Vintage French and Equestrian Style

If you are a fan of vintage French and equestrian style,
you have found a home at A Touch of Mink.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is Burlap the Sign that the Age of Austerity has Arrived?

I remember hearing from someone or reading somewhere the origins of puddled curtains and draperies. Apparently in years past ( I believe it was the Victorian era) as a subtle "show" of ones wealth homeowners would have curtains made for the their windows overly long so as to puddle lavishly on the if to say, "Look at my home! I have so much money I can afford to buy more fabric than I need!" without of course, ever really saying that.

I am wondering if this new "age of austerity" we are in is the reason behind the wild rage for burlap, muslin and all things plain and homespun. Remember, just a few short years ago, when EVERYONE just had to have a granite countertop? People were sucking equity out of their homes to install zen shower retreats and stainless appliances. I don't think anyone even thought twice about it. I don't think tasteful restraint was a trait many were aspiring to. I'm not blaming or judging. It is just the times we were living in. Not many of us questioned it.

Maybe too, this return to natural fabrics and prim decor is about desiring that warmth of home. Granite, stainless, metal, those can be so cold when they are standing alone in all their expensive grandeur. A painful reminder of our thoughtless spending. But cotton, calicos, burlaps, leather and raw silks shimmer and radiate a warmth all their own. They've lead a life all their own long before they graced your home.

Perhaps we feel now that it is enough just to have a place to live? It doesn't have to be grand, or fancy or flashy. It just needs to exist. A set of plain little muslin curtains for privacy. A favorite chair covered in a not so perfect homemade slip, suitable for dog or human. Flour, sugar, tea and coffee in the cupboard and a nice bottle of wine to share with friends and the affirmation that another month has passed and you've paid all your bills. Or at least most of them. Looking at your belongings and knowing you own them in all their dilapidated glory. You are not making the 50th payment to Pottery Barn for that sofa you don't even like anymore and are ashamed to have anyone see.

So, if our faded glory style is a sign of lessons learned then I'm glad we've learned them. I think this supposed cold new age of austerity might just be the warmest age yet! :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Before & After on my "RH" Coffee Table, Broken Columns and French Sofas

Since I'm pretty much wiped out of inventory from my sale I thought I'd blog about some projects I've been doing around the house. Remember my "rant" on the outrageous prices of Restoration Hardware and the super cool coffee table I found for $15? This is how it is coming along. First I made plywood panels to fit where the broken glass was (well my husband made them really). Then I sanded off the dirt and moss and put on a thin coat of deep gray paint. Sanded again. Then I put on a light coat of French gray paint. Sanded again. Then I put a little bit of gold leaf paint. Sanded again. Here is the finished product. I've had this broken column sitting around the shop for months. I thought for sure someone would snatch it up and come up with something creative for it. No one did. So I decided to take it home and broke it some more! Then I put some moss and a nest in it and some curly willow and now I have a nice focal point for my "new" table. Lastly, I'll share with you my vintage French sofa find (ignore the dots-it's just my silly camera) I found this extra long, button tufted, pale mauvy grape colored sofa at a thrift store and picked it up for $40. I am half way through the paint job. I'm painting it to match the coffee table. I am thinking of trying out some upholstery spray on it. I think it would look dynamite in gray. But for $40 I can live with the color as is too. It's growing on me. I bought some Simply Spray and I've tried it out on a scrap piece of fabric. It seems to cover well and does not dry crunchy. I'll let you know if I decide to paint the sofa and I'll post pics if it turns out well-or even if it doesnt!

Thanks for stopping by! Happy hunting!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More Pics of the Desk Hutch Transformation

I've had so much lovely feedback from friends admiring my little hutch transformation I've decided to post some more pics of it and a little "how to" blog on it. This area started off with one of those laminate top desk thingy mabobber areas in my kitchen that was going to waste. I never used it as a desk. So I started by finding some cute hardware for the drawers. I painted the drawers a nice soft white distressed with a burnt umber glaze. Then I tacked down some burlap over the laminate then put a piece of glass over that. Voila! A new counter top. Then my rock star husband built me the hutch I blogged about the other day. I've filled it with my budding collection of brown and cream transferware. I mixed in some natural curly willow with a little white painted curly willow and twigs of real cotton bolls. The little chair is a set of 5 I bought on CraigsList. These are 100 year old true French chairs and they are so cool. I paid $40 for all 5, can you stand it?! The leather seats were disintegrated but the awesome nailhead trim around the seat was still intact and I didn't want to disturb the tacks by taking off the leather and reupholstering them. So I just made plywood seats, covered them in burlap then made a little pillow cushion to put on top of it. Lastly, I made the little curtain out of muslin and painted the image right on to it. Behind the curtain is a butler's trolley with baskets in it filled with linens and such. There you have it. One useless kitchen desk facing a wall transformed into a lovely focal point in my kitchen!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Touch of Mink & A Mix of Madness Personal and Inventory Estate Sale

