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Monday, February 23, 2015

How To Gently Clean Gilded Furniture and Accessories

Gilding has recently enjoyed a recurrence in popularity. You can find gilded agate in the form of bookends and coasters…

As well as gilded mirrors, picture frames, tables and bookcases.

Of course over time these pieces can get quite dusty.

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I cringed while researching this post as several sites recommended cleaning with a scrubbable cloth, moistened with water and then wiped across the surface to remove the dust. This is a mistake as you are sure to remove some the gilding. It will appear as small flakes on the cloth as shown below.

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Truly the best way to remove dust from gilded pieces is with a soft feather duster or canned air (also known as compressed air dusters). This is the same product which is used to clean computer keyboards.

If you have particularly stubborn dust that clings to your furniture or accessories then I recommend LIGHTLY moistening a very soft cloth (such as a well worn clean t shirt) or q tip for intricately carved areas, with a bit of distilled water and gently, with very little pressure, running it across the surface to remove the dust. It is time consuming but will save you from the expensive cost of having to re gild the piece.

Storybook Cottage Entryway 005 Now as you can see the mirror I purchased had several dirty spots on the glass itself. Do not reach for the window/glass cleaner! Chemical or even natural cleaners should be avoided as they are too acidic or alkaline and may cause gilt to rub away or become scratched.

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Because the mirror I purchased was vintage I simply wet a paper towel with distilled water and gently rubbed it over the glass being careful to not get too close to the gilded edge. This was followed by a clean, dry buffing cloth. If the mirror is antique glass you want to use an even gentler hand.

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Enjoy the sparkle!


Sunday, February 22, 2015


It’s been a week when God had given me MORE than I can handle. Yep, too much. I’m done.

I am sure that people mean well when they say “He never gives you more than you can handle”.

But that is not the truth.

Earlier this week Mr. Décor’s dear cousin, Shelley, lost her battle with cancer.

Then I learned that my mother Nadine’s brother, my Uncle Kit, had suddenly passed away.

The very next day I was told my Uncle Bill had passed away.

I just….can’t.

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My Uncle Bill was married to my Aunt Jan, my mother Karen’s sister. I lived with them in various stages of my childhood.

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Jan, Bill and Laura, Christmas 1972.

I’m not exactly sure of my emotions right now. At times there is sort of a fist shaking anger.

The mean, selfish part of me wants to say:

“Hey God why don’t you give someone else a chance to grieve? Because I have had ENOUGH!”

Yep, wishing grief on other people. Nice.

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So much of the weight in my heavy heart is for this guy, my sweet cousin Eric.

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Laura age 3, and Eric, age 1.

Like myself, he is an only child. My aunt passed on a few years ago. How well I know that there is a certain extra heaviness that comes when you lose your remaining parent.

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He is just five hours away from me and I don’t want him to be alone. Because…he’s not. I am so thankful that we have each other.

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I also know that this is true:

and believe this:

I’ll be taking some time away so I can be exactly where I need to be.


Friday, February 20, 2015

A Prince of Wales Feathered Mirror

In the lantern reveal post I gave a sneak peek at a new mirror I found at an estate sale.

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While I bought it thinking it might go in a bathroom I couldn’t resist trying it out in the entry. A true sign of a great piece is that it can work in several places.

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I spied it on at a sale being held in Dallas. Since it was tucked behind some chairs in the photo I almost missed it. I originally thought it might be a fleur de lis design since I could not see the top of the mirror.

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Other photos for the sale convinced me to go. I could tell it was going to be a quality sale.

Sale Photo #1

I went on the first day of the sale and really had to hunt to find the mirror. It was tucked behind even more chairs.

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It was a lovely gilded piece and way beyond my budget. I walked away. But before I left I inquired if they accepted bids on pieces. They did. So just like the family room rug I left a bid. It was probably a rather insulting bid in that it was so low. But I had a suspicion that given that the mirror was hidden behind several chairs it was probably going to be overlooked by most people attending the sale.

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Then I came home and looked up Prince of Wales feather designed mirrors. Now some of you may be wondering what is the difference between a fleur de lis and a Prince of Wales design. The fleur de lis is French in design. It is closely linked to the French monarchy. It’s origins may stem from the baptismal lily used in the crowning of King Clovis I. The word itself translates as “lily flower”. In the reign of King Louis IX the three petals of the flower represented faith, wisdom and chivalry. The center of the design is generally shown strait up. The two side “petals” can either be curved to the side (top of image) or drooped over (center of image). 

Italian Giltwood Mirror

The Prince of Wales feather are from the crest of the Prince of Wales. It consists of three white ostrich feathers emerging from a gold coronet (crown). The feathers all fall forward at the top just as an ostrich feather would in real life. The design is linked back to the 1300’s when it was first used by Edward, the Black Prince, eldest son and heir of Edward III of England. Occasionally there are two additional feathers shown in the design.Gilted Mirror With Carved Frieze Representing The Prince Of Wales's Feathers

The Prince of Wales feather image has been used on the two pence coin and numerous other items linked to royalty. Most famously on the signet ring worn by the Prince of Wales.

This is a Prince of Wales mirror that is Rococo in design. Rococo is French for “seashell” and you can see the seashell design at the bottom of the mirror. This beauty sold for $950 on First Dibs.



