lifestyle

The Beginnings of a Collection: Blue and White Ceramics

The Beginnings of a Collection: Blue and White Ceramics, the artyologist

My Grandma recently downsized to a new apartment, and wanted to pass on some things she doesn’t use anymore, and no longer had the space for in her new place. She asked if my sister and I would like some of her blue and white ceramics- and we both immediately said yes!

I have always loved blue and white ceramics. They are a popular style, and come from such far flung places around the world including Holland (Delft Tile) all the way to Vietnam. I love hand painted ceramics and am always drawn to crisp blue and white colours. I am always so amazed at the talent and detail that goes into them. I took a pottery course once. Suffice it to say, we will not be handing those pieces down through the generations. 🙁

I already owned this pitcher, which I purchased from Ten Thousand Villages last year, so I was very happy to add these beautiful new pieces, to create a small collection.

In my family we didn’t get much handed down in the way of clothes, like many vintage lovers I know, who have gotten dresses, hats and jewelry from past relatives. However, from both sides of my family, I have gotten dishes. Not all of them are antique, but they are each special, because they are a part of our family history. They will become heirlooms, even if they aren’t very old right now, like these pieces. Really, if you think about it, everything that is antique and old today, was at some point brand new. However, someone thought it was special enough to preserve. And so it will be with these. They will always remind us of our Grandma, and they will be preserved and passed down. And maybe someday, my distant great-great-granddaughter will be using this very same pitcher, or candy dish herself, getting ready to pass it down to the next generation too. It’s a nice thought anyways 🙂

Do you have any special collections? Do you have any pieces (of anything – not just dishes!) passed down from your family? If not, have you ever thought of starting a new collection of heirlooms yourself?

The Beginnings of a Collection: Blue and White Ceramics, the artyologist

The blue teapot is my sisters, and the white one is mine.

The Beginnings of a Collection: Blue and White Ceramics, the artyologist

Such a neat design for the candy dish. 

The Beginnings of a Collection: Blue and White Ceramics, the artyologist

I use this pitcher often, not as a pitcher, but as a vase! It makes a lovely vase for weedy roadside bouquets like the ones I picked here, or for pussy willow branches in the spring. It’ll probably be lovely for some evergreen boughs this winter too! And, on the right is the beautiful lattice design bowl of my sister’s.

The Beginnings of A Collection: Blue and White Ceramics, the artyologist

The little teapot is a tiny little knick-knack that my Grandma gave me years ago. It is a favour that Red Rose used to include in their teas years ago!

The Beginnings of A Collection: Blue and White Ceramics, the artyologist

The Beginnings of A Collection: Blue and White Ceramics, the artyologist

The entire “collection”, (to date!)

The Ladies Garden Tea, Part 2

Ladies Garden Tea Party, Part 2 The Artyologist

So continuing with the second instalment of the Ladies Garden Afternoon Tea party.

I’ve always loved pretty dishes, and silverware and fine china teacups. I’m pretty sure I get this from my mom, who I’m sure learned it from her mother. When my Grandma was a young lady, living in a farm community, once a month the ladies would get together for a tea party.  It was a way for the farmwives, some of whom were probably fairly isolated, to get out and see each other. Each month was hosted at a different farm, and each lady would bring her own teacup.

A few years ago, my Grandma downsized, and passed on her teacups to us- and a collection was born! With that humble start, I’ve started picking up pretty teacups at thrift stores, or antique sales, and I’ve been able to form quite a collection. I love to throw parties, and as my collection of fancy dishes has grown, I have tried to come up with ways to use them, rather than relegating them to the china cabinet. A few years ago, continuing in the tradition of my Grandma, the Ladies Afternoon Tea was born. It gives us a chance to use all the fancy dishes, and is a way for the ladies in my church to get together for an afternoon treat.

teacups the artyologist

As I mentioned on Tuesday, we got rained out and we were forced to bring the party indoors this year. It was too bad that the party couldn’t be outside, as there is something so lovely about enjoying tea and sweets out of doors, but at least we do have a large living room, where we were able to spread out several tables and chairs for everyone to sit at.

