Sunday, May 31, 2015

Lighter Touches in the Sunroom

I was ready to put a lighter touch on the appearance of the sunroom for late spring and early summer. After all, Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, right?
Sunroom, late spring 2015
Until last year when I used the Indian summer look in the sunroom, I had never used an area rug in the space, but I love having one in there now. I bought the outdoor rug pictured above to use outdoors last year (what a novel idea!), but never did. The sunroom is close enough, I figured.

Once fall rolled around after the Indian summer sunroom, there was that whole rug compromise thing. The holidays came and went, and the look below is what I settled into and got comfortable with in winter. I think the sunlight in winter is the best and most natural-looking in the sunroom - it streams in from the south and west from a low-lying southerly direction. In other seasons, there's a crazy amount of light from all angles (the ceiling is all windows), so most photos appear either dark or eerily aglow.
Sunroom, late winter 2015
After the rains of April were over and May flowers began blooming, it just seemed that the rug and leopard print in the sunroom, along with the furry throw, were just too heavy. So I packed them up.
You may have noticed the Parsons chair was replaced with a Captain's chair. The adorable gardening pillow (above) came from Judy's Etsy shop, 20 North Ora. Notice the little ladybug at the base of the can?  I also purchased the little pillow in the photo below from Judy, trimmed in vintage laces and doilies. I love the tatted lace on the right corner, and the doily folds over as a pocket.
Other pillows in the sunroom add a bit more color, like the lumbar pillow on the glider loveseat below, which you may have seen in a previous post.
The colorful bird pillow on the chair below has shown up in a prior post too, but there's a blast of acid yellow in a pair of toss pillows also in the sunroom now, adding a bit of funky, razzle-dazzle to the mix.
Another blast of color I added - a battery-operated string of leaf lights from the Dollar Tree - are intertwined among my birch logs in the olive bucket. I like how they glow in the evening as the sun comes in the window just behind them, from the west. They make me smile, but don't seem to affect the mad bluebird suncatcher which hangs above them. :)
I'll eventually rotate some of my smalls in the sunroom, but lately I've been spending my time either at the antique mall, restyling our spaces, or in the garden, taking care of spring maintenance, so the textiles are enough to keep me happy. And I don't mind looking at what's in there still, even into early summer. ;)
Do you change little things (textiles and display smalls) to work with your existing decor when you want a different look, or do you change your existing decor underpinnings (walls, floors, furniture - color or material) to work with your vision? Are you going with color to lighten or brighten things up, or are you staying with neutrals?

As always, thanks for your visit!
Rita C. at Panoply

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Landscape Tips, Trick and Ideas

I just finished curating a board of Landscape Tips, Tricks and Ideas on Hometalk, with some great information and inspiring ideas for bettering your home's outdoor spaces. I invite you to explore it by simply clicking on the link above or on the collage image's caption (below). Once you're on the Hometalk link, you will see the board has each original source / creator of all the individual posts clipped there (I've included credit links at the bottom of this post also).
Although it's labeled as 22, I expect I'll be clipping more and more to the original board, as I follow many bloggers - on their sites, their Hometalk pages, and other social media. I used past posts in my best efforts to encompass a good variety of different things that relate to the landscape. I also tried to keep it simple, so that no detailed level of skill (or money) is required. However, there are a few with some more advanced DIY skills included for those up for the challenge!

Here's an image of the board I just curated on landscape tips:
Hometalk Landscape Tips, Tricks and Ideas Board
If you follow my blog (thank you!), you may also want to join my activity on Hometalk (click here, or the Hometalk button on my blog sidebar). Once you're at the linked page above, you can just click on the "FOLLOW" button below my photo, and you'll be following all of my activity on Hometalk, including ideas I've shared, along with those of others I'm following.  Or, you can choose to just follow the particular boards you're interested in, or start your own!

