Styling

Vintage Adirondack Pack Basket – My Christmas Door 2021

I have been searching for a vintage Adirondack basket for years.  It’s been on my wishlist ever since I saw a reproduction in the pages of Ballard’s Designs catalog.  I clipped that picture and pinned it to my vision/idea board and there it stayed for what seemed like forever.  Well, it took me 3 years but I found one!

Adirondack hanging basket

One Saturday this past August, in the last hours of an estate sale, I hit the jackpot!  I found an Adirondack basket among other finds,  in near perfect condition and I got it for a song. Needless to say, I could not wait for Christmas to come this year.  This basket from my vision board was going to come to life!

The History of the Adirondack Backpack

I tried to do a little digging on the history of the Adirondack basket and I couldn’t find a definitive answer. This style of basket, pack baskets (large woven basket designed to be carried as a backpack.  Primarily for utilitarian purposes like traveling, hunting, and or gathering) is often attributed to native American people.  The truth is that you can find examples of this pack-style basket all over the world, for hundreds of years, each with its own twist.  The Adirondack pack style is adapted from the pack baskets used by native Americans in the region.  It has a definitive look with a cinch at the top and is typically made from ash  Other styles of pack baskets like the Maine pack baskets have a more rectangular shape.

I recorded a quick video showing you how I filled the basket.  It’s a large basket, a very large basket, and it takes a lot of greens to fill this basket.  So I filled the bottom of the basket with empty amazon boxes (tis the season). I bought a few different types of greens and berries.  I used Juniper, Magnolia. Fir tips and winter Ilex berries.  I layered the greens using mostly drippy cedar greens, but you can use whatever you want.  I love how it turned out. If you are looking for a unique way to dress up your door, I highly suggest a pack basket.  You can find vintage baskets on Etsy and eBay, but you can also find new baskets like this trapper Maine style basket on amazon on Ballard designs.

@vintage_bu_te_antiques Finally! Filled my antique adirondack basket with winter greens today. I am so behind this year with my decorating. #myvintagehome #antiquelover ♬ It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas - Michael Bublé

Truth is this basket deserved to be on display for more than one month! So, I decided to transform it from Christmas decor to Winter decor!  I removed the red berries and bow and added faux branches to fill it out and give it life. My favorite addition was the gold bells. Bells are a huge trend right now, and they were the perfect finishing touch for this winter Adirondack basket. I found my bells on amazon they were the perfect size for the basket and I love how it looks.

Outdoor halloween decor

Halloween Decor – Dressing up my witch’s den!

Outdoor halloween decor

What’s your favorite holiday? I genuinely struggle to choose my favorite holiday. It is a very close tie between Christmas and Halloween, and if you ask me in October. Halloween is my favorite. Ask me again in December, and my answer will probably change. I love the theatrics of Halloween, I am not one for blood and gore, but I love spooky and spectacular. Hocus Pocus is one of my favorite movies because it speaks to my inner witch. So every year, I try to transform my home into a witch’s den.

 

Pumpkin path lights

Because I love witches, they are a big part of the overall theme. But, I also love to use pumpkins (spooky, not scary ones) and orange and purple is a big part of my design. I think sticking to a theme helps make the look stronger, rather than a little bit of this and a little bit of that, which can end up looking like Halloween threw up on your front lawn.

martha stewart witch silhouette

The show stopper is my Martha Stewart Witch silhouette. As a lover of Martha and everything she does, I had saved the witch silhouette idea for many years, and I was so happy to bring that idea to life. You can find instructions here. She comes out October 1st and assumes her place out on the front lawn. The little ones love her, and I think maybe as much as I love her.

I dress up the front door with this spooky black wreath made of torn-up trash bags. It’s a wireframe and dollar store trash bags. I love how it turned out because it almost looks like black crow feathers blowing in the wind when the wind blows.

halloween decor

The portico gets lots of pumpkins, cobwebs lights and draped fabric.  I recently purchased these Hocus Pocus banner for my side panels and I love how they look.   That movie is the inspiration for a lot of my décor.  I try to incorporate a lot of vintage items in my décor like these beautiful lanterns, I think that it levels up the whole look when you can find vintage pieces to incorporate into your décor.

