Thursday, April 27, 2017

One Room Challenge - Furniture

Welcome back, Friends.  If you've been following other bloggers who are participating in the One Room Challenge, you may be feeling some rising anxiety as the weeks go by.  That is certainly the case here at RM Design/Renaissance Mermaid!  There are still projects to complete and details to button up, and the time seems to be going faster and faster...
At any rate, today is all about the larger furniture pieces.  I want to show you the "anchors" for the design of our Master Bedroom.  My vision for this space began with masculine vibes and simple, but interesting, shapes.  The first piece I culled from my hours upon hours of internet shopping was this timeless dresser, which we will be using as a TV stand.

Chairish is one of my go-to sources when I want something unique.  Because this piece is used, it isn't in pristine condition, but I'm fine with that.  The clean, straight lines and bold brass hardware will always have a place in my home.  I like to select pieces that can easily transition to other rooms and uses in the future.  We'll probably store seasonal bed linens in the drawers, although my hubby has hinted at wanting to use them for some of his clothes...(to be determined, haha.) 

Next, this chest absolutely took my breath away!  The shape and details were exactly what I wanted, but I did deliberate for a bit because of the price - I needed to order two, as these would be used as nightstands.  In the end, though, I just couldn't get this beauty out of my mind and decided that the splurge would be worth it.

These pieces have a British Colonial/Plantation feel to me, and the finish on them is gorgeous.  They are quite a bit larger than the conventional nightstands we had here previously; but we have the space and, again, these will transition nicely into our next home someday.  Plus, I tend to pile lots of books on my side of the bed, so this will give me plenty of room to keep my collections organized.  There is a lot of space within the drawers as well, so we can't possibly complain about a lack of storage space! 

Soho Upholstered Iron Bed by Largo Furniture

The headboard I selected definitely has a personality all its own.  It's industrial and very masculine, but some folks might question this design decision.  My thought process was to find something heavier than our previous headboard which was a bit insubstantial, and also something that was more comfortable to lean against.  (You can see our old headboard here.)  I knew I didn't want a completely upholstered one, nor did I want a strictly metal one.  This headboard seemed to check all of the boxes for me, with the added bonus of having a dash of antique brass on the finish.
Finally, I wanted to have a table next to the leather chair, which we brought into this room from my husband's office.  I think the corner where the chair sits could be a really comfortable reading spot with the right set-up.  I usually read in bed, but that's not always ideal because it's a little hard to sit up straight, and I also have the tendency to fall asleep!  Our bedroom is by far the warmest room in the house, so during the winter months I spend a lot of time in here.  And the nook that I'm creating sits by the window, so it's a perfect place to relax.  There is a cute shop in our city that sells mostly mid-century modern furniture.  I snagged this great table for a really reasonable price.  It was probably used as a coffee table before I got ahold of it and might be slightly large for a side table, but it should work well to hold books, magazines, a beverage, etc. 
My current plan is to paint the wood a gloss white, but I'm still contemplating that.  With dark paint and furnishings in this room, pops of white will help keep things from getting too weighty and somber.  The rods you see on the table are brass with lion head detail, and there are small brass medallion details on the base.  Of course, I will preserve all of this brass!  This is one of the projects yet to be completed in the next couple of weeks, and I'm asking myself if I've gone mad, haha.  I am NOT a fast fact I employ an "artistically" slow, puttering style, so it remains to be seen if I can pull this off! 
Also, the accessorizing of the room, which should be the fun part, is causing me to pull my hair out!  Finding just the right mirror, arranging and installing a collage wall, and hunting down the perfect tchotchkes is anything but fun right now, lol.  But I hope you'll stop back next week when I'll show you how I'm prettying-up this room.
Thanks for following along with my progress.

Sharing with:  Calling it Home, Vintage Charm

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

One Room Challenge - Out with the Old

Welcome back, Friends!  Thanks for stopping by to check on my One Room Challenge progress.  I hope you've been able to visit some of the other featured and guest bloggers who are busy working on their room transformations.  There are some really amazing projects happening out there!  And I'd love to thank Linda from Calling It Home for creating, organizing, and hosting this twice-yearly Challenge!
As promised, I'm first going to share the funny story I mentioned last time.  OK, please take a look at the photo of the ceiling fan/light below.........does anything look strange about it?