Hometalk is a very user-friendly way to not only clip ideas to boards, much like Pinterest, but to be able to engage with others through comments, messages, and even through posting questions, similar to Facebook. When you post an idea or question, the member community of both pros and amateurs jump right in, and help you find answers to your everyday home and garden dilemmas, and give you immediate feedback on projects you're sharing.  

Many thanks to those who are following me and supporting me, both here and on Hometalk.  We all help each other in blogland, and that makes for some great conversation and friendships, both virtual and real! Thanks, too, to the folks at Hometalk for inviting me to share others' talents!

Here's the list of the original Hometalk source post links that are featured on my board as of publishing date:

I've also added a few of my own Hometalk posts that ultimately link back to my blog here:

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Panoply Booth Overhauls May 2015

Always and forever wanting to change things up in our antique mall booth spaces, sister M and I go in each week, tweaking displays. Normally, we have a focus on a specific area and/or theme. Sometimes, however, things feel stale (to us), and slow sales in a particular space can be the impetus for a big change. Such was the case with what we call our main booth space.

Fasten your seat belts, as we go on the roller coaster ride of the most recent Panoply booth overhauls, completed May 19th, 2015. Pictured below is the area that was the impetus for our big change, the area we call our main booth space, now with its new look. Formerly formal in appearance, it is now our [mostly] farmhouse section.
Panoply Main Booth - May 2015
Panoply Main Booth, (Back) - May 2015
Keep in mind, most items you see in this post were already situated in the store, just needing a complete reboot. Some very large furniture previously in the main booth area, not to mention the entire pegboard wall, was totally displaced and rearranged to two areas: here (below).....
Panoply 'Ponytail' Space - May 2015
....and here (below).
Panoply Formal Space - May 2015
The two spaces above are split by an aisle and 'Employees Only' storage area. This is the view as you enter the store and approach those spaces from the left aisle of the store (below) - cohesive when viewed together, yet distinct when viewed separately:
Panoply Overview, 'Ponytail' & Formal Spaces - May 2015
We then continued our focus on the remainder of what we refer to as our central space. The shelf unit made of shutters and boards was placed as the divider just beyond the formal space seen in the photo above.
Panoply Shelf Divider - May 2015
Here's the new look at the space remaining beyond the shelf unit divider, which extends our central space to the right main aisle of the store.
From the stairs leading to second floor, the photo below shows the overview of Panoply's central space in its latest reincarnation.
Okay, so here are the gratuitous before and after shots of all the areas we overhauled:
Panoply Before & After, Main Booth - May 2015
Panoply Before & After, Newest 'Ponytail' Space - May 2015
Panoply Before & After, Central Space (L) - May 2015
Panoply Before & After, Central Space (R) - May 2015
This entire overhaul took about 6 hours. The first 2 hours were spent at home, with my mapping out (in bullet-point, written notes), "if we move this piece from here to here, then that piece can go there, etc. etc.", until all the big pieces were in logical displays in my mind. The physical move took 4 hours. It normally takes us 6-7 hours for a big move not quite as large as this one, wherein we typically leave one space untouched. So, the time spent mapping made the actual moves more efficient, and certainly lessened the overall fatigue and frustration of a normal move day, trying out various scenarios.
New items brought into the farmhouse with this move include most of the ironstone pictured above, all centrally located in the black stepback cabinet for a more contrasting and highly visible display.

Next on our agenda is adding a few more mantiques as ideas for Father's Day gifts, as well as more summer-themed items. It's no wonder why I spend less time making changes in my own home's vignettes with various seasonal themes, right?? I'm too busy trying to make things attractive for sale in our antique mall booth spaces!

What projects are you busy with lately? 