I like to have the stairs dripping with spooky pumpkins, and I try to add a few more every year. One of these years, I will make a pumpkin arch, but I am going to have to find a few more to make that happen.

Mr Bones Trick or Treat Halloween decor

Of course, Mr. Bones come out to say hello to all the trick or treaters.

pumpkin the snow

These are photos from last year, when it snowed the day before Halloween.  Due to Covid, trick-o-treating was different.  I am looking forward to a Halloween that is a little more normal and sharing this years additions to my décor.

mauve cream and blue vintage plates

When it all comes together magically. Vintage serendipity!

mauve blue hydrangea

Part of what drives my creativity are happy coincidences.  Maybe happy accidents like Bob Ross would say.  

80 pastels

Happy coincidences like when you happen upon a yard sale and are attracted to a quirky set of 80’s place sets.  You buy them, you take them home, set them on the table next to the group of plates you just thrifted and the vase of hydrangeas you picked from your mother’s garden.  And you realize that the plates pick up the blue in napkins perfectly, and the mauve in the placemats looks like it was plucked straight out of the faded end of summer hydrangea. That kismet moment when a wash of satisfaction and happiness falls over you. All I can think is where my camera is. These are the moments that drive my creativity.  

Cavitt-shaw monogram plates

The plates are from the W. S. George Pottery Co., 1903 – 1960, in the ranchero style. They are the most perfect shade of pale yellow accented with a robin egg blue monogram with a simple, clean round shape.  The monogram might be my  favorite part.  If I ever get my Joanna Gaines moment and create a product line, a plate set like these would be on my list.    

mauve blue hydrangea

So I only found 11 pieces  of the Cavitt-Shaw dinnerware.  A full set for four would have been over 30 pcs. I found:

3 dinner plates

4 dessert plates

4 cake plates

 Let’s be honest though, that would have been a bit much for me.  I imagine that back in the 50’s one would have been upset to have a mismatched set of dishes, Today, I think it gives you the opportunity to make it better.  I would compliment this set with a blue bowl and maybe a patterned coffee cup.

vintage table setting with pastel hydrangea
late summer hydrangea in vintage blue glass vase
close up of late summer hydrange

This hydrangea is the gift that keeps on giving. It blooms from spring to summer and at all stages of growth, it’s just lovely. From the fresh chartreuse green in the early summer to the purple mid-summer blooms and now the gorgeous mauvy pink and green. Breathtaking! They will also dry beautifully, so you can enjoy them through the winter. That’s why they are one of my favorite flowers.

Classic and modern design is not an easy thing to achieve.  A lot of designers try few succeed, but these plates have achieved it perfectly.  Although these plates are from the ’50s and are over 70 years old, they would be perfect on a table today. 

 

These happy coincidences can only happen when you are in your process. That process, for me, is the continuous hunt. That is what brings me joy. The quest for unique, beautiful, and well-made goods. That could be furniture, art, textile, tools – I find beauty in so many things. What I appreciate is craftsmanship. Not that you can’t find quality crafted items today, because you can. It’s just that things made 50 years ago were made better. They were made to last a lifetime or longer.

I am always consciously or unconsciously curating collections. The more I look, the more I find. What amazes me is how these items come from all these different places yet come together so perfectly.  I think the magic is in the process. The magic that brings satisfaction and joy. I think they call it “getting into the flow.” I encourage you to follow your joy and find the magic and enjoy that wonderful synchronicity.

Patriotic glamour coral and brass

Celebrating the red, white and blue with vintage flair!

Patriotic glamour coral and brass

I love any reason to celebrate, but I especially love celebrating this great country on Independence Day. From bunting to tablescapes, I love to dress my house up inside and out with lots of red, white, and blue.

How Do I Incorporate Vintage Items Into My Patriotic Décor?

