Friday, July 14, 2017

A Summer Place Setting

♪♫ There's a summer place ♪♫...remember that movie and song? Ahh, the romance of summer love. Well, today it's all about a summer in table setting, with things I love. Let me begin by saying I love antiquing as a hobby/small business. I also love gardening, and I enjoy tablescaping with my love of dishes. So, today's table is about a summer place setting in the garden with a mix of new and vintage wares!
There's a little place in my garden, just outside the courtyard gate and beyond the trellis (which curves into the landscape)....
....where there's a clearing behind the magnolia tree. I love the space for its bird's eye view of the area surrounding, where feathered friends are active nearby (especially in the small birdbath), and also beyond, where the garden beds are. It is here that I created a summer place setting.
I hung a vintage chandelier I had in storage to catch the filtered sunlight over the planned table.
I then pulled out a vintage European linen sheet with a fabulously large monogram as my drape for the small table I planned - a table for two.
Romancing the scene are my International 'Prelude' flatware and Noritake 'Reverie' plates. Grounding the place setting are MacKenzie-Childs 'Courtly Check' chargers and 'Thistle and Bee' bread and butter plates.

Completing the place settings are Merimekko acrylic stemware, along with black linen Napoleon bee napkins (French Gardenhouse), caught in the curling vines of the blown glass flower napkin rings made by a local artisan.
Rolled pillows in toile and linen covers provide lumbar support in the wrought iron seating.
A bouquet of fresh-cut garden flowers in a crystal vase is the finishing touch to the intimate setting.

The shade of the magnolia provides respite from the summer sun, while still enjoying the view of the garden blooms beyond. The umbrella over the chaise lounges in the yard teases with its pool of additional shade.
What better way to enjoy the fruits of spring labor in the garden than to have an alfresco meal in the shade, with a bird's eye view of it all in summer?
I hope you enjoyed the view from my summer place in the garden. If this is your first visit to my blog, I welcome you and invite your return. My topics - including love of antiques, gardening and tablescaping - can be viewed and sorted at the top menu of my blog header. You can also use my search block for topics, or scroll through the labels on the sidebar. If you have similar interests, why not let's chat? Let me know you were here, either by leaving a comment or dropping me a line via my email. If you have a blog, I'd love to drop in and visit you too.

This week I am joining all the bloggers conveniently listed below, where you can simply click on any - or all - to see each person's interpretation of a summer-themed tablescape. A heartfelt thank you to Chloe from the blog Celebrate and Decorate for organizing and hosting this roundup!





Your visit, whether old friend or new, is appreciated!
Rita C. at Panoply

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Midsummer Garden Blooms, Views

This year's garden blooms continue to delight. Even beyond the initial spring, early summer burst of color as seen in my last garden post, summer's heat and rain have brought about wild growth and more color. Let's take a look at some of what's been happening since early June in our Zone 7a garden landscape.
With all the sun's rays, my year-round garden reader needed some shades, I thought. ;) He stands amid bee balm (leaning a bit after some heavy rains), black-eyed Susans, and the edge of a butterfly bush on the right. The last of the spireas' first flush of blooms are seen in the foreground.
This is the amount of rain my little gauge captured in two separate days, mid-June. Great for growing!
Capturing macro views of blooms, such as this mandevilla, is always fun to do after a rain. The rain really did wonders for the recent transplants (no more babying, yay!), and encouraged lots of blooms on the hydrangeas and the hibiscus.
Above, you can see my recent limelight hydrangea transplant, as well as the already established endless summer blooms. After much staking and anticipation, the Lord Baltimore hibiscus did not disappoint, and they began blooming in the back landscape on June 26. This photo was taken July 2.
I love the blue & red against each other!
Here's a view very similarly angled as in the early summer garden post, but this time the hibiscus are blooming, as is the limelight hydrangea (behind the flag). The endless summer hydrangea show more of what we saw in early June.
The coneflowers transplanted in early June are established and well situated beneath the weeping blue cedar atlas.
Hard to capture, the weeping cedar atlas bends and twists over at least four 6' sections of brick wall. It is trained with the help of various strategic stakes and anchors in the brick wall.
The tree form butterfly bushes are going crazy with blooms and doing their job to attract their namesake.
In another area, just in front of the knockout roses which are trained upward against my brick wall, I have dwarf butterfly bushes in a lighter hue of purple than the tree form. They, too, are blooming.
The picture above is a silhouette of the knockout roses, taken from behind the brick wall on which they're trained, and the sun is in the western sky. I go into the garden at all hours to capture different light and features. That one was just before sunset.
The container plantings in the courtyard have grown to fill the width of their containers, and are beginning to spill over. The picture above shows the container by the hot tub just after planting (left, late May) and now (right, early July). The Indian grass is starting to push its plumes.
The containers near the sunroom are also spilling over. The hummingbirds are still hitting the natural food sources in the pentas and the bee balm and not so much my feeders. This is typical in my garden, and they really start hitting the feeders later in summer. The SunPatiens I bought this year (the hot pink in the hot tub container, the white in the sunroom container) are wonderful! I will buy those again, they're doing so well in full sun.
With such a profusion of garden blooms this time of year, it's perfect for clipping indoor bouquets. The picture above is of those I cut on the 4th of July, and they are still looking good as of this post publish. I took my vases (with water) outside and cut early in the morning. I dipped the hydrangea stems in alum spice immediately after cutting and immersed in the water. This helps preserve their blooms from wilting, which can otherwise happen within a couple hours, depending on the time of day you clip.
In another, lesser visible area of the garden, my sundial sits amid the mountain bluet blooms. This is near the clematis, which just finished its bloom cycle in late June.
Lastly, in the front (north) section of the landscape, the annuals are also doing well. The Lord Baltimore hibiscus (just around the corner of the house edge, behind the hollies), in this section just started blooming July 5, about 2 weeks later than the back landscape hibiscus.

