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Gothic Chic

12 Jul

I was out doing my ‘occasional saling’ (be sure to check out my blog: The Occasional Saler!) last weekend, and I found this little vignette at the Second Hand Rose sale.


It reminded me of gothic décor from Belgium or the Netherlands: the heavy, dark chest, gilt frames, brass candlesticks, a cross.

I love it when shop owners ‘get it right’ and inspire us ~ sigh ~

À demain,



Optical Organization

5 Jul

I LOVE organization. But I have to be honest – I really struggle with it. If (or until) I have a personal assistant to scan things for me, I will continue to have way too many magazine clippings, photos, business cards, brochures, catalogs and magazines littering my desk (and bookshelves and countertops).  And yes, I have an excellent filing system, which I use. The problem is that I’m a visual person, so if things get put away, I forget about them.  So I tend to keep stacks all around.  Thus the clutter.

Then I saw these two offices (below) – using clipboards, I could still keep everything in stacks, but they’d be out of the way and my desk would be clear.  Excellent!



images via le zoe musings.

À demain,


Monmouth Plantation: 3 Reasons to Hit the Bar

26 Jun

A few weeks ago when my boyfriend and I were traveling in Mississippi, we spent a night at Monmouth Plantation in Natchez.  Our stay in the historic home, a National Historic Landmark, was delightful.  Monmouth was built in 1818 by General Quitman, a civil war general, as his family’s city residence.  In other words, it’s where his wife and children (and their servants) lived, while General Quitman himself was off at war or managing his cotton plantations across the Mississippi River in Louisiana.

The house and grounds are no longer owned by the Quitman family, but are operated as a hotel, fine restaurant and event space.  Perhaps my favorite part of the residence was General Quitman’s Study, the current location of the Bar at Monmouth Plantation.

Here are my favorite things about the bar, located in what was Quitman’s Study:

{#3 – original feathering on the fireplace}

“Feathering”, a technique which is hundreds of years old, was used to create the finish on General Quitman’s fireplace, where the blobs of beige-y material is spread gently through the dark marble.  The fireplace is the original from the early 1800s.



{#2 – Being surrounded in SouthernVictorian-era splendor}




{#1 – Mint Juleps in silver Julep cups}



If you fancy a visit to another era, I highly recommend a stay at Monmouth Plantation!

À demain,


Pic of the Day: Farm Chic Storage

15 Jun

It’s Friday, so I’m keeping this sweet & simple.  While checking out an occasional sale recently, I saw something rather genius.  I have to tell you, these occasional sale ladies do an incredible job with their displays, so I see great ideas all the time – which I will continue to share.

This Pic of the Day is from La La Land in Chaska, MN.  I love the mix of down-home and elegant:


Yes, those are champagne flutes on a heavy-duty rake.  What a cool display idea!  (And a lot cheaper than a fancy wine glass rack 😉

Bon weekend!

À lundi,


Material inspiration from John Robshaw

11 Jun

No trip to New York City is complete without a stop at ABC Home.  No matter what one’s decorating tastes, there’s something for everyone at ABC.  Although not necessarily for every budget – which is why I go to collect inspiration.

I bought a chaise lounge recently (at an occasional sale, of course!) and must get it recovered (it’s devastatingly ugly).  I’m shopping around for ideas about what direction to go for upholstery.  Solid?  Stripes?  Neutral?  Bright?  Pattern?

I’ve long been obsessed with Indian and Central Asian textiles and thought this bench in the John Robshaw corner at ABC Home was divine….

day bed_chaise lounge upholstery_Indian fabric



I’m not committed – yet – to using a bright, exotic pattern, but I’m strongly considering it….

À demain,


Cool Idea: Protect Plants from Pets…Beautifully…

4 Jun

I have two cats.  Two cats who LOVE to eat plants.  Unfortunately, they throw up EVERY SINGLE TIME they eat plants.  So it’s not a good situation for the cats, or for we humans who have to clean up the vomit.  I’ve tried everything to keep them out of the foliage – putting a little “fence” around the greens, using “Bitter Yuck” spray, spraying them with water when I see them at the plants…nothing has worked.  So the only solution has been to choose a room that is 100% off-limits to the cats, and put all of the greens inside, where I can admire them when I’m in that room.  Rather sad.