I do make a conscious effort to stay away from anything disposable and if I buy something new I want it to be a quality piece that will last for years.  I like my décor to have soul and whimsy. It’s not just about putting flags everywhere, but when I do you can bet that they are vintage.  It’s about finding unique accents pieces that celebrate our pride and joy.  Really highlighting the red white and blue in both conventional and unconventional ways.

Here are some decorating ideas to celebrate America's birthday in vintage style.

Americans have been decorating their homes for the 4th with flags and bunting for a long time. It’s classic and timeless and it’s where my patriotic décor begins.  When in doubt, adding some bunting to your windows and doors or hanging a gorgeous vintage flag will transform your home.

vintage patriotic decor

Do you know what direction to display the american flag?

When displaying the flag either horizontally or vertically against a wall, from a portico or in a window, the stars should be uppermost left hand corner.

A large American flag draped in the portico, bunting hanging from windows, always satisfies my soul. I am partial to using red, white, and blue scarfing fabric. Not bunting, but the long fabric.  It’s my favorite way to decorate doors and porches. It’s a classic way to dress up the outside of your home.   I recently found some vintage scarfing fabric with the most amazing patina.  I love when the white has lost some of its crispness, it gains a certain significance and presence. I realize that this is not an easy find, but you could recreate it with new patriotic scarfing and then tea stain it.  Or add to your wish list.  Do you have a vintage wish list?

Celebrate America old glory
Hanging your flag outside for 4th of july

I am always looking for beautiful old flags when I am out-picking.  I found a huge one this summer, and I love it.  It’s well-loved but not ragged or worn.  For me, a good flag is made of cotton, has some weight to it, but is still vibrant.   Although I can appreciate a faded flag, I like prefer strong colors in my flags.

I think we traditionally think of patriotic décor to be an “outside” thing. However, don’t neglect the inside of your home. 

Vintage Patriotic Indoor Décor Ideas

I can not pass up vintage flags, and I have been picking for a long time. As you can imagine, I have amassed quite a collection. I like to display them collectively in old cider bottles or vintage metal cans.

Old Falls City bait can filled with vintage flags
Celebrate summer with vintage patriotic
Vintage cider jar filled with vintage flags.

I collect flags on sticks, but I also collect sad flags that have lost their stake. So often found in the garage or basement of homes in forgotten boxes or drawers. I love them. They have a great patina.

I recently found an old, weathered sailboat mast. I clipped on all the loose flags with tiny red clothespins, and I think it looks fabulous! You could also clip the flags on some string and make a banner for your mantle or wall.

Old sail boat mast with vintage flag clipped on with red clothes pins.

Vintage Patriotic Vignettes

 

Find spaces in your home where you can celebrate the season, whether it’s Easter or, in this case, 4th of July. Having an area to switch out with themed décor is a great way to decorate without overwhelming you or your space. My hall table always has a stack of vintage red books. For the 4th, I add some blue vintage books and vintage trophies and filled  them with white hydrangea. It doesn’t take a lot to change the space. You could add a picture frame with a vintage patriotic print.  I recently found this beautiful patriotic cross stitch that look great in this vignette.

Vintage Trophies with cross stitch

Patriotic pottery vignette

 

Chinasoire pottery lends itself beautifully to patriotic décor. If you collect flow blue or blue and white pottery, adding some red flowers to your display will make for a beautiful vignette. The best part of this look is that you just embellishing décor that you already have.

My collection of blue and white pottery accented with faux red hydrangea.

Utilizing color in you patriotic décor

 

I like to  make use of things for their color and often ignore what they are. For example, I use vintage books as décor. Stacking vintage red and blue books with a small vase of white hydrangea is a classic look, with patriotic flair.  It doesn’t always have to be about flags and bunting.  

Red, white and blue can be achieved with fruit, flowers, books, paper, fabric, and baked goods. You can add faux fruit to a blue and white ironware bowl for a stunning look on your kitchen counter.  Red gingham napkins on a blue plate can elevate your tablescape.  

