Vintage finds and retro handmade--a sweet mix I know you'll love.

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Trend Watch: Natural History

Lately, in women's and design magazines, blogs, interior design television shows, etc. we have been seeing a lot of "woodland" or "natural history" themed decorating.  This trend is like bringing a bit of the wild, especially what you would find in a field or the woods, into your home and putting it on display.

You see a lot of natural materials and textures, such as rock collections, preserved insects, animal skeletons, antlers and horns, wooden elements, and so forth.  Shadow boxes and things under glass domes are really popular.

Think scientific curiosities
and the great outdoors.

This is actually a vintage cheese dome, but I think it works fabulously as a display dome.  I put in a handful of rocks from my own rock collection--river rocks, rose rocks, and some quartz crystals. I added the pinecone for extra texture.

You could just as easily use a glass dome like this one to display animal bones or horns, sea shells, birds' nests, preserved beetles, vintage fishing tackle, etc.  I've also seen people grouping several domes together in one display.

There is also a bit of the turn of the century hunting lodge or fishing cabin in this trend.

I thought this blue-green vintage Avon bottle fit right in.  This was from a men's line of cologne and aftershave products.  Mine has most of the original stuff in it, which lends it a greenish tone in the photos.

This trend uses mossy greens and blues and fall foliage colors as accents.  The background colors are usually muted grays, tans, and browns, especially wood tones.  I tried to bring that out in the books and rocks I displayed here.

This particular vignette pulls a lot of colors from the vintage art piece I found at a local thrift store.  I think it's just gorgeous, and it has a lot of colors that could be drawn out as accent colors in this decorating trend.  I originally thought it was from the 70s, but last night I watched a 1950s-era Sinatra movie, and there was a piece of framed art in one of the scenes that looked like this.  So...who knows?

The late 19th century, into the early part of the 20th century, was a period of archeology and many advances in biological and ecological science.

This theme seems to draw from the fascination and adventure of that era.  It reminds me of an old scientist's study or library in the movies. 

By the way, almost everything in these photos will soon be available for sale in one or the other of my online stores, with the exception of the table, the small square glass box, the wooden pen, the doily, and the rocks.

Thanks for reading!  I've linked to some design trends articles online in one other post, here.   I plan to do more of these vignettes, showing other modern decorating trends and themes, in the days and weeks to come.  Please stay tuned!

Meanwhile, I currently have several things available already that fit this theme:

< Vintage Midcentury Modern Designer "Faux Bois Budvase 

Vintage Acrylic painting by "Tootie">
<  Monkey pod wood tray from the Philippines

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Gift for You, Sweetheart!

Check out this lovely collection of vintage and handmade heart-shaped dishes, lockets, trinket boxes, and more!  I really love that hand-painted china box.  Take note, guys, these might be a great place to hide a gift or a love note for your valentine. :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Collecting: All Things in Miniature

When I was about four or five, I found a tiny drawer from a doll chest of drawers crammed under the bottom edge of the sheet rock in my garage.  It was about an inch wide and a fourth of an inch deep, with a tiny knob on the front of it.  I knew it had probably been left behind by the previous residents of my house, but I preferred to think that a fairy had lost it off the back of her moving truck.

The finished clock kit will have a working door on the front.
Kits and Books, Minus Accessories.  The two in the back sold.
I don't know where that drawer went--I must have lost it years ago, myself--but I think it created a curiosity in me for miniature things.  It's fascinating to see someone achieving so much detail in something a fraction of the size of a fingertip.  How do they do that?

When I found several, mostly-unopened doll house miniatures kits at a local thrift store, I was tempted to dabble in this hobby and try my hand at putting these beauties together.  However, I don't have much free time these days, and I don't own a doll house (I don't even have a place to store one, no less display it like it should be).  I think they would probably look a little out of place on a coffee table or a desk.

I also picked up two great doll house miniatures reference books.  Since I don't have the time, and I know there are a lot of people out there who do this for a hobby (sweet hobby!), I've so far decided to just sell it all.  Two kits sold just the other day.

L: Making Doll Dishes; R: Doll Clothing and Making Dolls
You know, this is a trend that dates me, really.  I was a kid in the 80s, and from all I have found, the last time doll house miniatures really got big (lame pun, I know, I know) was in the 70s and 80s.  Guess what--they're on a comeback!

Frankly, I can see why.  Aren't these just adorable?  My favorite thing about them is that they usually have teeny-tiny working parts.  They aren't just stable decorative pieces, like statues.  Doll house miniatures are interactive art!  Look at these dishes!  I bet that teapot has a removable lid, too.

Project: Canopy for a Bed
The picture to the left shows some of the instructions on how to make a canopy bed like the one on the kit I sold  (this is the green book).  It looks like a pretty involved project, but the results are amazing.  I noticed one strange thing--the fabric they used seems to match the stuff used in the model on the front of one of my kits. Maybe the book makers were inspired by the x-acto models?  Maybe this is the kit.  I never opened the kit, so I didn't see what that one contained.
Calculating Scale and Choosing a Time Period

Full-Color Pictures.  Where'd They Get That Rug?
I was especially fascinated by how the doll house minatures enthusiasts are careful about keeping all their pieces from the same time period or decorating style.  Essentially, it's not just a toy.  It really is a house in minature.

If I get the time, though, I think I'm going to browse through the books a little more closely.  So far, on just a casual perusal of the pages, I found an instructional part on how to make doll bedding to scale, how to put together a chandelier, aging curtains and wallpaper to give it a nostalgic look, and so on.  Who knows?  I might get into this more in a few years.

Wanting to give doll house minatures a try?  I don't know anything about these links, but I found a few sites that looked promising for those wanting to get started in this hobby:

Dollhouse Miniatures Enthusiasts and Trade Organizations

The Dollhouse Guild Web ring (a directory of sites) 

My Dream Dollhouse--Personal Blog of a Minaturist--great photos!

And many more!

If this is bringing out the child-like wonder in you, hope these links help you get started!  If you are already a miniaturist or own a doll house, I'd like to invite you to share photos on your blog and backlink them, or share stories in the comments section below.  Can't wait to hear from you!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Caribbean Dream

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In the Mood to Travel

I don't know what it is about January--maybe the cold and the bleak views out my window--but I tend to get in a traveling mood this time of year.

I decided to act on it this time by creating a nice travel-themed collection on Artfire. As usual (because I really love it), there is a vintage/advertising pop art feel to this collection. Hope you enjoy it! Best wishes to all the sellers who were included.