Rearranging the Living Room

living room

I often wish I had a larger living room.  Not that there is anything specifically wrong or frustrating about my living room, but as it is rather small.  Due to it’s size, the room doesn’t easily lend itself to much rearranging…something I love to do.  It never use to bother me that much, until I purchased a 1950’s decorating book at a flea market and realized the value and appeal of a larger living area.  Not because I want to shove in more expensive furniture, or to host large dinner parties, but because of a long forgotten aspect of a vintage living room…the game table.

When I came across this addition, highly recommended in any proper living room, I instantly fell in love.  To create a space in the common living area where a person can write, catch up with the local newspapers, and more importantly, play games without sitting on the floor, is such an appealing aspect to family living.  This little area isn’t meant to replace an office, but to be a spot for mutual fun and work to be done as a family.  Maybe in my next house I will have enough space! 🙂

But enough about that.  What about the basics?  Like figuring out the flow of traffic or the proper location for the T.V. or bookshelves?  Well, below are many examples of floor layouts for a variety of shaped rooms!

Please note that the descriptions and the arrows point to the opposite page.  Use the color guide and the page numbers to recognize which page follows which.

Living Room 1

Living Room 2

Living Room 3

Living Room 4

Once the traffic pattern has been detected and arranged accordingly, now decide where to put that television!

Living Room 5

Living Room 6

What I find so fascinating about this section is the lack of importance that is placed on the television. Of course, one wants to ensure that it can be seen by all, but the T.V. must fit into the scheme of the living room, not the other way around.  A different time I suppose! 🙂

Happy arranging!

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The Tea Set

tea set

Every woman needs her very own tea set.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, ornate, or exhibiting fine examples of hand painting (although none of that can hurt!)  The only requirement for any proper set is that it hold enough tea for all one’s friends.  While I am more of a coffee drinker and do not know all the in’s and out’s of proper tea, I have come to realize that a tea set is something more than just porcelain.

 Below is my personal tea set and it comes with a story that will always make it dear to my heart …though the colors no longer match my kitchen.

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I came across this set ten years ago while I was in my senior year of college.  Like many college students, money was tight, and I happened to be out one day trying to find a few clothing bargains for my senior student-placement.  I wandered through the mall and ended up in Bon Ton, unsuccessful on my search up to this point.  I began ambling my way through the home section and came across a small box containing this tea set.  It had, as one can see, two tea cups, a tea pot, and of course a matching creamer and sugar bowl.  It was greatly reduced in price, but still would take all of the money I had in my meager clothing budget.

As with many purchases, I took sometime to think about it and mulled the decision over in my head.  I needed the clothes.  Yet the tea set suddenly came to represent more than just a few pretty dishes, and the pressing issue of expanding my tiny wardrobe began to melt away.  I started to view these little pieces of china as my future.  As something that showed I was ready for the more “adult” aspects of life.  As an investment in the future me, who, I was convinced, would need a tea set.

The choice became crystal clear.

After I had reached my definite conclusion, I made a bee line to the store, plunked down every last cent I had in my wallet, and carried my purchase back to the college townhouse proud as a peacock.  Ten years later it still has a special place in my kitchen.  Though the bold maroon flowers clash with the soft pinks and turquoise of my current color scheme, the set still reminds me of the investment I made in myself and my future.  So it is true when they say that every tea cup has a story…and this is mine.

Oh and the clothing situation?  

Well, when you live with seven other girls of the same size…the problem sort of takes care of itself! 🙂

 

So whether it be mismatched, chipped around the rim, or covered in painted flowers, bring out from hiding that most beloved set.  It stands for more than just tea! 🙂

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A Very Vintage Christmas

Christmas Decor cover

Is there anything better than prepping one’s house for the holiday season?  Not in my book!

Decorating calls for extra special snacks to be placed out in easy reach, one’s most favorite Christmas music or movie gently playing in the background, and an excitement to place out all one’s purchased and handmade ornaments.  It is, at least in my house, the one time all year when the whole house gets completely decked out for the season.  The bathroom becomes an icy sparkly wonderland.  The bedrooms evoke a warmth and coziness of a magical wood where cardinals are seen darting about.  The kitchen is bright, colorful, and is the perfect place to add all those colored lights.  And the living room, my absolute favorite room in the house, is soft, warm, and peppered with silver and gold.  Add a few lit candles and time seems to fall away!

Looking to create or add to your own Christmas abode?  Let the following ideas spark that vintage imagination!!

Vintage Christmas Decorations for Around the House

Vintage Christmas Decorations

Vintage Tree Ornament Ideas

vintage ornament ideas

Vintage Christmas Table Settings

Vintage Christmas Table Settings

Two more weeks til Christmas!
I can’t wait! 🙂

~Aimee

 


Gift Wrapping Ideas

Gift Wrapping Cover

Gift wrapping, for me, is one of the most relaxing parts of the whole gift giving process.  One is able to relax in the faith that they have (hopefully) found the perfect gifts and can now begin the delightfully fun process of wrapping.