It originally had 5 blades!  If you remember, I had mentioned that I was questioning the need to replace that fixture for this challenge.  My hubby really enjoys having a fan in the bedroom.  Also, though, let me note here that our greyhound is deathly afraid of ceiling fans.  Weird, I know.  He is a rescue racer, so we think there may have been loud fans in the kennels where the hounds were boarded, but that's just our theory.  At any rate, we don't run the fans in the house because it causes him so much anxiety!  So, that could have been reason enough to replace this fixture.  However, a couple of months ago we noticed that one of the blades seemed to be hanging a little lower than the others.  After inspection, we could see that the metal piece that attaches the blade to the fan had been broken, so it was connected precariously at that point. My hubby then remembered having heard a "pop" sound when he last dusted the fan, so we figured he had accidentally broken it.  He took blade #1 off of the fan.  Well, as if that wasn't enough to convince me to start shopping for a new light....

While we were dog-sitting our daughter and son-in-law's greyhound, Cougar, (yes, we both have greyhounds and they look like they could be siblings, haha) she was on the foot of our bed one night as we had settled in to watch some tv.  She is quite the little diva and pretty much commands the household when she is here, claiming her position at the foot of our bed.  As I said, we were relaxing in bed when, all of a sudden, another one of the fan blades abruptly came crashing down on her.  She bolted upright in terror; and once I figured out what had happened, I just started laughing hysterically.  Poor dog...she really got a rude awakening that night!  But it was clear that we would be getting a pretty new light for our bedroom :)  And here it is...

I wanted something that was decorative but not too fussy.  The new headboard for this room has an industrial look, and the other furniture pieces are black with a somewhat masculine feel.  We don't use the overhead lighting a lot, so it was really more about "form over function."  I had several fixtures chosen, but budget did play into my final decision (boo, hiss, budgets!)  I selected the West Elm Mobile Chandelier in a combination Antique Bronze and Antique Brass finish, which was reasonably-priced and fit my vision for the room.  It is going to look really great with the new furniture.
Below, is what it looks like in the freshly painted room.  I am so pleased with this paint color, too!  It's called Spanish Parador from Clark and Kensington.  It is a very muted mocha-color with just enough of a plum cast to give it personality.  Paint colors can be so difficult, right?  I was looking for a "dirty" plum, and I think I nailed it with this one!  It envelopes the room in moodiness, but it also creates a great background for pops of color.

Here, you can see that I am gradually gathering art and pillow covers for this project, which are sitting on that leather chair.  The plants went out to the sun porch this weekend, where they will stay until about October...keeping houseplants alive and healthy is always a juggling act since we have brutal winters here in Nebraska.  They do so much better out on the porch with some humidity.  But during the winter months, we have to bring all of them inside.

And, finally, here are the window shades I selected to replace those outdated vinyl vertical blinds.  They are Hunter Douglas Provenance Woven Woods in fabric, Aspen, and color, Fireside Retreat.  I chose to order them without any black-out lining, so they filter the light but don't block it.  I had to make sure that the hubs was ok with that.  He prefers to sleep in a dark room, and I like having a little light coming in.  But he said that he didn't care, so I hastily ordered before he could change his mind ;)  Our neighbors' house is pretty close to ours, but their windows aren't placed directly across from ours.  If it ever becomes a problem, though, we can always add some simple pull shades behind these, but I don't think we'll have to resort to that.  I also opted to order the shades without valances, which gives them a straight, clean look.  The goal was simplicity and lots of texture, which was achieved perfectly with these shades. 

Here is a sneak peek at a painting project that is going on for this room. Right now, I'm frantically trying to put together all of the accessories, bedding, and art.  I hope you'll stop back next week to see our new furniture pieces.  The weeks are flying by! 


Sharing with:  Calling It Home, Vintage Charm, Between Naps on the Porch

Thursday, April 13, 2017

One Room Challenge - The "Before"

I hope you were able to take a look at my previous post, which shows the vision of how our Master Bedroom will look at the end of this challenge.  There is a lot of work necessary to complete this transformation from ugly duckling to swan!  Before any progress can be made in this room, the first order of business is to remove the monster treadmill, take the very dated window treatments down, and repaint the ceiling.

