Welcome to Le Beau Paon Victorien! I'm so glad you stopped by!

Here you will find a variety of things that might interest you: food, books, house decor, crafty things, random thoughts, dishes, gardening and more!

Spend some time with us and happy reading!

Friday, July 27, 2012

New Vintage Finds

One of the items that has been on my "list" lately ( I have mentioned before how much I make lists for everything) are some more pictures for the walls at Le Beau Paon Victorien.
I have a few that are up, there are a couple more that are still in storage, because even after six years here I still have not decided to where to hang them; but there are still spaces that I'd like to fill.

In our front entry hall, I am trying to make a grouping of pictures over the spinet piano.
At Hallowe'en I hung two framed Hallowe'en collages that I made next to a crazy hologram picture that pretty much hangs on the wall all year (long story!).

After Hallowe'en was over, I put them away with all my other decorations.
In their place, I hung a small framed picture I bought in November in Tomah, Wisconsin during a girl's weekend getaway.

This is a close-up of the picture; it's not really big and the style is a little more country/primitive than my usual style, but the picture spoke to me. It looks so much like my grandparent's farm that I just loved it.
But, as I said, it's kind of small, so I've been looking for other pictures to make a small grouping with this one. I was hoping to find a picture in an oval frame, something vintage and Victorian, preferably. I found an oval picture of a sailing ship once, but the picture was in such bad condition and I wasn't sure about the subject matter, even though typically I adore mariner pictures.

There is one picture that I KNOW would be perfect for this grouping, but it's my mom's and she is still not quite ready to give it up, even though she knows I want it. It's just a picture she bought at a rummage sale right before my brother was born, in 1969. I'm sure it's nothing valuable, but I looked at it all the time as a child and loved it. I think next time I go out there I will take a picture of it to share!

A couple of weeks ago, I took my husband to go browsing at some local antique shops to see if I could find anything for the walls and I ended up finding two delightful vintage J. Gould prints!

I recognized the name of J. Gould on the bottom of the prints, and also I loved the colors and fineness of the prints.
John Gould was an English ornithologist and bird artist. He was born in Dorset, England in 1804, the son of a gardener. Eventually, he also became a gardener and worked with his father at the Royal Gardens at Windsor. John Gould became an expert in taxidermy, which prompted him to start his own business in London. His skill led to a position of Curator and Preserver at the museum at the Zoological Society of London, where he met and came into contact with many naturalists, including Charles Darwin. Much of Gould's work is referenced in Darwin's book, On The Origin of Species.

Viewing the many collections of birds that came to the museum led to his interest in birds and publications of many beautiful monographs of bird species, with hand-colored illustrations that were done mostly by his wife, Sarah Gould, although John Gould did many of the drawings himself. The couple eventually traveled to Australia in 1838 to study the region's bird species, intent on producing the first major work on that subject. The result was The Birds of Australia   (1840-1848) a seven volume set which included many new species of birds which were new to science, and 600 colored plates of birds. Two other works he did in Australia, The Mammals of Australia (1849-1861), a three volume set, and A Monograph of the Macropodidae, or Family of Kangaroos (1841-1842), led to John Gould being known as the "father of bird study" in Australia. The Gould League in Australia is named for him.  John Gould published numerous books about bird species and published about 2,999 paintings of birds. It was no wonder he was called the "Bird Man"!

19th century lithographs of J.Gould's bird plates are quite beautiful and quite valuable, and were done in the early 1880s after his death in 1881, but these prints that I have are from a later date. Reproductions of J. Gould's lithographs were done in the 1940s, by the I.M.Fisher Company. They are still very attractive and very nicely done, even for reproductions, and many have been hand-colored. Mine look like they were hand-colored and I believe are still in  their original 1940s frames. I bought these for $8.00, which I think is a pretty decent price!

These prints are called "Parakeets No.603"; there are two in the "set", 603A and 603B. I've always loved birds and when I was in high school I had a number of parakeets and finches as pets. Nowadays, I have cats, so I don't keep birds anymore, but I still love pictures of birds. The Victorians were also big fans of birds, and flowers and other natural subjects, so these seem to be fitting subject matter for my Victorian house.
I might change the frames, even though I kind of like these trippy 1940s-era frames and the painted glass "matting".

