Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Styling A Vintage Hutch: The Christmas Season

James Mont Chinoiserie Hutch, Chinoiserie hutch, how to style a James Mont chinoiserie style hutch, styling the Christmas season

Hi Friends! Ever since I purchased a limed oak James Mont chinoiserie-style hutch last spring, I've been wanting to style it on a regular basis and share it here with you on this blog.

As it happened, 'Life got in the way', as it often does, and for the most part this hutch became a repository for various tea ware items offered in my Etsy shopWhile that's still true to some extent, this is my first attempt at purposefully arranging the collectibles in my hutch in a manner that more characteristically reflects who I am. After giving it some thought, I decided that a good approach would be styling through the use of pieces that vary in type, shape, and size, yet are still consistent in color and style. Luckily, I collect a huge variety of 'stuff', and I thought that picking items with my styling decisions in mind would be a fun challenge for myself!

James Mont chinoiserie limed oak hutch, vintage James Mont chinoiserie limed oak hutch, vintage chinoiserie hutch, styling a vintage chinoiserie hutch

Choosing a color scheme of white, green and red, and a Christmas or seasonal theme, using all vintage items provided a consistent look. And having a variety of items - plates and teacups and saucers that vary in shape, size, and manufacturer - helped to tie together a miscellaneous collection of fun Christmas kitsch, such as the Santa mugs, elves and guest card holders (like the small 'Mrs. Claus' figurine), into a harmonious whole. Adding a touch of the modern world is a great way to bridge the past with the present; the paper fans (purchased at a Target department store) and the poinsettia plant displayed alongside a vintage teapot on the very top of the hutch help to accomplish that.

Here are a few close up shots, one from each shelf:

James Mont Chinoiserie Hutch, Chinoiserie hutch, how to style a James Mont chinoiserie style hutch, styling the Christmas season
James Mont Chinoiserie Hutch, Chinoiserie hutch, how to style a James Mont chinoiserie style hutch, styling the Christmas season
James Mont Chinoiserie Hutch, Chinoiserie hutch, how to style a James Mont chinoiserie style hutch, styling the Christmas season

I enjoy recording family memories, and took these photographs on Christmas Eve as part of a holiday story for a pocket photo album project. And now that I have taken down all of the Christmas decorations, and also begun putting away most of the items pictured, I realized that the photos I had taken were the beginnings of a new blog post series on styling a vintage hutch! And now, I can begin the process of figuring out what will go on these shelves next. What fun!

Thanks for reading. Soon, I hope to be able to once again share another post featuring the styling of my vintage James Mont hutch.


Monday, January 2, 2017

#collectandstyle - December Monthly Favorite

slcook52 on Instagram, Sylvia Cook on Instagram, Sylvia Cook image

Happy New Year everyone! Thank you for visiting Under The Plum Blossom Tree blog - I'm so glad you're here for this last #collectandstyle Monthly Favorite of 2016! I can't believe I have managed to write a blog post for each of the chosen monthly images since starting this hashtag project on Instagram back in April. On the other hand, it is your support of the tag that keeps me going and I thank you for that. I plan on continuing the project throughout 2017, despite all the everyday challenges of life, work and family.

The traditional vintage blown-glass Christmas ornament, or bauble as some like to call it, is for many of us not a mere trinket, but part of our 'why' when we celebrate the holiday season. We appreciate them for their beauty and craftsmanship. We love them because they are a part of our family heritage. And when collected, they create within us feelings of nostalgia - for our childhoods, for tradition, and for remembrances of people, activities and stories that we cherish. The above image, by Sylvia Cook, who is known on Instagram as slcook52, conveys those feelings through its evocation of an evergreen tree, lights and ornaments.

