Tomato Factory Antique & Design Center Visit

I recently visited an antique and design center called The Tomato Factory. It is located in historic Hopewell, NJ. What a find!! It features all kinds of antiques and unique home décor items.

Vintage Fiestaware – Tons of it!

I love this French inspired bureau!

Classic French Linen Sofa

Classic French Linen Sofa with an ornate wood trim

Leopard patterned side chairs

Leopard patterned side chairs

Unique side table made from the face of a clock.

Unique side table made from the face of a clock.

Vintage Metal Lights

Vintage Metal Lights

Very cool!

Railroad lanterns

Railroad lanterns

Vintage glassware

Vintage glassware

Vintage Westinghouse fan

Vintage Westinghouse fan

50's & 60's dish cloths

50’s & 60’s dish cloths

Vintage clocks

Vintage clocks

Vintage Christmas ornaments

Vintage Christmas ornaments

I love the painted copper tiles around the mirrors

I love the painted copper tiles around the mirrors

The upstairs floor is my favorite!

The upstairs floor is my favorite

 

Beautiful and Unique Chandeliers

Chandeliers and light fixtures can be a significant element in interior design. They can add uniqueness and style and personalize your home’s décor. They can also be more than just a style choice. They can be your expressive element in the art of living. I came across some beautiful and unique chandeliers that do just that.

I love ‘les pendentifs de la lumière naturelle’ (below) featured in e-magDECO’s “Un cocon familial simple et epure.”

I love adding unexpected touches like the attached water glasses to the chandelier below.

 
 
 
 
 

Καλή Ανάσταση! – Greek Easter Eggs

Easter eggs are a big part of the Greek Orthodox Easter (Pascha) tradition. They are died red to symbolize the blood of Christ.

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Today, on Holy Thursday, after a morning Liturgy, the ladies of our church at St. Anna in Flemington, New Jersey got to work.

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First they boiled brown eggs. Brown eggs make the red dye more vibrant. Then, using a special Greek red dye (this one is from Astoria, NY), they dyed each egg, let them dry and then rubbed them with olive oil (so the color won’t run when the eggs are handled).

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We then wrapped them in white tulle and tied them with red ribbons. The eggs are handed out after the midnight Resurrection Service.

greekeggsRed eggs are also added and baked into the traditional Greek Easter bread (tsoureki). After observing and making the Greek Easter eggs for our church, I thought I’d make my own version of Orthodox Byzantine Easter eggs.

IMG_2802I  like to make eggs that will last for more than one year. So, I bought paper mache eggs and painted them red. I then sprayed them with a clear enamel glossy spray. The paper mache absorbs the spray, so I had to apply several coats. I also bought very small self-adhesive clear gems to make Orthodox cross designs.

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 I applied the gems using tweasers.

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 I love how they turned out!

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I hope you have been inspired to make your own Greek Easter eggs. Καλή Ανάσταση! Happy Resurrection!

Global Design & Decor… literally!

Nothing is as classic as a map. Nothing says, “world traveler” or adventurer” more.

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Incorporating a map into your home’s interior design is a great way to express your globe-trotting spirit. (from Elle Maison above).

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You can use wallpaper with map designs or a framed image. A vintage old-world look can accentuate a home library or the classic style of a bedroom (Vim & Vintage above) as well as offer a strong yet elegant contrast to a modern interior (Regards et Maisons below).

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I love the idea from Sfizzy (below) which literally maps out a cherished destination. What a unique way to remember a special trip, a romantic place or your family’s origin.

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Want to give a unique gift to someone you love? Sfizzi commemorates special locations on a map (such as a destination wedding or marriage proposal) with a red stitched heart. So cute!

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Another way to add old-world charm to your décor is to decoupage a map onto furniture. I love the little blue nightstand (below) from Primitive & Proper which integrates an old Atlas map and a simple hand-painted table.

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From Ikea Hackers, comes this wonderful map chair (above) using a Nordmyra chair from Ikea. She was inspired by some tables and chairs she saw in London.

http://www.domesticease.com/2010/09/19/domestic-tricks-1-map-dresser/

I love the map dresser (above) from Homedeco2u.httpwww.recyclart.org201308recycled-stools

From Recycleart (above) comes some very clever stools that were inspired from the London tube map. They feature the colors of the metro lines and locations in London.

