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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Thrill of the Chase at a Church Attic Sale

Last Saturday morning, I was running some errands, and while driving past a church near my house, I saw a big sign out front, "HUGE ATTIC SALE, 7:00- Noon.  Proceeds benefit Haiti."  It wasn't much past 7 a.m. (baby boy rises before the rooster), so I decided to pull in and check it out.  Providence Methodist is a large church- I'd guess they have several thousand members, and the attic sale consisted of donations from church members.  My husband has suggested that we visit before, but I just can't seem to break away from my Calvinist roots.  So although I drive past this church at least twice a day, I had never stepped inside until Saturday.

You never know what you're going to find at a church attic sale.  As I walked towards the door, I felt certain I would be in and out within 5 minutes.  Boy was I wrong.  The Methodists run this sale like a well-oiled machine.  They had every department, from the ladies boutique to bake sale mapped out, charted, and color coded, and everywhere you turned were "guides" to help you find your way (was that a metaphor?).  This was an attic sale on a MASSIVE scale, unlike anything I've ever seen before. 

I wish I had taken more pictures while I was there, but I too caught up in the excitement.  One good thing about a church sale is that everyone is really nice- no pushing, shoving, or elbow-throwing.  And the best part is that everything had been donated by church members, so 100% of the sales proceeds went towards relief efforts in Haiti.  One volunteer told me that the volunteers were allowed to shop the night before the sale, and this pre-sale event raised over $14,000. 

I decided to forgo the clothes, children's items, exercise gear, etc and just head straight for the household goods.  The household section was a huge room (fellowship hall?) full of shelf after shelf stacked with lamps, bookends, fabric by the yard, mirrors and art, lampshades, silver serving pieces, and more china than a department store. And this was just the tip of the iceberg.  This photo I hurriedly sent MoS Washington is not at all indicative of what I found Saturday morning. 

As soon as I walked in, a large brass lamp caught my eye.  It was beautiful, heavy, and etched with chinoiserie scenes on both sides.  I picked it up with one hand, hanging on to my full can of Diet Coke in my other hand (I'm a bit superstitious this way.  If I go digging empty-handed I won't find a thing, but if take a full drink, I'll inevitably find something fabulous and have to throw out my drink in order to carry my treasures to the car).

After the lamp, I then saw a beautiful crystal pineapple with brass leaves and a heavy brass leafy dish.  Time to throw out the Diet Coke and use both hands. 

A brightly colored tin canister caught my eye, with enameled butterflies and flora.  It was marked that it was made in England, so I decided to pick it up.

Then I spotted a small silver revere bowl, a vintage ice bucket with a silver handle, and a brass sailboat.  All of a sudden I could no longer hold everything with my two hands.  It was time to stake out a place to pile my treasures.  A nice volunteer said she would watch over my pile while I continued to dig.  My pulse was racing- this was my idea of a fun Saturday morning.

I headed over to the linens section, which was jam-packed with everything from tables of unfinished needlepoint projects to designer fabrics still on the bolt, to custom swags and jabots, pillows, and cloth napkins by the stack.  I decided on a few sewing notions, beautiful yellow trellis fabric, two vintage crewel pillows, and a fabulous island-y vintage linen hand towel.

Isn't the embroidery so fun?

In the bathroom section I found a fabulous Hollywood Regency gold faux bamboo tray, soap dish, and toothbrush cup.   I think I'll break up the set and use the tray elsewhere in my house.

Then, a crystal powder dish with a monogrammed silver lid and an antique magnifying mirror caught my eye.  They will be perfect in my bathroom!

Back to the silver section, I found a set of iced tea spoons and the most unique toast rack I've ever seen.

Moving on to the kitchen area, I picked up this old decanter (it includes Prohibition-Era language etched on the bottom), a vintage cocktail shaker with a fabulous bakelite handle, and this adorable little lobster bottle opener for my husband who says I never buy him anything when I go dig.

In the garden section I found this pair of green tole bamboo lamps. 

And last but not least was this copper tree frog mailbox for our front porch (also for my husband, who loves frogs).
Knowing that my pile in the corner would probably fill up my backseat, I decided to head home without spending time in the other areas of the sale.  Did I miss out on another vintage Pucci or DVF?  Probably...  But there's always next time!  All in all, that was a great Saturday morning!

Monday, August 30, 2010

J Crew does Fall (with a few laughs thrown in)

The J. Crew fall catalog hit mailboxes last week and I finally got around to sitting down and giving it a thorough read the other night. I also happened to go into a J. Crew store today and picked up an armload of pre-fall essentials- as usual this season does not disappoint!

Of course, you know that the MoS Girls are and shall ever be J. Crew devotees (team Jenna!). But, we couldn't help but notice a few (unintentionally) humorous elements of newest catalog...not to mention, I think that the intensely overstyled Crewcuts will need its own post one of these days. Here's a quick look at our picks and pans for fall.

1) Skinnygirl

J Crew's brought the Pixie and Minnie pants back in a major way- I bought this italian wool pair in super-flattering stretch wool- these will go anywhere. Also picked up the denim stretch pixie pants with front vertical zippers (not yet online) which I can already tell will be a going out staple once the weather turns cool.

I also LOVED this fierce zippered pair, though had to admit they were a bit less practical...they look great on though. Will keep them on sale watch...

2) Forget Zoolander

This dude stopped me mid page-turn. Is that Jesus? The guy from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes? Regardless, it's kind of a nice change from the usual can't-grow-a-beard hipsters they feature.

3) Are we doing this now?

Thigh-highs? Really?

Though I did like them here...

4) Marabou Coup

I have to applaud J Crew for their innovation...normally when one thinks of marabou this is the first thing that comes to mind...

