trying to get the blues

photo: houseofturquoise.comAll my life, if someone asked me what my favorite color is, never would I say “blue”.  As a child my room was done up in pale yellow {not my choice but it was okay} and as I became an adolescent I loved red.  Nowadays I have no favorite color but other than a few select shades I’ve never been a big blue fan.

Recently I was talking to a painter and she said she’s perpetually on a quest for the perfect robin’s egg blue.  Since I do like certain glacier blues and other pale aquas, I was intrigued.  She said mixing paints was one of her favorite pastimes and robin’s egg was particularly elusive.  It contains brown, the secret ingredient to make the aqua more warm and muted.

As a photographer this really got me interested, and as a lover of home decor it got me thinking about wall colors.  I’d never had a blue wall before, what about a really dusty aqua shade of robin’s egg?

photo:  colourlovers.comLeave it to Benjamin Moore to have a few decent options:  “antiguan sky”, above, looks kind of nice.  Pale, soft and would look great with cream colored furniture.

Another color that has caught my eye by Benjamin is “stratton blue”, which is the color in the first photo, and below appearing on design*sponge and was said to be the favorite wall color in the house ~ I love it with the barn red:

photo:  designsponge.com

I’m sure other companies are making some great shades of this complex color.  And now that I’ve started collecting photos like these on pinterest, I might just have to make an entire board dedicated to wall colors and see what turns up.

vintage home accents

wild cherry blossom fairyWhen I was younger and got into decorating, I had little knowledge of things vintage.  My style had always been eclectic ~ juxtaposing different styles together ~ but a lot has changed.

Back then I chose teak wood furniture from Denmark and mixed it with Native American rugs and Georgia O’Keefe prints.  Then Rachel Ashwell’s shabby chic exploded onto the scene and I was greatly influenced ~ soft, feminine with weathered wood and washed ivory linen.  Being more of a minimalist than Rachel, I looked and learned and kept some ideas for future use.

My taste has since morphed into a blend of American farmhouse, English cottage and French country.  One thing I love are vintage illustrations like the fairy shown above.  Dating from the 1930s to ’50s ~ flowers, trees and herbs were drawn with their particular fairy.  This and many other beautiful prints can be found at Collectors Prints, out of London.

I also love this antique pen drawing of a deer {complete with “real pen-work” stated in the background} available as clip art at The Graphics Fairy.

spencerian pen flourished deer illustrationThe image on my About page is part of this series ~ apparently they are from an early calligraphy book.  Some of them, like the one above, are large enough to print out and frame.

She also offers wonderful vintage botanicals like this adorable pear.

vintage pear illustrationAgain the link contains a large image that can be printed out.  Thank you Graphics Fairy!  She has loads of great stuff ~ highly recommended.

Besides illustrations, another type of vintage decor I became fond of is carnival glass.

carnival depression glassThe above photo is from an Etsy shop with a large selection of depression glassware.  I discovered orange carnival glass not long ago while photographing inventory for a second hand store.  Here are a couple of my favorites.

carnival glass

Usually described as “marigold” orange, I love how the iridescence doesn’t overwhelm the softness of the peach and pink tones.  Most of this type of glassware was made by Anchor Hocking, a name well known in the vintage collectible world.  Here’s one that’s a bit more bold.

carnival ribbed tumblerNot my style for drinking out of but they’d be fun accents, maybe holding teaspoons or wooden utensils.

I could really imagine these style elements working together in a kitchen ~ functional pieces in fun off-beat colors alongside old world prints of nature.  Tres eclectic!

pillows for the seasons

pottery barn throw pillows

Throw pillows are so much fun ~ like fashion accessories for the sofa, they can change with the seasons or with the months or even depending upon one’s mood.  Pillow inserts and covers make the changes so easy; storage is also a snap, it’s more economical and they can be easily washed.

I love velvet and Pottery Barn has no shortage of it during certain months.  They usually offer all cotton; although the above pillow covers are a cotton/poly blend I’m sure they’re very soft.  I would like these for after summer is over; the trouble is I love all four colors and will have a tough time deciding!

pottery barn throw pillows

For the upcoming season, the above linen pillow covers seem perfect.  Again loving the color selection, particularly the barn red and mocha brown although I do like the pale blue and I’m not usually a ‘blue person’.

They offer nice feather inserts in all the shapes and sizes needed.  It’s possible some could be found for a better price; I’ll be doing a bit of research.

pottery barn pillow inserts

Williams-Sonoma has a small selection of throw pillows and one of them caught my eye.  I have a strange desire for a pillow made from a vintage flour sack.  I even went on ebay, found stores where they specialize in rare and well-preserved flour sacks, and subscribed to their newsletter.

I’m not sure what it is about them, but I am the eclectic faerie after all and there’s no accounting for an eclectic taste.  I really wanted to make a bench pillow out of one, but never got around to buying a bench, so started thinking about making a few throw pillows instead.  Super easy, it wouldn’t even require a sewing machine!

williams-sonoma grain sack pillow

Vintage flour sacks ~ the ones in really good condition ~ are a bit expensive, and so is this pillow.  I just might end up buying one on ebay and making a pillow on my own.  If and when I do it will surely be posted here!

williams-sonoma agrarian

photo:  williams-sonoma.com

It’s been been a few days since I visited Williams-Sonoma’s website ~ I’d invested in the $30 per year free shipping promotion a while back, so I like to check in regularly and see what’s new and/or on sale.  Much to my surprise, they have launched a new section called agrarian.

