I decided recently to have a play date with my dining room. I think of it as my "puttering meditation." It's fun to experiment with linens and dishes and glassware to create what I see other bloggers calling a "tablescape." (So many "new" words these days!)
If I named this tablescape, I guess I'd call it "french country meets retro american" ...that's an old French wire market basket in the center, filled as if the hostess had just returned from Market Day mixed with vintage and new Fiestaware pottery. I paired the fiesta with 1960's blue pressed glass goblets (a hand me down from my mom that she will likely now threaten to take back!) and linens with a polka dot and spiral motif. The place mats are more traditional and the napkins are a bit more modern. Sometimes the mix works and sometimes it doesn't. I try mixing things up until I like what I see. This mix is special to me...I think because my attraction to the two styles, retro american and french country both represent different periods of my life. I love this integration of the two.
I tried replacing the market basket with an old galvanized metal scoop or dipper. I also swapped the place mats and pottery out. I love how the scoop looks as a centerpiece filled with lemons!
The scoop is listed on ebay but I kind of hope it doesn't sell. (Update: It sold!)
Next I tried a black and white theme featuring an old European enamel flour bin filled with a topiary as a centerpiece...
Here's the flour bin filled with lemons, accompanied by Michael's grandmother's chicken salt and pepper shakers. Got them for my birthday last year! Love them. I think this tablescape needed a bit more work though...maybe a burlap feedsack runner?
This was a spring table I put together for Easter. I use the same things over and over...just changing a few elements...that really is necessary when you are a cottage dweller. Space is at a premium so things must be able to be used in many different ways. Sometimes my life feels the same...time is at a premium so the ways I choose to spend it really need to do double or even triple duty!
I did not expect those napkins to go with the paisley place mats but when I tried them together, I liked the combo. Sometimes my life is like this...I don't expect elements to go together but unexpectedly, they do! When I am playing with my creativity, it is helpful to have "beginner's mind" instead of "expert mind." I never know if something will work until I try.
I've read that if you desire to foster creative impulses, it is important to allow yourself time to play. Often, when we attempt to be creative, we put a tremendous amount of pressure on ourselves because we are focused on the outcome. It is important, if your goal is to foster creativity, to allow yourself "play time" with no attachment to outcome...like a child.
When is the last time you had a play date with yourself? You might consider treating yourself to a trip to your junk store or art supply store soon....or just stay home and play with the toys you already have.
All work and no play....
You might be surprised how restorative a play date with yourself can be. I always am.
peace and all good,
With my vision impaired, I have not been getting out of the house much at all. I was getting a little stir crazy so I emailed a friend and suggested a "lunch and junk" outing. She took me up on my offer which was nice because she had to do all the work! She's such a good sport. Once, she rode in my van with her head stuck through a hole in an old screen door I bought for $1. That was the only way we could get home. That's a good, good friend!
We had so much fun! Driving around the countryside of Central Ky on a pretty day was a pleasure indeed and when we landed at a genuine estate sale, I was delighted to find a few things I just could not live without. Here's a photo of my haul, right after we unloaded her truck:
I was particularly captivated by this pair of 1960's paint by number paintings in faux bamboo frames. I debated and debated...are they cool? or tacky? cool? tacky? I really don't care for parrots...I don't think....but I LOVED the colors and really liked the bamboo and exotic flowers. And whoever painted these, from a dime store kit, did a really great job!
When I bought the three dozen or so canning jars, the nice man threw in the unusual square galvanized tub. These jars give me a good start on next year's pickles and jam.
My friend spotted the vintage Minolta camera and steered me towards it. I have a thing for vintage cameras and telephones. I find them irresistible. Maybe because they both facilitate communication? Maybe I wanted the camera because it looked like the one I coveted for years...the one my dad toted over his shoulder in the seventies...not sure...I imagine that's a question I could tackle in my journal soon!
I am very glad I decided not to pass on these two funny little chicken pillows (on the right) for the breakfast nook. They seemed like the perfect companions for the yellow hooked pillow I bought from Garnet Hill last year:
So enthralled was I by my retro paint by numbers art, that I set out to find a spot for those parrots right away. They looked great against the yellow walls of our living room so I decided to try a swap. Over our sofa, we have a large French iron mirror flanked by vintage French sconces and two Victorian era iron heating grate covers:
Love these iron grates but they do lack color....
I decided the parrots deserved a chance.
Yep, that'll work! The parrots bring new energy to the space and I smile every time I see them.
It's fun to have a little make-over, estate sale style! Plus, I got to hang out with my friend. All that's left is to find a place for those white iron grates.
In spiritual direction, we are taught to pay attention. We are taught to continually ask ourselves what feels life-giving...and what feels life-taking.
As I type, I find myself wondering if it's wise to post these photos...you might snicker at my idea of "art"...or you might think that my time could have been used more productively...that I could have been doing something more important or "real."
