Friday, February 29, 2008

eBay today - zebra rug

I know it's not very PC, but I love the idea of a zebra rug. Domino has a great spread of a room with a real zebra skin rug. Pick up an authentic one over on eBay.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

eBay today - books

There is a great post over on Southern Accents about outfitting a library. Rare books dealer Kinsey Marable offers insight into the essentials of a great library. Check it out here.

Some of the books are listed on eBay here, here and here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

eBay today - taxidermy

I know that the word "taxidermy" can conjure up creepy images for some, but (in moderation) taxidermy can be a great design element. It doesn't have to mean too many deer heads and knotty pine walls.

I love the idea of a collection of three or five framed beetles, like the one above, in a little boy's room. And I actually like the knotty pine frame on this little guy. I think it looks really modern and adds to the organic design.

The vintage pheasant makes a great Thanksgiving centerpiece. In fact, I just bought one at a local antique mall for $25 and am planning on using it for just that.

Finally, could you use the creepy bird skull at Halloween as a decoration? Done properly, I think it could work. I might just put it on top of a stack of books on a coffee table. I think Martha used a lot of taxidermy one year in ar Halloween issue, but I can't say for certain.

Right now, eBay has over 3,800 listings for mounted animals, antlers, fish, skeletons, insects and spiders. I've narrowed the search down for you here.

House Voyeur

Billy, a reader, sent me a post about the House Voyeur segment over at More Ways to Waste Time and said that I could find his home there. I so love to peek into peoples' homes... not to be nosy or judge their dusting skills (don't judge mine! ha!) or ability to clean baseboards, but to find inspiration and learn something about the homeowners.

Lovely home, Billy, and thanks for the tip.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

eBay today - French settee

I love this settee. And I hate the words "shabby" and "chippy". They have been overused. When Rachel Ashwell started selling Shabby Chic at Target, it lost its street cred. Wouldn't this look great covered in a nice slubby linen?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Mary-Laure's current post about the treasures she brought back from a weekend trip to London inspired me. I have been on a thrift/antique/juntique store tear as of late and I've found tons of stuff that fit my poor man's Parish-Hadley style. You really don't ever know what you will find.

The horse sculpture on the mantle is from Target. (I know, I know... I TOTALLY despise the floor-to-ceiling brick also. It doesn't fit at all with my style, but it's so expensive to replace.) I love that celadon crackly look. They just priced all of their Global Bazaar stuff 50% off and I got that for $10 yesterday. The ikat pillow next to the pale blue needlepoint pillow came from Target, too. It wasn't on sale, but it was only $15.

The snail was just so cute. It was $2 and it reminded me of Jonathan Adler's animals. The round mirrored frame was also Global Bazaar. Sale price? $5. The finger vase was $10 at a thrift store a couple of weeks ago.

The photo of my coffee table has a Tiffany rock crystal votive I bought at another thrift store recently. In the background you will see my two Henredon club chairs I scored for a song recently. I actually bought the pair of votives... the other one is with the horse. The two together were $20 and this brings me to a question for you:

When you see something really underpriced at a thrift store or garage sale, do you tell the person or do you just figure it's their problem for not checking their stuff out? I actually pointed it out to a teenage girl who was working at this thrift store - they still had the Tiffany blue sticker on the bottom - and asked her if they meant to sell them at that price. I even suggested that they could sell online for at least $50 for the pair and she just shrugged and said she guessed so. At that point, I dropped it.

What do you think? Would you have said anything at all? Pushed to bring it to the attention of a manager? Does the value of the item affect your decision? Does it matter if you are buying from an antique dealer vs. a thrift store benefitting a charity? I really want to hear from some of you.

Monday, February 18, 2008

eBay today - antique pure linen sheets

I know that much ado is paid to sateen sheets these days, but I just can't sleep on them. Give me some crisp real linen sheets any day and I'm happy. I don't like to feel like I'm sleeping on velvet. I personally buy high thread count (but not too high) fitted sheets, not sateen, that are as crisp as I can get them and I use antique flat sheets. I have only invested in one sheet of this quality because

1. they are expensive

2. they require a lot of care - I don't dry mine... I hang it over a shower rod

(I want to build the clothes line Martha featured in her magazine a few years ago, but that's a whole other story)

You can find vintage pillow cases on eBay also. Aren't those monograms incredible? They were all stitched by hand. Really amazing. I'm providing a link to one of the sheets, but the same seller, based in France, has the others listed also. Just click "view sellers other items" on the right side of the listing if you are interested.

celebrate President's Day with a print from Hatch Show Print

If you aren't familiar with Hatch Show Print here in Nashville, you are missing out on a design gold mine. Hatch started back in the 1930's and they printed posters for many of the early country music acts - lots of Opry stars. Mr. Hatch cut wood blocks by hand and used them to strike each print by hand. They still do it that way at Hatch and they still use a lot of Mr. Hatch's original wood blocks.