I also found these two vintage lace jabot collars:
Originally, the term jabot referred to the frills or ruffles decorating the front of a shirt,and then evolved into a decorative clothing accessory consisting of lace or other fabric attached at the neckline, either sewed onto a neck band, collar or just pinned in place with a brooch.
In the 17th and 18th century, the jabot consisted of lace or cambric and was sewn to the edging of the neck opening of a man's shirt and partially visible under a vest worn over it. Jabots made of lace hanging loose from the throat were an essential component of men's fashion during the baroque era. By the late 19th century, jabots were used only in women's clothing, and were lace or cambric that was sewn onto a neckband or pinned in place onto a blouse, or shirtwaist.  I don't know how old these are; today most jabots are only worn as part of official costumes, like female judges in the United States Supreme Court and by members of the French magistrate court dress and academic court.
They have the look and feel of being vintage, if not exactly 19th century. I seem to remember seeing jabot collars on pictures of women's clothing in some magazines I have from the late 1930s and early 1940s, so perhaps these were from that era.

I bought them because they looked so neat, but I didn't have anything specific in mind for them. I am sure I can come up with a use for them!

I also found another pair of cotton pillowcases with beautiful crocheted lace on the edges, for our bed.

Erik found a folio of old phonograph records that we can play on our antique upright phonograph:
I have two other folios that I bought years ago, but this one, although a little water-damaged, was completely full and none of the records were cracked (one of my other folios had only a handful of records and the other had more records, but some of them badly cracked.)

Erik liked this collection because nearly half of them were John Phillip Sousa songs and marches. The folio was only $10, so we bought it, of course!

Thanks for stopping by and visiting!
I'll be linking to these parties:
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Landscaping Project : DONE!

Ok....so here it is......some AFTER pictures of our landscaping project, now that it is finally complete!

For those of you who have already been following this project, keep scrolling down and enjoy.....if you want to "refresh" your  memory of what the yard looked like BEFORE and DURING...click HERE and HERE!

Front yard, with new walkway and steps.
Doesn't it just look lovely!??!!

Now when I stand on my front porch, this is what I see when I look at the street!!
 The two trees are actually Dwarf Korean Lilacs on a Standard, which is a fancy way of saying that it is a shrub that has been grafted onto a standard, so it grows in tree-form, rather than like a regular bush, and is considered a dwarf ornamental tree.

All new planting beds in front are the brown mulched areas. The areas with the straw matting is where new grass was planted (which I have to water now every single day! Exhausting!) On the corner is another new tree; this one is a Silver Ball Pear tree. It has pretty silvery leaves and will have flowers in spring.

Another view of the front yard.

Jutting off the side of our house in front is the alcove in front of which I had planted a beautiful Snowball viburnum. The landscapers tamed this unruly shrub and gave it a nice shape for me. The planting bed now extends around the side of the house and in front of the snowball bush, and includes another new tree, a Firebird crabapple. It will have flowers in spring and fruit in fall.

Another view of the alcove and planting bed. The orange daylilies were moved from the corner of the yard into this planting bed.

Here is a good view of the side yard, which also shows the new retaining wall nicely.

The side yard also has a tree; this is another Silver Ball Pear.

The back steps and walkway.

This is our back yard and another good view of the retaining wall. We only had them do the new planting beds and trees in the front yard, from the design plan, because we can't afford to do the back yard plan yet, but they did have to plant new grass in the areas that were tore up when  removing the old wall and the chain-link fence. We are planning on replacing the fence, with a nice wood privacy fence, that will enclose the back yard. It will be almost in the same "footprint" as the old fence, with a few small changes. It will be set back from the wall about 4 feet, and it will enclose  a small area behind our garage which is part of our property but the previous owners didn't enclose with the old fence, for some reason. It's not a big area, but large enough for me to put a potting bench and a compost pile, and it will be behind the garage and not visible from the rest of the yard, so it will be nicely out of the way, but still enclosed with the rest of the yard.

Watering! My life is about coming home from work and watering!

Thanks for stopping by! I'll be posting updated pictures as the grass grows and as my flower gardens fill up! I have lots of space now for new plants! I can hardly wait!

