Friday, March 30, 2012

The Epergne Project

Hello my friends! What a sunny beautiful day it is here in Mid-Missouri! I thought we would take a break from the house tour this week so I can show you one of my latest projects. It's so exciting to come up with something new, isn't it?

Okay, this is how it all started...
Vanna, at delusions of grandeur, told me I needed to visit her friend Kim on her blog, which is called Moonlight Dreams. Well I did and Oh My GOODNESS! I made a wonderful discovery by checking out her blog! I have this metal cherub with butterfly wings figure that I really like, but I never knew what it was! I knew there was more to it once upon a time because of the broken piece at the end of her arms. So let me show you the before photo of this little gal!

Don't you love the detail on the base?
And below is Kim's collection at ...
It can be found on her Fri. March 2 blog, A Tale of Antique Love. Aren't they glorious?!!! I'm almost embarrassed to show you mine now.Mine are no where as grand as her beautiful pieces, but hey I try! :-)
(Kim, I hope it is okay that I show your photo on my posting. If it is not, just let me know and I will remove it. Thanks.)

So this is what I came up with. Very inexpensively too! Yay! Here is how it happened. On St. Pat's weekend a local antique mall was having their anniversary sale so when you went in they told you of the games they had going on for this anniversary event. They had hidden shiny green coins and a little pot of gold  in the mall so if you found a coin you got $5 and if you found the pot of gold you got $10 off of any purchase. WELL...between my mom and I we found 2 coins and the pot of gold!! I was so excited! And I can be a cheapo, so I was trying not to spend much over the $15 that I had won. (you could only use one coin with the pot of gold on one purchase which came up to $15) Well, low and behold, I saw this cute little cranberry piece and thought that it might work on my cherub. AND it was $15! Perfect! Oh, I forgot to mention that I only paid $7 for the cherub to start out with. 
So I brought it home and had to get creative in figuring out how I was going to attach it to the cherub. Around here, if all else fails, get out the craft box! And in that box I found a little brass colored bell (that I painted brown to match) and when you turned it upside down it fit perfectly into the broken place on the cherub and the cranberry piece set nicely on top of it. So, with a little glue, brown spackling (to fill in the bell) and sticky dots I got her done! Here she is...Miss America! lol

So there she stands on the parlor table, feeling a little proud, and holding up her little piece of cranberry glass! I think it gives her cheeks a little "rosy" glow! Don't ya think? ;-)
I'm not sure if originally she had a little brides bowl on her or more of a cone/cornucopia piece on her. Does anyone have any thoughts on that? Well, thanks for coming along on my "Wanna be a Victorian Epergne" adventure. I hope you enjoyed it. Have a great day!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"Heads Up" in the Parlor!

Hello my friends and Happy Spring! I do hope that Spring is really here.  I love this time of year when you can sleep with your windows open and wake to the sound of the birds singing. What a gift from God that my ears may hear that beautiful sound.

Welcome back to my parlor. I am so excited to share this part with you because it is my most favorite thing that I have had done to the house to make it look Victorian. Remember, me and my house, we are Victorian Wanna Be's!

When we first bought the house I really loved everything about it except for one thing. The tray ceiling in the Living Room/Parlor!!!! How on earth do you make a tray ceiling look Victorian?! Well, that question was on my mind almost daily! I thought about, I analyzed it, to use wallpaper or not to, tried to figure out how I could give it the illusion of  a one leveled ceiling. Do I paint the lower part light to take it up and the higher part dark to bring it down? What to do! After searching all of the back issues of my Victorian magazines I decided what I needed to do! Have a mural painted on the ceiling! So I found a young lady from my church who had just finished at the Chicago Art Institute and was excited to have a job. So, she came and worked her magic and I loved it... but, it still needed something else. I felt like it looked like an unframed oil painting and needed some crown moulding going on up there. So back to the magazines! I found just the right idea but now it involved my husband! Oh boy!  Remember, he does NOT share my Victorian vision!!! He thought the ceiling was just fine the way it was before I had it painted! Oh, phoey! So after wanting this moulding for over 4 years he finally got it for me this past Christmas! And exciting it was! So now, after all that rambling on, are you ready to see it?! I'll start with two stages of before photos, you know how I love before photos! ;-)
Please click on to any photo you want to see enlarged.

