Sunday, January 30, 2011

Taffeta and toile apron...

I have been planning on making some cute aprons forever, but somewhere between kid's homework, a music ministry, and laundry, I got behind. Yesterday's beautiful sunny weather gave me a burst of energy and I spent Saturday making 40 cloth napkins, 8 placemats, a double table runner, and finishing the apron I started last summer. Ok, so I went a little overboard with the apron! Let me say I love sewing! I do have some background in clothing and costume design as my multi-talented mom was also a clothing designer for a while. Her label, Anita Carole, was geared mostly to high-end clients who would have her do an entire wardrobe. I worked some for her, but also did around 30 Elizabethan costumes for Madrigal dinners plus lots of evening gowns and everyday wear. Unfortunately, I just don't have a lot of time to do it these days.

About the apron...I prewashed the fabric, as always to allow for any shrinkage. I cut a top and bottom out of the toile--no pattern, I just went by my measurements. I doubled the taffeta and gathered a strip for the bottom ruffle, and a smaller one for the neckline. The top is lined as is the band around the middle which also forms the tie at the back.  
My 11-year-old was the photographer, so I think I'm looking a little blurry, but you get the idea! 

My husband said it reminded him of "I Love Lucy" so I'm heading in the right direction! I always love her aprons!  

Now...just a peak at the fabrics for the other things I finished...maybe something Ralph Lauren-inspired??

...something pink 

You'll have to come back and see! I'm linking up for the first time to Masterpiece Monday at Boogieboard Cottage so please go by there and say hi!!

Thanks for stopping by!!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Embracing snow with a snowman table!

I'm sharing a very simple table for families with kids of all sizes!  I started with some very inexpensive snowman plates I bought at the Dollar Store for $1 each several years ago.

I used round woven placemats to bring out the red in the plates and Mikasa "Italian Countryside" flatware. Again, I used the Fostoria "Argus" glasses. 

I made the paisley napkins from fabric. They wash very well and have the same design on both sides, which is always a prerequisite for napkin fabric. If you have a serger machine you can make this simple kind of napkin even if you cannot sew at all. The machine cuts the fabric, then rolls the edge under as it stitches. 

I really wanted to keep the oil lamp from last week because I have enjoyed having it on the table. I changed the runner out for this hand-crocheted doily my late grandmother made for me. 

She did very fine work and this is one of my favorites. I'll share a shamrock pattern runner she made for me on St. Patrick's Day. 

I thought I would show the lamp without all the greenery around it. If you saw it last week, you remember that it is over 100 years old and the aladdin-style with a round wick. 

a closeup of the detail on the bottom...

and now lit for the blue hour...

I love how these paisley napkins pick up all the colors on the table and in the plates. 

This is a very typical table setting we use for everyday meals. Very simple, but it still makes my family feel appreciated and special. 

Take the time to enjoy mealtime together with your family! You will find out more from your kids right here than you will anywhere!

Thanks so much for stopping by! 

I'll be joining Susan's Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch, so be sure to stop by there and say hi.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Reclaimed wood + wrought iron = a new table!

When I started to put up the Christmas tree, I had to rearrange the furniture in the living room. Once I did that, I needed an end table. Failing to find a free one at my mother's house, I started thinking about what I could do. Then it hit me...

I had this iron outdoor table on the porch! So I told my husband I thought it would be a great idea to make a wood top for that and bring it inside. Now, we have tons of junk reclaimed wood around here to choose from. My father had brought home a wooden crate that had been used to ship something somewhere. 

So Luis cut two pieces, then made some biscuits (the wood kind) and used his jointer to join them. Then, he used his router on some more junk wood to create the trim. 

We attached the top to the iron with washers and screws, which can be removed if I ever want to use just the iron again. 

I am not a furniture painter. I much prefer stripping off old paint then staining and finishing. After sanding the bare wood, I stained with a water-based Minwax Vermont Maple. Then, after sanding again, I rubbed an oil -based Minwax Dark Walnut. I sanded that just to give it some character then finished with several coats of Minwax Polycrylic. 
Now, I have always heard that you cannot mix oil and water so to speak. However, the instructions on both the oil and the water-based products, said it was ok. Obviously, they have to be dry. Just follow the instructions on whatever stain or protective coat you use, and you'll be fine. I used polyurethane because I wanted a durable water-based finish that will stand up to kids leaving cups, etc. 