I'll be joining these parties:
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Home Sweet Home at Happy To Design


Friday, July 6, 2012

Foodie Files: Country House Butterscotch Brownies

Mmmmm!.......don't you just want to grab this whole plate and shovel these into your mouth? ;-)

Well, if you don't like sweets much, I guess you wouldn't.....but I love sweets and I love baked goodies and I absolutely LOVE these bars.

They are super-delicious, in my opinion, but also they remind me so much of my childhood. My mother got this recipe from her mother, my Grandma Helen, and she made them so very often when I was a child.

We never went on a camping trip without a big Tupperware container of these bars, and there was seldom a family picnic or cookout that didn't have a pan of them around. They were a family favorite with everyone.

I don't know where my Grandma Helen got the recipe; from a book, magazine or maybe off the back of a package of Nestle' Tollhouse Chocolate Chips, but I love the gooey, chewy goodness. They have some coconut in them, which gives them more of a texture and a very subtle hint of flavor, so even if you are not usually a fan of coconut, you will hardly notice it.

This recipe only makes a small pan of bars, a 9 inch square, which is nice if you have a small group or a small family. My mother always doubled the recipe to make a regular 9 x 13 size.

Country House Butterscotch Brownies
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup flaked coconut
3/4 cup. flour
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a  9 inch square pan ( or a 9x13 pan, if doubling the recipe).
Using an electric mixer, or a hand mixer :cream butter and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla and mix well, until creamy.
In a separate bowl, sift flour, salt and baking powder, then add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar at intervals, mixing well after each addition.
Stir in the coconut and chocolate chips with a spoon or spatula until incorporated. A half cup of chopped walnuts can be added also, if desired.
Spread mixture evenly into pan and bake for 25 minutes.

I love them when they are still warm from oven and are all melty and gooey, but I also like them chilled. Sometimes I put them in the refrigerator for awhile. Even chilled they are still soft and chewy.

Thanks for stopping by!!!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Stars and Stripes...Happy 4th of July!

        Despite the extreme mess here at Le Beau Paon Victorien, what with our landscaping project underway and taking seemingly forever, I still had to put up the new patriotic bunting that we purchased awhile ago.
       We were very excited to buy this "vintage-style" bunting and put it up and we were not going to be deterred by the mess of our yard. I saw this bunting in the catalog for Plow & Hearth and had to have it!

A few dollar store flags added to my pots of annuals give my front porch more patriotic flair!

Please excuse the dust! There is stone dust all over everything. I try to rinse it off every few days, but the minute they start cutting stone, it's back!

I had to move some of my plants around on the porch and take down the hanging fuschia, so I created this little sitting area in the corner.

If you missed my last post about the HUGE landscaping project we are doing, and all the pictures, you can click HERE.

Inside the house, I have put up two 4th of July banners that I bought at JoAnn's back in May. They actually had these out and on sale, for Memorial Day, even though one of them says "4th" on it.

We've had the worst weather this year for flowers and gardens. We had an early spring, with unusually warm temps, but not a lot of rain. We finally got some rain in late April and early May, but the temperatures were cooler than normal during those months, and we had some pretty cold nights. Then came the drought. We have not had any rain in over six weeks. Everything is curling up and dying and everyone's grass is dead.

 It hasn't helped that we have had horribly hot and humid weather for weeks also, with temperatures close to 100 degrees and high humidity that makes it feel like 110 degrees.

My flowers are hanging on because I have been diligently watering them, but many of them are not doing very well because of the heat and the dry weather.

My coneflower garden is still looking pretty good.

My pots of annuals are flourishing, due to massive fertilizing and watering pretty much every day:

Luckily, the hydrangeas, ferns and hosta are shaded well from the blazing sun.

The front yard is a complete disaster right now, and most of my planting beds are tore up. In the back yard, by my back porch, my orange butterfly weed and red bee balm were doing wonderfully:

But this is what it looks like now:

Yeah. Yikes!!! It's pretty bad.
On the plus side, the project is coming along and hopefully soon we will have things put back together and looking nice again!
The walkways are completed now:

And the wall is progressing nicely:

I hope you have a safe and happy holiday!
Thanks for stopping by!

I'll be joining My Romantic Home for Show & Tell Friday
French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday!