Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Granny's" Collection

When I was a little girl, my mom and granny would drag me around from fabric stores to antique markets on sunday afternoons, and I HATED it!! In the past few years, however, my ideas of a fun sunday afternoon have obviously changed. I now work with fabrics every day for my job, and frequently go to antique malls on my lunch break and days off. Maybe it is because doing these things reminds me of my family that I miss being around all the time, or maybe some things really are genetic, but the fact of the matter is, I am turning into my mother and grandmother, and I LOVE it! Recently, I have decided to start a collection of milk glass pieces. (James says that is such a "granny thing" to do; I'm taking that as a compliment!) The majority of milk glass you can find is super cheap (but super cute), because it is actually a replica of older pieces. I started loving the milk glass because it is so versatile. You can pair it with any other color you like. And it has such a feminine, vintage feel. Yesterday, I purchased a milk glass chip and dip platter for $12. I later researched to see the value of the piece, and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was appraised for $45. Not too shabby!
So, I began researching the origin of milk glass further, and found out that it began being produced in Venice, Italy in the 16th century, and became really popular in France in the 19th century. At the turn of the 20th century, it became increasingly popular in the United States, and was associated with prosperity and wealth. Since milk glass is still in production today, it is easy to find at cheap prices. However, because of this fact, it is also possible to find some very old, very valuable milk glass pieces for cheap prices as well, because those selling it may not know just how old the piece really is. Therefore, my search for aged milk glass pieces has turned into an adult version of an easter egg hunt. I know that makes me a HUGE nerd, but, oh well. I'll be a huge nerd!

And if any of you are looking for a gift for me anytime soon, any unique piece of milk glass will do. Milk glass is perfect for decorating. And sets a wonderful palette for entertaining.
*Side note, milk glass isn't always just white. It can come in a variety of colors, such as pink, turquoise, and green.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Things Our Grandparents Knew.....

You know you have been dating someone a long time when you get one another the same gift for a holiday. James and I did just that this year for Easter. I found this amazing book at Barnes & Noble about 2 weeks ago, and showed it to James. It is the perfect book for me. It is called, "How to Sew a Button, and Other Things Your Grangmother Knew". James picked up on my enthusiasm for the book and tipped off the Easter Bunny :)

I found the guy version on amazon and decided James needed it too. "How to Build a Fire, and Other Things Your Grandfather Knew". (Plus, there are lots of things in this book that I want to know how to do too; such as, how to strip a wood table.)

Both books give tips on information that our grandparents were extremely prevy to, but that we may not have been taught. Everything from how to season an iron skillet to how to be more chivalrious. Great reference books for anyone wishing to learn more about these dying arts.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Here comes Peter Cotton tail....

I love all holidays, particularly because it gives me an excuse to get crafty, decorate, and bake with a theme in mind. Easter is only a few days away, so I thought I would share with you my festive little decorations, and plans for Easter Sunday. This is my set up for the corner of my kitchen countertop. I used cake stands, and an easter gift box to add some elevation changes to my arrangement. And of course, I wanted to show off my new gold and white tea set. I also found some antique egg cups to use as placecard holders.
I cut pieces of easter themed fabric into egg shapes, and wrote names using a fine-point sharpie marker; and then placed them in the antique egg cups. Voila! Instant placecards.

For my table centerpiece, I used two discontinued fabric swatches and placed them under a large mirror to make them appear to be one long table runner. I tied a long fabric swatch of a colorful pattern around the square vase. The flowers I got from Publix for $7.99. Awesome deal! And then I laid out my egg plate and bowl that I got as a gift from my Aunt Brenda last year for Easter.

Every year since I was a little girl, my mom and I would make a Bunny Cake for Easter. Although it looks difficult it is surprisingly, very simple to do! You make 2 cakes in a round cake pan (Funfetti Cake in my case :)) Then you cut 2 ovals out of the edges of one cake to make the ears, leaving you with the center piece in the shape of a bow-tie. Then you can decoate your bunny with an assortment of candies, chocolates, sprinkles, and coconut.

Since I made my first Easter arrangement about 2 weeks ago, and the flowers are already dying, this will be my centerpiece for Easter Sunday. Peeps are super cute, but not my favorite, so using them in a flower arrangement seems like the best idea to me.

