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My Christmas Ornament Obsession

16 Dec

Originally featured on Styled by Ryn.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions from my childhood was getting a new Christmas ornament from my stocking each year. For years now I have been collecting European blown glass ornaments, and my mom continues the tradition of adding to my collection each year.

If you don’t know where to look, finding high quality, European glass ornaments can be a wild goose chase, but there are certain stores you can go to year after year, and certain brands that make stunning ornaments. I’m here to share my secrets!

2014 Christmas Tree

Brands to look for:

• Christopher Radko- Christopher Radko is really the brand that popularized intricate blown glass ornaments in America and can be found at department stores and boutiques alike. These ornaments tend to retain their value for years to come and are quite popular on secondary markets, like Ebay.

Popcorn Maker Ornament

Texas Ornament Cotton Candy Ornament

• Eric Cortina- Eric Cortina makes some of my favorite quirky and whimsical ornaments such as my French bulldog wearing a top hat, bowtie and a spectacle, and my clip-on of Santa’s boots sticking out of the Chimney.

Santa Chimney Ornament French Bulldog Ornament Button Ball Ornament Paris Hot Air Balloon Ornament Crown Tree Topper

• Inge Glas- Inge Glas is one of the oldest German-based glass blowers. These little treasures are usually more reasonably priced than other brands.

• Landmark Creations- Landmark Creations is best known for their ornaments of, well, landmarks.

• Michael Storings- Made by Landmark Creations, Michael Storings hand paints bulbs, typically of different scenes in New York City.

•De Carlini- If you prefer the Italian style blown glass ornaments, with a very distinctive look, De Carlini is a great go-to.

• John Huras- Read this guys story; it is really neat. Accustomed to the gorgeous and traditional trees of Poland, he originally started making ornaments for orphanages whose trees he wished could bring more cheer to the children.

John Huras Russian Santa Ornament

• Jay Strongwater- These last two brands are both on my wishlist, not on my tree. They are extremely pricey, but every ornament I have seen by these two artisans are stunning.
Patricia Breen- As mentioned above, the detail on Patricia Breen’s traditional designs are breathtaking.

Where to shop:
• Bergdorf Goodman- Bergdorf Goodman has many exclusive ornaments with at least five themed trees each year. They will ship internationally, but if you’re in New York City for the Christmas season, I highly advise a stop on their 7th floor where their Christmas room is set up.

I Love BG Taxi OrnamentTin Toy Monkey Ornament Penguin Snowscape Ornament French Macaron Ornament (2) Clip-on Carousel Horse Ornament

• Neiman Marcus- Like Bergdorf, its sister company, Neiman Marcus has many exclusive ornaments made just for them each year.Neimans boasts of the widest variety of readily available European ornaments year after year. Be sure to shop in store, as many of their exclusive ornaments are not available online.

Fish Ornament Blown Glass Ornament Mackenzie Childs Ornament Pinocchio Ornament Russian Doll Ornament

• Bloomingdales- Bloomingdales carries more Landmark Creations and Michael Storings ornaments than any other large department store

• The Christmas Store in Fredericksburg- If you’re in central Texas, this is a great little shop for any time you need Christmas fix as it is open year round. They are one of the few retailers in the United States that has an entire room dedicated to Radko ornaments. If you’re out-of-state, give them a call, and they’ll help you hunt down what you’re looking for.

Wisdom on Display Ornament, Signed

• Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland- Flip through their catalog or shop online year-round. Bronner’s is a place of Christmas overload, but narrow your search to European-made ornaments and it is less overwhelming.

• Macy’s (online only)- Macy’s doesn’t carry many European ornaments, but they do carry Christopher Radko online.

• Dillards- Dillards is one of the few department stores that carries Radko in store. Go and check out the quality for yourself!

• Marshalls, TJMaxx, Homegoods- A lot of smaller brand German and Polish ornaments can be found at these chains. I’ve gotten lucky and even found a few Radkos for under $10!

• Tuesday Morning- At Tuesday Morning you can find a few different brands, including Radko’s from last season at up to 75% off!

• World Market- World Market usually has a small selection of ornaments made in Poland. Their quality isn’t superb, but they’ve got some fun additions like hamburger, stand mixer, and digital camera ornaments.

