Saturday, 7 December 2013

Vintage Glass in a Farmhouse Kitchen

When I say "farmhouse kitchen" what comes to mind?  For me it brings thoughts of simple, earthy food served on rustic china, wood or glass.  I think of going out to the chicken coop to get some fresh eggs and picking some fresh raspberries to make a jam or compote.  The freshness of the food makes my heart sing.

I also think of sipping ice tea with lemon on a nice porch overlooking the fields.  The sun is shining but the porch offers some shade.  The ice melts quickly when it is that hot out and the refreshing quench is much appreciated. 

Ploughman's Lunch Menu

A Ploughman's lunch is a rustic combination of bread, cheese and beer.  You can add a more modern twist by adding other farm fresh ingredients/menu items.  Served on a platter, large plate, cutting board or even a plank of wood, you then assemble the food as you'd like and chow down!

Here are some suggestions of what could be included:

  • Sharp aged cheddar, goats milk cheese (chevre)
  • Bread - rustic, earthy breads cut in large slices
  • Ale
  • Mango chutney, grainy mustard
  • Boiled fresh eggs
  • Ham, roast beef or pate
  • Pickles - dill, onions, beans
  • Pork or beef pie, sausage rolls, cornish pasties
  • Sliced apples, pears
  • Grapes
  • New potatoes or potato salad
  • Carrots, celery or other veggies (with or without dip)
  • Raspberry, strawberry or blueberry jam (or any jam or spread that is farm produced)
  • Black tea

Check out my latest Pinterest board called Vintage Farmhouse Kitchen for more ideas!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Bathroom Storage with Vintage Glass

Stock xchng - bretwaldaDo you have a vintage inspired bathroom? One way to accessorize it is with vintage glass used to store your typical bathroom items such as:

cotton balls, q-tips, soap, candles, tooth brushes, make-up/shaving, accessories, hair accessories.

This smokey brown apothecary type glass jar is perfect for a dramatic cotton ball holder.

Think outside the box when considering unique repurposing of vintage glass for example:

  • use cordial glasses or juice glasses for q-tips 
  • use dessert dishes, compotes, champagne glasses or martini glasses or saucers as soap dishes.  
  • use sugar dishes or candy dishes for cotton balls or pads
  • use mason jars for cotton balls, q-tips, barrettes or other small items

Give your bathroom a pop of colour with coloured vintage glass to match your towels or  
 tiles!  You can mix and match colours too but keep them to a colour tone theme i.e. all pastels or jewel tones 
If you choose to re-purpose glass as a candle holder, it is important to not use tea lights with the metal cups.  The metal cups will get too hot and may crack the glass.

To maintain the freshness of a clean, white bathroom, choose clear glass containers and jars and fill them with white cotton balls, cotton pads, candles, q-tips and soaps.

A fabulous use for a vintage decanter is to fill it with bath salts.  Here I've used epsom salts that I've added some drops of essential oils such as: lavender, ylang ylang, peppermint (great for soaking feet), bergamot, geranium, rose, and vanilla.  The decanter worked well as I was able to drop the essential oils (I used lavender and ylang ylang) into the salts once I put them in the decanter and swirled the salts to mix the oil and the salts...voila!

Have a look at this great Etsy Treasury by Katie Bashford called Blue and Green Bathroom which featured my teal lidded jar.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Bargain Wedding Flower Ideas with Vintage Glass

Planning a wedding on budget requires finding inexpensive wedding flower ideas.  One of the simplest options for bargain wedding flowers is to use vintage glass planters or compotes.  Use potted plants and either place them in the planter in the pot or plant them in the planter or compote and cover the soil with moss, shells or stones.

In the fall or winter months use potted African violets (they come in white, pinks, purples), plant paper white bulbs, small indoor mums or small rose plants.  In the spring, pots of primulas or bulb plants such as short tulips, narcissus, irises, or hyacinths can be striking and fresh.  In the summer months, dwarf sunflower plants and annual flowers of all kinds can be a very green way to decorate with flowers as the plants can double as wedding favours.

Using vintage bud vases can keep costs down as often a single flower with greens and baby's breath can create simple arrangement.  A newer trend is to use one stem (gerber daisy, orchid look-alike etc.) and grass or just a mass of baby's breath for a simple, clean, modern but soft look.  You can use typical milk glass bud vases (below) or use vintage bottles or candle holders.

Using backyard garden flowers and herbs can also save a bride a lot of money.  The arrangement below from Poppies and Posies is made of two peony stems and springs of mint and lavender - flowers and herbs commonly found in backyard gardens.

Other backyard flowers (*easy to grow from seed in most regions) that can be striking in simple arrangements are:

  • hydrangea
  • daisies
  • mums
  • gladiolas
  • dahlias 
  • lilacs
  • lily of the valley
  • carnations
  • ranunculus
  • sweet peas*
  • poppies*
  • allium (flowering chive)*
  • nasturtium*
  • pussy willows or other willow branches
  • greens - ivy, fern, long grass, herbs (sage, lavender, mint, rosemary, basil - note that some herbs will give off a scent e.g. rosemary so make sure you like the scent)
Nothing says weddings as much as pearls.  Purchase a package of pearl top quilting pins (sewing supply) or corsage pins (flower arranging supply) and chose flowers that are small and the center will contrast with the pearl pin.  Another similar option is to hot glue diamond rhinestones onto the center of a few buds for each arrangement for a unique touch of bling.