What I love is how the finish really coordinates with the walnut sideboard and other furniture I have in this room.

I also love that it's rustic, but fits right in with my antique furniture. But the best part is that it was basically free and we made it with what we had! 

This project sent me in search of more iron I could use for tables, and I found something at the Salvation Army thrift store for $15 that is my next project...just a peak.

Now I'm off to look for some more wood before it gets thrown away! 

I'll be linking up for the first time to Kim's Boring to Better party at Savvy Southern Style, so go be there and say hi! 

And, I'll also be linking up to Courtney's Feathered Nest Friday over at French Country Cottage, so go by there too!

Thanks for stopping by!! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Friendly Village

Hello everyone! We are snug and cozy inside with Johnson Brothers "Friendly Village" while the weather outside is still frightful!

We will dine by the light of an antique oil lamp, but first, let's look at the table in the beautiful winter sunlight.

This is Johnson Brothers "Friendly Village" introduced in 1952. Although it is still being made today, these are the oldest. I borrowed them from my mother who has an extensive collection of old and new and tons of serving pieces. These are in mint condition and had never been used, until the first breakfast I served:-) Oops. 

I always use the little salt and pepper shakers because it makes it so much easier. I do not like "passing" things at the table especially with children, so I either serve, or set up the food on the breakfast bar so everyone can serve themselves. That way you can always keep your centerpiece on the table too. 

I chose to mix in some of the "spring" plates because I just love the colors...

Because I wanted to keep it cool, I used my April Cornell "Poet Jacquard" napkin in forest green and vintage green Fostoria "Argus" glassware. The napkin rings are from Walmart.

I again used the silver chargers to go along with the oil lamp...

The runner is the same one I used through Christmas.

The flatware is vintage "Lasting Rose" by Oneida. I wanted something flowery to go with the china.

I really wanted to use this lamp, and thought it was perfect with the old-fashioned scenes on the plates. It is over 100 years old and belonged to my great grandfather. It's not your typical oil lamp, but is an aladdin style which means the wick is round. It provides a lot more light.

There is nothing like the "blue hour" in winter with snow on the ground...

You will notice I used a lot of my usual things but with some borrowed china and different accessories, it totally changes the mood.  Next week I'll be combining the oil lamp with snowmen and hand-crocheted pieces. I figured I might as well embrace the now:-) There are no weeds to pull and no bugs. That will come soon enough! 

I'll be joining Susan at "Between Naps on the Porch" for "Tablescape Thursday" so be sure to stop by there.

Thank so much for stopping by and remember to take the time to sit down at the table with your family. These are the times you and your children will treasure:-)


Monday, January 17, 2011

Warming up Winter...

The first weeks of winter can seem like a let down after all the decorations from Christmas are put away. I find that I really miss the cozy warmth of Christmas decor. Since spring is a long way off, I like to keep accessories around that have a winter feel, but keep the coziness of Christmas.  I always let nature guide my decorating choices inside. As you can see, we have lots of snow that is going nowhere!

I have always used arrangements of fresh greenery during winter. Several years ago, I found some beautiful faux arrangements with berries and greenery at a local nursery/decor shop. They are so nice to have around without worrying about watering, shedding, etc. 

This one actually came in a different container, but I chose to bring in some blue and white to tame all the red.

This Persian rug brings in a lot of color, pattern and warmth. There is nothing like a thick wool rug under your feet! I bought this one to replace my Turkish rug, which was large enough but limited the ways I could arrange furniture. If there is one rule of decorating that is a pet peeve for me, it's having an area rug the correct size. At least the front feet of your furniture should fit on the rug. The rug should not "float."

During the winter, I love having candles lit no matter what time of day it is...

An antique trunk of my grandmother's will go between these two chairs as soon as I can get it painted. This is a difficult space to arrange furniture because it's long and narrow. Plus the grand piano takes up a lot of space. I have had the couch against the windows but I really don't like to block the view with something so large. 

Because I teach voice students here, I have to keep the area around the piano clear, which again limits my options. 

It can be hard to warm up a room without a fireplace, but cozy throws, warm colors, and accessories can go a long way. Someday, after an addition, this will be our dining room, but for now it's a cozy place to spend time with family, and that's what it's all about.

Thanks so much for stopping by:-) Please stop back by Wednesday for a wintry tablescape with vintage Johnson Brothers "Friendly Village."

I'll be linking up to Marty's "Tabletop Tuesday" so be sure to stop by there!