Do you enjoy decorating your home in a manner that reflects your distinctive personal tastes and characteristic style? If so, you might like to join the monthly Styling The Seasons challenge. According to Katy Orme of Apartment Apothocary, the philosophy behind her monthly Styling The Seasons blog series is to reflect on the change of seasons and then express those thoughts by styling a surface in your home. The idea is that your seasonal display will not only rejuvenate your home, but will also be a meditation on what the month means to you. This visual reminder serves to help you realize what possibilities may be in store for yourself and your family during the new season.
Spring, with its warmer temperatures, budding trees, blooming flowers, and longer days, can be an especially potent reminder of what lies ahead in the immediate future. For our family, outdoor adventures like spending time in the garden and brisk neighborhood walks for some flower viewing are a welcome change of pace. And with the kids out of school for spring break hopefully there will be at least one day trip to a scenic place. Then there's the potential for new home projects to emerge and flourish.
My inspiration, or 'springboard', for styling this corner of our living room for the month of March, was some antique sheet music I found recently at my favorite charity shop. The colorful spring-themed cover, with its cheerful pink blossoms, a singing bird, and the old-fashioned handwriting of Miss Clementine Cathcart of Eau Claire, Wisconsin on March 18, 1919, immediately drew me in. If this sheet music could tell a story, what stories could it tell, of that certain spring of 1919, when love was in flower? I couldn't resist purchasing this piece of musical history to add to my collection of printed music. The song 'Springtime of Love' is a valse, or waltz, and as notated, it is to be played 'Brilliant' and 'Daintily'.
And what would the season of spring be without the quintessential flowers of springtime, hyacinths? Did you know that hyacinths are part of the lily family and are native to western Asia? And as anyone who has enjoyed hyacinths in their home knows, their fragrance is divine!
I placed my hyacinths in a pearlescent ceramic vase, made in Japan. This vase has a couple of qualities that I am very fond of in Japanese ceramics: a free-flowing hand painted design, and a beautiful luster. Not to mention - it has a bird!
Behind the vase of hyacinths, on the ledge of the mantlepiece, I placed hand dipped candles into unmatched holders. The candle holder on the left is one I bought at a druggists shop some years ago; I couldn't resist its unique shape and color. The vintage candle holder on the right is a fairly recent thrift store find. It is not only a candle holder, but also a flower vase as well.
Over the years I've curated an interesting selection of original vintage paintings. The pair of scenic paintings on the mantle were found at a charity shop in a small former mining town in Colorado. I can no longer remember the name of that little town in the Rocky Mountains; during this time of our lives, James and I traveled extensively throughout Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Nevertheless, they bring back fond memories of our wandering days, before we had our children, and life was a lot more carefree.
I'm very excited about the little Japanese spouted vase sitting between the landscape paintings. Why? Because the collection of Blue Jay feathers you see in that vase have been collected by me in the garden over the last several spring seasons. You see, every spring there are mama Jays that bring their babies into our bird friendly backyard in order to feed them, and to teach them how to get their own food. There is always a lot of wing flapping involved, and who knows, maybe there is some molting going on too. But I always find a feather here and a feather there. Our family has a lot of fun watching this 'show' from our large kitchen windows.
My favorite spring blooms are the various bushes and trees which produce their flowers before their leaves have developed. Known as hysteranthous, this phenomena is significant because a mass of flowers is more likely to attract pollinating insects, and an absence of leaves facilitates wind pollination. Some examples that everyone is familiar with are magnolias, and cherry and plum trees. Quince also falls into this category. I recently noticed that my neighbor, Leora, has a quince bush growing in her front yard, which has luscious pinkish-orange flowers! I texted her one morning and asked her if I could possibly snip a few sprigs, and she replied back saying yes. So here is one of those snippets of quince, in yet another of my Japanese ceramic vases:
A few days after obtaining those quince cuttings, I gifted my neighbor some homemade cherry almond scones, just to say thank you.
I can't gush enough over vintage hard back books, with their dusty fabric covers, beautiful colors, and interesting titles and fonts. Each year our local town library has a giant fundraiser event, with literally tens of thousands of books of all sorts that have been donated by library patrons, just for that sale. Most books are a dollar or two, and I always find plenty of art and design books, as well as vintage novels such as the three pictured here, and also a few damaged older picture books to cut up for collage projects.
An unusual looking pair of Roseville Pottery book-ends support my vintage books. Roseville Pottery was founded in Roseville, Ohio in 1890 and closed around 1953. When I first spotted this pair at the charity shop, I was struck by their distinctive organic shape, earthy colors, and interesting floral pattern. It was also surprising that something this old and collectible could still be floating around. Fortunately they are in perfect shape - not a scratch or chip anywhere!
And finally, a vintage reproduction print by ornithologist John Gould, of Podiceps Rubricollis, or Red-Necked Grebes, graces the wall above our piano. Gould's book Birds of Great Britain, of which only 750 copies were printed, contained hand coloured lithographs of not only a great variety of birds, but also their chicks, nests, and eggs. As a bird lover, I can appreciate the attention to detail Gould gave his works, in both his artistic rendering of birds, and his depiction of them in their natural environments.
When I first saw this framed print at the charity shop, I hesitated at the $15 price tag, yet I knew that the beautiful wood frame was worth at least that, and maybe even more. Still, I waited several weeks, gazing at it every time I went into the shop. Finally one day James said, since I really liked it, why not just go ahead and buy it? How could I argue with that? After we brought it home, we discovered the original price sticker on it, from the 'Penny's' department store (probably JC Penny as it is known today). And the price was $14.95!
I added a few cherry blossom branches to the top of the frame, in keeping with my spring theme for the month of March. As you can see, the petals have already entered their 'sakura' phase, which means that the pink flowers, having served their purpose in nature, are now fading and falling away, petal by petal. In Japanese culture, this is considered to be a gentle reminder of the wistful, transient nature of life. When I was out gathering these, I noticed that the cherry blossom petals were already falling away, but decided to use them anyway. As I was placing the branches onto the picture frame, they floated down onto my styled surface, and I'm okay with that. For after all, there will never be another spring such as this one - the one we are living right now, today. Last spring was different from this current one, and next spring will be yet another unique experience.
What does the month of March mean to you?
If you'd like to get into Styling The Seasons yourself, just style any surface in your home and share it via your blog and/or on Instagram, tagging Katy Orme of Apartment Apothocary and Charlotte of Lots and Lotts.