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From Paper Blog (above) comes a very unique decorative diy project that combines wooden letters with maps. Using your own initials and maps that point out special locations is great way to customize your wall décor.

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From Martha Stewart, I found these adorable ways to celebrate a destination wedding. Using a map that features the location of the marriage (above & below) on a frame, candle holders or on vases is both unique and fun.

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Another cute decorative item for a destination wedding or a bon voyage party is this map heart garland from 10PaperLane on Etsy (below). You could easily make this yourself.

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Have an old globe in your attic, or did you find one at a thrift store? From Viaggiare Oltre comes this unique decorative bowl (below) using half of a globe. I think this would look beautiful containing simple olive tree sprigs or eucalyptus.

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A great way to add a touch of New York sophistication into your décor is to knock-off these illuminating candle holders (below) also from Viaggiare Oltre. You could also use maps of Paris or Rome. Or apply the maps you actually used from a city you visited. What a great souvenir from your travels!

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Applying a map to a lamp shade is another great way to celebrate a favorite location or turn a traveling companion (a map) into a treasured souvenir. I love the two map lamp shades from Not On The High Street (below). One offers a soft pale green pallet while the other contrasts it with a vintage old-world feel.

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httpwww.notonthehighstreet.comtheoldlampshed

Check out another unique way to commemorate a great trip? From Map Motifs, comes this very creative light switch cover (below). My niece gave us one that featured Thessaloniki and Halkidiki, Greece – where she visited us while we were vacationing.

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Our own light switch cover featuring Thessaloniki and Halkidiki, Greece.

I love the idea of incorporating actual globes into interior design. The 3-dimensional quality adds a pizzazz that a 1-dimensional map can’t do. From Benoit Vieubled comes “World Upside Down,” a chandelier like no other (below).monde-a-lenvers@www.benoit-vieubled.com

From Pinterest, comes this hanging globes light fixture (below).

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And last but not least, my niece, Kathleen’s, own globe lamp shade creation (below)! She added a beaded fringe and used an antique lamp base. Beautiful.

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There are countless ways to incorporate maps and globes into interior design and décor. From world travels or thrift store finds, global design elements emphasize adventure and an enthusiasm for life. I encourage you to share your love of travel and your favorite destinations in your own home’s décor.

Décoration automnale

Just thought I’d share some of my favorite inspiring decorating ideas for Autumn.  Viva la decoration automnale! I just love autumn on the east coast.

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I love the touch of gold in this otherwise simple décor.

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Cute idea to suspend mini pumpkins from otherwise bare branches. From http://www.shelterness.com/.

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I love the monochromatic combination of the mums and pumpkins on the steps.

Great idea to use pumpkins as vases for mums. The white pumpkin adds a bit of a twist and elegance.

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Here again white pumpkins are used, but mini ones this time around. The burlap and pistachios add an organic and natural touch. They are glued onto a Styrofoam base. Could also use a plain grapevine wreath as a base to add even more of a natural flavor.

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I love pears paired with evergreen, but the combination of pears with fall leaves is unquestionable. I love the simple elegance.

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Placing mini pumpkins at the bottom of clear glass vases is an unexpected touch. Adds additional color and pop to the beautiful fall stems.

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A simple yet festive idea is to use candy corn. Who doesn’t love candy corn? Simple mason jars paired with orange candles and candy corn will add color and fun to any décor. I’m going to try this one myself!

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From Martha Stewart, a simple and elegant all white autumn display. For those crafter/home interior designers who appreciate a more simple touch. J’adore!

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What could be more fun for kids than cut-out oranges full of m&m’s? Love the simple and inexpensive treat!

From Plow & Hearth, tree faces! Very unique and scary too!
Contemporary Holiday Decorations – sculpted tree branches to bring pumpkins to life!
Modern Spaces by Denver Media & Bloggers Delicate Creature – love the simple and clean repetition.