It's a pleasure to join Pam at Everyday Living with the garden party she's hosting periodically this summer and early fall. If you haven't already, stop by and visit Pam's blog. You'll see lots of garden tours, and may just make a new friend.
Everyday Living

Rita C. at Panoply

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Miscellaneous Musings No. 7

Well, hello, there! So much miscellany has happened since our last roundup. Since the first part of the year was devoted to mostly renovation, I think it's appropriate we begin this installation of Miscellaneous Musings (No. 7) with just a few notables related to home improvement.

We'll start with this advertisement below. Wouldn't it be great if everybody said what they meant, including designers and contractors?

Or, how about this one?
Throughout our recent projects, I caught Mr. P. watching more and more of HGTV's programming. Two on his radar seem to be David Bromstad's "My Lottery Dream Home" and "Island Hunters".  I'm not sure if I would be a part of either of those escapes of his or not.

There were only a few really stressful days experienced during our projects, and one of them was the day the quartz walls were being installed in the bathroom shower.
There were five guys carrying that one wall which weighed about 500 pounds. After it was over, I said to Mr. P., "I think we need ice cream". His reply? "I think we need liquor". The man doesn't drink at all.

During our ongoing work, I was doing some pinning to a couple of boards I labeled 'Master Bath Ideas' and 'Kitchen Updates'. Now I keep getting emails with subjects such as "10 more pins for your Master Bath Ideas board" or "We think you'll like these kitchen ideas". No. Just stop it, big brother!
Another one of those "big brother" things that irks me (besides seeing pop-up ads when online for things I've recently viewed or even mentioned in an online comment anywhere on the internet)....Facebook. If I post a family photo, it wants to tag family members.....and it decides who should be whom. It doesn't matter that my daughter is not my sister, or my niece or my other daughter.....Facebook thinks it knows better than I! It's hard to UNtag who 'they' think the person should be based on their facial recognition software. Anybody else ever have that issue?

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love dishes. I have a large collection of Quimper Soleil vintage dishes, and I was considering selling them to Replacements, Ltd., based on their current offering prices. Have any of my readers had experience with that process? It seems rather complicated, or they seem to be very particular in what they'll accept, or maybe it was just this collection. Take the plates, for an example, which are octagonal. I was struggling with how to measure an octagonal plate.
Do you measure the width across or do you measure the diagonal on an octagonal plate? It makes a fractional difference, and it got very frustrating because, apparently, over the years, the French pottery company designed and manufactured these plates - even among each type of plate (dinner, luncheon, etc) - just fractions of inches varied in size. I gave up, and the dishes are still in storage.

Ahh, of my favorite things to do, especially with vintage items. Well, our area recently opened a second ReStore (sustainable funding initiative for Habitat for Humanity). Different from the typical warehouse ReStore, this one has more of a boutique arrangement. The marketing displays, social media presence is fantastic, much like an antique mall or vintage resale shop. In late winter, they held a tablescaping contest! I only saw it on Facebook, after the entries were on display. The photo collage below shows 3 of the 4 entrants from local entrepreneurs.
The winner (left frame in photo above) received bragging rights, a couple tickets for dinner to a local restaurant, and social media exposure. Afterward, all the elements were available for purchase in the ReStore. What a great idea, right? Here's the ReStore Tablescape video showing more detail if you're interested.