Maybe. It might be silly...inconsequential...genuinely a waste of time. It may not be productive or bring kudos...but looking for treasure among junk and puttering about my house fills me with a sense of life.
If Spirit whispers to me....make your home with cast off 1960's dime store art, a 50 cent pair of imperfectly sewn calico chickens and a junky old galvanized washtub...who am I to argue?
Resisting the movement of Spirit never seems to have gotten me anywhere, except stuck. That doesn't mean that following what is life-giving is always easy...sometimes it can feel darned uncomfortable. (Think "spiritual director" rather than "ordained minister.") It can feel vulnerable.
But, in the end, choosing to go with the flow has always been the best choice. Especially when you can go along with a friend who'll stick her head through an old screen door, just to keep you company.
peace and all good,
I can't see.
I have contracted a stubborn virus that has temporarily injured my eyes and significantly impaired my vision. I cannot wear the contact lenses that I have worn nearly every day of my life since ninth grade. My distance vision with glasses is ok but not great...kind of like opening your eyes under water...but I can't see a thing up close with my glasses on, so to read or use the computer I must remove the , which means everything else is a blur. Needless to say, the idea of vision has been the focus of my contemplative life lately.
Many of the old things I sell are at their "vintage chic-est" when re-purposed for something other than their intended use....a cast iron gutter hopper as a wall sconce....a rusty wire basket as a moss lined planter....an enamel farm bucket as a wine bucket for a party...galvanized wash tub as raised garden bed...old iron grate as art...all re-purposed or RE-Visioned. It's fun to re-vision vintage items. LOTS of fun!
Spending quite a few hours in the dark, reflecting, I am even more mindful that just like the old things that I always seem to find their way to me, I can re-vision the everyday happenings of my life, recognizing them as the important spiritual learnings I believe they are. I can look for the Sacred in the ordinary, moments of my life...even the uncomfortable ones. Or maybe that should be, especially the uncomfortable ones. I've tried to stay open to Spirit. I've asked myself what this dis-ease has to teach me? Is there something I don't want to see? Is there something I need to see? I don't have any answers yet but I will keep sitting with it.
Meanwhile, since I haven't gone out into the light of day much at all, I've been busy re-visioning the things that have been languishing in my basement since I closed my shop. It's nice and dark in the basement! :)
One of the items I listed on ebay this week is a vintage french fishing creel. I wanted to include some inspiring photos in my listing so I tried to come up with creative ways to use the creel. First, I photographed it in the garden....
Then I tried it in the breakfast nook with some faux lavender...
And then I tried it in my ever so tiny downstairs half bath. I filled it with vintage looking dishtowels. My towels are not vintage but are precious, as they were embroidered by Michael's mom and grandmother. I think I liked the basket best here.
And speaking of re-visioning...when you are a cottage dweller, as we are, you need to make the most of every inch of space. Michael and I both enjoy photography but wall space for displaying our efforts is limited, so we turned a wall in this tiny half bath into our version of an art gallery...
The squarish basket in the corner is an English fishing basket....much different style than the French one and I believe would not be referred to as a proper "creel." The French basket is designed to be slung around the body. The square English basket also has a carrying strap but it is designed to be a little stool for sitting, while you fish. Charming. I tucked this smallish one in the corner to hold spare tp rolls.
So that's what I've been doing lately....sitting in the dark...my temporary loss of sight led me to a space just perfect for re-visioning. The movement of Spirit never ceases to amaze me.
peace and all good,
If you haven't yet given pinterest a try, it's a lot of fun. I've had an account for some time now but am really just now getting into it.
I "pin" party ideas, things I'd like to make some day, recipes, ideas for upcycling vintage items and inspirational images. What do you pin?
You can follow me, if you want! Just click the button below.
When I had my brick and mortar antique shop, I used to keep three ring binders full of pages and images torn from magazine articles. I could show clients inventive ways they might use some of the pieces I had for sale and I also enjoyed the inspiration for myself.
Pinterest is like a virtual version of my three ring binders! I had a friend who kept a similar binder filled with ideas for her home. She carried it with her when she shopped. Now she has the same information with her always...on her Ipad and her smart phone, via pinterest.
If you decide to give it a whirl, I wish you Happy pinning!
If you like to use Facebook, please "like" the in clover face book page. I post articles, quotes and other little tidbits there daily. You can click here:
In Clover on Facebook
The ways we store information sure has changed dramatically in the last five years...we "pin" digital images instead of ripping pages from magazines, we often text instead of placing a phone call, we share photos on Facebook instead of printing them and putting them in albums....it's a strange and fascinating new world. But in the end, I think we all are still looking for the same thing...connection and a little inspiration! Pinterest and Facebook provide plenty. I enjoy my participation in the communities I find on these sites. How about you?
peace and all good,