Friday, February 26, 2010

Shabby Antiques In Shokan

In the Catskills, there’s little bargain shopping to be had in the winter.   But, I suppose since it’s a holiday weekend, this little antique barn put a sign out on Route 28 announcing an estate sale, so I made a U-turn to investigate.

In the future, you will hear me complain I have few ‘props’ in the studio.   This is due to a) I don’t have any money, and b) I’m very particular. My heart has to stop beating in order for me to even pick something up to study it, let alone buy it.

I'll take you to this in March.  I went to their tent sale in September and was pleasantly surprised.

I didn’t see anything I wanted, but in case one of these shabby things interest you, call the proprietor at 845-657-6252.    He seemed like a nice man and stated he’s always buying and selling.

The yard sale season up here is from a little before Memorial Day weekend to late October, so we’ve many months to go.

Time to go home and play in the studio!

Till next time, stay shabby!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Cup of Hot Cocoa With Marshmallows and Jane Austen

Breathtaking needle felted mittens from Etsy in December 2008, please contact me if you know the artist so I can give credit.

A frosty cotoneaster shrub on the way up to the studio...

...and its twee berries

As Victorian ladies loved to do, I cradle a hot cup of cocoa to warm me up
on a frosty winter’s morning in my studio.

Hot cocoa is better in a Theodore Limoges bullion cup!

A favorite Austen out from the library.

Like women from the early 19th century on have done, also, I enjoy losing myself in the world of Jane Austen on quiet winter mornings.   I like to use a bookmark cut from printed pictures of the excellent fansite Pemberely.   It helps me form the characters in my mind when I know what they wore. 

This one is a Charles E. Brock c. 1907 illustration of Marianne Dashwood and Willoughby from Sense & Sensibility.   The interesting things are Brock chose to depict them in fashions from 1790s, when Austen wrote the ‘first draft’ of Sense & Sensibility called ‘Elinor and Marianne’, and Marianne’s hair is in an Edwardian ‘Gibson Girl’ pompadour true to fashion in Brock's day.   Perhaps it was meant to attract current readers, the way later publications of Anne of Green Gables illustrated her in the 1930s or 1940s even though the story takes place 40 - 50 years prior!

Photo by Starr Ockenga

Pretty Victorian cocoa boxes from the collection of William Frost Mobley of the Ephemera Society of America printed in Victoria February 1990 illustrating its soothing yumminess at breakfast.

May you enjoy your quiet winter moments!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Visit to Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic Couture in NYC

Or, should I say a pilgrimage to the Queen of Shabby Chic’s store at
    117 Mercer Street in the SoHo district of New York City?!

Alas, New York traffic being what it is, coupled with the fact I thought I’d try to make it in on a Sunday afternoon while driving past New York from the Catskills to Long Island, I didn’t get there before they closed.   But, the lights were still on and I took pictures of what I could.

Alas, again, while I laud her for following her heart and designing from her heart, I don’t care for the new ‘bare & spare’ look she’s into.   To me, it isn’t ‘pretty’.   The dark leathers and bohemian fabrics, while nice, just don’t appeal to me.

This chandelier is new, and the wire frame is so simple I bet I could replicate it.   It’s about $100 in crystal prisms from Gallery 84, and I’ll bet it goes for $1,000 here in high-rent SoHo.   I couldn't see the tag.

Plain everyday plates on an interesting chippy silver table I think she calls a Lilliput, after her daughter.     Maybe I’ll make something chippy silver!

Signature French "Darcy" chair over $400 each once you add tax.

A cute shabby roses clock.

I will return here early some time and get a closer look, I promise!  Thanks for coming along.

Until next time, stay shabby!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Victorian Architecture: Running Trim and Gable Gingerbread

Photo by Scott Miller

A white Victorian house in the snow is such a pretty sight, like lace on a wedding gown.

Relaxing with the February 1989 issue of Victoria last week, I was fully enchanted by the photo of this snow queen.
It reminded me of my plans for my studio’s plain gables.

I’m going to cut gable gingerbread and running trim out of scrap plywood in the spring.   The Victoria feature explained how the invention of the jig type of scroll saw in mills enabled craftsmen to create architectural gingerbread, but you can do this with a hand-held reciprocating scroll saw at home.   I’ll show you how I do it when it’s warm out again.