As always, thanks for your visit!
Rita C. at Panoply
(A special thanks to Kathryn at the Dedicated House's "Make it Pretty Sunday Showcase" and Tammy at One More Time Events for featuring this post, and to the readers who made that happen!)
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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Religious Relics Collection

Religious relics are not really something I set out to collect, they just happened to be an influence in my growing up. Many times the way a collection gets started is seeing something one remembers from their past and wanting that tangible something again. Such was the case of the St. Rita medal, shown below.
My given name is Rita, after St. Rita of Cascia (Italy). She is the patron saint of impossible causes (celebrated, incidentally, on May 22). I had the above medal as an adolescent and wore it many years. It got lost somewhere in my adulthood, and finding a medal exactly like the one I had was very special for me. The missal (a book containing Catholic texts), I received for my First Communion, also got lost through the years, but I found another one just like it at an estate sale. I wanted that memory again, and so I bought it (see below).
I have previously shared my mother's car keys that she carried on the day of her (ultimately) fatal car accident. I keep those, and will never forget that day.
When we cleaned out my mother's personal effects after her death, I also retrieved a prayer book of hers, "Moments with God", along with a cross that belonged to my father, I cherish these items as symbols of their strong faith, a foundation they provided me as I was growing up.
Whenever I'm at an estate sale or auction, especially, and I see religious relics, I have the urge to scoop them up, a sort of rescue type thing. That's how I've come upon most of what's now become my growing collection, along with the more memorable items noted. The Infant of Prague statue (below) was an auction rescue, as was the rosary. I have many rosaries, all beautiful in their own right, of various type beads, medals and crosses.
The Blessed Virgin Mary statues and Madonna catch-all box were estate finds, as were the triptychs (three-part, hinged display of images).

Then, occasionally, some things online will draw me to the point of purchase. Such were these items pictured below  - the unique, Stanhope Rosary (a tiny viewer image within the rosary, dating from 1880) and the pocket-size St. Anthony. Each of these came from bloggers with online shops who live in and sourced the items in France.

From the same blogger I purchased the St. Anthony (the name of the parish I grew up in), I also purchased a St. Rita benitier (holy water font). The Lamb and Child benitier pictured with the missal (second photo in this post, above) was found in an antiques store in Ohio.
Collecting holy cards was something we used to do as kids. Sadly, I don't have mine from childhood / adolescence. Even sadder is the fact that the recent holy cards I now have, I have collected at funeral wakes as tokens of the memory of those who have died.

At another estate sale, I came across this item pictured below. It is a pocket-sized (only about 1" tall) statue of Mary, holding Jesus, and tucks away into the metal, screw cap container. I learned it was typical of soldiers during WWII to carry these. My father served in WWII but I don't know if he had one. I had never seen one before this discovery, about 6 or 7 years ago.
I am not one to engage in or debate religious views, but these items are sentimental to me for reasons mentioned and more. I keep them close to me for my personal viewing and contemplation. I thought this month - the month of honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary (also the month when many children receive their First Communion), along with this particular week - the feast of my namesake St. Rita, was an appropriate time to share them.

 As always, thanks for your visit!
Rita C. at Panoply

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Spring 2015 - Working Hard

There's a lot of labor in getting and keeping a garden in good order, but it's sure worth completing the chores in order to see the beauty unfold and surround you after the work is done. Besides my list, Mr. P. does a fantastic job of taking care of our lawn with his methodical weeding, trimming, mowing and blowing debris. And let's not forget that nature itself is continuously working hard to show her best.
Fruits of Garden Labor - Mid-May
Sometimes the work is more than just the life cycle maintenance of the plants and lawn. Replacing two of my three weather-worn and broken gliders was on my agenda this year in April. One of the two new gliders was damaged in shipping, but that really was a good thing. The staggered, replacement shipment created a moderation of workload assemblage with a few days of waiting between the two. I tend to go at things with hurricane force, all at once, instead of pacing myself.
New Garden Glider Assemblage
Before & After: Garden Glider Replacements
Likin' the lichen: closeup of lichen growing on one of three weathered benches
Mandevilla plants purchased at a bargain in April, stored in the sunroom until nighttime temps warmed consistently, were planted the first weekend of May. They should cover the trellis by mid-summer.
Replacing Annual Tropicals (Mandevilla)
One hummingbird feeder was placed in the yard mid-April. Once the first visitor was spotted on April 26th, two more feeders were readied and placed in the yard. For important information I shared last year on the unsuspecting hummingbird's predator, along with the standard, no-fail nectar recipe, please read my post here (you could save a hummingbird's life!).

