From improved by time

My Precious Vintage Place Card Holders

Many years ago I found a lovely set of vintage place card holders at a flea market in New York. Alas I’ve never used them. Our dinner invitations are of the more informal kind and don’t require carefully laid out seating arrangements. Of course I could employ them in alternative ways, say, to describe different dishes at a buffet table. Unfortunately I usually don’t think of this until after the party is over.

So they sit in their pretty little box wrapped in tissue paper, whence they emerge once in a blue moon to be admired by me. But today their moment of glory has come. I’ve decided to share them with the world – or anyway with those who care to read this blog.


I found these vintage beauties ages ago at a flea market in New York.


There are actually two different designs: one a winged youth holding a cornucopia, the other a bunch of grapes.


I just love the details!


Here a close up of the grapes.


One of them still has the manufacturer’s label on the bottom.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Thanks for visiting.  Please sign up for e-mail notification for updates on future posts. Or follow on Instagram, facebook or bloglovin’.

Have a wonderful weekend!



















A Touch of Vintage to Add Charm to Your Kitchen

There are several kinds of kitchens. Some have every imaginable gadget to make the cook’s live easier. Some are so minimalist it’s hard to imagine they are actually ever used to produce a meal – and some are a combination of the two.

And then there are the ones that immediately make you feel at home. The ones everybody squeezes into during gatherings, no matter how spacious the rest of the house. Rarely are they flawless, but their chips and chinks and mismatched decor only enhance their appeal.

With a little imagination it’s possible to recreate this well-worn lived-in feel. A distressed cabinet or table, some vintage items hung on the wall or displayed on open shelves – be they family heirlooms or flea market finds – go a long way to make your kitchen everybody’s favorite place to hang out .


The chipped dresser used as an island creates contrast and turns focal point in this contemporary kitchen. (1)


Salvaged windows gained a new lease on life as doors for this distressed hanging cupboard, an eye-catching complement for the simple white lower cabinets. Its use to showcase a collection of vintage china  rounds off the effect. (2)


Lace curtains, a vintage scale and an antique silver tray. Lovely. (3)


Weathered cast iron brackets form the only contrasting element in this white on white display. (4)


A simple raw wooden stick hung from the ceiling accommodates copper pans, wire baskets and an assortment of herbs. (5)


Metal garden chairs  have moved indoors and found a new home in this all white kitchen, adding charm as well as a touch of color. (6)


An array of vintage beauties on open shelves. (7)


Textiles inject this cozy cottage kitchen with vibrant colors. (8)


In our own kitchen a cookie jar sits on the counter. Vintage baking molds and other items create a backdrop.
In our own kitchen a revolving candy jar sits on the counter. Vintage baking molds and other items create the backdrop. (9)


Please click on the number below each picture for links to image sources.

I hope to have inspired you to add your own vintage touches to your kitchen. As always I’m looking forward to your comments!





Windows of Opportunity (2)

A few weeks ago I posted some charming ideas about giving a second chance to those multipaned windows often discarded during renovation. I have a weakness for mirrors, I find it intriguing how they open new perspectives in an otherwise restricted space. That’s why the mirror window on a garden wall caught my attention. Here it is again:


One of my next projects is to install a mirror window on our garden wall. (9)
Mirror window on a garden wall by Three Dogs in a Garden

The entrance to our house is a narrow walled passage, a place that definitely can benefit from a little extra perspective. I figured this would be the perfect spot to recreate this concept. Here it is – alas at the moment it is still a fairly poor imitation of the original …

The mirror window in our front garden
The mirror window in our front garden

The rain season is bound to start soon, and I hope the plants will grow in nicely then (and maybe our cat will even stop destroying the orchids as she keeps climbing up the tree ….). So I thought it might be interesting to post a picture every six months or so to keep track on how things are changing. Stay tuned.

Windows of Opportunity

Multi paned windows are a signature feature of the Portuguese colonial architecture in Brazil, they are also common in traditional farmhouses in the US and many European countries. Often they get replaced during renovation and can be picked up for a song at salvage yards.

They can be repurposed in a great number of ways, adding a touch of shabby chic to a home  – here are just a few inspirations. Hope this gets your creative juices flowing.

