Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A welcome respite

We love this bit of time between Christmas and New Year's Day. It's generally peaceful and quiet being that so many people are still on holiday time, and it gives us a chance to do a bit of organizing and planning to feel "caught up" going into the new year. It's also a good time to reflect on the past year and consider where we'd like to go in 2011. We adore Christmastime and certainly will be sad to see it go, but the promise of a fresh new year is also quite exciting. What experiences or travels (or design plans :) are topping your list for 2011?

(image from Cottage Living)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday heirlooms

There are so many beautiful and unusual vintage ornaments out there, and this old Czechoslovakian glass star ornament really spoke to us. Doesn't it look simple and lovely hanging on a door knob?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stocking stuffers

We're all about stockings at Christmas time. There's something so fun about gifts that are small in size but big in thoughtfulness. First, I am coveting these pretty Martha Stewart pruners. It seems whenever I need to trim some flowers and such, the pruners are missing from the kitchen drawer (Ahem: husband). These ones are so special, he might just leave them alone.

Also, Field Notes in fresh colors. These adorable mini notebooks have great details. (They make graph paper ones, too).

There are few fragrances I can tolerate, but I LOVE the way this detergent smells. A little bit of luxury for the laundry room.

The calendar that just makes you happy!

What a brilliant idea for these colorful utensils - weighted handles and little built-in 'stands' so they stay elevated off the counter.

I can say from personal experience how much I love this little password-keeper notebook. No more unruly sticky notes or lost passwords!

Just one more full weekend of gift gathering is ahead of us! Whether you'll be shopping, crafting, making, baking, or even planning fun experiences to gift to those nearest and dearest, don't forget one of these every once in a while to treat yourself for all your good work :)

(Photo by David Daniels)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wreath love

Loving the easy, imperfect nature of this wreath. Feels a bit undone, in a good way.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

And the winners are...

While we love our vintage Shiny Brites and the like, there are usually a few new ornaments and accessories that catch our eye each season, ones that we feel would fit right in with Modern Cottage holiday design. Here, our top five eight :)

1. Above, platinum glitter twig, earthy and glam at the same time -- (I kind of love this one, too. It has a little mod/grandma thing going on).

2. Last year I spent hours online searching (to no avail) for modern-day white ceramic trees like these from ZGallerie. (They've apparently already sold out online but may be available in stores).

3. Cutest zinc tags. Love.

4. Handmade burlap ornaments. Simple yet brilliant.

5. These musical objects are a glossy-white take on an old-fashioned favorite.

6. We love the natural look of these scalloped trees, they're a great way to achieve some textural balance in your holiday decor.

7. Mercury glass birds. Need I say more?

8. Incredible handmade paper star urchin. And real statement piece. Can you imagine a tree-full of these?

So, why not fix yourself a cup of hot chocolate and crank up the Johnny Mathis? Happy decorating!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Inspired holiday design

While we have our favorite ornaments and accessories we bring out year after year, it's fun to change things up a bit and style them in different ways, or occasionally add new pieces to keep things fresh. One thing however remains constant: our desire to keep the overall look clean, simple and uncluttered. We had fun this year with a bit of ribbon in two gorgeous shades of green. We used them to perk up oversized mercury glass ornaments, to hang pairs of our moss wreaths, and to dress up vintage metal buckets with old-fashioned silver tinsel trees. We also used them to hang ornaments on our tree. And because ribbon is not terribly expensive (especially when purchasing by the yard) we recommend getting a really nice quality fabric or grosgrain ribbon if you can find it. We used about 15 yards total. A really simple, affordable, and customizable way to get a festive and cohesive holiday look in your home!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Good gifting

The Christmas Season is officially upon us! We're feeling jolly and festive coming out of the long weekend... we have our lights up outside, decorations inside, and even found the perfect tree at our favorite lot (more on all of that later). For now, we are are excited to bring you great gift ideas with true Modern Cottage appeal. Here are some of our favorites this season...

1. Gorgeous pottery by Jill Rosenwald. This is the utensil holder.

2. Alister, the most amazing handmade elephant in classic menswear fabric. (Also available: Eli).

3. Personalized leather bookmarks, a perfect stocking stuffer (We recommend giving it with this book).

4. This wreath will look fabulous year-round!

5. Our favorite typewriter-font coasters. You may remember seeing them here.

6. Hands down the BEST dog bed cover design we've ever seen. Love the raw simplicity of it. Scout has already put in a word with Santa on this one.

7. A friendly paper mache bird to keep you company perched on a desk or shelf (Can you have too many birds? :).

These are just a few of the items we're loving at the moment. We've got lots more gift ideas and decorating tips in store, so we hope you'll stay tuned in. Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Vintage ornaments

We at Modern Cottage adore vintage ornaments, especially those striking and unusual color palettes that just don't seem to exist anymore ... plus the way the finish changes over the years makes them quite beautiful, as well as interesting. Our collection contains mostly blues and greens, although we've seen some really lovely yellows and pinks, too. I love how the tops are missing on these little blueish-silver ones, above. It makes me love them even more!

These soft green ones were a welcome find last year. I really love the lemony-green glow.

We generally like to group by color for a fresh and modern display (and in this case, we could not resist adding the lone stripey one, which makes it a bit more playful).