Does anyone else buy exercise equipment with all of the best intentions, use it a few times, and then discover that it has become an extremely expensive, dust-gathering piece of sculpture in your room?  I never really wanted that treadmill in the bedroom, but I figured that if it meant the hubby would get healthier, I could suck it up and live with a visually clunky piece of "décor."  As it turns out, our son used it like crazy...for a while - so much so that the friction singed a little area on the carpet (yikes!)  Eventually, though, everyone lost interest or got too busy and it became a piece of "art."  Once the man cave in our basement was finally painted and re-carpeted, the guys agreed to move it downstairs - yea!  And I was celebrating small victory #1.

Before the room could be painted, we also had to remove the circa-1993 vertical blinds.  Seriously, can you believe we still had those in our bedroom?  The thing is, though, they are really functional.  You can control exactly the amount of light you want in the room, they open/close easily, and the vinyl (yes, we had the "stylish" vinyl ones) required minimal cleaning. But, their time had definitely passed, so they came down...hooray!

We needed to paint the ceiling because there were a couple of hairline cracks along the angled slope that had to be filled, and of course the spackle was whiter than the ceiling.  Can I just mention that this simple part of the room redo stalled the project for months?  (Remember, I was planning this room refresh over a year ago.)  We just couldn't bring ourselves to tackle another ceiling, after having done several in our rental properties.  Ugh.  But, finally, we had to face it, and it was a good reason to get a fresh coat up there.  A fun color, other than white, would have been more creative...sigh.  But to avoid giving my hubby a design-induced stroke (haha) I stayed with the conventional white.  Actually, the paint color I have chosen is quite dark, too, so the white ceilings help to keep the room feeling open.  Here are a couple of photos of my favorite painter.  He's a trooper, right?

I was questioning whether I should replace the ceiling fan/light or not.  I really, really wanted a pretty new light there, but my rational thoughts and frugal instincts were kicking in, until.....................ok, I'm going to keep you in suspense.  Please join me next week for a funny story about this fan!

  This entertainment unit and console table that I use as a make-up table are headed out the door.  They are both in good shape, but the style just doesn't work for me anymore.  Also, note how the orange cast of the furniture emphasizes the turquoise paint even more.  I'm not exactly sure what I had in mind when I chose that color.  But more on that subject in weeks to come.  I plan to donate the entertainment unit and either sell or donate the table.  Another decision to be made is whether to replace the table, or to retrain myself to apply makeup in the bathroom.  I'd love to eliminate this piece of furniture and create a large gallery wall in its place - one that extends almost to the floor.  So, I'll be checking into wall-mount magnifying mirrors for our bathroom and will probably opt for a pretty design over function on this wall.

This headboard and these nightstands have also lost their appeal.  The headboard will be sold, but the nightstands and lamps can be used in our guest bedroom.  Our son is using that room temporarily, but these pieces will work well for additional storage.  (Both adult kids still have quite a bit of their stuff here at home, so I'm always looking for nooks and crannies where their high school memorabilia, etc. can be stored out of sight.)  I do still like these lamps - they were purchased inexpensively at Target several years ago.

And now, I'll leave you all with this photo of our daughter and son-in-law's greyhound relaxing in the "old" turquoise bedroom.  You can see that she was not too concerned with the frightful state of our décor.   As a "teaser" for my next post, let me just mention that she plays a part in the aforementioned ceiling fan story, as well.

See you next week!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

One Room Challenge - Plum Perfect!

There's nothing quite like the One Room Challenge to light a fire under a project, right?  For several years now, I've been a faithful cheerleader and spectator, watching from the sidelines as designers and diy-ers have transformed "before" spaces into beautiful "afters" - all within 6 weeks!

Well, Friends, it's time for this lady to jump in, feet first, and revamp our very needy master bedroom.  If you are visiting my humble blog for the first time, "Welcome" and thanks for dropping by!  I'm Julie, a former Interior Designer, whose passion has always been creating beauty around me.  I appreciate so many design styles and love to blend them into my rooms - our décor is constantly changing and evolving.

