Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Fat Cat and Earl Grey Tea

Am I in love with Colonial and Prim decor because it takes me back to a simpler time? Is it because that is how the early beginnings of our American families lived, true to a pledge to make it work in this new world? It's certainly not because everyone in my town decorates like this or because prims and colonial decor is easy to find around here. I do know I have a romance with the colors and textures of that time, and I am not even sure who to blame!

I remember visiting Williamsburg as an adult....I had never really had any exposure to antiques or colonial decor. I had started my own housekeeping with a mish mash of decor, nothing of note or pages from a magazine. That trip to Williamsburg "felt" wonderful. I stood on the lawn in front of the George Wythe house marveling at how my ancestor lived. I ran my hand along the rail at the church where my distant family member worshipped. I gathered my coat around me as I walked and imagined his life there in this little "town". It didn't help any that a big grey cat sat curled at the front entry of a home, or that the snow was fresh and the "colonists" far outweighed the "tourists". The temperature was quite low and the colonists had no time for small talk or greetings. They were bundled and, with heads bowed, made their way without acknowledging my presence or that of my companions. As the sun began to set, we warmed our hands outside the tavern and looked at the almost deserted street. We dined at Sheild's Tavern while musicians played and roaring fires dashed our chills. I felt like I belonged at that well worn tavern table. The sights, the sounds, the fragrances of Williamsburg delight me. The smell of Earl Grey Tea takes me back there immediately.

So, maybe like a genetic code, there are elements of my DNA that resign me to this decor. Maybe some of Elizabeth Wythe's decor choices have been imprinted in my mind from a time gone by. Though I have uncles and cousins and other relatives with the same GW initials in their names, maybe my "inheritance" has been the appreciation of all that is colonial and prim...while they keep the name alive, passing it to generation to generation, far removed from it's origin, my job is to keep the legacy of the family remembered in the textures and colors of my home.

No doubt you will see a fat cat curled up in my home, the warm wood of a tavern style table graces my kitchen. A roaring fire will dash your chill in winter and my attempt at a box garden might just happen this year. It also explains why there is a faint taste of Earl Grey Tea in my glass of southern sweet tea.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Big Hole!

I have noticed that other bloggers experience the same BIG HOLE in their blogging from time to time. I always wonder what is going on for them, and lift them up in prayer, because I know what it is like to have a black hole absorb your time sometimes. Some bloggers share their experiences while others can barely glance at their computer. It is all a matter to issue it seems.

Such an experience happened to much so, that, not only did I miss many months of sharing with you, but also missed putting out my beloved Thanksgiving decor, my treasured Christmas goodies, and was only able to get a tree up and a wreath on the door. Blogging, though I longed for it, was out of the question.

My husband had a back issue that turned into c-spine surgery....only after weeks of extreme pain and doctor visits. The final catalyst for moving forward was a trip to the ER by ambulance ( our third ER trip, first by abulance though) that finally set the days in motion for more tests, surgery, recovery and so on. Thanksgiving was a blur, while the days leading to Christmas were oh so busy. With work, his needs, a daughter in high school, and the regular daily chores, I missed all the celebratory decorating for the seasons!

God is good all things! In the midst of chaos, He brought so many wonderful treats to us! First, of course, was the successful surgery and recovery ( though I now know I will not be able to live in the same old folks home as my husband! :) ) Somehow, all the work got done at my job and at home. I had already done all my shopping and wrapping, boxes ready to ship. Those little blessings that made the stress less. Did my Christmas cards while waiting at the hospital. Then, our son in law came to town! You may remember he and our precious oldest daughter live in Hawaii and we have not physically seen them for over a year. He was selected as part of a team of pilots to deliver a helicopter to the Naval Aviation Museum nearby. Wow, what an honor, and oh what a special time to share with him. His pile of seabags tossed in my foyer made me smile. Soon after his brief visit, my youngest daughter and I were coming home and two little kitties dashed across the road ahead of us, missed barely by the two vehicles in front of us. Without a doubt, we rescued them and they came to be our tree decorations. They stayed in the tree til all the ornaments were off! They brought lots of laughter to our home. We were able to find a home for one, but we are STILL looking for a home for the other. Our kitties are enjoying the addition, but want their favorite sun spots back!

I had high hopes for the season of "time off" to give me the opportunity to do some home improvements. You all continue to inspire me to keep on the prim path. Guess that will wait til spring. I promise to share!

Well, the black hole has finally ended with the last of the doctor appointments for a while. My antiquing buddy Rebecka and I are planning some "jaunts about" in the coming months. I am ready to get back to the hunt, and leave the BIG BLACK HOLE behind.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Look What I Found!