I do not spend a lot of money on wrapping paper.  I tend to take advantage of sales and buy just one or two different (yet coordinating) patterns.  Then, through fun details and trims, each present takes on it’s own personality and look.  So if your creative-wrapping-well has run dry, I have collected 11 different ideas of both vintage and victorian styles to stimulate your imagination.

Enjoy, and let’s get wrapping!

P.S. Don’t be afraid to pick up a few extra rolls of wrapping paper.  They are excellent for sewing patterns and are at a much more reasonable price than regular brown craft paper. 🙂

Victorian Gift Wrapping Ideas 

Victorian Gift Wrapping Ideas

Vintage Gift Wrapping Ideas

Vintage Gift Wrapping Ideas

So let that paper and ribbon fly! 🙂

~Aimee


Vintage-Inspired Thanksgiving Table Settings

I love setting the table for a special party or dinner!  

It started when I was a child and my mom and I would always plan out the look and design for all holiday dinners complete with handmade place cards.  While I, at times,  struggle with hosting a party (I don’t do well in groups 🙂 ) I love the organizing and planning that goes in to it!

I recently ordered a copy of the Better Homes and Garden’s book on Table Settings to further expand my repertoire and knowledge of setting the perfect table.

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While it is very short, it gives wonderful ideas for setting and organizing the dinner table.

So in the spirit of all this planning, I thought I would share some of the research I have done for this upcoming holiday season.

Lets start with the vintage ideas:

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I think this one may be too fancy for my little house!

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I love the simple design of the china…perfect for layering of textures and other colors.

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Again…maybe a little too extravagant!

And here are a few modern ideas…with a vintage flair:

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Rustic and charming!

Image from Mod Vintage Life

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This is enchanting and might be my choice for this year!

Image from Stone Gable

I hope this gives you some inspiration to create your own unique Thanksgiving (or any special meal) table!

~Aimee


Tips for Calming Your Nerves

With Thanksgiving a little over a week away, it is possible that you are experiencing a slightly heighten state of stress.  With house cleaning, prepping for family, thawing the turkey, and mentally preparing for the enormous amount of calories you will be intaking, it is easy to let the stress make its way to your neck, head, and back.

To help combat this yearly onslaught, here are a few tips to help relieve the pressure!

“If you believe that you are overworking, lie down for at least fifteen minutes after every meal,  Or get home in the afternoon in time to lie down for an hour before dinner.

Lie flat on your back and withdraw every bit of resistance and strain from your body.  Relax your arms and legs and let down your back til you lie all soft and fluid, melting into the matters or couch.

If you can drop off to sleep, so much the better. But don’t fuss if sleep refuses to come.

If you find your mind working overtime, pick up a magazine and read a story that has a wholesome bit of humor or pathos, the entertaining sort that is light but agreeable reading.

Nerves are best relieve by vigorous, stimulating exercise that transfers the activity to your muscles. Plan to be out-of-doors two to three hours every day if you can.

If you play golf or tennis, play to win.

Drink a glass of milk in the mid-afternoon and at bedtime.  Have the bedtime glass warmed if you can drink it that way.  It will help you rest better.”

So take a deep breath and drop off the stress!  Thanksgiving will turn out perfectly…it always does! 🙂

~Aimee

Source: Tips for Calming Your Nerves During the Holiday Season by Barbara Ellison, Fashion Service, 1927

calming nerves


Autumn Supper Parties

The foods of the fall season are as iconic as foods for Christmas.  Pumpkins, apples, squash, and of course, turkey, make their way to the dinner table in many homes during the month of October.  However, it seems as if large gatherings diminish during this time as the warm days of summer picnics come to an end.  To combat this apparent doldrum, why not host you own Autumn Supper Party.  Popular during the turn of the 20th century, these happy gatherings feature rustic decorations, hearty food, and plenty of happy company!

Here is an excerpt from an article in Good Housekeeping (c. 1904) detailing the table decor and some rather interesting menu options…

“Always use a bare table for a supper….veil its imperfections with doilies, small dishes, candles, and plenty of flowers.  To light the table, use silver or brass individual sticks if you have them, if not, invest in two pairs of the pretty twisted candlesticks to be had now for fifty cents a pair.

In small dishes on the table have peeled radishes, olives, celery tips, salted nuts and bonbons, and, if the table is a long one with plenty of room, a glass or two of prettily colored jelly or spiced peaches or candied ginger.  

As to the menu, remember that it is no longer good form to have a prolonged meal, even at dinner there are fewer coursed than formerly.  Do not end with an ice, for, absurd as it may seem, it is tabooed at supper.  Serve coffee in large cups with the main course, or, if the party is a large one, offer a choice of coffee or chocolate.  