And here is the picture from the Victorian magazine...
Isn't it GORGEOUS?!! How I would love to have those high ceilings! Wow!

Looking at the ceiling from the front of the room. Doesn't it look so much better with the moulding?!
I painted it to match the ceiling medallion which in turn matches the colors throughout the house. (I know... the fan isn't very Victorian looking, but it serves its purpose.) I would still like to add another gold decorative thin piece of moulding under the layer of green that would come down onto the pink just a tad but cannot find the right piece. You can't see all of the gold but the colors go like, red, gold, green, gold, salmon, gold, red and gold again! Talk about tedious!!! It took me forever and I still need to go over the gold again!!!

The back part of the ceiling. It isn't very clear but next I'll show you the close ups of the cherubs.

So, there it is! I hope you like my cute little cherubs. And now I need your advice and/or opinion. Looking at the photos below and seeing how the room looks with the moulding, do I need to add a picture rail, that I would paint gold, down where the light green of the tray meets the darker green of the walls or would that make the room look too divided or bring more attention to the tray part and make the walls look too short? Please let me know what you think. (And that means you too Richard, king of Victorian decorating!  :-)  ) Now remember, ignore the TV!

Thanks for visiting and I'll see you next time when we move on into the kitchen/dining room area. Have a great week!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Spy... some GREEN!

Hello my friends! Cead mile failte! (that's Gaelic for a hundred thousand welcomes, Gaelic is the oldest language in Ireland) We are going to take a break from the house tour and get ready for St. Patrick's Day by showing a little bit o' green. This makes me happy because green is my favorite color so I went around the house to see how much green I could "spy with my little eye" and I actually found a little more then I thought I would. So let me share with you what I came up with.

I spy a postcard...
I collect antique postcards and this is my favorite for St. Pat's day, so I have it displayed on a little brass easel. Isn't she gorgeous?! It is postmarked 1910.

I spy a wee little o' man with a green hat holding a shamrock...
and I spy some gold...

I spy a green lamp globe...

I spy a green plate with three beauties abounding...

Now you are going to get a little sneak peek into the dining room before the actual tour of that room. ;)    So, I spy a Victorian art glass pitcher and 4 tumblers, with enameled decorations... (Only two of the four  tumblers actually match the pitcher. The other tumblers you are seeing are a reflection in the mirror of this cabinet.)

I spy a pressed glass Colorado pattern cup... early 1900's. Has etched initials on it.

I spy an Imperial Crown forget me not plate and a Limoges bird plate..

I spy a jardiniere of green... notice the open mouthed lion heads gracing the sides (and a little bit of paint loss). I wish I had the matching pedestal for this one!

I spy a parlor chair of green velvet... (I first glance the color looks a little horrid, but it actually goes quite nicely with my bedding AND remember, I will not get it reupholstered!!!! lol

I spy a ladies hat with green ostrich feathers...

I spy in its holder a beautiful green hatpin...

AND I spy a little Yorkie dog in green...her preference is to dress all girly so she is not at all thrilled to be sporting a basketball jersey, but that is the only green we have for her. I didn't even have a pretty bow to match, awww...

Well that is it for now, this St. Patrick's Day may you discover your "pot of gold" at the end of  the rainbow.
With much happiness...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Step Into My Parlor (Part 2)

Hello, my friends! Glad you came to visit me again! Step into my parlor and let's finish the parlor tour.  Below is my secretary/bookcase piece. Since I don't actually have a Library room I call this my "Library". Not only do I have books in the top but the bottom part is packed with books AND all of my Victorian magazines. Since this is Missouri, I figured I had to have a bust of Mark Twain himself, so there he is up on the top shelf. Looking as robust as ever! LOL
Anyway, on to the next thing...
Please click on to any photo you want enlarged.

