real life, still life
a tub tray. Therefore, she fashioned one.
You can do it, too.
Measure the width of your bath tub.
Salvage. She found a plank of discarded fencing, aged is better. Cut to desired length. Grab a belt sander (her favourite accessory) and sand off the slivers and lichen.
Apply one or two coats of White chalk paint ( Annie Sloan https://www.anniesloan.com).
Stencil a royal touch (she will find her crown).
Wax. (Annie Sloan Clear Chalkpaint Wax.)
my darling, may you live happily ever after”
“Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace.”~ Eugene O’Neil
Salvaged from a shed, the door is a simple piece of architecture. That’s probably the reason it caught my fancy, once upon a time. Years later, I’m still bewitched by the simple lines and the Art Deco glass. Even the cracked ceramic “push” plates lend charm and whimsy to the vintage door.
Neglected, it weathered. Watermarks left discolouration on the grain that sanding couldn’t remove. I painted it. Lightly. Forgive me.
Two thin slips of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Pure White took the door from dull to bright. A light touch from the sanding block, distressed and smoothed the surface. After a coat of Annie Sloan clear wax, the polishing cloth skated over the grain.
The broken panes of glass were removed using needle nose pliers (Safety Tip- wear gloves). One cracked pane remains. This glass is known as “leadlight” and is associated with architecture that is geometric in detail. Small sections of glass are supported in lead cames. Unfortunately, leadlight glass is expensive to replace and today, there are few people trained in the art of repair.
I stand before the door and close both eyes. My hand pushes upon the ceramic plate. The door leaning against the wall opens to show a wooded path. In the distance is a cottage. Rays of sunlight sparkle between the evergreen boughs. I remember.
Water tumbles beyond the cottage grounds. Hummingbirds whir. Closer still, I see wild roses in bloom and ivy inching up the crumbling brick chimney. And there you are. Seated beside the window, warmed by the stove, you lift a cup of tea to your lips. Our eyes meet. Do you remember?
I stand upon the threshold and wait for what seems an eternity. You smile and beckon me to enter. “I’ve been waiting,” you say. “Sit down and talk awhile.”
“The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend.”
― Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception
Posh Paper Pennants
Ever wondered what to do with leftover card stock pieces from an unfinished scrapbook project? If you whirl like me, you have the best intentions, gather the supplies, only to start and leave the project for another date. And another. And another.
A talented lady invited me for coffee one morning and showed off some of her recent pennant styles. You may recall this same talented woman is the mind behind the vintage cloth pennants I posted on an earlier post. It is the found and repurposed fabrics, the details, and her design flair that make these pennants so bespoke.
Pennants and templates are trending on Pinterest. Here is a link to several boards,
Paper Pennants are a clever way to reuse and repurpose some of your leftover paper supplies. I purchased the cardstock for both pennants from a local Dollar Store and selected trending shades and colours that I am fond of: pinks, turquoise, and shades of grey. Of course you could make these pennants from fabric scraps, worn jeans, beautiful cards, black and white photocopied photographs… Let your imagination loose.
If you choose to create pennants from fabric, consider placing Wonder Under between the diamond pennants to stiffen and seal the fabric. Here is a link to Walmart,
The purchased fabric was from, Hobby Lobby and Fabricana.
At home I put the generations to work tracing diamond pennant templates onto cardstock. We chose seven small pennants per string. Sharp scissors keep the diamonds “perfect.” Fold your diamonds in half and make a sharp crease. Using a small hole punch from Michaels’ Crafts, I punched two openings into the top ends of the folded diamond.
Gather your twine. Lay your pennants onto a table. Pattern, number, and space as you wish. Cut a length of twine, five times the length of your pennant. I do this purposely; I would rather have a string too long than too short. Tie off one of the ends of twine. I make a knotted loop to attach to a small nail or push pin.
Thread your pennants onto the twine and space them as desired. A voice niggled in my mind, “Posh it up.” A bag of fabric provided the style oomph. I tore some bits of coordinating fabric and knotted the scrapped ties in between the spaced pennants, adding two fabric ties to complete each end of the pattern. Decide on the desired length. Tie off the opposite end of twine and hang your pennant.
