Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Painting On A Scaffolding!

Being the fun lover that I am, I spent the weekend on a scaffolding! Yes, I know, you're jealous!  I'll bet you wish you could have come over and helped just so you could have pretended you were a kid on the Monkey Bars again.

Me getting the paint and roller ready!

Well MH and I actually got the entire great room painted and, believe it or not, had fun doing so.  Maybe it's seeing a room from a perspective that you've never had before (from above, that is!) or just knowing how much nicer the room is going to look when it is finished, whatever the reason, we enjoyed this working weekend. We turned the music up and painted away.

This picture lets you see why we couldn't do this room without the scaffolding!

MH practicing his balance beam moves!

MH in the "time out" cage.

Now to the financial bit of this, I didn't share the cost of the paint estimates that I received earlier, but let's just say that we saved over $1,600 by doing this room ourselves.  Even after renting the scaffolding, having it delivered and buying all of the paint and supplies, we figure we kept $1,600 in our checkbook.  I know it's considered gauche to discuss money, but this is something that I think is worthy of sharing, especially when many are watching their finances.

I know many people are intimidated by the idea of setting up a scaffolding and climbing around on one, but with the help of another able bodied person (preferably someone strong) you can do this too! I will recommend though that you make sure you have all of the safety pins for the rigging before the delivery person leaves your house.  We put the scaffolding together only to realize we were missing a few pins and I wasn't going to climb up on the contraption without them securely in place. Call me crazy but I like to have all safety pieces in place when I'm climbing around in the sky on a cageMH went to the rental company and got the missing pieces for us......................details, details.

I'll share the finished room with you in a few days.  Now I get to have the fun of decorating it again!

Take care, Au revoir, Mitty

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Do You Like What I've Done With The Place?

Being the person I am, with multiple projects going at all times, i.e. opening the My Faux French Chateau Store online and  MDD's upcoming wedding in a little over a month, I've decided to paint my great room myself (with help from MH!) Those of you who know me, know that I've gotten a couple of quotes from professional painters and have chosen to tackle this room on my own. I love to help boost the economy but some times it's silly to spend so much for something that I can do myself. And, as crazy as it may sound to some of you, I love to paint!

Did you know that when I was young and cash-strapped, in two apartments I got the owners to trade out the paying of a security deposit for me painting the apartments? Even back then I loved to paint and appreciated the change I could make in a tired looking apartment with an inexpensive bucket of paint.

Take a look at how my great room looks today. Do you like what I've done with the place?

I decided to go ahead and paint as much of the main wall as I could to see how I like my paint color on such a large expanse of space.  I still love it!

Sooooooooo today Home Depot delivers the scaffolding and plywood on which to set it (to keep it from scratching and putting grooves in the hardwood floors.)  I've never had to use scaffolding before so this is going to be a "learning experience" for me.  MH and I'll set it up.  If you have any advice or suggestions, please, let me know!

We're moving all but the two sofas into the kitchen and hallway tonight, taking the window treatments down and taping off the walls.  Hopefully I can start painting tomorrow.  My goal is to have this room finished by Monday morning.  Think I can do it?  Wish me well.

Au revoir, Mitty

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pair of Huge, Beautiful Column Floor Lamps!

I purchased a great pair of huge column floor lamps at the auction a couple of weeks ago! They are wonderful and are made from columns taken from an old house.  The paint is original with a beautiful grey and white tint that has oxidized and is chipping all over to give a wonderful effect. They are solid wood and definitely make a statement!  The shades are a lovely oatmeal/taupe linen and work beautifully in my great room.  It will be hard to sell them!
In researching this new business that I'm in, I'm constantly searching Internet stores for items comparable to those that I'm purchasing.  One thing I can tell you is that pricing is vastly different across the U.S.!  For example, pricing in stores in Texas and California are certainly vastly different!  I'm hoping to offer beautiful vintage and antique pieces at realistic prices which, even with added shipping costs, are considered a "great deal"!
Take a look at the antique column lamps that I'm cataloguing for my store..................... I found very similar columns for literally thousands more than what I've priced mine at!
My ceilings in the great room are 20' tall and these floor lamps are the perfect scale for this large room!

