How to Preserve Your Christmas Collectibles

Learn how to avoid a broken collectible and a broken heart with these tips on preservation.

 

Don’t let all the time you’ve invested into piecing together the perfect Christmas tree or dining set go into shambles…literally. Treat your decor and ornaments like the precious pieces they are to avoid a tree or table boasting scratches and chips—especially if the pieces are vintage.

Diane Sedo, a featured Romantic Homes stylist and photographer, gave us her tips on how to preserve and store your holiday decor so they’re just as bright, glittery or shiny—and most importantly, in-tact—next year.

Santa punch bowl

Preservation

  • To prevent scratches, always remove the metal hooks from ornaments and store them in a resealable storage bag.
  • Dust your ornaments with a feather duster or soft artist’s brush.

Storage

  • “I store components of vignettes together so I don’t have to search through boxes to put them together again,” Diane said.
  • “Store like ornaments together. I label the containers to identify the category of items such as glass, fabric or plastic.”
  • “I store my ornaments in sturdy boxes with several layers of divided compartments. Storage and organization stores sell a large variety of storage boxes made specifically for holiday decorations. I individually wrap fragile ornaments in acid-free tissue before packing them away.”
  • “Vintage hatboxes are perfect for large or odd-size pieces. When I can, I store each piece in its original box,  but that’s not always possible. Egg cartons and plastic containers protect fragile pieces. I store them in a hall or bedroom closet where there is no drastic change in temperature or moisture like in an attic, basement or garage.”

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Celebrate with Lavender Lemonade & Florals

Summer entertaining ideas that are as pretty as a pitcher of ice cold lemonade.

romantic homes lavander lemonade recipe
A silver tray and a crystal pitcher mingle in this table setting with mason jar tumblers and a vintage hand-made yo-yo table tablecloth for a country-chic blend of high and low.

With the temperature rising and gardens coming to life, the summer sunshine beckons us to come outdoors.

Quality time with family and friends moves from the living room to the backyard for barbecues, water balloon fights and all manner of outdoor fun that can only be had in the warmer months.

An icy drink is essential to beat the heat and stay cool while enjoying the weather and what better way to hydrate than a glass of fresh made lemonade?

Here’s a recipe for a lemonade with a pretty floral twist, plus three ideas for decorating with flowers as you prepare to entertain this summer!

Sourced from: The Cookie Rookie

 

 

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 Tbsp dried lavender
  • 2 cups lemon juice
  • Lemon slices and lavender sprigs for garnish
  • Blue or purple food coloring (optional)

Directions

  1. Over medium heat, combine two cups of water and sugar, bringing to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Turn off of the heat and stir in agave nectar and lavender.
  2. Allow mixture to steep for 2 hours (less if you want less of a lavender taste). Strain the liquid, pressing the lavender down to make sure you get all of those juices into your mixture!
  3. In a large pitcher, combine freshly squeezed lemon juice, lavender mixture and water.
  4. Feel free to add a couple drops of blue or purple food coloring if you want more color than the lavender provides. Serve over ice.

Now that you’ve made a pretty beverage for your guests, read on to learn how to create an inviting setting to go along with it.

romantic homes lavender lemonade floral napkins

Decorate napkins with twine and flowers

Give your table a rustic look using twine to wrap napkins and small sprigs of fresh flowers.

Twine like this can be found at craft stores while the flowers can be gathered from the wild, your own garden or picked up at the grocery store.

For extra floral flair, create a small bouquet to adorn the back of each chair.

romantic homes lavender lemonade edible flowers

Use edible flowers to garnish sweets

Make your favorite sweet treats or simply grab pre-made baked goodies from your local grocery store.

Most grocers have some selection of edible flowers in stock, but for a wider variety, check health food or speciality stores like Whole Foods, or order from online retailers such as Gourmet Sweet Botanicals.

 

romantic homes lavender lemonade tablescape centerpiecen sunflower

Tie it all together with a grand sunflower centerpiece

Sunflowers are at their peak in beauty during summer and every table needs an eye-catching centerpiece to anchor the look.

Place your sunflowers in a pretty pitcher to accent the rustic feel created by the napkin holders and flowers.

If it’s just too hot outside, the party can be easily relocated indoors.