Had I been overlooking this for months?  I wasn’t sure.  After a quick search I realized they did indeed just add this rather extensive branch of their company a few days ago.

Would I buy a $1300 chicken coop?  I don’t know, but I love their aesthetic and trust the quality of many of their products.

photo:  williams-sonoma.com

I’m new to gardening and love the idea of using a Joseph Bentley hand trowel.  This might be my first W-S agrarian purchase.

photo:  williams-sonoma.com

This heirloom-quality copper hand fork is also on my wish list.  Made by Austrian coppersmiths, it would be a wise purchase.  A bit more expensive but apparently copper is a superior metal for gardening tools, according to the description:  “as they contact soil, the tines deposit minute amounts of copper that promote water absorption and help to repel slugs and snails”.  Beauty and function!

photo:  williams-sonoma.com

I’ve been meaning to look into growing mushrooms at home and, rather than in a box, this kit where they grow in a semi-natural habitat appeals to me.

photo:  williams-sonoma.com

And I am the eclectic faerie after all, so I like a bit of eclectic vintage decor.  This 1940’s watering can is just the sort of thing I’d splurge on.  I don’t know if I will ever run into something this cute at an estate sale… Love it!

bluecorn beeswax candles light up a meal

bluecorn beeswax candles

There’s something about candlelight.  I cannot say enough about how the flicker of a candle flame warms my heart, comforts me and can make an ordinary moment feel extraordinary.  When watching a movie, reading, taking a long bath or ~ especially ~ having a meal with loved ones, candles add that element which only they can.

I buy bulk tea lights; you know, the ones in the little metal holders.  They’re great for ambiance on a regular basis, and I appreciate them for the role they play in my life.  But when it comes to above-and-beyond candlelight and ambiance, to me nothing comes close to a solid beeswax candle.

bluecorn beeswax pillars

Bluecorn Naturals produces poured and dipped beeswax candles in raw as well as ivory and colored varieties.  They offer tapers, pillars, votives and tea lights, along with some incredible skincare products.

The quality of their beeswax is exceptional; they use cotton wicks and guarantee better, longer burn times.  They also make scented candles using essential oils, for those non-food-related events.

bluecorn beeswax candlesThe natural honey scent and beneficial properties of these candles make Bluecorn a must have for me.  They bring any table setting and low-key entertaining to another level.  I keep some on reserve for special occasions, or when I’d like a regular occasion to feel special.

the working glass ~ old school & flawless

working glassesI consider myself to be “eclectic” because I love to mix contrasting styles and designs together.  Along with cooking, it’s the best {and fun-est!} way I know to express my personal aesthetic and individuality.

When it comes to decor and kitchen items, I really love the farmhouse style.  It’s homey and cozy and lends itself to lots of eclectic variations.

Behold the working glass.  Possibly originated in France for storing preserves, it is farmhouse style at its finest.  I discovered this retro classic at a place called Cost Plus many years ago and, as a girl on a serious budget but unwilling to drink out of a boring glass, they’d fit the bill.  I should say it had fit the bill, as I literally purchased 1 glass and washed&dried it after each use {and by use I mean beer}.

Unfortunately, after moving a few times my once-fave glass was lost in the shuffle.  Then recently, I walked into a local kitchen shop and saw some working glasses on display.  I scooped up nearly every one they had and am now reunited with my old friend.  Next, I’ll be needing some lids.  Here’s why:

working glasses and lids

Never has food storage looked so cute.  We’re trying to get away from plastic storage containers in this house, which is no easy feat.  Pyrex makes some great glass bowls with lids for the bigger stuff.  But these babies are just right for a few bites of leftovers or extra sauce, tucking away nicely in a corner of the fridge.  And at a generous 21 ounces, the large working glass holds more than a few bites.

Now that I’ve found them online at Crate&Barrel, I’m happy to report that lids are just a few clicks away.  Check them out ~ and when you do, notice the customer reviews.  Five stars as far as the eye can see.

emile henry kitchenware

emile henry flame topMost of us know about Le Creuset cookware, and many of us have at least one French Oven, or their kitchen accessories — or we know of someone who does.  But I recently discovered a line of cookware by Emile Henry that is by far my favorite.

Meet the Flame Top Round Dutch Oven, above, in “rouge”.  Ooh la la!  Yes, what a cliche but I have no other words.  This beauty is functional:  it goes from freezer to oven and is lighter than Le Creuset while achieving all their French Ovens do and more.  I received an Emile 4.2 quart round in “figue” as a gift and I’m in love.

emile henry figue

Emile used to have an Artisan series with a color called “caramel” that is only available now at Williams-Sonoma.  This color is appropriately named:  it makes me melt like caramel!

emile henry artisan
Their classic colors include “olive” which I love as a base tone on the kitchen counter
emile henry olive
…and “apricot” which is great for a fun splash of color
emile henry apricot
Most items can be found on Emile Henry’s website or Zappo’s or Amazon.
Enjoy!