Category Archives: Shopping

Susan Branch, Author + Watercolor Artist

So.

My recent search for a botanical print led to my discovery

of a favorite new watercolor artist . . .

. . . Lucile Prache, about whom I blogged yesterday:

botanical lucileskitchen food

. . .  + whose work reminded me

of another favorite watercolor artist + author,

Susan Branch . . .

susan branch photo better

. . . whose books I used to sell in my old shop, Heart-in-Hand.

susan branch heart of the home

I just love her sweet illustrations

+ charming, hand-painted fonts:

susan branch sea illustration

How adorable is the plaid border she’s painted on this page!

susan branch gift baskets

susan branch summer days

She’s written all sorts of books + publishes an annual calendar,

available on her blog.

susan branch calendar

She’s also written a series of 3 memoirs,

2 of which I’ve read + highly recommend.

The middle book, Martha’s Vineyard, Isle Of Dreams,

which I read first,

is about her moving from California to Nantucket island:

susan branch nantucket try 2

Since I’ve always wished to visit Nantucket,

it was wonderful to read her description of her life there

+ her renovation of a charming cottage for herself.

Look at her darling diagram of said cottage:

susan branch book page with house diagram

As you can see, each page is just a visual treat:

susan branch book page with font

As this book comes to an end,

Susan had met, fallen in love with + married Joe Hall:

susan branch and husband in book page

Okay, everybody: awwwww!

Isn’t that sweet?  Relationship goals!

 Joe is the proprietor of Nantucket’s famous Black Dog Tavern,

from which one can purchase all sorts of home goods + apparel

with the Black Dog logo:

susan branch dog mat

Her third book,

A Fine Romance / Falling In Love With The English Countryside,

is a diary of the couple’s car trip in England:

susan branch english book

Once again, she’s in a place I’ve longed to visit,

+ her vivid descriptions allowed me

to travel vicariously with her.

They toured many beautiful English gardens,

including the one surrounding Beatrix Potter’s** cottage.

peter rabbit

** Yes, that Beatrix Potter,

of Peter Rabbit fame,

yet another author/illustrator whose watercolors

I’ve always admired.

Soon enough I found myself watching

the Renee Zellweger biopic,

Miss Potter,

which was just as charming as all get-out

+ for which I give an enthusiastic THUMBS UP!

susan branch miss potter movie

Here’s Renee now, on location:

beatrix potter movie location with renee

I don’t know if that’s the actual Beatrix Potter cottage,

but isn’t it swoon-worthy?

beatrix potter renee painting

Anyway, in conclusion,

while there are 3 volumes in Susan Branch’s memoirs,

+ I have read only the 2nd + 3rd books.

In fact, I just discovered the existence of her first

while I was writing this blog post

 it’s called The Fairy Tale Girl —

+ is about her early life in California.

susan branch fairy tale girl

The above photo is from Jama’s Alphabet Soup (cute name!)

 blog post —

which is a very interesting read (trust me — check it out!)

In conclusion, I shall request The Fairy Tale Girl

from our inter-library loan system, TODAY.

You can buy signed copies of all 3 books on her blog,

so if anyone’s wishing to send me an early birthday gift . . .

. . . hint!

 


Botanical Watercolors From Paris

So.

In yesterday’s blog post, I shared my hopes + dreams

of finding a botanical poster for my kitchen.

botanical chart sunflower

Seems everybody was fond of this vintage sunflower chart,

but not so much its steep price tag of $272.45.

But wait.

Look at what I spied

amongst** my search for the vintage botanicals!

(**I know amongst is not a word, but I like it.)

botanical farmers market

Beautiful watercolor posters painted by Parisian artist,

Lucile Prache, available on Etsy in Lucile’s Kitchen shop.

botanical watercolor artist lucile in frenchie stripe shirt

Please.

How perfect is it that an artist in Paris should wear

the highly Frenchie blue + white striped top that I love*!

(* + have owned + worn many times!)

 

botanical lucileskitchen food

 

botanical carrot cake recipe

Carrot Cake Recipe 13 x 17 – $110

botanical medicinal plant print - lucile

Medicinal Plants 8×10 – $30.50

botanical lucile 4 season prints

Wouldn’t this poster be terrific in a coffee shop?

botanical coffee

Coffee Watercolor 11 x 14 – $80

 

 I think owning a print of an original piece of art

would be great,

+ I’m such a fan of hers!

I’m still shopping, though, so stay tuned!


Vintage Botanical Artwork Love

I spend a lot of quality time on the couch,

as one does in winter.