Gilt Carved Mahogany Wall Mirror with Prince of Wales Feathers Motiff

Here is another Prince of Wales mirror that is currently for sale at Ruby Lane for $2,400. It is considered to be done in the Regency fashion (also known as French Empire).

Some of the features of the style are:

Extensive brass inlay and ormolu accents

Motifs from Antiquity: lyres, laurel wreaths, acanthus leaves, mythological creatures

Italian Carved Regence Style Giltwood Mirror with Panels from piatik on Ruby Lane

I believe the mirror I purchased is more Georgian Neoclassical in style with a touch of Roccoco.

Elements of the Neoclassical style include:

Straight or rectangular lines

Fluting & reeding throughout

Low-relief classic Greek and Roman ornament such as husks, vases, swags, urns, griffins, and the anthemium or honeysuckle design.

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Mr. Décor liked the light it provided an otherwise dark corner so much that he hung it up in the entryway last night.

Happy Friday friends!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Storybook Cottage Entryway and Lantern Reveal

The small entryway at Storybook Cottage measures just 6’ by 7’.

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This gives you an idea of the overall space. We so appreciate the generous baseboards…


…and lovely crown molding.

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The walls were painted “Cottage White” by Behr. It is a warm cozy white. The ceilings and trim throughout the house are “Du Jour” by Valspar. A crisp, clean white.

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This was the light fixture that came with the house. As I said in a previous post this room receives very little natural light and the yellow glass shade did nothing to improve the dark situation.

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I first thought I would paint the lantern I found at HomeGoods a bright Chinese red.

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I am so very glad that I instead created a verdigris finish.

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The lantern provides a clear white light at night. So much better than the yellow cast of the previous fixture.

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It also has a bit more character than the original light too.

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But I did add a touch of red to the space for the month of February through books. A simple sculpture done by my mother, Karen, a 50 cent Royal Albert bowl with antique skeleton key are corralled in a sea grass tray from Ross.

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Over the weekend I found a fabulous mirror at an estate sale that I am now trying out in the space instead of the painting.

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More on the mirror Friday. But let me know which vignette you prefer.


Monday, February 16, 2015

How to Create a Verdigris Finish on a Lantern

Oh how I adore verdigris lanterns!

Sweet Chaos: Pretty In Pink

Natural verdigris is the patina that is formed when copper, brass, or bronze is exposed to air or seawater over a period of time. Antique statuary and lanterns with a natural verdigris finish are highly sought after and can sell for thousands of dollars.

Verdigris Lantern, Circa 1920

This is the light fixture that was in our entryway. It isn’t horrible at all….in fact we sold it for a great price on Craigslist. The problem was/is that our entryway is on the dark side as it has no widows and the yellow toned glass only added to the gloom. In addition you can see that the ceiling medallion was having a bit of an issue.

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You may remember when I transformed a regular lantern I found at HomeGoods into a light fixture.

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When I originally made the mood board for the living room I thought I was going to paint the lantern red. I even picked up a can of red spray paint.


For some reason I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I kept seeing the lantern in a more neutral finish. Then it hit me…verdigris.

I turned to Pinterest for tutorials on creating an artificial verdigris finish but truthfully there wasn’t a lot to choose from. I like specifics when I am attempting something I have never done before. I finally settled on this furniture painting tutorial which gave me a basic outline.

So I first needed a copper base coat. I simply taped off the glass of the lantern and sprayed  on two coats of Rust-oleum Hammered Copper.

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I should tell you that at this point in the process I was thinking “Oh no! What have I done?”

So hang in there.

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Next, you are going to need some paint and sea sponges.

I used:

Americana Bahama Blue

FolkArt Teal

Ceramcoat Seafoam 

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Wet your sponge, ring it out and lightly dab on some of the teal paint. If you get to much on blot off the excess with a paper towel. Let it dry.

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Then get a second sponge, wet it and add on a layer of turquoise. Let it dry.

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At this point I started to breathe again and think: “This is looking pretty good!”

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Now this is the step that I think took it to the next level. I mixed equal amounts of sea foam paint and water in a cup. I dipped in a foam brush and blotted most of the excess paint off  inside of the cup.

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You are wanting to fill in all the nooks and crannies with the watery paint and then blot the excess off with a paper towel.

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At this point Mr. Décor walked into the room. He previously had had the same reaction as myself when viewing the all copper lantern. But one look now and he said “Wow! That looks great!”

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You can see the the complete entryway reveal HERE but here is a sneak peek of the lantern in it’s new home.

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Have a well lit day!


Linking to:

Between Naps On The Porch, Classy Clutter, Stonegable, A Stroll Thru Life, Not Just A HousewifeA Bowl Full of Lemons, Someday Crafts, The 36th Avenue, Ivy and Elephants, Savvy Southern Style, Katherine’s Corner, The Blissful Bee, Posed Perfection, My Fabuless Life,The Style Sisters, Sew A Fine Seam, Craftberry Bush, French Country Cottage, The Shabby Nest, Imparting Grace,My Romantic Home,The Charm of Home, AKA Design + Life, Shabby Creek Cottage, Classy ClutterTatertots and Jello, Funky Junk Interiors, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, The Dedicated House