Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Skye and Henry's - where vintage and modern meet!

What is it they say about good intentions? I meant to post about Skye and Henry's well before Christmas! This new, but not really new, shop on Main Street in Fredericksburg, is owned by my friend, Margo.
Margo formerly owned Threads, but when an opportunity came along to move down the street into a space next to an antique shop, she took it.
Along with the move, she decided to change the name of her shop to reflect her style and inventory. Threads was originally a fabric shop exclusively, but with her love of all things antique, as well as her design talent, Margo expanded her inventory and services.

 Skye and Henry's is named after Margo's grandchildren, and reflects a love of vintage decorative items as well as some new, fresh items. Organic bedding,  custom iron beds, antique furniture, soaps, candles, books and more - all combined with her great fabric selection - make this a great source for designers as well as anyone looking for a special gift.

As always, click on my photos for much more detail!! 

I love the old painting tacked to the wall and the sweet nightstand in old turquoise paint.


 Margo had a lovely open house one morning during the holiday season. Of course, she had wonderful Christmas decorations and they are included in many of my photos.
One of the highlights of my visit to the shop that morning was meeting one of my blog readers, and we live in the same neighborhood!

She emailed me about my blog and told me that she, too, has a house in Fredericksburg. One email led to another and we discovered we live less than a mile from each other! We met at Margo's Christmas breakfast and had so much fun finally putting faces to our email conversations! Her name is Debbie and I so look forward to getting to know each other better in 2010. One of the first things we plan to do is visit each other's homes - not really a surprise, is it?

Turns out, she is also a friend of Margo's AND sells her own line of coffee in the shop!!  The Yellow Rooster Coffee Company is one of many of Debbie's projects and the coffee is really good. Of course, I had to bring home a pound of coffee beans!

You may remember from this post that Margo has a background at Homestead. She carries a lot of similar fabrics that the eponymous store once had, but her shop definitely has it's own twist.

If you find yourself in Fredericksburg, or even close by in Austin or anywhere in the Texas hill country, I suggest you take the time to visit this charming shop. Every time I visit, Margo has something I want to bring home!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Christmas Table......times two!

We have an annual Christmas dinner with a few close friends at our house a week or so before Christmas day.  The gathering began a few years ago (how many years? I lose track these days...) as an informal get together  of just a few couples who have been our friends since we moved here 15 years ago. We wanted it to be adults only as we have spent lots of time with with these families over the years with kids and this one time we wanted to have a quiet, grown up dinner with good, uninterrupted conversation.

Over time we have begun to include the kids again as many are in college or have graduated from college. So, the no kids rule has been stretched a bit - we still do not invite the little ones, and it is great fun catching up with what all the older kids - actually young adults -  are doing now. Fortunately they actually seem to enjoy us, too! However, the numbers have grown and what was once about 8 people (just 4 couples) is now almost 20.

Each year the menu is different - sometimes more complicated than others. The point has always been to keep it simple and make the focus on friendship and time together.  The meal can vary from chili and cornbread with margaritas and beer, to seafood gumbo and specialty drinks. Knowing exactly how many people is often a challenge as different families have different things going on each year, and some children come home with friends or significant others
(whom, we of course, include!) So, we add two folding tables to our dining table, which normally seats 10. The most we have fit around our make do gigantic table is 20, and this year we had 19. I pull out different sets of dishes and do my best to put together a pretty table without a lot of planning or preparation. This year I found beautiful orange roses and used them along with some greenery and candles. The top picture is the table for the party. The dinner was on the 23rd so I left it decorated for the next night as well!

On Christmas Eve we had some of our very closest friends over for dinner. My friend, Alice, has had her brother visit for Christmas the last few years, so he has become part of our small, intimate Christmas Eve tradition. I was up bright and early on Christmas Eve to continue the clean up from the night before, and re-set the table for that night's dinner. I picked up these fun dessert plates from Anthropologie and wanted to vary the setting a bit from the night before. I love how they look with the roses too! The glasses were turned upside down as I set the table about 9:00 that morning and with kids and dogs and cats running through the house all day, I didn't want anyone to find any strange things floating in their drinks later that night!