When (+ if) I look away from my TV, phone or bozoputer,

I see this:

kitchen art 2

Disclaimer:

G.O. is preparing his signature Calico Beans dish to pass

for a Super Bowl party later today,

which explains the slight mess

+ the reason my utensils are askew.

kitchen utensils

Omigosh!  Those plastic ones don’t go there!  BAD Kay!

This explains why I’ll never be one of the popular kids

on Instagram (@redbirdkay52 – please follow me),

but I digress.

He is also throwing away all our non-stick pots + pans

after watching this documentary

on the horrors of DuPont + Teflon,

The Devil We Know.

the devil we know

Yikes!  Sorry I missed it.

Back to the pressing issue at hand,

which is the artwork in our kitchen.

kitchen art 1

We recently hung those bowl prints,

which I ordered from a forgotten catalog, years ago.

They’re great, but me being me,

I already wish to hang them elsewhere**

+ to replace them with my dream artwork,

the botanical print.

**Which, need I say it, drives G.O. crazy.

Oops.

  Since that’s not as important as my happiness is,

off I dashed to shop for said botanical prints on etsy,

where I was immediately attracted to these vintage pull-down charts

from the shop, Mighty Vintage in Berlin.

Violets – $414.59

botanical chart -- violet

How much do we love the way the vibrant colors

POP against the black backgrounds?

Sunflowers – $272.45

botanical chart sunflower

Cherries – $355.37

botanical cherries

Since we live in Illinois,

something corn-related might be kind of fun,

like this chart from the shop Wild Strawberry Retro from the UK.

Maize – $162.27

botanical chart -- maize

Okay.  Ouch.

Hundreds of dollars is a tad more than I wished to spend,

so I continued to shop – this time for reproductions.

I think I found it!

What’s not to love!? – via OlgaBegakArt from Austria.

Tomatoes – 13″ x 19″ $56.86

botanical print tomato

The illustration style is deliciously vintage,

+ the colors are fantastic!

What do you think?

Stay tuned!


Gotta Love Frenchie House Numbers

So.  Our front porch is almost finished.

IMG_1445

I blogged about said same earlier in the week.

We don’t have hand rails yet, but perhaps G.O. will work on them today.

fingers crossed

Anyway, methinks it’s now time for our house numbers.

Okay, I know this is goofy, but we already have 2 different sets of them.

We just don’t know where they are.

HA!  We’re such losers!

Whatever.

I may not even remember what our “lost” house numbers looked like (I don’t),

but who cares?

I found some that I like better, inside my favorite mag:

country living cover september 2017

I shan’t mince words:

It’s a good issue — go buy it.

Here’s what I found on CL page 85,

4″ x 6″ enamel steel number signs from Kaufman Mercantile!

They’re my favorite color!  — dark blue!

numbers for house

So Frenchie!  Literally.

From Kaufman Mercantile’s online shopping site:

The family-owned company that makes these enamel house plates started in 1905, but you can trace its heritage of enamel-making back to the 1830s. At the turn of the 20th-century, the founder opened a small factory on the north coast of France and began producing decorative enamel objects, signs, and kitchenware. His great grandson continues to offer these items using the same methods as over a century ago.

I know!!  How cool, right??

Also very cool is that the numbers are on sale right now:

Were: $20.40 each, Now: $12.24 each.

number 1 for house

 I actually did some math this morning,

+ for our house numbers (we have 3), our cost would be $37.72!

  • *****

You’ll have to trust me on this one, but that’s a real bargain,

considering the prices of these dark blue beauties, 

from a Danish company, Ramsign:

number blue oval

Engelshom 9″ x 5.5″ @ $79.00

I’ve been such a fan of these signs,

but just today I learned that they’re from Denmark, not France.

That’s still cool.

Anyway, here’s the Danish company founder, Nick Brandt:

ramsign owner

Here’s how he describes his business:

Our Metropolitan house numbers are the quintessential classic northern European porcelain enamel sign. The white and blue single-trimmed signs are imbued with a rich history, dating back to 19th century Europe. Today, we bring over 150 years of tradition to your doorstep.

number blue

Lilleborg 8.5″ x 4″ @$69.00

*****

But Kay!  you’re asking.

What about all the grays + blacks

you’ve chosen for that front porch of yours?

number house black

Havreholm 7.5″ x 5″ @$69.00

Okay.  I think I like this one better than the blue!

surprised baby

Perhaps G.O. will find those missing house numbers

while I continue ponderng the enamel ones.

Stay tuned!


COOL STUFF I WANT

I shan’t lie — I’m having way too much fun,

finding all sorts of cool stuff for our canned ham camper!

Exhibit A:

IMG_0844 (1)

You can read about some of my most recent ‘finds’ in this blog post.

Meanwhile, let’s have a quick look-see at what I’ve been coveting this week,

from Best Made Co.

canned ham best made logo

This business was started in 2009 by a guy who wanted a better ax.