 I'm realizing that the "good news/bad news" inherent in my philosophy of buying only what I love and would want to have in my own home, is that hopefully, I'll be very sad one day soon when I have to say goodbye to all of these beautiful things!

Have a beautiful day today,

Au revoir, Mitty

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Irving's Works - A series of Beautiful Antique Leather Bound Books by Washington Irving

Now to share with you some of the other things that I purchased at Saturday's auction!  I purchased (11) beautiful leather bound books, copyright 1867, by the noted author Washington Irving. These books are part of a complete work of Irving's entitled Irving's Works.  Irving was an American author, essayist, biographer and historian. He is perhaps best known for his book The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon Gent (also known as Sketch-Book) in which appears his beloved short stories, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle".
Included in the series of the first (6) books that I purchased are A History of New York which Irving wrote under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker and The Sketch Book which was written under the pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. 

This series also contains Irving's Works 3., 4., and 5. which is Volume I, II, and III of The life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus.  This was the first project of Irving's to be published with his own name, instead of a pseudonym, on the title page.

The last book in this series is entitled Bracebridge Hall, or The Humorists, which was written under the pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.

First 6 books of Irving’s Works 1. Knickerbocker’s New York; Irving’s Works 2. Sketch-Book; Irving’s Works 3. Columbus VOL. I.; Irving’s Works 4. Columbus VOL II.; Irving’s Works 5. Columbus III.; Irving’s Works 6. Bracebridge Hall.

These books are not only beautiful because of the wonderful leather binding, gilt lettering and marbelized design on the front, but also because they each contain (2) wonderfully detailed steel engravings which preceed the title pages.

Beautiful leather binding, gilt lettering and marbelized cover page.

(Just in case you aren't aware, these steel engravings are highly sought after and are often taken out of books to be framed and used as wall pictures.  An example of this practice is my series of (4) bird engravings that I shared recently.)

Note: **Update on Cleaning Demijohns - Kathryn left a greatly appreciated comment sharing with me more tips on bottle cleaning. She recommends using a soft bristle bottle brush with vinegar for smaller bottles and notes that Williams-Sonoma has a decanter cleaner brush that works well. Thank you Kathryn!

I love this! I love this sharing of information and ideas. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment. I'm not totally happy with how my bottles look as I ran out of vinegar and rice! Off to the grocery store I go.

As always, thank you for taking your time to check out my "musings" from time to time.  I love writing and really enjoy sharing with you.

Take care and Au revoir, Mitty

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

French Demijohns with Painted Design!

Three older French Demijohns with recent painted decoration. They are all a beautiful pale blue color!  (Oops, you can see where I started reupholstering one of my dining room chairs and didn't finish taking the old fabric off!)

I'm so excited to share with you these three French demijohns that I purchased at the auction on Saturday. I'm researching the age of the bottles and believe them to be circa 1900 -1940. The beautiful painted decoration is probably relatively recent but really makes these bottles even lovelier.

All three have different painted designs that read "CRU", "Chateau de Vaugelas", and "Vacqueyras." 

My next project is to take these large demijohns outside and clean them!  They are too large to fit in my kitchen sink.  By the way, in case you wonder, to clean these I'll fill the demijohn with about one inch of vinegar and the add about a handful of rice (some people use salt).  I'll then shake the mixture and swirl it around the sides to remove dried stains.  Hopefully this will do the trick!

Take care and have a great afternoon.

Au revoir, Mitty

Monday, August 8, 2011

French Treasures in Sulphur Springs, Texas!

On Saturday, MH and I spent the day at a wonderful auction in Sulphur Springs, Texas.  I was as happy as I could be.  We all love different things and I love auctions!

This was a beautifully choreographed event.  The auction house, Bright Star Antiques Company, is the "real deal" and ran a great auction.  It's obvious they've been doing this for quite a while and have the timeline and logistics of moving hundreds of items in 8 hours down to a science. The building was air conditioned (important in Texas in August) and they had a concession stand that took care of your need for lunch and snacks!  Essentially they had everything you need to make sure that you're not away when the items you want to bid on go up for auction.  The only negative at all is that they had run out of Auction Catalogues by the time I registered due to, as they said, an unexpectedly large turnout!