Over the past several weeks, my junkin friend Rebecka and I have hit some local spots, including the storage shed of another friend. My favorite part of junking with Rebecka is hearing her say "Look what I found" because I know it means she has landed something wonderful!

This time though, I also had a few LWIF moments myself and I wanted to share them with you!

First this great old print caught my eye and I had to have it...I have long needed an aristocrat in the house, and he fit the bill. I was so excited, as I had put away my pewter sconces until the right item came along to go with them. We still have not named him, but I am sure we will think of something!

Next, this fantastic chest of drawers was spotted on a junking day....great mirror on top, nice and tall, great colonial style pulls. I did not need it, but it was marked SO CHEAPLY that I knew I could not leave it! I will find a spot soon for it as I am moving things around to make room for it. It was truly a steal, how could we leave it behind?

I am a sucker for wooden bowls, especially priced right! This one was a deal and is the largest one I have ever found. Even with the crack, it is a beauty for sure! I will be hard pressed to find a larger one, but you know, we must continue the hunt! What about this darling measurer? The local thrift store provided it to me at a lovely price. It has already been used for so many things, I am not sure what it will be doing on a permanent basis! It has great patina and is a nice size.

Lastly, I have found that my youngest is growing up too fast. Always the bargain hunter, I found a fantastic red dress for homecoming for her. Last weekend was the big game and dance, and she looked radiant.

In all the things I have found, that is the one that is so bittersweet. It is a wonderful thing to see your child grow into such beautiful person, inside and out. However , it is a little sad to know that means they will soon leave the nest you have enjoyed sharing with them! She thought my find in the portrait was a little creepy, she was none too pleased to help me get that chest of drawers up the stairs. She asked me what in the world I was going to do with one more wooden bowl. She could not understand why we could not really use the measurer when we were cooking together. She has, however, said many times on those junking trips "Look what I found" I know a little bit of me will go with her! That's the best kind of homecoming anyway! What did you find lately that had to make your house it's home? ~Beth

Thanks to Kay Brown Photography for capturing Homecoming 2011 for Olivia!

Friday, October 14, 2011

All Treats/No Tricks!

Finally the time came to bring out the jack-o-lanterns and the black cats! I always love the addition of my two favorite icons of Halloween. There is something about the grins of those jack-o-lanterns and the arched backs of kitties that really gets me looking forward to the visits of ghouls and goblins. One of my most treasured decorations for Halloween is a superb old black and white photo of my mom, dressed as a witch at about 7 years of age. It sits proudly it my foyer each year. She has always enjoyed All Hallow's Eve it seems.

My mom loved to dress our home's front porch for the holiday. We lived in a house that had an alcove on the front of the house. Our home had a spanish flair to it's exterior, a popular design for it's time. With two arched windows with wrought iron inserts and an arched entry complete with big wooden doors, the alcove was a perfect spot for decorating. You had to step inside the alcove and walk to the front door. Short distance on a sunny day or regular evening, but on Halloween it seemed like an eternity to reach the doorbell. Some kids passed us by altogether.

Early in day, my mom would collect some spanish moss from the trees. Draping it all over those arched windows and doorway created the perfect spooky look. Adding some yellow or orange paper over the lights outside added quite the eerie glow. Carved pumpkins, creepy music and a hanging ghost completed the design. She dressed like a witch and painted her face green. We loved every minute of did she.

We have long since moved from that house. We kids are all grown up. Mom's front porch now does not quite lend itself to the same scarey entry, but she still decorates and has the best candy on the block.

My favorite part of Halloween is really the costumes. Once my girls came along, I could not wait for the costuming to begin. Never really big on the scarey costumes, we opted for odd, unusual ideas...or at least they seemed that way to me! A Leprechaun, the Monopoly Man with a Pair of Dice (love everyone dressing together to create a theme), Rudoplph The Red Nosed Reindeer, and a working Stop Light to name a few. We have always enjoyed coming up with an idea and dreaming up the costume. Quite the feat since I do not sew! Store bought costumes were not a part of their childhood. I hope they didn't mind too much!

Now that the black cats are out, and the jack-o-lanterns are afoot, I know that Halloween is right around the corner. Fall is well underway and soon the turkeys will chase off the cats and pumpkins til next year. Until then, we will enjoy the our frightening felines and candle lit faces and await the tricksters we can bribe with treats.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fall in three phases

For me, fall decorating comes in three stages, much like the leaves changing. A little hint of color and then more color and then finally full blown fire at every treetop. When September rolls around, I finish out Labor Day with the final red, white and blue decorations, and this year, with September 11th being a 10 year mark, I wanted to keep my patriotic decor up a little longer than usual. Now the time has come to start sprinkling in the fall accessories and oh how I love it.