Repurposed Pickle Crock turned into a side table
Red White and Blue Christmas ornaments

Another thing that I collect are vintage glass Christmas ornaments.  I collect all sizes and I use the small ones in bowl for different holidays.  Above is a grouping of red, silver and blue mini glass ball ornaments in a cut crystal pedestal bowl.  I love how they are sparkly and pretty.   It’s vintage, it’s patriotic and it’s a different take on glass ornaments.

I hope you found some inspiring ways to celebrate America with vintage flair and style. 

Spring hellebores purple and flower frogs

Bringing Spring Inside -How to incorporate vintage and antique items into your Spring home decor?

How Do I decorate my home for Spring with vintage and antique items?

I do it with flowering branches, plants, and natural elements like nests and baskets.  Fill in any bare spots around your home using plants, flowers–anything green really!  I love that juxtaposition of the old and new. I use my collection of vintage and antique vases and vessels to showcase the beauty of spring.  

st patricks day arrangement

As I get to the end of February, I am over and done with Winter. Unfortunately, living in New England, there is still a lot of Winter left. So I cope by bringing the feeling of Spring inside.

Vintage trophy with forced pink branches

Forced branches and bulbs in Vintage Vases and Urns

I usually start at the end of February/beginning of March by incorporating forced branches and forced bulbs, and by the end of the month, the Easter eggs and bunnies start coming out. I enjoy using natural items like nests, moss, flowers, and I will usually buy a Spring candle to burn. Right now, I am enjoying the Thymes Olive Leaf candle. (The Thymes Fraiser Fir is my all-time favorite candle.) It’s a lovely clean scent which is what I want in the Spring.

pussy willow in vintage brass vase with vintage clock

I also try to keep a natural palette so you won’t find a lot of jarring bright colors in my home.  This year I find myself gravitating towards mossy greens and creams, but it changes every year.  This year I celebrated Spring with this beautiful tallow berry wreath.  If you would like to see how I made it you can find the tutorial here.

tallow berry spring wreath idea

I have nothing against faux flowers. I use them all the time. Especially in my booth, it’s a low maintenance way to bring color and texture to my space. I am usually there once a week to replenish and revamp, so fresh flowers are not an option. In general though, I always prefer natural items like the tallow berry branches or pepper berry is another favorite that has excellent color. Did you know that they bleach and die them? So you can get them in a gorgeous creamy white as well. I have worked as a florist for many years, and I never knew that they came in different colors. That is another wreath I hope to make in the fall, so stay tuned for that

 

Kitchen flowers spring
spring vase arrangement hellebores cream and green flowers

Planting spring flowers in unique Vintage planters

The kitchen is the heart of our home, and I always have fresh flowers by my kitchen sink. So this space changes weekly. I will usually start in February with a vase full of pussy willow, then move to tulips and daffodils. It’s constantly changing and always reflecting the season. Lately, I have also been incorporating potted flowering plants, like this Hellebores (which I hope to plant in my garden) that I purchase at Wegmans of all places. I planted it in this beautiful copper pail that I found at a local estate sale.

growing wheat grass

Forcing Wheat Grass in vintage baskets

Earlier I mention my obsession with hunter green and green.  In keeping with the green theme, this year I tried something new. I have had a bag of wheatgrass seeds sitting under my kitchen sink for two years now, waiting to be sowed for spring décor, and finally, this year, I sowed some seeds. In these drab months of Winter, I crave all things green because the color conveys a feeling of life to me. I planted up a few containers this year, but my favorite was this 50’s gold metal basket. 

This basket came in an auction box lot, and it was full of moldy Christmas greens (I wish I had a before photo). I was tempted to just throw it all out, but the form was so beautiful. I know I could give this basket new life.