Moving on around to my little sitting corner. I bought the sofa here in Columbia 7 years ago or so, from a newspaper ad. I thought the carved grapes on the crest were so pretty. It could use a new upholstery job BUT after the chair incident?! Not going there again! It is in great shape, just would like a different color/pattern on it. But oh well. My Jesus picture I got for $15 at an old antiques shop housed in an old barn in Moberly, I really liked the print but it does have some water damage to it. Notice the little footstools.  ;-)

Here are a pair of silhouettes I had done of my kiddos when they were 1 1/2 or 2 years old. I just think they are so precious. The artist is out of St. Louis, she was at a festival here in town for several years. On my shelf I have a satin glass ewer/pitcher with a hand painted bird on it and a souvenier Memphis, Tennessee cup.

The banquet lamp is a reproduction from many years ago. I really liked the cherub figure and thought it would go well in the room.  The picture on the right of the window is the Saint Cecilia 1907 print. It also has cherubs in it to go with the theme of the lamp. Here is a little biography on her...she lived during the 16th century. She married, but maintained a life of Virginity. She convinced her husband to be baptized. He was then executed for burying the many Christians slain each day during a great persecution. Cecilia continued to preach, and converted hour hundred persons. In time she too was arrested and sentenced the death. Legend holds that there were two failed executions which bewildered her executioners. Finally, after leaving her alone, she bled to death - preaching until her very last breath. St. Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians. Her feast day is celebrated on November 22. Below this picture is a close up of the picture.  I placed the picture close to the piano because in it she is playing a piano or an organ.

Below is my small collection of needlepoint/beadwork footstools, I believe they date back to around 1860's or so. I just think they are so adorable! I got the single one back in the 1990's when Victoriana was all the rage. Well...I just HAD to have one (no matter what the cost) so in one of my Victorian magazines they featured a lady who had TONS of them. So I contacted her in Texas and a week or so later one arrived at my front door! The background was originally a golden yellow color and has faded over the years to this tan color. I read that most of these little stools were done in bright showy colors so when they are placed on a patterned rug  near a chair one would spot it and not trip over it. These were low stools, but high enough to keep the draft off the lady's feet and to keep any spectators sitting across from her from catching a glimpse of her ankle. My! My! So there you have it. ;-) Oops! I almost forgot to tell you about the matching pair! They were QUITE a find! A bargain indeed! These beauties were, are you ready?, $30 for the pair!!!!!! I snatched those things up so quick you would have thought I found a million dollars! They were a good $200 LESS then the other one. I know, call me crazy!

Here is my jardiniere that I purchased at an auction. I have a couple others but not one with the matching pedestal, so when I saw this one I knew I had to get it! I just love the hand painted cabbage roses!

And then there's the piano that my aunt gave me. My hubby and his nephew had to go and get this puppy in another town and needless to say he was NOT looking forward to it. But lucky for me, it didn't cost any thing so he couldn't get mad like he does when he has to go out of town to get a piece I paid for. Make sense? So, anyway...I had to get it tuned and while doing so the man found the original warranty inside! How cool is that? The mice thought it was really cool because they nibbled on part of it! The paper says that it is a Hamilton Piano, dated 1907, out of Chicago, Illinois and they guaranteed it for 10 years!!  The bench was purchased here in town at an antiques mall and it was painted white and while stripping it I found out it had multiple paint layers! Yay, lucky for me! Ha! I thought it matched the style of the piano really well.
On the piano are a couple of plates, one with swans and the other with Victorian ladies, 2 velvet frames, Victorian lady bust, a beaded tea light lamp and my bird dome (it is pictured close a few photos down). On the wall is an oil painting of a field of tulips and guess what?! I have the before and after photos for you!!

Before picture...this is what it looked like when I bought it at an old country estate auction. It had been in their wet basement for years, I heard, so because of that the gesso was falling off and the paint was chipping off. The dirt you are seeing is on the glass but under the glass is all of the chipping. So I got this for $2!!! I am always ready for a restoration challenge and I love restoring old frames.

