How To Decorate Your Home Like A True Victorian

Victorian Trading Co. | The Official Blog

It was lavish or nothing at all.

Interior design of the Victorian Era required grandeur. An ambition to which they reached through displaying each and every furnishing. Opulence began in the rug design to the fringed valance.

Discover how to incorporate 19th century home decor in your home.

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When a Card Says it All

It seems that I have strayed from making greeting cards in the past few months, so I was glad to be motivated by needing to send a birthday card  and a graduation card.  I set myself a little challenge: to make four different cards using a single sheet of 90 pound watercolour paper.

First, I  folded the paper into quarters. After moistening the folds, I tore the paper into four pieces.  Because I really liked the look of the torn edges I tore a narrow strip off each of the remaining edges.

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I am working on a rather stained Ranger craft sheet which I love.

 

Next,  I randomly applied texture paste through a stencil to each of the four “card fronts”. Having to wait half an hour for the paste to dry I took my GSP for a walk. (She had been pacing impatiently, nails clicking annoyingly on the floor.)

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Back from our walk,  the texture paste  completely dry,  I  sprayed some yellow shimmer (from DecoArt Media) followed quickly with a spritz of water to  thin out  and spread the ink.

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When the ink had dried, I mixed a drop of DecoArt media “blue green” paint into a dab of their tinting base to make a  pale green colour. This green paint  was lightly pounced through a Harlequin stencil.

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As the paint was drying I rummaged through my scrap box and chose four different focal images.  (from the Graphics Fairy)

I edged the cards using Distress “Frayed Burlap” ink, and stamped randomly to add a bit more texture.

The focal images and smaller items from the Tim Holtz Ideology packet of snippets were glued in place.  I stamped the “greetings” onto scraps of card stock.

The internal messages were printed on the card bases with our laser printer. (Although I save the different card sizes as  templates on my computer, it always seems to take two or three attempts to get the placement right. Ugh!)

At this point the card fronts were glued onto the card bases and embellishments added.

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For DS, whose birthday is in the summer.

The graduation card:

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For DGS, who graduated from high school. Love the old photo.

And these two cards? Well, I just think they are so grungy shabby vintage-y chic.

 

Happy Birthday!

One hundred and fifty years ago, on July 1st 1867, the British colonies of Upper Canada (Ontario), Lower Canada (Quebec), New Brunswick and Nova Scotia came together under the British North America Act to form the Dominion of Canada. The anniversary of this confederation had been called “Dominion Day” until being changed to Canada Day at some point. Searching on Google, I found that the  new name of this statutory holiday came about when  a private member’s bill (C-201) passed quickly, and rather sneakily,  in October 1982.  Only thirteen parliamentarians were present for the vote! (see CBC’s  Inside Politics Blog, posted June 30th, 2012) Interestingly, a survey conducted by the blog’s author (Kady O’Malley) showed that 48% of Respondents preferred “Dominion Day” while only 41% preferred “Canada Day”. H-m-m-m.

Whatever your preference – I hope you celebrate this very special occasion!

Happy Birthday Canada!

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June Garden

Flowers have bloomed and faded away over the course of June. Early in the month, our wisteria actually bloomed for the second time in sixteen years. flowers-1

Unfortunately, its flowers were all at the bottom of the plant!

Irises bloomed profusely. They will need to be divided next spring.

This Columbine had been growing wild along the road last year until I rescued it. The town insists on  mowing down all the wildflowers which grow beside the road and make walking such a pleasure.

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Bachelors buttons and bridal wreath spirea came into bloom at the same time as the irises.

 

I’m not sure whether chives are grown for their flowers, but I do like them.flowers-6

Encouraged by the success I had with the two rose bushes I planted in 2015, I splurged and added two more plants this spring:

The purple one is a floribunda and the pink one is a David Austen.  It is thrilling to see their first flowers.

Coinciding with the first day of summer,  hollyhocks behind the house began to bloom.

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The lavender flowers are ready to be harvested and dried.

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I love hydrangeas and have several plants. I try to encourage the flowers to turn blue by adding aluminum sulphate to the soil at the base.  It appears that this plant needs a little more.

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Finally, after all the digging, lifting, planting, watering, and weeding, we can take a break  and enjoy the garden.

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Garden Inspiration

Until last weekend, it has been perfect spring for plants growing and thriving in our garden. With the continuous cooler temperatures and moist grounds, the flowers have never looked better nor held onto their blooms as long as they have this year. The cooperative weather motivated me to be outside puttering in my flower beds and herb garden.