The fact that Sylvia chose to photograph several blue ornaments from her collection is a hint of the delightful color palette that winds and weaves its way throughout Sylvia's Instagram feed. There you'll find pops of pastel blue, aqua and various other pastel colors, firmly grounded within the on-trend background of white walls, furniture and other decor. And Sylvia's blog Inspirations, provides a wider contextual view of the color and texture elements shared in her Instagram feed. Sylvia recently blogged her 'Christmas Home Tour 2016', which featured her bedroom, family room, living room, kitchen, and a hot cocoa bar which I'm sure her grandchildren loved. My personal favorite is the family room tour, where Sylvia's passion for "retro/vintage" and the color aqua are clearly shown, and where you can see more of her gorgeous and colorful vintage ornament collection.

Sylvia's many endeavors include not one, but three Instagram hashtag projects: #vivalavignettetuesday, #mycottageinstincts, and #mypastelcharm. And her boundless photographic creativity can also be found in Sylvia's Etsy shop Vintage Chic Images where you can find shabby-chic floral fine art prints, shower curtains, and phone covers in the pastel colors she so dearly loves. An even larger selection of art prints and home decor items can be found in Sylvia's Society 6 shop Sylvia Cook Photography and also in her Kess In House shop. And for portrait photography, visit Sylvia's website, also known as Sylvia Cook Photography.

Thank you for stopping by. If you would like to know more about #collectandstyle, you can find out all the details in my blog post #collectandstyle - A New Instagram Hashtag. See you there on Instagram, as well as later this month here on my Collect And Style Monthly Favorite blogpost!


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Holidays From Under The Plum Blossom Tree & Vintage Tea Treasures

Ranger-Ware Buffalo Molded Plastics, Inc., Ranger-Ware snack set, Ranger-Ware serving bowl set, vintage christmas, vintage Ranger-Ware snack set, Boston Pops, Fielder Boston Pops, Pops Christmas Party, RCA Victor, RCA Victor LM-2329, Target style, Target wrapping paper, Target garland, Target ribbon, old scissors

Dear Family and Friends,

It is so wonderful that this year, tonight is both Christmas Eve and also the beginning of Hanukkah. No matter what holiday you observe, we here at Under The Plum Blossom Tree and Vintage Tea Treasures wish you a peaceful, joy-filled celebration.

I would also like to extend my deep gratitude to those of you that have taken the time to read this blog and/or visit the Etsy shop, Vintage Tea Treasures.

Here's to a fabulous 2017!


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Vintage Tea Treasures: An Etsy Shop Update

Vintage Tea Treasures on Etsy, Spode's Tower Pink Transferware 10 3/4" dinner plate, Viktor Schreckengost Christmas Eve Snack Sets, M8 26 Christmas poinsettia teapot USA, vintage tea party, vintage tea ware, classic vintage tea ware, classic teatime teaware

Hello Friends! Tea and cake is a timeless tradition. Equally timeless are the one of a kind vintage and antique tea treasures you can find in my Etsy shop, Vintage Tea Treasures. Here's a quick update on a few of the holiday themes and colors currently for sale over there:

Collecting vintage can be especially fun when you not only mix and match your pieces, but repurpose as well. The antique Spode transferware 10 3/4" plate, pictured above center, was originally a dinner plate, but it also makes an attractive serving plate for a 6" holiday chocolate cake.

Tea and cake, or maybe tea and cookies - either way, the whimsical pair of Viktor Schreckengost Christmas Eve snack plate and tea cup sets, to the left and right of the Spode plate, are sure to please children of all ages!

Lastly, a unique cube-shaped 'M8 26' teapot, made in USA, featuring a lovely poinsettia-spray decal and an Asian inspired natural woven rattan handle. A lovely addition to a holiday vintage tea party. With a capacity of 40 ounces, you'll be able to make about six 6 oz. cups of tea. Just $15.00 plus shipping. [Update 12/17/16 - SOLD]

For all the descriptive details, prices and shipping information on these and other distinctive items for sale, visit Vintage Tea Treasures on Etsy!

Thank you for stopping by!


