages of plastic spoons and a vintage tablecloth.  It was as if time had passed it by.  I debated and debated the praticality of buying it.  How I loved it!  I loved it the more because everything you could possibly need for a picnic was in that basket and I just knew that it had seen many family outings full of summer sunshine and laughter.  But it was so very large and my home so very small.  And I thought of a certain person lying on a hospital bed who would surely scold me for making such a whimsical purchase. With regret and many backwards glances, I left it behind.

And yet, as you see, it is now with me.  I went off to the hospital with my regretful tale of the wondrous picnic basket that I left behind.  And what did the significant other say to me?  "I wish you had bought it.  Go back and get it."  And so I drove rather swiftly back, my heart in my mouth the whole way, thinking of the impossibility that it would still be there.

But it was.  And because the sale was winding down, I got it for 50% off.  I can't even describe my feelings when I went back and saw it there.  It was as if it was all meant to be and the basket was waiting patiently for me to find it and live days of sunshine filled joy again.

Remarkably, buried under the plastic cups and plates was the pie riser or shelf.  After all, a picnic isn't really a picnic without a pie.

And flowers of course.  And fresh berries.  After all, it is given that there will be beautiful flowers when picnicking in the Garden of Eden.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Making Room for Another ~ Ham and Lentil Soup

In an earlier post, I admitted that I am a sentimental fool.  I tend to hold on to things for the memories they evoke.  Decluttering, organizing and staying organized require great effort on my part.  But now, I have a reason to turn over a new leaf.  Monsieur and I have decided to combine households.  This is a huge step for the both of us as it is something that we have never done before.  I thought that I would feel stressed about making room for another but, as Monsieur said, there is a sense of liberation in purging and decluttering.  And as the kitchen is the heart of the home, it seemed natural to start my organizing efforts there.  As luck would have it, I picked up a couple of vintage Le Parfait mason jars recently.

It has always been a dream of mine to have a pantry with shelves laden with jars of all sorts of foodstuffs.  The kitchen is small with not a lot of cupboard space but it does my heart good to open a cupboard door and see rows of jars filled with staples like lentils and rice.  And it is so much more organized than having open, half used plastic bags stuffed on top of each other, or worse falling out and spilling their contents all over.

I am going to keep my eye out for more of these jars.  I adore the vintage script and the fact that they are French.  Admittedly, I giggle whenever I read the words on the side, "Le Parfait Super (!!!)" Exclamation marks are my own as by no means am I perfect or super in the kitchen. 
Upon decanting all the lentils into one of the jars, I decided to try out the recipe on the back of the packet.  The result, lentil soup, came out surprisingly tasty as, up until now, lentil soup has never been a favourite of mine.

A few slices of crusty ciabatta bread made for a simple, nutritious meal.

Here is the recipe off the back of the packet.  I tweaked it a little as I didn't have any ham on hand.

Ham and Lentil Soup
1 tbsp (15ml) canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 cup (250ml) diced ham (I used 5 strips of bacon)
1 cup (250ml) rinsed green lentils
6 cups (1.5l) chicken stock
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (I eliminated the red pepper as I am allergic to it)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped 
chopped parsley for garnish
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat and saute onion, garlic, celery and ham for 5 minutes (I poured off some of the bacon drippings, reserving some of it for sauteing the vegetables).  Add green lentils, chicken stock, bell pepper and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until green lentils are tender.  Makes 8 servings.  I did add ground pepper, a pinch of salt and dried oregano for added flavour.  So here I would add to the original recipe, season to taste.

It was so heartwarmingly satisfying to shop for a meal from a much more organized kitchen cupboard or pantry.  If you have any suggestions to help maintain an orderly kitchen and pantry, please let me know!  There will be many more life changes coming soon and we can't wait to discover and learn new ways of living and being. 