Now to the important details, they had some great French pieces at this auction.  They had everything from a large armoire, several chests, French farm tables, cafe tables, and lots of garden items. There were many things that I would have liked to have bid on but there were people there who REALLY WANTED some of the items and bid the prices up.  I always have to think about resale and have to separate my emotions from business when I bid. 

I did purchase some wonderful things though and am spending part of the day getting them catalogued and priced.  I'll share them with you this week as I get them researched, priced and catalogued.

I ended the day feeling happy about what I had purchased.  I left with (2) large floor lamps made out of old painted columns, (3) beautiful and unique painted demijohns, and (11) wonderful old leather bound books!

Take care and have a good Monday!

Au revoir, Mitty

Friday, August 5, 2011

Favorite French Things Friday - French Hydrangeas!

When I daydream of summer, I always think of French hydrangeas - beautiful, large, mophead, Niko Blue Hydrangeas. For me they are as much a part of summer as the pool, sun, grilling and sweet iced tea.
If I could only have one flower, it would always be a hydrangea.

A couple of years ago when we lived in Charleston, WV,  MH planted about eleven Niko Blue Hydrangeas for me in our back yard.  Most of them were in a terraced flower bed and were planted as a "cutting garden."  There was such a sense of sweet joy in simply going out into the garden in the morning and cutting hydrangeas to put in vases around the house.

I remember this as one of my favorite simple pleasures on those early summer mornings when living there.  Here in Texas, I have again planted hydrangeas, maybe foolishly, and am fighting a battle to keep them alive.  I'm hoping to win this small battle with the heat. Wish me luck.

Part of my garden in Charleston, WV

Have a relaxing weekend. I'm off tomorrow treasure hunting! I'll let you know what I find.

Au revoir, Mitty

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Beautiful Continental Giltwood Vanity Bench - Early 20th Century

I'm sitting here working away, adding items to "my store."  I'm so excited to get the My Faux French Chateau store up and running!

I just added a beautiful piece of furniture that I thought I'd share with you.  I purchased it at the auction outside of  Dallas, Texas a few months ago.  Soon it will be looking for a new home!

I love this little bench. It's quite ornate with a curved back and kidney shaped seat.  The curved back and two arms end in a lion head motif. The open back is embellished with a carved double swan design and the center top of the curved back is decorated with 2 roses and leaves. This would make wonderful chair for your dressing table, dressing closet or bath.

Au revoir, Mitty

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Antique French Hand Painted de Seve Bird Engravings

Good Morning and Bonjour!

I've been crazy busy the past few days working on MDD's upcoming wedding and ..........................

listing my French finds on an online "antique mall!"

I'm hoping to be OPEN FOR BUSINESS in a couple of weeks.  Not to bore you with details, but I'm busily working on the business part of the business, i.e. setting up to accept credit card payments, a "shopping cart", etc. You know, the unexciting but necessary part of opening a business.

Also I'm still impatiently awaiting news on the shipment of my "petite container" from France.  I'm beginning to think that I was actually on a "faux" shopping trip and awaiting a "faux" shipment for my "faux" store!  Communications with the shipping company have not been the most enlightening..............

I've also been busy getting some of my French engravings framed! I just picked up from the frame shop a series of (4) absolutely beautiful 1770 French Engravings by Jacques de Seve.

Jacques de Seve was one of the most influential of natural history artists. He was commissioned during the 1740’s by the French Naturalist, Georges-Louis Le Clerc, Comte de Buffon (1707 – 1788) to be the principle illustrator of his book Natural History, or Histoire Naturelle, generale et particuliere, avec la description du cabinet du Roi. There were a total of 36 volumes completed.

I had these engravings beautifully, professionally framed in a gilded wood frame. They are not matted which allows the glass that borders the engraving to take on whatever color or print of the wall on which they are hung.  Unlike with a  fixed mat board, you are not limited to where you can use these!

  Jacques de Seve “Le Gros/Le BEC-Croise” Engraving
 The above print is shown against a linen fabric and then a painted wall to show you the versatility and beauty of a double glass mat.

1770 Jacques de Seve “LE BENGALI piquete’ /LE SENGALI”

    1770 Jacques de Seve “LE PAPE /LE BEC–ROND on BOUVREUIL BLEU”

 1770 Jacques de Seve “LE MAIA” Engraving

I hope you enjoyed these.  Have a good day today.  Au revoir, Mitty