Traci and I are liquidating virtually all of our 2010 inventory plus a fair chunk of our personal items for a big sale at my home this week. Thursday is by appointment only (call me at 206-679-5322 to set up a time), Friday is open to the public 12-7. Saturday from 9-2. Here's a little peek at what we have.Boy we have a ton of stuff! I will have my popular burlap French chairs, toile chairs, chairs chairs and more chairs. Plus tons of other furniture, smalls, tea towels, pillows, custom silk window treatments...the list goes on and on. If you are a local stop by! Enjoy some cookies and a relaxed shopping day. Many things that would make great gifts and better prices than any flea market you've ever been to! We'd love to see you! Kiama

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Brown Transferware Hutch Made from our Old Fence

We have this big stack of wood sitting out back from when we took down a white fence in our front yard to replace it with a bigger horse fence. The wood has just been sitting in the rain "aging" when my husband and I decided to put it to good use. I've always wanted a little hutch to display my growing brown transferware collection. So Jason built me this awesome hutch on top of the desk area in our kitchen. I never used the desk so now it has become a great platform for the dishes and is really a butler's pantry/hutch set up now. Very usable. I didn't even have to paint the thing! I love it! Thanks Honey, you rock!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Love Hate the New Restoration Hardware Line

OK-Can I just say that there is a fair amount of us out here who have been creating the "New Restoration Hardware Line" look for a while now. The Versailles or weather worn French look RH is selling now is hot. No doubt. I don't know if I am in love with their new catalog or furious. Make no mistake. I love the look. I've been working at achieving that look in my home for quite some time now. It's timeless and elegant. Lovely. Truly. But c'mon! They have a coffee table made from a loading pallet for $1,300! I have some sitting in my barn right now that came free with my hay delivery! I feel kind of insulted when I see those prices. Don't you? I feel like RH must think we are stupid consumers out here. I give all of you and all of us a lot more credit. I say if you want a loading pallet for a coffee table go grab one from any grocery store who has few about, throw some old wheels on it and have a party with the money you saved. I thought I'd throw in a pic of my "new" coffee table. Got it for $15. Oh yeah...and the weather worn look on it? It REALLY IS weather worn. I found it outside! I think I'll take a stroll out to my barn right now and see what I can find. Take that @RestorationHardware!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Great Flea Tomorrow

A Touch of Mink together with many other fabulous vendors will be at the Second Saturdayz Flea Market tomorrow from 8-3. Click on the Second Saturdayz link to the left for directions. I was so impressed as I was setting up today with the outstanding collection of vendors for this show. It will not be one to miss! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More Burlap Coffee Sack French Chairs and a Flea this Weekend

You asked for 'em, you got 'em! The last time I did a crop of burlap coffee sack chairs they were a big hit and I've had lots of requests for more of them. It took me a while to find the right frames but I have 4 now. At least 2 of them will be with me this Saturday, November 13th at the Second Saturdayz Flea (click on the link on the left for directions). Early shopping starts at 8AM. Most of my chairs will be priced to fly out of there at only $89 each! I'll also have the above super cool vintage flour sack upholstered chair, plus cotton boll wreaths, French pillows, tea towels, formal French chairs and so much more. Stop by for a visit and get started on your holiday shopping!

Blessings to you!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cotton Boll Wreathes are Here!

Oh these cotton boll wreaths are even lovelier than I remember when I first stumbled upon them in a small town in South Carolina last spring. These gems are made from the cotton once it has bloomed and the twiggy structure from which it blossoms creates such a beautiful background for it's downy cotton puffs. I am happy to say that until now, these particular wreaths of this quality could only be found in the museums scattered about the south. But I've forged a wondeful alliance with the farm who furnishes them to the museums and they have agreed to supply them exclusively to A Touch of Mink to make available to you! The large wreaths measure approx. 15" in diameter and are priced at $50 plus shipping. The small ones approx. 8" and are $25 plus shipping. They will last forever and have been passed through the agricultural department for safe transport (as they are a germinated plant). They will be available on my website starting tomorrow.

