We are headed out of the town tomorrow morning for the long holiday weekend to our beloved lake. Winter time there is quite different than summer but just as lovely. Hannah turns 15 on Saturday and there couldn’t be a more perfect place to celebrate her birthday.
I’ve got my warm winter essentials packed up and ready to go along with the ingredients for Hannah’s birthday dinner request- lasagna (made with homemade noodles by Norah with the pasta maker she got for Christmas) and a carrot cake.
If internet service is available I will be posting daily photos throughout the weekend. See you soon!
This week’s vignette sits on our dining room table.
I am a true believer in keeping dining tables clean and clear of clutter and debris. Being able to sit down to do work, or set the table to eat a meal is so much nicer when there aren’t piles of stuff to move out of the way.
A vignette in the center of the table sets the tone of a sacred space. In places where you visit often, especially where you might work or eat meals, they create a sense of peace and calm.
This grouping sits upon a wooden lazy Susan. We like to spin it around to pass condiments, herbs and spices. A white dish with an antique vanity plateau mirror sits upon the lazy Susan to dress things up a bit. I love how the mirror reflects the candle light in the evenings.
I always have a fresh bouquet of flowers on the table. At this time of year I use mostly store bought but as the seasons change, posies made from my own garden begin to appear. This one is made up of store bought Anemones, Silver Bell Euculyptus pods (left over from Christmas decor) and some foraged Sensitive Fern seed heads.
The antique thrifted pewter pitcher sits upon a slice of wood to give height and some rustic flare.
Sitting atop another slice of wood lives a set of little pewter dishes holding a crystal salt cellar. A second cellar holds hot pepper flakes.
A small glass vase holds a votive candle. Lighting candles makes the ritual of meal time that more special.
This week’s vignette is one that lives inside one of my built-in bookcases. Since I am a bit of a vignette-aholic every shelf in the bookcase contains a vignette but I’ll focus on this little top nook for now.
Like I mentioned before a vignette can tell a story. This particular one tells a story of our love of nature with several bits of the natural world found on walks and hikes , antique gardening and nature books, pottery and photographs.
I have been collecting antique gardening books since back when I was in college studying horticulture. I loved to hunt through used books stores and library sales for both myself and my mom who has an impressive collection herself. The pictures and drawings are so beautiful and I am always drawn to a pretty cover.
A slice of black walnut adds texture against the books and can be used as a coaster.
The daffodil pottery bowl holds a wren’s nest that sits upon a group of foraged pine cones. I found that little nest walking Harry one morning. It was just sitting on the sidewalk. It has bits of sweater lint woven throughout.
One of my favorite photographs of Hannah and Norah from a past camping trip leans behind the bowl.
A little handmade pottery vase holding an assortment of found feathers (including some from our own hens) sits next to a little clay bear made by Hannah.
And an old black and white photograph of Pop when he was sixteen watches over the little scene.
This little guy is still coming around. He’ll be 5 years old this spring and comes to visit almost every day.
He’ll look for me through the kitchen window to remind me that it’s time to meet him on the back porch with some nuts.
He is especially liking cashews these days.
He and Chris still have quite a bond. Earl will sit on Chris’s lap and eat right from his hand.
Yesterday we spotted a red tail hawk in a tree across the street. It was feasting on it’s prey. We gasped when we realized it was a squirrel!
We were so relieved to have this visit from little Earl later that day. Phew!
I wanted to share a few projects that I had fun knitting over the last few months. I tend to only work with one color so two of these projects were a little out of my comfort zone but I am now completely hooked on color work and fair isle!
I was super happy with how the Peacock Hat turned out. It’s always a treat to knit something for myself. It’s super warm for my morning walks and I adore the pattern.
I made a pair of fingerless mitts for Hannah for Christmas. I have knit many a pair of these. They are quit and easy. The pattern is from this book.
Norah requested the Baa-ble hat for Christmas. How cute are those sheep?! Now she wants the matching cowl.
Next up…. a fair isle sweater for ME!
I am excited to announce that I will be sharing a weekly vignette series here in this space where I will post a photograph of my favorite vignette created in my home or out in the garden. These little creations bring me much joy. They are sometimes inspired by the seasons and often times are created without my help at all.
I thought for my first post of this series I would also include some tips on how to create your own vignettes. So let’s get started!
Any small pleasing or endearing scene, view or picture.
Vignettes create a sense of order and calmness to any room and bring beauty and originality to the home. I love to create these little still lifes. Sometimes they may reflect the seasons, sometimes they show off my favorite things. And most times they tell a story. Vignettes come in all shapes and sizes. They can reflect the past and present all at the same time. Vignettes can be moody but are always open to change. Each one has it’s very own personality.
Choose a space
Find the perfect stage to tell your story. Designate a few spaces throughout your home that will remain free of clutter. Mantles, bookshelves, nightstands, a bureau, a window ledge are all great places to start. Vignettes can be placed in plain view for all to see or tucked away in forgotten corners. Happening upon a beautiful arrangement when least expected is a pleasant surprise. But beware, vignette making can become quite addictive. I have vignettes in my pantry and even inside the medicine cabinet!
