Monday, September 21, 2015

Rustic Fall and all its charm

My senses are peaked in the Fall, certainly my favorite time of the year. On September 23rd Autumn begins in all its rustic charm and color's that invigorate me. Way before the "Seasons" approach of what color's complimented and were best for you to wear I always knew I was an Autumn. I also think houses decorated in your season are oftentimes most inviting. Both John and I are Autumns, no wonder in Fall the Russet shades are a prominent color in our Row home. 

"Autumn carries more Gold in its pocket than all the other seasons."
~Jim Bishop~

Today I will share some angles and views throughout our home of how we embrace and live with rustic charm while blending it into our style of mixing the old with the new.

Against one wall in the Dining room our bar cart is along side the wine corner.

A tall, French Bordeaux, vintage wine Demi John wine jug with a tightly woven basket covering the single handle and a very tattered original white label with black lettering has been added. The original cork remains in the bottle. This charming French country wine bottle once held a gallon of wine. Its beautiful old tattered label lists cities throughout the World where the wine won awards. The slender exposed bottle neck is a classic green glass, and the wicker is in good condition with some damage. Measures 14" tall, and about 6" wide. I purchased it off eBay and I think it adds the perfect rustic charm on the raw edge shelf in our Dining rooms wine corner.

Close up of tattered label and textural ribbon with clay coin. 

Directly across from the wine corner is our window. The mirror is from Restoration Hardware and made from reclaimed/recycled vintage woods. I repainted the finish on it as well as painting the faux technique on the wall. I have a desire to add my artful expression everywhere.

Fall berry branches placed in a galvanized French floral bucket add rustic charm.

The sitting Buddha is in the Single Lotus position. He is a lost wax casting in Bronze. A Bronze sculpture from Thailand I purchased through an antique dealer who told me he is over 125 years old. I think his face is delicate and this Buddha is described as in the style of Chiang Sang. What makes me always smile is when our guests will walk up to him and tweak his nipple. Truth be known I did the exact same thing when he was taken out of the shipping container years ago.

The Chinese wooden Buddha head was purchased 7 years ago from Material Culture in Philadelphia. We were told he is over a hundred years old. Now truth be told one day Max >^..^< spotted two pigeons on the small roof outside the window and in his graceful but unmeasured leap knocked Buddha to the floor. He already had a faint hairline age crack from his head down to his forehead but Max deepened the crack! Since we choose to live casually with our antiques we just chalked up his fall to a C'est la Vie Humpty Dumpty moment in life.

The window sill is African Zebra wood an exotic wood from the Rain Forest and purchased long before we were educated about the preservation of exotic rare woods. What can I say it was back in the early 80's, but since then we have gained the utmost respect for preservation. Three rooms have Zebra wood window sills, the kitchen, dining room and guest room's both windows. 

Moving into the kitchen for a few photos.

I love this little vintage terra cotta oil jar.

Awhile back I mentioned to John that I'd like to add vintage French pottery to our serving pieces. John loves eBay and here is what he purchased for our table.
Mid- century highly sought after French pottery by Villauris. Heavy rustic handmade pottery with pot and matching lid in like new condition. John won the bid for the amazing price of 11.99 and shipping was 13.78 

The marking on the bottom of the pot.

I am very health conscious and perhaps a tad bit paranoid so we ran a lead test on it. The results were no lead present so I will enjoy using this pottery to serve food at our table. I purchased the First Alert test kit from Amazon.

In our Living room on our rustic chippy antique bench a Black and White Velvet pumpkin with real stems is displayed. Throughout our Row-home Velvet pumpkins appear. Half of them I made and the others were purchased.

Walking upstairs we pass by a yummy scented candle gifted to me from my friend Kris from Junk Chic Cottage. 

The Halloween 31 pillow in our Sitting room upstairs is new for this year, purchased from ecarlateboutique on etsy. Loving the Black ticking and burlap.
The throw is from Kris at Junk Chic Cottage and was one of my Birthday gifts that last post I promised I'd show you where I placed this very soft throw and also where the Architects survey tool from Zinc landed in our home.

Both adding Fall warmth and charm. 

I love the vintage Architects survey pole up against our exposed brick wall.
From England and in metic measurements.

Since I am one who always wants to know the legacy of a piece you can imagine my delight when we discovered the hand scratched marking of Riverside college of Technology in England. I enjoyed reading up about them on a goggle search.

Every season my Cherub I've named Sam sports a different crown and is reflective of the season. 

