June 30, 2015

Remembering Our History on the 4th

When national holidays roll around I always start thinking of our history. Our country's history.

The teacher in me is rearing its head, sorry... I just feel so strongly about knowing history. Here we go, some bits and pieces for you.
Flag info.

The Mayflower"Within the span of a hundred years, in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, a tide of emigration -one of the great folk wanderings of history-swept from Europe to America. This movement, impelled by powerful and diverse motivations, built a nation out of a wilderness and, by its nature, shaped the character and destiny of an uncharted continent."
"Every man, and every body of men on earth, possess the right of self-government." -Thomas Jefferson, 1790

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The Declaration of Independence, 
July 4, 1716 

The Declaration of Independence
(1795) by John Trumbull
When I say our history, I mean the collective history that we as citizens of the united states have. 

This is a perfect time for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends to chat with the children a little bit about how our 4th of July celebration came to be celebrated. What is Independence Day? Why do we celebrate Independence day?  The young ones know about cookouts, fireworks, and maybe some patriotic songs. But do they know about the story behind Independence Day? Some ideas.  

Schoolhouse Rock...No More Kings

Schoolhouse Rock...The Constitution, the Preamble

Schoolhouse Rock...Shot Heard Round the World


Sing along for kids, with lyrics. 
You're a grand old flag.

Star Spangled Banner, with Lyrics, for children.

(Visit the Charters of Freedom Documents at www.archives.gov for primary source info and a refresher about our history.)

Whether you or your parents are first generation, or whether you and your ancestors have been here for generations, let us celebrate the hard work and struggle of those who labored and gave birth to our country. We mark that birth/ birthday as July 4th each year. 1776-2015.

What I think of is how my ancestors came to this country in the sixteen hundreds and carved a place for themselves and their families out of rough rugged land. I am in awe.

Way back in our early colonial days...here is what was going on across the pond in the seventeen seventies! 

We were "subjects" of the king! 

And it looks like most of us did not like being "subjects." Most of us...being our ancestors who fought the British over taxation, representation, and freedom in general. 


source: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/charters_of_freedom_1.html#

"In 1761, fifteen years before the United States of America burst onto the world stage with the Declaration of Independence, the American colonists were loyal British subjects who celebrated the coronation of their new King, George III. The colonies that stretched from present-day Maine to Georgia were distinctly English in character although they had been settled by Scots, Welsh, Irish, Dutch, Swedes, Finns, Africans, French, Germans, and Swiss, as well as English.
As English men and women, the American colonists were heirs to the thirteenth-century English document, the Magna Carta, which established the principles that no one is above the law (not even the King), and that no one can take away certain rights. So in 1763, when the King began to assert his authority over the colonies to make them share the cost of the Seven Years' War England had just fought and won, the English colonists protested by invoking their rights as free men and loyal subjects. It was only after a decade of repeated efforts on the part of the colonists to defend their rights that they resorted to armed conflict and, eventually, to the unthinkable–separation from the motherland." source 
Three months after the King declared every rebel a traitor, and with a reward posted for the capture of certain prominent rebel leaders, the delegates to Congress adopted these strict rules of secrecy to protect the cause of American liberty and their own lives.             
This document bears the signatures of eighty-seven delegates; thirty-nine signed on November 9, and the other delegates signed as they reported to Congress.
Source, National Archives, Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention
In the Old Raleigh Tavern, a correspondence committee is at work.
Hand colored engraing after illustration by Howard Pyle, ca. 1896

"The sole governing authority presiding over the tumultuous events of the American Revolution between 1774 and 1789 was a body known as Congress. With no power to regulate commerce or lay taxes, and with little ability to enforce any of its decisions, this group, representing the thirteen colonies, declared independence, conducted a war that defeated one of the greatest military powers of its day, and invented a new political entity that became a sovereign independent nation. Its members pondered everything from the rightness of independence to the number of flints needed by the armies–sometimes with the enemy not far from their doorstep. Asserting their rights, they found themselves labeled as traitors.
The fifty-four men who composed the First Continental Congress represented different interests, religions, and regions; they held conflicting opinions as to how best to restore their rights. Most did not know each other; some did not like each other. With no history of successful cooperation, they struggled to overcome their differences and, without any way of knowing if the future held success or nooses for them all, they started down a long and perilous road toward independence." source
For whatever reason...three of my four family groups migrated to Virginia in the early to mid sixteen hundreds. Ellis, Hansford, Jeter.    
I think of how my ancestors started living in the colony of Virginia back in the early sixteen hundreds, and how they migrated to what is now Kentucky. In retrospect they did not travel that far, but on foot, horseback, or wagon, I bet it seemed like quite a distance. Back then Kentucky county in Virginia was the far west! There were no roads to speak of in the late seventeen hundreds. Buffalo trails were about it. 