The new modern way to arrange flowers is to cut stems short and create a dome of flowers. Start by stretching a circle of chicken wire over the top of the planter or compote or create a crisscross pattern with scotch or florists tape to cover the top of the planter or compote that is half full of water.  This will help support the stems especially in a wider mouth vessel.  Oasis or flower foam can also be used as in this video.

Start by cutting some of the taller stems for the middle of the dome.  Then add shorter stems arranging them to create a rounded mass of flowers or buds.  Nico De Swert from Pottery Barn has some great Youtube videos using simple designs and reproduction glass vases - of course, you can use the same techniques with vintage glass vases and containers.

Of course, artificial flowers can also be a very inexpensive way to go.  The arrangement below was made from two bunches of artificial roses purchased at a dollar store.  White tulle can add volume and soften the bouquets   You can also add ribbon in that matches the wedding colour.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Mid Century Cocktail Party

Whether you are a fan of Mad Men or just a fan of Mid Century vintage goods, a fun way to party mid century style is to have a mid century cocktail party.

Mix up a pitcher of martini's or Manhattan's and serve up some smiles!

Scandinavian martini pitchers in mid century tend to be sleek handle-less columns.

Hazel Atlas made great pitchers with decals in bright primary colours in the 50s and while they were intended for juice or other non-alcoholic beverages, they can be used for fruity cocktails such as mai tai's or pina colada's

Mid Century (1950s, 1960s) Popular Cocktails
  • Bloody Mary
  • Blue Hawaiian
  • Brandy Alexander
  • Champagne Cocktail
  • Daiquiri
  • Gimlet
  • Grasshoppers
  • Harvey Wallbanger
  • Mai Tai
  • Manhattan
  • Martini
  • Moscow Mules
  • Pina Colada
  • Pink Lady
  • Rob Roy
  • Sea Breeze
  • Singapore Sling
  • Tom Collins
  • Whiskey Sour

Punch is another option for a mid century party.  It can be a great option for a non-alcoholic drink for designated drivers or non-drinkers.

To serve tall and short mixed drinks such as Tom Collins, Bloody Marys or gimlets you'll need some rocks glasses and tumblers too.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Mid Century Housewife Party

One of my customers told me that she was purchasing an ice bucket for her sister's 60's Housewife Party.  What a fabulous, fun idea for a party!

The Mad Men craze has influenced a resurgence of demand for mid century barware, bakeware and serveware.

Mid century glass barware typically has a smokey tinge to the glass - smokey brown, blue or green glass is common in that era.

Bar accessories were often made of aluminum in ice blue, watermelon red or carrot orange.  Pictured here is a mid century ice bucket and rocket shaped corkscrew in ice blue aluminum.

Another mid century glass style is called Ombre or Silver Fade which is a silver coating on the glass that fades to clear.

Ombre Fade should not be confused with Dorothy Thorpe's silver band. Dororthy Thorpe was known for her sterling silver banding on glass (yes, that means you need to polish it).  Authentic Dorothy Thorpe banded glass has at least a one inch band.  Below is a beautiful Dororthy Thorpe punch bowl set I sold in my store

Another glass design indicative of mid century styling is a set of glassware in peachy pink, blue and amethyst (and sometimes green).  Often you'll see this assortment of colours in tumblers, dishes or barware.

Pyrex Cinderella mixing bowls and Termo Ray or Pyrex milk glass mugs is also iconic glass during the mid century.  

Corelle ware was also very popular.  The patterns are typical colours of the mid century era - olive green, burnt orange, goldenrod, brown, baby or bubblegum pink, baby blue and turquoise.

Pyrex called their bowls with a handle on one side and a spout on the other "Cinderella" mixing bowls.

Fun pitchers such as this Anchor Hocking avocado or olive green Milano Lido set are classic mid century serveware.

Funky chip and dip sets are also a fun addition to a Mad Men or 50s or 60s housewife party.  How fun!

Mid Century Housewife Party Menu Ideas:

Appetizers: anything wrapped in bacon or crescent roll dough, chips and dip, cocktail sausages, deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail, celery with cheese whiz, Swedish meatballs

Main: roast beef, tuna casserole, kabobs, souffle, fondue

Dessert: jello ring, pineapple upside down cake, coffee cake, banana cream pie, candy apples, lemon meringue pie, angel food cake, cherries jubilee, baked Alaska, ambrosia salad, Bundt cake

One of my favorite books on 50's and 60's collectible kitchen glass (and other collectibles of the era) is the one below by C. Dianne Zweig.  It has great full colour pictures but also gives a sense of the mid century housewife lifestyle. Click on the image below for more information about purchasing the book.