Friday, March 16, 2018

Gilt Louis XVI Music Chairs

Lovely old gilded French chairs. I have a weakness for them. 
 When I saw this sweet pair at an estate sale auction, 
I couldn't resist scooping them up.
Where they will end up in my house, I am not sure of yet, 
but I generally just buy things I love and they find a place somewhere.  
The details of the chairs just were so unusual with a backsplat depicting a violin and a cornucopia.  All the details are hand carved, and you can see the inconsistency that hand carved
 pieces have, when you look closely at the beaded details and other carved elements.
The chairs are so darling, and seem sturdy enough to sit on, 
but because of their age and diminutive size, 
I will use them as ornamentation rather that extra seating.  
In the meantime we are all suffering from cabin fever with the snow covering the ground after a blizzard dumped 18" on us in Boston.  Ugh.  I have a fierce desire to rearrange all the furniture in this room, and it happens every year when I can't stand the winter for much longer.
I know the dogs feel the same way. 
 Piper loves to pose for the camera, however Colby does not. 
 Many ask where is Colby?  Here he is, he gave me three seconds to snap the photo 
and then wandered off while Piper maintained her pose. 
 Colby was wondering why did I pull away the dog bed from the fireplace. 
 To take pics of course! I don't remember seeing the hearth since
 last fall as its been covered with a big old dog bed.
An Easter basket for Reeve sits on the music chair.
 Maybe after Easter, Spring will finally arrive!
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Friday, March 9, 2018

A French Coal Scuttle, my Simple Anti-aging Beauty Routine, and 1 week Diet Update

Lets start off with something French and vintage, shall we?  
A French coal scuttle in hand hammered copper and brass was a recent auction score.
  I imagined it to sit by the hearth in the lake cottage, as we have an old cast iron stove up there. 
 For now it looks pretty holding some faux hydrangeas next to our gas fire place.  
It will make a great container for seasonal decorating, holding twiggy branches, sprays of forsythia, or these summery hydrangeas.  I am still looking for unusual copper pieces, 
and since this was an old French piece I couldn't resist.  
My rule of thumb is buy what you love, and it will find a place.
Winter is still full on in the Boston area, and the dogs favorite place is right 
next to the fire in this enormous dog bed that fits the both of them.  
Real life at the moment includes the Aubusson rug still rolled up, 
I have yet to unroll and look at this gorgeous thing. 
 Because the morning I was planning to unroll it, 
I spotted a leak coming from the ceiling.  UGH.
Hubs got right to fixing it, and we spent all of last weekend repairing the thing together.  We also had started our low carbohydrate diet, following mostly the original Atkins diet.  We started on March 1 and the diet plan involves an "induction phase" of two weeks where you stay below 20 grams of carbs.  Counting carbs is pretty easy, and in the past this diet has worked well for me.  But now that I am over the age of being able to have babies, my body responds slower to dropping weight.  However I have had decent results this first week,  losing 3.5 pounds, and hubs dropped 6!  The hardest thing to get used to for me was skipping my glass of wine at night.  No alcohol for the first two weeks helps get the ball rolling with putting your body into fat burning mode. The first several days were a test of my will power but I am feeling like it will be worth it if I stay the course, as spring is coming, and I don't want to fight with my closet anymore.  You know.....those pants that used to fit that are too tight now?  If everyday I hate picking out my clothes, then I tell myself it will be such a pleasure to not have to deal with that unpleasantry anymore. 
 And I will look so much better! That is my inner self talk. 
 Pumping myself up by reinforcing what I am giving up to gain in only a few months ahead. 
 Spring will arrive, and I will be ready!! 
I also wanted to talk about my "beauty routine".   
Hahah! It feels weird saying that.  I am not much of a makeup person at all.
As a matter of fact my mother always tells me that I should put on lipstick. 
 I think lipstick is my least favorite makeup and I don't tend to use it. 
 I favor a more natural look, and I want the makeup routine to
 be simple and fast, and help with anti-aging if possible. 
 I snapped these pics this morning to share what my routine involves.  
(Ignore the heavy foundations in the upper corner, I save those for special times 
when I need more coverage.) But pay attention to the eyebrow stencil and the bronzer.
  Also, every morning I spritz Channel No 5 and without fail 
my hubby tells me how yummy I smell when I come downstairs. 
Not shown on the vanity are these two important creams that I use daily to start my routine.
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream is my moisturizer, which firms and tightens and has anti-aging properties. I follow that with Hydroxatone Anti-Aging BB cream, both purchased at Costco.  The BB cream is a foundation that works with EVERY skin tone, so I didn't have to worry about matching my skin tone.  It basically is light coverage that enhances your skin, giving it some color, covering up and adding anti aging essentials like SPF 40, brightening and radical reducing ingredients.  I love knowing that I am fighting aging effects and getting some natural looking coverage on my face in one fell swoop!  
 The other miracle product I found that really made a big difference for me, was this simple eyebrow stencil that comes with an eyebrow powder.  I found it at Marshall's, and it has three stencil shapes to choose from.  My eyebrows have been wonky ever since I started to pluck them, and I kind of ruined their shape.  Sure, I have read about "getting your eyebrows done", and I have them waxed when I go to the hairdresser, but they cannot add hair, only take away hair.  And I have been noticing how strong women's eyebrows are when I watch TV and read magazines, and just resigned myself to having wonky mismatched eyebrows.  Well ladies, if you can relate and want an easy way to do your brows, look for a stencil kit like this one! 
As a young mom at 21, I had Brooke Shields kind of eyebrows.
Over time, they were over plucked, and I wish I had been told: 
Fast forward almost 40 years!! Where is the time going?

