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Friday, April 30, 2010

Bold And Brassy

The first time I saw the parlor fireplace in That Old House, I knew
it had to have an old Federal style convex mirror over the mantel.

And more than a year later, I got one
. Story here.

No, that's not my Show And Tell for Friday . . .
this is:

There are three light switches in our front hallway.

One is a triple, and operates the porch, foyer, and upstairs hallway light.

The other two are singles. One is for an outdoor lampost near the stone steps down to the street,
and the other operates . . . well, we don't know. And neither does our electrician.
Just one more of the mysteries of a very old house.

The switchplates are the ones that were here when we moved in.

"Oh, you are going to replace those ugly old switchplates, right?" asked my sister.
"Ummm . . . " said I. Ugly? I hadn't really thought about them as being ugly, or not.

They just were.

They belonged.

So, they stayed.

This morning I took their pictures; glamour shots I hope. Yes, antique dust and all.

But as I was photographing them, I glanced into the parlor and saw the mirror over the fireplace.

And it hit me!

These old beat-up brass switchplates are pretty much exactly
like the old beat-up mirror I scored on eBay last summer.

Coincidence? I think not.
I think That Old House had it planned all along, and I was just the helpless dupe.

Show And Tell Friday is hosted by Cindy at My Romantic Home. Click to join or visit!

And if you love flowers and burgeoning blooming things, pop on over to Tootsie Time, where
we're Flaunting Our Flowers on Fertilizer Friday. Click and go!

I love bonus plants, plants that we inherited along with the mortgage to That Old House.

I am grateful to the previous homeowner who tucked a few tulip bulbs into the flower borders.

I'm especially glad she chose this deep dark purple -- so dark it is almost black.

This one is fading. When they are newly blooming, they are the most amazing rich color.

Look into its heart:

Our single red tulip is just about exhausted from putting on one heck of a show for the last couple of weeks,
tucked in among the branches of the white bleeding heart.

And the yellow tulips?

Some of them are beginning to look a little bedraggled:

This straggling old rosebush will soon be covered with the buds of deep red blooms.

Those buds will open, and almost immediately be devoured by the deer.

Oh well, the critters have to live, too.
Mrs. Plaster Bunny keeps watch over the daylilies and sedum.

And here, a chipmunk's-eye view from the top of our stone steps up to the driveway:

Sshhh... don't rat us out to the neighbors about that dandelion!

Ah, one more picture.
Why are there tables stacked up in our front hallway?

I will tell you, but not till next week! -- Cass

You can click on either logo, below, to visit the Friday blog parties mentioned above.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Plain Jane Vignette

My second post of the day!

I was intrigued by a new blog party -- Ready, Set, Vignette hosted by Beth at The Stories Of A 2 Z. Click on highlighted words, or the button at the end of the post to go check out other favorite vignettes, old and new!

And at Faded Charm blog, Kathleen is hosting White Wednesday. Again, click and go visit!

I am repeating a February post; I found I don't have too many vignettes at That Old House!
If you want to see my Outdoor Wednesday post for today, with some wonderful raindrop photos by my husband, click here!

I love 19th century one-drawer stands.

They are such a pure and plain form, and so useful -- just the right size for tucking in next to a chair, to hold a cup of tea and a book, or for cozying up next to an old 4-poster bed as a nightstand.

I am especially fond of a country Sheraton poplar and cherry stand that Howard and I bought when we lived in Pittsburgh; this poor thing has been dragged to about six different homes in three different states with us, and has finally come to roost in a corner of the parlor at That Old House.

After working hard for us for many years, now it's retired to a pretty cushy job;
all it has to do is behave itself, stay in its corner, and look pretty.
And now I get to place some things on its top, and leave them there,
and know that no one is going to move them, or want to play with them.

I've got white china elephants, one from my Mom, two from eBay.

A Christmas Cactus, one of the many cultivated from my Grandmother's massive plant.

A few old books. I have a lot of old books, most of them gifts from a great aunt, Tante Margaret.

Put them all together, and ta-da! It's a tabletop vignette.
It's not fancy or bling-y, but that's fitting.
After all, it's a plain old table in a plain old room.

Have a lovely Wednesday! Many thanks if you leave a comment; I love to read them! I will try and do the same for you if I can keep Howard away from the computer long enough! -- Cass

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pennies From Heaven

Two posts today; the other is A Plain Jane Vignette; click here.

Every time it rains, it rains . . . .
Pennies from Heaven!

It rained Sunday.
It rained Monday.
So, my husband grabbed his camera and went in search of tiny droplets in the garden.

Take a look at the droplet hanging from a branch of one of the lilacs in the collage above.
Our neighbor's house is in it -- upside down!
If you click once, or twice, on the image below, it will enlarge a lot.

This clump of leaves below just looks wet, but hidden deep within are the stalks and buds of Oriental poppies.

They will be gorgeous, brilliant red and spectacular, in a few weeks.

One more drop from Howard's pictures, this one hanging on the
bottom of the lamp that lights the entrance to our conservatory:

Welcome to Outdoor Wednesday,
hosted by Susan of A Southern Daydreamer.
Go visit and see what is happening in other people's yards and neighborhoods;
click on highlighted words or the logo.

Happy Over The Hump Day! ~ Cass

Lilacs And Lace, And My Favorite Sweet Spot!

Who can resist chopping off some lilac limbs and bringing them inside
to enjoy their heady fragrance and simple, artless grace?

They arrange themselves, the little darlings. A pile of this --

-- trimmed of its lower leaves and plopped in a vessel --
drapes itself artistically in graceful swoops, and does this:

Pair lilacs with a bit of old handmade lace, a classic Staffordshire china dog
(a recent garage sale find), a tiny portrait of a child and her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel,
and an ironstone plate laden with grapes and strawberries . . . .