Being in Florida, the weather has not quite caught up to the calendar. Thanks to a little Tropical Storm, we have been given cooler morns and evenings, but the sun still warms up qute a bit through the day. As you can see by my photos, fall is creeping in with the addition of pumpkins and harvest type decor.

October 1st will bring all the Halloween decor to our prim home. I focus on the hocus pocus of black cats added to my pumpkin decor set out in September. Those ebony felines will take positions throughout the house to watch for ghouls and goblins. Our own Hairry Baker and Jackie will join them, though they would have to wear costumes to be in black attire!

November will signal Thanksgiving decor in my home. I have been collecting turkey platters for a number of years now. Great large platters adorn tabletops and mantels reminding us the big celebration is on the way. I have an enormous Tom Turkey salt shaker that I so enjoy putting out each year. He is so proud and wise looking! He's probably happy the black cats disappeared come All Saint's Day!

So it is, the three phases of fall at our home. Pumpkins bring cats that retire to turkeys. Acorns and bittersweet ( when I can get it! ) bring the out of doors in. The front porch gets a heaping helping of pumpkins and wreaths to welcome jack frost as he makes his way south. We enjoy the first glimpses of fall followed by the decor of All Hallow's Eve. Then, as winter draws closer, those majestic birds that were recommended to be our National Bird strut about the house. Yet, once that turkey hits the platter, I hear bells.....jingle bells that is!

Happy Fall, Y'all! ~ Beth

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Prim and Pretty

This year has been a year of weddings for me! I have assisted in hosting a few showers, and held a few on my own. It has been quite a treat. Many of the girls getting married have known my Loryn since kindergarten days. These young ladies have been to many a birthday party together, had many classes together, plenty of spend the night gatherings and so much more. The moms and I have been friends all these years as well. Loryn beat them all to the altar, finishing college in three years and marrying her sweet Marine Corps pilot Michael long before these girls met their young men! None the less, they have all been to each other's showers and some in each other's weddings. It is such a special time.

Each shower we have said our thank yous. The thank yous moms say when they know special women have helped raise their children. Thankfulness for prayers lifted, for kind words spoken, for encouragement and friendship, for blessings of hand me downs and carpools, of traded talents and traded photos through the years. Oh how these women have blessed me and oh how their sweet daughters have blessed Loryn as well.

I wanted to share the latest shower photos with you. Since my home is colonial prim in decor, all those fancy clothes and cut crystal look a little out of place. I simply choose to use our decor to set the backdrop for prim and pretty. I hope the brides don't mind a little warm southern charm for their showers. It is all me, all from the heart and all about the simplicity of love between friends and family. ~ Beth

Friday, August 26, 2011

Oh Amy!

Came home yesterday to my "Pumpkin Swap" hosted by Amy at Bumble Bee Lane Blog. It is only the second swap I have participated in and both have been delightful. There is something ever so sweet about receiving a package in the mail that is just prim! It is fun the gather some goodies together for someone you know only in the blog world and ship it out, knowing in return you will be receiving a box of goodies too! It's like having a birthday just any old time of the year and you don't have to count it!

As you can see, Amy spoiled me. I received a fantastic old book by Jules Verne with a gorgeous cover and spine. The cover has a sweet saying as well as the initial B on it. The spine is just as pretty and honestly it will be hard to put it in the secretary ( filling it with old books with lovely spines) and NOT display the cover! The box smelled wonderfully when I opened it...thanks to the scented wax corns with cheesecloth. The fragrance quickly filled my kitchen. A dual gift; both decorative AND fragrant. A pumpkin of some sort had to be included and Amy picked a darling votive holder. So prim and perfect for fall! Cats are a favorite for me and look at the PURRFECT make do prim kitty. What a sly face and bright eyes! Topping the package off was a cute ditty bag; love the reference to Salem and the plaid trim. So many treats in this box for me, definitely swapping is not a trick!

If you have a chance to sign up for a swap, do it! You won't be disappointed. Think of the fun you will have shopping for someone, knowing it will make their day when the package arrives. Certainly if you are out shopping, you'll also find a goodie or two for yourself! There is not a place near by here that I could have found those wax corns so you can see how great it is to get things in your swap that you just can't get locally. If you are lucky enough to receive something hand made by the swapper then you will really have a momento to cherish. What great smiles erupt from this swapping we do.

I have to say many thanks to Amy for a delightful swap. I will be sending her an email soon. I hope when my box arrives at her home, she will find the contents as special and pleasing as the ones I received.

Happy weekend everyone....and while you are out there, pick up a few items for swapping! ~Beth