Experiment with what you have. Vignettes are an affordable way to change the look and feel of your home. No need to go out and buy new things, chances are you have plenty of items lying about. Shop around your home and choose things that bring you joy, have sentimental meaning or are just plain pretty. Things you might find in my typical vignette are pottery, nature finds, candles, plants, photographs, a vase of flowers, books.
Arrange and Create
A vignette could be a cluster of all of the same sort of thing or a grouping of different objects. Choose an anchor. This piece will stand out the most and be what draws you in at first. It typically will be the largest piece in the arrangement like a lamp, a piece of pottery, mirror, painting or plant. Let this object set the tone. Instead of arranging items in a straight line, create depth by using items with varying heights, shapes and textures and most importantly arrange in odd numbers. Don’t be afraid to create vignettes with things that get used on a regular basis. Little clusters or groupings of objects that are both beautiful and useful can make a room feel inviting. I have many vignettes throughout my kitchen created with tools and pottery that get used almost daily. After they have been washed and dried, back into the vignette they go! Tell a story. Create little scenes that spark a good feeling or remind you of pleasant memories- something from your childhood, a heirloom passed down, a piece of nature found on a walk. Chances are each time you look at these things arranged ever so carefully on a shelf, they will ignite joy, peace and comfort.
Admire and Allow for Change
Sit back and admire your creation. Allow yourself to edit a bit. Vignettes are not meant to be permanent. They can be changed, added to and rearranged whenever the mood strikes.
In the photo above taken in my bathroom of a shelf above our claw foot tub I pair an antique pottery vase full of fresh Ranunculus with a candlestick and piece of pinched pottery full of wooden brushes. Hanging behind the little scene is an antique hand painted Tole tray. Fresh flowers and plants in any room add life. The tall candlestick gives height and dimension and I prefer candlelight when taking a bath don’t you? The pottery full of brushes is both beautiful and useful as we use those brushes when bathing. The tray gives depth and a pop of color. Even bathrooms deserve vignettes. It’s a room we all use quite often. I want to enjoy the scenery when I am there.
We had a fun- filled weekend starting with Hannah’s first winter formal dance. It was a 1920’s theme and I think she pulled off lady Hannah rather beautifully. And Chris was quite the dapper chaperone!
While Hannah and Chris were off dancing the night away, Norah and I went out for Indian food.
Saturday was spent cooking, cleaning and sprucing up our home for dinner guests that evening.
On Sunday we hosted an afternoon Valentine tea party. There was lots of chocolate, whipped cream, heart shaped sugar cookies and of course conversation hearts. But my favorite were the pickled radish hearts. We have an over abundance of watermelon radishes from our winter CSA share and last week I packed a huge mason jar full and covered them with a salty, spicy brine. I was pleasantly surprised to find that within a few days they had turned a beautiful shade of pink. Cut into hearts, they were perfect paired with cheese and nuts.
We ended the evening with Downton and all was right with the world:)
Today Norah cashed in on one of her Christmas gifts and attended a 4 hour long cooking class. She came back even more inspired to cook new things (if that was even possible).
It is now snowing and we are getting ready to cozy up and watch this.
How was your weekend my friends?
I come from a hardworking, talented and extremely creative family. Stubborn, tough, persistent and strong-willed also come to mind when I think of the Bostons. We are made up of musicians, chefs, quilters, farmers, knitters, gardeners, teachers, nurses, interior designers, carpenters and artists to name a few.
My uncle, Rodman Boston, AKA Roddy, (Pop’s namesake) is an extremely talented artist, not to mention stubborn and strong-willed, and I am lucky enough to have several of his pieces throughout my home. I especially love his landscapes, so calm and serene. I took that photo of him painting a Cape May beach scene in his studio this past fall . Believe it or not, he was going through chemo as he was painting. I told you us Bostons were tough!
Unfortunately Roddy was diagnosed with brain cancer in September. The tumor is responding well to the chemo and has been shrinking dramatically and he has regained most of his vision . However, the latest round of chemo left his immune system very weak. In January, Rod picked up an infection and ended up in the ICU in septic shock. After 6 days on life support, he started a road to recovery and is now working hard to get out of the hospital and back home with my aunt Isabel and his two beloved dogs. Roddy is off of oxygen and talking, drinking and eating, although he has quite a ways to go to regain his strength and mobility.
Over the last few months, unable to sleep at 3 am because of steroids, he’s been sketching in his hospital room, or in his studio painting, or downstairs in his basement constructing frames. These past 4 months have been some of the most prolific in his life. It’s a beautiful thing how he has turned the most challenging time of his life into the most creative one, doing what he loves most!
I am sharing this story because it is all consuming right now in my life, but also to allow you a chance to win one of Roddy’s beautiful paintings through a donation.
This raffle allows anyone the chance to win one of his paintings for a fraction of their value. It also gives Rod the chance to share some of the beauty he has created.
You can click here to read more about my uncle Roddy and how he is a BOSS at life and fighting cancer.
As Pop would say, “Keep the faith, boy.”
You’ve got this BOSS-ton!