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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Vintage Cutwork Embroidery and Transferware China


I am a summer lover, and so this time of year is a little bittersweet for me. I was born in August in desert country. That might explain why I love light, sun, and don't mind a little heat! But I have come to realize that a lot of what I love in the way of collections lends itself more to autumn. Brown transferware is a case in point. 




Although I like to keep things light in all weather, fall lets me bring in more detail, dark colors, and the texture that I love during the cozy seasons.




Instead of the daisies that I wanted in the market for my arrangements, they had big wonderful bunches of baby's breath, and I had nearly forgotten how much in love with it I am! I am also partial to dried bunches of weeds (which I almost never seem to know the variety of). The plate designs with the flora give that Brambley Hedge feeling I'm so fond of. All warm and woodsy and wonderful at this hour of the occasion.




But my aim is really to show a couple of marvelous examples of embroidery that are new to me this week. I found this cutwork runner in one of my "unlikely" markets. Sometimes vendors in these places have a much lesser appreciation for what I am looking for than I do, with a price to match. What a cheery day when THAT happens!




I don't own nearly enough of this type of hand work, and hoard the few pieces that come my way. I think the workmanship is best shown on a darker surface like this to show off the details.





I always seem to see my collections in a new light when they are put away for awhile. Some things lose their charm, while others become more endearing to me. I just may be buried with this platter clutched to my chest! Haha!




But pitchers and platters will always be present somewhere in my personal landscape.




For me, these are the quiet colors of late summer and early fall.










This second embroidery sample, found in the same place, appears to have been worked by the same hands. The patterns and stitches are similar, with only the design being different.





The linen is unbleached, and the piece is smaller with less cutwork. But it has the tan threads which I enjoy and have so much of in the embroidered tablecloths that I tend to collect. It is a nice addition for me.









Of course I love hunting and gathering all year, but it's lovely to have things come together in a new way when the seasons change. There is still so much ahead that seems to rush in too early for me. I want to savor September as the last few sweet drops dwindle away into another autumn.  











I hope you are able to savor these last few days of a waning summertime too.

Jacqueline











Friday, September 8, 2017

Burlap and White on the Table








I have pulled a few things from the shelves together to make a centerpiece today. Fresh flowers are always nice, but I never seem to have exactly what I want on hand when I'm ready to roll.




I have sort of a rustic garden theme going on, with a late summer tone. 





We don't have much fall color happening yet, and I prefer quieter colors anyway. The antique wood mortar and pestle holds a sprig of dried hydrangea to round out the grouping I have chosen.
  




I picked up a bunch of these small burlap sacks a year or so ago at a very small price. I wasn't quite sure what I would do with them, but quickly realized they were the perfect size for a place setting. So they finally made it to the table!




I always have plenty of white embossed plates to select from. I paired them with brown transferware for the last tablescape, but this arrangement needs as much white as I can give! The napkins and rings are both old season Pottery Barn. I love old painted pots, and things with script. And the lettered pattern blooming out livens things up. 



Some old casual cut glass adds a little sparkle. Vintage stemware like this is found in nearly every thrift store around. (As most of you already know . . . ) I used to have a ton of it.





That's Rose Point china by Pope-Gosser on top, and the American Traditional Ironstone by Cannon Pottery Co. underneath. Both make my heart go pitter patter. 





An Old World mood does not suit every occasion, but it gets me going in the right direction for the weeks ahead. I took a liking to the hard apple cider bottles that appeared over the holiday weekend and put them to use too! I hope they will get some daisies in them soon.





 The place cards are from our local lavender farm. They seem custom made for the theme.






I guess I am feeling downright domestic! Seems like it's been awhile. But fall coming on does that to me.












Happy almost fall to you!

Jacqueline







Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Favorite and Familiar Things




It is hazy even down here in New Mexico. How can the country be so out of kilter from one end to the other at exactly the same time? My thoughts are on the storm headed for Florida, the recovery from one in Texas, and the horrible fires in the West. Bless us all!




It's hard to stay steady these days, and so it's more important than ever to feed the soul. I'm trying to keep life simple, and focus on the everyday beauty in my small world. This little bunch of lavender from a friend is one example.