• Pier 1- Pier 1 has a very limited selection of European blown glass ornaments, but you can count on them to have a few each year. This year they have a pretty snazzy dragon I’ve been eyeing.

Non-European ornaments are not always sub-par I have a few treasured ornaments that were made in China. Sometimes you just find an original concept or design that makes up for lesser quality and sometimes the quality and detail are equally lovely. Old World Christmas ornaments are made in China and you can find them in endless shapes so they’re great if you are looking for a very specific ornament. Anthropologie occasionally carries blown glass ornaments that are unique and worthwhile. I also have a few ornaments on my tree that are travel souvenirs made in China, such as a bearskin soldier I bought in London.. Waterford’s blown glass ornaments are typically made in China, but the detail on my Waterford ballerina ornament rivals that on many of my German and Polish made ornaments.

Waterford Ballerina Ornament

If you have glass ornaments that are precious to you, I highly recommend purchasing Sure Grip Clips. You can find them online, but they are pretty pricey. Hobby Lobby carries them for a song in comparison. I replaced all of the clips on my ornaments this year and feel like my collection is much more secure on the tree.

Do you know of any stores or brands available stateside that I’m missing? Do you collect a specific type of ornaments?

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A Giveaway: $50 to At Home (closed)

2 Dec

When At Home, formerly known as Garden Ridge, contacted me as asked me if I would be interested in partnering with them to do a giveaway, my answer was a swift and resounding “YES!” I have to admit, I love their new branding. I feel like it is more in line with what they actually offer in-store. While their outdoor selection is large, their accent furniture and decorative accessories are my favorite.

This weekend, my mother-in-law, my husband and I braved the weekend shopping crowds in order to purchase 45 feet of garland and all the bulbs and floral picks to go with it. You can’t beat one-stop-shopping during the holiday season! At Home also has Christmas trees in every color, shape and size. Neon orange? Hot pink? White? Traditional green? They’ve got it. I am tempted to return for a mini purple tree to deck out in TCU ornaments for my office.

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Beyond their Christmas section, I really can’t get over their selection of garden stools. I’ve never seen a better (or better priced) selection of garden stools, which are perfect for extra seating or a small side table indoors or out.

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One lucky reader will win a $50 gift card to At Home. Click the link below to enter. Come back daily for additional entries. The contest ends a 12:00am on December 9th.

Click Here to Enter

Disclaimer: At Home supplied the gift card for the giveaway. All images and written words are my own.No compensation was received in exchange for my opinion.

Fall Front Door

12 Nov

Too long ago, a friend asked me if I would blog about rental-friendly outdoor entry décor. If you remember, my front door has not been the most welcoming sight. Between broken keys stuck in locks, replaced handles, no wreaths, unfortunate wreaths, and a partially unpainted door our entryway had quite a saga of sadness.

After finding the right avenue to make the request, our front door was finally re-painted. That only took a year and a half! Living in a townhome community, we are not responsible for exterior maintenance and our front door has to match the paint on the rest of our building. Since we pay dues to get this taken care of, I may have stubbornly refused to have the paint matched myself…

Finally, it is at least presentable enough that I feel somewhat qualified to speak on the subject. Here is what it looks like presently:

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My suggestions for rental friendly entry décor?

  • A door mat is a must. Mine is starting to tatter, and I’m hoping to upgrade to one as wide as our door.
  • Wreaths work wonders. I have a couple that I swap out with the seasons. The oval fall beauty pictured was a thrift store score.
  • Oversized planters gussy your entryway up. I picked up large urn pictured at Lowes on clearance at the end of the summer and planted an asparagus fern. I love the weird bushy look, and so far it has proven hardy enough for my complete lack of gardening abilities. While my front entry wouldn’t accommodate the style, I love the symmetrical look of two planters flanking the door. Look here for one of my favorite examples.
  • A doorman, of course. Suggestion courtesy of my humorous husband.

If you can make more permanent changes to your front porch, here is what I propose:

  • Door knockers add personality. Mine (covered by this particular wreath, seen here), came from a home salvage shop in Fort Worth, but I love this monogram one from Anthropologie.
  • Add a kickplate if you haven’t.
  • Simply paint the door. Oh how I wish I could choose the color of mine!
  • Swap out the light fixtures. This is somewhere, very far down, on my list of future upgrades to make. If you’re really fancy, go for some N’awlins inspired gas lanterns.
  • House numbers. Restoration Hardware and Anthropologie have some stylish varieties.