When we were planning for this party, we counted up my cups, my moms, and my sisters and came up with 29 teacups! Needless to say, the ladies didn’t need to bring their own to this party! We did end up borrowing some cups from another lady, just in case we ran short, but fortunately we didn’t.

invite and teacups the artyologist

Every good party starts with an invitation. There is something so personal about an physical paper invitation, even if it isn’t handwritten, and I think it reminds people of the party more than a verbal invitation or email, which can be easily lost or overlooked. Also it is a great place to write the address or location of the party, because unless everyone is very familiar with the area, they might get lost en route!

teacups and chocolate the artyologist

silverware tea party, the artyologist

plates and tea service the artyologist

For the party, the food was set up on the kitchen table, and the tea was set up on the kitchen counter, which was dressed up with a lace edged tablecloth, so it wouldn’t look so “kitcheny”. The peonies were blooming in full force the day of the party, so we had a gorgeous bouquet on the dessert table, and a weedy little bouquet of daisies and alfalfa collected from an “obliging field” for the tea table.

chocolate muffins the artyologist

menu and silver service for ladies tea party the artyologist

desserts at the tea party the artyologist

For food, we served a variety of desserts: Coconut Macaroons, Ganache Topped Chocolate Cakes, Lemon Drizzle Loaf, Coconut Cream and Dark Chocolate Squares, Pineapple and Pecan Cheesecake Tarts, and Toasted Almonds and Pecans. We chose such a large variety of desserts, including chocolate and non-chocolate, as we wanted to make sure there was something everyone would enjoy. (I mean, l love chocolate, and the entire menu could’ve consisted of different varieties of chocolate, but something I find hard to comprehend is that some people don’t like it 🙁 so we wanted to make sure everyone enjoyed the desserts!) Also, it was very fortunate that my best friend was visiting that week, so the day before the tea party, when we were baking, baking, baking, she was there to lend a hand 🙂

party preparation the artyologist

lemon loaf the artyologist

Overall, the party was quite the success- even though hours and days of work was consumed and destroyed in the space of an hour 😉 Ah that’s the best thing about parties right? It was a lovely time, spent with some very lovely ladies! As people were leaving, we had a lot of requests to do it again. Don’t worry I’ve already started planning for next year’s tea party!

macaroons and desserts the artyologist

teacups for ladies tea party the artyologist

Making Your Own Makeup Organizers

image of lipstick makeup organizers the artyologist

I’m not super into makeup; for that department you’d have to talk to my sister. However, despite the fact that I never used to wear makeup, and I still don’t even wear it daily, over the past few years I have apparently managed to build up a bit of a collection, as my rather disorganized makeup cupboard was clearly showing me.

I used to have a drawer to store all my lotions and potions, so three old kleenex boxes fit neatly into the drawer and were a perfect (and free!) organizing solution. I’ve since moved though, and now have a medicine cabinet to hold my makeup. The kleenex boxes just weren’t cutting it anymore, so I decided that it was time for my non-organized cabinet to get an overhaul. I grabbed some spare glass jars to hold my brushes and mascara etc. and found a few small boxes and containers to hold the rest. However, the two items that still didn’t have a good home were my lipsticks and my new eyeshadow colours.

image of pure anada makeup the artyologist

About a month ago, I invested in some nice, Canadian made, mineral eyeshadow, by Pure Anada. I became aware of the fact that many of the ingredients in makeup are not all they seem when I read Wear No Evil a few years ago, and so I have slowly been switching my makeup over to pure, natural and organic makeups ever since. The last step in that process was the eyeshadow. The cool thing about Pure Anada is that their pressed eyeshadow powders are in metal containers, and their palettes are magnetized, so it makes it very easy to create a custom palette and to replace them when you run out of a colour. However, the case was designed to hold 8 colours and I only had 5, so this left the palette almost half empty. I may be slightly obsessed with how things look (ok maybe a lot obsessed), so a half empty palette just wouldn’t do. I thought, how hard could it be to make one myself? Well, with a bit of trial and error, I ended up with a pretty good case. (And I gave the original palette to my sister, who had bought more colours than me!)

