Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Our latest collection

Do you remember a couple of years ago when Jason was obsessed with old, rusty cans?
He got the nickname "The Can Man" for a while.
You can read about his can collecting adventures here.
Thankfully, that collection has halted.  The cans are still placed strategically around the house and I'd still like to get rid of them.
But Jason found a new object to collect.
We were walking around an antique store called "Found" here in Ithaca about a month ago and this little guy caught Jason's eye through the glass showcase.
I had a gift certificate for my birthday from my mother-in-law and I kept wandering around the store looking at vintage jewelry to buy but Jason had his eye on that fish.
I finally decided on a cake plate . . . it just happened that the cost of the cake plate wouldn't use up all of the gift certificate, so I decided I'd get the fish bottle opener for Jason.
Jason loves the bottle opener, especially since our old bottle opener is a little junky thing that probably came from the dollar store.
Right before Jason's birthday, I went on Etsy to see if I could find some more bottle openers, since J mentioned that it would be cool to have a collection.  I couldn't believe the selection!
I remembered reading in Martha Stewart or somewhere that usually collectors pick a common theme for their collection.
So antique plate collectors will often pick plates with only gold edging, or only blue plates, or only plates from a certain time period . . . you get the idea.
(For the can man, it was any can with lots of rust.)
So I had some choices.
I could buy only fish bottle openers.
Or only animal bottle openers.
In the end, I decided to go with bronze or gold bottle openers.
I found this darling little dog bottle opener.
And this horse bottle opener.
So now we have the beginning of a collection (the fish remains Jason's favorite).  Aren't they cute?!
And I'm no longer embarrassed when someone needs a bottle opener at my house.  Now we just need to figure out how to display them!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Simple Fall Mantel

Every year in September I am tempted to decorate the mantel for Halloween because it's my favorite season, but I always make myself wait until October.

So after I took down the 'Back to school mantel,' I created a mantel to celebrate Fall.  It will only be up for a couple of weeks before I put up the Halloween mantel for the month of October, but I figured I'd share it with you before I change it.  It's pretty simple

I have my monogrammed platter, that I have managed not to break for several years now!  You can read about it here.
I have a collection of old bottles, so I gathered a couple in brown and one in red and added them to the mantel.
I have my mirror turned into a chalk board, along with some cat tails and some stalks of wheat that Imani found a few years ago. I also placed some Fall colored candles on the mantel and threw in some pine cones for texture.
To the left is a big round vase filled with a money plant my friend Brittney gave me many years ago.  It's one of my favorite gifts in my house.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pink Fall Tablescape

Who says Fall has to have oranges and yellows?

This year I set out to create a Fall tablescape that used pink rather than orange only because I bought a bunch of beautiful snapdragons at my local farmer's market for just $5.

As you know, after reading Garbology and having my "Green Awakening,"  I'm trying not to contribute to the cycle of consumption and waste. I was going to head to the Salvation Army to get some things to pull together a Fall tablescape, but I figured I'd see if I could do it without purchasing anything.

So I headed out to my yard and gathered some things that indicate Fall.

I added some cat tails and some of the 'weeds' from the tops of our tall grasses to the snapdragons.  I also wrapped a piece of burlap and some brown paper ribbon around the vase to add texture.
I used a piece of burlap as a table runner.

I also gathered up some acorns and stuck them inside the twine I wrapped around the napkins.


I ripped some brown packaging paper and wrote names on for place cards.

I wanted to keep it simple (and cheap!)


Finally, I collected some of these prickly thistle-like stems (if someone knows the real name of these weeds, please inform me!) and put them in two old beer bottles.  Be extra careful if you decide to use these for decorating because they are full of prickers.
Seriously, they could be used as a weapon if anyone broke into our home while we were eating dinner.
I'm happy with what I came up with.
And there you have it -an easy, inexpensive, and pink Fall tablescape. If I can do it, you can too!


Partying With
The Lettered Cottage

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Welcome Fall

I can't believe today is the first day of Fall.  The older I get, the faster time goes by!
Fall is one of my favorite seasons - especially here in the Fingerlakes of Upstate New York.
What's not to love?

