A Little Vintage Styling

Throughout time, women have loved their handbags, and I’m no exception. I cannot walk through Nordstrom without taking a quick peek at the latest arrivals, and always beautiful classics…..you just never know.  I do the same thing in the shoe department, but today we’ll stick with purses.  My mom and I have always loved everything vintage, especially Victorian accessories.  We use them in our decorating, but also love bringing a touch of something old to our personal style. Years ago, while in a local antique store, I came across a lovely red beaded Victorian bag, the perfect accessory to a little black cocktail dress.

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That handbag was followed by more of the same era, as well as bags up through the fifties.  I loved that they were not mass produced, but rather beautifully constructed, each one unique, beautiful, and truly a work of art. So I decided to display them as such.

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I found a basic black frame in the clearance aisle at Michaels, which I hung on the wall in my powder room.  I then arranged my favorite vintage bags inside the frame.  Vintage collections can include necklaces, bracelets, pocket watches, eyeglasses,  etc…. The frame grounds the collection and makes it feel like a work of art.  You can have fun with the frames too.  There are loads of vintage frames out there that you can use as is, or you can give them a personal touch with a coat of paint.

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We all have that drawer, or box in the closet filled with grandma’s collections of jewelry and odds and ends.  Instead of keeping these treasures hidden away, why not give them new life by giving them a special place in your home? ~May

For more on displaying vintage pieces, check out this link.

http://fleamarket.about.com/od/decoratelikeapro/tp/10-Ways-To-Display-Vintage-Jewelry.htm

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Dog Days of Summer

For most of us, we’ve entered that kind of transition or shift from summer to autumn. Six months ago, we experienced a similar transition from winter to spring. Suddenly, my garden, which was spectacular just a few weeks ago, looks tired and overgrown. My once thick and green tomato plants, while still bearing fruit, are turning yellow and wilting. The birds have quieted down, and the bird houses are now empty with remnants of their carefully constructed nests peeking out of the entrance. I’ve noticed the squirrels rummaging in pots for bulbs, and yesterday I saw my first V formation of geese.  However the heat and humidity remind me that it’s not quite time to start thinking about pumpkins, taffy apples, and the sound of leaves crunching beneath my feet on morning walks.

Officially, the dog days of summer are the days between July 3 and August 11. However, for  many of us, the sultry temps of summer can last well into September. Interestingly, the dog days of summer have little to do with our furry companions, but rather refer to the dog star Sirius, which astronomers have recorded as a bright star that rises and sets with the sun, shining only during daylight hours. This occurs during the hottest part of the summer in July and the beginning of August. In Greek mythology, Sirius is the name of the dog of Orion, which gives the star its connection to man’s best friend.

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                                  Sawyer enjoying the dog days

Although I love the warm temperatures and long days of summer and hate to say goodbye, I remind myself that there is beauty in every season, and I allow myself to be carried by the gentle hands of time. So many of us are consumed with the structure and demands (school, work, the stress of the impending holiday season) of fall that we tend to overlook the extraordinary beauty of the fall season right outside our windows.

I hope you all enjoy these last weeks of summer.

~May

Flamingo Love

Family traditions.  There are all kinds.  They are those wonderful rituals that we pass down through generations that give our families a sense of connectedness.  A special bond that only family members can share, and the memories of those traditions last a lifetime.  I personally love the fun, silly traditions that always make us smile when we reminisce. For my family, it’s the plastic garden flamingo.

Before I share my story, I thought it would be fun to give you all a little history about the garden flamingo.  You know, the plastic (shall we say slightly tacky) lawn ornament that many Americans  love to put in their yards.  The garden flamingo was first designed by Don Featherstone in 1957.  The name Flamingo comes from the Latin word flame.  Flamingos are one of the most famous lawn ornaments next to the garden gnome, and there are more plastic flamingos in the United States than real ones.  The flamingo has become an icon of pop culture and can often be seen in restaurants, bars, and casinos from coast to coast.

My personal relationship with the garden flamingo began in the 1970’s after my grandparents moved from their suburban Park Ridge, Illinois home, to the seaside community of New Smyrna Beach, Florida.  On my family’s first visit, we all walked out into the yard and there they were, two strategically placed bright pink flamingos, basking in the sunshine next to the pool.  We couldn’t believe it, my grandparents had crossed over.  Back then, little did we know those original birds would become permanent fixtures in the newly landscaped backyard.  They would survive many storms, gale force winds, a hurricane, and of course the blistering Florida sun.  For years, every May my mom and I would travel down for a visit, always joking about whether or not our “friends” would still be residing poolside…..They were.  As time passed, my grandparents beloved flamingos began to show their age.  Their vibrant pink color fading and cracking, until they were almost white.  Their long skinny legs rusting in the harsh elements.  Unfortunately, the hands of time did not stop there.  Each year, my grandparents became more elderly and frail as well.  I lost both my grandparents in 2004, both dying within six months of each other.  So much is always lost when a loved one dies.   Our girls trip to Florida every year was such a wonderful time in our lives, and now there was no one there to visit.  As funny as it sounds, those silly flamingos were a large part of the laughter we shared there and we weren’t quite ready to let them go.  So…..we decided to keep the spirit of my grandparents and their flamingos alive by giving the gift that keeps on giving. It all began with a flamingo ornament at Christmas. (We both now have enough flamingo ornaments to decorate an entire Christmas tree!) We then tried to out do each other every year, buying something a little more outrageous.  Together, we have Flamingo Christmas decorations, cards,  nut crackers, tea towels, water colors, serving platters, coffee cups…etc.  You name it, we’ve found it. Here is just a sampling.

 

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You get the idea. However, last winter I found the mother of all Flamingos.  June and I were browsing a local vintage shop, The Lucky Junk Shop, when there before my eyes stood two vintage lawn flamingos.  They were very sturdy, made from cement and although they have definitely seen better days, they were beautiful.  The owner of the store found them in an old barn and unfortunately didn’t know their history.  It didn’t matter though, they were mine and thirty minutes later, they were in the back of my car making the journey to their new home.  I couldn’t wait to show my mom the new find.  Now, they reside in my back yard near my pool.  They are appropriately named Bob and Virginia after my grandparents, and the flamingo tradition continues.

What is your favorite silly family tradition?

~May

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20 Fun Facts about May (Pam)

1.  I’m a Chicago native.

2. I have one brother who is three years younger than me.

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3. I’m left handed.

4. I started ballet at age 5 and danced into college.

5. I took piano lessons as a child and wish I had stuck with it.

6. As a pre-teen I was a hospital volunteer.  I think back in the day we  were called candy stripers.

7. In high school I traveled to Paris, France with the French Club.

8. I know how to drive a stick shift car thanks to my dad and his Honda Accord

9. I’m a neat freak.  My family compares me to Monica from Friends.

10. I have a Labradoodle named Sawyer. We adopted him just before his fifth birthday, and can’t imagine life without him even though he always messes up all the pillows on the couch…but I’ll save that for a future post. 🙂

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11. I have two sons and two step-daughters and love our family.

12. My love of home design started with my mom and a doll house.

13. I’ve been a yoga teacher for 16 years.

14. I LOVE dark chocolate and eat it everyday.

15. I’m terrible with electronics/technology, ask anyone.

16. I’m a classic introvert.

17. I’m a huge fan of Downton Abbey and Walking Dead.

18. I still struggle with a dedicated meditation practice even though I preach it to my students often.

19. My husband is 5 years younger than me (six if you ask him).

20. I visit the library once a week, and always have my nose in a book.

Happy Monday. — May