Happy Earth Day 2018!

Incredible tree | Vintage Floral Cottage

A simple way to celebrate Earth Day is just to get out and observe/appreciate something natural in all its beauty, like this incredible tree I came upon during a woods walk in 2016.

It is Earth Day – one of those days that we set aside to be reminded of, to celebrate, and to think about something specific… like Mother’s Day, Veteran’s Day, and so many others. In this case, we’re asked to think about this beautiful planet we live on and how we might protect and preserve it, and make as small an impact on its resources as possible throughout our lives.

I will admit I probably make a pretty average impact: I don’t live off the grid, I use a lot of plastic, and I drive a fossil-fuel car (though it IS pretty fuel-efficient). But I do have one major area where I know I make a difference, and that is helping keep discarded household stuff out of the landfill.

There are three primary ways I contribute:

I shop second-hand for basically everything except the stuff in the grocery store. If you read this blog at all you know I love to shop at the thrift stores, the online marketplaces, the flea markets, auctions, and antique stores – even the curbs! Over the decades I’ve come to love and appreciate the history and stories that used items have, so my second-hand shopping meets my personal aesthetic – but it has the added benefit of giving a new home to pieces that might otherwise end up decaying at the dump.

I’ve spent the last several years buying and selling used furniture pieces to many talented painters and upcyclers, and I love being part of the chain in preserving a great piece… or even a not-so-great piece that needs repair. I’ve also painted and upcycled a few pieces of my own. Whether I keep them or sell them, all have found new homes instead of going on the garbage truck.

Furniture pieces | Vintage Floral Cottage

Just nine of the more than 100 pieces of furniture I’ve had the pleasure of rescuing over the last few years. Whether I bought to use or bought to re-sell, I helped keep every piece from going to the landfill.

Okay so maybe shopping second-hand doesn’t suit your style, and you have no interest in being a middle-man for outdated furniture. No worries! You can still make an impact beyond just the simple recycling of trash. When I have stuff that I know is still useful but I personally do not wish to keep – whether it’s clothes, kitchenware, furniture, or just about anything else, I use one of these five tactics to purge responsibly… to get rid of it without putting it in the garbage:

  1. Donate it to second-hand stores.
  2. Donate it to a needy family you might hear about in the news or online.
  3. Have a yard or garage sale – yes it’s work, but it’s FUN and you get extra cash!
  4. List it for sale online at a rock-bottom price – CraigsList, Facebook Marketplace, LetGo and OfferUp are four services I have used.
  5. Set it on the curb a full week before scheduled pickup, and post an announcement on CraigsList or one of the online marketplaces to encourage people to come and pick. (See my 2017 garage sale post to get a visual on the impact this can have!)

Now look, I’m not saying I’m a champion of the Earth or any kind of hero – my efforts are very small in the grand scheme of things. But they do make a difference, and I get a certain amount of satisfaction in knowing that my regional landfill is a little less full because of what I do.

Happy Earth Day – may you enjoy and appreciate the beauty of our planet, and find a new way to reduce/recycle/reuse that brings you joy and makes a difference!

 

 

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In praise of top sheets

A local radio station personality (us old folks used to call them “disc jockeys” or DJ’s, which is an old-timey word that originated back when those people on the radio used to play songs on individual acetate… later vinyl… discs… but I digress…) recently suggested the following:

“The top sheet on a bed could soon be a thing of the past. It seems younger people don’t feel the need for a sheet to cover up with in bed, using just a comforter instead.”

I suppose it’s all what you’re used to, but my first reaction to this was, “First cursive, now the top sheet – what is next, younger people? WHAT IS NEXT?

And my second reaction was, “Ewww… gross!”

Look, I’m sorry to be a stick in the mud here, but a top sheet is not an option – it’s a necessity.

Pretty top sheets | Vintage Floral Cottage

 

In warm weather, a comforter is likely too much covering. So the sheet provides a layer between skin and air that helps hold in your body warmth. (Have you ever awakened from a coverless nap only to find that your arms and other exposed areas are cold, and you feel chilled from the inside? That’s because your body temperature drops to its lowest point when you are at rest.)

Besides, without a top sheet, you’ll never have:

  • that “Ahhhhh” moment that comes from slipping in between cool sheets in the summertime
  • Something to pull up over yourself to look cute in bed after sex.
  • That thin layer to hang your foot out from under.

In cold weather, the top sheet is a layer between you and the comforter that not only holds in the body heat but also absorbs sweat and body gunk, while being MUCH easier to launder than a comforter. When’s the last time you washed your actual comforter? It’s a giant pain in the ass, isn’t it? (Hint: yes.) Think of all the trips to the laundromat you’ll save, not to mention all the time you’ll spend waiting for the large-capacity machine to become available once you get there.

I say YES to the top sheet! What say you?

Posted in Decorating | 4 Comments

Lots of Etsy shop additions!

So yesterday (Saturday) I worked half a day at the senior community as “manager on duty” (MOD), then came home and at 4 pm started working on adding a whole bunch of new items to the Etsy shop. I finished at midnight, and it took me another 90 minutes to carefully pack everything into boxes so it could be safely stored until purchased.

I was beat – but it was a GOOD kind of beat, because I got more than 25 new things added! That included time to stage, shoot, edit, and resize the photos, write the descriptions, and create the individual listings. Thoroughly enjoyed it, as it was a great way to spend a cold and dreary day. (Same goes for today – but I think I might take the day off!)

Here are just a few of the things I added to shop! You can see them all at:

www.etsy.com/shop/vintagefloralcottage

Windsor Ware plates | Vintage Floral Cottage

Set of 4 Windsor Ware cake plates by Johnson Brothers, made in England.