 

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5 Ideas for a Vintage Easter Party

Surprise everyone this Easter with these fun and creative holiday favorites.

Add vintage charm to your Easter table with these helpful hints.

It’s time to start thinking about your Easter celebration! Here are 5 spring-inspired party ideas to help you get going.

 

 

Add vintage charm to your Easter table with these helpful hints.

 

1. Use an egg as your centerpiece. This beautiful giant egg is the perfect size for an Easter centerpiece—it catches the eye but isn’t too large or tall to block views or take up food space on the table. Set on a nest of wildflowers, the combination of the egg and blooms is a show stopper. If you can’t find a giant easter egg, dye some regular-sized eggs and create a nest full of them on the table.

 

 

Add a burst of spring flowers to your Easter table.

2. Add flowers to your cake. Whether you’re serving cookies, brownies or cake for dessert, decorate the top with fresh cut and washed flowers. This will bring the bright bloom of spring to your table. Try a combination of roses, pansies, daffodils, carnations and poppies to create a colorful splash.

 

 

Add vintage charm to your Easter table with these helpful hints.

3. Use a vintage element. No party or decoration is complete without a vintage element. In this pretty sideboard setup, a vintage vase with fresh daisies graces the dessert spread. You could even add a vintage statuette or figurine, such as this rabbit, to the dessert tray itself. This will add height and depth to your display.

 

 

Add spring charm to your Easter table with these helpful hints.

4. Serve rabbit food. Alongside your roasted chicken and deviled eggs, include some rabbit-friendly eats such as carrots, beets and greens. You could even pair the greens with rabbit-shaped tea sandwiches. Simply construct the sandwiches (egg and chicken salad work well) and use a rabbit-shaped cookie cutter to create your desired shape. Include a few pb&j sandwiches, and the kids at your table will be delighted!

 

 

Add vintage charm to your Easter table with these helpful hints.

5. Surprise your guests with a take-home favor. Make or buy a small favor for your guests to take away from the day. Even if you’re serving other homemade desserts, a beautiful decorated cookie wouldn’t go amiss as a party favor. You can set one cookie at each place, which will delight your guests and add an extra element to the tablescape.

 

For more on Diane Sedo, visit here.



Depression Glass History and Collecting Tips

Produced cheaply, and often given away for free, Depression Glass has become a favorite collectible for flea market hunters.

pink dogwood depression glass
The Dogwood pitcher and tumblers as well as the sherbet dishes and cake plates were not common pieces. The MacBeth-Evans Glass Company didn’t produce many patterns of Depression glass, but they made a large selection of pieces in each of their patterns.

When we go to the movies these days, we don’t expect to get free popcorn – let alone free dishes. But in the depths of the Great Depression glass dishware was so inexpensive to manufacture that many companies simply gave it away as an incentive to buy their products, including cereal makers, gas stations, carnivals and cinemas.

green depression glass table setting
The transparency of Depression Glass works well with the colorful patterns of vintage tablecloths

While generally made with low-quality glass, the plates, saucers, cups and bowls that are today classified as “Depression Glass” have bright colors and pretty molded patterns that make them as fun to collect today as they were 80 years ago. In fact, Depression Glass is so popular these days it can be hard to find on the vintage and antique market. A tumbler that came out of an oatmeal box might be worth several hundred dollars today. More common pieces might cost you just a few dollars.

Here’s a quick run-down of some facts you should know if you find the pretty pink, green, blues and yellows of Depression Glass tickling your collector’s fancy.

Depression Glass History

Depression glass refers specifically to glass produced between the mid-1920s to about the end of World War II.

Nearly all Depression glass was produced in or near the Ohio River Valley, with about 20 companies producing approximately 100 different patterns during the period. Some of the most important manufacturers were Hazel Atlas Glass Company, Hocking Glass Company,  Federal Glass Company, Indiana Glass Company, MacBeth-Evans Glass Company, Jeanette Glass Company, Imperial Glass Company, Lancaster Glass Company, U.S. Glass Company, and L. E. Smith Glass Company.

amber depression glass compote dish

The most popular colors for Depression Glass are light-to-medium green, pink, amber and clear. Other colors include pale blue, ruby red, deep cobalt, canary yellow, ultramarine, jadeite, amethyst, black, jadeite (opaque pale green), delphite (opaque pale blue), monax (translucent white),  and white (milk glass).