By now you know somewhere a mouse would appear! Philadelphia's surprise long glorious Indian Summer is coming to an end and Autumn is starting to embrace our area. As in my style I leave you with a poem, but today I've written a poetic fable I hope you enjoy. The beauty of a Fable is they are make believe telling a story and ending with a moral. Here goes...

A kaleidoscope of colors in dappled sunlight all swirling into one.
Higher, higher he screamed, kicking the leaves was always such fun.

Jacket billowed, Russ's Red hair blowing about up on the swing in the old Oak tree.
Soaring high in the sky in Falls windy air a child could feel excited and totally free.

Brother and sister Russ and Autumn, fraternal twins who just turned 8 years old
Adventurous and energetic, touching the annual painted leaves of Russet and Gold.

Precocious and highly spirited they live right next door endearing themselves into my heart, oh my - these kids I totally adore.
I'm baking apple crisp pie from the ones picked yesterday by Russ and Autumn who turned it into an escapade and not a chore.

For over the years I've found it is easy to understand the true nature of a child by simply observing them at play for awhile.
Their reward for their hard work yesterday picking right beside me is Apple pie which I know will make them happy and smile.

Russ and Autumn just heard their Moms yell to come in and wash up because dinner is being served very soon.
Eyes darting about I knew they were looking for one more daredevil antic after playing outside the entire afternoon.

My freshly raked fallen leaves in neatly piled peaks made the temptation for Russ and Autumn ever so high
I placed the warm pie on the porch floor and joined in because sometimes there's no rhyme or reason why ...

and just by jumping into that raked pile of leaves if only for a few precious moments in time of mine,
vivid forgotten memories of childhood exuberance spent in play were recalled and instantly became divine.
©  Vera


Saturday, September 5, 2015

My Birthday Fête - French style

I was born on a Tuesday and growing up my Mom would recite the Old nursery rhyme about the days of the week... Tuesday's child is full of grace. I've truly tried my entire life to live up to that, but over the past few years this is the quote I aspire to be remembered by...

"Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty. They merely move it from their faces into their hearts".
~Audrey Hepburn~

On September 2nd for my Fête d' anniversarie my French carriage for the day up and our drive back from Lambertville, NJ was our restored 1972 DS Pallas Citroën. Lambertville has always had a special tug at my heart. Matter of fact it's where I lived my first 2 years of my life while my parents were custom building their Titusville, NJ home. You might say Lambertville is in my DNA. So before I share my birthday photos of my day I'll share my DNA results that I received, as John still awaits his. 

My Dad was right, I am Polish, well 99% and a 1% trace from Finland or Northwest Russia. With the results gives you additional exact matches to relatives and there are many to comb through. I'm starting to put together my family tree and even though the results weren't a big surprise it's reassuring that what I was told all my life was my actual birth legacy. 

Our dinner plans were for dining at one of our favorite places. Manon is a charming small French Provençal restaurant located at 19 N. Union Street in Lambertville. You would swear you were dining in a small restaurant in the South of France. But before dinner we did a bit of antiquing and we parked in front of the restaurant early and walked around vintage stores with wide opened eyes.

Lambertville is the antiques capital of the Garden State. Right over the bridge from New Hope, Pa which attracts a large tourist trade. John and I have always preferred to idle away a day in quaint Lambertville over the busy pace of New Hope.  Zinc for me is my favorite place to wander through hoping to find a treasure to add charm within our row home. I will share my Birthday shopping experience with many photos of Zinc, located at 74 Bridge Street.

Excitement grows as we approach Zinc, as if driving out of the store a vintage Jeep greets you. In 2013 Zinc won Philadelphia Magazines best home accessories -salvaged and Industrial award. In the Philadelphia area that's a big deal and honor.

It is owned and the delightful merchandise purchased by the husband and wife team of Rod and Tracey Berkowitz. Who just so happened to in the past worked for Restoration Hardware and Antropologie. At the bottom of this post you will find sources for Zinc. Besides an impeccable eye for the unique they excel at product display.

Zinc is unique to say the least. It is 3 intriguing floors of salvaged and industrial vintage furniture and home accents. Rod was there on September 2nd as he greeted us with a huge smile. I asked if he would mind me taking photos of his store to post on my blog, to which he said sure, go ahead. John and I lingered past closing and while trying to capture the essence and spirit of the store I was shopping. hey what can I say, it's an extraordinary shopping experience. 

Love the old Lakeside restaurant wood sign. Charming design made of wood. The Lobster dinner costs all of $2.68, oh the good old days!

Chuckled at the targets on the backside of the clowns. 

Kantha quilts made from vintage saris. 

