Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Summer Antique Finds

This summer I've not done much blogging.  Reading or writing....  That sounds like heresy to write on a blog, but my life has been so hectic, that  I feel my days are not my own.  I'm trying to take back control, so here I am!

Last week I decided to wax my porches.    They are travertine, and I wrote about how we installed them ourselves here.

My favorite stone sealer with wax is by Bellinzoni, Deep Color Enhancer.   After I put it on, I buff it with the car polisher. (One of these days I need to buy a floor polisher.)

Here you can see the life that the enhancer adds.

The back patio - all done!  Waiting for furniture.   I'm not sure what I am going to do back here.
The front porch is where I like to hang out in the morning.  

The fountain is in the center of the courtyard, surrounded by Molineaux roses.  This is my view when I drink my coffee, and sit out here with the laptop.

 There are times when you can't see the leaves for all the roses, but this is a nice bloom for August 28.

I love the color of the roses when they first open.  They are so bright, and then fade to a softer yellow as they age.

This summer I have gone to an antique show, a few antique shops, and shopped on-line.    There's no rhyme or reason to what I purchase, but thought I'd share the little finds, the life of a collector.

It's never to early to think about christmas decorations.
This little Napoleon will look great on a christmas tree!
 The objects below were random purchases.  I don't have a collection of miniature portraits, but I loved the girl in this one.  The faience lamp is for a bathroom counter, my pink bathroom.
I think she's my favorite.  I know the frame is beat up, but you can't pass up the lovely girl.
 You can always find another frame for her.

I ventured out to an estate sale, and came home with a pair of lovely early 1800's sheraton chairs.  I love the morning glory vines painted on them.   I think they will become "looking chairs", not "sitting chairs", as one of my 1820's italian chairs broke last weekend when a very nice young man, who weighs a bit more than he should, sat in it.  At least all his friends teased him when it broke.  I will put a stack of books on the chair,it discourages use if I think it's too fragile.
Lovely sheraton chair.  I love the rush seat.
Sometimes you can protect a chair by giving it an occupant.  This little guy is
wearing lederhosen my brother used to wear. Imagine getting picked on
at school because you wore lederhosen....

 The next two items are handpainted terra cotta plaques from England.  One has some sheep on it, so my family understands why they came home with me.

 Well done, I love these little paintings.
The plaques look nice in the living room.   I have needlework and embroidery mixed in with the paintings, but it all seems to work.   The regency silk embroideries are some of my favorites to collect, and have more of an impact grouped together. So my rooms get layered with whatever was purchased most recently.  It's not a strategy I would advise, but I have to find things a home right away, so the family won't notice my acquisitions, hahah. (On a winter rainy day, I will probably take them all down and put them in a different order...)

My next chore is to replace some lavender that died in my new lavender bed.

I raised the lavender up a bit, they don't like wet feet.  I thought this might help them survive...

I'm off to my next task, working on my daughter's wedding.  What a lot of work for a few hours!  So far I've finished the "save the date" cards, a 1781 trade card, worked on their wedding website, and have begun lining up vendors.

Isn't this the prettiest walk a bride could have?   I love the gated garden!

We came to measure and walk the venue, Villa Montalvo, last week.   What a romantic setting!   Wish me luck, I'm off to spend an insane amount of money (for me) on a couple of hours.  I tried to get the couple to elope, but they want a wedding!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Antique Teapot Flower Arrangements at a Wedding

This project has been a long time in the making.  My niece came up with the idea of using antique teapots for her flower arrangements at her wedding reception.  This of course had to involve me because who else would she go to but her obsessive antique-collecting aunt?    We didn't use antiques entirely (although we probably could have), because she was panicked at the value of some of the teapots.   So we had alot of fun last spring keeping an eye out on eBay for things that would go with her wedding colors.  That was after hitting up my collection for teapots that went with pink.   The head table used silver pots, creamers and individual pots, along with some demitasse.    She also wanted to use some antique linen underneath the teapots, but given the white tablecloths, we decided to use antique print hankies that matched the teapots.

I was so busy with the project, that I didn't take alot of photos, but thought I would share with you what I did take along the way.

I had done some trial arrangements and found that loose flower arrangements wouldn't hold their shape or transport (130 miles) well, so I had to use frogs or oasis.  We used hot glue to secure the oasis into the pots, although it was difficult on some because of their size or shape.  In those cases I tried to wedge the oasis in by cutting a piece larger than the opening, cramming it in, and cutting a v-groove so I could be able to put water in the pot.

Teapots filled with Oasis a week before the wedding.
I picked up the roses 2 days before the wedding in order to let them open up beforehand.  There's nothing worse than flower arrangements that just have tight buds.   This worked well for all the roses except one bunch, which were blown by the wedding morning.

The colors on this rose was absolutely perfect.  Unfortunately They didn't hold up.  I kept them in the refrigerator til the wedding.   I was hoping....