She brought in a fragrant armful fresh from her yard to the shop, and we each made up a bunch or two to bring home. Not much color is left in this dried bunch, but it still smells heavenly. The sage bundle is from the Old Town tea shop that I visited earlier in summer. It brings good energy to whatever spot it's in. A little aromatherapy goes a long way! And a pretty linen liner dresses it up.




I wanted to show you this gorgeous cupboard door that I found at the flea market and painted white. I always forget to do the before pictures! But just imagine it in a dark mahogany. The white brings out the beautiful relief design. It was even already wired for hanging.




All the vintage details are there, and only leave you to imagine the original piece from which it came.





For now it's just leans against the wall where it catches the dramatic early light.





We had what I think may be the last big hurrah of summer over the Labor Day weekend. A big outing with visiting family. So the quiet now settles in as the light also catches a few of my favorite and familiar things. 




I always take pleasure in the habitual routine of washing things up and setting things to rights. The table coverings are just a little bit more worn than they were last summer. A bit more soft and faded too, like the past year's memories have already become.




There is solace in returning to the comfort of one's ordinary things. That somehow seems a heavier statement than I mean it to be, but all cliches are coming home to roost this September!




Wearing white is officially put aside after Labor Day by tradition. But it is the mainstay for everything else around the place. It just gets cozy-ed up a tad for fall.





I really love sepia anytime, but I recently came across the most adorable greeting card company in my travels. (Don't ask me where.) I need a slew of birthday cards every year, and so I pick them up in batches. I'm always thrilled to find ones I really love.




Homey themes. And these even have nice quotes on the back!





I wonder if domestic life is why so many of us love it when autumn comes again. I don't think it's just the pumpkins! Haha! Already seeing plenty of those!





But I, for one, am glad to the return to simple tasks. Back to a semi-empty calendar. To routine. To the sights and scents that only whisper "home."







Take care out there.

And Happy September Days to you!

Jacqueline








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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Dish Season




I have to admit that I haven't thought very much about laying a pretty table over the summer. But the minute we stop running around, and especially when the weather changes, my heart turns toward homey things and the comforts of gathering with friends and family around a hearty dinner table.




I especially like simple and informal dining with the emphasis on a good visit rather than a lot of preparation and clean up after. We have all been so busy this summer! So one pot dishes or a savory soup with a nice crusty bread to go with it make up my favorite kinds of meals.




I have reached for the dressier dishes this time rather than our standard plain but pleasing sturdy ironstone soup bowls. I just wanted to get out my transferware again for the first time this season.




I'm using some of my heavier textured linens that have been set aside for awhile. A nice big drop cloth cotton tablecloth underneath, a nubby thick runner down the middle, and my favorite striped napkins that are so large and absorbent and practical (from a few past seasons ago from Potterybarn). They don't even need to be ironed.




The mark on these dishes says "Fenton Faience from Surrey, England." I haven't had them for all that long, and just about had a fit when I found a set of them a few years ago.




I also wanted to show you the beautiful hand thrown beakers we got from Wolff Pottery in Bantam, CT over the summer. (I have been binge watching Poldark from PBS on Netflix lately, and the pub scenes are full of these handsome tumblers in many different styles. The third season starts up in October.) The pretty cards are from a museum shop. They make nice favors or place cards to dress up an otherwise fairly plain table. 




The ironstone tureen was the first of only a few that I have collected.









I also keep a small collection of brown transferware biscuit jars. They make good sugar bowls or flower vases. Sometimes just for decoration on the table.




The matching teacups are bigger than usual and also nice for a big cup of coffee.





The summer runaround isn't quite finished for us, but I'm already starting to feel more settled!




 The lovely postcard illustrations are from Model Book of Calligraphy. Inscribed by Georg Bocksay, 1561-62. Illuminated by Joris Hoefnagel for Emperor Rudolf II, c. 1590-96. (Getty Museum.)





When I pulled out my bowls, I was surprised to find an odd match in the mix. But that's how nicely the different patterns can blend together!















The large plates underneath are vintage American Traditional Ironstone by Cannonsburg Pottery Co. I think that I love embossed white china more than anything.






Are you gearing up for the changes ahead too?

Welcome back to dish season!

Jacqueline





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