Thursday, December 31, 2009


This photo of a heron and its reflection got me to thinking about how this is the time of year when we tend to look back on the last 12 months to reflect on our lives. Remembering where we've been. (Where The River Begins, elephantdreams) How it felt to be there. (Hair, studiocvh) Who we loved enough to tell about our experiences. (Vintage postcard of Reflection Lake, Mt. Ranier, VintageNotionsLady)
And those quiet moments of stillness. (Reflection, MeadowlarkPhoto)
We also look back at ourselves. (Turquoise mirror, ShorelyChic) Seeing how the sands of time have worn our features. (Driftwood mirror, blackeyedsusan)
Remembering those who are no longer with us, but remain in our hearts. (Mirror, RowansRoom)
Reflecting on where we would like to go in the coming year. (Reflections mirror, FromGraytoGold)
We note the symmetry in the circle of life. (Turkey Vultures and Lightning Rods, QuinnPhoto)
New roles we must take on as we become more than saplings, but mature trees in the forest of our families. (Symmetrical Forest, smitche383)
Pondering whether this is the year we will turn over a new leaf. (1857 antique print of a symmetrical fern from Nepal, finerareprints)
Recognizing that the love of our family and friends is what keeps us balanced. (Folk art bird tray, bettyninjafinds)

Feel free to share any of your reflections in the comments, or on your own blog and link back here so we can all visit. (1909 Reflections of a Bachelor Girl, ImSoVintage)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Shelf Life

I saw these vintage rhinoceros bookends in an Etsy Finds email today. By the time I saw them, twoartdirectors had already sold them. I am consoling myself by thinking it is within the realm of possibility that someone bought them for me as a gift.

Birch Curtain Rods

We finally installed the curtain brackets and the birch poles as curtain rods in the den. I bought these birch poles in November of 2007! It took a long time to find brackets that I liked and that would fit the poles. Then I had the brackets, but it never happened. With the room newly painted, we had run out of excuses not to do it.
I bought the birch poles at the same time I bought the sheets of bark I wrote about here. I got them from White Birch Gifts, located in Maine. They have a number of birch products (logs, poles, sheets, lamps, candle holders, coat racks, birdfeeders...).

Monday, December 28, 2009

Wood and Wool, and New Dominion Blues

Imagine my surprise Sunday morning when I stumbled upon one of my items in the Get The Look: Home Decor Edition of Etsy's Storque (blog). This regular article in the Storque is one I look forward to every week (along with Quit Your Day Job). I love getting a glimpse into someone's home and being infused with inspiration by their aesthetic. I aspire to one day have a home in which everything reflects my preferences, but there is neither enough time or funds to leapfrog to that end in the near future. Until then, I will admire the homes of others, and slowly gather ideas for my own. This weekend’s Get the Look: Decor is inspired by the Dutch home of Ingrid, the designer behind the Wool & Wood Stool Etsy shop. I am posting some of her Flickr photos here to entice you, but I encourage you to visit her photostream to get the full effect.
I don't know whether I love this mirror or the post it's on more.
Table perfection.
Glass bottle perfection.
Such excellent color and composition in this still life of mandarins and cape gooseberries. As the shop name suggests, Ingrid makes wooden stools and covers them with wool crochet. Which leads to lovely wool yarn vignettes like this one.
My vintage blue dyed textile spools were chosen as an item that conjures the relaxed simplicity you will find in Ingrid's home.
I was doubly satisfied to be a part of a group of items that included pieces I have previously featured here, like this bright blue mini cupboard from oldcrowfarm. That's confirmation of my excellent taste, right?
Some of my perennial favorite shops were also featured in the article, like TheLovelys, which has this fantastic antique fan. I have also featured blackeyedsusan previously, and I love this driftwood chalkboard as much as the mirror I previously posted. Fellow Design Style Guide member ShakaStudios was included with this great folding quilt rack.
I was led to some new favorite shops, too. Don't you love this chair from summerland?
I really enjoy the chippy paint patina on this vintage wall sconce from dkgeneralstore.
This cobbler's bench from brandmojointeriors combines reclaimed pine with beautiful craftsmanship to create a simple but pretty piece.
Be sure to read the whole article for more eye candy, and visit the Flickr album and the Wood & Wool Stool shop.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I hope your day was as lovely as mine was today. I took some pictures to share. (Paper lantern my boss brought back from Germany, re-wired to work in America, and found a converter for the bulb.) (Christmas card painted by my friend Oren, who is an accomplished water color artist.)
(Stockings hung with care.)
( Wooden tree, Snowman and Santa.)
(Blocks and lights.)
(Ceramic tree.)
(Evidence of little ones.)
(Joy, in its natural form.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Painted Den