Regretfully, I do not have the proverbial green thumb but I have found inspiration by visiting some  famous gardens including Butchart Gardens in British Columbia,  the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario and the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture near Niagara Falls Ontario. However, the one garden I found most inspiring was a not-so-famous garden outside Waterford City, Ireland.

Abbey Road Gardens is only open to the public by appointment, but in my naivety, I wandered through the open gate leading off Abbey Road. I was greeted by a friendly ginger cat who encouraged me to further explore the delightfully arranged gardens. Shortly, the owner came from her house to explain that the garden wasn’t open to the public for another month. I apologized and explained to her that I couldn’t visit then. We talked for quite awhile about gardening and her plants. Several times she apologized that the garden needed straightening up and several times stooped to pluck out an errant weed. (The sign of a true gardener.) I asked about the soil, which looked so easy to work with. Apparently it was clay soil that had been enriched with decades, even centuries of sheep manure. The property had been the site of a monastery where sheep had been kept.  After seeing how interested I was in her gardens she graciously invited me to take as much time as I needed to browse around.

While, my pictures do not do Abbey Road Gardens justice, I hope you’ll have an idea of its charm:

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A Rite of Spring

Way back, when those lovely spring days seemed to last forever, one simple pleasure in our garden was to pull out a stalk or two of this beautiful vegetable, called rhubarb. We’d dip its end in a handful of sugar and munch away enjoying the lovely combination of tart, sweet and crunch.

I suppose it is this nostalgic fondness for rhubarb that made me delighted when a DC offered to dig up a few crowns from his patch so that I could grow my own. Now my rhubarb has been in place for  three years and is well established and vigorous. This past weekend I pulled a large bundle of stalks, discarded the noxious leaves and proceeded to prepare my version of Rhubarb-Strawberry Crumble.rhubarb-1

The Recipe:

6-8 rhubarb stalks

1 quart strawberries, sliced (I used frozen ones)

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 cup sour cream

1 cup granulated stevia (for baking)

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Trim  the root ends (the white-ish part) from the rhubarb stalks, and discard.  Chop the stalks into 1/2 inch pieces. Combine the rhubarb pieces with the strawberries in a greased 1 1/2 quart ovenproof casserole dish. Mix together the cornstarch, sweetener, cinnamon and sour cream and pour over the fruit mixture.

Crumble together 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten free all-purpose flour), 1/4 cup Demerara sugar, 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon with 1/4 cup softened butter ( or coconut oil), until the mixture is well blended. Distribute evenly over the fruit – sour cream mixture.

Bake for 45 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

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This makes about 6 generous servings. Enjoy!

Tip: When using a stoneware or pyrex-type baker, place it on a metal baking sheet before putting in a pre-heated oven to avoid thermal shock.

What childhood memories do you have, if any, about enjoying the spring garden?

Auction Action

Last week during coffee conversation with a DF, I learned that there was going to be an auction sale where she was volunteered to be a “spotter”.  On Saturday,  I dragged another DF along with me to what I think of as “an old-time-country auction”. We arrived early  at the rural location to have a good look around. The organization was impressive. Household contents were displayed under a tent in the front yard. Other items were set out on two hay wagons and on the ground further away from the house, under a canopy of magnificent oak and shagbark hickory trees.

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The auction began promptly at 10:00 a.m. at the barn area. The auctioneer moved the sale along quickly and one had to be careful not to move one’s hand and inadvertently make a bid.                                                auction-17

 

I had never seen a cradle like this iron one. Its canopy was missing, but otherwise it was in good shape:

 

Old wooden crates, tins, and old windows were popular with the patrons:

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There was a van selling food and beverages:

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And, as my DF calls it, a “little blue house” for relief.

More than an opportunity to bid, and if lucky, acquire rare and beautiful items, an old time country auction is a social event. It is fun to meet old friends and make new acquaintances.

From old wooden boxes,

to antique china ware, I was pleased with my purchases.

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This pre-1891 china set belonged to the proprietor’s grandmother’s great-grandmother!

As a bonus, it was a “Goldilocks” spring day: not too hot, not too cold, and no rain!

My auction sale tips: Arrive early enough to  preview the sale. Set a spending limit for what you want to bid on, and stick to it. Dress comfortably. Most important, plan to have fun.