Thursday, April 26, 2012


Originally a term used in the early 1400's Europe, "tussie-mussie" referres to a small bouquet of herbs and flowers with symbolic meanings.
(language of the flowers)

In later centuries it became customary to wear these bouquets on one's person to portray a mood or feeling, a thought or even to have a pleasant scent around one's body when bathing was at one time, a once or twice a year event!

Of all the various tussie-mussie holders out there (silver, gold, ivory, wood & everything else in between), the smaller painted porcelain ones are my most favorite of all, such as these beauties which date from the Victorian era to the 1920's.


The Goodie Drawer

Does every kitchen have a "goodie drawer"?
I know a few that do.  I do.
To dedicate one drawer to "goodies" is taking away from the functionality of the tiny space.
And although mine isn't that organized or pretty (I have a VERY small galley kitchen with cabinets still original to 1950 when my cottage was first built), its still fun to pull open and gaze into. 

I have it filled with tea strainers, colored twines, mother-of-pearl handled knives and silver sugar tongs.  But mostly its filled with the English Sheffield porcelain handled serving pieces I have collected for 22 years now.  I sold half the collection (about 50 pieces) 2 years ago and kept just the pieces I really love.
The handles are all in shades of blue.  Some are the Florentine pattern in pale blue with multi-colored painted floral and gold details, as well as a cobalt/indigo handle with the same floral and gold details, or a Blue Onion pattern.
My most prized piece is the double sided ladle.
I also have a Victorian cake cutter, several cheese planes and bread knives, a grapefruit knife and butter knives or teaspoons, a Springerle wood cookie mold....
I will feature the pieces in the next few entries on this blog.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Restful Retreat

While being a fan of Shabby Chic style, I prefer a little more chic then shabby (not modern, mind you, but just a little more taken care of).
I have never been a fan for an over-the-top aged, tattered or shabby/chippy look either.
I like things cleaner and fresher.  Seeing something too aged or chippy makes me want to take a bath or inspect it for spiders...
In the 90's I had a hand painted furniture business for several years ("a Gilded Vine") where I specialized in Swedish Gustavian.  Its a clean look with a bit of history to it.  (Love the pale colors too.)
I have always believed in "upcycling" furniture and that's what I have been doing for almost 20 years now.  Most of my own furniture is rescued and painted to suit my look.

That's why this beach cottage caught my eye.
(courtesy of Cottage Style Spring/Summer 2012)
This is a cottage done right.

The freshness of the pale lemon yellow and the periwinkle blue against a warm white will not grow old within a year.  Its a timeless look with nice woodwork, well taken care of.
There is enough prettiness to keep it soft and enough practicality to make it easy to live with and clean (shutters on windows).

And nary an overly faux-aged piece of chippy furniture in sight!
I think a person could live a very long time here and be very happy.
I know I could!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What A Lovely Throne to Sit Upon!

This photo comes from the book "Blue and White Living" by Stephanie Hoppen.
On page 108-9 is this photo spread of gorgeous blue and white toilets sitting in a meadow.
What are those beauties doing out there!?
Although I do have to say I'd feel almost ashamed to sit on one to do a job! They are far too pretty!
According to the article, these toilets date from between 1880-1905 when 75% of all bathroom fittings were blue and white.
Where can I find one now!?
This is one toilet I'd have no shame planting flowers in, in my front yard! haha

Oxford Blue

I have a red Dutch door.
Its lovely and fun and gets lots of comments and looks from people passing by the house on foot.  When I painted it red I had envisioned painting my pale yellow house a pale Nordic Blue.
My entire interior of my cottage is blue and white.
But I couldn't quite do it and decided last minute to keep the cottage yellow, but to paint it a slightly brighter shade with really white trim. 
In dreary Seattle, the Nordic Blue washed out and made the house look almost drab.  Yellow cheered it up. 
I was influenced by photos I saw online of Danish sea cottages.
They are bright yellow and surrounded by flowers of every color.
It really caught my eye and while the inside of Elinor Cottage is more subtle in tone, I felt the exterior needed a bit of help.
I chose Laura Ashley Cowslip Yellow #3 and I love it!
But now when I get home and see my red door with the bright yellow house, I can't help but think of Ronald McDonald and ketchup and mustard!  I just can't get it from my head and so I am going to change the front door color.
The color I have chosen is a classic Oxford Blue.  Its a color my friend Pippa said she saw all over Notting Hill and Oxford, when she was in England.
She wants her front door this color too and I hope she does it!

