Thursday, May 16, 2019

I Find It Eclectically Vintage

Eclectically Vintage:

What does that really mean? Let's break it down.
'Eclectic' is derived from ideas, style or taste from a broader and more diverse range of sources.
'Vintage' is relating to the past but not antique.
'Eclectically Vintage' is probably the broadest of collecting and decorating.

I fall into this category time and time again in our home as well as our business.
Every time I get the groove of what inspires me, BAM! I find another thing that gets me going in an entirely different direction. The art of it all is getting it to gel together not in a matching sort of manner but in a "this kinda works” way. There is a cohesiveness to decorating eclectic, it is intentional on a different level. I think it takes more thought then decorating in a farmhouse style, colonial, etc... It is not cookie-cutter by far. There is a line between chaos and curated, but that is where a good eye comes in.

Everyone has a different way of approaching this very random aesthetic. It can be a mixing of textiles, colors, genres, eras, changing the original purpose of an item, etc... For me, it begins with the layout or configuration. I live in a tiny home which has been now defined as any dwelling that is under 1000 sq ft. I am at 912. So the trendy notion of living smaller has been my plight for quite a while, almost 20 years. Raised 3 boys, 2 large dogs, a partner, get the picture.

So I always map out the openings and windows first, generally, it is a mental mapping. This has always been a challenge and the bane of my decorating freedom. Then if there is a heater/cooler or woodstove I have to consider that next. Third, is there is an entertainment unit, ie. television, stereo, etc... Those are the fundamentals and probably the least interesting of all the considerations.

My next item on the list is, what furniture do I have to work with? I always have comfy seating for more than a couple people with a surface piece nearby for placing drinks, sewing, books, etc.. on and then lighting. I am a lamp fanatic so I always have more then I need on hand to choose from. I do pull in one task light since I do a lot of sewing and reading while watching television.

From there on out, the accessories begin to accent the existing space. Artwork is generally varied and I stick to original pieces. I have this thing about prints versus original art. Original you won't find anywhere else. it is one of kind and speaks specifically to you. I find that much of the time a piece of art costs less than a print. A print washes out and is a copout for going out of bounds of the conventional. I have a mix of foundry forms, tiled items, paintings, mixed media, etc.. Just because something wasn't meant to be art doesn't mean it isn't art and can't be hung up. Just think of a way to do it. It becomes a means of visual interest if it is out of the ordinary.

'Surface accessories', that's what I call things that sit, are perhaps the last of the process. Have a plethora to pull from, whether pottery, plants, china, organic, clean lines, functional or frivolous, its your call. put hard items with soft, textiles with industrial, sentimental with the obtuse, it all works if you want it to work.

This is where the vintage comes in in the biggest way. Of course, you can have vintage furniture and art but furniture has to be safe so sometimes vintage is not an option. I tend to be all over the map with my vintage items and even have the antique play against mcm or new. It can be a rustic primitive antique bowl filled with vintage pool balls alongside modern handthrown pottery, tempered (or not) with a large 4 inch in diameter rusty nut with or without the bolt.  Nothing has to be symmetrical, balanced, make sense, coordinated, etc.. it is all you for you.

Your home is your happy place and to find solace it should represent the vision you have for it, but if it is a cookie cutter Instagram picture then it possibly needs to be reworked. Being you and your personal style should be eclectic. Trust yourself, find yourself and enjoy yourself. See what is in the box, you never know.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Infuse Character here

Decorating with collections can be tricky. We get on a collection and then realize, how do I display to love it?

Few ideas:
Group like things together-
 This is probably the easiest solution but it also makes it  
  look cohesive and lush, instant eye candy. Infuse

Use common things uncommonly-
 A bowl full of antique doorknobs, hang pez on the wall,
 globes hanging from ceiling.

Frame your collections-
 Put them in a case, in vintage fruit crates on wall or some
 custom shelving made to size.