As I referenced before, we recently painted our den Benjamin Moore's Shenandoah Taupe. We're almost gotten everything back to where it needs to go. This is a small table in the corner; it also has a chair that didn't make it into the photo.
My spot on the couch. Much Etsying and blogging goes on here.
My husband's side of the couch and his chair, with easy access to electric guitar and amp. Note the egg crate used to keep magazines in check.
The fireplace with oil painting and birch candles on the mantle.
The Beast. We had to move this thing away from the wall so that we would have paint on the wall behind it, not just around it. A few more things will probably make it to the top shelves, and I plan to rotate the vignettes for variety.
A view of most of the room. Someday we'll pull up the carpet and put down hardwood, and I'm not thrilled with the ceiling fan, either. But we're getting there, slowly making the house our home. I will post pictures again once we put all the pictures back on the walls, and get the curtains up. I have white birch poles to use as curtain rods.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Introspection And Gray Matter

So many decisions in life seem to have binary, black and white choices. Admittedly, black and white can be among the most striking combinations of color. (I bought the molas above and below from molamama. I plan to hang them in my studio.)
In any difficult situation, counting the options available to you may help. Some assign weights to pros and cons, though I find numbers better as decor than in mathematical equations. The number 9 plaque below is very similar to a number 3 plaque I have in my studio. Find this one at VintageMarquise.
Let's hope your decision-making is less complicated than deciphering this diagram of how an automobile works. In the event that this diagram will actually help your decision, you can buy it from vintagehomerecycled. Frame it on a wall to remind you how complicated some things in life can be.
The bird song digital art collage from synchronicity313 will lighten your heart as you consider the paths your life can take. The bird notes make my heart sing, and I would love to see this on my wall every day.
Sometimes in weighing your options it is wise to seek the advice of friends by checking their temperature on the matter. This thermometer from retroology would be handy for that purpose. I have a collection of vintage thermometers on my dining room wall, next to the thermostat (I have added several since I took the photo in the link).
To follow the herd, or not to follow the herd? This vintage iron sheep is from PeachyChicBoutique. I inherited a few vintage iron toys from my grandparents, and they add so much charm to a vignette.
Sometimes it may help to store away your thoughts on the subject, and revisit them later. Stash them in this vintage tin from PatinaVintage. As I have said many times before, I just love things to put things in, and it's perfect when they are decorative as well as useful.
Perhaps you are pondering a major relocation, in which case this flat for rent sign from paddyridge may be useful in recouping some of that mortgage payment. The text is simple and graphic, and its reference to European abodes is so much cooler than any "for rent" sign you'd find in a home improvement big box store.
It can help to sit down and relax while making difficult decisions. Prop one of these bird on a wire pillows behind your back to help contemplate comfortably. Birds on a wire is one of my favorite themes, and I hadn't seen it applied to pillows before.
Do you ever feel like the answer to your dilemma is tickling you, but you just can't find the way to get there? Plume is a pen and ink drawing by loriotndorr that will tickle your fancy, and if you're lucky, it may tease out the correct path. I once had a cluster of peacock feathers in a vase, but this plume won't deteriorate over the years.
It might take a long time for the full consequences of any decision to take shape. In that event, contemplate these illustrations of shapely forms from kelleystreetvintage. I may just have to use these vases as inspiration for pottery forms.
This beach stone from jmliss has an exquisite handpainted labyrinth to aid your contemplation of the twists and turns we all navigate. I would set the stone on my desk, and place it in my pocket on particularly trying days to serve as a reminder of the trials that are common among humans.
A long drive, preferrably in a direction that leads away from dense civilization, can help clear the mind. If that isn't in the cards, a vintage license plate from fleamarkettrixie can help conjure up a suitable daydream to accomplish the same clarity. Hang it on your office wall, ready to inspire a quick journey at a moment's notice.