However, I have to confess that I have never truly completed a master bedroom in any of our homes, and we've been married for almost 34 years!  It's the room that always got put on the back burner, probably because it's not a public space and guests rarely ever see it.  But doesn't everyone deserve a beautiful bedroom to relax in?  I certainly think so!

Since the bedroom functions differently for so many of us, it's one of the most personal rooms to design and decorate.  We use ours for sleeping, of course, but also for watching tv, reading, and relaxing, especially during the winter months because it is the warmest room in our home.  My hubby and I have slightly differing opinions on things like window coverings, lighting, and storage, but he almost always concedes to my preferences.  That being said, I do shy away from anything too feminine in shared spaces, because it's important for all family members to feel comfortable in their own homes.

Many moons ago, I created a vision board for our bedroom (here) with the intention of starting the project at that time - over a year ago!  Since then, I've incorporated that blue and green color scheme into our living and hearth rooms, so it seemed best to change the palette for the bedroom.  Some of the original choices remain, like the window shades, headboard, and the overall feel of the design.  But I moved toward one of my long-time favorite hues and created a plan based on plum, with raspberry, gold, and, of course, black, which is a mainstay for me.  The large square of plum-mocha on the above board will be our paint color, and the art piece with circles in shades of plums and pinks is the jumping off point for accessories.

The goal is to create a moody, comfortable atmosphere with both masculine and feminine elements, and a hint of sparkle ;)  Furnishings, lighting, and window treatments are straight-lined, transitional in style, and neutral in color; but I'm adding a bit of glamour with small details such as the mini period painting in a lavender frame and the shiny brass lampshades.  A gallery wall will incorporate traditional and modern art, a few vintage pieces, and pops of color.  I'm still working on selecting all of the finishing touches, which is why this vision board is lean on accessory pieces, bedding, and art. 

The project is a cosmetic facelift as opposed to a remodel, but a whole new look was non-negotiable for me.  If I'm finally going to finish our master bedroom, I don't want to simply put a band-aid on it.  The "kicker" when I presented this idea to the hubby was telling him that pretty much everything was going, with the exception of the carpet and a leather chair that will be moved from his office to our bedroom.  Luckily, though, he has learned to live with the idea of frequent change in design and decor around this house!
So, during the next several weeks I hope you'll join me as I post an update each Thursday.  Next week, I'll be sharing the dreadful "before" photos and will get started on removing furnishings and painting the room in this gorgeous, subtle shade of plum. Wish me luck!


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tips on Creating a Woodland Wreath

Happy Spring, Friends!  The weather in Nebraska is in its usual roller-coaster mode for March.  But snow has given way to rain, and the birds are becoming active and buds are popping on our trees, so warm weather can't be far behind.

Our front porch is looking quite barren after a long winter.  Since it's still a bit early to add flowers to the pots and bring out the summer porch décor, I decided to put together a new wreath for our door.  And I was on a mission to spend as little as possible, since I've been forking out a LOT of money ordering furnishings for our Master Bedroom.  I've decided to participate in the One Room Challenge, which gets underway in a couple of weeks, and have been placing some preliminary orders on things that I know will take several weeks to arrive.  Anyway, the budget is squeaking with tightness right now, haha, and this wreath needed to be made mostly with what I had on hand.  Since I am constantly in creativity mode and have a craft room spilling over with "stuff" I was able to scrounge up most of what you see in it.

I already had a twig wreath that had Fall stems on it, so I took that apart to reuse (reduce, reuse, recycle, right?)  And I have quite a collection of various faux stems, flowers, and branches to work with.  A little tip that helps me when I create wreaths is to work in 3's.  Some of you have seen photos of the wall vases that hang in a frame in our hearth room.  I often buy stems in groups of 3's to place in those vases.  Because I love to change things up around the house regularly, there are quite a few leftover branches that had once been used in the wall vases.  And that's where I began with this "new" wreath.  I had 3 of the yellow-green leafy branches you see here and also 3's of some of the less noticeable stems and branches.  It works well to space the branches apart by 1/3 of the wreath and then just keep inserting more leaves and branches at the same basic intervals, rotating the wreath as you go.  Fern leaves are often a go-to for me because they add texture and fill space well.  Buying faux greenery bushes and cutting them apart is a good way to save a little money.