I went looking for inspiration in the Catskills and found it everywhere.

Old architecture books and the web will yield even more designs.  
It’s going to be hard to pick just one style!

Good sources for ideas on the web include Vintage Woodworks, and Victorian Woodshop, whom I've bought from in the past and can personally recommend.

As cute as I think my studio is,
next winter it will really be special with ‘white lace’.

Until next time, stay shabby!

Monday, February 22, 2010

My New Shabbified Chandelier: Part One

Come across the creek with me for some fun in the studio!

My newly 'crystallized' chandelier!
The same chandelier 'before'....

I bought this chandelier in August for $15 at a yard sale in Delhi, NY. It’s probably from the 1960s, constructed of a resin plated in brass. It didn’t have a single crystal prism on it, but I knew I could find some antique ones and supply the rest from Gallery 84.

I dismantled it and put all the pieces I wanted holes for the crystal prism wires in a vise and drilled holes with my drill and a 3/16” bit rated for metal.   It’s important to wear eye protection because little bits of metal go flying.   This is why I cheer when Fifi O’Neill writes, “A girl’s best friends are power tools!”   How easy the process is, and how free I am from paying or begging some man to do it for me.   Sorry I don’t have pictures of this step, it was before I started blogging!   I reassembled it and spray painted the whole thing white with Rustoleum.

In September I found a large number of crystal prisms at Brimfield in a booth from a man named Steven Wheeler of One Stop Antiques in Ohio in the $5 parking field across from Heart of the Mart.   I didn’t expect to get everything I needed, but I did luck out and score nearly 20 ‘French’ pendants and a nice variety of other things that came to $100.   The rest of the prisms are from Gallery 84, bought without connectors when possible because a) it costs less, and b) I like using wire that’s already ‘shabby’. Even then, it was nearly $200!

I’m having a terrible time getting the lacquer off the brass on the beaded chain by soaking it in acetone. I detest the newness of the chain, so I’m going to have to paint the links with Triangle Craft’s ‘Sophisticated Finish’ in Blackened Bronze from Michael’s, a tedious process that doesn’t make it all that wonderful in the end but it’s better than that tacky gold.

Old brass wire is the best wire!
I’m using 22 gauge wire, which is too thick but it’s all I’ve got.   I have a pair of jewelry making wire cutters with round, pointy ends that make the little circles of wire I love.   The butterfly clasps are a lot faster and easier to use, and I ended up using some I had because it took hours to wire up the u-drop prisms with their top bead and by 1 a.m. I wanted to go to bed!

Nice, old brass wire and my attempt with round/pointy ended jewerly pliers.

This is the 'first draft' of the prism 'structure'.   I know I want a lot hanging down to balance out the chandelier.  One of my favorite web sites to go for inspiration is My Paris Flea Market, a store in San Diego that Fifi shot for Romantic Country.   She sells a mind-boggling number of European antiques at any given time.   The prices are equally mind-boggling for little ‘ole fiscal administrative assistant me, ranging from $3,000 - $5,000.    She finds those fabulous Italian tole chandeliers with the macaroni beads.

Photo by My Paris Flea Market

Another new place to look for the real thing is Disegno Karina Gentinetta, a lovely woman who has a New Orleans and Etsy shop that’ll stop your heart it’s so so so beautiful.   You won’t believe she’s a former lawyer that lost everything in Katrina-- it looks as if she’s been in interior design for a lifetime.

Photo courtesy of Disegno Karina Gentinetta

I love chandeliers so much I have three in my studio that’s about the size of my senior dorm room in college only with a sleeping loft and a front porch!   I don’t think you could have enough ‘chandys’.   I want a pair of girandoles or table chandeliers for the mantel, and a sconce for over the love seat, too.   So I pray to the Garage Sale Gods to bestow something on me this summer.

I’ll post updates on my chandelier as soon I have another chance to work on it.

Until then, stay shabby!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Candles On My Mantel

This is the first incarnation of my post-holiday décor.   I literally just lined these candles up and tossed a mint julep cup with silk peonies from Michael’s on because I was racing the sunset’s natural light in the studio.   I would so love to have some nice, tall, mercury glass pillar candlesticks.

I’ll study the photos and think, “Hm, now what would Fifi do?”

'Till next time, stay shabby!