Vintage suitcase, what's your story?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Who held your handle? Where did you go together?

Did you leave the country? Did you travel by plane, train, bus, ship, or maybe automobile?

Did your owner add their initials, a name plate,
or maybe some travel stickers to you?

And what are you made of? How did you close?
Did you have wheels or a celluloid handle?

We love old suitcases in any color, shape or size.

Stacked luggage makes a great side table.
When you have several, stack them in descending order
to create a great vertical column of storage.

In a small amount of space,
they add character and charm.

Stop by Blue Cardinal often as we always have
many different trunks,
suitcases and metal storage boxes for your collection.

Decorating with Horse Show Ribbons

Do you have a collection of horse or dog show ribbons? Have you found a creative way to incorporate them into your decor? Here are some great ideas that might inspire you like they inspired us.

They make a wonderful display as wreaths.
We added one to our horseshoe wreath of evergreens at the front door this winter.
The colors are so festive and the rosettes have great texture and dimension.

How great are these pastel ribbons hung above this country bedroom vignette.
If you have hundreds of ribbons, you could always create a canopy for your
bed frame! (Now that's a lot of ribbons.)

Framing your ribbons individually or in a group in shadow box frames make fun displays too. Have you done something creative with your collection?
Please share it with us. We would love to see your ideas too.

Photos courtesy of:
(three from our own collection)

A Passion for Vintage Valentines

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I love Valentine's Day!
I always

I started collecting antique and vintage valentines several years ago. I must say though, it is not easy to find great or unusual valentine collectibles. Since the day's tokens are mainly flowers (which don't last), and chocolates or candies (which have been eaten), for the most part, only the paper cards and old candy boxes remain.

There are
cupid figurines and heart-shaped planters or vases, but nice ones are few and far between.

This explains why my collection is not very large at this point! The thrill of the hunt keeps me looking.

There are a million valentine postcards and cards to be had. Each one sweeter than the next.
Once you start looking at them, you just fall in love!

Last year I found this Japanese toy celluloid couple with bobble heads filled with magnets. When they get close to each other they kiss. Look at her face. She looks so disinterested. She never sees it coming!

Smoochy smoochy! He's a little stinker.... you can just see it in his eyes.

I am so drawn to the faces on old Valentine's Day cards. They are cherub-like and sweet. It's interesting to see how the style of artwork has changed through the years. The colors and illustrations used to be so much more detailed on the older cards. They were embossed and embellished with machine cutwork and some had 3-D tissue paper pop-outs. Valentines from the 50's and later have more simplified cartoon-like illustrations wit
h flat colors and outlines. I must say, I prefer the older ones --- so much more charm.

You can see where Mary Engelbreit got her inspiration and style when you look at a lot of the valentine art from the 20's and 30's. (See grouping on left below.)

Had to have this postcard on the right above. They are both wearing PLAID!

In my collection, I especially love the wo
oden heart (shown at the top), though poorly painted and crudely cut, the heart frames a small black and white photo of two little girls, maybe sisters? Hand-painted on the back is the name "Helen." So sweet this token of love.

Stop by our booth at Anna's in Highwood soon. Starting on February 1st, we'll have some vintage Valentine items to get you started on your own collection. Hope to see you there soon!


"And in the end it's not the years in your life that count. ... the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." - Author Unknown

We're mad for plaid

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In December, Blue Cardinal got to create a shop for a day filled with vintage and antique items for sale in the bedroom of a local historic estate. The event benefited a private local girls' school, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart located here in Lake Forest.

Inspired by the plaid skirts the girls wear each day at Woodlands, Jenn came up with the idea to use an old holiday theme with a clever twist .... "Plaid Tidings to You".

We mixed and matched many colors and textures of tartans, and decorated the bedroom space with a preppy, sporty look for the holidays.

Above the bed we hung plaid shaded pendant lamps and vintage London destination bus blinds. The bed was covered with white matelasse' and then layered with great old blankets and throws. Some of the pillows were covered with recycled vintage plaid taken from wool robes, skirts, and on a few -- old wool and felt letters were applied.

We filled a charming old metal pedal car with wrapped packages, a tartan lunch box, suitcase, and thermos canister. The two Victorian chairs shown were recovered with wool tartan blankets.

The opposite side of the room had a large bulletin board permanently attached to the wall, so we covered it with vintage European maps and framed travel artwork. Below it we set up a desk area complete with books, vintage accessories, and a chalkboard painted globe covered with a fun holiday message for shoppers.

Sterling silver plays so nicely against the rich tones of the plaids so we filled the room with silver objects. We found lamps, urns, trays and platters, trophys, ice buckets, julep cups, jewelry boxes, and many other wonderful silver-plated vintage treasures.

Jenn took small colorful vintage books and stacked them with pages open to create a Christmas tree shape. Old suitcases were layered to create a side table, and we scattered plaid "W" letters around the room in honor of the Woodlands group that was shopping with us that day.

With a much-anticipated royal wedding just around the corner, we thought it would be timely to add lots of British collectibles in the room. We had framed authentic travel posters, books, post cards, royal crested items, and several ceramic souvenirs from London.

Fresh pine boughs and a tree were covered with lights and vintage ornaments. We mixed in plaid ball ornaments and electric plaid candle lights on the window sills, keeping the "plaid-itude" of the space sassy and festive!

Do you decorate with plaids too? Tell us how you use tartans in your home!