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November 30, 2011

sneeze...cough...wheeze...hack...sniffle, sniffle

Image:  me hovering over the keyboard in Bob's old corduroy bathrobe, typing while wearing texting gloves (with the fingers cut out), a woolen scarf wound 'round my neck, surrounded by used tissues

Am I in the frigid Yukon?      No. 

Am I in the Windy City?        No. 

Just sitting here in sunny, Central Florida, suffering from

The Queen Mother of All Respiratory Infections

(cough, cough, hack)

Antibiotics:  check
Chicken Soup:  check
Hot tea with honey and whiskey:  yes, please!

Make no mistake about it - I am a coffee drinker.  Until I get sick.  Then I hightail it to the kitchen, grope around in the back of the pantry in search of tea bags, and make myself a cup of soothing, medicinal Earl Grey. 

A cup.  Never a mug.  Mugs are for coffee.

Like most things we rarely appreciate until we need them, tea cups and saucers are charming whether grouped in sets or placed throughout the house.  According to my grandmother China tea cups tell your visitors, "This is a refined household."  It's hard to act refined while you're coughing up a lung.

Remember Monday's posting of reclaimed attic space? 
Wouldn't these lights be charming for your own little
nest of comforts, tucked away in the rafters?

Sepia photograph of tea pickers, c. 1878
Sadly, they all look like children.

Chinese mythology credits the discovery of tea to Shen Nong in 2737 B.C.  Nong was a Chinese Emperor, a scholar, the 'Father of agriculture', and an early proponent of herbal medicine.  Ahead of his time, he required that all drinking water be boiled as a health precaution.  Shen Nong experimented with flavoring boiled water with local herbs and leaves and recorded the medical benefits of the wild tea tree.

  Apparently, I wasn't paying attention in
  5th grade World History and erroneously
  thought that the British introduced tea to
  the American Colonies.  By 1650, the
  Dutch were actively involved in trade
  throughout the Western world and are
  credited with bringing tea to New
  Amsterdam (later renamed New York). 
  At that time the small settlement was
                                             consuming more tea than all
                                             of England.

I don't remember ever browsing through a thrift store that
didn't have at least one abandoned tea pot for sale. 

Earlier this week CNN ran a story - a nasty rumor - stating that the price of coffee could rise drastically this winter due to droughts around the world.  I wonder, "Is this a scare tactic so that we won't complain about the rising prices of coffee beans?  Will the tea producers be impacted, also?"  I'm cynical when I'm sick.

Wish I were in merry ole England
having tea in one of these charming
tea rooms.

November 28, 2011

Cyber Shopping

After posting last Friday's entry I read that online shopping is expected to be up by 20% this year.  While I believe in supporting home town businesses, shopping online is amazingly easy and convenient.  Whether you shopped in cyber space or at the mall, hope you got some bargains.

As you all know, I'm a nut for economy, functionality, versatility, and efficient use of space.  Take a look at these ideas for one of the most over-looked areas in any home - the attic.

 Source:  Apartment Therapy

 Source:  Apartment Therapy

Source:  Bella Cosa

Attics are usually neglected, insulated spaces where you store Christmas ornaments, lamps that need to be rewired, boxes of outgrown baby clothes, and the dog's travel crate.  Not many of us are brave enough to tackle the job of turning that ill-used space into a charming studio, guest room, or an expanded closet but the results can be amazing.

Source:  Elle Decor

Source:  Eric Roth Interiors 

Source:  House of Turquoise

      Source:  Elle Decor

Source:  Style at Home

Source:  Vintage and Chic

For older homes with dated 8 ft ceilings, exposing the attic space can dramatically change the appearance of the house:

The difference between how a room would look with an 8 ft. ceiling vs. how it looks with the added height of the attic space is almost unbelievable.

 Source:  Decor Pad

This  vs.  this . . . . . . . .

Source:  Inspirational Interiors

Source:  Peacock Feathers

By removing the ceiling and exposing the rafters, the added height completely transforms the room.
Source:  The City Sage

As you've probably noticed, my postings have been less than regular lately.  With family spread across the country, I've been on the road a lot and don't always have access to high speed internet.  (I refuse to struggle with a dial-up connection - yes, Aunt Bess, I'm spoiled to my "new fangled, modern conveniences".) 

Seriously, after over 3 weeks on the road, I'm back home and will try to make a concerted effort to post daily.

November 25, 2011

Black Friday

 Doesn't it feel great to receive a gift that was purchased specifically for you?  What fun to receive an item that the gift giver knew you genuinely would cherish - a piece of 19th Century Johnson transferware, an old cigar box of wooden spools, or that elusive 1964 Bonanza lunchbox you've been searching for to add to your collection.