These card stock pennants are the perfect addition to a baby gift, celebration, or event. Pure whimsy and shabby vintage enhance and warm any space. Pennants created by loving hands add homemade glamour, a sense of nostalgia to any space, and silently whisper their stories forth.
A Pretty Little Thing.
“There was no where to go but everywhere,
so just keep on rolling under the stars.”
~ Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Found at a local flea market~ this lovely “madmen” style Samsonite suitcase. I should have walked away, instead I lingered. It stood on the grass, bumped up beside a stack of empty gilded frames and a chippy press back chair.
“May I open it?”
The vendor smiled and nodded. The lining of the case was in excellent condition; someone had second thoughts, ideas of salvage, and replaced the original satin liner. My gaze drifted to the outer shell of the case, unmarked, just tired and worn. A tea stained shade of off white. I eyed the tag that hung from the handle. It read, stamped in ink, eight dollars. The price was right.
How to fashion it yet preserve the story?
What pulls me in? Do I wish to wander? Whose delicate fingers gripped the handle? I imagine a lady owned the suitcase. A secretary. Now, we’d say, Administrative Assistant. Was it packed with just enough for a racy weekend rendezvous? Or was the handle gripped tightly by the fingers of a daughter estranged from family? There was an urgency or a wish for convenience; the owner flew.
Once home, I place the suitcase on a wooden table. From the cupboard I lift a familiar can half filled with annie sloan chalk paint (Pure White). The rich and creamy chalk paint covers the case in two coats. Warmth from the summer sun hastens the dry. I dabble grey paint overtop a royal stencil motif, only to discover the motif is upside down when the case stands right side up. It’s one of those days when simple becomes complex. Two more coats of chalk paint cover the “mistake.” Light wax, rubbed and polished into the surface of the case forms a protective cover. The coveted stories, safe.
Where to put this little gem and what to tuck inside? There are two luggage tickets secreted inside the case, left by an unknown hand. The worn tags read, PACIFIC WESTERN,” YKA, KAMLOOPS, BC.
My imagination’s muse senses a “story” coming on…
It’s in my blood, an old soul courses through my veins: a deep yearning to keep the past. The mission- to salvage and redo all that is shabby and worn. Repurpose and restore the tattered, the scrapped, and elevate the flawed. This pull to find imperfect beauty is an inescapable ache to preserve and cherish.
It is a process that begins with a discerning eye, a glance once cast, smitten. A wish to envision the possibilities of recovery, the wish to polish and show prettiness, grips hold of me. With love, the chosen object of desire gains stature and presence, beholden to my unwavering vision and gentle touch.
It is part curiosity that draws me back in time, allowing my imagination to grab hold of another reality, the past. Closing my eyes, I envision the row house on Adelaide Terrace. The blackened front door holds an iron knocker fashioned in the likeness of a lion. I stand on the brick stairs mustering up the courage to knock. From an adjoining window, a broken heart plays the sad notes of a piano. His fingers linger on keys, softness builds to crescendo. Will she answer?
The woman hears the soft knock upon the wooden door. She wonders who comes to call? Carefully, she sets the gilded china tea cup onto the table. The roses give her reason to pause and remember.
I recall the woman who lives in the Adelaide Terrace home. Prim comes to mind as I envision her presence. Pin curled hair, bobbed and chin length, fashioned off-center by the snag of a single bobbie pin. Her tucked in blouse is the creamiest of silk. Always she centers a pearl studded pin under the collar, an heirloom treasure from her deceased mother. A blue wool skirt graces her petite frame, hemmed below the knees. Her cheeks are lightly rouged and her lips rarely smile; she is never amused.
Yet, once upon a time the woman ran carefree through the blooming gardens, hid among the greenest hedgerows; her long auburn hair flying with the wind, green eyes twinkling from the laughter that spilled from a precious place deep within her Irish soul. The woman learned at an early age, objects of beauty never last long. The bloom fades, the fragile china surface gathers cracks that graze and shatter.
This woman was my grandmother; she learned that real fades, becomes tarnished over time. She forgot, we endure because we remember. The stories told come back to mind, moments coveted to memory, snugged tight within our hearts. They won’t let go, never want to leave. We knew love in all its glory and all of its tattered pieces.