This is what it looks like now! I replaced the missing gesso, had to keep it from chipping any further, brightened up the painting by painting over and highlighting some areas and also repainted the frame gold. I probably wouldn't have bought it but I was really wanting that size to put up over the piano. So who could go wrong at 2 bucks!

Okay! Remember the bird dome I have on the piano?! Here it is!!!!! This is one of my favorite pieces. It is a male and female hummingbird and their nest! Is that cute or what?! It measures 8" tall by 7" across. Acquiring this was quite a nightmare, let me tell ya! I won it on Ebay several years back and I did not do Paypal at that time, so I sent a money order to this dude in California and he never got it! So he was getting mad at me, didn't want to believe that I really had sent the M.O. and was ready to resell it!! So I convinced him that I really was an honest person. Then I had to call and cancel the M.O. get something different from my bank and then send it! What a to do! AND, I was trying to keep it secret from my hubby but in all the turmoil that was going on with it I decided I had better tell him so he could tell me what I should do! Luckily the dome made it through the mail to my house unbroken! Whew!

To wrap up this posting I wanted to share with you a little bouquet of miniature daffodils from my garden! These are the first of my many different varieties of daffodils to bloom. It's always such a joy to see the first colors of spring. I just thank God for my eyes, that I may see the beauty of his glorious creation in these little flowers and so, so many other things. I hope these little guys brighten your day as much as they do mine. Have a great day and I'll see ya soon!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Step Into My Parlor (Part 1)

Hello my friends! It is time to step into my parlor! It really isn't a parlor, but me and my house, we want to think that it is. The room is a long room so I have kind of divided it into two seperate spaces that still flow together. The front 3/4 actually serves as our family room and then the back 1/4 is more of a parlor. I will feature the front space on this post and my next post will cover the back space. So hang your hats on the hallstand and let's go on in. ;-)

Leaving the foyer and stepping into my parlor, this is what you see upon entering the room and then the last photo shows the rest of the room. Livy dog is hoping you'll come in and pet her. The sofa is one of her favorite places. Ignore the "nonvictorian" coffee table and 2 tan colored chairs and the TV, I need to keep the family happy with a FEW things that aren't antique, right?

Please click on to any photo to enlarge it.

Okay, let us go back to the entrance area of the room and check out some Victorian furniture! I don't know about you guys but I LOVE Victorian furniture and especially chairs! Chairs are my weakness and I have to keep giving myself a "have self control talk" upon seeing antique chairs at auctions/shops, and it goes a little like this...Don't buy those chairs! Don't buy those chairs! ... And it usually works! But when they are going cheap is when it's so hard for me to pass them up! So, speaking of chairs, pictured below are a pair of chairs that I did NOT have self control with!  They are Renaissance Revival chairs with Egyptian influence. I love them and before I get too carried away talking about them, I will show you the before and after photos. You know how I love "before and afters"! The stripes are the after. Oh, and don't let the painting of granny scare you, the lighting is making her look a little ghostly today. (I'll tell you about her later) But I do want to tell you about the frame. When I bought it is was painted sunshine yellow all over it, even the dark red velvet strip was yellow! So I replaced the velvet and painted it back to gold. Much better!

To me they look a lot like John Jelliff chairs, so I don't know. But what I do know is that Mr. Jeliff began working in Newark, New Jersey in 1835 and worked there through the gothic era into and through the Renaissance Revival era! And guess where these chairs originally came from?! You guessed it, New Jersey! I got the pair for $160  from an auction but as you can tell they needed to be reupholstered. They had denim fabric on them! I had planned on doing them myself so I stripped them down, removed 100's of little nails from the frame and even took the springs out! I took the springs out because I needed to reglue the legs and frame. I also added gold where it needed to be and touched up on the ebonized areas. Then I bought the striped fabric, checked out "how to books" from the Library and THEN I chickened out!!! I didn't want to spend a fortune on getting them reupholstered so I found out about an older gentleman who would do them for a song, so I took them to him...and to make a long story short you should always listen to your gut instinct and know that you get what you pay for!! He had to refund my money (most of it at least), I had to buy more fabric and take them to someone else! And this guy upholsters the furniture for our Governor's Mansion in Jefferson City! He felt sorry for me and even gave me a little discount. But even with that, my $160 great deal auction chairs are now $800 chairs. My husband had a cow! But I love them! Did you see the details on them?! I like the pharoah medal medallions and the urns on the crest. And on the sides look at the pharoah looking dudes blowing their horns! So much detail! I still need to find the right castors for them though. If any of you know anything about these chairs please let me know.