And your Tabletop just says, "Spring!"

Now, a question: Do you have Sweet Spots in your house? Places where you love to perch for awhile, because you like what you see; you like the view? It just plain makes you happy?

One of my favorite Sweet Spots in That Old House is in our Parlor.
This room is far from finished -- no rug, almost no artwork, but from my favorite
seat in the wing chair to the left of the fireplace, I just never get tired of seeing this:

I love looking out of the doorway, to the front hall -- the newel post, the stairs that have felt the tread of feet for nearly 180 years, the goofy old brass switch plate with the embossed eagle, the wide board floors . . . .

I look to my left, I see the fireplace:

The other wing chair:

And a peek into the dining room, where the clean plates from the most recent dinner party (in this case, this past Sunday evening's gathering of ten) are often waiting on the sideboard, all ready to be put away:

What are the Sweet Spots in your house?

It's Tuesday, and I'm joining Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday, Tam at The Gypsy's Corner for Three Or More Tuesday, Diane at A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words for Second Time Around Tuesday, and Paula Grace at Paula Grace Designs for Timeless Tuesday.

Three Or More Timeless Designs in this post, which are all Second-Time-Around-ers, are: Staffordshire dog, camelback sofa, wing chair and -- the best of all -- those old floors and stairs in the Parlor and front hall.

You can click on any highlighted word, above, or on any of the blog party logos, below, to visit the other participants and enjoy! -- Cass

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Dish-A-Holic Dishes On Some Favorites!

It's the weekend, and I'm reaching back into the past, to take a look at some of my favorite things.

Gee, can you guess?
If you guessed dishes, then you were right!

(Originally posted April 2009)

What do I have in common with Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth II, and the Prince of Wales? Read on. . . .

Pull up a chair.
I found a great bargain at a local thrift shop this week, and I've got to ... dish!

I am linking to a couple of fun weekend blog parties -- see the end of post for links.

Get comfortable. It's a long tale.
Last time I went thrifting, I spent about 5 bucks.

But now it is official. I need a keeper.

When I started my thrift shop trip this week, I figured I'd find a couple of things, spend a few bucks, come home with my modest treasures tucked into a single small bag. But . . . no.

Instead, I came home with my many treasures wrapped in bubble wrap and packed into two big boxes.

And I am willing to bet that you would have done the same thing!

Would you have walked away from Aynsley bone china?

Tatton Hall by Aynsley

My tablescape:

Tatton Hall is a discontinued pattern, but it has a very current color scheme, blue-green accented with just those bits of red, all on a border of palest yellowy-beige, picked out in shimmery gold.

Turquoise and red had some play in mid-20th-century home decor (especially kitchens) and nowadays it turns up in contemporary and cottage design. It's a variation on the classic pairing of the complementary colors of green and red.

All the dishes are like new -- no chips, no loss of brilliant gold trim, no knife marks. There was no way these pretties were staying on the thrift shop shelf!

The Bargain Barn is not the cheapest thrift shop around; its volunteers are pretty savvy about what things are worth. But this was a bargain:

4 dinner plates, 4 cups, 4 saucers, and 2 luncheon plates for $25.
14 pieces of Aynsley bone china for $25. Sweet.

Now, of course, I will haunt eBay and other sources for those missing luncheon size plates, and maybe for a few other pieces. I could get them through, but the cost would be way more than I would ever spend. A single dinner plate is listed for $38 on Replacements. Seriously?

Some details from today's table setting...

My grandmother's little glass dishes, nearly a century old, perfect for fruit or shrimp:

My old Georgian pattern silverplate, from various Ebay auctions:

Another eBay find, a huge, wide, hand-embroidered linen tablecloth, meticulously stitched in taupe. 12 matching napkins were included (although today I used plain white). All for less than $20, and in perfect condition.

Battenberg lace coasters. 6 for $4 at the thrift.

A cut crystal rose bowl, a gift years ago from a wonderful friend who knew how much I loved rose bowls, and that I'd never buy one for myself. (And at the time, really couldn't buy one for myself.)

Inside this beautiful bowl, glimmering turquoise colored glass, and a deep red candle for a soft glow:

So what about me and the royals? What do we have in common, other than our immense wealth and our many castles and our servants oddly called equerries?

Our dishes!

Aynsley, founded in 1775, made dishes for the two Queens and Prince Charles, although it's a safe bet the Royals didn't find their Aynsley at The Bargain Barn in Denville, New Jersey.

But then, the Royals don't have the cozy comfort of a
simple old American farmhouse in which to enjoy their Aynsley:

I am lucky. I'm going to leave this tablesetting in place, and
Howard and I can have our leftover chicken right here, tonight.

I bought a second set of dishes at the same shop, and a few other things, but I passed on a gorgeous big ironstone pitcher, vintage, brown & white transferware design -- $35, a more than fair price.

But I figured I already had enough 'splaining to do when I got home. And there's always tomorrow.

On my way home, I stopped at Dollar Tree and T.J. Maxx. They too were productive trips.

I think I better stay home for a day or two.
Or, find a keeper.
Any volunteers?

**************************Back in 2010**********************************

Now ... click on the logo, below,
to go to Bargain Hunting and Chatting With Laurie, for more Favorite Things Saturday!

And get ready; it's almost Sunday, and time for Sunday Favorites,
hosted by Chari of Happy To Design.
Don't miss it! It's the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of this blog party,
and hostess Chari is sponsoring a Giveaway. Go!

Visit both these fun blogs for plenty of good reads! I'm going back to watching Howard cut the grass. Isn't it just so fun to watch a man work? -- Cass