The urge to preserve our memories is a basic human phenomena, which has endured over time, and the methods we use to record the events of our lives are steeped in traditions such as writing and photography. These days, we might even prefer writing on paper or perhaps taking photos with our film cameras, to the more modern electronic devices available to record our thoughts, hopes, dreams or remembrances.
But even in this modern age we may still want to find more traditional ways to express the significance of some of life's more memorable moments. And in our homes and other personal spaces, we might gather together objects and memorabilia, and display them in a way that, hopefully, communicates the special meaning of those special times.
Thus, my Styling The Seasons post for the month of June represents two significant and memorable events that happened within the last month - my first foray into sponsored posts on Instagram, with Numi Organic Tea, who sponsored my #collectandstyle hashtag on Instagram for the month of May, and the purchase of a circa 1950 James Mont Chinoiserie Limed Oak Hutch.
Several of the tea related objects on the shelves of this newly acquired hutch are the result of my collection habit going into full gear, for the sake of tea. If you've been on Instagram lately you may be aware of a recent styling trend using flowers and tea or coffee as design elements. I was drawn towards this, both because I loved the idea of a good scrummage through a charity shop searching out vintage tea cups and saucers, and I also enjoy the challenge of having new subjects to style and photograph. As well, the tea and coffee trend fits nicely with my #collectandstyle hashtag.
I thrifted all of the teacups and saucers, as well as the neutral colored hand painted Japanese teapot on the middle shelf (right side) and the creamer next to it. The white Chinese teapot, also hand painted, (top shelf right), has been in James' family for a very long time, since the early 1950s. The dinner plate on the top shelf, also thrifted, was made by the Homer Laughlin China Company in 1940.
The bamboo box on the bottom shelf is very special to me because it was a gift from Numi Organic Tea. The grand prize during their May sponsorship was their "Flowering Tea Set in Bamboo" gift box. They sent me one of the gift sets for styling and sampling, and I plan on reusing the beautiful hand crafted bamboo box for memorabilia.
All four of the ceramic birds are some of my most precious keepsakes - they are all from my childhood. I really have no idea how it is that I still have them! While growing up in the city of Chicago, there were many Saturdays when I would walk to the neighborhood shopping district with my weekly allowance. One of my favorite stores there was Woolworth's, and that is where I bought all of these colorful, made in Japan birds, one at a time.
No Styling The Seasons post would be complete without flowers, and I am happy to share a bouquet I made with wild perennial sweet peas. For years I've been seeing the many lovely wild pea vines growing next to the bike path along the Willamette River, and recently thought it would be fun to grab my clippers, gather some up, and bring them home.
Such a bright color! But what do you think, is this magenta or fuchsia? What I really love about this color is the subtle underlying blue or blue/violet tone, and as they fade, these wild pea flowers gradually become that darker bluish shade.
I began this wild floral arrangement by placing a frog on the bottom of a vintage ceramic container. Luckily, I happened to have the right size and shape frog in my collection of flower arranging tools:
I gathered the flowers in pairs back to back, and placed the pairs first in each corner of the vessel, then began filling in the front, sides and back in the same manner, poking the stems securely down onto the prongs of the frog. I repeated with double stems along the front, then directly behind this row of flower pairs, I placed single stems, all facing front using longer stems, in order to build some height in the middle of the arrangement.
This vintage container, with its Asian influenced design on the front and repeated on the back, has a base style that echoes the 'feet' on the James Mont Chinoiserie hutch. Have a look:
It's interesting how the design of the cabinet base, with its cut-away groove between the cabinet and the pedestal, creates the illusion of the base floating on its pedestal legs.
As long as we are focusing on the bottom portion of this hutch, check out the lovely three dimensional appliques on the doors!
This pair of elements is what places this piece of furniture squarely into the 'Chinoiserie' genre; with its evocation of a Chinese garden scene, it is very reminiscent of the famed 'Blue Willow' dishware pattern. As well, the uncomplicated design of the piece as a whole also lends itself to an Asian influenced style.
Owning a hutch has been on my wish list for years - I always wanted a special place to gather and show my favorite vintage pieces. And it may surprise you to know that I didn't want just any hutch, but this exact one! Some years ago, I had seen a limed oak James Mont hutch in a furniture magazine from the early 1950s, and always dreamed of owning one exactly like it.
And now that this wonderful vintage hutch is here in the dining area of my kitchen, I'm looking forward to the promise of future styling opportunities, displaying all of the fun collectables and family mementos that it will hold on its shelves, and in my heart, for years to come.
If you would like to read the story about my purchase of this hutch, you can find it here: Vintage Finds: c. 1950 James Mont Chinoiserie Limed Oak Hutch. Also, if you would like to know more about my Instagram hashtag #collectandstyle and find out how you can participate, you may like to read #collectandstyle - A New Instagram Hashtag.
And finally, Styling The Seasons is the brainchild of Katy Orme at Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte at Lots and Lotts. You can participate by styling a surface in your home that reflects what the month means to you and sharing it on your blog and/or on social media using the hashtage #stylingtheseasons.
Thank you for reading!