Okay, back to my Grandma, her name is Ellen, she is my 3rd great and she was born in 1846, Stark Co. Illinois. I wanted an oil painting of her and did not have one, so I hired a guy to paint one for me. I had a photo for him to go by. Well, he had only ever done black and white portraits so I guess that is why she is a little pale. I even took her back to him to give her a little more color and to change the background from turquoise blue to the gray fade background that I had asked for in the first place.  So, this is what I ended up with. But I really do like it.  On the table is my banquet lamp, a velvet photo album, a rose bowl on vaseline glass feet, a metal cherub and a seashell dome that I made. (stems of  flowers made from shells in a small jardinaire).

Okay Richard, at "My Old Historic House" in Clarksville, Mo. does this table look familiar to you?! It's just like yours except it is a turtle top. Isn't that amazing? I bought it from a Victorian house auction quite some time ago in Boonville, MO. A friend and I refinished it. It had that awful crackling looking polyurethane on it, it looked horrible.

The picture on the wall is one that I bought at an Antique mall in Jefferson City. When I bought it, it had been made into a medicine cabinet and painted gold, even the oak. So for $30 or so I brought it home, took the cabinet part and door off, stripped it and replaced the mirror with this print. I thought it turned out nicely for the price. I love the challenge of redoing things! The Victorian child urn thing is one of my favorites, it is made of plaster. I thought it would be nice on my newel post that once belonged to my grandma that I use as a plant stand. My wall corner shelf came from a mall in Quincy, IL.

Pictured below is my refurbished "overmantle mirror". I call it refurbished because it is originally an oak dresser mirror! (I wish I had a before picture to show you) I got it at a garage sale for $25, it had a carved flat 5 petal flower on the crest and the leafy/scroll work design (that you can still see at the top). Well, I could see potential in that thing. So I brought it home and painted it gold, it looked okay but it was far from the rococco look that I really wanted. So come Christmas, I brought out my Victorian wreath and realized I no longer had a place to hang it, BUT... I had a place for the cherub and those grapes that were on that wreath! Can you believe that?! With a little wire and hotglue I transformed that mirror and I love it now!

On the above table is an antique post card album, a Victorian scrapbook, a seashell box, an antique vase and in the velvet frame is the daughter of the lady in the oil painting, that makes her my 2nd great, her name was Viola and she was born in 1882. The chairs are circa 1840, there were originally 6 but I only got 2, if I had more space I would have bought them all, I hated separating them. The marble top table is eastlake style and has the maker on the inside of the frame, I got it at an auction for $110! I was excited because I have never gotten a parlor table for that cheap! As for the picture above the table I really don't know too much about it, I just loved the fanciness of it and on the top it curves forward kind of like a scorpions tail, it's really neat. The picture inside looks like a watercolor painting, but not sure.

And this is the wall across from the mantle.  Livy dog is ready for a little shuteye.

Under the table scarf is a circa 1900-10 Library table that I bought at an estate sale for $20, it's not as old as I would like it to be but I needed a table of that size to fit in that spot. On the table I have a photo album on the stand, a photo box, stereoviewer, a bird and nest display under glass (fake birds but real nests) and an antique Parker lamp. On the wall from left to the ebonized frame is my great grandma Lorene, daughter of Viola, born 1901; a wall pocket/magazine rack, a hair wreath in a shadow box and the mirror that I bought in pieces and glued/nailed it back together and bought the "looking glass" for it. 
Well, this is all I have to show you for now. The next posting will be the back of the room and I may even have a Part 3 for the ceiling. Can't wait to meet with you again!