I open the box that houses her mismatched china. Carefully I set the cups and saucers upon the floor. One piece enchants. It is the cup with the faded tea roses, the gilded edges faded from time’s kiss. This is the one I keep.
has taken the concept of hosting a simple “Garage Sale” to a whole new level. Imagine farm fields, their grassy carpets filled with hip vendors perched on chippy stools, smiling under sparkling white tents. Barns filled with stitched banners made from aged bark cloth, floral, and linen announce, Little Olde This or That. A vintage fair for the seekers of all things timeworn, pretty, cherished or repurposed. An opportunity to recall moments from the past. A chance to whisper, I remember.
Wooden shelves are lined and brimming over with yesterday’s treasures or necessities. My eyes spy the china saucers, their mate cups now long gone. Floral chintz, calico and full blooming roses adorn the plates. Sugar bowls, their lids long ago cracked and broken, perfect vessels to fill with hot soy wax and candle wicks. License plates stack in wicker baskets. Each precious piece holds a story from once upon a time.
Yet these bespoke pieces are not lost or forgotten. There are still souls that cherish the dusty and worn. I pause to behold an old tin medic kit, the red cross sprayed and stark against the white background. The battered tin rusted in spots, blackened down to the metal. I imagine the urgent fingers that lifted the latch and searched for the proper bandage or wrap to staunch a flowing wound.
My eyes discover a wooden drawer, stacked upright and alone. Walk away. On the front of the wood, stamped in black paint, are the numerals 1929. There is a tender reason I covet such a humble piece. I wonder about the careless owner who dripped the bright orange paint inside the once pristine space.
Is it just an old drawer? Never.
Carefully, I lift my new found treasures from the trunk of the car and place them within the fading light. I consider their loveliness. An old soul stirs and smiles.
Gently I polish to reveal each item’s patina. Shabby yet chic.Timeworn Elegance.
What about the drawer, you ask? I open a trusted tin of annie sloan chalkpaint. My brush strokes cover up the spilled flaws. Suddenly the old drawer softens and suggests a usefulness. A set of folding legs from an old, IKEA tray table are the perfect item for the drawer to nest upon. Repurposed gorgeousness and regal status.
A piece of barkcloth in pristine condition waits to grace my kitchen.
Salvaged bits from other lives and stories that live on.
It’s just a chair, an old chair. Yet, if this chair could speak; the stories it might tell. The couple who sat on them, gone. Perhaps it would share the couple’s Saturday morning plans as they prepared the necessary grocery list. Their turn to host an evening’s cocktail social for the neighbours.
“Cliff,don’t forget the Glen Fiddich.”
They were big on appetizers and scotch. Politics, quail and rose gardens. They visited France. I remember.
The chair sat in the garage. I felt an overwhelming need to take a pause and notice. Lovely in its simplicity, the curved back begged touch, beckoned me to slip fingertips along the sloped top.
The chair and its twin remained in a garage for several years. Ignored. Dampness set in. The wood split and greyed. The nail heads rusted and seeped.The chairs stood disgraced.They knew she’d never approve of their current state of affairs.
Annie Sloan chalk paint never disappoints. I washed the grime away. Dressed in a coat as white as snowbells in early spring, the chair straightened. Pretty, fresh. After a gentle sand, the chair’s personality shone through. Paint slipped off the wood in all the right places. A buff of wax and she smiled. I remembered.
As an afterthought, I applied a royalish stencil, minus the crown. Which is just as well. Enough, it’s just enough.
I’ve heard it said, Paris is always a good idea.
Today was a quiet day; a day to putter and “nest.”In between gusting winds and rare moments when rays of warm sunshine kissed through the chill, I managed to get my rear in gear and tackle a funky, junky old chair that has spent too many winters in a shed.Two coats of annie sloan white chalkpaint and “ta da!” Tomorrow I’ll sand the paint, consider touch ups, and perhaps add a stencilled crown. Stay tuned for the final reveal.
PS~ A "shout out" to my inspirational blogging sister, Found This, Painted That.