Feel free to submit questions or post requests of your own via e-mail.

As always, thanks for reading!

♥ Dominique

Living Room Updates

5 Sep

Pinch me.

The culmination of gifts, saving, and waiting arrived at my front door on Friday.

The anticipation has been overwhelming (overwhelming: a word that always makes me think about Ten Things I Hate About You).

My living room has never been featured in full on the blog. You’ve seen a few angles when I posted about our console and can see how far it has come when you look at our couches, and maybe you even sneaked a peak at Christmas, but otherwise has been intentionally left a mystery. Below is what it looked like most of the year I’ve lived in Austin:

Living Room Leather Set

Over the past couple of months our living room has undergone numerous changes. We swapped our lack tables for a thrifted and gorgeous glass-topped brass coffee table. The mirrored console made the move from the upstairs hall downstairs and the scissor arm lamps moved up to the guest bedroom.  We got rid of the oversized leather chair that matched the couch. And finally…

Neutral Living Room

I am the very excited owner of two porters chairs! (Also known as balloon chairs, hooded chairs, and Versailles chairs.)

I always swoon when I see images of these chairs or when I have see them at Bergdorf Goodman or Tillman’s Roadhouse (where we celebrated our rehearsal dinner), and now I own a pair! I can swoon every time I sit in my very own living room.

Head over to the Home Tour page to see the rest of the room!

Thanks for reading,

♥ Dominique

A Summer-Ready Patio

22 Jul

Last time you saw the patio, it had just undergone restoration including sanding, staining, and brushing on protective polyurethane. It has come a short way since then.

Outdoor Patio

We picked up the grey jute rug on clearance at West Elm and added pillows from various stores.

Target Navy Patterned Outdoor Lumbar PIllow

The lumbar pillows on the chairs are from Target. I love the pattern so much. The solid pillows on the bench are from Pottery Barn, and the patterned one is from Lowes.

Navy Outdoor PIllow

A few accessories are still needed. Here’s what I have in mind:

Outdoor Patio Accessory Mood Board

Of course a few plants are in order too, but I don’t want to plant anything in the south-facing backyard in the middle of a Texas summer. The sun is scorching in this area and the last plant I purchased got crispy.

Some inexpensive curtains would add privacy while giving it a vacation vibe, don’t you think?

Thanks for Reading,

♥ Dominique

Laundry is Less of a Chore

18 Jul

I wish I had a good before picture of our laundry room.

You are not missing much, but I will paint you a mental picture: exactly the same as the images below, but beige, with no storage.

The laundry room was one of the first rooms I painted in the house. I thought the colors felt clean and the fun stripes might make doing laundry a little bit less of a chore. We picked up the wire shelves from Target and had just those, side by side, until about a month ago.

Laundry Room Cabinet

 
We took the cabinet out of the upstairs bathroom and hung the cabinet when we installed crown moulding.

Striped Laundry Room with Cabinet

 
Less than five minutes after these photos were snapped I loaded up the shelves with small and rarely used appliances that were consuming half of my pantry space.

It feels so good to have storage where we needed it.

Do you have any projects planned for this weekend?

Thanks for reading,

♥ Dominique

A Living Room Lesson in Proportion

15 Jul

Until a month ago, I had no idea the transformative power a single piece of furniture could wield.

The console I talked about four months ago made it from DFW to Austin about a month ago, and it completely changed our home. Though Anthony might tell you I say that after every new project or purchase, this one really did.

All of a sudden, our living room, filled with hand me down seating and an outlet store rug, has a personality and style.

While I think the ultra modern console alone is a poor reflection of my decorating style, pair it with some French traditional chairs and this living room has pegged my idea of interior perfection.

I also think this console is a lesson in how important scale and proportion are in design.

I’ll hush now, and let the before and after speak for themselves.

Console Before www.gustoandgraceblog.com

White Modern Geometric Console

If my husband was a blogger, I am sure this post would have more to do with his upgrade from a sound bar to a stereo system. He might tell you jokes about how many Paolinis it takes to install a sound system. Brilliance is brightest at 1am on a worknight in this case.