Beautiful Fall colors

Walks in the cool air with leaves crunching beneath your feet

Picking Apples

Hot Apple Cider


Carmel apples


Apple Pie


Picking Pumpkins


All things Halloween - dressing up, decorating, and candy!



You can see some of other costumes here . . . and some of our other Halloween decorating ideas here, here and here..



Source: via Loretta on Pinterest





Source: via Kim on Pinterest

Crockpot meals


What's your favorite thing about Fall?  To bring in the season, this week I'll be sharing my Fall tablescape (no orange or yellow!), my Fall mantel and hopefully my Halloween mantel!  Be sure to stop back and see how we celebrate our favorite season.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How to Save Mementos

Now that summer has come to an end, you probably find yourself with a whole lot of memories of summer vacations, picnics and family gatherings.

With those memories often comes 'stuff' you collect in an attempt to preserve those memories - to hold onto a piece of them forever so that you won't forget.

The part of me that still has Bea Johnson from "Garbology" whispering in my ear tells me to tell you to stop collecting stuff because it will only clutter your life and will probably just end up in a landfill at some point.

But another part of me - a bigger part of me - a part of me I am struggling to change- identifies with keeping every ticket stub and every seashell because each one conjures up a feeling I don't want to ever forget.

So what can you do with all of these  mementos?
Of course there's always scrapbooking, but I've told you a thousand and one times that I'm not neat.  Jason would have to be the one to make all those cuts and glue everything to the pages in straight lines. 
But there are some other ways to preserve memories.  Keeping mementos in jars is one that I really like (although I've never actually done it).


Of course that savvy couple John and Sherry over at Young House Love have done it:
I like this one because of the uniformity of all of the jars:

Maybe your objects don't fit nicely into a little jar.  How about a memory tree?  Here, family mementos are preserved on  little tree.
Or maybe you have a bunch of things that trigger memories, but you don't want them on display?  You might consider a memory box.  You could have one for each memory, or one big box that houses a bunch of mementos.

Source: via Wajeeda on Pinterest
And what about storing mementos that aren't necessarily from vacations, but are daily items like child's artwork?  There are a million different ideas on Pinterest and all over blog land on the best ways to manage the pounds and pounds of artwork that comes home, but here are a few of the displays I like best.
Creating a wall to serve as a "gallery"  looks nice and will certainly honor your little artist
This chalk board is fun because you can change the art whenever you want and draw whimsical frames around the piece.
Keep it simple with a series of clip boards
I love these white frames with all of the colorful kid's artwork displayed.

And what about greeting cards, notes and other little mementos?
Here is a nice little booklet was created to keep a couple's wedding cards.  The details are beautiful (see the little cross at the top of the ring?  Love it!)

Here an old shutter is re-purposed to display cards.

Source: via Stephenie on Pinterest

I like this simple envelope idea to store kid's notes.
Simply place the notes inside, put a sticker on the front and date it.
What do we do?
Well, we are big fans of real photos, so I try to get them printed regularly and put them in photo albums. 
You might recall that our seating arrangements at our wedding turned into a book of personalized messages from each of our guests.  You can read about it here.
The cover is a picture of us and inside there is a photo of each guest and the message they wrote to us on the back.

And for all of Imani's awards, ribbons, etc, I keep them in a 3-ring binder with clear sleeves.  It's nothing earth shattering or particularly beautiful but it's a place where everything is stored in one spot for her to look back one day and take with her if she wants.
As for children's art? We used to keep every piece but that got overwhelming quickly. So we have a couple of storage bins and we choose our favorite pieces and display them on the side of the refrigerator when they first come home. After that, they are stored in the bin in the basement. Some pieces of artwork have been turned into magnets, others have been turned into Christmas ornaments.
We also have decorative boxes - one houses mementos from Imani's infancy (like baby shoes, a frilly dress, etc) and one houses mementos from our wedding. 
What about you? What's your favorite way to store mementos?
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