 

 

 

The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian

During a recent visit to Patmos, Greece I had the wonderful opportunity to tour the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian in the village of Chora. While walking through this historic byzantine structure that was built in 1088, I was amazed not only by its ancient relics and artifacts but by its simple charm and beauty.

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The contrast of the hard byzantine style fortress with the indigo sky, the white hilltop structures and the cerulean sea exudes an inexplicable beauty.

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Doorways and windows hide little crevices of simple and holy elegance.

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The quiet staircases and walkways diverge with the scurrying about of the black vested monks.

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The arches and porticoes cast dramatic shadows upon the monastery’s pilgrims and inhabitants.

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The ancient icons and frescos radiate a mysterious allure that touches one’s soul.

The monastery’s land encompasses vast field, and hilltops painted with windmills. This is the view (below) as you journey upward toward the monastery.

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I hope you enjoyed seeing this simple yet majestic glimpse of The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian. The monastery along with its island can’t help but inspire you with its quiet and mystical grace, charm and spirituality.

Adirondack Style

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We recently took a trip to Lake George, NY for a short family vacation. In between the wave running, the tour of Fort William-Henry, the miniature golf and swimming in the lake, I got to do one of my favorite activities, WINDOW SHOP! I love seeing home décor items that uniquely express a particular place. There was definitely alot to see in Lake George!

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I love this rectangular lamp (above) that has various sizes of branches surrounding the base. I found it at the Indian Tepee Gift Shop in Bolton Landing, a little town just north of Lake George Village. It has all kinds of rustic goodies, like the items below that really accentuate the Adirondack style.

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Another wonderful gift shop is the Trees Adirondack Gifts and Books. It is also in Bolton Landing. It features a wonderful array of home décor items, art by local artists, books and jewelry. I spotted this wonderful antler chandelier (above).

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A unique and rustic decorating idea that I spotted at Trees Gift Shop was this branch hanging from the ceiling. It was lined with miniature white lights. What a wonderful yet simple way to add a natural-looking sparkle to a room. Great addition to a country-themed Christmas décor.

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Here’s another unique floor lamp that incorporates the antler design. This would be a wonderful conversation piece with a rustic flair!

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There was yet another great Home Decorating store that I ran into while visiting the town of Bolton Landing. It was called Next Summer. It features supplies for the lake house. I just adored it’s modern edge to a traditional concept.

The beautiful Lake George area had a bounty of indigenous decorating items for the home, lake house or your pinterest board. I adored window shopping and drinking in the natural and rustic perspective of wonderful little home decorating stores that exquisitely feature the Adirondack style. I encourage you to visit this picturesque and creative area yourself!

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Hanging log swing outside a restaurant in Bolton Landing.

Deck at the Algonquin Restaurant at Chic's Marina

Deck at the Algonquin Restaurant at Chic’s Marina

 

Lake George

Lake George

 

Lake George beaches

Lake George beaches

Majolica Pottery At It’s Best…

On a recent trip to San Francisco, I walked through it’s Italian district, North Beach. I came across this wonderful shop called Biordi Art Imports (www.biordi.com). They feature classic Italian majolica, an earthenware pottery covered with a white opaque lead glaze that includes tin, and then painted and fired. Using the opaque white glaze is a style of painting particular to the potters from the island of Majorca in the Mediterranean (hence, the name Majolica).

Majolica vases

Majolica pitcher

Many majolica artists derive their inspiration from nature featuring exotically painted fruits and landscapes.

Majolica bowl

Majolica Pot

Majolica tray

Majolica vase

 

Decorating On A Peso

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Thought I’d share with you some of the many ways I’ve saved a lot of money by decorating on a peso! I love a bargain! And, I especially love when something is free, handed down or recycled. No doubt I get my frugal approach from my mother who was born during the Depression. She also had 9 children. So I was raised in a household where money was never wasted. Even today, I think her approach is very practical and wise in this over consuming, conservation-conscious world.

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Yes! I found a nearly new micro-fiber sectional in perfect condition on Craigslist for only $125! And I spotted the sofa table on the curb in downtown Princeton. It just needed to be dusted.

