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Friday, April 30, 2010

Show & Tell Friday: Around the House

It's time for Show and Tell Friday! Once again, thanks to Cindy at My Romantic Home for hosting this event! It's so much fun to share ideas, projects and decorating ideas with others!

I had some random pictures of things 'around my house', so I put them all into one post here and then threw in a little Victorian trivia as well, so it's more fun! I love to write trivia posts for my Vintage Voice, but I don't often have my own pictures to go with the posts.

It might be fairly obvious already that I love peacocks. I love their colors, I love their fancy, showy feathers and I just love how they look in general. They are actually quite large birds when viewed up close, about the size of a wild turkey. Technically, the species name is peafowl; they are of the genus Pavo, a member of the pheasant family, Phasianidae. The males are peacocks, the females are peahens. There are two species of peafowl, the Indian Peafowl and the Green Peafowl. The Indian Peafowl have the blue-green or green iridescent plumage that most people are familiar with. A Green Peafowl, which breeds in Burma and Java, has green and gold plumage, with black wings with a blue sheen. The extravagant 'tail' or train, which the males display during courtship, are not actually tail quill feathers, but elongated, upper tail coverts (feathers which cover over the base of the tail feathers). I love this huge peacock fan, which was a gift.
Small details can sometimes make a big impact; especially when trying to reproduce the look of a period home. Picture hangers, like the one above, really make a statement. This picture hangs in my dining room. The medallion at the top, which is usually attached to an S shaped hook, has a pretty cameo in the center, with some jet bead fringe. Typically this was how pictures were hung and displayed in the 19th century. There would be a picture hanging rail, sometimes called picture hanging moulding, about 6-12" down from the ceiling moulding. The moulding would have a rounded lip at the top for the S shaped hook to attached. A medallion was often used, sometimes with a tassel, and decorative cord to hang the picture from the hook. This was of great use when homes were made with lathe and plaster walls, as it's hard to pound nails (or remove nails) into plaster walls without cracking or breaking chunks off the wall. As you can see, we do not have a picture hanging rail in our dining room. This picture hanger was converted to be able to be hung from a nail.
I love this old picture; it's beautifully framed too. The young woman, incidentally, is wearing a dress style that was popular during the 1850s, when fuller skirts became more in fashion, either supported by hoops or many layers of stiff crinolines, supported by horsehair braid at the bottom. The "jacket" bodice style, which buttoned in the front was often worn over a chemisette adorned with lace and ribbons. Wider pagoda (bell-shaped) sleeves were popular also, with engageantes (false under-sleeves) of cotton and linen trimmed with lace. For evening dresses, the neckline was low, falling off the shoulders with short sleeves. This neckline style was often called the "Bertha" style. The dress this lovely young woman is wearing appears to be an evening dress, appropriate formal wear for a portrait.

This picture of the Mona Lisa (La Joconde) in our bedroom is hung with a tasseled picture hanger. Again, we do not have picture hanging moulding in this room either and I have a picture hanger that is converted to be hung from a nail rather than a picture rail hook. I am sure that originally most of the rooms in our house probably had this kind of moulding, but it was probably removed over the years by previous owners. Picture hanging rail is still commercially available today.
This is the formal parlor downstairs, where we had installed a picture hanging rail after I painted and stenciled the room. This large picture is hung from the rail with a picture hanging hook, as would be typically done.
Close-up of the picture hanger, with a fancy medallion and tassel. I purchased my picture hangers online at Swan Picture Hangers; they have so many beautiful styles; some are very fancy! I encourage you to take a look.

Remember when I got my FREE furniture? (click HERE to read the original post). I found some pretty pineapple crochet doilies during my recent antique mall treasure hunt (click HERE). I got a pair of them for $1.50. I bought them to put on the blue wing chairs like this. Doilies and other decorative washable lacy fabrics that were placed on the back and arms of sofas, chairs and other furnishings during the 19th century were often called antimacassars. Macassar oil was an unguent in imported hair oil used in the 19th century, when oiled hair was all the rage. Decorative cloths were placed over arms and headrests of furniture to protect the fabrics from being soiled by the hair oil. They were often made of elaborate patterns in matched sets, decorated with crochet or tatted lace. Antimacassars were used in public transportation also, on buses and trains and also in theatres.
"Hunt, my good woman; have a good look 'round, hunt under the tables, poke up the chimney, shake out the antimacassars!" --Howard's End by E.M.Forster

Thanks for joining me!  I hope you had fun reading about some things from 'around the house'!


marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

How interesting. I love the picture rail and the one that you have hanging with the medallion. So pretty. Your home is just lovely. I can't wait to see more. It has been nice to find your blog. Thank you so much for your nice comments. I just posted the porch and it does look so much better. Hugs, Marty

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble said...

So lovely , Katie!
I love the picture rail and I figured that you got the hangers from Swan.
I love the stenciling in your formal parlor!

Bella said...

Hi Katie, Great post! Is your header new? ... it all seems different to me? I love white peacocks (like in your sidebar).
Your pictures are hung so nicely! Thanks for the Swan Hangers link... we have our picture molding (in the back shed), I have tried to collect hangers for it.. but nothing as lovely as you have or on the link!
And your stencil work is so gorgeous... great color choices!

Bella said...

Hi Again :-)
I thought your headwer was new! It is very pretty.. I didn't know how I could have missed it before!
I kept wanting to do Pink Saturday and missing it too! The good thing is once Beverly puts you on her list she e-mails you every Monday? to see if you are joining that week.. it's a nice reminder!
The French Cupboard is having a muchness party tommorrow.. I can't wait to see everyones posts..(I don't know what a muchness is though:-)

FrenchGardenHouse said...

Your home is just beautiful. I love the Fan, and your pictures. I am such a lover of Victorian, so we're kindred spirits! Thanks for the glimpse of your lovely home. xo Lidy

The Rustic Victorian said...

Oh Katie, what a wonderful post! Amazing effect the stenciling created.