Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holy C(w)rap!

It's a forty+ year tradition. It's crazy. It's wrapping paper. Every year, my mom wraps one gift for each person with this amazing and seemingly endless supply of paper. Well, it's not really wrapping paper, it's the surplus from old matchbook print transfers from the 1940's and 1950's.
(similar match book transfer
photo from seller : rapcollect)
My grandma's friend stole, took these rolls when the factory decided to close it's doors on Allen St. in Hudson, NY. Upcylcers and re-purposers rejoice, right? If you look closely, it's cellophane and the print transfer is backward and rolled outside in, like architectural plans.
There is not a Christmas that I remember not having to give a little more muscle to rip open the unintended cover all for our gifts. Wrapping with it is a bit of a challenge too. It doesn't fold easily, and it gets all over your hands. It is, after all, a transfer, but after all, it's tradition.
My mother commented today that maybe it's made with real gold. I said, perhaps a carcinogen.
Regardless, the truth is, this paper will most likely outlast us all. Long after I am gone, maybe Gil's wife will carefully be selecting a gift for Nate's child to wrap with this, and wonder why and how this stuff keeps kicking around. Maybe the stories will stick, and maybe we will find the actual matchbooks that are allegedly in the house somewhere. In the meantime, may your family traditions burn strong and your wrapping paper be easy to tear. 


Not Your Mama's Furniture (It's Mine)

Hello friend,
I am now home in the comfort of Christmas cheer, hectic last minute everything, and surrounded by familiar voices and vaguely familiar blustery wet weather. I love coming home, and wish it wasn't so far away from North Carolina. One of the highlights of visiting is seeing the projects my mom has going on, that for weeks and months I could only imagine via careful description over the phone.

For years, my Mom has taken old, tired estate sale furniture and given each piece a make over and gave them a second chance. Unfortunately, I can't show you any 'Before' pictures, but I think the 'After' shots speak for themselves.
She has been influenced and inspired by Mackenzie-Childs, who has a home base just up the road in Aurora, NY. We have all been to the studio, done the tour and walked the grounds. It's the "go-to" visit mom special. If you are familiar with their work, you'll see the influence without a doubt.

Without further ado...enjoy!

An old vanity painted, hardware replaced and tissue paper added to the legs.

The black and white detail is tile (brilliant!) and the relief is a wall paper border.

Sideboard turned dresser. The stripes on the side is a sheet of wall paper. Hardware is all original. The gold balls were added and she stained only part of the body for the two tone look.

Pretty, huh?

When I say old, this is old. It was part of my uncle's mother's bedroom set, and I am pretty sure it was in  the very day he was born. Old doesn't mean attractive, however. My mom painted it Espresso then went over it with a black satin to bring out the wood grain. Hardware is existing, but spray painted silver.

Yes, there is a lot here. This dresser was tired, but nothing a coat of metallic paint, some black ribbon to outline the edges and a chandelier wall decal can't fix. Also take a look at the orange Thonet chair. A quick coat of paint livened it up.

We all agree this one looks 100 times better in person.

I couldn't get a good overall shot of this vanity. Another old piece that was Julia's. It was a wreck. It had years of grime on it, water stains and chips. A quick re-coat of stain was done and the wall decals shown here cover up old chips and stains that wouldn't come clean.

She tied the black in with a diamond pattern on the front. The hardware on older pieces have different sizing than today's standard sizes. She added ribbon instead of fixing up the original drawer pulls.

Rough hewn legs after a coat of metallic gold. Napoleonic era style bee fabric and brocade are added for a 1,2 punch.

This is one of my favorites. It was an old chair in the basement of my best friends grandmother. Mama took to the dark side, and added lime green accents of ribbon and polka dot goodness.

Thin ribbon adds outline to the sea of black and makes all the difference.

Friday, December 14, 2012

2013 Pantone Color of the Year - Emerald

Congratulations Emerald, you represent this upcoming year's Pantone color of the year!! 

