finding inspiration

November really brings a battle between Christmas enthusiasts and those standing-up for Thanksgiving from a decorating/shopping standpoint, doesn’t it?  I mean who doesn’t love Thanksgiving?  No one wants to skip the feast.  However, some are overlooking the cornucopia for the twinkling Christmas lights immediately after Halloween.  I’ve always been a fan of keeping autumn harvest decor fresh, until the day after Thanksgiving when it is game-on for Christmas decorating.

As I’ve ventured further into the retail world I can understand why Christmas comes immediately following Halloween.  It is a very glitzy, very short selling season.  A lot of effort goes into merchandising for the holidays yet the season is definitely shorter than autumn harvest.  Perhaps that is why we’re seeing it grow just a little more every year, annoying as it may be to poor Thanksgiving.  With that said, I may even be behind the eight ball in getting all of my holiday inventory on the sales floor.  Yes, I surely am.

For me, November is all about balance.  Autumn harvest at home with Christmas on the brain and in the store.  While looking for inspiration for the season, I found some of my favorite holiday themed signs that I’ve painted over the past four years.  Here are the highlights…

Santa on a barn door is definitely a favorite which I’ve replicated again and again.

rustic santa barn door

Holly Jolly Christmas is indeed available now at The West End Garage.

holly joll christmas sign

Believe is always a crowd pleaser.

handpainted believe sign on reclaimed wood

The deer is a favorite from last year and it ended up in the home of a family member.  I may just have to make another one for 2015!

oh deer

Probably not my favorite work but any reference to classic Bedford Falls is a winner!

wonderful life sign

I love the juxtaposition of the message and the rustic canvas here.

rustic joy to the world

Moose Lodge is another one that I’ve done a few times.  Not necessarily reserved for Christmas either.

moose lodge

How’d this one sneak in here?

Painted Signs on Reclaimed Wood - maryland crabs

And the original “On the Way to Cape May” sign!  This one started it all.

Cape May Sign

Well, we’re most certainly off of the Christmas track now and perhaps back on harvest.  The sunflower seed packet resides at my parents.  I didn’t have the heart to sell it.  It’s possibly my all time favorite.

vintage sunflower seed pack reproduction sign

I’ve got a thing for fonts and vintage inspired signs which led me to start a pinterest board dedicated to other handmade holiday inspired signage.  Check it out here.

Where do you stand on the whole Thanksgiving/Christmas decorating debate?

thoughts on pink

Sometimes pink is just that. Feminine, girly, frilly.  Pink!

arabesque french dresser-275

But sometimes it can be quiet, subtle and almost neutral.  I don’t dare say masculine because we are programmed to believe that pink is the opposite of masculine but perhaps in a room full of dark wood or ornate antiques it can balance out the masculinity.

salvaged baluster lamps arabesque french dresser-273

I’d like to think that the less-than-precious finish on this French provincial piece can lend to a variety of settings from the obvious choice in a little girl’s bedroom to a dining room sideboard stand-in or and entryway piece.  The latter is how I would choose to use it.

arabesque french dresser-278

The body is painted in MMSMP Arabesque while the eight drawers are layered in Marzipan which is a warm neutral in and of itself.  Between the layers of Marzipan is antiquing wax and light distressing for an imperfect finish.

arabesque french dresser-292

The body of the dresser chipped on its own revealing hints of brown.  After some subtle white waxing on the pink, the entire piece received a top coat of MMSMP Tough Coat for durability.

shells - arabesque french dresser-283

The inside of the drawers is undeniably feminine with a surprise pop of vintage floral wallpaper!  The original hardware is on six of the eight drawers with a hint of gilding wax to bring out the detail.  The smaller top drawers received a knob since one pull overall was missing when we found this dresser.  Since taking these photos I’ve since switched out the pink knobs for brass ones.

vintage wallpaper as draawer liner - arabesque french dresser-287

Here is how it looks staged for sale at The West End Garage.  I love that original tin wall.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before!  It is funny how Arabesque sometimes reads as a lilac and less pink.

WEG arabesque dresser

Also, did you see those lamps?  Another set of salvaged baluster lamps created by Ryan.  This pair is also less than precious with chipping paint and fractures adding to the awesomeness!

salvaged baluster lamp

I am not sure that I ever shared on the blog the pair of green salvaged baluster lamps that Ryan made.  These sold some time ago but were another favorite!  We opted to make the white pair a little bit more industrial with the hardware exposed since the top is where most of the detail of the white balusters lie.  Otherwise the lampshades would have covered those curves.

green salvage baluster lamps-096

And speaking of pink, here is a pink baluster lamp that Ryan made and we’ve decided to keep for our own living room.

pink salvage baluster lamp-159

Tell me your thoughts on pink.  Is it feminine all of the time?  Neutral?  Can it go masculine?

bar cart essentials

Fall is in full swing and, let’s be honest, that means the holidays are on the horizon.  Holiday entertaining and parties will be here before we know it.  Now is the time to get those bar carts stocked and ready to go!  Hollywood Regency Brass Faux Bamboo Bar Cart

The folks over at Chairish challenged me to select my favorite bar cart and subsequently style it.  They came to the right place because I am a big fan of vintage bar carts!  I have bought and sold a few over the years.  Chairish makes buying and selling vintage furniture, art, jewelry and accessories online very easy.  From their selection, I chose a Hollywood Regency number.  I love the simple bamboo lines and those brass casters…swoon!

10 Bar Cart Essentials-

The double tiered cart will come in handy because we’ve got a lot of necessities to fit in order to craft the perfect libation.  Here are my Top 10 Bar Cart Essentials

Tools

  • First, you need the tools of the trade!  A muddler, jigger and shaker are any mixologist’s best friends.  The mason shaker adds a rustic appeal that I love.
  • Bitters are a bar cart necessity these days.  Hair of the Dog is a crowd pleaser!

Recipe Books

  • We like to muddle fresh fruit and herbs for our refreshments, taking tips from The Drunken Botanist.
  • Another book always close at hand is Shake which does a wonderful job of illustrating the drink recipes it outlines.

Glassware

  • What bar would be complete without crystal?  These vintage, crystal wine glasses from Chairish are very similar to a set of family heirloom glasses we have at our home bar.  They are our go-to glasses. Crystal  elevates every cocktail.  We don’t just reserve it for special occasions.

Accessories

  • I always have fabric cocktail napkins on hand.  These ticking striped ones are adorable and perfect everyday napkins.
  • The striped straws are just plain fun and whimsical, as well as functional.  Form and function?  Win/Win!
  • The beautiful artisan-made peach basket is used to corral tools when not in use.  It can also double as an ice bucket in a pinch because it is ceramic.

The Valencia - cocktail recipe

In case you’re wondering, The Valencia cocktail is still one of my favorites using citrus medica bitters and fresh squeezed orange juice.  The recipe can be found in Shake.

All of the bar ware above can be found at Circa Dee and the vintage bar cart and crystal glasses can be found at Chairish.com.