Early Spring is an especially good time to stop and admire the various structures in the garden, both living and inanimate. Caution: giving pause for very long will inevitably lead to more chores added. ;)
Structure Love in the Garden, Living and Inanimate
Anxiously waiting the arrival of my two-year effort to get poppies to grow in my garden, they bloomed on Mother's Day weekend! My first year of planting seeds was unsuccessful, but last year's planting of cuttings dug from my sister's garden proved to be this year's success.
Another welcome surprise on Mother's Day weekend were the beautiful blooms of my iris patch, a generations-old addition from a friend's garden a few years ago.
More cleanup in the garden the week following Mother's Day involved a two-part goal. First, I needed to thin out my Nandina sprouts and relocate some nearby Rozanne geraniums to just a few feet away, surrounding my clematis vine growing on a tripod structure. I also thinned out several Black-eyed Susan plants and a couple hostas from the side and back sections of the garden. The second goal involved taking all the thinned out plants to another sister's house, where she cleaned out an entire bed and replanted with the plants I gave her. Hard work? Yes, but so worth the savings and joy in seeing it completed!
Areas of transplants and thinned out Nandina, Rozanne Geraniums, Black-Eyed Susans and Hostas
Also in the week following Mother's Day was the peak blooming period for my azaleas this year. The Kousa dogwood trees were in sync, opening up right as the azaleas were at their peak. The photo below is the section, believe it or not, where I spent most of my time thinning out the Nandina (left of frame). The clematis tripod is entirely camouflaged in this photo (right behind the 2nd azalea from left), but will take the spotlight when it blooms in the next couple of weeks.
Every walk in the garden seems to show a few new surprises. I love catching the first bloom of any of my perennial plants each season. Climbing roses budding/blooming in the courtyard and lavender buds turning more colorful were the bonus rewards after mid-May's garden chores. My first lavender bouquets should be ready to cut for drying by the first of June.
First rosebud 2015, courtyard climbing roses
First rosebud in full bloom 2015, courtyard climbing roses
First flush of knockout roses and spirea blossoms are mixed among salvia, irises and growing bee balm.
Spirea blossoms, salvia, bee balm, irises and knockout roses, mid-May 2015
In the back section of the garden, the delicate blooms of the love-in-a-mist plant began their flowering, and a first bloom of yellow primrose (aka buttercups) emerged!
First love-in-a-mist bloom 2015
The buttercups are usually a sea of bright yellow in the corner of the garden right around my birthday in early June. I just wish they'd last longer, they're so pretty in their masses.
First buttercup bloom 2015
Meanwhile, the perennial hibiscus in the farthest back, western corner of the landscape seemed to be calling, "We're next! We're next!" for all the staking work that will necessarily begin in the week or so to come.
Hibiscus shoots, mid-May 2015
Soon, the photo above, showing emerging hibiscus, will demand my attention with continuous staking of the many stalks. The reward will be saucer-sized blooms like those in the photo below.
Hibiscus, full-grown, from a prior year
I haven't even begun to plant my containers yet. From the way I see it, the continuous watering of containers doesn't end until late September, and there is enough going on in the garden chores right now that there's plenty of time for containers to wait their turn.

Speaking of containers, here's the latest on my lemon plant experiment since my last update - slow and steady, they're still pushing new growth.
Lemon plant Experiment, mid-May 2015
Don't ever let anyone fool you into thinking a garden is anything other than hard work. But, oh, the rewards!

Are you getting spring-time garden chores checked off your list yet? Do you pace your work or go at it all at once? Do you stop to enjoy the process, take photos and make garden notes?

As always, thanks for your visit!
Rita C. at Panoply
(A special thanks to Kathryn at The Dedicated House, "Make It Pretty Monday", for featuring this post!)
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