Another day, another bouquet!

Or two…I’ve had a lingering bug all week and now it looks like my husband caught it, too. Today has been about loafing, orange juice, and taking care of each other. On a grocery store run for some medicine, I scooped up some carnations.  Bouquets are part of taking care of each other in my opinion!

DFBC12A4-7D60-4B94-8E84-08F362484C9A

The one above features peachy-orange carnations and additional filler clipped from our garden: ornamental grass, lemon balm, mint, and lavender.  I popped it in a groovy art vase that I picked up from a junk shop on a visit to Yellow Springs, Ohio. It’s so aromatic!

2433AD57-F25F-469E-8C64-273105870AF1

My second bouquet is a tight cluster of carnations in a vintage Haeger vase. This one is going on my bedside table. Pretty, pretty, pretty.

Flowers are part of my self-care routine. How do you pamper yourself when you’re feeling icky?

Advertisements

November Flowers

The past week was wet and cold. Today was lovely: it started off brisk and mellowed to comfortably cool.  Golden light even fought through stacks of grey clouds at a few points. After enjoying brunch with a treasured friend, I enjoyed a day of relaxed puttering around the house.

Gathering up the last blossoms that hung in through our first frosty nights was high on my lazy-day agenda. I was able to create a few bouquets from the autumn stragglers. Aren’t they pretty?

51C09D79-2034-4551-A42D-9F413E1513DD

Hydrangeas in a Patch NYC faux bois mug

8822370B-CCB8-47C1-9F42-C626A0B250B1

Lavender, Black-Eyed Susans, Chrysanthemums, a lone Batchelor’s Button, and some grass seed-heads in an empty olive oil bottle.

71490FC9-DE2D-4373-A442-A565694749B2

Knock Out roses, Black-Eyed Susans, and a sprig from one of our beauty berry bushes in an empty spice jar.

This last picture showcases a little bit of a larger DIY home improvement project my husband and I have been working on the past few months. We installed a new hardwood floor in the kitchen (much needed— the old floor was junky peel-and-stick vinyl tile on a thin subfloor which we discovered during our demo had been layered over, get this, manky stained indoor-outdoor carpet. Gick.). We found salvaged trim for the doors and baseboards to match the trim in the older part of our house and installed it in the kitchen. You can also see a salvaged door we found, painted black, and installed on the pantry’s entrance. How thrilling that it fit so beautifully!

We found the trim and door at Columbus Architectural Salvage (http://columbusarchitecturalsalvage.com/index.php). It’s a great store to poke around in, it’s large and packed with interesting finds. New trim from big box hardware stores just didn’t compare with period trim. The new seemed so dinky compared to the older stuff. It was a little bit pricier getting salvage instead buying new, but worth every cent. Plus it’s nice to reuse whenever possible.

We repainted the kitchen, taking it from a creamsicle orange misstep to a fleshy sort of coral pink that was inspired by the sunset in a National Parks poster that hangs in the kitchen. We were initially only planning to do an accent wall in the pink, but once it was up we liked it so much we decided to use it for the entire room. I’m pleased we did. It’s a ridiculously flattering hue. It also visually warms up a room that receives precious little natural light and isn’t too pastel or too hot. The last big thing to do in the kitchen will be replacing the sink’s laminate countertop, can’t wait to find the right replacement.

Happy November!

Continue reading

Tricolor Bouquet

image

For this week’s bouquet, my husband picked up 3 bunches of Alstroemeria flowers for me. Also known as Peruvian Lillies, these inexpensive, long-lasting blooms are easy to find and come in a variety of colors. I love their easy-going charm. At first I considered distributing them, a stem or two each, into a bunch of different bottles, but then I got taken with the idea of massing them together in an ombré fashion. The size of the gesture appealed to me. The bouquet turned out looking more like stripes than ombré, but I still dig it.

image

The vase was a vintage freebie from my in-laws when they were weeding their basement. The groovy harvest gold takes me way back- and works well with the colors in our living room!

Cheese Dish Cover or Lampshade?

This weekend, my husband and I stumbled across one of those perfect garage sales:  the kind with oodles of stuff to poke through, where the sellers had similar tastes to ours, where the prices were reasonable, and where the sellers were ready and willing to bargain on top of all of that. So good! We made out like bandits, and we enjoyed chatting with some folks who were clearly kindred spirits.

One of my favorite finds? Check this brassy beauty out:

007

Originally, I’m guessing this served to cover a font of holy water in a church. The lady selling it had mentioned which church it came from but that information has already slipped my mind. Alzheimer’s, here I come! At any rate, seeing as we’re a bit short on holy water in our home, I was planning to put this to a more mundane use instead.

Using it as a food cover leaps out as an obvious option. I have one of those charming old woven ones, and what with all the bugs, it is a crucial accoutrement when eating outside. This could serve the same function. The cross serves as a great handle, plus there’s the added bonus of it being so heavy that the wind wouldn’t dislodge it. On the downside, no one would be able to see the food it was covering, but that doesn’t seem insurmountable. Maybe with some sort of pinterest-y tag hanging from it, or a sign propped up next to it?

Another option would be to turn it into a lampshade. That might take some engineering because of its weight, but I think the end result could be quite lovely. I may even have a lamp that would work, possibly, but I’ll need to rewire it. Rewiring lamps is going to need to be a skill I pick up soon.

Something to think on, at any rate!

Our “New” Little Black Corvette

1961 Schwinn 5-Speed Corvette 006

1961 Schwinn 5-Speed Corvette

No, we did not get a new car, and my apologies to Prince. Frankly, what we did get is something that I think is almost better: through a friend-of-a-friend, my husband was able to pick up an amazing, new-to-us 1961 Schwinn 5-speed Corvette bicycle. Isn’t it lovely? The design is quite beautiful and apparently these bikes are rather hard to find. They were only manufactured for 18 months!

