Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Two Years Later: Before and After

Most of my readers who've been with me over the years know that in 2019 we made a major downsize, going from a large home and garden to living in a loft. I have no regrets, and am very happy with a downsized lifestyle. 

A couple weeks ago while walking in our old neighborhood, we ran into the wife of the couple who bought our former home. She invited us in to see what changes they've made to both the home and garden.  I thought you might like to see a few of the major changes they've made.

The Courtyard: Before and After

What the new owners did with the courtyard is tear out all the old brick pavers, plus lower the enclosing brick wall to open it to the adjoining landscaped yard. They put in a new bluestone patio, and added a pergola from the sunroom and family room French doors. They also took out the hot tub we had (not seen in the above photos).

Here's a photo of the wall and landscape as it looked before the brick wall was lowered, early May. The spirea had yet to bloom, and the bee balm was coming up along the wall, just to the right of the roses and iris. Black-eyed Susans surrounded my garden statue and were mid-summer blooms. All of those are now gone. I was happy to see the irises still remain, as do two of the three climbing roses.
Here's a couple photos of the courtyard while we were living there (below, in Fall). The brick wall not only provided some afternoon shade, but it also gave a lot of privacy.
The photo below shows the hot tub still in place.

These next photos are what really blew my mind. When we renovated the landscape back in 2004 we also had architectural plans drawn to renovate the unfinished basement, but that never happened. When we sold the house, we gave the architectural renderings to the new owners.

Basement: Before and After:
You could've used our basement as a skating rink, but instead I filled it up with storage for my Panoply antiquing and household goods. My picture below is after I emptied it, just before our move in 2019.
Here's what the new owners did with the space. First, they had the stairs finished in wood to match the first floor and stairs leading to the second level.
The photo collage below represents the basement space to the right of the stairs once you're on the lower level. It compares to the upper half of the unfinished collage photo above. They made a bedroom, and a full bath to the rear about where that window is in the unfinished space photo.
Next, coming down the stairs and turning left, this space is now finished as a family room. The fireplace was there before as you can see. They haven't decided on whether they'll install gas logs or not.


In gardening, before we moved, I dug up several of my plants to share with others. My daughter had moved into a home the year before, so her garden beds were ones that I helped add to. Here's one of her flower beds pictured just a couple weeks ago, when her transplanted irises were blooming. She also has love-in-a mist (nigella) growing and yet to bloom beside the irises. Transplanted lavender is doing well in pots in the front of her house (not pictured).

Wow! is what I say, what say you? We had a lot of projects on our list when we moved that needed checked off had we stayed. The new owners were in a great position to get those and their own started. One thing I always wanted was to take out all the carpet upstairs and have wood floors to match the downstairs installed. They did that, and they're beautiful. I also wanted to ditch the hot tub (and install a she shed). They disposed of the hot tub, but I'm not sure if they plan to replace it with anything.

They say you can never go back, but it really wasn't hard for us. The first thing Mr. P. said when we walked away was, "I don't miss it at all". I don't either. It's nice to see it's being loved.

Have you ever moved and gone back to be able to see what the new owners have done to the property? 

Rita C. at Panoply

Friday, March 26, 2021

Fun with Food and Flowers

I do not know where I saw it (probably Facebook, as I'm not on Instagram, and I rarely scroll Pinterest), but a recent recipe caught my attention that inspired some fun with food and flowers: egg salad filled 'carrots'. 

The recipe called for using sheet form crescent rolls, but I couldn't find them in my grocery. I tried improvising with a regular can of crescent rolls. They ended up a sticky blob of a mess in handling so I trashed them. Plan B? I went for a refrigerator pie crust, and that worked.

