Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday Decorating with Mercury Glass

Welcome to December! This is a special time of year for us, as it is for many of you. Tom and I will be searching for our tabletop Christmas tree this weekend. The tree will be placed at one end of our living room, and I’ll decorate it with antique and vintage ornaments. I look forward to sharing it with you soon.

At our house, it’s about traditions and celebrating the holidays in a thoughtful way. I try to decorate in an old fashioned style. I’ll fill our house with seasonal fruit, berries, nuts, hollies and boxwood similar to Christmas in Colonial America.

In addition, I love borrowing Christmas traditions from Victorian times. This means using our antique mercury glass pieces and forcing bulbs to flower.

I wish you all a happy December and a festive holiday season ahead!


I cleared the top of our secretary in the living room, and set out our antique mercury glass collection. Many of these German mercury glasses were imported to Victorian America and sold through Woolworth's. 
I'm very proud of this collection as there are many unusually large pieces. There are also many pairs, which can be harder to find.
Antique mercury glass is double-walled and silvered with a nitrate solution (not mercury), then sealed with a disc or cork. It is usually etched. Below is a footed and fluted goblet.
While purchasing amaryllis bulbs, I found these bleached pine cones. Welcome to a new Tone on Tone holiday tradition!! :)
I made several visits to the mall recently (will tell you why in a future post), and dropped in on a few favorite chain stores. These new mercury glass acorns were on sale at West Elm, so home they came. I added the gray grosgrain ribbons...aren't they cute? The creamware compote and acorns are much smaller than they look in these photos. 
 Look at all the new mercury glasses at West Elm...now on sale!
 This snow globe from West Elm is charming and quite hypnotic, but I resisted. (I must have tried 20 times to get the right photo.)
 Above: vintage looking mercury glass ornaments from Crate and Barrel. I think they are lovely.
 Above and Below: mercury glass galore at Pottery Barn!


Friday, November 23, 2012

A Light and Airy Christmas

I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful! Tom and I spent it with my very large family in the Virginia countryside. (Did you know I am the youngest of 12?) Our lively gathering was full of warmth, laughter, food and more food. 

On the topic of Virginia, have you seen the elegant and bright stone house in the Nov/Dec 2012 issue of Traditional Home magazine? Architect Christian Zapatka thoughtfully renovated and expanded this home for the Jeffress family, bringing in more light and a better flow. The interiors were decorated by my good friend and renowned designer, Frank Babb Randolph. Frank chose a light palette and many pieces from Tone on Tone. The stone house looks especially ethereal and beautiful for Christmas.

Please note: all photos are by Werner Straube for Traditional Home. I've included a few shots that were not published. To read further and see even more photos, please pick up an issue of Traditional Home on newstands now. 

Many, many thanks to Frank and the Jeffress family!
 Designer Frank Babb Randolph had all the brass door hardware nickel plated.
 The ebonized woodwork on the staircase is striking in the light filled foyer. The Swedish Gustavian painted console table and chairs are from Tone on Tone.
 The tree is placed at the end of the center hall.
 A pair of custom club chairs designed by Frank in front of the living room fireplace.
 Homeowner Judy Jeffress and grandson Henry enjoying a Christmas story.
 A lovely view into the serene sunroom.
 The Swedish Gustavian table and French faience lamp (originally a chimney piece) are from Tone on Tone.
 The English mahogany pedestal dining table and Swedish painted chairs are from my shop.
 A festive table setting by Frank and Judy.
 Also in the dining room is this French silver gilt mirror over a Swedish painted chest, both from Tone on Tone.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Houseplants in Our Home and Shop

I love what houseplants do for our home and shop. They can cheer up any room, and bring life to them. When it is dreary and cold outside, I especially appreciate the greenery inside.

With nighttime temperatures hovering around freezing, all of our houseplants are now indoors. I’ll be picking up a few flowering cyclamens to join our myrtle topiaries, ivy and other houseplants. Cyclamens are long blooming, and make lovely host / hostess presents for the holidays.

I am thankful to you all for reading my blog. Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!! 
 This is one of a pair of 7' tall triple myrtle topiaries in our dining room.
 Myrtle topiaries in our little conservatory. The green glazed terra cotta water urn is from Provence (dates to early 1800s). To read more about our myrtles, go here.
 My friend Phyllis of Henhurst Interiors took the above photo when she visited in June. Thanks for the great photo, P!
I cut back this fancy leaf geranium a month prior to bringing inside....it had grown so large and leggy.
 There is a niche between two closets in a bedroom that is perfect for a low light plant like this Yellow Ripple ivy. BTW, because the space is so narrow, I went with a Roman shade rather than curtains. The shade is fabricated from an extra curtain panel from Restoration Hardware (Belgian linen, sand color).
 The ivy sits on an antique creamware fluted pedestal.
 Above is a large leaf Algerian ivy. Ivy plants should dry out between waterings.
 This topiary Duck Foot ivy is at our shop. Notice the miniature leaves.
 This kitchen sink in our shop is perfect for watering plants.
 Pair of triple myrtle tops from Snug Harbor Farm in Maine. See my post on SHF here.
 Doesn't this variegated creeping fig look like it has a strand of "white hair?"
 Below is one of a pair of Maidenhair ferns in an antique French cast iron footed urn.
Cyclamen from last year.