I hope everyone has a Hoppy Easter!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

In high-heels and pearls...

So, I know this will be the third time I have changed directions with my blog, but this time I think I have found a direction I can sail with. I got to thinking the other day about what truly inspires me. What lights up my face when reading about, or viewing? It turned out to be anything domestic. I am a true blue, modern day poster child for the 1950's housewife wanna-be. And then I started thinking about the real 1950's housewives I have known in my life: my two grandmothers. Neither were the type of housewife I have envisioned from the reruns of Leave it to Beaver, or I Love Lucy. Nor were they the type of housewife I have envisioned myself one day becoming; the kind that gets her kids ready for school, bakes a pie in a frilly apron, and then sits around by the pool playing poker and sipping margaritas with the other housewives of the neighborhood. To explain to you what kind of housewives they were I will have to tell you the background of each.Minnie Frances Hamilton Guinn, (I affectionately refer to her as Granny) was born on December 31, 1929, during the time of the depression. She had 5 brothers and sisters. Her father worked on the railroad; hewas gone during the week, and came home only on the weekends. Granny once told me that when she and her sisters heard the whistle of the train coming through town on friday, they would promptly run inside the house and replace their trousers with dresses, because their father believed that true ladies only wore skirts and dresses. Granny was married to my grandfather at 16 years old. At this point, she took on the duties that were expected of a "housewife" during that time. She woke up with the rooster (literally), and prepared a large breakfast for the family, usually eggs, bacon/sausage, biscuits and gravy. She milked and fed the cows, raised chickens, and plowed and tilled the crops right along with my grandfather. In the heat of summer she would strip tobacco along with the men, wearing long sleeves and a large hat because she did not want her pale skin to freckle. Although she worked out in the field, she was a tiny woman with auburn hair and bright green eyes, and took great pride in her appareance. She would return to the house to cook a large meal for my grandfather and the work hands. For this she usually cooked fried chicken, mashed poatoes, corn bread and vegetables. She always had a cake or a pie, as well. She cooked just as large of a meal for dinner every night too. She also made her childrens clothes. In fact, if they had had Project Runway in her younger days, there is no doubt in my mind she would have taken home first prize. She knitted elaborate doilies, and made quilts. She gardened and mowed and planted the entire 2 acre lot their home sits on. She did it all, and looked absolutely stunning while doing it too. Her beauty, and poise are still talked about by all who know her.
Norma Lea Courson Martin, (who I affectional call Ma) was born in Raleigh, MO on February 11, 1927. She always joked that she was a day older than Abraham Lincoln. Her father also worked on the railroad and died when she was young. Ma had her fair share of tradgies in her early days. Her older sister died during childbirth, and her mother and little sister died during a large flood in the 1940's. Ma met my Nandaddy while she was working at a local soda fountain downtown Raleigh. He was a soldier stationed in the area, and when he saw her he spilt a milkshake all down the front of his pants. They married and she moved to a large farm with a tiny farmhouse in the boonedocks of Horse Cave, KY where my Nandaddy's family was from. They lived in a tiny civil war house on a 30 acre farm, that had no running water, and no heat. The fireplaces in the room served as the only sources of heat. My grandmother was said to have farmed that entire piece of land on her own, milking cows, and raising crops, while my grandfather was out "loafing", or politicing since he was a public offical in our county. She was an involved member of the Waterloo Homemakers club. She did it all. She made ceramics, pottery, quilts, jewelry. She had a green thumb that is still talked about in our town to this day. She always had english roses and bleeding heart plants. She could make anything grow. She was also a phenomenal cook. Her angel biscuits, meatloaf, and apple pie were some of my favorites. And I have recently inhereted her recipe for homemade pralines, that I will always regard as a deep family secret. She was one of the most giving and loving people I have ever known in my life. (I see so much of her in my father.) Both of my grandmothers were complete and total SUPERWOMEN!! All of the talents that they perfected are quickly becoming dying arts. They did everything a man did, AND everything a woman was expected to do, and they did it all in pearls, dresses, and high-heels. Therefore, my mission, is to live up to the legacy that these amazing woman paved for me. I plan to learn the trades they mastered, and do them with as much grace, poise, and style as they did.
Wish me luck, I have big high-heels to fill!