Both nights were very sweet and great fun and I am still enjoying my orange roses. I will clear the table later this weekend and look forward to another Christmas dinner, or two,  in 2010, in the blink of an eye, I am sure!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Vintage Christmas Monday

I have collected these vintage Christmas boxes for years. Sometimes I stack them on the coffee table, sometimes under my feather tree, sometimes mixed in with my Santa collection. I love them and still hunt for them at antique shows and flea markets, trying to find different sizes and patterns to mix with the ones I have.

Merry Christmas and a very happy and healthy new year to everyone!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Vintage Christmas

I stumbled upon a great blogger named Joan who writes  anything goes here . Joan is featuring  Vintage Christmas Mondays and if you like old Christmas things, you will love her blog and the others you will find through it.

 This is my German feather tree trimmed in vintage ornaments with old Christmas boxes, a few old Santas and bottle brush trees piled around the bottom. The tree is not antique, although I have bought and sold some antique ones over the years. I bought this one new when we moved here 14 years ago. We lived in a tiny farmhouse, and given we had just moved to this sweet town of German heritage, I thought it fitting to have a small German feather tree for our little house, to celebrate our first Christmas here.

This photo is from last year.  Sometimes I repeat what I did the year before with my collections, and some years I create  a new mix. I haven't figured out what I want to do this year.  I love seeing what others are doing for inspiration, though, and maybe this week's blog reading will get me going!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Colorful Hill Country Restoration

I belong to an antique study group of women who are so knowledgeable about antiques and so talented in their design aesthetic, that I am always humbled after one of our gatherings. Some of them are purists about their antiques - they only buy and live with early, early American antiques - I'm talking 17th, 18th century, and sometimes, into the mid 19th century gets too new for them! Some love early American, but mix it up a bit with 19th and 20th century items.

Then.... there is me - boy, do I mix it up! I love very old antiques, and am excited when I get to see the really good, early antique pieces, but give me a great piece of old Mexican or Italian pottery, an old tramp art box, an African American quilt from the 1970s (maybe from Gee's Bend! ) with great graphic design, or a fresh new contemporary painting, and I am equally as delighted.

I had the pleasure of having lunch with this group the other day. We take turns hosting and this time we got to see the fruits of much labor!
My friends, Jan and Bill, are two of the most talented people when it comes to old home restoration. Bill can build just about anything, is very erudite about antiques, old buildings and materials.  Jan has an amazing, intuitive eye for color, be it paint or textiles, antique or new, as well as being very well informed about antiques.

Here are the wonderful old front doors on their current home. They have been working on this property for a number of years, gradually adding their special touch to each room and building.

  The two story part of the house is original. They added the one story addition, which is very historically typical in our part of the country.

 The property is classic old German hill country with random buildings and barns scattered here and there............the restored home is in the distance.

Indigenous stone and standing seam metal roofs are classic.

 Upon entering the main house, I walked straight through the entry to the back of the kitchen - mesmerized by the incredible wall of shelves, drawers, and folky cut out cubbyholes,  filling the entire space.

 Jan and Bill have a wonderful collection of pewter, among many other intriguing collections.

Everywhere I turned there was another another unique piece of furniture, built in to meet it's function. This multi drawer piece is tucked in a back corner of the kitchen.

This is a favorite feature of mine.  An opening above the built in refrigerator , it showcases a wonderful basket,  flanked on both sides by old seltzer bottles in netting, and the spot of light makes it a wonderful focal.

 Here she is - sweet Jan, the best hostess!

We were seated in the kitchen and in the dining room, shown in my last post.

 Here is a view of the dining room looking towards the front door. You can also see the old windows and a bit of the front entry.

 Jan told me she knew she didn't want a wall between the dining room and the living room, but she didn't want it to be open either. Isn't this the most creative solution to her dilemma? The old paint finish on this architectural piece is so right, too - it has been scraped, but all of the layers of paint look to be a gorgeous original  putty color.

Jan's love of fine American antiques is probably most evident in the living room. Her portraits, stacked potato stamped baskets,  and corner cupboard are examples of the treasures she and Bill have acquired over the years.

We all love antique German feather trees, and they are even better chock full of old ornaments. Our topic of study this time was antique ornaments, and as usual, this group did not disappoint.

 The colors used in this room are wonderful! This old apothecary is the best shade of salmon. Love it!