I really like a woodsy look, a little wild and as natural as possible.  Something I learned after working at a floral shop years ago was to always go a little bigger and a little more loose and free than you think.  After all, Mother Nature doesn't paint her pictures in orderly, tight grids.  Usually, she has a free spirit, which was hard for this perfectionistic designer to learn at first.  But the more I practiced, the better I got at it, and I think the results are positive, don't you?  See how the wreath stretches from door jamb to door jamb?  (I'm waiting for my husband and son to complain about that when they use the door!)

Even though I have gotten free with my styling, I'm still working on breaking out of my color comfort zone, haha.  I wanted this wreath to be subtle in color, blending with the green of our front door.  But I added a hint of white for contrast, and there is a LOT of texture that helps it pop from the background. 

There is one little problem we encounter every spring, though.  The finches and robins that come back year after year to build their nests on our front porch seem to think that I hang door décor for their convenience.  They love to build nests in my wreaths, making it hard for us to come and go through the front door; or worse yet, they build their nests near the door on the light fixture and deconstruct my wreaths to use as their building materials!  So, this wreath is actually coming back into the house until after nesting season.  I'm thinking of putting it on our sunporch for a couple of months to pretty up that space :)

I hope you'll all stop back here the first week of April when I begin my One Room Challenge!  It will be my first attempt at this, and I'm excited about creating a gorgeous Master Bedroom for myself and the hubby.


Monday, March 13, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Holy Moly, Friends, it's been too long since I've posted!  My only excuse is that my mind and body decided to take some unplanned time off for reading, relaxing, and meditating.  I may have had a touch of the end-of-winter-but-still-winter doldrums, or more likely I've just been lazy, haha.  If you are reading this, thank you, thank you for sticking with me and my little blog :) 

At this time of year, it seems many of us are craving the sights and colors of a new season.  In that spirit, I've created some Spring-inspired home décor to brighten and refresh my spaces (and those of my Etsy customers, too!)

Vintage floral brooches have been central on my radar lately.  I painted this keepsake box green and added several jewelry pieces to pretty it up!  I think the lattice design on the top of the box also adds to a garden feel.  Aren't these flowers , butterfly, and ladybug cheerful?

Another one of my favorite treasure-hunting finds has been these bugs, which I've attached to some cute bud vases.  What is more synonymous with flowers than bugs, right?  I confess that I've always had an affinity for insect art and sculpture.  But if you want to see me do a very frenzied piece of creative movement, accompanied by teen-girl screaming, just put a real bug near me (most especially, a spider...GAH!!!)

These jewelry bugs, though, are too pretty to frighten anyone.  Who could resist a little insect crawling up a sweet bud vase?

This bug is a small vintage brooch, which I've attached to a new bud vase that I picked up at Michael's.  The colors and pewter finish have a bit of a Southwest flair, don't they?

For this vase, I went with a "vintage" 1991 piece that I found at our local Goodwill store.  There is a label on the bottom that gives the date; and honestly, I'm not sure if you could consider '91 "vintage" but since it was made 26 years ago, it's definitely not new!  My 27-year-old daughter might not appreciate being called vintage, though, haha.  She has already requested that I make a bug pot for one of her succulents.  That girl is the queen of growing succulents, I tell you!  It's like a botanical garden at her house, and you know that she did NOT get that skill from her mother.

The beetle that I embellished this vase with does not appear to be old, even though I purchased it at an antique store.  There is a dealer there who always has bits and bobs of old and not-so-old items.  I've been eyeing this insect for a while, and then the inspiration struck to make these fun vases.  I am terribly tempted to keep this piece for myself because the color scheme is perfect, but my better sense tells me that it needs to be added to my Etsy shop ;)

And here are some charming little flower wall plaques that I painted and embellished with vintage earrings.  Wouldn't these be cute in a she-shed or girl's room?  I could also see them on a gallery wall - they have a bit of a Boho vibe.