They have tons of cool designs like the George Washington poster above. I've included some other samples you can pick up online at the Hatch store. If you ever come to Nashville, though, make time to stop by their shop on lower Broadway. They sell many more posters there - extra prints of acts who have Hatch prints commissioned, everyone from Widespread Panic to Tanya Tucker. Trust me, you will find an act you love in the Hatch archives.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

a pat on the back for me

Joy! My March Domino arrived just an hour ago and I was planning on settling down with it and a nice hot cup of tea (the boys have been sick, so I've been exhausted) when I ran across the photo above. I have a horse-head julep cup and I keep all black pencils in it ...Dixon Triconderogas. I snapped a photo just now and have it attached. My cup needs polishing, as does the sterling silver perpetual calendar on the table with it, another juntique store find here in Middle Tennessee, but you get the idea. (I'm glad you can't see the withering orchid in the jardinier behind the lamp - I can only keep an orchid alive about 2 months). I keep stamps and Scotch tape in the tea caddy. That chair is where I read the paper and do Sudoku every morning.

(BTW - I recently bought the pair of Henredon chairs photographed for $125! Not my favorite fabric, but I plan to have them recovered this summer.)

Anyway, I love it when I find something I do/have/use/etc. from a source I admire. It gives me a little design pat on the back. Does that make me sound needy?

To that end, I am also again including a photo of my painted screen. The photo was taken at the store I bought it at, so it doesn't show off as well as it will once my hubby gets it hung. It's going to serve as a large piece of art behind my sofa. The Peak of Chic featured a post on screens a while back and that also gave me a little boost.

If you aren't familiar with Peak of Chic, go there now and bookmark that blog. Jennifer is an amazing repository of design history and always has the most incredible posts.

eBay today - Juliska glassware

You know how much I love Juliska. I heard from the guy who created this lovely glass, and he tells me they will have a bunch of new designs out this summer. I can't wait. Pick up this set of 6 on eBay to tide you over.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

eBay today - Old Paris Porcelain dessert set


This dessert set is amazing. It has everything I love about Old Paris porcelain - the classic ring design and pops of color. And its design is still fresh today. This is exactly the kind of investment in your butler's pantry that will pay off for years and years to come. The price will climb on the set, but it is so worth it. A set this large is rare and you will never see another one like it.

I also think something like a dessert set is a great item to have. They can be used for baby showers, dessert receptions (or just dessert - augment your solid white china)... the list is endless.

The set would make such a wonderful Valentine's gift. Maybe I'll send a link to my sweetie... By next Valentine's Day, I could serve the Barefoot Contessa's decadent choclate cake with ganache(recipe below) and coffee on this set!

A Valentine's Sweet Treat

I love the Barefoot Contessa. I'm so glad that she entered my life. She's not afraid of a shortcut like canned tomatoes; a necessary evil if you have kids (which I do) and even if you like to shop fresh and local (which I also do). Tomatoes just aren't always in season. However, her shortcuts never involve cream soups or anything with the word "Helper" or "Roni" in the title.

This dessert is a keeper and it's what I'll be serving my husband and two boys tomorrow night.

Note: I know you might be inclined to use any ice cream and skip her use of Haagen-Dazs, but don't. It's the only commonly available ice cream which does not use high fructose corn syrup to sweeten it. Of course, you can find other options at Whole Foods (I buy a local product there called Moutain Jim's - a little wierd for an ice cream name, but it's great!), but for those of you with no Whole Foods around, get the Haagen-Dazs.

1/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 16-ounce can Hershey's chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
Easy Crème Anglaise (recipe follows)
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch heart-shaped cake pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each egg. Mix in the chocolate syrup and vanilla. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Don't overbeat, or the cake will be tough. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until just set in the middle. Don't overbake! Let cool thoroughly in the pan.
3. For the ganache, heat the heavy cream, chocolate chips, and instant coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water just until the chocolate melts and the ganache is smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.
4. Place the cake upside down on a wire rack and pour the warm glaze evenly over the top, making sure to cover the entire cake and sides. You can tilt the rack to smooth the glaze. Transfer to a serving plate and serve with Easy Crème Anglaise. Do not refrigerate the cake after it's glazed.
1 pint Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream
Place the ice cream in the refrigerator for several hours until completely melted. Serve as a cold sauce on the plate with a slice of cake on top.