Creel basket | Vintage Floral Cottage

Small wicker creel-style basket

Large pitcher | Vintage Floral Cottage

Very large hand-painted Capriware ceramic pitcher

Frame napkin rings | Vintage Floral Cottage

Set of 6 silver-tone frame napkin rings that double as placecard holders!

Haviland Rosalinde saucers | Vintage Floral Cottage

Eleven handpainted “Rosalinde” saucers by Haviland, sold in sets of 4, 4 and 3.

 

Lots more items than just those shown here, hope you will take a look!

 

 

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It’s finally Spring… I think!

Spring is arriving slowly this year… it’s April 2 and we are still having mostly gray skies with cooler temperatures, and there is that dirty four-letter word in our forecast even this week!

Turns out the sprained ankle I thought I had was actually broken – in two places! So I had out-patient surgery on March 9, which turned into an overnight hospital stay, so I haven’t been too mobile AND my right foot is still non-weight-bearing. That means I haven’t even been able to do my usual puttering around the house, except for whatever I was able to do by rolling around on my new best friend, a used knee scooter I scored on Facebook marketplace. I’m on the mend, with about 3 weeks left on the scooter.

Here’s a peek at what I was able to do just to freshen things a bit, using a lot of silk florals and awesome thrift-store finds.

I worked up this pretty Easter basket, not with candy but with vintage post cards and a delightfully aged paper mache bunny.

Vintage Easter Basket | Vintage Floral Cottage

 

I created this pretty little vignette on my farmhouse table, using a beautiful hand-painted ceramic egg to capture the spirit of Easter. The egg is one of my favorite thrift-store finds from the past couple of years – it actually came encased in a clear plastic dome (which I removed for this vignette) and a fair bit of provenance: the newspaper obituary, and a photograph, of the woman who painted it. Turns out she was a longtime painting instructor here in our area. I love the little chapel and the way she has framed it with flowers and embellishments.

Painted egg vignette | Vintage Floral Cottage

Painted egg vignette | Vintage Floral Cottage

 

And, I did manage to go on one short junking visit recently – I let Greg push me around the antique mall in a wheelchair. Don’t get me wrong, it was great to get out, but it sure made browsing a challenge. The pretty hand-painted bowl below was one of the treasures I found. I styled it with some floppy silk peonies, my great-aunt’s now-antique field guide of wildflowers, and a newer deep pink bit of glassware that picks up and intensifies the lovely color from the painted bowl.

Floral Bowl | Vintage Floral Cottage

So much of my decorating seems to be centered around styling vignettes… but I do have some truly room-changing ideas that I’m working on, and hope to be sharing them soon once I’m getting around a little easier. Meanwhile, I’m arranging pretties when I’m able and just taking time to enjoy some of the objects I’ve collected. And I’m hoping the weather changes soon!

 

Posted in Decorating | 4 Comments

Spring pastel tablescape for two

Spring has sprung! (And is there a more over-used phrase than “Spring has sprung”?? Probably not, but I don’t care – I’m so happy the bitter cold seems to be behind us…!)

Tulip Time | Vintage Floral Cottage

I went to Trader Joe’s recently specifically looking for bunches of tulips – and boy did I find them! I had to restrain myself… so many pretty colors! I bought three bunches of pink, and ended up with so many of them that the only vessel they would fit into was my cookie jar!  I also bought some Stock and another “filler” and cut those down to fit in my white ironstone soup tureen. I can’t help it if I was in the mood for large containers full of Spring flowers!

Tureen of flowers | Vintage Floral Cottage

All of this loveliness seemed to call for a tablescape as well, so I pulled some Spring pastels from the cupboard and set a pretty table for two, with my tulips as the show-stoppers!

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Back in my earliest days of collecting dishes (we’re talking early 1990’s… long before I knew anything about Haviland, or Limoges, or English transferware), my favorite style to mix and match was what I call “chunky pottery” – lots of solid colors and sculpted patterns, more ironstone than bone china. This table is kind of a revisit to that time period, and along with the tulips was inspired by these sweet little thrift-store finds… which were quite simply too cute to pass up!

Spring Plates | Vintage Floral Cottage

The table starts with one of my other long-time passions – vintage tablecloths from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. I just love the designs on these, and this one had the perfect pastel shades for my Spring table! It’s placed at an angle because it’s too small to cover my 3×5 foot table!

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

The place settings are very simple – a pink “chunky pottery”-style dinner plate with sculpted bunny-and-butterfly-themed pattern, which, unbelievably to me, are not marked with a brand name. Each one is topped with one of the cute Spring-themed dessert plates, which are by Tag.

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Blue and yellow checked napkins carry through the casual feel of the table.

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

And the flatware is my vintage “Chandelier” by Oneida.

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Tumblers are Whitehall by Indiana Glass –

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

The tulips really took center-stage, but I did also create a small centerpiece using this sweet blue rabbit, nesting in a pretty bone china plate surrounded by a little beaded candle ring.

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Also on the table are these sweet ceramic leaves – I think these are possibly for writing seat assignments, but I don’t know what you’d write with that could be easily removed later. So for me they are just decorative and speak to the Spring theme!

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

I loved how all these elements looked so sweet with my “storybook chairs” that I painted last year.

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

Here are the elements of the table waiting to be put away –

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

… one more shot of those amazing pink tulips…

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

And an image for you to Pin if you’d like, for future ideas!

Pastel Spring Table | Vintage Floral Cottage

 

I hope “Spring has sprung” for you, too! I’m sharing for Tablescape Thursday over at Between Naps on the Porch!

 

 

 

Posted in Dishes, Tablescapes | 10 Comments