Anyway, I have been so happy with how this simple stencil has reshaped them, 
and if you have this issue, or no eyebrows at all, get one of these stencil kits!
After  I use after moisturizing and applying BB cream, I apply some black pencil eyeliner to my upper eyelid, do the eyebrow stencil and then quickly brush on some Clinique bronzer to my cheek apples, nose and forehead.  And I am set for the day.  
This routine takes me 3 minutes and it fits my natural look and unfussy lifestyle.
 At night I remove it all with facial cleansing wipes, 
either the Neutrogena or Kirkland from Costco facial wipes. 
 It is simple and I have been loving the products I found late last year.  
I wanted to try them out for a few months before sharing them with you.
(This is not a paid sponsorship, its just something I am very happy about).
  1.  Olay Regenerist Micro Scuplting Cream (moisturizer)
  2.  Hydroxatone BB Cream (foundation)
  3.  Brow Stencil and Powder by Max Studio found at Marshalls
  4.  Black eye pencil 
  5.  Clinique Bronzer
  6.  Chanel No 5

I know a lot of my readers are probably like me, not into makeup or worry too much about how
they look.  I love decorating and family life, but I want to look good without a lot of effort.
That is where the diet and this simple beauty routine come together to hopefully give me some
results that make it easier as I head into the next decade!!
And for fun, how about this fun "FaceApp"? 
Using a photo of my face without any makeup and a pimple on my nose (gah!) 
you can see how you look as a cover model!! 
All they do is add eyeliner and plump up your lips and then remove your neck wrinkles 
and facial laugh lines and you end up looking like a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills. 
Well that is NEVER going to happen unless I have a facelift, which I am not.
But by using my low key makeup routine I feel pretty good. 
Its pretty important to me to have a loving attitude towards myself as I age,
and not let it get me down.  If this helps my women of a certain age readers in any way 
or even just to laugh along, I am happy to share my struggles and discoveries. 
 Spring feels like a world away after yesterday's March storm, 
but when it finally comes I plan to be down a pant size or two!
I will be sharing weight loss results each time I blog as I continue this 
journey of fighting the pounds.  And how about some easy and yummy 
lo-carb recipes that have been key for getting hubby on board and fighting off cravings?
I will get a list together of our favorites. 

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

French Aubusson Rugs, Diet plans and little Reeve has the flu!