One of the old window s of our home is now hanging in my home office - the upper part became a photo gallery, the lower part pin board with cork panels and a center magetic section
One of the old windows of our house is now hanging in my home office – the upper part became a photo gallery, the lower part message board with cork panels on both sides and a center magnetic section. Hooks across the bottom accommodate an ever changing array of items. (1)


This window turned mirror sits atop a book case
This mirror perches atop a book case. It was previously used as a “window” in our windowless New York bathroom. (2)

Below are some ideas from around the web:

Here a number of different size frames was grouped together to create a gallery wall.
Here a number of different size frames was grouped together to create a gallery wall. (3)


This frame was outfitted with chicken wire. Wooden cloth pins hold photographs.
This frame was outfitted with chicken wire. Wooden cloth pins hold photographs. (4)


An eye-catching floral design was painted on the glass of this window. At first glance it appears to be scroll iron work. A shelf across the bottom adds functionality. (5)


This beautiful frame with much of its original hardware is an artwork in itself. Some neutral toned flower garlands enhance its romantic flair. (6)


Backdrop for a flower box – a new take on window box. You could add mirrors to double the impact of the greenery. (7)


Here the panes were replaced with chalkboard. I like how the partitions in the upper half were removed to provide a larger space for notes. (8)


One of my next projects is to install a mirror window on our garden wall. (9)
This mirror window instantly opens a new dimension in the garden. One of my next projects is to install one on our own garden wall. (9)

Image sources:  personal archive (1) (2), (3), (4),  DIY ShowOff  (5),  Shabbyfufu (6),  Ruff by Margo (7),  le petit Yaka moderne (8), Three Dogs in a Garden (9)


Thanks for visiting. I look forward to hearing from you. Just click on the post title to leave a comment.



Time Travelers

There is something magical about vintage suitcases. They hark back to a time when traveling was either glamorous or an adventure – or both. Each of them holds their own secrets, locked inside forever, even if the keys have been long since lost and the latches snap open easily with that familiar sound.

Maybe you are lucky enough to have inherited one from a relative and know some of its history and its journeys –  or else picked up a few at a flea market or a thrift shop like I did and the only clues to their past are some faded labels.

They add instant charm to any decoration and their use is only limited by one’s imagination. Not to mention that they provide great storage space.



The brown leather case on top I actually rescued from a New York City dumpster, the other one came from a thrift shop. I especially like the Cunard Line stickers on that one.

What stories could they tell?
What stories could they tell?


A creative solution when space is limited: just turn a suitcase on its end and voilá – your bedside table is ready. Via

An upright suitcase turned into a space saving bedside table


Thanks to David for his beautiful picture. 

“Les deux valises de grand-papa”


This transformation into a medicine cabinet requires a little extra handiwork, but the result is amazing. Found on

This vintage beauty was turned into a medicine cabinet


Create an instant side table by stacking three cases. Those ugly remote controls and phone chargers are at once out of sight and within easy reach. Via

Stacked suitcases transformed into a side table


This suitcase turned bar is fabulous. The mirror inside the lid just adds the finishing touch. Discovered at

Second life as a bar


Have garden, will travel … I found this charming garden in a suitcase at

Plant a garden 

I hope you like these inspirations. Feel free to comment and add other ideas you might have.

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Rust Never Sleeps

The passage of time and exposure to the elements can bestowe an almost poetic beauty on everyday objects

Old city entrance - colorful gate detail
Old city entrance – colorful gate detail

              found on: Pursuit of Happiness, chrystalines75: Old City Entrance


Vintage scale
Vintage scale

                   found on:  Vintage scale | Flickr – Photo Sharing!



Beautiful weathered door withrusty latch
Beautiful weathered door with rusty latch

        photo by Tina Negus




Spiky fence at Lake Lawn Cemetery, New Orleans, USA
Spiky fence at Lake Lawn Cemetery, New Orleans, USA

                         Lake Lawn Cemetery | Flickr – Photo Sharing!


Gorgeous color and rust
Gorgeous color and rust

              La principessa dell’universo

I’ll be delighted to hear from you!