What you'll need:
  • Crescent roll sheet form or pie crust
  • Cream horn molds
  • Natural, plant-based food coloring (orange, or a mix of yellow and red to make orange).
  • Brush (I used silicone)

After rolling out the pie crust, I used a pizza cutter and gauged six slices (I did not measure or roll out the dough to make it rectangular before cutting, just winged it🤣). After each slice is cut, roll it into about an 18" string, about 1/2" wide. Start at the pointed base of the cream horn mold and roll the dough around the mold. "Paint" the food coloring on the crust and place seam down onto a foil-covered cookie sheet. I baked mine at 425° for about 8 minutes (the pie crust recipe calls for 450°, 10-12 minutes. Again, I winged it.) Let cool about 5 minutes, and remove the 'carrots' from the molds, and finish cooling completely.

I mixed my egg salad (hard-boiled eggs, sweet relish, celery, mayo and onion powder to taste), and stuffed the carrots. I garnished with parsley. I think Peter Rabbit would approve! Ham salad or even chicken salad would also be good fillers.

Mr. P. picked out a bouquet of flowers for me at the grocery 'just because', so I set a place for fun with the food and flowers. The little cakes in the foreground are lemon bites I buy at Walmart in their bakery (Sam's Club sells a larger packaging size). If you like lemon like I do, they are so good!
Then I played just a little with dishes. I still have my table set from St. Patrick's Day, so those are my backdrop. I just switched up the napkin and salad plate, and now it looks like Easter.
These 'carrots' would be perfect for any springtime fete - Easter, a garden tea, or even a baby shower. I hosted a baby shower for a niece several years ago (see my post here) in which we made foods inspired by children's books. It was a lot of fun, and the idea of gifting books in lieu of cards was a relatively new concept back then. Fun with food and flowers!

Thanks for your visit. Let me know if you try these. I'll keep my eyes open for the crescent sheet form to do these again, but the pie crust version was good enough to repeat, too.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Early Spring, Easter '21 Tablescape

The official start of spring is just days away, Daylight Savings Time has begun, and I can see and feel new life energy around me each day. Welcome to Panoply, where I am celebrating my favorite season at the table! Several other bloggers are joining me today, and you'll find links for their tables near the end of this post.
I love spring! Bright green leaves contrasting against dark mulch or tree bark is so appealing, especially with a blue sky backdrop. These are the signs of spring life I wait for after the winter months. My favorite color combination in early spring florals is purple, green and yellow gold. I always loved my pansies planted in that color combo, and to see them among my sunny daffodils and purple hyacinths was pure joy.  
My table inspiration has come from my favorite spring color combo, and actually began with a quilt topper I purchased from my blogger friend, Carole, last year. Carole is a master quilt maker, was purging some of her inventory, and I quickly took advantage of her sale. The topper set the tone for spring, and also works for Mardi Gras, which inspired Carole in a previous tablescape she created. 
My plate stack is resting on a bird's nest charger: a yellow square dinner, lime green round, and cabbage leaf salad bowl. A purple napkin is vertically placed between the two plates. A gold starburst napkin ring is resting at the top center of the charger. Its tines mimic the look of a dandelion ready to go to seed, and can be used as a place card holder here.
My centerpiece rabbit compote was a vintage find a few years ago. It's filled with glass eggs which I made in a Blenko Factory Eggstra Special workshop. Forsythia is appropriately used as filler, as it's blooming in my region now.
My salad set and tureen were vintage estate finds, handmade ceramics from the early 1970s. The wooden utensils are West Virginia crafted by Allegheny Treenware. I have a nice collection of these very functional utensils made by Stan and Sue Jennings. Each tool is label burned on the handle underside, marking the wood type used (most are cherry), maker initials, and the year handcrafted.
The base tablecloth is one I love using frequently. It is so versatile throughout the seasons - a texturized neutral that's not too white or too tan. If you saw my last tablescape, you're probably thinking I just kept the cloth and flatware for this one. Fun fact: this table was actually set in 2020! I was decorating for spring at the time, playing with dishes, and couldn't decide among three different tables I created to use for a spring or Easter tablescape. For 2021, since Easter is April 4, just two weeks after the start of Spring, this table combines both - Early Spring and Easter! I'm sharing my complete source list, some with links, but none are sponsored. My blog is personal, not monetized.