The photo above shows what these pieces looked like before paint.  They were very antique-heavy and dated-looking.  A few coats of chalk paint in happy colors brought them into the present.  And of course you knew that I had to add a little bling to each one.  I mean, it's my "thing."

So, here are the newest Spring items that I'll be adding to my Etsy shop this week.  Let's hope the actual Spring season will soon follow!  Here in Nebraska, we are having another dose of winter with wind chills in the single digits for the next few days...ugh!  I hope it's warmer and sunnier wherever you are.


Sharing with:  Between Naps on the Porch

Monday, February 20, 2017

Transitional Mantel

Happy Day, Friends. I'm enjoying the President's Day holiday by sitting at Barnes & Noble, surrounded by some of my favorite things - lots of books and good coffee. I'm trying not to feel too guilty about all of the things I could and should be doing on my day off from work, and giving myself a few hours of stress-free space and luxury. I find that even when we ladies purposely take some time to recharge our batteries, many of us feel anxious about it. I supppose the coffee (not decaf) doesn't help to ease the anxiety, does it? Haha.

Ok, I did accomplish a little something this weekend and am sharing it here. Our mantelpiece had been neglected after the Christmas decor was put away, left with just a couple of non-holiday remnants and looking bare and unfinished. It was calling out for attention. But one of my weird quirks is that I like to decorate for the season and not jump ahead or lag behind. Ugh, or maybe I just like to overthink every design decision for no good reason!  At any rate, despite some really warm weather we are having here for a couple of weeks, winter is nowhere near its end. This is Nebraska, after all. We often get snow dumped on us in March, and even sometimes in April.

I certainly don't want to decorate with pinecones, pine branches, and snowflakes now that we are heading into March, but I'm not quite ready to add full-on spring decor either. So, I thought I'd try a natural green scheme with just a hint of white, which can transition easily through the next couple of months.

These 2 faux-thyme topiaries, which I bought a few years back at a tag sale and are a staple in our decor, were the jumping-off point. I just love their airiness and texture, and I got them for a true steal! Originally, they came in matte black pots, which looked fine. But a while back, one was knocked over by wind coming in through a window, and it broke. I kept that a design secret for a long time as I displayed them with the missing broken chunk turned toward the back side. But because I still love them as much as I did the day I bought them, I knew that they needed new pots. My favorite store came through for me, once again, and I picked these up at Anthropologie over the weekend. I had to break the old black pots with a hammer to dislodge them, haha. My husband thought I'd lost my mind a little bit!
Don't they look pretty in these new vessels?  It's hard to see in these photos, but the finish is a soft metallic champagne-gold with heavy distressing.

The other faux boxwood double ball topiary in the white pot is from Ballard Designs. I love the look of a collection of topiaries, but there is no way that I would be able to have live ones with my history of plant abuse! So finding the most realistic-looking fake ones is my mission. Same holds true for flowers a lot of the time, although I do incorporate fresh flowers into our decor when I really want to spruce things up.

This large vintage green glass vase has been a staple in my decor for awhile. I often fill it with long branches to fill space and add motion to my vignettes. The branches in here are all faux. They look pretty real, don't they? Thankfully, retailers are getting much better at offering good-looking faux florals now. The pussy willows are always a sign of hope for spring. And I decided to add some flowering branches in white for extra fill, texture, and color (I do consider white a color in this grouping because it's not green, wink.)  The grapevine and moss decorative ball adds just a touch more green and echoes the shape of the double ball topiary.

These windows have been hanging above our fireplace for a number of years now.  I like them because they add a backdrop without distracting from what is on the mantel, and they tie in with the oak finish on the mantel's shelf.  Lately, though, I've considered painting, maybe?  What do you think?  I'm not really a stained-wood type of gal, so I've slowly been painting over some of the trim work in our house.  I'm not sure if the black would be too visually heavy, so I'm still kicking the idea around in my head.

So, here's my simple and transitional mantel for spring.  I was going to say "early spring" but I know myself well enough to be sure that it will stay this way until summer.  At that point, I'll probably have to at least switch those spring branches to something different, and maybe run a feather duster over the rest, haha.  