Books, whether those you read or those you write, can be a source of ideas for solving life's problems. Be sure to keep your claim on your books with these bookplates from ExLibrisStudio. I particularly like the black and white branch theme.
This simple pillow from enhabiten says comfort to me with its simplicity and sweet embroidery. I can't think of a more calming partner for a head-clearing nap on the couch. I have to imagine the vintage string embroidery and vintage velvet has some wisdom to impart during such a session.
When you cut away the excess, you're left with the bare facts you need. Edamamepress has cut away the excess to good effect in this woodblock print. I would select several woodcuts from the shop and frame them together to remind me how important it is to cut through to what is important.
Maybe you can't take a drive to clear your head, but you can take a walk around the block. Take this neighborhood mug with you, and I promise the handbuilt and screen printed mug will dispense more than your morning coffee. Stop by dovetail to pick it up.
But maybe life's decisions aren't all black and white. Maybe with creative thought, one can find innovative solutions. Maybe it isn't all or nothing. Maybe there isn't a right answer. There has to be some gray areas, right? And maybe there is beauty to that, like the intricate beauty of this vintage lichens print from thinaircreations. I would hang the print in my best thinking spot to recall the complexities of life's decisions.
Blow away those extreme notions of black and white with this vintage fan from thevintageholicfrog. It will clear the air and provide some white noise as a backdrop for your most creative thinking.
Sifting through all of your options is easier with this vintage colander from TheLovelys. Run everything through a sieve to reveal what's left. My mom has a collection of colanders that she uses as display bowls or hangs in groups in the kitchen. They're useful for kitchen tasks and sifting through decisions.
Need to wait on making the longest term decisions? These vintage safety deposit boxes will keep your secrets. The set from stilettogirl is trustworthy, handsome and up to the task. I would have a hard time choosing between storing family keepsakes in them or using them as supply organization.
The middle ground may become obvious if you can just crane your neck long enough to see. This pewter vase from lapommevintage serves as a model. Gray, enlongated and elegant, it would be a lovely accent in a kitchen or dining room.
Being between a rock and a hard place isn't so tough with these felt pebbles from kneek, proving even the hardest decisions have a soft, silver lining. I would fill a bowl (colander?) with these, but I would have to keep them above dog-eye-level, since I suspect they would be irresistable nuggets (I would trust cats even less).
My boss makes a joke about global warming when coffee shops offer him a disposable cardboard sleeve, warning him that the drink is hot. He replies, "so is global warming." Let's not get into the debate with the black and white extreme positions on the topic, though. Let's just agree to meet for coffee in the gray area, using re-useable coffee cozies from InboundThread. It's so much more pleasant that way.
Or let's make and serve our own brew and stay in. ImSoVintage offers this vintage primitive gray coffee pot, and we all know it's cheaper than FourBucks a cup. It would also look lovely on top of a refrigerator, or open with a bouquet of flowers.
Nothing is better for ferreting out all the gory details than typing up a list to keep track of them. Funretro has this vintage gray typewriter to help record all the pros, cons, and indifferent considerations. You know this would look great on your desk at home.
These gray, pretty sea glass pieces remind me that sometimes, beauty is a result of the rough wear and tear of time. Life's toughest challenges may be the reason for smooth edges and a soft patina. Scoop these up pieces of English sea glass from fabulousbijoux, and display them on the edge of a shelf, or rub your fingers over them whilst contemplating the sands of time.
These spools photographed by f2images are not completely lined up, but they are neatly wrapped. Even if your options seem to be off kilter, there's no reason to become unraveled. And I find the slight disorder reassuring, since my ducks are almost never in a perfect row.
babybomb's cushion cover depicts buildings, the architectural proof of civilization's growth and development. Many have gone before us, making good and bad choices, and somehow we march on, building on those decisions. Rarely will we as individuals be faced with making choices that will impede that momentum. This cushion cover is a soft reminder.
Even the toughest decisions can be addressed with a little creativity, reducing black and white to a median gray. Now if only I could apply this logic to my own life.