Friday, April 29, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I see London, I see France - Vintage Maps!

Image Willow Bee Inspired

I love surprises! I recently received an invitation to go through a collector's paper ephemera collection of 15 years.  Oh the benefits of a shopkeeper who knows his customers!

Well, hello gorgeous, beautiful vintage maps.

Vintage Brooklyn Map from 1800s

Vintage Paris Map - Amazing colors!

Vintage London Map - Loving the gray and blue color combination

Oh the places these maps could go...

Image Elle Decor

Image Elle Decor

Image Source Unknown
Image Pottery Barn

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Finds No. 2 - Collars and Cuffs

Why not bring a little more story into our homes? Most times this can be accomplished by remembering to get things out of those closets and boxes; treasures we bring back from our special trips around the world, reviving a family heirloom, a gift from a friend who knows us so well or artwork that tickles our fancy. (See Finds No. 1 - Paper Obsessed Library post.)

But there are times we are drawn to objects that stir our curiosity in such a way that we have to bring them home and promise we will find the story behind them, while enjoying the mystery it creates.

I have two such curiosities. So I'm sharing these objects with you in hopes that someone can enlighten me as to their story.

Collars and Cuffs
Image Willow Bee Inspired

Feast your eyes on these gems! In all my vintage hunts I have never seen anything like this before. I would love to know more about these embossed boxes. What can you share on their history? Inside the Cuffs Box are heavily starched men's dress shirt cuffs and you can find a few heavily starched men's dress shirt collars in the larger round box. The interior is cleverly designed with a round piece coming up the middle which the cuffs and collars wrap around and stack on top of each other.

Finds No. 2 - Collars Box

Prior to finding these boxes I had swooned over the image below. Still swooning. What a presentation. Eye candy all wrapped up in a big bowl of yum.

Image Dan Marty Design
Anxious to see what my readers know about my collars and cuffs boxes! In the mean time, I'll just let them do what they do - tickle my fancy. Oh and did you catch my vintage dominoes in the fabulous monogrammed glass canister in the Willow Bee Inspired image above? Yup, more of those Inspired Finds!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

RSVP Collection No. 2 - Texas Caviar

This recipe is a fantastic dish for your upcoming Spring and Summer celebrations. So easy to make and your guests will really enjoy its fresh taste.

Texas Caviar

2 (14 1/2 oz.) cans black-eyed peas, drained
1 (15 1/2 oz.) can white hominy, drained
2 med. tomatoes, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 med. bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 (8 oz.) bottle Italian salad dressing*

*I use Wishbone Italian Robusto.

Combine all ingredients except Italian dressing; mix well. Pour salad dressing over mixture; cover and marinate at least 2 hours in refrigerator. Drain and serve with corn chips. Makes 7 cups.

Texas Caviar


Monday, April 25, 2011

Before and After - Mouldings, Paint, and Artwork Oh My!

I thought you might enjoy seeing the transformation of a recent client project I just finished. These wonderful clients were looking for a way to enhance their stairway area. The first step was changing the wall color from a noncommittal white to a warm modern gray. The carpeted stairway was given an update as well with a timeless gray on gray pattern.

BEFORE - Stairway prior to moulding installation.

BEFORE - Stairway landing area prior to moulding installation.

Knowing it just wasn't quite there yet, we addressed architectural enhancements. Deciding that picture and crown mouldings were the answer. The first step was taking accurate measurements for proper scale and layout of mouldings to be added. Then a CADD drawing was completed and the work began. The moulding was painted the same color as the existing wall color prior to installation and then touched up after nail holes were filled.

What a transformation!

AFTER - Stairway after transformation.

The additional botanticals were taken from the client's master suite as the changes made in that area of their home made the stairway a more appropriate place and the scale couldn't be more pleasing! More on the master suite updates in a later post.

AFTER - Landing area after moulding installation.

AFTER - Stairway after moulding installation.

AFTER - New patterned carpet on stairway.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Furnishings No. 1 - High Gloss Editions

I am infatuated with high gloss lacquer finishes on the unexpected furniture pieces! This infatuation came about when I was part of a fund-raising effort for Feel Your Boobies ( a breast cancer non-profit organization a few years ago. When working to come up with a raffle give-away during the fund-raising event, I decided to have some fun with a chair! An ordinary chair with its stained finish and oh so typical fabric selection.  (wish I would have taken a before pic, darn!)
     Front view of high gloss lacquer first love.