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Vintage Finds: Christmas Bits and Bobs

Vintage Finds, thrift store vintage, Christmas vintage finds, vintage Christmas decorations, vintage holly teacup and saucer, vintage made in Japan tree ornaments, vintage Josephs Originals, Joshephs Originals, Josephs Originals Santa decorative dish, Josephs Originals santa decorative dish, vintage Lefton China, vintage Lefton made in Japan, vintage Lefton soap dish, vintage Lefton Christmas soap dish, Target Wondershop paper fans, Target Wondershop Christmas paper fans, Target Wondershop Christmas decor, Target Wondershop holiday decor, Target Wondershop brightly colored paper fans

Hi Friends! Where has the time gone? I intended to share a few of my latest Vintage Finds last month, but November slipped by and I never got the chance.

Now that it's December, I'm excited because it's that time of year when the volunteers at my favorite local charity shop, Assistance League of Eugene, have stocked their shelves with loads of holiday decor, including some fun vintage Christmas bits and bobs. Also, every December the Assistance League sells tickets to their exclusive holiday event, giving its patrons a chance to shop the newly stocked holiday merchandise before the general public. And the best part, of course, is that the Assistance League serves children in need through several philanthropic programs, such as Operation School Bell, Children's Dental Center, and Operation Heritage.

So here's a quick post with the items I've found so far:

The star of the show in this vignette is the stylized holly teacup and saucer. What a wild thing, right? I love the unusual texture and the dark green color - a quintessentially 1950s shade. Unfortunately there is not much information about who made it. The saucer has a 'U.S.A.' incised stamp and the bottom of the teacup is stamped '1363' in ink. This set will definitely be showing up in my Instagram feed soon! Laying on the saucer is a '50s Lauffer teaspoon made in Norway. It features a classic midcentury modern design coupled with a primitive style wood handle. This spoon is part of a cutlery set which has not only the usual knife, fork and teaspoon, but also salad forks and soup spoons.   

The pair of colorful birds and the 'snowgirl' in the yellow dress are tree ornaments made in Japan. Each of the three ornaments shown has a hard plastic body covered with a stiff colored fabric. The feathers and eyes of the birds are made of felt that has been pieced together and glued on, and their beaks are a hard plastic, also glued into place. The dress and orange hat of the snowgirl are also made of felt, plus she has a cute pink pearl nose and painted-on eyelashes. I love how little ornaments such as these have a very homemade look and no doubt, a lot of handwork was involved in their making.

The glass ball ornaments were all made in USA except for the little pink one on the bottom left, which was made in Japan. Here's a cleaning tip about these old relics: to remove dust, dirt and other debris, very gently wipe them with a soft dry cotton cloth only! I learned the hard way that if you try to clean these with a wet sponge, you may actually remove the painted finish!

And lastly, two decorative dishes: The jolly Santa with the friendly eyes is a Josephs Originals, made in Korea. The leaf shaped dish on the right, featuring a child dressed in a festive red outfit carrying sprigs of holly, is a hand painted soap dish, made by Lefton China, in Japan.

Oh, and if you are wondering about the three paper fans, I got them at Target last week. Definitely not vintage! I enjoy mixing vintage and modern. 

As always, thanks for stopping by, and I'll see you next time, for more Vintage Finds!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

#collectandstyle - November Monthly Favorite

OandYStudio, Andrea from OandYStudio, hoop art, wool hoop art, handmade hoop art, handmade wool hoop art, transferware, blue flow transferware, vintage flow transferware, vintage blue flow transferware

Hello everyone, and thank you for visiting Under The Plum Blossom Tree blog! I'm so excited that you're here, and thrilled to introduce you to this month's #collectandstyle Monthly Favorite: Andy of oandystudio!

As you can tell from the image above, Andrea Brinkley is both a collector of vintage blue and white china ware, and also a master fiber artist. Andrea creates one-of-a-kind hand embroidered wool art, or 'stitch painting' as she likes to call it, featuring botanicals and flowers.