One of my ancestors was a surveyor who walked miles and miles plotting out thousands of acres in Kentucky. He was paid in acreage too. Other ancestors were farmers, and such. Anyone who worked the land sure has my respect. Those early years were surely hard ones.

English heritage, and second sons
English colonists considered members of the First Families of Virginia emigrated to the new Colony of Virginia. Their migration took place from the settlement of Jamestown through the English Civil War and English Interregnum period (1642–1660). Some royalists left England on the accession to power of Oliver Cromwell and his Parliament. Because most of Virginia's leading families recognized Charles II as King following the execution of Charles I in 1649, Charles II reputedly called Virginia his "Old Dominion" – a nickname that endures today. The affinity of many early supposedly aristocratic Virginia settlers for the Crown led to the term "distressed Cavaliers", often applied to the Virginia oligarchy. Some Cavaliers who served under King Charles I fled to Virginia. FFVs often refer to Virginia as "Cavalier Country". These men were offered rewards of land, etc., by King Charles II, but most who had settled in Virginia stayed in Virginia.
Many of such early settlers in Virginia were so-called "Second Sons".  Primogeniture favored the first sons' inheriting lands and titles in England. Second or third sons went out to the colonies to make their fortune, or entered the military and the clergy. Tidewater Virginia evolved as a society descended from second or third sons of English gentry who inherited land grants or land in Virginia. They formed part of what became the southern elite in America. (source Wikipedia)
However, whenever, or wherever your story began in this, our country, please wave a flag, roast a hot dog, watch a parade, and/or light some fireworks to celebrate our hard fought independence! 

Many patriots were lost in order to have that independence. I often wondered what my life would have been like if I time traveled back to the mid to late seventeen hundreds. Hard is the word that comes to my mind. 

               Switching class topics a bit...

Federal Depository Libraries. 
Do you have one near you?
Find your nearest Federal Depository Library by clicking on your state if you want to visit one in person. Of course these days...online is easy too. http://catalog.gpo.gov/fdlpdir/FDLPdir.jsp

When I worked in our local college library a couple of years ago I was over the "government documents" collection. (We had a Federal Depository Library within the regular college library.) Can you imagine the vastness of documents? I could not until I took on the job. 

Here are a few links that might interest you, including Ben's Guide. It is a child's guide to basic U.S. government. I actually think some older kids, i.e. adults, could benefit from Ben's Guide as a refresher course too. ha!

Current government info is being digitized as it is written, but it will take time for past docs to be digitized and made available online. Great strides are being made in making gov info available to people...so please take advantage when you have the time to browse, or search a topic of your choosing. An educated population is a smart population! (Oh My, that sure sounded like the teacher in me coming out!)

So, while we celebrate our country's independence on the 4th of July let us also be mindful of the fact that we need to stay informed and educated about our government. 

To help you, here are some links for you to browse regarding the Federal Depository Library System and the information it makes available to you via the Federal digital System, and the Gov printing office.  

So, after you celebrate the 4th find a few minutes to check out your government's information stacks. Be an informed citizen! Your tax dollars at work. :-)

Here is a topic that has been in the news for a few years now. If you want to see the hundreds of pages of text and what the act actually says just click on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act below.

Congress, An Act, Entitled
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act PUBLIC LAW 111–148—MAR. 23, 2010 124 STAT. 119 Public Law 111–148 111th 
FDsys Banner

Government Printing Office Webpage

U.S. Gov Bookstore Items for purchase.

Flag related information  Prepare for lots of reading!

Congressional Reports Page You will be amazed.

Hire More Heros Act of 2015

Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government  for kids 6 to 106

banner for Ben's Guide

Branch Mania Game...test your knowledge of the branches of government.  www.fdsys.gov


Gov E-Books

Basic search video...how to. Learn how to search the gov publications database of info. Looking for patent info? Looking for info on recent laws? Congressional reports?  http://media.gpo.gov/fdsys/basicsearch.html

Happy 4th of July to you and yours! 