That’s right.  An ax!  (Although they spell it ‘axe’.)

HA!  Who wants to bet he was the original hipster!!??

hipster with an ax

 I searched for ‘hipster with an ax’ just now,

+ the very first link was Best Made’s website!

Not kidding!

Anyway, fast forward to today, + the business has evolved

into kind of a 21st Century version of the old Eddie Bauer Home stores.

(LOVED Eddie Bauer Home stores!)

But I digress.  Back to Best Made.

Here’s a description of the business, from their website:

We equip customers with high quality products and dependable information they can use and pass down. We empower people to get outside, reconnect with their hands and nature, and in doing so, embark on a life of great adventure.

WELL, YEAH!  I’M IN!

I really like this enamel sign, $28:

canned ham camp is home sign $28

Enamel signs are cool, as are enamel key chains, $14:

canned ham camp key chain $14

We’re going to need a first aid kit,

+ why not get an awesomely-designed one, $58:

canned ham first aid kit $58

HELL-O!  They had me at red.

Here’s one that’s even cooler, $98:

canned ham first aid kit $98

It occurs to me that I could make us a First Aid kit,

using my own Thirst Aid stencil  (check it out!) + a metal box with a lid.

DSC09921

All I’d have to do is change the ‘TH‘ in THIRST to an ‘F’ !

Stay tuned!

 


Vintage Cowboy Kids Rooms

Raise your hand if you, like me,

really miss our beloved, old Country Home magazine.

I have tubs full of old issues, much to G.O.’s dismay,

but I just couldn’t bear parting with them!

Exhibit A — April 2000

img_0318

“But Kay, what inspiration can one get from a 17 year-old magazine?”

Turns out, a lot.

Exhibit A

From London designer (+ one of my style icons), Cath Kidston:

img_0315

Those framed maps are still very much on trend,

+ how much do we love those nautical quilts?

Look what I found from Fabric.com — this similar, retro-style fabric:

What’s not to love?

Tons of vintage goodness, with all that red + blue!  I’m in!

img_0311

But wait.

Do we approve of the theme for a room?

Yes, I do, (sometimes!),

especially when they’re done with so much skill + good taste.

These rooms are wonderful —

they inspired me to go find other vintage cowboy stuff online!

+ + + + +

There’s a lot of vintage barkcloth on etsy + eBay:

cowboy-bark-cloth

More vintage barkcloth — drapery panels:

cowboy-40s-50s-drapery-panels

Disclaimer: sorry there are no links.

Most of this stuff had been for sale on etsy + eBay,

+ by the time I got there, had been sold.

+ + + + +

Vintage blankets:

cowboy-vintage-blankets

OMiGosh, how cool is this vintage radio?

cowboy-radio

What a darling lunch box!

cowboy-tin-bucket

People.  You’re never going to believe this,

but this western-theme wallpaper is available

in our new, favorite designer, Cath Kidston’s, online store!

cath-kidston-wallpaper

She has brick + mortar shops, too,

+ they couldn’t be cuter!

I visited her NYC shop in the SOHO neighborhood:

cath-kidston-shop

Sadly, that NYC store has closed,

+ it looks like there are no U.S. stores right now.

No worries.  Shop online.  I did already!

Here!  Have fun!

These cuties are just a fraction of what I want to get.

(Seriously, I had to force myself to stop for this post.

There’s that much cool stuff!)

So.  My 1st post from old Country Home magazines!

What are your thoughts?  Still worth seeing?

Because trust me, I have many more!

Stay tuned!


Imogene + Willie In Nashville

So.  We’ve had our look-sees at a couple of old gas stations

that were repurposed into awesome Ralph Lauren stores.

There’s yet another groovy gas station conversion in Nashville, TN.

It’s a high-end jeans store called Imogene + Willie.

imogene and willie neon sign and gable

I love their orange cross or plus sign logo!

imogene and willie outside people sweeping

The jeans are custom made + sell for $200+,

which is just another reminder that I’ve made bad life choices.

imogene and willie gas station sign and patterns

Still, I’d love to visit the store + soak up all the hipness.

It looks like a very fun place.

Have you been to Imogene + Willie?

Do you know of another business that began its life as a gas station?


I Love Botanical Stuff!

Show of hands!

Who, like me, subscribes to Elle Decor magazine?

I’m not always a yooge fan, but each issue always contains 1 or 2 good houses,

like this one owned by this adorable family:

redbird -- guy's glasses frames elle decor

Check out those cool glasses frames on the guy!

Coincidentally, we went frames shopping for G.O. yesterday!

That was conflict free.  Not.

cat fight

But stay tuned — I really like the frames I insisted that he get.