Early Spring, Easter '21 Tablescape Source List
(for informational purposes, no sponsorship)
Tablecloth - April Cornell
Quilted Square - Carole, From My Carolina Home
Chargers Napkins, Crackled Glassware, Salad Plates - Pier 1
Napkin Rings (as place card accents) - HomeGoods
Dinner Plates - Fiesta 
Flatware - Target
Wooden Salad Utensils - Allegheny Treenware
Cabbage Salad Set, Tureen and Centerpiece Rabbit Compote - Vintage Finds
Glass Easter Eggs - Blenko
I want to thank Chloe, from the blog Celebrate and Decorate, for being such a constant over the past several years in organizing these tablescapes with the various stylists. I've made some really good friends through this activity of tablescaping, and hope you enjoy the topic, too. Below are the list of bloggers participating in this Easter tablescaping event. I encourage you to visit each link:

My love of vintage is how this blog of mine started, and continues since 2013. Two of my sisters and I pegged the name Panoply, a collective antique shop within our local antique mall since 2008. Over the years, dishes became one of my collections / obsessions while on the hunt. Naturally, tablescaping became a hobby, and I love incorporating vintage finds into the mix. If you like vintage shopping - whether it's thrifting curbside, shopping estate sales or attending auctions - I invite you to visit my blog again. I share our booth spaces, vintage finds, home styling, travel with my tote tribe, and sometimes the miscellaneous musing. 

I'd love for you to leave a comment and join in a friendly exchange with me. Thanks for your visit today!

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

An Unpretentious St. Patrick's Day Tablescape

Welcome to Panoply! Today I'm sharing my St. Patrick's Day tablescape with you, labeling it as unpretentious. 
  1. not attempting to impress others with an appearance of greater importance, talent, or culture than is actually possessed.
My intention for this tablescape was a straightforward approach - simple and classic greens for celebrating the feast of St. Patrick and the changing of seasons. It's unpretentious in that I mix high and low end items, and almost always something vintage, whether it's my tables or anything else in my home. My complete source list for my table is provided near the end of this post (for informational purposes only, no sponsorship).
My sister was given this set of china I'm using today, and she asked me if I wanted it. Um, hellooo. Yes, I will set a table with it, at least, I told her. 
In researching, I found the china was manufactured by Taylor, Smith & Taylor between 1955-1960. It is called Classic Heritage Green. Kismet, I thought, as we are Irish by my father's heritage. And, fun fact: Taylor, Smith & Taylor Co. was in operation from 1900 until 1981 in Chester, West Virginia (my home state). They were the creators of the Lu-Ray Pastels of the 1930s. While I only used dinner and salad plates in this tablescape, there was table service for eight, including cups & saucers, berry bowls, as well as several serving pieces.
A simple bouquet from the grocery store in greens and creams became my centerpiece, with boxwood orbs flanking the arrangement. Once the table was set, Mr. P. walked by and made a comment about how nice it was. Needless to say, I think I have yet another set of china among my dish collections. 
The napkin rings I'm using are beaded blossoms, intended to be shaped as a fully open bloom. I rather liked them as a closed bud, giving the impression of a tulip in early spring.
Look at the magnitude of the beads of the bloom's center! They're quite heavy.
I played with candles on this table, but decided adding a string of little lights was better suited to the look I was going for in the simply classic approach.
A little surprise came about five days into having the bouquet. I knew there was a lily among the bunch, but what I didn't know was that it was a yellow bloom! Yellow is such a happy color. Beyond St. Patrick's Day, this table segues nicely into early Spring in our condo.

An Unpretentious St. Patrick's Day Tablescape Source List
Tablecloth, napkins - April Cornell
Placemats, Napkin Rings - MacKenzie-Childs
Chargers - Pier 1
Dinner, Salad Plates - Taylor, Smith, & Taylor Co.'s Classic Heritage (Green) - Vintage
Flatware - Target
Stemware - Dollar Tree
Vase - Blenko
I would like to take a moment to thank Debbee from the blog Debbee's Buzz. She organized all the bloggers whose links you will find below for even more St. Patrick's tablescaping inspiration. Be sure to visit each one. Each stylist has her own distinct take on the celebration.