Then I came across something intriguing at an occasional sale last month.  I found a vintage sign holder that was beautifully weathered, with a gorgeously patina-ed base and a tag reading “plant holder”.  Aha!  Those clever occasional sale gals – of course, the perfect plant stand!  And when I realized that it could be, in fact, an anti-cat plant stand, I snapped it up.

The stand is ideal – it’s attractive, itself, and because it’s constructed of thin metal rods, it’s “barely there” visually.  I gave it to my mom for Mother’s Day and she has it in front of a window by the front door.  It’s so pretty – the light green of the fern’s leaves gently obscure the neighbor’s house across the street, but otherwise it’s minimalist (and chic!).

Amelia, defeated by the plant stand

Oh, and it should work for dogs or any other four-legged pets, too!

À demain,


PS. I got my lovely stand at The Bee Cottage in Excelsior, MN.

Fabric Fantasy

31 May

A friend of mine who’s an interior designer told me about a fabric store that she said I just HAD to check out because I would love it.  So a few days ago, on a rainy Saturday, I headed to the fabric and trimmings warehouse of SR Harris in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

Quite frankly, it’s overwhelming.  There are thousands?  hundreds of thousands? of bolts of fabric there – fabric for quilting, for sewing, for high-fashion design, for upholstery, for anything your imagination can come up with.  I had my handy iPhone with me, so I could snap my favorite (there were many).

rolls (and rows) of fun

just a few of the seemingly limitless choices

don’t forget your leather hides! (and there were 10 more barrels on another wall)

Bright rosettes for a full skirt.

I call this fabric ‘exuberant cats’.

How fantastic is this outdoor fabric? It’s plastic, so it would be perfect for a picnic or a table you want to leave outside all summer. SO much better than the awful patterns they sell in every neighborhood home store in France!

A map of New Orleans circa 1798. My boyfriend (a NOLA native) would adore this. Maybe I can make him a pillow or two out of the fabric?

As it turns out, a few themes emerged from my top picks:

(1) Japanese/geisha/Chinoiserie ~

Japanese geisha. I’m thinking of using the black & white fabric (right) to cover a folding screen.

vibrant, delicate Japanese motifs

Dark blue ‘Chinoiserie’ on brilliant white. I would have snapped this up if the blue were lighter…

(2) Toile ~

Who would have guessed that I’d be so drawn to toile?  Not me!  I mean, I lived in Jouy, the birthplace of toile (toile’s full name is Toile de Jouy, and couldn’t stand all of the toile curtains, upholstered furniture and knickknacks on display.  Apparently I prefer toile patterns in bold, modern colors (no beige and rust red here!)

Bright colors, country scenes – a fab combo.

This is actually a toile with Japanese-sketched characters on it. Toile + Japanese, a 2-for-1!

A ‘classic’ toile, but in updated colors – I adore pink, red & white together.

Subtle lavender.

(3) Blue + white (with or without florals) ~

Yellow + white + blue, a favorite of the Swedes.

Blue semi-paisley/semi-floral + white

A modern Scandinavian pick.

Blue and white floral with a Hawaiian vibe.

Great, basic look for outdoor furniture.

‘Homespun’ is its name. It’s basic and the one that I bought. I’m going to use it to cover an ottoman that will sit next to a wild, floral patterned chair, so it had to be simple.

If you’re in the Twin Cities, and are looking for your own fabric/trimmings/leather adventure, head to SR Harris.

2 tips before you head out there:

1) Go to SR Harris’ website and print out the coupons.  Although SR Harris’ prices are always 50% off regular fabric store prices, you can bag even more savings by using the coupons!

2) Give yourself plenty of time.  It will take you at least an hour to get the ‘lay of the land’ at this warehouse of goodies.  The prices and selection are great, but if you’re looking for cotton fabric, for example, you’ll have eight rows of it to work your way through to find your favorites.

À demain,