In some instances, where the ornaments are uniform in size and finish, they look quite festive with a pop or two of the unexpected! The antique metal mold makes a for fun pairing.

We love vintage ornaments simply nestled in a pretty bowl or unusual vintage container, but there are limitless ways to use them ... for instance, you could string them into a garland or wreath, scatter them along a table runner among tea lights, hang them individually from clear wire or ribbon overhead a table, or (novel idea :) put them on your tree!

Happy vintage ornament shopping.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a beautiful dusting of snow yesterday to make this Thanksgiving holiday feel even more authentic, complete with masses of sledding kids (and many parents getting to be big kids again). We also have one happy snow-dog on our hands (as evidenced by the huge grin and sideways tongue). He literally bounced all the way down the hill, with a few impressive leaps and twists along the way. Here's hoping you have an equally good time this Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Under the tree

My hilarious cousin Kate welcomed her first baby, a girl, just two weeks ago, and when I saw this in the DWR catalog I thought how perfect it would be in the nursery (or just about anywhere!). As is probably evident by now, we tend to love anything white so long as it's clean-lined and uncomplicated. It's called the Eames Elephant.  A bit spendy at $290, but isn't it fabulous? How much fun it would be to wake up to this under the tree.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hello, holidays!

It's almost holiday time!! I know not everyone is in full holiday swing, but I am seeing the most important signs: Starbucks is serving peppermint lattes in cheerful holiday cups, and stores like Home Depot and Target have stocked giant holiday sections. What got me most excited however was when I was flipping through radio stations in the car two nights ago and realized that the station that plays "All Christmas, all the time" during December had already started this year, early! I know it sounds cheesy but I am a huge fan of Christmas music, ever since I was a little girl and my mom and I would listen to a tattered old Johnny Mathis Christmas cassette tape over and over again as we belted out the tunes in unison. (Fortunately, my husband is very tolerant of my Christmas music addiction, as well as my singing). Anyhoo, we hope you'll stay tuned in to our blog because in anticipation of the upcoming holidays, we will be featuring some fresh Modern Cottage decorating ideas, gift ideas, and more!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Modern Cottage moment...

I love how a camera lens can capture a distinct, specific view in the midst of all the things around us constantly beckoning for our attention; and one which gives you a completely different perspective than you might otherwise realize without it.

We're really loving our wrap-around porch - turns out it's the perfect spot for our trusty chaise loungers. The tulips in an old paint can make it even more inviting. To me, this image is a "zone" of reflection and relaxation.

Here's hoping we'll have a few opportunities before the rush and excitement of the holiday season to put ourselves in this picture and simply gaze up at the trees, breathe in the fresh fall air, or doze off for a time and dream of wonderful things.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Winning colors

In honor of the Giants' World Series win last night, we present a little Modern Cottage inspiration in team colors! I know, it's not an easy feat... and while we do love their colors for a sports team, the combination is a bit more tricky when it comes to Modern Cottage design. The designs above however are pretty great.

From Apartment Therapy, Etsy, Martha Stewart, and House Beautiful.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Vintage goodies

We are always on the lookout for interesting, useful, or beautiful vintage items to add a little cottage flavor to our design. This tiny mint tin does the trick on modern silver tray atop a bedside table.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hunting for house numbers

We need to get new house numbers up (we removed the existing ones which were plastic...need I say more?). So, nothing has quite struck our fancy yet. Maybe for the next few weeks, we could get by with pumpkin numbers. I've always loved this idea since I first saw it in Cottage Living (oh, how I miss you!) years ago. The second image is from Sunset.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Modern Cottage pumpkins

How perfect are these amazing, creamy-white pumpkins to finish off a Modern Cottage porch for fall? I knew they would look fabulous, but I think they actually exceeded my expectations once I saw them nesting on our front porch. The contrast is perfect! We have always loved white pumpkins but they don't seem to be widely this year we ventured out to a pumpkin patch where they had small quantities of several unique varieties. Loving their petite size and curvy stems. Scout is all about the pumpkins, too -- clearly :) Such a good porch dog.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Super finds

Every once in a while, we come across something so unique, so perfectly "us", so Modern Cottage, that it makes our hearts all a flutter. When you come across such pieces, don't hesitate too long: if it's love at first sight, make it yours. In our case, this kind of reaction is often caused by vintage or one-of-a-kind pieces (although they can be new pieces that we suspect will blow out within hours of hitting stores and sites). Case in point: this salvaged antique cabinet in galvanized steel, originally used in a paint shop. It was coated in layers of paint, but once meticulously stripped, turned into this handsome beast. The seller also had the steel legs fabricated which make it a hundred times more functional. I find myself gazing upon it with adoration so often, I thought it deserved its own post :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

This little piggy

I have an affinity for pigs. I'm not exactly sure why, although it may have come about a few years back when I rediscovered the shiny metal piggy bank from my youth (it now sits contentedly in our office). As with most things Modern Cottage, I prefer the simple and unadorned variety ... that goes for white ceramics, too (yet another minor obsession). So it was with great joy that I happened upon these magnificent ceramic pigs from Etsy artist Fruit Fly Pie. The planter-style is in our kitchen, and I've been trying to rustle up a reason why I also must have the piggy bank version. They are made from vintage 60's molds. Don't they look it? I love everything about them, especially the ears.