My niece wanted old-fashioned flowers and requested that I used baby carnations.   I do love the spicy fragrance they have.  Other flowers were used included: stocks, sweet peas, sweetheart roses, spray roses, David Austin roses, snapdragon, echinops, and lavender.

Oh my!  So many flowers, so little time!
Overall, everything held up well.  A few problems were --
 - The dark fuchsia stocks did not hold up well and were wilting hours after I brought them home.  I was 40 miles from my supplier and couldn't run and replace them.  I cut the bunches off very short in order to let them perk up while using.
 - I should have picked up the carnations 2 days before too, they were a bit to tight for me.
 - The sweet pea stems were pretty fragile.  I would put them in first just so I could carefully maneuver them into the arrangements.  I had purchased them in selected bunches of color.  I would not recommend using them unless you literally grow them yourselves.  Half were blown by today, they were the only thing that drooped in some of the arrangements.
 - The lavender wasn't the standard augustafolia variety.  I don't know what kind they were, but I literally didn't have time to run out to my garden and harvest some for use.  As it was, all the David Austins came from my yard.  Make that yards.  I flew to California on Thursday and had carried flowers from the Washington house on the plane.

Oddly, the Cecil Brunner roses turned white in the fridge, but The Fairy, and the Geoff Hamilton roses held up well.  I needed miniature roses for the cake.

A cell phone progress picture.... Are those photo-bombers in the background?

These were many varieties of roses in a teacup my niece would love.
I made this thinking I might wind up needing "extras" somewhere.
This was a 250 year old bat-printed teapot. The tape on the handle corresponds to a number on a hanky that gets placed under the teapot.
You can see my reflection in this chased silver teapot that is designated for the head table.
The head table is 4 feet longer than I had originally planned.  I didn't have enough silver teapots, so I used these Royal Worcester demitasse in between each silver item.   The roses for my garden were used here.
I used plastic stacking bins to transport the 31 arrangements in a minivan.  That was great because I didn't have to worry about water spilling.   I used bubble wrap between the teapots, most bins had 2 or 3 teapots based on the size  of the teapots.  London shape teapots could fit 3 to a bin.

A set table, teapot, vintage hanky, and all the "stuff".
I don't like the table numbers poked in the arrangements.  If I'd had time, I would have taken them out and just tented them next to the teapots.

Where the bride & groom sat.  I wanted low arrangements in front of them to not block their view.

The entire long table.  The flowers really added color and made it festive.  We added some swags to the front of the table from pew decorations.  I didn't like the stage.  The brown curtains were ugly, other than that the room was nice. The bridal party was completely unapproachable.  I would have put them on a round table down on the floor, but maybe they didn't want to be disturbed.

A bullion cup was used at the top of the cake.  It was really cute!

I had brought about 80 roses for rose petal use.  I did not do this table.   When I turned around, the cake table was done, the bag of roses disappeared, and there was just a few skimpy petals on the table.    Note to self:   If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. This looks like an accident on the table.

The setup time was weird.  We had one hour before the wedding to do everything, from the tablecloths to finish.  It was supposed to be an hour and a half.  I was supposed to put certain antiques on certain tables, but there were only tea names on the tables, and I was supposed to put number on the table.  The diagram I was given didn't have any numbers on it.   I am not a fan of weird table names.  Really, you are making it hard on your setup team doing something like this.  A few minutes before the wedding my sister came in with a box of stuff for setup.  I wound up missing the wedding.   I was working so hard I didn't even know where the church was in the complex.  I'm not happy that I missed her walking down the aisle.  Not only did I miss it once, I missed it twice.  The bride's sister is ill and was admitted to the hospital wednesday before the wedding.  Apparently the legal wedding took place at the hospital and because I was doing the flowers, I missed it.  Other family members were there but I didn't know that was the official ceremony.    Everyone says that was the emotional wedding.  I think I'm more upset that I wasn't considered important enough to go to the "official" wedding. Or maybe am I upset that it didn't bother anyone that I wasn't there?    I'm feeling like the hired help. Missing her wedding(s) has left me very upset.   I hope she appreciated my efforts, I really tried to make it beautiful.    Just remember, if you take on a project like this, you will work day and night before the wedding.  The florist is worth every penny!

I think this is my favorite teapot.  It is circa 1820's

This is what it looked like with a print hanky under it.

These are some of the other hankies used.  They went with specific teapots based on color.  Antique bags that got used are in the background.
This cute little thing lost a few flowers in transport,
and the oasis moved around. Isn't it darling!
I am exhausted, I now have a sore throat and earache.   I have some flower arrangements to clean up.  After I throw out all the flowers, I'll harvest my lavender for the season, close up the house, and go where it isn't 108 degrees.  It's probably raining in Washington...  I'll  chill out and realize that families are families.  We stick together through everything, including when slighted relatives are not included to attend a niece's official wedding ceremony.

My daughter's wedding is next May.  Here's a peek at what I am working on:
A card from the 1700's!
Her wedding will not start until I'm seated and that's final.  No, I'm not doing the flowers.  We asked her to elope yesterday.  She said no.