She had posted an image at #collectandstyle a few months ago of a very unique blue and white teacup and saucer set that she had given to her mom when Andy was fourteen. I immediately was taken by how she had connected a lovely story from her past, to her current love of collecting blue and white china:

#ihavethisthingwithblueandwhite, blue and white teacup and saucer, O&Y Studio, Andrea Brinkley of O&Y Studio, vintage blue and white teacup and saucer

Since that time, I've enjoyed seeing more of Andy's images of her beautifully styled blue and white china ware, along with her delicious looking French tarts, flowers, and the landscape and scenery surrounding her adopted town in North Carolina (Andy is from South Africa). Then, I noticed a shift in focus, and with this image, Andy began talking about how she is intentionally working at fulfilling a creative dream:

O&Y Studio wool fiber art, wool fiber art by O&Y Studio, oandystudio on Instagram

When Andy posted the above image, she wrote:

"For several years I've been writing down ideas and aspirations in my Big Ideas notebook. I have let many interruptions (big ones like illness and a wedding and small ones too mundane to mention) delay my goals. With much prodding, love and encouragement, I am happy to say I've been making a good start lately. I'll be sure to keep you posted."

And in just the past couple of months, BOOM! - Andy opened her Etsy shop, oandystudio, and has been hard at work, stocking it full of her gorgeous original hoop embroidery designs such as the first image you saw at the top of this post.

Do you find this story inspiring? Do you have a creative dream? My feeling is that for all of us women in the creative community, there is a lot of value in watching another's dream come true. It can inspire us to take up challenges we have set for ourselves, to inspire others, and to work to lift one another up.

I plan on continuing to follow Andy on her creative adventures, both on Instagram and on Etsy and I hope you will too! You can also find Andy on her website, and on Facebook.

And don't forget, if you are looking for a unique gift for someone special (or for yourself!), I'm sure Andy would be happy to help you choose just the right hoop embroidered floral or botanical wool art piece, lovingly handmade in North Carolina!

Thank you for joining me for the #collectandstyle November Monthly Favorite! And if you would like to know more, and how to join in on all of the fun, please visit my blog post, Collect And Style, A New Instagram Hashtag, right here at Under The Plum Blossom Tree.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Portland Japanese Garden

Portland Japanese Garden, The Flat Garden at Portland Japanese Garden, Portland Oregon Japanese Garden, hira niwa, sea of raked sand, sake cup, gourd-shaped bottle, Circle Island, Gourd Island

As the days here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon passed from late summer into early autumn, the leaves on the trees in our yard and in our town began to turn from bright green to tinges of yellow. Then, mid autumn came, with its brightly colored orange, gold and red tones, and the change in season brought with it an enthusiastic desire for adventure.

The Portland Japanese Garden, with its spectacular display of autumnal colors, quiet inviting mood and powerful meditative symbolism, was the destination of choice for James and I on a recent Saturday. The Flat Garden, or hira niwa, shown above, is one of five garden areas in the 5.5 acre park, located within Washington Park.

The Flat Garden is a dry landscape style garden, where the design is a purposeful balance between the ground plane and the volume of stones and clipped shrubbery, creating a sense of depth of space. This living sculpture features a sea of raked sand which suggests water, while mountains and hills are depicted in the shapes of azalea shrubs.

Portland Japanese Garden, The Flat Garden at Portland Japanese Garden, Portland Oregon Japanese Garden, hira niwa, sea of raked sand, sake cup, gourd-shaped bottle, Circle Island, Gourd Island

Through a series of extended pathways, one can meander throughout the entire park, viewing the various stone, water and plant elements in all their glorious landscape-style interpretations.

So join us for a moment and catch a glimpse into this magnificent garden, proclaimed by His Excellency Nobuo Matsunaga, former Ambassador of Japan to the United States, "the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan."

One of the first sights to behold when entering the park is an antique 5-tiered stone pagoda lantern that was given to the city of Portland by its sister city Sapporo, Japan.