Recreate an era-
 This is easy for kitchen collectibles, all sorts of kitchen
 items of a certain era mixed with an old stove and

Mix old with the new-
 A wall of vintage radios mixed in with modern furniture,
 old bottles lining a kitchen window in a new, state of the
 art eating area.

Rotate your collectibles-
 Mix them up every so often, holidays, seasons, children
 growing up or interests change. Best time is when you
 have to clean them. Box them up right away.

Use what you have-
 You might not know you even have a collection. Look
 what you have a lot of and see if it works as a collection.
 You would be surprised.

 There are no set rules, you are unique and show it.
 I collect vintage metal moth ball containers, why? Not
 sure but I love the graphics. My son collects animals that
 are made of shells, major dust collectors I am afraid. He is his mothers son.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Signs of Life for those who Judge

I had an acquaintance who although was very much into shopping vintage items, she had become one of the Stepford Wives. Everything had become controlled, had a perfect spot, children/animals were not to be in rooms and either crated most of the day or sent to quietly play in rooms with one specific toy. Nothing had any meaning but when she put a pic on instagram it had that run of the mill nothing flair of a staged presence. Great, she mastered duplication. She was meeting some design esthetic that was conceived by others.

A couple things wrong with that scenario, people with character, penache, love of memories, etc.... don’t live for “perfect” instagram posts. They use their instagram to share ideas and not set up the most contrived setting and wait for the response. I always felt I had to respond to her posts or she would get mad. She verbalized when others didn't respond and so why wouldn’t I be included in that gripe? In my world, everything does not have to have a perfect curated place, sometimes things evolve into where they end up.

Ms. Stepford, keeping her anonymous, also wants everyone elses world to be as hers. How you raise your children, making sure your spouse works, in addition to him cooking, shopping and does virtually everything. She also questioned and stated who you should associate with, what politics, etc... I think I burned out on so many “helpful” hints. I have grown children her age and they all work, eat and are productive. So I think I am good there. She still has ones that are ten and under with a husband who does everything, good luck. So I wasn’t upset when we parted ways. I felt strangled by no toys, no kids artwork, seen and not heard, robots, uncomfortable encounters when the children wanted to share their enthusiasm and mom told them this is HER friend. Her statements that weekends were for her and not for any sport the kids would want to participate in. Large dogs and pups crated all day only to be let out to do their business. I felt those canines pain.

Judgemental of others and how they kept their homes was always at the top of her list. I listened and so I never let her come to my house. I am a lover of things that comes through the eye, evokes emotion and other playful memory filled sparks. I think I have mentioned before my mother was a minimalist, very mod but minimalist. I tended to go the other the direction. I love textiles, ethnic, artsy, whatever but they have to bring something to the table. I love how one thing plays off another. I would walk in a room a million times to see how it effects me. It is my easthetic, no one else’s.

Some offspring of creativity would be more up my alley. Currently reading several books on clutter, collecting and chaos. A lot of work goes into collecting, shopping, loosely curating. In addition, there is that visual of my now deceased friend, “Don’t deny yourself!!!” Across a flea market, with strangers agreeing as I walk on by. Yes many of a time I just get what I think is my thing to get. I will work out where it goes later. So it evokes memories, such as the exclamation across a flea market. That is what I think is important. I am not discounting minimalism, I think that evokes other memories and emotion.  Sure I want one of those rooms too and then I want the rest as a cavalcade of personal, ever-changing emotional eye candy.


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Your family, your rock, your design inspiration

As the holidays are fast approaching, the clambering for decor, family, time and the ease of presentation is upon us. I was in my garage this morning looking for an adequate shipping box for some mid century Ben Siegel plates, it dawned on me that here we are at the holiday threshold and where are those darn giant fall wreaths? Or did I get new ones? What was my last thoughts when packing things up in 2016? Who knows, at this point it either is the hair color or age for me.

 So the scramble is what gets everyone. Do I want to emit this put together home, lifestyle, etc... with my outside decor? Of coarse I do! Is that for me or my family? It is for both. My family, as small as it may be, is what keeps me grounded. Each member is an equation of what keeps me focused. They trust that I have them as my main focus, the center of my heart.