But this marabou jacket is incredibly awesome! Looks like a hipper version of fur. Sold out online, even at $1200 a pop.

5) Party like it's 1997

I did a double take when I saw that J Crew is offering Addidas Sambas for men and children. These remind me soooo much of high school...perhaps the World Cup has brought soccer-inspired fashion back to the forefront, but gah, all they do for me is bring back flashbacks of my 11th grade boyfriend! What's next- will J Crew be peddling Oasis CD's?

6) Bass Flashbacks

In elementary and middle school, I had a strict uniform dress code...back to school usually meant a trip to the Bass outlet where I picked out new penny loafers or bucks. I get nostalgic over that green Bass tag that bedecked the side of all their shoes! Thus I am just DYING to see some hipster walking down the street wearing these GH Bass penny loafers (and these are women's, believe it or not). It all comes full circle...

And Jesus is even modeling bluchers, also a staple of my elementary school wardrobe. (Am I the only one who thinks of David Spade here? "America's favorite president." "Who is Ronald Regan?" "A casual shoe for yachting." "What is a blucher?")

7) Glasses Galore

I'll admit it, the "geek glasses" trend is really growing on me. I have total glasses envy- I've never had to wear them and I am just DYING for a pair (though not necessarily for the vision impairment that necessitates them). I love this variation in tortoise. Can't find them online yet though...but these are GREAT glasses for men.

However, I'm less sure about the Selima Optique collection for CrewCuts. It seems a bit...tragic? unholy? be peddling designer sunglesses to kids.

And had I asked my parents for $80 aviators when I was 8, I'm pretty sure the answer wouldn't have been favorable.

So those are our initial thoughts- more to come, we're sure! What are your picks for fall from the new J. Crew catalog?

Friday, August 27, 2010

New on MoS Marketplace: Vintage Owl Mail Holder

Just listed on MoS Marketplace:  Adorable Vintage Owl Mail Holder!  Made of woven straw, with brightly colored embroidered owls.

A slot for letters,

bills (maybe a cute mail holder makes them less painful?),

and your miscellaneous invitations, announcements, etc.

Measures 18-inches long.  Perfect to hang on the wall by your desk or in the kitchen!

Priced at $25 plus $5 to ship.  Email us at to purchase!

DIY Gold-Encrusted Agate Bookends

I've told you before about my childhood love for the Nature Company, rock tumblers, and saving my allowance for a purchase at the Schiele Museum gift shop.  Generally speaking, however, these items don't really fit into my adult lifestyle.  But when I first saw these Eduardo Garza pink quartz bookends, it was love at first sight.  Then I saw the $875 price tag.  Truly, they are absolutely beautiful works of art.  But gosh, they are way out of my league.  Or are they?

I wanted to replicate the Garza bookends, but before actively seeking out some pink quartz, I decided to do a trial run on something I already owned.  A pair of purple agate bookends in my den would be perfect.  I bought them a few years ago for around $15.  They aren't too special, but I do like them.  They add a nice organic element to my bookshelf (and keep my inner rock collecting tendencies satisfied).

The purple inside the rock is pretty enough, but the brown "shell" around the outside of the bookend leaves a little something to be desired.

I bought some Liquid Leaf gold paint at Michaels.  It was very inexpensive- around $3 if I remember correctly (and you can always find a 40-50% off coupon online to print out and take with you to Michael's).

I did a test patch of the gold paint at first.  I wasn't sure if the porous rock would absorb it completely, but it seemed to work!

So I went to painting. 

It took a couple of coats to cover the rock, but it was really easy.

Ready to go!

Back on the bookshelf

What a nice change from the dull brown before!  I didn't mount it on a brass base like Garza, but that might be on my list when I locate some pink quartz. 

This is probably the easiest DIY project ever- definitely give it a shot.  The gold adds a welcome touch of glamour to my bookshelf!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Furniture 101: Bergere Chair

Today's installation of Furniture 101 takes us back to the 18th century. Perhaps this is basic knowledge for some of you, but to me, I didn't realize until recently how timeless the bergere chair has remained over the last three centuries. Of course, it's evolved greatly over that time, and there are varying styles of bergere, and fabrics can play a huge part in the overall look. But when you think about it, there are few decorative elements that are widely used today that are so stylistically rooted in the era of Louis XV. In looking at the painting below, clearly few of us would go for the style of a gilt rococo clock or a full length wall tapestry, but the bergere- most of us would gladly take those!

A Reading of Moliere, by Jean Francois de Troy

To go back to its origins (thanks in part to Wikipedia, of course) - a bergère, or "shepherdess chair" is an enclosed upholstered French armchair (fauteuil) with an upholstered back and armrests on upholstered frames. The seat frame is over-upholstered, but the rest of the wooden framing is exposed: it may be moulded or carved, and of beech painted or gilded or of fruitwood, walnut or mahogany with a waxed finish. Padded elbowrests may stand upon the armrests. A bergère is fitted with a loose, but tailored, seat cushion. It is designed for lounging in comfort, with a deeper wider seat than that of a regular fauteuil. A bergère in the eighteenth century was essentially a meuble courant, designed to be moved about to suit convenience, rather than being ranged permanently formally along the walls as part of the decor.

Appearing first in Paris during the Régence (1715-23), the form reaches its full development in the unifying curves of the rococo style, then continues in a more architectural rectilinear style in the Louis XVI, Directoire, and French and American Empire styles.

Bonus points for recognizing the room that houses these well-known bergere chairs...

And in an entirely more modern direction...


Duralee's colorful bergere

Bergere in ikat

Bergere goes Sweedish, courtesy of Verandah

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