Meanwhile, I digress.

Let’s go back to inside this house in Elle Decor:

redbird -- wallpaper elle decor

Can I get a yay or nay for that espalier wallpaper?

I LOVE IT!

Espalier is a Frenchie word for training a tree to grow horizontally,

usually on a wall or a fence.

My plans include our having an espaliered tree in our yard.

Someday.

Back to the Elle Decor house.

Check out yet more botanical happiness:

redbird -- allium artwork

Our Elle Decor family has this very print of alium flowers!

Theirs is hanging on the wall above their freestanding tub.

This photo above, however, is from the Shabby Creek Cottage blog.

Pretty!

In closing, we went to IKEA the other day,

+ they had artificial alium blooms for sale, @ $8-ish.

Did you get some, Kay? — I hear you asking?

IMG_1395(1)

Sadly, no.  I feared G.O. would get a little cranky.

He doesn’t understand!

.No worries, though — look what I found on etsy!

redbird -- allium from heavenlyhomeflowers shop on etsy

These silkies look a lot better than the plastic ones from IKEA.

Go here:  www.etsy.com/shop/HeavenlyHomeFlowers

I think it’s high time I make a morale boosting purchase.


2 Finalists For Our Bedroom Rug!

I’ve been shopping online for a rug for our bedroom for weeks!

The room is already sporting a dark gray accent wall + pale blue ceiling.

The walls + trim will be white,

 + I want to add a lot of blue accessories.

DSC07097

DSC07095

The pine floor has been sanded + stained a nice, warm brown.

DSC07068

The room measures 9’10” by 11″,

so of course, I am having math anxiety

+ cannot decide between a 4’x6′ or a 5’x7′ rug.

surprised boy

Help!?

* * *

Oh, never mind about that — for now, anyway.

Let’s talk about what I might order!

I’ve whittled down my favorites to these 2 rugs from Overstock.com.

Notice the blue + gray combination — excellent for my color plan!

They are both from the brand Safaveih’s Patina collection.

rug patina gray and blue #2

As you can see, the name Patina refers to the rug’s aged appearance,

which is a ‘thing’ now — new-but-old-looking rugs!

Perfect!

rug patina gray and blue overstock

These are cotton rugs + soft,

which is kind of a must-have for our G.O.’s bedroom.

Now all we have to do is decide which rug + which size.

Stay tuned!


THE BICKERSONS GO REFRIGERATOR SHOPPING

Yesterday we went to IKEA + scored some amazing bargains for our kitchen.

You’ll just have to take my word for it, though,

because just like “ALL the professional bloggers”,

I left my camera at home.

surprised boy

Oh, dear.  Let’s try to move on.

Check this out:

IKEA white fridge

NUTID S23 White counter depth refrigerator

Regular: $1,899.00 / Clearance: $699

IKEA fridge -- interior

WHOA!!!  I know!!!  I still can’t believe it!!!

1. A mere $699 . . . AND . . . 2. counter depth . . . AND . . . 

. . . 3. the Kay-coveted WHITE!!!!???

Plus, 4. it does not say IKEA on it,

+ 5. it does have the acceptable (stainless) handles —

not those cheapie-looking white plastic ones.

I’ve got my standards.

“But why white?” you ask?

Stainless is what we have now, but I wanted to be different.

If you really must know, here’s why I went over to the white side:

sarah richardson

Yesh, that’s my designer lady crush, Sarah Richardson,

.who, in one of her most recent projects,

 chose white kitchen appliances.

cat fight

Sadly, I am not Sarah,

nor is G.O. anything like Tommy (Sarah’s main gay):

tommy

LOVE him!

Nope.  G.O. nixed the idea of the white appliances!

The humanity!

 I’m kind of glad that I forgot the camera,

because the Bickersons in the IKEA kitchen department

wasn’t such a pretty picture, after all.

* * * *

He protested, as he does, + I just listened stared at him.

I then marched over to Mr. IKEA Man

+ asked if, at that price,

the (3 remaining) white refrigerators would be soon be gone.

When he said “today”, that was that — for me, anyway.

IMG_4841(1)

OMiGosh!

G.O. color-shamed me,

right there in front of Mr. IKEA Man! —

 saying that “everybody on HGTV wants stainless + granite!!!”

I, of course, was mortified + refused to engage.

At this moment, however, Mr. IKEA Man,

who’s probably heard it all, at least a bazillion times,

brightly offered this patented conflict diffuser:

“I always tell people that, if they want white,

they should get white!”

IKEA white fridge

I couldn’t agree more . . .

. . . aaaaaand they’re delivering our white refrigerator tomorrow.

Thanks, Mr. IKEA Man.

Oh, + IKEA, too, for offering these at such a deep discount.


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