I begin to relax realizing that the wreaths will show themselves, I got this. My family in their infinite wisdom know I will get the holidays moving again. But what is it like for the harried masses that subcumb to commercials upon commercials of have to’s or should haves? I think about it for about two seconds and move on. Squirrel!

I didn't do cards this year, I didn't buy gifts, I didn't put up a tree, I didn’t do much of anything in respects to traditional holiday expectations. The majority of my offspring are adults and the final teen is a 40 year old in disguise and I am convinced he was born that way. No one has a list or is asking about when Santa is arriving. No regrets, just a casual affair with holiday dinner on Christmas Eve and hanging out.

This past year has been a long stretch of figuring out what or who I am. Always in some sort of identity underling role, I have had to step out and announce who I am and why. Not easy for a confident wallflower. Linda, who has been gone for almost two years, still guides me along. My mantra, WWLD. I do have people who fill in for bits of her energy but it definitely isn’t that compact dynamo with the spikey blonde tuffs of hair, loosing her Mary Kay in my truck, carrying her cell phone in her bra, yelling at me to not deny myself and always planning our next expedition on a nickel.

As I write this it is hard to hold back what she meant to me. Sniffle. No one compares, no one should. So I find that if i get up in the morning at some ungodly hour, that I get a jump on life and the meaning of it. It doesn't bring her back, memories don’t seem to dim, the hurt is still strong. And sometimes I just want to scream as to why so many evil parasitic people get to walk this planet and injure so many and a one who gave so much light doesn’t. An age old question when good leaves us and bad gets to partake.

So holidays are hard as they are for a vast majority of people. It was Lindas favorite time for working our businesses and getting families together. I sat down this morning with coffee at roughly 2 am and reviewed my inventory, made lists, transferred information and analyzed what to do next. Motivation is to clear my kitchen of inventory overflow.  Boundaries of “stuff”.  Set with holiday angst comes rejuvenation. More seriousness. Perhaps even moving forward in developing something more concrete. Taking chances, finding that source to catapult forward. Not trying to sound like an ad of coarse but hopeful.

Friday, September 22, 2017

You had me at steam engine

After thoughts on flea market weekend. Beyond the fact the heat and humidity were crazy intolerable, the show I had done this weekend have brought some things into perspective. The show name of coarse involved barn/farm motifs. I catered to this in a very loose sense. Some have taken it to the end all extreme. I began to mull over the events focus.
Reading an article this morning in current issue of "Where Women Create", Kim Leggett of City Farmhouse Style discusses her evolution from leaving her every day position to opening an antique shop, to shows, writing, decorating etc.. developing her farmhouse style. She clearly has seen the move to that direction. The interest in taking an urban dwelling and bringing a primitive earthy feel seems to have an overwhelming response. This got me thinking.


I, on the other hand, feel that it really comes from our roots or our perceived roots. I come from a German background steeped in transportation, steam engines, heavy metal, the ultimate of form of engineering transferred into function of movement. With that, travel from city to towns and what they have to offer is another feature. Travel to Berlin to the opera house, Baden Baden the steam baths, Munich for holiday overload in decor and eats, etc.. these are the functional result. I connect with this process and the outcome.


I gravitate to primitive wood pieces of foundry forms or molds curved, metals, industrial pieces that are used in manufacturing. Primitive not in a barn find item but primitive to the multisensory interlocking three dimensional. Then I look to art of consequence, bold, firm, rich and not necessarily  comforting. Sometimes an item of kitsch thrown in the mix. This has always been my esthetic since creating my space as a child.