Giving vintage and antique items as gifts has so many benefits - the recipient is thrilled to receive something they collect, it shows that you searched for that special gift, and no one knows how much you spent!

Instead of driving around the mall or outlet center trying to find a parking space, consider shopping online at or on this holiday season.  You will find millions of antique and vintage items from which to choose whether you're looking for used or new merchandise.

You might even find something that will inspire the young, new collector!

November 24, 2011

As we begin the Holiday Season . . . .

Take a few moments during your busy Thanksgiving weekend to reflect on the fortunes we share - the freedom to gather with friends and loved ones, the ability to travel unimpeded across our wonderful country, and the right to express ourselves, just to name a few.

This year I'm so very thankful for the family lives that have begun and the one whose suffering has ended.  I sincerely hope that your Thanksgiving is filled with love, joy, and inspiration.

November 18, 2011

A history of thrifting

Wouldn't our great-grandparents be amazed at the luxuries that surround us today?  I remember my grandparents' farm house and the pot-belly stove that sat in the middle of their living room, providing heat for the entire house.   

My grandmother, Georgia Parkhill, was a remarkable woman who lived to be 97 years old.  Of Scottish descent, she believed in wringing 2 cents of worth out of every penny.  How could you raise 6 children during the Depression and not have the same belief?

Mamaw had a quote or Bible scripture for every situation.  One of my favorites:  "A woman can throw more money out the back door in a teaspoon than a man can bring in the front door in a wheel barrow."  She was the Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose Queen of Sand Mountain, Alabama, and today's repurposefullness is dedicated to her.

                                                  Source:  RefreshRestyle
Yes, that's a wine rack.  It was $6 at the Goodwill Store
and repurposed into a towel holder.  Not only economical
and space-saving, it's totally charming!

How adorable are these kennel crate end tables?!  Manufactured by Den Haus, a family owned Seattle-based company, you can access their amazing website at here . 

                             Source:  Roost
I've posted pictures of vintage work benches
before but this is one of my favorites.

                             Source:  Home Life
An antique door used as a transom - charming!

 Source:  WunderWeib
How many times have you tried to think of ways to recycle old desk or cabinet drawers?  The pastel treatment would make great shelving in a nursery.

                                Source:  Maison Reve
An antique fireplace mantle used as a
headboard - thrifty and romantic!

The darling idea of a teapot lamp was originally featured in Country Living.  Easy lamp conversion DIY videos can be viewed on YouTube.  This project would make an amazing Christmas gift.  Thrift stores and flea markets teem with vintage teapots, many under $5.      

So very fleaChic!

Source:  79Ideas

Repurposing doesn't have to involve a lot of imagination or work.  Simply using a vintage chair as a bedside table is not only economical but charming!

     Source:  The Vintage Wren
 Years ago old carpenters' tool carriers were easy to find but they're not quite as abundant today.  Go dig around in your father's garage and see if you can find one - they make excellent organizers.

Bob and I are packing our bags and heading back to North Alabama today for a family-filled week of Thanksgiving rejoicing.   It's been a long time since I've visited Mamaw's old farm house but I'm feeling some ancestral urgings to reconnect with my thrifty roots. 

Have a great weekend!

November 17, 2011

Decorating Moments

Do you know anyone who lives in a perfectly decorated home?  Is every room in their house ready for a House Beautiful photo shoot? 

I have a friend who lives in an elegant, 'completed',  professionally decorated home - from the gorgeous living room to the exquisite guest bath - and that's probably because she's a professional decorator!  Even she is constantly honing and refining her designs.

Source:  StepModo
It is my humble, totally unsubstantiated opinion that decorating is all about perfect moments, not perfect homes.  Brief glimpses of satisfaction where color, texture, structure, and balance come together in a display of Yes! That's the look I wanted!  

Join me in a beautiful tour of inspirational moments that say, "Yes!" 

Source:  Retro Harlequin, UK 

Source:  Simply Seductive

Source:  The City Sage 

Source:  I Don't Think Prada Is the Answer

Source:  Roost

Source:  Melissa Rufty Interiors

Source:  Mark Bolton Designs

 Source:  West Elm

Source:  Lucyiana Moodie

Source:  Flamingo Toes 

Source:  House Beautiful 

Source:  Scott Designs, NYC

Source:  Serena & Lily

Source:  Magnolia's

                                                                 Source:  Cream

Source:  Viva More

Source:  Atlanta Homes Magazine 

Source:  Kristen Buckingham Interiors

Did you notice the one thing that all of these incredible moments have in common?  They all have at least one vintage, antique, or retro piece of decor - a chair, table, lamp, picture, painting, or just a simple bowl.  

I hope you found inspiration in our tour and that you seek out treasures from the past and incorporate them into one of your moments.