                                                   Back view of high gloss lacquer first love.

Oh the fun my chair and I had.  And so it began...

I'm calling this "The Perfect Perch"
Available through Willow Bee Inspired
E-mail inquiry of availability.

This lovely curvaceous petite chair was found on the third floor of an antique shop in all its tattered glory. The stained finish was worn and the surprise of horse-hair and webbing was found under the most hideous of fabrics. But its potential couldn't hide from me - I lugged this darling down those three flights of stairs! The seat cushion is completely new and a modern double welt treatment highlights its curves.

High gloss world traveler style.

We enhanced the classic lines of the console in the above photo with a high gloss mustard color.  The clients are world travelers and we love how their amazing travel collections are highlighted against this change. The newly reupholstered family heirloom chairs went from white to a stunning red pattern which plays well against the high gloss finish of the console.

My painter used to raise his eyebrows, but now I think he really gets a kick out of the delivery of my next project! What do I have in the works right now? My mission-style chair that was my parents' first new furniture purchase in the 1950s is getting a high gloss lacquer coat of "Polished Mahogany" (Sherwin Williams SW2828). Then off to the upholsterer it goes. Can't wait to show you the results!

If you would like to learn more about the Feel Your Boobies nonprofit breast cancer organization please visit their website at  Leigh is a remarkable lady and she would be happy to hear from you!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Quote of the Week No. 1 - Emerson

Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely and with too high 
a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, (attributed)
US essayist & poet (1803-1882)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

RSVP Collection No. 1 - Dinner is at Five!

My Mom was a collector of recipes. She'd hand copy a recipe from anywhere, clip them from magazines, and spy them in the newspaper. She also used the kitchen as her "laboratory". Always experimenting with ingredients and recipes for fun.  A few years ago I inherited her recipe collection with the promise to my sibilings that I would make sure they got copies. Thank goodness she also finally set down and wrote our favorites down - you know those ones where no measuring was required - it was all from memory!

Mom bringing home baby No. 6
Yes, No. 6 of 9!

My how time flies! Oh I could have photocopied them, but her legacy deserves more then that. Well I finally found my solution. Let me introduce you to This website allows you to design your own book, insert your own text and photographs, and publish your book. I used this website to publish a  book for a client's large project and loved how it turned out so I knew this was the way to honor my Mom's collection.

Mom's Recipe Collection/Dinner is at Five! turned out to be 145 pages long but what a fantastic gift for all my sibilings this coming Christmas!  Oh, and if you are interested in purchasing a copy for $45, plus $4.99 shipping, just e-mail me!

Finds No. 1 - Paper Obsessed Library

1940's Horse Drawing Instructions Lithographs Limited Edition

"Your library is your portrait" Holbrook Jackson. Isn't it amazing how five simple words can be so profound! I want to share some of the Paper Obsessed Library at Willow Bee Inspired. The library of vintage lithographs, etchings, and other ephemera. In other words, some really cool artwork!

Original Lettering Lithograph Plates - Limited Edition

This library (obsession) was born of my desire to add artwork to my home that has a story and adds individuality and in some cases a bit of quirky to my surroundings. I want artwork in my home to be unique, make me smile, wonder, take me places, spark conversation, be a reward from the "hunt".
Manolo Blahnik Lithographs Limited Editions

I will confess that I don't always have the true story behind each piece and sometimes the mystery is what makes it mine to define.

                                                          Phrenology Head Ephemera

The Paper Obsessed Library contains many stories ready to be expressed in your home as well. If you are looking for something unique, contact me. If you are not sure what you are looking for just tell me a little bit about your space and, even better, send photographs and I'll help put a story on your walls as well.

The library contains European maps from as early as 1875 (even 3' long one from 1934 London!), spectacular bird lithographs from 1890, vintage French watch and perfume ads, butterfly plates from 1898, vintage menswear fashion sketches, Manolo Blahnik design lithograph reprints, vintage paper from an architect's library, and so much more.
 Framing is carefully selected to compliment and enhance each piece making them one of a kind. On rare occasion we find duplicates or a series. I think the pieces can work individually or in a gallery presentation.

                                                    Charlotte Moss Kips Bay Showhouse 2009
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