Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Truly Living With What You Love

Even though we live with a bounty of Antiques and vintage items, it was important to me that our Home didn't become like a Museum. I believe in truly LIVING with what you love, so we use the majority of the items often. Now, that means that at times there has been the occasional mishap, but it's a rarity, most older pieces were built or made during a time when things were made to last and not wear out quickly or be disposable. Some of it seems virtually indestructable and long wearing and easy to care for in spite of the appearance of fragility or rumor of needing special upkeep and handling.

My vast collection of vintage linens is a prime example of pieces from the 1930-1950's era that are still vibrant even after all these years, are used often, wash up like a charm and have a multitude of uses in our Home. No two are the same and so swapping them out often gives a fresh look to a room that is inexpensive, practical and fun. I've found that if I want to avoid spills and difficult stains from marring the better and more collectible pieces, all I need do is purchase thick clear shower curtains and cut them to the shape of the linen and put it over the top as a protective covering. Then I've got the "cutter" pieces, that the ravages of time might have faded, damaged or permanently soiled slightly... which are perfect for outdoor use in alfresco dining areas and also for picnics and parties. A "cutter" can also be ideal for those special hand-made projects where a vintage linen can be transformed into a repurposed piece or craft item. I've got "Green Bags" made of vintage floral Tablecloths, I've covered storage boxes and matchbook covers with them, made Lavender Sachets out of them, put them under glass on top of an old interesting piece of furniture that the top of had seen better days and needed covering up and jazzing up. Old Doilies can be transformed into a multitude of useful items including OOAK wearable Art.
We've utilized old wooden soda crates as the Snack Box for the children for years, the small dividers are perfect for organizing and storing snacks in a handy and interesting way. In our Home the Snack Box has become almost legendary to all the children in the neighborhood, including the "big kids" *wink* and they look forward to visiting it when they come by.
This ole' House had been subdivided over the years and made into three separate apartments, so when we purchased it we returned the Main House to a single family dwelling. That left us with the decision on whether to keep more than one kitchen during the restoration and remodeling projects. The back kitchen was the huge old Farmhouse style, when kitchens in the Home were THE place to gather so they tended to be one of the largest rooms in the house and rather than built in cabinets they had free standing furniture for storage. That was most definitely a "keeper"... but one of the front kitchens, well, it just seemed perfect for Bistro dining and entertaining so we decided to keep it as a secondary kitchen used for those smaller meals, hosting and displaying some of my kitchen collectibles on open shelving. So, off went the cupboard doors... very liberating it is to have everything so accessible and visible, able to showcase those utilitarian collectibles that we use more often and don't want hidden away or difficult to get at. At first I thought it might make me too accountable to keeping orderly cupboard shelves *smiles*, remember, I'm no Suzy Homemaker and my domestic talents are rather underdeveloped *wink*... so it was a good thing I had good earning potential and other strengths to make up for my lack of housekeeping finesse! *LOL* However, I haven't found that to be the case at all, open shelving has worked out beautifully and been no extra work, I enjoy keeping something that looks so pretty in an orderly state and the convenience is a definite bonus.
We utilize the Teacup collection so often that the majority of them I've got dangling from cup hooks in various locations that are easily accessible too. Getting to pick out a unique mismatched cup, mug, plate and vintage Silverware is a delight to most Guests and especially to the Grandchildren. I'll let you in on a little old 'secret' for keeping Silver and Silverplate shiny and tarnish free that my Nanna always did... let the children play with it in fine sand... that's how the old folk used to clean it back in the day when they had no money for fancy polishes. Another natural remedy for those yellowing stains on your old linens, lemon juice and sunshine... we have plenty of all here in the Sunny Southwest... fine Desert sand, Citrus, Sunshine, and plenty of wee ones eager to help, so my Silverware is always gleaming. If anyone want to share some of their beloved handed down remedies and housecleaning tips passed down from the good ole' days... share away... and remember, to TRULY LIVE WITH what you love, it makes it all the more enjoyable to have when it has Purpose as well as beauty and collectible value... Loving and Living... Dawn... The Bohemian

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