The details just get me:

1961 Schwinn 5-Speed Corvette 014

rear reflector

1961 Schwinn 5-Speed Corvette 012

starburst logo, graphic black and white brake lines

Beautifully made, plus the overall feel is pretty cushy. Yes, it is a bit heavy compared to modern bikes, but once you get going it’s a smooth and comfy ride.

The bike came from a fairly serious collector who was unloading some fascinating items from his varied collections. My husband was able to scoop up a few other great things, more to come on those shortly. Hopefully just more to come in general! This summer has been very busy. I had to make a choice: play or blog? Playing won. Lots of bike riding and kayaking when not working like the proverbial dog. Now I want to work on getting back posting more regularly!

Homemade Basil-Infused Lemonade

005Summer is on the way! My husband was inspired to make some fresh lemonade today. He used this recipe as his taking-off point: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_lemonade/. He followed the suggestion to use the lower amount of sugar listed in the recipe and he added one lime. Then he muddled about 8 leaves of holy basil, a variety of basil from India (Ocimum tenuiflorum, also known as tulsi or tulasi) from our garden and added that to the lemon/lime juice. After chilling the completed mix in the fridge for a little bit, it was ready to drink.

Having a profound sweet tooth, I was a little sceptical about how lemonade would taste when made with less sugar, even though I liked the idea of cutting it. My verdict? Didn’t miss it at all. I would actually like to try cutting the amount of sugar down even more next time. Adding the basil really helped, I think. It was subtle, but it cut the tartness of the lemon in a nice way– it smoothed things out just a little.

003My husband used this nifty little vintage Juice-O-Mat of ours to juice the citrus. We picked it up somewhere along the way several years ago, either at an auction or perhaps at a garage sale. Frankly, we got it primarily for its good looks –and because it was a deal. It sat on a shelf for quite some– until today. I’m happy to say that beauty runs bone-deep for our little Juice-O-Mat. Not only is it good-looking, it is also well-designed. It was so easy to use! (Although this was my husband’s project, I did assist with harvesting the lemon juice.) No strain at all and it was very efficient at squeezing every last drop out of the lemons and limes. Now that we’ve given it a try, I suspect that we’ll be using it quite a lot from here forward. Nothing tastes as good as fresh does. Plus, I really value being able to control how much sugar is in my drink.004Next time we’re thinking it would be fun to muddle some fresh mint in place of the holy basil. Can’t wait to try it. Until then? Cheers!

Meet Bernard Blanc

Bernard 017The moment I saw the Craigslist posting last night, I was lost.  It read:

Antique Polar Bear Lawn Decoration  This was a gift from a neighbor who was moving to a tropical climate in which he would not fit her new decor! She fell in love with him in a French ice cream shop over 30 years ago and had him shipped to the States. He has moved with her throughout the mid-west since. When she moved she left him with us. He would be great in a restaurant, ice-cream shop or as a school mascot. He is aprox. 4′ tall and heavy!  A two person move for sure!  Cash only please.

There was a lopsided picture of the bear, sitting forlornly outside, dead leaves gathered at his paws. He was a little dirty, and one of his bottom paws was mutilated, but he was special and I just needed to make him mine. The asking price of $50 seemed completely reasonable to me. But I would need help retrieving him, and my husband maybe should have a say in such a matter. So I showed him the listing. Absent-mindedly (he was watching a baseball game at the time) he said, sure, okay. Good enough!  I contacted the owners immediately. They said the bear was still available and that we could pick him up either Saturday or Sunday.

In the cold light of morning, my husband was dismayed. Dismayed that I hadn’t bargained when I contacted the owners, hadn’t even tried. He wasn’t saying no, mind you, but I knew it would bug him eternally if we paid the full asking price.  I emailed the owner once again, explaining that my husband was needing a bit of convincing and that a price drop would probably seal the deal.  Would she take $40? She would! My husband was satisfied and so off we went.

Bernard 035I am ridiculously pleased.  I don’t, however, plan on using him as a garden decoration.  He’s now an indoor bear. My polar bear is ceramic, quite heavy, and very handsome.  And, according to stamps on his insides on the bottom, he really is French.  One, in English, read, “Made in France” while a second one read “Produit de Normandie” or something along those lines?  I don’t speak French and he’s so heavy that I just don’t feel like lifting him again right now to confirm, so that’s probably not spelled correctly or is grammatically displeasing or somehow incorrect.  (It’s really a 3 person job to move the bear, except that he is such an awkward shape.) Nevertheless, with that inscription, we even know what region of France he’s from!

I can’t help wondering how old he is.  I’m thinking kind of old.  Supposedly, he was shipped here 30 years ago, and I suspect he wouldn’t have been new then. And making a bear of his size out of ceramic seems costly —that’s a lot of clay, and you’d lose so many in the kiln while firing, I’d think.  And he’s pretty detailed.  An ice cream shop would find cement or fiberglass a more cost-effective way to make an advertising figure like this, no? So maybe he was made before the fiberglass technology got refined? Or maybe that’s just a very American material and the French are still popping out giant ceramic advertising figures to this day? I’d love to know more.

He strikes me as a boy bear, so I thought “Bernard Blanc” nodded suitably to both his bear-ness and his French heritage.  However, apparently the owner’s children had been calling him Aurora. In a weird coincidence, we’re supposed to have a great shot at seeing the Northern Lights in our area tonight.  So maybe the bear is a she and I should call her Ursula Borealis? Aurora Bearealis? Decisions, decisions…

Bernard 002Luckily, the pups seem mostly to be ignoring the bear. One of our cats is pretty fascinated and seems to want to climb him. I’ll take it.