Intriguing but haunting paintings and more shoe forms then I could count. Love all the big spools of thread. John and I have one displayed just off our a laundry room but ours indeed antique is half the size.

Much humor in this Circus cheerfully illustrated large canvas poster.

About to climb upstairs I noticed John admiring this vintage parts sign. He is almost done the renovation of our tiny garage and he has made a life sized, printed on canvas Izetta micro car for the back wall. I watched John's expression and knew he'd love this parts sign for the side wall. It's a maybe...

I do know I love John to the Moon and Back!

Tempted to squeeze a horn, I behaved and like a child in a candy store I was pulled closer to look at the Swiss army metal 1944 sign. Funny at the bottom it says moisten and seal. So many fascinating items of desire.

Now how cool is this metal locker room bench? I did say a store filled with the unique.
On all 3 floors there are different tables made from salvaged industrial parts and glass placed on top. Pieces like these bring interest to ones home be it farmhouse, eclectic, loft or any home you are looking to add in a signature piece.

Along side the locker hangs this wonderful large clock. Smitten at first sight I couldn't keep my eyes off of it.

If you collect Barnum and Bailey authentic circus prints here's one for you.

On the third floor more magic awaits. Huge bling in the chandelier and check out that antique dough bowl. Textiles are scattered about on all the floors and Zinc has a huge selection of quilts, blankets and pillows.

A lucky child will enjoy this toy aluminum vintage rocking Vespa. 

Be still my heart ... vintage industrial architects surveyor poles from England. 
The wood one on the left came home with me! Happy Birthday to me! Next post I will show it displayed against our exposed brick wall In my post I will title adding rustic charm.

Hungry, carrying the surveyor pole we walk back to Manon for our dining adventure.

Hanging outside is a hand painted French sign.
Manon's building is on the National register of historic places.

The window beckons you in to dine, you feel completely removed from Lambertville, NJ and transcended into a tiny romantic spot in Southern France. I had arrived earlier to capture some snap shots to share with you of the interior which is very intimate and small. 

I respect the privacy of people out for a culinary treat and realize the annoyance of an over zealous person with a camera snapping away while you are just out to enjoy a meal.

Painted on the ceiling is a mural of Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night.

Saffron colored faux painted walls with stenciled Fleur-de-Lis and plenty of wall decoration.

Love the curved roof tiles used as lights. 

Tiny, bright and cheery.

Owner/Chef and Potter Jean Michel Damas
A BYOB restaurant with a small but incredible menu. our dining selections started with a shared warm goat cheese salad with pine nuts. I enjoyed the Bouillabasśe and John ordered fillet of beef with Roquefort sauce. We both indulged in a desert of Crème Caramel and our palate was stimulated by a bottle of a dry French red wine.

Photo of our wine label

The walls are packed with Jean Michel Dumas pottery and there is even a bookcase full of pottery for sale. The restaurant remains unchanged year after year adding patina to its charm but a noticeable change this year was the sanded and refinished wide plank wood floors. 

Back home an earlier birthday present from John of an adorable felted mouse welcomed us after a truly memorable day.

As always I share my poetic expression and below my poem is a photograph of a very indulging and beloved blogging friend birthday gifts. Kris from Junk Chic Cottage was one of my first friends I met as a new blogger in this truly heart warming blogging world. Within a New York minute we became blogging friends. Sharing our family stories and events and our life ambitions and those heartaches that occur in between. I thank and love you Kris, but gosh you made me feel like it was Christmas with your generosity. I love you girlfriend. 

Hopefully life lessons are learned and many adventures are enjoyed as our Birthdays like it or not come and Birthdays go.
With each year there's more candles on your preverbal life cake, as you hope to gather enough breath to spark your wish as you blow. 

Candles ignited and all aglow promising additional wisdom and offering an optimist belief for the upcoming year...
But to be honest those unchangeable accumulating numbers often times fill me with a complete vanity aging fear!

My Birthday falls in my favorite time of the year and always around the celebrated holiday of Labor Day.
When the start of a change beckons your emotional memories recalling the coolness of the skies when often they appear Grey.

The crispness of Autumn and the start of nature's Painted leaves begins its transcendence and starts to fill the air.
I realize for me the autumnal season of nature's shedding is when I deeply care and honesty bare my heart ever so willing to share.

© Vera

All wrapped and tied with lace ribbon excited I opened a soft as can be throw Grey and cream with a diamond pattern, 3 journals for me to write down my poetic ideas and a soy candle with a huge generous fresh scented pour in a recycled wine bottle (French of course)! Next post you will see where I placed the beautiful throw. Thank you Kris.