Debbees Buzz  Vintage Dishes & Lucky Clover Fold Napkins 

Home is Where the Boat Is ☘ Loads of Shamrocks St. Patrick's Day Table

Panoply ☘ An Unpretentious St. Patrick's Day

My Hubbard Home  Putting on the Green & Yellow

Life and Linda ☘ Keeper of the Traveling Shamrock Cloth

Corner of Plaid and Paisley ☘ Reprise of Ewe & McGreggor St. Patrick's Day Table

Me and My Captain  Not Lucky, Just Very Blessed

Red Cottage Chronicles ☘ Channeling My Inner Irish

Celebrate and Decorate ☘ St. Patrick's Day Luncheon Tablescape

Calypso in the Country  St. Patrick's Day Table Decor

Design Morsels ☘ St. Patrick's Day Table

The Painted Apron ☘ Celebrating the Green Table

Hyacinths for the Soul ☘ Lucky in Life ~ Celebrating Green Table

Zucchini Sisters ☘ Green & Orange St. Patrick's Day Table

Thank you so much for your visit. I'd love you to leave a comment to let me know you stopped by. If you were here in real life, I'd offer you a piece of my Irish apple cake I made with this easy recipe!
Whether you're Irish by heritage or by choice, have a safe and fun celebration!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Tales of the Traveling Tote #26: Antiquing, and Giveaway

Welcome to the Tales of the Traveling Tote #26, and Happy March! Our tales began in 2015 (go here to get the story behind it all), and here we are in 2021, still journaling our tales each quarter. You can go here for my personal travel history with my totes, Miss Luna C and Miss Charley C.

Probably the most significant trips I've made in this past quarter are two outings for the COVID vaccine. That's both me and Mr. P. pictured below (and Miss Charley C), getting our second shots in the latter part of February, almost one year since the pandemic began. BREAK OUT! We are now counting the days until we can feel a little more relaxed to eat out, shop in person, and actually travel! Let's just hope these vaccines will be effective against variants.
Most of my readers know one of my favorite pre-COVID activities was antiquing and vintage shopping. My two Panoply sisters and I have rented spaces in the South Charleston Antique Mall since July, 2008 in WV. The 3-story (+mezzanine), 18,000 square foot building (pictured below) was formerly a retail department clothing store in its heyday. Now its purpose is an antique emporium!
Since my travels during the past year have involved little more than my [mostly] weekly trips to the antique mall to restock and fluff our booth spaces, I thought it might be fun to have Miss Luna C take you along for a mini tour of our antique mall. I'll share several of our dealers' spaces, and give you a look at our current spaces as they're styled for early spring. Miss Luna C was excited for this excursion, and I hope you are too!

Our starting point on first floor is the corner of one of our spaces. We'll circle back at the end of our trip to see more of our spaces.
Still on first floor, we go to the far back and find one of our favorite dealer friend's booths. She buys a lot of big furniture, as you will see in another photo. Miss Luna C sits on an English washstand in the corner.
More of the same dealer's goods, let's see what's cooking (besides Miss Luna C in the large apple butter kettle!). Crates, curios, brass beds, large stained glass windows......
Pictured below is some of the really big furniture this dealer hauls in. Look at that massive secretary and corner cabinet. My sisters and I don't sell large furniture like this, and we never did. We now limit furniture items to what may fit in an SUV.

Moving up the stairs to the mezzanine level, this cigar store Native American is on the lookout for good deals. 
Ahh, yes, just up a few more stairs to second floor, we see a dealer who sells all things Fiesta, which is manufactured in West Virginia. 
This was late February, so he had already made green the starring color, but just around the corner of this aisle display, there was still a bit of red and white for Valentine's Day. He switches his color scheme displays monthly, and stocks more colors on the racks behind these. 
Miss Luna C wants some rock and roll. This dealer stocks an excellent variety of vintage vinyl LPs.
This dealer nearby has a vintage library with a couple chairs for customers to peruse the inventory.
A West Virginia antique mall without vintage glassware would be like a candy store without candy. Blenko, Viking, Kanawha, Rainbow, Fenton - they're all in our antique mall. Check out these fun facts on this iconic WV artistry on the state's Tourism website. We have several dealers who sell vintage glass.