Monday, 7 May 2012

My First Haeger

I used to love thrifting.  Notice that I employed the past tense.  Thrifting meant retail therapy without the guilt.  But now thrifting seems an endeavour that is not for the faint of heart.  Let me back track a little.  Recently, I decided to indulge in a little "retail therapy" when I saw something on a shelf that made me gasp.  Do you ever see something and time just seems to stop?  I don't really remember walking over (or running to the shelf), just lifting it up and turning it over to check the bottom.  What was it?  It was this.

A Haeger console planter/vase!  Now Haeger pottery may be a commonplace find South of the border but up here in the Great White North, they are a rare find out in the wild.  I'd been keeping an eye out for Haeger pottery but had begun to think that they were an urban legend until now.

I think I had 5 seconds of dazed happiness staring at the backstamp when, all of a sudden, a screeching voice bellowed in my ear, "That's mine!  I saw it first!"  My daze of euphoria quickly turned into a daze of stupefaction.  All I could think to say was, "Ummmm....no???"  I'm guessing she saw the look of happy shock on my face, realized I'd scored a great find and decided to try her luck at bullying me into handing it over.  Unfortunately for her, my hands felt like they were now superglued to the planter.  And as you can see, it is now in my home.  Its entry into my life not only nipped off my growing thrifting obsession but precipitated an overhaul of the entry console table.  This is what it used to look like.

I had begun to realize that the various figurines on the bottom shelf had a tendency to draw the eye downwards.  The front entry doesn't have any windows so there is no source of natural light.  So the figurines blended into the shadows.  The bowl was used to hold keys but ended up holding clutter.  The box was used to hold mail but just encouraged more clutter accumulation.  Now the table looks like this.

Much better I think, don't you?  I really like the clean simple lines. 

But now I'm wondering if it's too simple and sparse.  Do you think I should add something to the bottom shelf like a flower arrangement?  Or a pair of lamps flanking the planter?  Any suggestions would be welcome!  Of course, if I decided to add more things, that would mean venturing back out into the now scary world of thrifting.  And I don't think I've recovered just yet...

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Teddy Bear Love or How My Good Intentions Were Overcome

My last post, "Spring Fever" mentioned that I was on a mission to declutter and become more organized.  With great embarrassment, I have to admit that I fell off the proverbial wagon this weekend.  Let me explain.  I went to a church rummage sale which will give you a hint of how my good intentions began to unravel.  Now I have very fond memories of church rummage sales.  There was a time growing up when money was tight and my mother started shopping at church rummage sales.  I still remember the delight I felt at being able to buy a toy or trinket for only 25 cents.  Fast forward many years and here I was going to a church rummage sale again.  Due to a few wrong turns, I ended up at the sale a little late.  There wasn't much of interest left and on a whim, before leaving, I stopped at the toy table.  My hands seemed to reach out of their own volition and picked up a golden, honey coloured teddy bear.  And then I was lost.

I could tell right away that he was a "quality" bear.  He was made of real wool with jointed arms and legs.  I think he's stuffed with straw or wool as he feels surprisingly firm and is quite weighty.

He hadn't been played with very much as he was really clean with hardly any wear.  Usually I avoid looking at used toys as I can't help thinking of the years of childish spit and vomit that might have accumulated on them.  But, even though the ad for the church sale said that it was on until 2pm, at 12.30 the charity vans were already outside waiting to take away the leftovers and the volunteers were packing up.  I couldn't bear (yes, pun intended) the thought of Honey Bear going off to landfill.

Even worse was the thought that he had been loved and very carefully looked after for many a long year and now was about to be dumped unceremoniously into a garbage bag and thrown into the back of a truck.  So I asked, "How much?"  And I can report that inflation hasn't any meaning on hallowed ground because, even after so many years, the price was still 25 cents!  So you see, I didn't have any choice.

I think he makes a very good model, don't you?  With the recent demise of Kodak, I thought Honey Bear looked especially poignant with a few old Kodak film canisters, another relic of a bygone era.

 Besides, there isn't any doubt that, despite his age, Honey Bear is still extremely photogenic.  I think he's found his forever home with me.

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