And my fun favorite...
I'm just a Bill, on Capitol Hill. 
How many of you remember the School House Rock cartoons on Saturday mornings? 

I will be back with fun pics the next time. Hopefully today's "lecture" class has not been too much for you. ha! I just felt motivated to prepare a history lesson...though I am only certified to teach French. ha!

I think everyone should know history. And that maybe we as parents, teachers, and students, are not placing enough emphasis on the learning, reading, and understanding of country's history. Kids soak up history like sponges when we take them to historical sites or share stories. 

Also...you might like to look at this post.
Setting a red white and blue table.

Thanks for visiting today!

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June 28, 2015

Lighting A Corner of the Dining Room

Today I am sharing a corner of my dining room. 
I am working on a lighting issue in there. 

Since we do not use the formal dining room a lot these days, it sits like a black hole. And moi, being one who preached to our kids...turn off the lights when you are not in the room... Well, I hate to leave lights on for no reason. I know that there are new fancy bulbs that run on a few pennies a day, but I have not explored those options yet. I will. I promise.

 Anyway...I added this small RL lamp to have some light in the room at night, without turning on the overhead lighting. The dining room is on the front of the house and we live on the back side of the house, so the front is "dark" at night. I think this little lamp will put a bit light in the room... for passersby. It only uses a 40 watt bulb...so I should be ok on the pennies issue. 

I added a couple of other blue items since I have them. My wool rug has a dark navy ground also. The dining room in the old Georgian had dark navy walls with white wainscoting and white trim. I still love dark blue! Cobalt. Indigo. Sapphire. Royal. Love. 

I am working on bringing more dark blue into the more formal front side of the house. It is a work in progress though. 

I use pine cones almost year round. I live around lots of trees...so I think it is fitting to decorate with my pine cones year round. I like their natural texture and the way they contrast with china and fine woods. 

My lowboy was a gift from hubby on our 14th wedding anniversary. 
Wow...have I had it that long? 
We celebrated our 43rd anniversary earlier in June! 

I still love the detailed carving...

My old Council Craftsman pieces are still in wonderful condition. If you can purchase quality the first time...you only have to buy once. . 

Here is a sneak peek at another project. 

I had these drapery panels remade for windows in our new house. 

Once I find the window hardware these panels will be hung.

I know they are in our stuff somewhere!

The rod, finials, brackets, etc. are too expensive to re-purchase. 

So...I will wait until I find them.

Thanks for visiting my little corner of the dining room today.

Linking with the following parties...
Rattlebridge Farm, Foodie Friday and Everything Else

June 26, 2015

Decorating Thru The Decades

I was recently asked about how my decorating style has changed over the years...so, after thinking about it, I thought I would share my thoughts with you too.

I will begin at the beginning, which goes way, way back. :-)

The first clue I had that I might be interested in decorating was when I was a little girl. I liked to have my dolls lined up on my bed and my Barbie doll clothes in order. I doubt that I did this every day...but I have a picture in my mind of the dolls sitting on top of my bed. I wanted my room to look pretty!

Moving on, as far as dorm living...it was pretty basic. But I kept my space neat and tidy. (A messy environment messes with my head.)  I think maybe I had matching bedspreads and a rug.

I spent my junior year of college living in France with a French family...so I had a huge French armoire for my clothes...and a basic bed. All bed linens were supplied. The room  had a table in the middle for studying or eating. Through out the year I was exposed to French style as it was in everyday homes and in displays at Le Louvre. I was developing an understanding and love  of European art. I found myself visiting many great works of art in Museums all over Western Europe. 

My senior year of college I had a dorm room to myself, so I had a few more personal items around. I recall my room having a bookcase that I "antiqued" during the summer. Do you remember the "antiquing" fad?

To this point I have no real design style!

After college I married and hubby & I had a two room apartment. Hubby had the apartment during his first year of law school, and I just moved in after we were married. There was a living room with a mini kitchen at the end. On the other side there was one bedroom with a tiny bathroom off the hall.

Seventies Tupperware...colors of the day.
And I had some Tupperware like these examples! 
We were given an avocado blender as a wedding gift.

This looks like our grad school apartment stove. Seriously!
The furniture was already there because hubby and his parents furnished the rooms. The sofa and chair were actually nice new seventies style gold fabric...with coordinating end tables and a coffee table. Not sure that the tables were wood...but they were sturdy and nice. I think it was the seventies Mediterranean style. Heavy and dark! We were doing well for grad students! We lived in a new apartment complex located about a block from the University of Louisville on Third Street. I eventually figured out that Mediterranean style is not "my" style though.

