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Trash Day Treasure

6 Jun

Today is trash day in my neighborhood. Somebody threw away THIS:

Spike checking out my new chair

I don’t normally take other people’s trash but if I didn’t take this chair one of the many scavengers that troll the neighborhood on trash day surely would have snagged it. Despite the hideous faux-damask spill-proof vinyl upholstery, I immediately saw the possibilities for this chair. The early Sixties Mid-Century-Modern chair frame just screamed “Reupholster me!” The solid-wood frame is sturdy and the padding is still firm. It’s actually very comfortable. All it needs is new fabric.

Vinyl damask?

I don’t have to buy new fabric for it because I’ve got a large stash of fabric that I was saving to make pillow covers with – one of many crafty projects I’ve been meaning to take on but haven’t gotten around to yet. I’ve been looking at blogs, Pinterest, and YouTube for tutorials on DIY reupholstery to get some much-needed guidance.

I’m going to use this chair to go with my desk – a Paul McCobb Planner desk that I scored in an antique shop in Essex for way less than what Paul McCobb would usually go for anywhere else except coastal New England. It had already been painted white, so I didn’t feel guilty about giving it a fresh coat of high-gloss white paint. I can paint this chair white without guilt too.

I’m looking forward to my first attempt at DIY reupholstery. It will give me a chance to break out my seldom-used sewing machine. If it turns out well, I might scour my neighborhood more on trash day in search of reupholstery projects.

Thrift Score

1 Jun

Some of my newest purchases of Corning Ware and Pyrex. Did you know Pyrex was a division of Corning Ware? I didn’t either. I got all of these pieces at my local thrift store last Friday.

I found four pieces of Corning Ware blue cornflower. The dish in the first photo (I had a hunkering for mac and cheese after blogging about it last week) cost $3.25. The largest square dish in the second photo was $4, the medium was $2.50, and the mini was $1.50. I scored all four pieces for $11.25. Not bad for my first purchase of vintage Corning Ware. I’m only collecting Blue Cornflower because that’s what I grew up with. My mom still uses her various baking dishes, and she got them as wedding presents 50 years ago.

I also snagged a Pyrex casserole dish in a groovy floral pattern for $3. The pattern’s proper name is Spring Blossom, but it’s unofficially known as Crazy Daisy. I grew up with various Pyrex patterns, and since they come in so many pretty colors and patterns, I’m not going to limit myself to one particular pattern.

I can honestly say that I’m addicted to collecting Corning Ware and Pyrex. I look forward to posting more pics as I add to my collection.

I’m Obsessed with this Room: Caroline’s Room

28 May

I came across this bedroom while looking for quilt ideas on Pinterest. I was planning on making my own quilt (I hadn’t yet found my yard sale treasure), and I needed some inspiration. When I found this room, I was immediately taken with it. This room conveys everything that I want in my own bedroom: color, pattern, texture, and most of all, a sense of peace and relaxation. It was designed by interior designer Lynne-Anne Bruns for her daughter Caroline. It has appeared on several design websites including Country Living and Apartment Therapy, as well as countless blogs.

Most of the photos of quilts that I found for inspiration show them displayed on a metal bed, usually white. There’s just something about a quilt on a metal bed frame that enhances its antique, homespun quality. But the bright blue walls of Caroline’s room give it a fresh, modern feel that prevents the quilt and bed from becoming too Little House on the Prairie-ish. For some reason, the walls of many of the bedrooms with quilts in the photos I’ve found are blue. Blue can be a very relaxing shade. White furniture looks especially clean and bright against it. For Caroline’s room, Lynne-Anne used Jamaican Aqua (#2408) by Benjamin Moore.

Caroline’s room has everything I want in my bedroom. Antique quilt? Check. White metal bed? Check. Blue walls? Check. Hardwood floors? Check. Window with a view? Check. Separate lounging area? Check. I love the old shutters inside her bedroom window. It’s the architectural details of an old house, blended with a young aesthetic, that make her bedroom the perfect place to get away to. What little girl wouldn’t want a room like this? I’m sure that when she is an adult Caroline will look back with fond memories of her childhood room, just like I do when I think about my bedroom in the house I grew up in.

You can check out more of Lynne-Anne’s beautiful house on her Flickriver site.

Yard Sale Treasure

22 May

Last weekend I was walking through town when I saw a sign for a yard sale. Normally I would have kept walking if it were out of my way, but when I saw the address of this particular sale I made a beeline for it. Why? Because it was on the oldest, most historic (i.e. most expensive) street in my little New England town. I was surprised that someone living on that street would need to have a yard sale, but I guess stuff accumulates no matter how well off one is.

To my disappointment, most of the stuff was typical yard sale junk: old CDs, VHS tapes, books, and oddly enough, several pairs of rollerblades. I don’t know what I was expecting: Federal style candelabras, perhaps? But as I turned to leave, I spotted an old quilt. It was serendipity, as I had been planning to make my own quilt. Even though I have never quilted before, I had been inspired at a local quilt show I attended a couple of weeks ago to make my own quilt, using reproduction fabrics. When I saw this quilt at the yard sale, I immediately thought of the time and money I would now save not having to make my own. I asked the woman running the yard sale how much she was asking for the quilt. Her price? A mere 5 bucks! I gave her the cash and immediately walked home with my treasure.

When I got home, I examined the quilt more closely (in another life I was a costume and textile curator for a small museum, so I have some experience with antique quilts, though I’m not specifically a quilt expert). The quilt I bought is completely hand-sewn and hand-quilted, which most likely would make it 19th century (the sewing machine was invented in 1845 though many women continued to sew by hand for many years after). In addition, the fabrics used in it look to date from the 19th century. The colors range from the muted browns and turkey reds popular before synthetic aniline dyes were invented, to more vibrant colors that could be synthetic. The prints range from delicate roller-printed fabrics from the mid-19th century to bold prints showing a Japanese influence that could date from the last quarter of the 19th century.

The red, white and black fabric is chibori, a Japanese form of tie-dying which involves tying fabric around the head of a nail to get that distinctive dot in the center.

The “turkey red” color is usually the first to deteriorate because the cotton thread is dyed before it’s spun into cloth, a process that is hard on the fabric

The backing fabric showing the hand-stitched top quilting

Detail of backing fabric. The tiny sprigs of flowers over a stippled background are typical of 1840s roller-printed cottons.

Getting a quilt for my bed is a major step in redecorating my bedroom. I moved from an apartment to a condo a year and a half ago and my bedroom is still a work in progress. Right now the walls are white, but I’m thinking of painting them an ocean blue. And I’d like to get an antique-looking white metal bed to replace my West Elm headboard. I think quilts look so great on cast iron beds. And then I need a rug, and some curtains…