Monday, August 29, 2011

Needlework in the Modern Home

In Victorian times, the art of needlework whether it be needlepoint or embroidery, was taught to the young girls.  Today, it is sadly a dying art!  But you can still find beautiful pieces, lovingly hand stitched during the past 100 years in antique shops and at yard sales and flea markets, and they deserve to be rescued!

My home is filled with needlepoint - dining room chair seats, bell pulls, framed pictures, and decorative pillows - all done by either my Mother or some other wonderful lady from the past.  I do counted cross stitch and have many pieces framed and hung in my home.  Each item represents hours and hours of patient hand work done while sitting in the evenings maybe in front of the fireplace or while listening to music or watching the television.  I believe that this kind of artwork adds warmth to a home.

Hand embroidered guest towels and pillow cases can also be used in the modern home!  There is nothing more pleasing than for your guest to lay their heads on a soft, freshly pressed hand embroidered pillow case from the past and to dry their fingertips on a dainty guest towel embroidered with a pretty flower.  One way I have used the pillow cases is to purchase an 18" X 18" pillow form and place it down inside the pillow case - then fold over the decorative edge and display proudly on your bed or bedroom chair.

Whenever I see a piece of needlework, neglected and poorly framed - something that took someone hours to stitch - I just have to rescue it!  I once found a counted cross stitch bride picture complete with tiny little beads stitched into the dress and stitched onto light blue fabric.  It was framed in a cheap gold frame and not pressed and stretched properly.  I found a decorative antique frame which had been painted white, took the needlework out of the frame, hand washed it carefully, pressed it, and took it to be professionally mounted and framed in that antique frame.  It is proudly hanging in my home today along with others that I have stitched.

The next time you see needlework, take the time to examine it - if it is in good condition and just needs a little TLC - rescue it!  Every time you look at it you can think of someone who took their precious time to lovingly stitch it, probably as a gift for someone, and consider it a gift to you and your home!  We always have many pieces of needlepoint and other needlework including embroidery, cross stitch, and hand stitched quilts in our antique store that have been rescued and can advise you how they can be used in your home.  Warm up your home with some needlework from the past today!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Romance Your Home With Roses!

Perfect for the bath, the bedroom, formal living or dining room, or any room - the soft colors of roses can add romance to your home!  Keep the walls and floors neutral, and you can add florals to your heart's content!

In the bath add a beautiful vintage wash bowl and pitcher filled with roses, soft rose covered curtains and shower curtain, towels, etc.  Add the soft light of candles and you have a romantic bath!

Adorn the entrance to your home with rose covered wreaths on your doors!  Accent your living room with floral pillows, lace table runners, mirrors to reflect the beauty, floral drapes, pretty accent rug, needlepoint pillows and wall hangings, vases and urns filled with greenery and roses, a pretty rose teapot and teacup on your coffee table and sit back and enjoy the beauty as you read your favorite novel!

In your dining room enhance your light fixture with a rose garland, lace tablecloth on the dining table with a beautiful floral arrangement in the center, candle holders of various heights, mirrors again to reflect the beauty, set the table with lovely antique china in a variety of rose patterns (mix and match makes a beautiful elegant, yet casual setting), accent rug beneath the table, silver and crystal on the buffet filled with roses!  What a lovely tea or dinner party you could have in this setting.

Memories has a store full of beautiful crystal, rose covered china, hand painted cabinet plates, garden statues and angels, antique silver and needlepoint bell pulls, mirrors, lamps and more to help you romance your home!  If you are not sure where to begin, just select pieces that you love and we guarantee they will work into your romantic space!

Fresh roses are always a nice addition to your home - I just picked some pink roses from my "Memorial Day" rose and brought them inside for the eating area of my home - and now the whole house smells sweet and romantic!  What are some of your ideas to romance your home?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pick a Garden Theme!

One wonderful way to decorate a room or a corner of a room is to pick a theme and decorate around it using vintage items that you have or find while you are shopping antique stores!  We will explore other ideas in the future, but today we will talk about a garden theme!

If you love flowers and gardening, you can search for items to fit that theme - it makes the decorating and the shopping both more fun and interesting.  There are no rules when decorating your home - use the colors, themes, and items that make you happy and are pleasing to your eye.  Layer and group your collections to get a more dramatic effect.  If you need lessons on layering and grouping, stop by Memories - we are experts at this as you can observe throughout our store.

If you love gardening, you probably already have items that you can use.  In the eating area of my kitchen, I decided to go with the garden theme - I have Ray Harm and Audubon bird prints, bird figurines, battery operated wind chimes, bird houses, stitchery pictures with garden verses, gardening books, seed packets, a small indoor fountain, watering cans, violets and more.  Other items that can be incorporated would be old garden benches, wreaths, bird cages, green plants displayed in old pottery pieces or baskets, old garden tools - the ideas are endless!

We have lots of garden theme items at Memories including old wagon seats, picket fence shelves, primitive birdhouse lamp, bird cages and bird figurines, and much more!  All you have to do is tell us what your "theme" is and we'll help you find something perfect to fit your decor!  The idea in decorating your home is to make it "you" and to have fun with it.  If you see something you love, purchase it and you will find the perfect spot in your home for it - I promise!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Old China = Great Gift Ideas!