I also am very pleased to offer baby cotton bales. These are mini replicas of the giant bales of cotton, bound in burlap and metal twine. They make a great display and have so many uses. Bookends, pins reminder notes on them, stack them for your Christmas nativity scene, my goodness, the list goes on. They are $18 each plus shipping. Very charming!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Preparing for Another Flea and the Cotton Boll Wreathes are IN!

Florentine nesting tables $99 for the set.

Pillows $14 for the large lumbar and $12 for the smaller ones .
Set of 6 French dining chairs with table-oatmeal muslin seats $275.
Saturday November 13th is the big Second Saturdayz Flea at Sandpoint. I have been sewing and upholstering up a storm in preperation. I plan on having at least 2 of my burlap chairs (I'm almost finished and will post pics soon) tons of pillows and some awesome Florentine tables and jewelry boxes among other things....and.... drum roll please...the cotton boll wreaths are here! I will take pictures today and post them. They are truly magnificent and I'm so honored to be chosen as the only retailer to carry them. Until now, these wreaths could only be found in museums in South Caroline. They are of the best quality and so incredibly charming. I can't wait to share them with you. For now, here are a few pics of some pillows and chairs I have ready to go...stay tuned! :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My First Flea Market Pics

Traci and I had a fabulous time at our very first flea market last weekend. According to the other vendors it was not a huge turn out, but it didn't seem to deter some serious shoppers, and I nearly sold out of my sugar sack and burlap pillows, toile totes and other goodies. It was a good day, and I learned a ton and met some great people. I was proud of how the booth turned out. I think it was pretty and inviting if I do say so myself! We received a lot of lovely comments and who doesn't like that?

OK-can I just say that starting a web site for business sales is hard! Not that hard work has every stopped me from anything before. But at least it's up and running even if I only have few tiny things posted. I am busy researching ways to have custom made tin top reclaimed wood tables made, and French chairs and dining tables custom made for A Touch of Mink so I can offer them on my site with custom finishes. My cotton boll wreaths are in flight from SC so they should be on the site soon too. I have found a great resource for some amazing accessories and in my head it all looks great, but getting from my head onto the site is the trick! I keep thinking Rome wasn't built in a day. Just put one foot in front of the other and keep going. If you've been following my progress I thank you for your support. I really believe I will have something quite unique to offer very soon.

I hope you all enjoy your Sunday tomorrow. I will be having some much needed girl time with my best buddy Jewels and my sweet daughter Bianca. Blessings to you, Kiama

Friday, October 8, 2010

My Web Site is Live! Hooray!

Over the last 9 months or so since I've been blogging I've been slowly imagining a web site where folks can purchase my items directly. I am finally up and running. You can click on my link on the side of my blog or go to where you find my items for purchase. I only have a few items listed now, but once I'm finished with the big market this weekend I will be posting more. I'll have French chairs and clothing, and all kinds of equestrian home decor. If you get a minute, please stop by and take a look. I'd love to hear what you think.
Thank you to all of you who read my blog and who have requested the ability to purchase from outside my local area. I'm very grateful! Kiama

Monday, October 4, 2010

Save the Date! October 10th Sandpoint Antique and Design Market

A Touch of Mink will be at the Seattle Sandpoint Antique and Design Market, this coming Sunday, October 10th. The market is located in the large hangar (#30) in Magnuson Park. If you click on the link to the left you can print a flyer which gets you in at a discount. Doors open at 8AM for early buying. I have some really amazing finds I've kept hidden just for this market and I'm very excited to bring them. I've got a gorgeous, flawless French floral button tufted chair. A French gray clawfoot settee upholstered in oatmeal muslin, a French gilded settee with matching chair, tons of tea towels, burlap and floursack pillows, Florentine boxes, equestrian onesies, the list goes on! Everything will be priced to sell and there is a lot so if you are local please stop by. I'll be posting pictures just prior to the day. We'd love to see you there! Kiama

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Framed French Tapestry,Tole and A Darling Chandelier

I love this gorgeous framed French tapestry ($69.95). I think it would look so fabulous in a dining room as it depicts a happy dining scene. This sweet little shabby chic candle chandelier is a bargain at $32.95 and a lovely pair of petite tole sconces would be so charming flanking a mirror in a little powder room ($32.95).