The barn/ farm or urban farm, has become the standard that everyone tends to emulate but unfortunately every said home is basically lacking individuality. Each a copy of each other, each a product of a trend. Not timeless, not reflecting the personalities, not a single spark creating an emotion of wonder. Shabby chic became something else, painted chalkware furniture a torturous result of Suzy homemaker gone wild.
That's fine but keeping up with the design Joneses has its limitations. It I so necessary to find your voice, find what makes you move and feel, find the inspiration. Don't let trends dictate, don't let ones kitchen or farm table be YOUR flavor. Each space unique, each space a product of you and each has to survive your brand of life.

Monday, August 21, 2017

It's not your mothers flea market

The Flea Market, car boot sales, trash and treasure markets, jumbo sales, whatever you call them, they were starting to become this dying event in the 1990s and early 2000s. With the exception of Rose Bowl. Rose bowl just got bigger and then divided into sections. Todays Flea Markets are a thing, a rage, a community. It is a coming together of like tastes, like minds and friends.

There are markets that I have deemed for the "linen ladies". Shoppers in earthtone linens with a penchant for rough, rusty, farm/barn remnants to bring home and decorate. They appear to all know each other, try to haggle but aren't completely dedicated to it and love to acquire. To see and be seen. It's fun to watch and more interesting to understand. The human condition, at least the condition of it shopping.

Then there are the markets that are for those in the “biz”. I am in the biz so to me this is fun. There is no holds barred, always wiggle room, lots of banter and buying in volume. A seller/buyer paradise. Bringing trucks up to the entrance, loading, strapping. It is a wonderful filling sight. Love of the haul, love of the whole event. This is the industry loving flea markets.

Then there are those that are somewhere in the middle and haven't found their beat as of yet. Those, they will find themselves or will disband. I have send two in the last year just have no direction and fall apart.

Flea Markets have become thematic, with an emphasis on farms, barns, rusty and chippy. Dealers are raiding the landscape of America to find the best farm find tucked for years in a dark corner. I think California has exhausted their plethora of hidden gems. Dealers are on the road Instagramming their trips and finds. I follow the tales of acquisition with amazement and excitement. To know those things are not forgotten, lost or destroyed, is a joy.

At beginning of September, I have my own Flea Market to tackle. It is themed Farm and has plenty of chippy barn relics. I see the photos of vendors finds and I know that it is the usual fair. Try to bring unusual items that touch on the theme but transcend. So as flea markets become even more popular and seem to run their circuit, customers will buy their arm full of treasures and vendors will continue to scout for those great finds. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Collecting, grouping, arranging and it is all work, fun work

In the last few weeks I have begun grouping several types of items for sale. Not intentionally, it just sort of happened. I thought for me, I love it. I am in the business of "stuff", so that makes it difficult to not group them, but my own crazy varied easthetic verses work related becomes blurred. I have fallen into the rhythm, "do what you love, love what you do". It is on my business cards, although in German. So I am fortunate. The twist is that those lines do get blurred and unproductive at times.


Yes, I ended up with arms and digits. Not sure why but I did. 

So currently I am on a vintage/antique quilt kick. More importantly a cotton feed sack quilt kick. Although I ran into this particular rayon quilt topper. I don't do toppers generally. Beautiful prints and that great weighted flowy feel. Quilts are such a product of love. Whether you hand stitch or machine, it really is a testament of time and a perseverance. Some just manage to come together and some I fear, look like a struggle. The baby block rayon is a personal choice. I can back it and then figure out what to do with it. I may love it for awhile. 

Crazy quilts are yet another favorite. This particular 1930's is made with Calico dresses and what not in the Appalachians. Again I love it but I can't love everything. So it will be one I hold back for awhile. The one I thought that would not sell, sold right away. This one I thought would fly off the shelf.

Picked up two childrens quilts. One has patches lovingly sewn on. Both are from the thirties.

Feed sack quilt from the thirties again but backing is newer. Found two cutter quilts for projects . Then two others have sold

Quilts are a funny thing for me. I love them but they really aren't my thing. My personal ones are men's twead jackets in a block, a bark cloth one, and then some that are just woolrich. The only other is one I got fo the trailer is beautiful yellows. It is hard to really know why I would want to pick up any.