Monday, February 11, 2008

eBay today - vintage linens

If you have followed my blog at all, you know that I love antique and vintage linens and eBay is a great place to find sets. Sure, I buy new linens from Crate and Barrel and Williams Sonoma for everyday family dining, but wouldn't these beauties make a gathering stand out?

The rooster design was very popular for some reason. I have two sets of 8 myself and I see them with some degree of frequency on eBay. Who knew? I haven't used them in a while, but one day soon, I plan on having a brunch and using these to go with the mimosas or Bloody Marys.

As for the large monogrammed napkins, I would strongly suggest that you search your initials on eBay. You never know what vintage silver or lines might be listed with your own initials. (If your initials spell something, the search engine might not be as helpful - my husband's spell "WAR". Just type "WAR napkins" though and it might narrow it down). You can even program eBay to e- mail you if a search you have set finds a new listing. Many of the listings include the initials right there in the title. In this case, "RNT" are the initials and if you typed that in the eBay search bar, those napkins would show up. (Notice, however, that the initials are actually "RTN" which wouldn't pop on your search. Misspellings or quirks of the seller can't be accounted for, so that's why I say the search engine system isn't perfect.) Another option is to simply search "monogrammed napkins" and see what turns up.

It takes patience, but what a payoff! Custom linens from Leontine Lines would cost a small (or not-so-small) fortune.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

eBay today - monogrammed china

The "R" monogram on this vintage china listed on eBay happens to be my initial which is very exciting, but you can always find a number of letters listed on online auctions. Keep your eyes peeled.

I also like that despite its age, the pattern is still really modern. It echoes the lines and colors of this Raynaud china. This is a budget way to add classic china to your butler's pantry - and if you are an "R", it's your lucky day!

Friday, February 8, 2008

eBay today - candelabra that pop

I love these two reader rooms featured at Domino magazine. Who wouldn't want to mingle at a gathering at either of these homes? The things I love about both rooms are the chocolate walls and the candelabra that pops. The candelabra posted on eBay right now might not be enough of a contrast to really jump out, but the pair are really amazing, aren't they?

I think the thing to emphasize is that the star of a room doesn't have to be pricey furnishings. In the case of these two rooms, it's a gallon of paint that really wows along with a few key accessories. Each of these two looks can be carried off on a budget and still look grand and both have elements of traditional and funky, making shopping a lot easier (read: cheaper) to pull off.

It's the same with events. A huge matched set of china and silver don't have to be what makes your party shine. Thrifty staples paired with grand accessories win the day every time.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

eBay today - French bed

I love this French bed currently listed on eBay. I personally like the leather, but you could certainly reupholster it in anything you desire. It's really a lifetime piece... just recover every time you update your bedroom.

It reminds me of Ashley Whittaker's bedroom featured on Domino. What a classic silhouette for a bed.

cool announcement from the Coterie

I love this idea! Heather over at the Coterie posted about a great moving announcement. Depending on how much you wanted to spend, you could use big boxes, bubble wrap, etc.

Years ago, I found a very clever moving announcement in a design book. It was done by a graphic artist and featured a picture of an alligator superimposed with the words "see you later alligator", a popsickle superimposed with the words "let's blow this popsickle stand" and a baby superimposed with the words "hasta la vista, baby."

I'm so glad there are people out there who are so creative! Thank you, Matt!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

eBay today - two great lighting finds

How fantastic is the Hollywood regency sconce above? It's huge and quite grand. Bidding is right at $300 now, and I would say it's worth it. As is true of many of my finds, it could lean tradish or modern.

I also love the repro light bulb for any vintage fixture that has an exposed bulb. I love the glowing filaments.

painted screen

I purchased the painted leather screen above a week or so ago. It dates to the 1920's and I found it in an antique store here in Franklin. I had just run across the tear sheet from a magazine that I have scanned above. I regret that I can't remember which magazine it came from... I subscribe to a lot of magazines and tear a lot of inspirational pages out.

My screen isn't as large and grand as the one photographed (and my ceilings aren't as tall), but I'm in love nonetheless. To purchase a large plein air oil for the space behind my sofa would be cost prohibitive for me now, so this $340 screen is an inexpensive stand-in.

Monday, February 4, 2008

eBay today - vintage French ribbon

I love finding vintage ribbon at estate sales and thrift stores. This French pumpkin and white ribbon looks like it would be at home in this Martha spread on gift wrap.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

eBay today - graphic pillow

I love this Adler pillow. It would make a great stand-in in a room like this one from Southern Accents, despite the fact that this room's vibe is a little more organic than geometric.

The idea with decorating is that you don't need to follow the stylists lockstep. Choose what you like. Be willing to find a fabric remnant on eBay and use it for a pillow... or have one fashioned out of a sheet found at Target.

The 2 yards of linen fabric are another great alternative.