Wheat grass spring centerpiece

I also planted a few other containers with wheatgrass and used them in my Easter décor. Here I planted vintage desert cup with wheat grass.  You can read more about my experience growing wheatgrass for décor here. It was a good experience, but I am not sure I will do it again.

vintage flower frog collections

I love to juxtapose vintage items with flowers and plants. In this vignette I have a beautiful vintage (almost antique) trophy, my collection of flower frogs on a large silver tray.  This 1922 trophy showcases these purple Hellebores gloriously. My dad had given me a plant a few years back, and I planted it, but I don’t think it likes its location because I’m lucky to get 3 or 4 blossoms.  So I end up stealing them from my parents’ garden every year.

purple spring flowers
deconstructed purple flower silver dish

These Ranunculus were from my Easter centerpiece. They are one of my favorite flowers ever and I try to enjoy every last bit of them.  Once I see that they are starting to die, the stem will start to shrivel, but I like to pop the head off the stem and float it in some water. By doing this I can usually get an extra  2 days from the bloom, and I enjoy displaying them in this unconventional way.

They look so sweet floating in this vintage silver plated butter dish.

These are some ways that I decorate my home for Spring with vintage and antique items.

How do you incorporate your vintage and antique items in your Spring décor?

My top 5 vintage finds of 2020

2020 started off amazing, and when I think back to January of 2020, I remember being so excited.   I had just opened my both in October of 2019, and things were going well.  I was making my rent plus a little more (not much).  It was a great start things were going really well, and then, the world shut down.

The co-op was closed for almost 4 months!  I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.  In June, the co-op opened up again (thank. God!).  Estate sales began again, and the thrift stores were opening up (I missed picking for treasures so much), and I could finally exhale. 

As crazy of a year as it was, there were still fabulous finds. These are my top 5 finds of 2020

NO. 1 Matching pair of marble lamps

I was in line checking out at Savers, and there were these two matching marble lamps! 2! (Did I mention they were matching.) They were sitting on an empty check out table. So asked if they were available. Turns out a woman that was checking out had just passed on them. I was screaming inside. She didn’t want to let them go, but she said she didn’t have a place for them.

NO. 2 Large Quartz Rock
 

It was one of the first estate sales that I went to after things started to open up. This house was a hoarder’s house for sure, but these folks had excellent taste. I found many things, but this beauty was my favorite.  I found it in the garden, being used as an accent rock! As you can imagine, it was pretty dirty, but I was happy to score it for $5! I tried to wash out all the dirt but couldn’t get it clean. I tried a dish brush, a toothbrush, nothing worked.  So I ran it through the dishwasher, and that did the trick. I have it on a side table that I created out of an antique pickle crock. It sits next to the marble lamp. And the colors are just perfect.  Lately, I have been gravitating to these natural tones. 

NO. 3  Antique console table
 

I bought this table through an online auction. Online auctions are always a gamble because the pictures never do the items justice. A few auctions houses do a good job, but most are just quick photos with measurements. This gamble paid off. The table was everything I was hoping it would be in person.  

This table is the stuff that Restoration Hardware copies. Look at those legs and the dark wood. There was an old cup mark on the top of the table that wasn’t disclosed, but otherwise, it is just glorious. And the cup mark well that’s nothing a strategically place items can’t hide.

No. 4 Pink Merino Wool Blanket

I found a matching pair of twin-sized pink wool blankets. They were $15 each, and they were in perfect condition. The prettiest shade of baby pink and I don’t think they were ever used. The label reads John Atkinson – Made In England, 100% percent merino wool. I had no idea how expensive these blankets were, but now I understand why.

My husband hates using a lot of blankets, and I can never have enough. So the twin size worked out perfectly because I could keep it only on my side. I have never owned a wool blanket before and not sure I will ever go back. What a luxury.

NO. 5 Barn ladder

Again another online auction with mediocre pictures and a bit of a gamble, but I was thrilled when I picked up this old barn ladder. It was $65, a little more than I wanted to spend, but I’m a sucker for all the crackly goodness. It is made of a split log, and unlike most of the ones you find online, you could actually climb it. After giving the rungs a good scrubbing it was ready to hold towels in my bathroom. 

As difficult as this year was, there were still many bright points.  I hope that you were able to find some amazing treasures.  Happy New Year!