It's funny. This color is perfect for this year. Gil is learning colors. What is his default color? "Geeen!" What do I not have nearly enough of? Green! 

"Middle greens" are so very beautiful and true. In the past, tons of sages and light greens have been used and overused. Also, the hunter greens had come, over run Ralph Lauren's studio and every home in America and had finally taken a few steps back in recent years. 

I am going to follow the Pantone path and add some Emeralds, olives and true greens into my palette. I have actually started making a concerted effort in this direction. 

See here:

A wish list item from MARBLED on Etsy

A wishlist item from Lucky Accessories on Etsy
Sadly, I can't think of one corner of our home that features emerald, or anything even close. Hmph. We'll work on that. Maybe we can start with our grass in the Spring. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Very Vintage Christmas

Somehow, when items were doled out and distributed from Archie and Julia's things, I ended up, somewhere down the road years later, with their Christmas ornaments. Dozens of them, boxes and all. This year, we will have no tree at our home, so they'll stay tucked away for another year.

Admittedly, these photos would have looked better surrounded by evergreens, garland and the sparkle of tiny lights, but alas, they are simply on a table top. Soon enough we will be snuggling near my parents tree with one more set rosy cheeks to kiss under the mistletoe, for it is Nate's very first Christmas.

I got the ornaments out just for a bit this year to share them, and to take a look for myself. I dare look in their reflections to try to see the scenes from many years ago as they hung from a fir tree inside when they were fresh off the shelf.  The stories, memories of my own and the wrapping paper that we STILL have and use from those days will have to do. (I'll show you that another day, I promise!)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gifted Garland Reproduction

My mother is an inspiration all around in my design world. Forget that I have a degree in it, she is the one with the flair, whimsical touch and the "You're not done" attitude that has spilled into my world, covered my walls and shelves. So, this is an easy one. She bought me a garland from a store in Geneva, Ill.called Cocoon. ($2.95 for 5'-0") I have never been, but apparently, I'd love it. You can see their online shop here.

I have so so so much sheet music for both the piano and cello and have a printer, so I figured that buying some twine and tape would be simple, inexpensive and satisfying.

What shape should mine be?? Let me reword this...what template can I get my hands on?  Cookie cutters. Perfect. I picked a daisy, which actually looks more like a cookie. 

I printed on card stock to "beef it up" a little since I am simply taping to the twine. 

...and here is the final product!


It's about 5'-6" and I added a bow on either end. I also decided to do it double sided so the pieces hang better.  I am considering adding letters to each "cookie" so it is more of a banner. What do you think?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Not-So-Mellow Yellow

"Freedom lies in being bold."
Robert Frost
We have a living room. It is virtually empty. It is was waiting for me to have an epiphany about the accent color I would use. (I kind of always knew it would be yellow). I envisioned Oranges, greens, chartreuses, magentas. Nothing really did it. It actually hit me when I least expected it. I was in Target. I saw it. IT. The yellow basket weave pillow that was so bold, so pretty and so going in my house. I didn't get it right then. I kept thinking about it. I went back. It was gone. The end.
Actually, just the beginning. It energized me. It was egg yolk yellow. It was committed, and I was committed. We looked it up online and thankfully the Target in Horseheads (parents home base) has it, so I must wait, but my motivation...she charges on.
Here is the piano chair that needed a lift :
This was originally the head chair of my Aunt's dining table.
It had been painted, reupholstered, batted, painted, reupholstered and then again.

I used spray paint, although I don't really recommend it. It always takes at least 2 cans, and you have to have a steady hand or else you will have to spot sand, which I did.

I found this on the bottom of the seat. I guess someone took the tag very seriously.

I used a pillow cover with a broken zipper for the cushion. It's perfect - black, white and bold.
The fabric is soft enough that I can tug it a little one way or the other to make the lines straight. (This is pre-final touches)
It will be positioned behind the piano and make the corner happy. And for now, will be the little bit of egg yolk yellow that will soon be overkill beautifully accented all over this room.