This menu is easily prepared and very nice:

Autumn Supper Menu1

One more menu, and a short one, suitable for a supper served late at night.  In this the sweet is especially good, and one seldom seen:”

Autumn Supper Menu 2

Recipes for many of these dishes are readily found on the internet or in vintage cookbooks.  Here is one version of the French Charlotte Russe.

Wish to host a Autumn Supper of your own?  See below for my top picks to create the perfect fall gathering:

Autumn Supper Party products

Plaid Picnic Blanket from Pier One

Brass Candlesticks from Etsy

 Crystal Bowls from Macys

Birchbark candles from World Market 

Autumn in the Country Cookbook

Autumn Plates from Pfaltzgraff

Happy Planning!

~Aimee

Sources:

Autumn Supper Parties by Caroline French Benten, Good Housekeeping, October 1904

Menu 1 Photo: Autumn in the Wasatch by David C. Schultz

Menu 2 Painting: Edgar Alwin Payne (1883-1947), Sycamore in Autumn, Orange County Park, c. 1917


Fall Bulb Planting

I promise myself every year that I will plant bulbs in the fall, and this year I am doing it!  I always have good intentions, and then the weather gets away from me and I am stuck with another year of a brown garden in the spring.

Not this year!  🙂

As I began researching which bulbs to plant, where, and at what time, I was amazed at the variety of resources available, in addition to some wonderful vintage advice.  So I thought I would share my findings with all of you!

Now Is the Time to Plant Your Bulbs by Helen Van Pelt Wilson

“Gardens are ruled by a gay triumvirate – bulbs, perennials, and annuals – but in the spring the glorious flowering bulb is the mightiest of the three garden kings.  

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In long loved drifts blossoming bulbs will glorify even a tin garden from February until June and, if lilies are included, there will be scattered flowering far into September.  Planted with such bright ground covers as forget-me-nots, pansies, English daisies, hardy candytuft, and yellow alyssum, bulbs will create such spring beauty as is breath-taking in its swift, exciting gayety after the dull gray days of winter.  

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Intro to Heirlooms Bulb Sampler

Yet long before spring the thoughtful gardener must plant bulbs.  Through the autumn she must tuck into the soil these surest of nature’s promises – for good bulbs can absolutely be counted on to bloom.  Within its plum brown skin, each carries an embryo blossom with enough food to nourish it for a season.

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Many of the smaller kinds are appealingly pretty for the very early garden.  Snowdrops bloom in March or early April, while the bright yellow crocus, grape hyacinth, and Scilla Sibrica carry on into May.  

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Small Bulb Sampler

Of the larger bulbs the narcissus family blooms first.  In this group are the white, cluster-type narcissus, the trumpet narcissus common called jonquils or daffodils and the Narcissus Poeticus which blooms about two weeks later than the other two.  

Many varieties and colors my be included even in a small border.  Mixed collections of the tiny bulbs and of the larger narcissus are entirely safe.  Hyacinths will not clash either, but tulips, because of their vivid contrasting colors, are best planted in named groups.

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Good bulbs this year are offered at most attractive prices.  For less than twenty-five dollars a boarder six by twenty feet, for example, can be solidly planted with a large variety of spring bulbs.  Follow theses with a few packets of summer and fall-flowering annuals and you will have a complete garden.

How to Plant a Bulb Border

Along the edge of this border plant a single row of fifty mammoth yellow cross.  Behind these in an eighteenth-inch drift, plant a mixture of fifty glory-of-the-snow, fifty snowdrops, and fifty Siberina squalls.  Sow seed of the annual sweet alyssum month these in the fall or in very early spring.

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Behind these tony bulbs, plant a second eighteen-inch band of three spaced groups of five dozen mixed single narcissi, including Star and Trumpet varieties.  Between these three groups, in the same band, plant three dozen heavenly blue trap hyacinths hacked by three dozen pink wood hyacinths.  Sow this autumn seeds of the annual pink Shirley poppies between these bulbs.

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Bulb Planter

Of course, there must be lilies, too, but none growing so tall that they exceed three to four feet or their height will be out of proportion to the width of this bed.  Set a dozen lilies in four groups among the tulips, each group con tainting one each of the three varieties – the Candidum set within two inches of the surface, the Regale five inches deep, and the Auratum twelve.

tulips

Landscaping with bulbs

To make this border a success, remember that bulbs have four requirements – good drainage, adequate nourishment, enough time to mature, and a light winter mulching.”

Source: Good Housekeeping, October, 1933

While this border described sounds a bit more intense than I am looking for, I love the ideas of various types of bulbs in my garden!

Enjoy and Happy Planting!

~Aimee

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