image of eyeshadow palette the artyologist

The other thing I needed an organizing solution for, was my lipstick. My first thought was to get a vintage lipstick stand, however my internet search didn’t bring up any that 1.) were big enough to hold 10 tubes, and 2.) I liked the look of. (See, there is my obsession with how things look again!) The next thought was to purchase one of those acrylic lipstick organizers. I love the look of those as they remind me of the accessories of the Art Deco and Mid Century eras, however, no one in our town sells anything like that, and as I am not the most patient of people when it comes to organizing things (get it done!!) I didn’t want to wait until I next time I went to the city. I also thought that, since I had had success in making an eyeshadow case, I might as well try my hand at a lipstick organizer too. (You may be wondering, also, why a self professed non make-up wearer has 10 tubes of lipstick. Well, I had a few colours, and one day, when I was going to buy some new colours, there was a buy 2 get 1 free sale, so I bought 4 and got 2 free! Sometimes these things just happen. . . )

image of lipstick organizer the artyologist

Anyways, here is, sort of, how I made the two organizers.

Sorry I was so excited to reorganize and get started, I forgot to take a before picture. And I tried to take pictures of the process of making the makeup organizers, and then I got busy and forgot to take them along the way. Oops.

image of makeup organizers how to the artyologist

The first thing I did was lay out the eyeshadow, and measure the size needed. It just so turned out that they fit perfectly onto an old magnet I had. (You know the kinds that realtors or museums etc, hand out to you? Usually they are business card size.)

I measured the magnet and cut out pieces of stiff cardboard to create a little box. I glued and taped the pieces together.

I decided to cover the cases in some vintage clip art. As this project was just for my own personal use, I googled “vintage hats Sears catalogue” and came up with these images that I printed out onto some 8.5×11 scrapbook paper.

Once I had the decorative paper, I traced the box and lid, cutting it all out in one piece, making sure to add a bit of an allowance to wrap around the edge. Then I decoupaged the paper onto the box. One of the errors I made was to not allow enough to wrap the lid (oops!), so I had to cut separate pieces to finish the inside of the lid. That’s why it is made of a few pieces. It gives it more of a decoupage-y, collage-y feel though right? 😉

Then I glued in the magnet, and put the eyeshadow inside. The only thing I do not like about it, is that the lid doesn’t close tightly, as the paper gives it enough bounce to pop open easily. I think I am going to find another small piece of magnet to attach to the lid so it will stay closed. Right now it’s fine when it’s in my cupboard, but if I am traveling I have to put an elastic around it to keep it shut.

image of makeup organizers eyeshadow and lipstick the artyologist

As for the lipstick holder, I followed the same method of measuring the lipstick and determining how large each cubicle needed to be, and then cutting out the cardboard and making a box. Then I measured the inside of the box, and cut the divider pieces, two for the length and three across the width.

These I cut halfway up at one inch intervals across, (which I conveniently don’t have a picture of) so that the pieces would slide together to create a grid. I hope you know what I mean?

Then I covered and decoupaged the box and the grid pieces individually. Once dry, I slid the grid into the box, and added the lipstick.

Perfecto! Actually, the one thing I didn’t remember was that I should have cut my grid pieces a bit shorter, as they stick up just a smidgen above the box. This is because I cut them at the same height as the box, the decoupage added a bit of height, and the grid doesn’t fit tightly. Maybe someday when I am feeling ambitious, I will take it apart and cut them down a bit. But, in the meantime it works perfectly.

So, how do you organize your makeup? Do you like the insides of your cupboards to be as pretty as the outsides too?

image of makeup organizers lipstick holder and eyeshadow palette the artyologist

A Day of Hearts

valentines heart shaped cranberry and pecan scones

The heart shaped celebration of Valentine’s day continues!

Here is what we had in celebration of the day. First were heart shaped cranberry and pecan scones, served with butter and jam, for breakfast.

the artyologist- image cranberry and pecan scones in the shape of hearts

the artyologist- image of valentines cranberry and pecan scones in the shape of hearts and jam

And then later in the day, not a heart shaped, but heart decorated, hazelnut, cranberry and chocolate ganache covered cake, topped with whipped cream.

the artyologist- image of valentines heart decorated chocolate cake top

the artyologist- image of chocolate ganache hazelnut cake valentines with dusted cocoa heart decoration

the artyologist- image of chocolate cranberry hazelnut cake with whipped cream for valentines

Can we have Valentine’s every day?