Our cute little apartment had avocado green wall to wall carpet...with
coordinating avocado green appliances and kitchen light fixture. Yep...it was the early seventies. There was a lot of avocado, harvest gold, orange, and brown in kitchens in those days.

We had wonderful wedding gifts, some of which we brought to the apartment.  My mother-in-law's cousin gave us a beautiful Paul Sawyer print. (traditional) We brought that for wall decor. Though thinking back...it may have been too nice for our apartment. ha! We were concerned about someone breaking in. It was nice to have a comfortable apartment and furnishings since we "lived" there when we were not in class. We basically went to class...then came home to study. I thought that our home environment was important to being happy and settled. I fixed vignettes here and there to make the place cute...with what we had. There was no extra money for decorating or the fun things happening in and around Louisville. ha!

For our first Christmas tree in the apartment...we bought a cheap one, plus one string of lights and one box of ornaments. We thought it was beautiful! ha.

After grad and law school we bought our first home. The house we found was a cute brick ranch with all hardwood floors. This is where my design and décor gene went into gear. We painted every room in the house! And we bought a new sofa. The sofa was our first piece of married furniture. Next we bought our first piece of really nice furniture, a cherry Ethan Allen butler's tray table. We still use it in fact. I love the memories. We needed a table and chairs...so my father and father-in-law helped us out. I chose a solid cherry dining table (American Drew), with matching cherry windsor chairs and buffet. My own style is emerging at this point, and it looks traditional.

My mid seventies Ethan Allen coffee table. Still in use today!
Our next house was also a brick ranch...and fairly basic. Our furniture purchases were an uber traditional lemon colored damask Duncan Phyfe sofa and two wing chairs. Oh yes...traditional here I come.

The next house was a two story rustic style. The only new furniture we bought was a sofa and two matching brown velvet swivel chairs for the family room. The sofa was long and low, very square and contemporary, with brownish velvet. Oh the seventies! We lived here for several years and brought two babies home from the hospital to this house. We had avocado appliances...again.

My brass chandy today. Brass is back!
My style took a major turn when we built our first home...in the mid eighties...a large Georgian in the country, on several acres. I guess our style became very Williamsburg with brass chandy's, brass door hardware, and brass faucets. I am clearly traditional in my decorating style now. We first had queen Anne style in the dining room, then changed to more of a Chippendale style. I am using that dining set still today. We added a wonderful wool rug as part of our décor investment.
Still using my rug and Chippendate today.
My Williamsburg Brass candlesticks from the eighties...today.
We bought EA cherry for our bedroom too... Four poster bed and yes "matching" dresser and highboy. Yes, matchy matchy. I know.  That's what people did...buy a bedroom set.  Our daughter also had a smaller four poster with matching dresser and chest of drawers. Son had lots of inherited pieces in his bedroom. A seventies style dresser and chest. Then bunk beds. Then a four poster. Traditional me!

The lighting is not the best in this pic...but it is a dark room half of the day.
Now that we have downsized (back to a ranch)....we had to sell many items that we would not be able to use in our smaller house. I hated to turn loose of things with sentimental meaning, but I had to.

My design style is still traditional...but a curated one that has room for some transitional touches in fabrics and accent pieces. I still have plenty of solid traditional items, but I am having fun looking for a bit of modern fabric to cover chairs. I am thinking of modern traditional...which I guess is called transitional these days.

Oh my gosh...I think I have been into traditional style from the beginning. It took me years of reading and researching to learn the history behind the the terms Federal, Chippendale, Duncan Phyfe, Queen Anne, and more. My flavor of traditional incorporates my love of English style as well as what is called Southern Traditional. Oh how I love to tour old homes and plantation houses of the south too.

I love this dining room! I think of it as Southern Traditional. 

I see Southern Traditional as a very livable style. It is one that incorporates old family pieces, rugs, gorgeous fabrics, and modern living. One can copy the style fairly easily I think...whether one has a large or small house. Think of: Quality trim work in the house. Nicely finished hardwood floors. Elegant Light fixtures. Sturdy door hardware. Elegant faucets. Lamps. Bed linens. Etc. I think it is better to have fewer things and better quality than to have several things of lesser quality. (Clothing can be the same way.) I always think of quality when I go in search of special items for my home. I like to buy it one time and be done. Quality will win out every time for investment pieces. I still  have my seventies Duncan Phyfe sofa...and its as good as new, except that it needs to be reupholstered. (Don't get me wrong I love places like TJMaxx, Marshalls, Home Goods, etc. for fun things.)