Do you like to read? The real, honest-to-goodness, paper kind of books? We have several little, free libraries in our neighborhood. Within a 5 mile radius, I can think of at least 4 different ones. Here's a picture of the latest one established on our walk path. The top shelf is for adult selections and the bottom shelf is filled with children's books. You can read more about this great concept here and how to build, register and spread the word, in general.
Speaking of reading, I subscribe to a lot of magazines, both paper and digital. Although likely a proven marketing strategy, I loathe all the renewal notices. How many times have you gotten caught up in those, and double paid for subscriptions?? They don't seem to extend your subscription either, unless you do your own audit and complain with proof. And how about those automatic renewal notices when they have your credit card on file? Despise those! Recently, I called one up and said no, I don't want that automatic renewal. They offered me two years for $10 less than one year's automatic price. Same thing happens with services such as pest control, cable and home security. Mr. P. calls and says, "No, I'm not paying that increase. I'll just cancel the service". They almost always cave, and keep your business at the old price. Try it next time you get an increase on a "nice to have" but not "necessary" service.

We love our neighborhood, and so do a lot of other people - bicyclists, runners, walkers and even motorists. Seems there's a need to train those who don't live in the 'hood how to behave in the 'hood. In general, there are a couple common courtesies, such as practicing the safe way of walking on any road is on the side against oncoming traffic, not with traffic, for what should be an obvious reason of safety concerns. Another common courtesy if you're a walker, and you smoke or have a dog, clean up your mess. I can't tell you how many times I've run outside when I see a person letting their dog poop on our [private] property and not pick it up. I open the door, approach them, and say, "do you need a bag to pick that up?" Cigarette butts are just disgusting.

Another example of need for training others common courtesy while in another's neighborhood is with those who organize fundraising foot races. They like to paint the streets. See Exhibit A below.
That's not chalk paint either, and there were more intersections painted than there were actual racers on that particular event. What that is, by letter of the law, is graffiti. It's gotten to the point where there are now so many markings on our neighborhood streets, I've had to resort to complaints with city council. The ironic thing is these groups almost always have a cadre of volunteers on every corner, and on many of these corners, there's only one way to go. See Exhibit B, below.
Hel-lo. If you go any other way besides where the street arrows point, you'll be swimming the rest of your race. The issue's being addressed by the city with this removable product (below), but whatever happened to "treat others' things the way you'd want your own to be treated"? How do you think those people would feel if we took spray paint on their streets?
Enough complaining. I'll close this musing with a sweet story. Have you heard of Teddy Mac, the Songaminute Man? he has a channel on YouTube and a Facebook page. You can find out more about Teddy Mac on the 'About' tab on each of his page links provided.

Enjoy's full of musings...good, bad and everything in between.

Rita C. at Panoply

Sunday, June 25, 2017

More Vintage Shopping, Shopkeeping

My Panoply sisters and I have a loose rule we like to follow when we style our booth spaces: nothing that goes into the booths goes back home*. What we typically do is cram our booths with more and more stuff, and then eventually try to restyle things when it starts looking too junky (to us). Remember the last time I talked about going shopping (here), at an estate sale with transferware and other finds? Well, I went back twice more in May, once with sister M, and we bought more things. We also shopped for sister J, too - it's always fun spending someone else's money.  Some of the things I bought are pictured in the collage below.
The owner was a collector, mostly of primitive things, but had a little of everything. I bought the needlepoint "God Bless Our Home", the pastoral print, the shutter ensemble, all the blue enamelware and milk stool, mason jar, chicken feeder, rolling pin (one piece), shaving ensemble (all purchased separately, but assembled by me), green deck chair (child's) and a cheese box full of old hardware.

I also stretched my self-imposed limitation of not buying big stuff anymore and bought the white farmhouse hutch piece pictured in the collage below. Not so big, but heavy enough it took two to handle, and it was filthy. These photos were taken outside, right after I cleaned it. For those who do not know, let me tell you...most of the time we antique dealers go to great lengths and multiple steps (picking, hauling, cleaning/repairing/painting, storing, pricing, hauling and styling) to get things presentable for your browsing and buying pleasure.
Everything staged in the photos above except the watering can was purchased at the sale also. My finds included two more of the Royal Stafford "Hayride" plates, 4 red transferware butter pats, a brown transferware syrup pitcher with pewter, hinged lid and the the little woven bird nest. See that black item on the top shelf between the two plates? That is an antique Fries brand flour sifter - in excellent condition. That was one of the items we picked for sister J.