In the spirit of preemptive updates (as I gave with this console in March), mid-September it will be out with the brown leather chair and in with the Belgian linen chairs. An exciting order has been placed and I can hardly wait to share more!

Thanks for reading,

♥ Dominique

 

A DIY I Didn’t Do Myself: Crown Moulding

11 Jul

I finally crossed one of the big items off the to-do short list I made for the home earlier this year. When some of my family came to visit in June, they brought power tools and helped around our home.

My stepdad, husband, and brother-in-law hung crown moulding in our dining room and kitchen. I really expected to have more of a hand in that, but the guys were doing such a great job, so my mom, sister and I worked on smaller projects: hemming curtains, re-painting wall art, and hanging pictures.

It was an enormous blessing and I really enjoyed having their company and assistance for a few looming projects.

This corner is my first or second favorite of the whole house. If you notice, I’ve even added a few more plates since last week.

Green Dining Room Crown Moulding

The kitchen hasn’t been seen on the blog in awhile. I think the last time was just after we painted the cabinets. Nothing has changed at all. Someday I won’t have floor tiles as my backsplash, but this blog focuses on celebrating progress, not just completion.

I should have taken the time to pull the tripod out of the closet, so you don’t get the vantage point of a 5’4″ woman. There really is about a foot between the cabinets and the ceiling. Next time.

Kitchen Crown Moulding

This next shot makes the beige walls blare, but I haven’t been inspired by any paint colors or wall coverings for this whack space where three rooms share walls.

I think this hallway is particularly camera shy, as it has never shown its face on the web, but it wears the chunky 5 1/4 inch crown moulding proudly.

Hallway Crown Moulding

Shhh! Don’t tell my husband that now the baseboards have been crying out to compete…

Thanks for reading,

♥ Dominique

 

Decorating with Plates

1 Jul

I’m baaaaack! After taking the month of June away from blogging, I am thrilled to be blogging again with refreshed passion and dedication. While there was radio silence here, much was astir in our home.

On top of decorating projects galore, Anthony and I spent two of of June’s four weekends with family in town, Anthony walked across the stage and got his CPA license, we purchased a “newsed” car, and checked a major financial goal off of our list: no more PMI! I can hardly wait to share the changes we have made inside our home and begin to blog about topics that delve a bit deeper than my most recent thrift-store-score.

While it was extremely tempting to write a lengthy post showcasing how our home has transformed over the past several weeks, I decided it best to break it down into bite-sized posts. Get ready for home-heavy posting in this month.

Speaking of thrift store scores… on a recent trip to my neighborhood Goodwill I picked up three black and white plates for the entryway for $0.99 each. The plates, marked Mikasa Reggae on the back, seemed Kelly Wearstler-esque to me.

Mikasa Reggae Plates

Continue reading

Bathroom Decor Dilemmas

25 Apr

I am an art thief. I took the artwork pictured below without paying for it.

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Before

I really don’t even have any interest in the artwork, but I am crazy about the frame, so I took it.

In my defense, my neighbor put it on the curb and I asked him if I could have it. I think he is absolutely bonkers for tossing it.

I took it without even knowing what I would do with it or where I would put it, but at the low price of free I could not pass it up. A menu in the kitchen? A frame for new artwork? After quickly realizing that it is the perfect size for the awkward vanity in the bathroom upstairs, I found its home and its purpose.

With a $17 piece of glass from Lowes, corner braces, and a few screws, I turned it into a mirror.

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After

But, much like the children’s book if you give a mouse a cookie, the what-next wheels started turning as soon as I put it in place.

The over-the-top ornateness of the frame makes even my favorite shadow puppet plates feel plain.

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Maybe you’d be willing to give me your input. Here are the questions that have been on my mind since the mirror was hung (Note, not major changes such as a new vanity or new flooring are in the cards right now):

  • Should I paint the frame of the mirror? If so, what color? High gloss?
  • Should I remove the cabinet above the toilet? It never looked odd before the mirror was hung, but I could possibly reuse it in laundry room, and we do not need the storage in the bathroom with a double vanity and a linen closet.
  • Should I paint the cabinets? What color?
  • What color should I paint the walls? (Any shade of red is out)
  • Do the hot air balloon and the shadow puppet plates need to move out now?

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To see the bathroom with the builder-grade mirror in all its beige glory, click here.

Thanks for reading,

♥ Dominique

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