I love the blue paint inside the cabinet and the collection of old bottles -  and hanging the wreath full of vintage ornaments just completes it for this holiday season!

If you have read this far, and have not grown tired of my narration, you will understand why only a house nut would sit back on the sofa and take a picture of it while everyone else is busy chatting!  Don't you love the beamed ceiling? The walls and ceiling have this yummy plaster texture and creamy finish.

The fireplace is not finished yet, but the mantel and side panels are the best of old, original paint.  There is one of a pair of stunning needlepoint chairs!

 One more view of this beautiful combination of color and texture.

Turning back into the dining room,  notice more great paint on this old step back cupboard. 

 Glancing from the dining table, a wonderful area just off the kitchen and the dining room, I saw yet another example of great original paint on the old dry sink - of course, chock full of antique pantry boxes and antique molds, with lots of holiday greenery. Of course, I am crazy about the old hooked rug, too. Love that cherry color.

 Closer view - don't you love the lamb?

 I loved this window peeking into the kitchen from this spot.

Last but not least, upstairs, just off the master bedroom, is a precious room for the grandchildren. Called "Monkey Business" most appropriately!

Thank you, Jan and Bill, for allowing me to share your house. What a treat to have been a guest there and I can't wait to see what you do next!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Christmas Table

I had lunch today at the most fabulous house! I plan a full post for this weekend, but meanwhile, here is the wonderful table - well, wonderful table, chairs, place settings, linens, need I say more? (Click the image for details)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Snow in Texas!!

One answer to my dilemma from my last post is to not post long and interesting posts, just short and fun! So how about this? Today it snowed in Fredericksburg, Texas - well, at my house anyway, for about ten minutes! I was quick to run outside with my phone and snap these shots.
Annie at the My Ranchburger inspired me to share my pictures as she did - yes, she had snow in Houston! Now that is something to blog about!!

To blog or not to blog......or, personal musings from hill country house

I so wish I could keep up with all the great blogs out there who post every day or so, with interesting stories and great photos, but my life just doesn't seem to work that way.

Bat Cat, 19 years and counting...

I spend a lot of time with a dear old kitty who is just hanging on, but loves to be held and brushed and talked to.

I spend time with these two goofballs, oops, I mean sweethearts...................trying to stay involved with my daughter's school and preparing a healthy dinner each night and fighting for the 15 or 20 minutes that we three sit at the dinner table together.............before the phone rings or homework calls or whatever other interruption that seems to occur regularly whenever we try to have family time.........

I treasure any time I can get with this man I love. This must have been a Saturday - my usual, no make up and a comfy Mexican dress! I think we had just made homemade ice cream here - looks like we made a bit of a mess!

If I am lucky I get some text messages from this cutie pie several times a day, and if I am really lucky, I get a nice, long chat with her!!

She loves to cook when she is at home. I don't even complain about the mess anymore - I am just thrilled when she is here!

Some days I get to spend time with repairmen who check gas leaks and ovens that don't work, and dryers that decide to quit, or I talk to computerized systems (God forbid a person answer the phone!) at Lowes trying to understand why, oh why, no one really cares that my warranty doesn't guarantee that anyone will actually show up to repair the dryer.........or trying to figure out the latest mystery this week - the flashing red light on the thermostat ( I know, it's all so fascinating) and grocery shopping and running to the bank and the cleaners, and did I mention the six dogs that love to be fed and talked to and played with?

Buster Brown

Amos, one of two English setters, brother to Andy

Of course, the Bud man

Yes, I know this is just three - I promise you , there are three more!

Soon it will be track season again and there go Saturdays ..........................

and this spring is time for more college visits...............hmmm.....wonder if we could we choose our visits based on good architecture and university owned art collections?

Speaking of art collections, I nearly ran off the road the other day on my way to the post office. Stopped at a light, I glanced over at Insight Gallery on Main Street and saw this magnificent painting by one of my most favorite artists in the world, Donna Howell- Sickles. Her work just brings me pure joy - it makes me smile from the inside out.

So, how do you find time to read all the fabulous blogs out there, and the even bigger question is how do you people (you know who you are!) find time to create such long and interesting posts? Tell me later - I better get to the grocery store - we are supposed to have snow and ice later today and the Thanksgiving leftovers just can't quite cut it for another weekend!


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