Saturday, December 29, 2012

One Frame.. Two Ways To Use It

On my first trip to Old Green Shutters Antiques in Crown Point, Indiana, I had

purchased a really unique piece!  Not seen on any of my many travels to flea

markets or antique malls.  It was an unpainted window frame that Carey

had used in her shop.  She had configured it to rest on top of a metal stand.

Attached to the sides were two wonky rusted wires on which she had hung cards

and other light treasures.  Such a great display piece!  And I knew I had to be

the next owner of this gem!

I had spruced it up a bit by spray painting the base semi-gloss black paint.

Had taken off the wonky rusty wire and used it, tucked in this display, for 

added texture.  

I made a simple swag of greens with a burlap bow for the top of the frame and

then proceeded to add mini "vintage" ornaments hanging from twine.  

Spaced unevenly as odd numbered groupings add so much more interest.

Next use for this darling display?  How about as a means of holding Christmas

sweets?  Typical for me, this was a last minute project (as in Christmas eve..

yes, you read that right!!) Earlier in the day I bought a slew of different

old-fashioned candies that I wanted to tuck inside glassine bags.  Uh-ohhhh!

No glassine bags left in my studio.  What to do?  Chinese restaurants use them

to hold their fried appetizers for take-out orders.  Genius!! I sent darling

husband out to the nearest restaurant to buy some.  He did alright, great

guy that he is.  But upon handing them over, my eyes lit upon not plain ones

but these!

Hey!  At least these Asian ladies are printed in Christmas red!!  Ok... Ok....

let's think this one out.  Make my own Christmas labels to cover them up!

A friend had just sent me some beautiful ones in the mail.  I could make

copies on label paper, cut them out and adhere them to the bags!  I was

doing the happy dance all the way to my studio... so tickled, was I!!

No worries about the bit of red showing from the original printed label as

it faded into the background.  Tuck the candies inside, fold over the top,

punch two holes in it, thread some ribbon through it and tie a pretty bow!

Christmas ornament hooks are what I used to hang them on the twine.

Two rows filled with holiday glassine candy bags!

 Sixteen bags hung in rows... sixteen bags filled with sugary surprises!

 A different use for the same frame, creating a different vignette!

 And by the end of Christmas day?  Well, I think you can see that this idea 

is one that will be worth repeating next year!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas At The Willow House

 The house is dressed in its Christmas finery.  The final batch of cookies are 

just waiting for me to decorate them with a schmeer of frosting and a dusting

of sugar glitter.  And the family is sitting in front of the television watching

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation remembering their favorite lines from

the movie!  Oh, how I wish you could join us!  However, I know you're nestled

in your own homes enjoying the merriment of your own family traditions. So,

in light of that I will pretend you've just knocked on the front door.  Stopping

by for a cup of good cheer!  Come on in.. I would love to show you around!

The bannister by the front door...

The living room fireplace mantel kept to a simple red and silver theme...

The light from the sconces bring a sparkle to the crystals and the silver wreaths.

A vignette using a newly acquired french tablecloth purchased at an estate sale.

My favorite find from last year? These few pieces from a creche set on a
tarnished silver plate and protected with a glass cloche...

In the dining room, I placed the woodland theme on top of the newly painted

Other touches in the dining room.....

The color for the family room?  Blue!  Vintage typewriters with letters typed
to Santa... two chippy blue letters found at a flea market this past summer.. and flash cards that I made that relate to "BE"....

I was so pleased at how this vignette turned out!  Other touches of blue?
New and vintage Christmas balls clearly visible in glass apothecary jars.

The gear that I painted and had cut a wooden plate for so that it could hold 
a few blue ornaments under a glass cloche.

This little Santa elf is tucked in a vintage shoe on the side table... a creation
by a fellow artisan....

 And last, I want to share the silver Paul Revere bowl that my aunt always 

had on her side table.  Always filled with silver wrapped Hershey Kisses at

Christmastime.  I know myself well enough that in my house I needed to 

find another type of sweet that wouldn't be devoured in one sitting! I 

think these Tootsie Pops will do just fine, don't you?  Do help yourself to 


I know I've kept you here long enough but I am oh! so glad you dropped by

for a visit!  I treasure each and every one of you and am ever so grateful for

your taking the time to read my blog and follow along with me on my

adventures! With a hug, I will send you on your way with heartfelt wishes

for a very Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Candlelight at Christmas Time

Do you collect things that tickle you only to tuck them away for future use?  Or

perhaps have you bought things that you thought for sure would work in your

home only to find out not so much??  I have.  This wooden tool carrier?  Bought

at a country auction while living in Iowa.  Never used.  The tallest blue ball jar?

My mother bought this for me, years ago, at a yard sale in Connecticut for

$5.00!  One that has visible air bubbles in the glass verifying its antiquity.

Used on occasion but not often enough.  Two items that were placed in the far

reaches of my storage cupboard.  Until this holiday season!

I was inspired to combine these items together to create a charming little

touch of holiday spirit.  Using Annie Sloan Clear Wax, I rubbed down the old

wood of the carrier to bring out its richness.  Just a light touch was all that 

was needed to bring it back to life.  As the carrier was divided into six sections

I knew that each would be perfect to contain a blue ball jar.  Problem was, I

only had two.