I hope you're enjoying some mild weather where you are.  I know that some of my blogging friends are already working out in their yards and dusting off patio furniture.  Ugh, I'm so envious!  Here in the Midwest, all we can do right now is "hunker down" and get ready for March Madness :)


Sharing with: Inspire Me Tuesday, Inspire Me Monday, The Scoop, Vintage Charm, Shabby Art Boutique, Between Naps on the Porch

Monday, February 13, 2017

More Vintage Jewelry Art

Julie is my name, embellishing is my game :)

If you happened to read my posts, A Mixed-Media Art Piece and Her Sisters, Vintage Jewelry Projects, and Vintage Jewelry Art - A Happy Accident, you have seen that I really love dressing up home decor pieces with vintage jewelry (is it overkill? Haha.)

This hobby of mine all started because I had amassed a collection of sparkly brooches and earrings from tag sales, flea markets, and estate sales.  Once in a while I will wear a piece or two, but I'm not a very good fashion accessorizer.  Honestly, my style runs pretty simple with an occasional necklace or a few bracelets.  I don't even know 2 ways to tie a scarf - someone help me, please!

There is SO much beautiful antique jewelry "out there" that is homeless and really inexpensive.  Since no one can wear that much of it, I have taken it upon myself to find different ways to use and appreciate it :)  I have covered small Christmas trees with jewelry, embellished picture frames, decorative boxes, and made my daughter's bridal bouquet with it.

Lately, my favorite way to use those beauties is to add them to floral still life art.  Here is the most recent project that I completed.

This one is really special because of the butterfly.  I stumbled upon this Fraternal Order of Eagles pin while out thrifting recently.  Did any of you have parents who were, or are, members of FOE?  I did, although I didn't know much about it back then.  In fact, as a child, I thought it was some mystic secret society.  Now I realize that it was no more mysterious than any other fraternal organization, much like the sorority I belonged to in college.  But this pin is definitely a unique piece, and I was thrilled to have found it!

The art really spoke to me, probably because of the colors (green, black, gold...some of my favorites for decorating.)  Also, I think it looks like one of the Old Masters and would blend so well in a collage or would really compliment many styles of decor - modern, traditional, transitional, boho...

The jewelry pieces add sparkle, dimension, and a lot of interest without distracting and overwhelming the art.  To give it a little more oomph and to up the fun factor, I also added a kiwi green paint wash over the standard antiqued gold frame.  The finished product is now available in my Etsy shop.

And for all of the people (like myself) who just can't pass up a sweet little piece of ballet art, here is a small plaque I picked up at the same estate sale where I found the still life.  (It was either a good thrifting day, or I lost my head a bit, haha.)  In its original state, it was painted plain gold and was slightly dated-looking, I thought.  I opted to paint it rose gold to give a slight nod to ballet pink without going too saccharine.

Then, I added this gorgeous piece of multi-colored jewelry in shades of pink, ivory, and coral at her waist, and a single pink Swarovski crystal at her neckline.  I resisted the temptation to embellish the stage curtains and/or the plaque's edge and decided that less is more here.  Sometimes, exercising restraint produces the best results, don't you agree?

And, finally, another of my favorite projects has been the Animal Magnetism series.  I mean, how can anyone resist all of the cute animal pins that women used to wear on their jacket lapels, coats, and hats? Well, I hit the jackpot recently and scored more fun pins, so I put together more magnets (also in the shop.  Sorry this post is so full of self-promoting links! But, I do have lots of fun jewelry projects to share, wink, wink.)

And these - goat, kangaroo with baby, rooster, and greyhound, which aren't for sale because I made them specifically for my daughter for her birthday.  Each one has a special little story or private joke connected to it.  I definitely put extra effort into the hunt for these pins, because I wanted to find just the right ones for her.  But half of the fun in creating is the thrill of the hunt, am I right Thrifting Friends?

I'm sure there are still scads of brooches out there just waiting for me to be at the right place at the right time.  I will hunt them down and give them a good home ;)


Sharing with:  Between Naps on the Porch, Amaze Me Monday, A Stroll Thru Life, Inspire Me Monday, The Scoop, Vintage Charm, French Country Cottage