More kitsch

Bennie snoozing on the vintage "fainting couch" I purchased from a family friend. He is flanked by a fantastic Oregon pillow which was new with tags from Goodwill.

Second, even though my family has certainly enjoyed a comfortable and blessed life, we have never really had tons of discretionary funds for "decorating."  Yet, I have always had a passion for it and am pretty particular about what I want my surroundings to look like.  This has always been a small bone of contention between my husband and me.  He prefers clean lines and believes that walls should remain white so that the next buyer will want the house.  So paint everything white before you move out... right?  To his credit, over the last 33 years he has helped me with so many projects and has been supportive even when I painted our living room a pale pink and put several amazing hooked rugs (one was zebra striped!) on layaway at Marshalls when I really shouldn't have!!  So - I have had to be creative- sponging walls, using objects in a different way or repurposing them, making my own slipcovers instead of buying them at Pottery Barn, and bargain shopping.  I guess you could say I have gone "all in" for the shabby chic look out of necessity and because I have ended up with a collection of very eclectic belongings from relatives and collections of my own.

Kitsch continued...

Lovely objects from my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother (pictured). My grandmother kept her bobby pins in the green ceramic container and my sister and I would watch her put her hair in pincurls when we spent the night. The purse and shoes in the case are from my mother's bridal trousseau. They are a lovely apricot leather with simulated pearls.

As I unpacked my trinkets in the new apartment, I began to realize that these items somehow defined me, my family, and what I considered "home."  I also must admit that several times during the move, both during packing and unpacking, I began to worry that if anything happened to me my kids would not know the stories behind the items around my house, so I found myself explaining to my daughter about the time when her Aunt and Uncle lived in the Netherlands and brought us back those charming blue and white houses that used to have liqour in them from KLM airlines, and who were those ancient looking people in that funky picture frame.  Eventually I gave up and realized that when and if she cared about it, she would ask me.

What I call the "booze houses." They are, in fact, small Blue Delft houses made for KLM by BOLS Royal Distilleries, Holland. All the liquor is gone out of their chimneys, signifying many happy transatlantic flights!

Kitschy vignettes

Cast iron angel bear. "Please sir, may I have some more?"

Unpacking was a bitch.  Downsizing to a three bedroom apartment from a large family home meant not using many of the pieces that I love.  It also made me consider carefully which items I did use and how to regroup them so that they were shown to their best advantage.  I also realized that if I wanted to see our loved ones who we no longer lived by I would need to include pictures on all surfaces.  For awhile I had framed photos of my kids on the kitchen counter while I was unpacking, and I decided to keep them there.  Who says you can't have pictures on the kitchen counter??  I  figured I would need to incorporate pictures into the small spaces I had.  I began to think of the small groupings of objects as "vignettes."  For example, on the soffit over the kitchen stove I put an antique scale, glass nutgrinder and juicer, a potato ricer that has the old paint fashionably worn away, and the Delft houses.  Atop the massive antique buffet from my in-laws house I placed a liqueur decanter that I at one time filled with raspberry liqueur that I made myself with two Ameretto crystal glasses, crystal candlesticks from my mother for our 25th anniversary, two antique nesting table scrapers from my grandmother, and a crystal napkin holder with small napkins that have a Parisienne theme - reminding me of my one fabulous trip with my sister.  The brass and green enameled candle snuffer from a friend who said, "This just looked like you," sits waiting to be used and my grandparents' 1920's wedding picture alongside my grandmother's vintage Oregon state plate and a mahogony antique clock complete the vignette.  Oh, and then there is this little cast iron angel bear that I found at the Goodwill store.  He is one of my favorite finds.  For some reason he completed the scene on the buffet and makes me smile every time I walk by him.

  • Wedding photo

    Grandma and Grandpa in their wedding picture with vintage gray velvet and painted gold frame.

  • Scale

    Awesome vintage scale made by American Cutlery Co., Chicago.

  • Candle snuffer and Napkin holder

    Green enameled candle snuffer and crystal napkin holder with, napkins that say, "Chocolat
    Paris Maison Fondee en 1800." Can't get enough chocolate napkins.