On the third floor of our antique mall, we have a dealer who caters to us dish lovers! Check out that Windsor Ware harvest fruit in the cabinet! There was a beautiful china set on the table too which I hurriedly walked past without taking a photo. It had a pink rim and roses.

This booth has a nice set of chairs hanging on the wall. That's a trick we often use (and are currently doing in one of our spaces!). Those barrister bookcases like the one on the floor below the chairs are consistently hot commodities at auction, estate sales and even antique malls. It won't last long here.
Coming back downstairs to first floor, we'll make one more stop, right next to my sisters' and my booth. This dealer specializes in postcards. Miss Luna C is propped up on the section of travel postcards.
I promised a few photos of our booths as they are currently styled, so the rest of the photos you will see are of mine and my sisters' rented spaces. This first space is what we refer to as our main booth. It's directly beside the dealer with the postcards.
Not pictured in the photo above, but barely visible on the right are one, double-sided rack of our vintage linens.
Directly behind the right side louvered dividers of our main booth is our mall's service elevator, and the aisle turns right. If you think of the floor layout as shaped like a U, we would be situated at the base of that U. You'll perhaps have a better idea of that as I show the additional spaces. We have a space directly beside the elevator. We refer to this section as our "mantiques". The guys (and gals, too) gravitate toward it.
Directly across the aisle from mantiques is yet another space. This space is sort of a mixture of vintage  country/farmhouse/primitive items, seen below. Through the shelf and louvered shutter divider at center, you can see the staircase that leads to the mall's upper floors.
See the backside of the lamps on the right? Here's the front of that table (picture below), which is on that aisle that turned right from the service elevator I mentioned earlier. 
Lastly, we end up where we started this mini antiquing adventure, at our space on the corner of another aisle, at the foot of the staircase. From here, you can look back all the way to our mantiques section. It's one continuum, with a left turn at mantiques taking you to our main booth. 
Behind the repurposed chifferobe pictured on the corner above, we have the space behind it also. The wall is pictured below. There's that chair I mentioned we hung on the wall. We work around space restrictions such as the HVAC system ductwork, and optimize what space we have.
I know that was a whirlwind tour, particularly of Panoply's own spaces, but I want you to now read about our giveaway and take some time to visit my tote tribe sisters! I'll try to show our antique booth spaces in more product detail in a future post. We have a lot of fun inventory, both vintage and antique.

(Update March 8, 2021: Barb at the Sewing Knit Loft was randomly chosen as our winner by Jackie Williamson. Thank you to all who left comment entries!)

The Traveling Totes Tribe is offering another giveaway and Jackie at Purple Chocolat Home is our giveaway sponsor this time. One lucky reader who leaves a comment on Jackie's post today will have their name thrown into the hat for an opportunity to win this MacKenzie-Childs Tulip Tea Kettle Dish Towel. This is a perfect accessory for welcoming spring in your kitchen! 

Be sure to check out my other traveling sisters' posts to see what they've been up to during these past few winter months.
Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths
Emily with Miss Courtney Childs@ The French Hutch
Patti with Miss Kenzie and Miss Taylor @ Pandora's Box
Jenna with Miss Coquille @ The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Rita with Miss Luna C @ Panoply (you are here!)
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Jackie with Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolat Home
Ricki Jill and Countess de Monet @The Sketchy Reader

Join us again on June 1, 2021 for another edition of the Tales of the Traveling Tote. I'm dreaming of a real vacation!
Thanks so much for your visit. I love reading your comments, and be sure to leave one on Jackie's blog for a chance at our token gift. Stay safe, and Happy March!