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I found this beautiful mahogany buffet for only $5 at a town-wide tag sale in Hopewell, NJ. They have it every May or June. It is a tiny bit scratched up, but all the drawers and cupboard doors are in perfect working order.

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When we moved into our house, there was an existing elaborate brass chandelier in the dining room. I loved the design but hated the brass. So we spray painted it black. It now adds a nice dramatic effect to the room.

I searched and searched for a nice sisal rug with a well-made border. I compared Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Homegoods, etc. With 3 kids, I really didn’t want to invest in something too expensive but wanted something well made. Believe it or not, I found a Sisal/chenille blended 7.5×11 area rug that also had matching runners for my hallway. I love it. And, it’s well made.

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I am a big Craigslist fan. I found the wrought-iron 6 piece patio set for only $200. My sister once told me that wrought iron is always the way to go. If it rusts, just scrape it down and repaint it. It will last forever. I have to give credit to my husband for always being willing to go on a Craigslist escapade!

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I will often find wonderful decorating items at my local grocery store. I waited until these vases went on sale to nab them. They add a little ethnic flair to my dining room. Another great tip for unique souvenirs:  use elements from nature to make unique and inexpensive one-of-a-kind souvenirs that aren’t tacky. While we were walking around an ancient site in Greece some time ago, I had my kids pick up a few rocks. They were on the outside perimeter of the site so as not to disturb the archaeological authenticity of the site itself. Once we got home, I painted them using the Greek alphabet to spell out the ancient site, Olynthos. Very unique and creative. I get lots of compliments! And it reminds of us our lovely trip.

 

Princeton in the Spring

After a very long cold winter, Spring is finally here. I thought I’d share the beauty of Princeton, New Jersey with you (my home) during this much-anticipated time of year!

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Witherspoon Street leads directly up to Princeton University. If you visit, make sure to grab lunch at Olives deli. It features wonderful Greek dishes! One of my favorite restaurants for dinner is The Ferry House. It is a bit pricey, but well worth it. Both are on Witherspoon.

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At the end of Witherspoon is one of the entrances to Princeton University. The first building you will see is Nassau Hall, the oldest building at the university, built in 1756.

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Make sure to visit the shops on Palmer Square. It features wonderful shops and restaurants. My favorites shops are The Famhouse Store which specializes in home décor, and Kitchen Kapers – a specialty kitchen store with all kinds of unique gadgets and accessories. I also love Carter & Cavero – old world olive oil company. You can sample a bountiful of tasty olive oil varieties. And, stop by Indigo by Shannon Connor Interiors. They have elegant and unique home décor.

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Make sure and drop in to the Princeton University Chapel. Its beautiful tudor Gothic architecture is worth seeing!

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I also love visiting the Yankee Doodle Tap Room in the basement of The Nassau Inn. It is a great place for a casual dinner or warm spirits beside a warm stone fireplace. You can also sit outside during the warmer months and watch passerby’s while you eat.

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There’s more to Princeton than the picturesque downtown and University. Some other sites I would highly recommend are…

  • a 15 minute walk to Princeton Battlefield State Park and The Thomas Clark house (1772) on Mercer Street
  • a walking tour of the town’s historical sites that begins at the Bainbridge House – Historical Society of Princeton
  • a visit to Terhune Orchards where you can go pumpkin picking in the Fall and visit their country store to purchase their homemade pies, cookies, and cider
  • a visit to Princeton University’s Art Museum
  • a 35-40 minute drive to New Hope and Lambertville (beautiful artsy towns on the Delaware that are separated by the New Hope/Lambertville bridge)
  • dinner at The Blue Point Grill (wonderful seafood) on Nassau Street
  • a visit to Nassau Street Seafood & Produce Co. (very fresh!)
  • coffee at Small World Coffee (on Witherspoon Street)
  • dinner at Camillo’s Italian Restaurant (in the North Harrison Shopping Center in Princeton)
  • window shopping at Design Within Reach on Nassau
  • ice cream at Halo Pub
  • gelato at The Bent Spoon