A lovely example of a French rustic room with a fancy needlepoint Aubusson rug on the floor.
This is the perfect balance of high and low, or fancy and rustic in home decor.
You won't see too many Aubusson rugs used in today's homes, for whatever reason.
I can barely find examples to share of these beautiful rugs, 
unless you count the rugs found in the Palace of Versailles.
This rug was in the Queen's Nobles Room at the palace of Versailles.
 Hardly any furniture anywhere in the room, just this grand carpet
that was protected by a ring of velvet ropes.  
Of course much of the palace was looted in the revolution and over time they have been finding the original pieces or using similar antiques to replicate how Versailles once looked before the revolution.   Aubusson rugs with their intricate patterns added to the over the top level of decor that spoke to the wealth of the monarchy.  I just love these kind of rugs but imagine them in simpler rooms letting them speak for themselves instead of being drowned out by the layers of ornamentation.
 It appears they have fallen out of fashion.  
Oriental rugs, natural grass rugs and basic bound patterned rugs can be found everywhere. 
 But not needlepoint Aubussons.  
And that is just fine with me. 
You can find them online and their prices on various auction sites aren't bringing 
near what they are worth.  Which is how I scored this room size pink and grey Aubusson for a song.
 It has a shrimp and poppy pink as well as grey and ivory palette, and when it arrives it will decide where it wants to go.  On the wall, or on the floor, or used as upholstery fabric or draped over the piano, I plan to enjoy this pretty floral rug with the classic scroll and leaf flourishes.
What a great tablecloth this Aubusson makes! 
 I saved this on my Pinterest page under the category of Rustic Romantic Style. 
So many ways to use a rug that is finely woven like these needlepoints.
On the home front, my little Reeve came down with the flu and has been very sick.
  Such a cause for worry, this flu has been the scariest one I can remember in many years.  
She was quite lethargic and not herself, having coughing fits all night and day with lots of congestion and fever.  But I am happy to say that this morning she has turned the corner and we are so thankful.
She turned eight months old last week, and her daddy took this portrait of her.  Even while she was sick she managed to smile and enjoy moments here and there.  Half my week I spend caring for her, and she has become a big part of my while I manage bits of blogging and decorating here and there, real life trumps everything. And puts things in perspective.  Speaking of perspective, I was given a most wonderful birthday gift from my sixteen year old stepson.  While not mentioned often on the blog, he has been in my life since he was two years old. He gave me a handmade card which is going in my keepsake box forever!!
 You always hope, as a step mother, that you are doing a good job. 
 Loving your own children and your husband's equally.  
This card just validated all those days of being a mom for him
 and I couldn't be more proud of him.  
He is the easiest child I have (helped) to raise so far....
and he is doing everything right! 
 So to all you step parents out there, you know how good it 
feels when you get something like this.
 Reeve will be back tomorrow at Grammy's daycare. 
 She adores Piper and the feeling is mutual. 
March is upon us, and Mr. Maison Decor and I will be undergoing "March Makeover Month" together.  Essentially it means we are going on a diet plan as the pounds have crept up again over the winter months.  Our diet plan is basically restricted carbs.  No sugar or white stuff like pasta, potatoes, rice, bread etc.  In the past I used to do the Atkins diet with great success for years.  I was able to maintain my weight and clothing size.  So that is what we are going to be doing, starting off with counting carbs and allowing 20 per day.  Its a diet that will drop weight quickly, and after the first few days of cravings, you will be able to manage this diet as it allows fats and proteins that keep hunger at bay.  If you care to join us, please do, but pick a diet that works for you if you don't want to do the Atkins diet.  I hope to be posting updates on things that work for us as well as our weight loss as we move through the month of March.  When Spring arrives, we will be in shape and ready to button up our pants with ease!!

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Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Best Price on Copper Kitchen Aid Mixers

The iconic Kitchen Aid stand mixer. 
 I have never owned one and I do a fair amount of cooking and baking.  A hand mixer was the way I  handled mixing up batters and whipped cream and pie fillings for decades!  But once I spied the copper colored Kitchen Aid mixer I decided it was time for me to get one.  My sister has one, my son and daughter-in-law have one, and even my grandmother had one. Nana had the old Sunbeam Mixmaster,  a stand mixer that predated these more powerful mixers by Kitchen Aid.
Once I decided to get one, I found that it wasn't as simple as picking a color, I had to pick a model first,  as there are many models to choose from.  

 The engines that run the mixers get more powerful as the size goes up.  The mini Artisan has a 3 quart capacity, the Artisan Tilt Head holds 5 quarts, and the Professional model holds 6 quarts.  The capacity is what helped me make up my mind, as I might be mixing up a box cake mix, a batch of cookies or maybe even two loaves of bread, so I chose the Artisan Tilt Head model, which is the most popular choice of home chefs.  The largest size would be more difficult for everyday mixing of normal size batches of ingredients.  Next I would look for the copper color I loved. 
 Turned out there are more than one copper finish offered by Kitchen Aid. 
The prettiest shiniest copper finish is the "satin copper".  
A search on  Kitchen Aid's website shows two mixers in copper.  
 The largest was a 7 quart  Professional Limited Edition Pro Line Series.
 The price tag was a hefty with  $999.99 and was unavailable on their site, 
but I did find it at Williams Sonoma. Below you will see what Kitchen Aid 
shows when searching "copper mixer".