Portland Japanese Garden, antique 5-tiered stone pagoda lantern, autumn Portland Japanese Garden, Portland Japanese Garden in Autumn

And in the Lower Pond area of the Strolling Pond Garden, or chisen kaiya shiki niwa, are a pair of stone cranes, symbols of longevity.

Lower Pond of the Strolling Pond Garden Portland Japanese Garden, stone cranes in Portland Japanese Garden
A ceremonial Tea House, called Kashin-Tei, or Flower Heart House, is located in the Tea Garden and was created in Japan by master craftsmen using wooden pegs in the traditional Japanese style, and reassembled at the Portland Japanese Garden.

Portland Japanese Garden Kashin-Tie, Portland Japanese Garden Flower Heart House, Portland Japanese Garden Tea Garden

There are at least two machiai style meditation shelters - this one was near Kashin-Tei.

Portland Japanese Garden machiai shelter, meditation shelter at Portland Japanese Garden

And of course a blazing Japanese Maple tree just beginning to lose its autumnal leaves.

Autumn colored Japanese Maple at Portland Japanese Garden, Japanese Maple tree Portland Japanese Garden
Autumn colored Japanese Maple at Portland Japanese Garden, Japanese Maple tree Portland Japanese Garden

Another stone lantern. This one was next to another machiai shelter.

stone lantern Portland Japanese Garden

It was a surprise to see this beautiful 'living topography' sculpture by Anne Crumpacker.

Sculpture in Portland Japanese Garden

Ponds, streams, and waterfalls all play a significant role in the Japanese garden. Another type of water feature is the water filled basin. The first one shown below is mechanical in that when a section of the lower bamboo piece on the right gets filled with water from the higher bamboo stalk on the left, the weight of the water pulls it down and it then releases the collected water, after which it quickly springs back up into its original position.

water basin Portland Japanese Garden
water basin Portland Japanese Garden

Zoki no niwa, or the Natural Garden, is an informal garden with streams that meander under small bridges. James is standing on one of them while he concentrates on his photography, in this case taking a picture as I walked over a stone path bridge.

James Aoyama in Natural Garden at Portland Japanese Garden
June Anderson in Natural Garden at Portland Japanese Garden

A leaf composition taken in the Natural Garden.

Natural Garden Portland Japanese Garden

And one more stone lantern.

leaf composition by June Anderson at Portland Japanese Garden

Karesansui, or Sand and Stone Garden is another example of the dry landscape garden style, expressing the beauty of blank space, or yohaku no bi. Weathered stones rise up from a bed of sand raked to suggest the sea.

Sand and Stone Garden Portland Japanese Garden
Sand and Stone Garden Portland Japanese Garden

Also featured along one wall of the Sand and Stone garden is a lovely stand of bamboo.

bamboo at Portland Japanese Garden
bamboo at Portland Japanese Garden
bamboo at Portland Japanese Garden

From this vantage point, as James and I stood under a Japanese Maple at the Pavilion Gallery, we could see Mt Hood, which in this setting is very reminiscent of Mt Fuji, in the distance.

Japanese Maple Leaves Portland Japanese Garden
Mount Hood as seen from Portland Japanese Garden

As we walked back to see the antique 5-tiered pagoda one more time before leaving, this striking scene caught my eye.

autumnal scene Portland Japanese Garden
autumnal scene Portland Japanese Garden

Our last stop was the gift shop, where I was taken with how the colors of this koi banner hanging just outside of the shop were delightfully similar to the colors in the leaves of the trees behind it.

koi banner Portland Japanese Garden
Thank you for strolling along these beautiful and intriguing garden paths in the Portland Japanese Garden with me. To see even more beautiful images of our day in this wonderful setting, you may like to go to James' blog, Origami Night Lamp.

June Anderson of Under The Plum Blossom Tree blog at Portland Japanese Garden

Oh, and one last thing! One of the highlights of the Lower Pond is to stand on the Zig Zag Bridge and watch as graceful koi swim to and fro - a beautiful and mesmerizing sight to behold!

June Anderson at Portland Japanese Garden

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