Most green-colored Depression Glass pieces have trace amounts of uranium which makes the glass glow under black lights. (The levels of radiation are insignificant, and less than our daily exposure from other sources.)

The most popular patterns among collectors today are Cameo, Mayfair, American Sweetheart, Princess and Royal Lace. You can see a gallery of other patterns here.

Tips for Buying Depression Glass

Flaws are to be expected in Depression Glass. Bubbles, straw marks, inclusion, molding flaws, color discrepancies, and so forth only add to the charm of the pieces. However, before buying check pieces carefully for damage including chips on rims and edges, cracks on handles (especially at the base of a pitcher), and scratches from utensils. Glass that has been clouded or permanently etched by automatic dishwashers is called “sick” glass and can’t be restored.

green depression glass teacup and sacer

Asian-produced reproductions have flooded the market in recent years. Telltale signs such as less-detailed designs and a greasy feeling to the glass may indicate a reproduction. Many references exist to help you identify authentic Depression Glass, and always shop through a reputable dealer.

While frugal shoppers could buy Depression Glass for the same price as a loaf of bread when it was new (that’s about 5 cents!), prices are a little more varied. Research before you buy to be sure you’re getting a reasonable price on desired pieces. Books and online price guides can help keep your budget on track.

There are many ways to build a Depression Glass collection, whether you choose to seek out pieces in a particular pattern, collect widely in one or two colors, or collect multiple pieces of a particular type (like pitchers, teacups or cake stands). The choice is up to you!

For further information on particular patterns and manufacturers, visit the National Depression Glass Association here.

 



Fourth of July Treats


Be inspired by Fourth of July treats and the colors of the American flag.

Fourth of July Treats

It is a day to celebrate American style. The Fourth of July is a holiday built around nostalgia, and traditions reign. There will always be red, white and blue; parades; fireflies caught in jars and the tastes of summer. We put a sweet spin on our celebration by creating Fourth of July treats: cupcakes donned with sparkly sugars in patriotic colors and star-shaped shortcakes livened up with fresh cream and berries.

For the setting, contributing editor Diane Sedo favors ruby glass on the table, which works with her Wilendur red rose tablecloth. The yard is fully mature by now, so green grass sets off the bright colors perfectly, and nothing says Independence Day better than buntings tied to a white picket fence. The scene beckons golden-haired dogs being chased by children in paper pirate hats.

 Star Shortcake

Star Shortcake

Makes 6

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cold
3/4 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
3. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
4. Stir in the milk with a fork until the mixture forms a ball.
5. Knead dough several times on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll out the dough to about 1/2-inch thickness and cut with a 3-inch star cutter.
6. Place on ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with additional sugar. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

For the fruit filling: 1 cup blueberries and/or 1 cup raspberries mixed with 1 tablespoon sugar.

To assemble: Cut the slightly cooled shortcakes in half. Place some fresh cream (or whipped topping) on the bottom half of the shortcake. Add 1/3 cup of the fruit. Top with remaining shortcake. Garnish with a dollop of cream and fruit.

Holiday cards flowers and ephemera
Holiday cards, flowers and ephemera from the past are elements that add style to the table setting.


Recipe: Sugar Cookie and Icing Glaze


Valentine’s Day is a day when we celebrate the love we have in our life whether it’s a significant other, relative or friend. Show your sweethearts how much you care with a yummy treat.

Wrap your cookies up in something just as sweet!

Sugar Cookie Recipe

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix well. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours. Roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Leave one inch of space between cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350° Fahrenheit.

Cool for one hour before frosting.

 

Have fun when decorating—let your artistic side show!

Icing Glaze Recipe

  • 4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 4-6 tablespoons of milk

Combine powdered sugar and milk in a bowl and stir until smooth (the icing should not be too runny). Add more powdered sugar if necessary to thicken the glaze. Tint with food coloring. Use a separate bowl for each color needed.

Frost the cookie with the icing. Smooth the top with a spatula dipped in water. Use the edge of the spatula to scrape off any icing that has run over the edge of the cookie. The icing glaze hardens in a couple of hours.