The same pretty "satin copper" finish is also available in the Mini Artisan,
 but this model is just too small for my needs.  

After more searching I found the 5 quart  mixer in the "satin copper" at Crate and Barrel for $599.00
However the price was also too steep.  The other range of colors were offered around $399.99, and an upcharge of $200 seemed unfair.  Amazon revealed a Copper Pearl finish in the 6 quart size for $399.99, which is a great buy, but I wanted the Artisan 5 quart model.  Still determined to find a Kitchen Aid mixer in copper at a price I was happy with, I pressed on and continued my online search.  
Everything Kitchens, an online retailer for many major brands, carried most of the Kitchen Aid models and all of the copper finishes in the 5 quart sizes.  They had it in the "satin copper", the "copper pearl" and the "antique copper" finishes.  Ultimately I decided upon the Copper Pearl finish. The price was right at $299.00!  I hoped the color would be coppery enough.....I would just have to wait and see.  From everything I researched I had read nothing comparing the copper finishes, only that the metallic series featuring the shinier "satin copper" was it was showing wear and scratch marks after repeated cleanings.  Not a good thing.  So I placed my order and waited....
The day it came, I excitedly got it out of the box and set it up on the kitchen sideboard. 
I was really happy with the color!  These mixers are usually too tall to put on the counter if you have upper cabinets, so make sure you have a place to put your beautiful mixer.  I wanted to look at it as a part of my kitchen decor, so that was important that it have a place to sit everyday.  This quick Instagram pic shows the finish, and although it is not as shiny as the real copper items you see next to it,  its pretty darn close.  
And here under the glare of kitchen lights, it gleams with the copper look I was hoping for....
Reeve loves to sit and watch me cook in the kitchen, and now with my new copper mixer, it gives us more reason to have fun in the kitchen together.  

I am very happy with the Artisan Tilt Head mixer in Copper Pearl, and was excited to find the Everything Kitchens website that offered such a great price.  ( This is not a sponsored post by the way, its just to help anyone who like me, was obsessing on the new Copper colored Kitchen Aid Mixers!)
Do you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer?   What color and how do you like it?  Was it a gift or something you decided to buy for yourself?  I would love to know!

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Vintage Copper in my kitchen

Copper is trending again in kitchen design, and after seeing it in some of my favorite designer's kitchens, it ignited a desire to start collecting copper cookware and accents for my kitchen.  Green accents like the French enamel canister set and buffalo check curtains and tole tray won't be going anywhere, instead I planned to mix in some warm pretty copper pieces to give it a fresh look.
Mr. Maison Decor and I took a trip to Ontario, Canada to visit some friends, and it was
there that I was able to get a bunch of old copper pieces when visiting an antique market.
The handled piece on the island holds a pot of flowers from the supermarket and I can imagine just changing this out as the blooms fade.  Maybe some pansies in spring, and then some herbs in the summer.  I made room for a shelf full of copper, hanging up the copper mules I already had from last year, with some smaller pans, a cute tiny berry colander  with brass feet and a cheese grater with brass handle.
Some copper scoops were found at an online auction in a mixed lot set of vintage copper.  
The teapot by the window was found in Canada and hails from Denmark.
This pretty teapot sits on its owning warming station, that holds coals to keep the teapot warm.  
It had a lot of lovely handmade details and was the last piece I spotted in the antique market.
Lots of molds were to be found, and I walked away with quite a few,
including the heart shaped mold that has a pair of swans.  
 Swans mate for life, and I think its a fitting design for a heart mold, 
especially appropriate today on Valentines Day.
There is a load of copper that I still have yet to hang up or figure out what to do with,  but I imagine a wall rack to go over this kitchen sideboard where I keep my new copper Kitchen Aid Mixer.  Believe it or not, I have never owned a big mixer like this, and I have to say I am loving everything about it!  I made a birthday cake and a pumpkin pie, and it was so much nicer than using a hand mixer.
It might take a little time to display it in the way that I want to, but I will be sure to share when I do.
A copper colander just like I had in the 80s and some copper measuring cups were just part of the vintage copper group I found on the EBTH website.  
See the old English copper clock in the mirror's  reflection? 
 That was found on the website Chairish, another new to me online auction site.  
Made in England, this vintage clock has a simple school house look, just perfect for a kitchen.....
a french country kitchen with copper accents.  

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