Many of us have odd pieces of old china - perhaps a teacup and saucer, a teapot without a lid, mixed dishes and saucers.  There are so many uses for these pieces, plus you can put together great friendship or hostess gifts!  Even if you don't own any items like mentioned, antique stores and flea markets have an abundance, and if you see something in a beautiful pattern, you won't have to pass it up if you have a great use for it!

A pretty cup and saucer makes a terrific gift for a friend - just place a tea bag and some chocolates or small candle or potpouri inside!  If you know your friend's china pattern, seek out a cup and saucer or other piece to add to her set!  If you want to spend more, purchase two or three varied cups and saucers - stack them and tie with a pretty bow!  What bride-to-be wouldn't want a cup and saucer to match her grandmother's china! 

If you find a teapot, coffee pot, or chocolate pot with a missing lid, the price will be right, and it can be filled with a beautiful flower arrangement for a special gift or the center of your own table!

Find a beautiful saucer and purchase a pillar candle or pretty bar of soap to sit on it - tie a bow on the candle or soap - perfect and thoughtful gift! 

Plates don't have to match to make a lovely place setting - the next time you serve your friends lunch, mix up your china pieces so that each place setting is different.  Set it all on a table covered in a vintage brightly colored printed tablecloth!  Fun and inexpensive!

Anyone have more ideas?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Milk Glass - Shabby to Chic!

When you think of milk glass, you probably think of all those cheap bud vases that you see in all the thrift stores!  But there is much more to this sparkling white glass!  And even those cheap bud vases, when grouped together with flowers from your garden, can make a beautiful centerpiece, or used at each individual serving place at your tea party with a single flower and perhaps a ribbon!

Almost every serving piece has been made out of milk glass - pitchers with matching glasses, sets of dishes, cups and saucers, punch bowls and cups, compotes, and specialty pieces such as perfume bottles, epergnes, fairy lamps, bride's baskets, lamps, fairy lamps, and much more! 

When looking for milk glass, the best in my opinion is Westmoreland Glass (Marked with a WG on the bottom) or Fenton (marked with an oval with the name Fenton in it).  There are several beautiful patterns including hobnail and paneled grape, which we have in our store!

When thinking of how to use it in your home, be creative!  There is nothing prettier than a whole display of white milk glass grouped in a cabinet or against a pastel or dark background.  Imagine in the Spring, using your milk glass pitcher and glasses to serve lemonade on the porch with colorful tablecloths!  And at Christmas with your red, green, navy or burgundy accessories!  It's making a comeback!  Start looking at milk glass in a different way - a creative way - to use in your home!  You'll be glad you did!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Quilts Are Not Just for Beds Anymore!

Ever admire those beautiful old quilts in an antique store such as Memories Past and Present and wonder what you would do with it?  Or maybe you even have some treasured quilts made by your Grandmother in your closet or trunk.  They don't fit your bed or match your color scheme!

Quilts originally were made from scraps of fabric and sewn together with love to cover a loved one and keep them warm.  But these days, what could you do to use these old quilts that you desire or treasure?

At Memories we use them in many ways:  As a tablecloth when setting your country table; as a wall hanging either hung from a rod or from clips as decor behind a couch, over a table, or behind the bed as a headboard;  over the back of a wicker settee on your back porch or in a sunroom; wrapped around the base of your country Christmas tree for a tree skirt; cut up into pieces and lovingly made into pillows so that each family member can have a piece of Grandma's quilt; cut and used for clothing for dolls, covers for doll beds, angel wings on hand-made dolls; folded neatly at the foot of your bed; draped on an old trunk; and more!  You can even take a full size quilt and turn it sideways on your Queen size bed - then add pillows at the top to fill in the space to the headboard!

The ideas are endless!  What are some of your creative uses for antique quilts?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sell at Yard Sale/Or Not?

One of the most common questions I get at Memories is from people trying to downsize or sell their inherited "stuff" - I am afraid I will sell something really valuable at a garage sale price - how do I know the difference?

There is no way to be an expert overnight at what is valuable and what is not, and research on each item takes volumes of time, and you have to know where to look!  We have helped many people out at Memories by selecting those items that are true treasures out of the pile of "stuff" and researching and selling for a good price in our store and in our on-line store at 

Don't be afraid to ask a dealer for help when sorting through your "stuff" - most would be happy to assist and either buy for a reasonable (not garage sale) price, or take it in their store to sell for you. That way you can avoid costly mistakes or feeling guilty for getting rid of something precious without knowing it's true value. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Treasures in your Attic

Had a consignor at Memories who had inherited a lot of  "stuff" from his grandmother.  He knew that she had nice things, but he had no need for those things.  He began to go through them after several years and bring a few items in to Memories to sell for him.

Memories had a customer who had left her name on our "wish list" looking for sterling silver and coin silver.  When we opened one of the boxes, we found a coin silver mint julep cup made in 1857.  After researching the item and coming up with a value, which was no insignificant amount, we contacted the customer.  Within just a few minutes, the match was made. 

This old item that had been stored for years in a box in the garage had found a new home - someone new to "treasure" and cherish it in their collection for many years to come.

What treasures do you have that are stored away as just "stuff" that has no value to you.  I know my consignor is wishing he had more mint julep cups!  Maybe you had better go and unpack some of those boxes in your attic!