Pictured below are a few more items we picked for sister J, our primitive queen. Her picks include a nested set of Roseville mixing bowls, a bee smoker, a "make-do" storage crate (Peters Cartridge ammunition) with screen bottom, various butter molds, and butter/cookie presses.
Sister M picked several things too, and the convertible stepstool/ironing board pictured below was just one of hers. This photo is the after condition (picture quality not great, it's what my sister quickly texted me after completing the makeover). Like the hutch I bought, this thing was filthy. She cleaned it up and then recovered the ironing board. 
All in all, this one sale was what the American Pickers' Mike Wolfe refers to as a honey hole. We hit that honey hole numerous times.

I took only the child's deck chair and shaving ensemble to the booth on the 30th (May), and the chair sold the same day. The shaving ensemble was placed in a locked curio cabinet (which also tends to get crammed on occasion). ;)
Sister M went on vacation for a week, so it wasn't until mid-June when we worked another long day in our spaces to get some of this stuff into our booths and rearrange things that were looking pretty junky to us. How the [primarily] affected space appeared before - at the end of May - was as pictured below. You think this is the junky part I was referring to? Nope, that part's beyond the shutter/shelf divider.
When we finished our day of crammin', below is how that same space looked after - mid June. The main changes were bringing in the farmhouse hutch and table on which it sits, the green shutter ensemble, and the picket fence shelving unit (where the picnic things are). The green wicker cart displaced a 4-square cubby and louvered cabinet which sat upon the 4-square (as seen, above).
We styled the hutch with garden items.
Two days later, sister M finished her convertible chair/ironing board makeover, so we hurried back to the store and flipped that picnic vignette, including the direction of the picket fence unit. Now the backside of the fence unit and the chair/ironing board face the front entry of the mall. The vignette looks a little like a farmhouse laundry day that could be outside, on any given summer day. The picnic happens (on the flipside of the fence) when the work is done. :)

Right after Father's Day we tweaked it a bit more, moving the picnic further away, and enamelware on the flipside of the fence shelving unit.
The space overview, after numerous adjustments, below.
It is simultaneously amazing and frustrating to experience how long it takes us to redo any spaces with a lot of 'junk' - the kind of stuff pickers really love digging into. Not too glamorous, but here's what we did. First, we repositioned all the hardware onto the 4-square cubby, on the aisle, just at the end of the shutter/shelving unit. This is a good place to dig, and a shelf to spread things out (a teeny bit) while digging.
The shutter/shelf divider is where the real digging has to happen. Look at this (below), and this is after we worked to straighten things out and group like items logically. It's cozy, I'll say that, lol. You can see the back side of the farmhouse hutch through the shelves.
The mantiques area is directly across from that cozy area above, so it all kind of bleeds together. We necessarily shifted things in the mantiques area also. We turned the desk unit perpendicular to the wall to gain some floor/wall space. In this instance, it's the stacked crates and metal boxes that filled the extra space. That entire column of hanging chairs and stacked crates is another fine example of utilizing booth space effectively. The chair seat even becomes a shelf. ;)
Believe it or not, the domino that precipitated many of these moves was a screen that sold out of our commonly called main space while sister M was on vacation. The sale created visibility from our booth to the adjacent neighbor, something we like to avoid. We like our spaces 'walled off' from adjacent spaces. Suffice it to say, at least four big pieces of furniture were moved to get the 'right' look again in that main space.  If you look at the photo below, the top frame's (before) entire left side shifted, including the louvered screen which moved to the right side (see bottom frame for after). The screen which sold is barely visible in the top frame (a scallop at center of that right side).
The best return on investment with time spent shuffling the small things (those things which amazingly and frustratingly take so much time) is noticing those things moved starting to sell. We have so much stuff it really is hard for customers to take it all in, so we need to be diligent in rotating things just so they can be seen and have a chance to sell. If something big sells, then we hurriedly try to fill the void with big-ticket items. at which time the small stuff may end up becoming a game of Go Fish! for customers; that is, until we get the gumption for another round of de-crammin'.

So, that's all the shopping and shopkeeping for now. I suppose it's time to move on to some Panoply paperwork. Or, maybe some more shopping. ;)

*Note about our loose rule:  We will take out holiday-specific items from our booths after the calendar date, although the timing varies as to when. We will also take out a piece of furniture if it's been there a long time unsold AND we have something better to style in its place.

PS:  I forgot to mention one other item I purchased at that same sale, a personal keeper (for now). Can you guess which item it is, based on comparing the picture below with prior pictures in this post?

(A special thanks to Kathryn at the Dedicated House Make It Pretty #219 for featuring this post!)
Rita C. at Panoply