Oxford blue is an odd blue - not as dark as navy, yet not as in-your-face as royal or cobalt.  Its a happy, medium dark blue with some life to it.
I think it will go well with my bright yellow cottage!  Especially since I have the front and east side of the cottage planted with blue hydrangeas!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

In Love with Blue & White Stripes!

The tailored look of this blue and white striped fabric tones down the ornateness of the rolled arm settee frame.
I think the bit of red stripe hidden within the wider blue and white stripes adds warmth and interest.
The ruffles keep it feminine while the overall brighter blue with white in the room keeps the whole scene fresh.
So lovely!
I want one for my house.  It looks very Swedish Gustavian!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Its all in the details

I thought a simple white curtain with faded blue watercolor roses printed on it would be enough to make it special. Maybe a ruffled top with a rod pocket and very full/generous.
But when I added this length of French ribbon along the edges, it really made the curtain special.
The old adage rings true: "its in the details"!

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Perfect Luncheon Setting

This is where I'd like to be right a shaded garden on a warm summer day. Seated at a lovely table set in blue & white. And with a couple of very good friends!
from Victoria magazine's Blue & White in Your Home
What could be on the menu?
How about a Waldorf salad, crab cakes, and Paula Deen's Strawberry Cake!?
They may not all go together well but they all sure sound good to me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lovely Old Delft Tile

I dream of a kitchen with walls of Delft blue tile.
Did you know...that Delft potters made over 800 million tiles
in 1700 factories over a period of 200 years?
Many Dutch houses still have tiles fixed in the
17th and 18th centuries!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Blue & White

I love Victoria magazine and have every copy 
(plus spares) since the premiere issue in 1987.
I even remember buying the premiere issue when I first saw
it in a store in The Dalles, Oregon.
I was with my (now ex) husband visiting his family in Hood River when we went to The Dalles for some now unremembered reason
and I needed something to read so badly!  But I wasn't just looking for something to read, I was desperate for inspiration and a direction in which to take in decorating my own home. I needed what Victoria offered and I have been a subscriber ever since!

My favorite issues over the years became obvious:  the blue & white issues that came out in June or July (depending on the year).
I have to say the June 1995 issue still remains a favorite with me.  It has spectacular photography and features the most incredible romantic rooms, accessories and fashions in all shades
of blue and white.
Here are a few high lights from a favorite article within this issue:  an at-home wedding where everything is...yes...
blue & white!
The front cover of Victoria magazine, June 1995
A wispy blue floral silk dress
Heart shaped tea sandwiches!
A traditional living room with navy striped sofas
A classic fitted silk jacket in baby blue
An ethereal overlay skirt with matching scarf

Friday, April 6, 2012

Beach House Dreaming

With our cold and rainy start to the new year here in Seattle, a room open to the sunshine and crashing waves onto a warm beach is a far-fetched dream!  (not to mention, finding a sandy white beach in the NW!)

Love the feel of this room with the slip covered denim/ticking over-stuffed sofas and the indoor-outdoor deck space.  What an ideal way to live!  Everything says 'casual' and 'laid back, with no fuss'.
Living like this would be like being on vacation 24/7.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Breakfast Table

I love breakfast.
It is by far my most favorite time of the day and my most favorite meal.
It's wonderful to bask in the sunlight of a new day, catch up on the world's events with NPR and plan one's day.
I love breakfast foods too.
But I really love a well set breakfast table with linens, nice china and a simple but tasty meal packed with proteins, along with a pot of tea or coffee.
This table is perfect for such an ideal start to one's day with beautiful linens, a nice table cloth, china, flowers and sunshine.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Burled Wood

I LOVE burled wood.  
    In fact, it's my favorite wood-look/veneer.
What is burled wood?  Its an unusual pattern formed under the bark due to a stress or fungus/mold the tree suffered at some point.
Kinda sad to think the tree has a growth due to such extreme circumstances and that growth is highly prized by woodworkers!

I have a pair of kidney-shaped end tables with delicate Louis XV style legs, metal ormolus and black marble tops - and a veneer of burled wood.  I think the wood is maple but I'm not positive.
I love the tables and will have them until the day I keel over.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New Fabric Collection

I guess once you have more then two or three of something you can call it a "collection", right?
I started with one design uploaded to Spoonflower and now I find I can't stop.  It's so fun to design fabrics and coordinate them all with each other.  Get a theme going.  Mine is a cross between old Laura Ashley, Shabby Chic and faded 1930's florals used on dresses, feed sacks and later, in quilts.