Lately, I have been flirting with more modern touches mixed into the classics. I am really liking some of what I am seeing. I don't really have any of those modern looking things in my house...but I have been looking at lots of pictures! I like classics that have been updated to look fresh for now. Traditional with a twist is what I call it. 

Look at these great Chippendale chairs...after they have been recovered in fresh new fabrics. Love these! (not my chairs. just a pic I have saved as examples of what mine might look like after new fabric.)
borrowed pic...showing updated fabrics on traditional style chairs.
I have developed a love of Kentucky antiques in recent years...which is a new thing for me. Before I was not the least bit interested in "old" furniture, silver, houses, etc. While I am not wanting to dress my house with lots of antiques...I love having old family pieces.

Here are a couple of light fixtures I selected after we moved in to our smaller ranch house. One, A little dressy. The other, a little casual with a distressed/ shabby finish. I mix all of it! 

My old pine chest still lives among my curated treasures. 

I am on the prowl for some updated fresh fabrics to cover some older chairs. The chairs are classic, traditional styles, but I am planning on bringing them into the twenty-first century with new fabrics. 

I will share fabrics in another post. Once I find them! Ha!

I am kind of a mixed up with my style...but traditional is at the base of it.

How about you? How has your design style changed over the years? 

Thanks for visiting.

June 23, 2015

This and That Tray

You all know that I am always changing up tabletops...I just can't help myself. I like to tinker. You have probably seen a couple of things before, but not in this particular mix. 
I started with a couple of stacking wood trays, and placed my hurricane/vase on it. Then I placed my gold washed piece of pottery on it. 
Creating a vignette is about layering and mixing what looks good to your eye. Next I added two faux greenery balls. 

I have to tell you...these greenery balls have been workhorses around my house. I place them on urns, or in baskets with faux fruit, etc. I have a third one...but it is in another arrangement at the moment.
I added a wicker ball for additional texture...and to go with the rustic wood trays and wicker chest. Repeating textures is something I like to do when creating my arrangements. 
It is really simple to create vignettes on trays...In fact my favorite way to begin a vignette is with a tray. The tray can set the mood for the arrangement...depending on if it is dark and textured like the one I have used here, or if it is a mirrored silver tray, or if it is a brightly colored plastic tray. Try it for fun! The style possibilities are endless. 
I am always working on ideas in the great room...maybe because it does not have a lot of light. The leather sofa along with the chenille leopard pillows are dark, and the rug is dark, and the wicker is dark.  You get the idea. 

So...for this arrangement it seemed like a good idea to include the gold and green touches to counterbalance all of the dark. The hurricane brings some shiny to the party, along with the brushed gold pot. Note that I also have some sand and crushed shells in the base of the hurricane...more texture. 

Look at the above pic and notice the triangle I made with the greenery balls and the wicker ball. I like to have triangles in arrangements for balance, as painters like to have triangles in their paintings, and as florists create triangles in floral arrangements. Try adding some "triangles" to your vignettes if you are not already doing it. 

Presto chango...a simple new look for the wicker chest. (please ignore my reflection though. ha!)

Thanks for visiting today.

Linking with...the following blogs.
Rattlebridge Farm, Foodie Friday and Everything Else

June 22, 2015

Just An Idea

I was washing a small cachepot / planter when I had an idea. 

I thought, I know what I can use this pretty black and white planter for
...other than a plant.

I should have thought of this before!
White cabinets. Black granite.

And here I have a black & white toile planter, with a nice crackle look.

Have you guessed what I am going to do?

Here is a peek!
And if I told you that I need a napkin holder
... you could probably guess.

Yes...And, here it is...a napkin holder.

I have some dinner size napkins, but I do not have a napkin holder. Ta Da!  Now I do. My small planter is the perfect fit for napkins. I could even put this "napkin holder" on the kitchen table.  

And...here are some more pics just because I could not put my camera down. I just had to keep snapping, trying for some artsy images. (Plus I played with fonts while editing. :-)) 

So, here is my little idea...my burst of inspiration. I needed a napkin holder and did not have to go out and buy one. And I think this is cuter than most napkin holders out there on the market. ha.

Thanks for visiting.

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