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Monday, November 28, 2011

They Started It

       Here's hoping everyone had a nice family oriented Thanksgiving!! Now, onto decking the halls!!

I've always been a very visual person..........if I see something that calms me or brings me pleasure just looking at it, I'm very likely to copycat the same look in my home.  A decorator I am not, and that's probably another reason why certain images stay with me.  Case in point: Some years ago (9? it's been awhile), the December issue of Country Living Magazine did an article on a farmhouse in New York State.  It was done up in a simple holiday style, very homey and comfy.  What I really noticed and immediately fell for was a picture of a cupboard with a collection of Red Transfer ware china............boy, did I's the picture:

It looked amazing to me in the cupboard, and I had to find out more about it.  The article said it was called "Home Sweet Home" An American Subject from Currier and Ives by Homer Laughlin.  I went straight to work..........and back then it meant I went to ebay

This beautiful china was full of different scenes based on the well known prints of Currier and Ives, that fabulous collection that was so popular around the turn of the century.  Some of the different pieces included

                                                   Georgia Washington on the teapot

                                                             Old Homesteads...........

                                                       Some fabulous farming scenes



                                                         Clipper ships and paddle boats


                             Patriotic- That's Ben Franklin flying his kite on the sugar bowl

                            Well known locations, this one is called "Harper's Ferry Virginia",
                            there's bread plates showing the Hudson River and the Paddle Boat
                                                berry dish is called "On the Mississippi"

                                      a beautiful action scene of riders on the hunt..........

                            (the horse lover in me is particularly fond of that one :)

                      And just pretty pastoral scenes of what America probably looked like over 100 years ago. Little by little I started collecting.........a plate here, a cup and saucer there............and just loving every piece for not only looking so pretty as red and white transfer ware always does, but for having those little pictures on them.  Here's some of the detail

                                          and a demitasse cup and saucer ............

                          Some of you may remember when I moved out the sideboard earlier this fall and moved an old pine hutch in the dining room. This opened up some serious display opportunities!!  I was envisioning those red plates at Christmastime in the cupboard, just waiting to get them out of their current storage place in the side cabinet

    After everything was cleaned up Thursday evening, I moved into the dining room and got to work.......

I picked up some cypress boughs that I bought at the nursery when we bought the tree, sprayed them with a preservative, and tucked them in-between the china

                                                 added some sparkly touches too

                   It's been a long time since I first saw that picture in Country Living,
                                the one that started a whole new collection for me.....
                  had never really looked at transfer ware before I saw that photo.  And
                             now that I have a set for 8, it really makes it so much more
                               enjoyable to be able to display it like this at Christmastime..........

It's still under construction, needs more greens and I plan to put my weather vane horse on top.  Only thing was, when I pulled all that china out of the cabinent, it looked really really sad and empty!  Never fear, i just threw in everything else that was lying around needing a place, until I can tackle another display!!

                          more on that next time! Enjoy your day and come see me again!!

                                                                          devon :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Handmade Ivory Throw

Around this time of year, when the weather turns and starts to cool off, I take out some of the throws I keep in storage to use as chill chasers.  Of course, they also are decorating accents, but I give credit where credit is due and there is nothing nicer then a wool or cotton blanket to cozy under while watching T.V. or reading on the couch.  One of my favorites has a little story behind it worth telling, a true lesson in generosity and unselfishness.

Every year in the fall our church organizes an event that includes an item donated by someone in the congregation.  For the cost of a raffle ticket you can buy as many as you want and take a chance at being the winner.  A couple of years ago a woman in our church was giving one of her handmade throws as the raffle item.  My heart rate went up the day I saw the blanket that she made- an absolutely gorgeous, heavy cable knit throw...............

I told my husband to buy me raffle tickets towards the throw as a chance for a wonderful Christmas present.  He did, and I didn't mention to him that I threw in a few more bucks on my own.  I wasn't sure how popular the raffle was going to be, or how many white-throw fanatics were in our small church.  All I know is that I thought I bought a good amount of tickets that year in hopes of not only helping the church but maybe increasing my odds...........

Well, do you know when that drawing was held a few weeks later that there was someone else in the church that wanted the throw as much as I did, and he, an elderly gentleman, bought even more raffle tickets than me!!

I told Janet, who made this beautiful piece, how sorry I was that I didn't win it, because I loved it so much.  She said she was really surprised this other person tried so hard to get this one because he won the one she made for the raffle LAST YEAR, that he wanted a matching one for his other twin bed!

Yes, I am a Christian, but I don't have to tell you that I got a little, er, upset when I heard that, after all he already had won a similar one the year before!  Well, Janet was such a sweetheart, she told me if I wanted to buy the materials for her she would make me one for myself.  She does these blankets in the cold months to keep her hands busy...........and keep her legs warm when she and her husband take drives to visit their daughters in other states.  She said she makes about one or two a year, and that it's gotten to where now her daughters tell her they don't need her to make any more for them.  She was very gracious, asking me what color and what kind of pattern I liked.  I was so excited that she was willing to do this, I told her to just do one like the throw she did for the church raffle............or anything similar.

about two months later I was cleaning up the church kitchen after services when Janet and her husband walked in with a large bag.  Inside was my throw that she had done just for me, in all it's popcorn glory and loveliness...........

It sounds silly but I literally started to cry a little, I was truly overcome.  I knew casually that she had said she was making one for me, but until I actually saw it and held it and felt it, I hadn't really expected to feel so emotional when it was given to me

And do you know that this wonderful woman wouldn't let me pay her for her treasure...........when I pressed her to let me do something she just told me to give a little something for it to the church and that would make her happy..................

It's been a couple of years now since I've had my blanket;  Every fall I bring it out and when I do I'm reminded of how generous and unselfish people can be, and I am always touched by her gift to me.  I have a blue and white quilt that my mother made for me a long time ago, and when I touch this I get the same feelings as I do with the quilt.  I know I am fortunate to have another beautiful heirloom with a story to pass down in my family, and in the meantime a VERY cozy and beautiful handmade throw!!

          Thank you all for stopping by the blog.............wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!!

                                                                         devon :)