 I needed four more to complete this display.  Do you hear me shouting

"road trip"?  Yes, I knew exactly where to find more and that took me to 

another visit to Old Green Shutters Antiques.   I was not disappointed!

With six blue jars tucked in their respective places, I was now ready to 

dress it up with some finery.  To add some pizazz!!  As these were destined to

hold votive candles, I didn't want to use fresh greens, as perfect and lovely as 

it would have been.  Instead, I used a spray of "greens" that had touches of

"snow" and pinecones... perfect for that homey feel! The addition of two long

pieces of rusted wire meandering throughout was the last little touch.

Next? The votive candles.  They needed to tall enough to have their flame

visible through the greens and over the side of the carrier and yet not too tall 

as to risk something catching on fire.  Yikes!  Not such a merry thought!  AND

the candles needed to be contained so that, as the wax melted, it wouldn't

become a major disaster with wax needing to be scraped from the bottom of

the jars.  Hmmmmm....

My solution?  I offer two.  At PierI, they have glass votive holders for 50 cents.

Frugal me loved that price!  Place a short votive candle inside and all will work

just fine.  My other suggestion is something I found at Pottery Barn.  Taller 

votive candles already in their own glass holders.  A set of sixteen (burn time: 

14 hours) for $29.  Frugal me gasped but bit the bullet!  And see how they work

just beautifully?

Ok .... one new decorative element added to my holiday decor!  Ready to

be lit at night creating a warm, Christmas-y glow!!  Turn off the lights, honey,

and let's snuggle up!!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Simple Creative Touches

It was a quick fly in.... fly out trip to Charleston.  I remember in my younger

days I would have loved to splurge on a spur-of-the-moment trip to some

exotic or romantic locale.  I envisioned myself arriving at the airport,

strolling up to the ticket agent, and, with an oh! so laissez-faire demeanor,

say "One round trip ticket on your next flight to Paris, please!"  Expense, be

damned!  Do I dare say at my current age that that scenario still tickles my

fancy?? Maybe someday I will fulfill that dream but for now my destination 

was Charleston. Sure won't hear me complaining!

I tended to my business at hand and then instantly turned my attention to 

one of my favorite destinations.... Sugar Bakeshop! 

Yes, I will take one of those, please!

Oh!  And one of the lemon cupcakes with lemon curd filling!

 I remembered how I died and went to heaven with that first bite last time I

chose this one!  With tiny box in hand, containing my divine treats, I turned to

head out the door.  Only to remember to look around and see what decorative

touches they added for the holidays.  

Creative touches not only grace their cupcakes and the way they display

them, but the owners also turn their attention to the rest of the shop.  Let

me show you......

Twine strung from side to side of the front window frame where vintage 

Christmas ornaments hung from large, simple bows using even more twine.

A vintage bread box decked out with tiny glittered houses lighted from behind.

A wintery fairyland!

The other front window had a large gingerbread house that, due to unfortunate

lighting, I wasn't able to capture.  But trust me, it oozed such sweet charm!

There is a small, side courtyard where one can choose to sit and eat their

cupcakes right then and there in the warm, Charleston weather.  Peeking out

the door leading to this, I was tickled that the owners also completed this area

with holiday cheer.  Come see what I saw.....

Now you know why no trip to Charleston is complete without a stop at Sugar 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Vignettes To Inspire.... Part II

I couldn't help myself!  First go round in the store, Old Green Shutters 

Antiques in Crown Point, Indiana

I was gasping and looking for what goodies would be coming home with me. 

Every corner held a treat and what kept drawing me in were the creative ways 

of displaying their merchandise.  Second go round, was chatting with Carey 

who was there, minding the shop, with her adorable twins, just months old. 

She openly offered suggestions on different ways to utilize vintage goods.  I 

even left with the name of a wonderful slipcover maker Carrie had used to 

sew a slipcover for her sofa!  Don't you love the personal touch?!

So, here are the rest of the photos I shot on the THIRD go round of the shop!!

I just love the faces peeking from behind the split in the original wood backing of this frame!

A garland filled with mercury ball trim and cabinet cards
Such a sweet way to add a victorian photo page to your Christmas decor
Charming, aren't they?
That says it all!!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Vignettes To Inspire... Part I

Old Green Shutters Antiques (

what a charming find this shop was!  I was needing three things that day I

happened upon it.  One, a diversion from stress which for me is satisfied with

a road trip.  Two, inspiration.  Seeing someone else's creativity stirs up your

own.  And three, another source for vintage finds.  It was all wrapped into

one when I stepped across the threshold of this store!  And you know what?

I am going to let the photos speak for me and perhaps... just maybe....

you might find some inspiration, too!

That large roll of tickets came home with me!
Why not use mint green stacked books to add holiday color?
Just love the creativity of this display... it's always the simple ideas that make the biggest impact

Vintage tree toppers resting in old bottles.. group several together and you have a lovely display
Pottery bowls filled with gold!  And I love how there is one ball hanging from a long hanger!