These Chairs Have History!

You know the old saying, “everything old is new again”?
The idea that mid-century modern furniture is uber popular kind of makes me smile.
You know….that stuff we thought looked so tacky in our parent’s living rooms…..??
That is the stuff our kids lust after at Wayfair and West Elm.

Like this:

Look at these chairs!

They may not have quite the same “fancy-ness” as the West Elm or Overstock versions, but they have something that I like even better!

They have HISTORY!

One of the chairs actually came from Coffman Memorial Union at the U of M!

It was given to us by a friend who somehow “liberated” it sometime in the late 1960’s! 
I have fond memories pulling a couple of these chairs together to take a study break while I waited between classes.  So when we had the chance to have one to furnish our apartment, we jumped at the chance.

 Through the years, the single chair got lots of makeovers.  New cushion covers and even a coat of white paint.  I was never able to discard it….but always tucked it in the corner.

The other chair doesn’t have quite as clear a provenance.  It was a streetside rescue…..saved by the Sweetwater Daughter a couple of decades later!

It only made sense that our old chair would join the “new chair” in her house…
She found some new chairs and wondered what to do with these treasures…

I knew!
….a trip to the fabric store was in order.
This really nice faux leather was perfect. Maybe I should call it VEGAN leather?
Anyway….the color was perfect and it would also solve the problem of cat hair on the cushions when company comes.  Just a quick wipe and even people wearing black can sit on them.

 The project of recovering them was a combination of wrapping and sewing.  This is one of those times when a “tutorial” doesn’t make sense.  Every chair project is different.  My advice to you if you want to try something like this….just start!  Worst case….you can take it to a “real” upholstery shop.

 I think these were worth the effort!

Now…when people lust over “vintage” furniture…I can smile and know I have the real deal in the living room

In case you were wondering about the difference between antique, vintage and retro, read on!
Here is what the good folks over at Apartment Therapy have to say!
What is antique?
According to Merriam Webster, an antique is “a relic or object of ancient times” or “a work of art, piece of furniture, or decorative object made at an earlier period and according to various customs laws at least 100 years ago.” Ruby Lane, an online marketplace of independent antique and collectible shops, offers a similar definition, explaining, “Most authorities consider the actual definition of the term ‘antique’ to mean an age of at least 100 years. If an item is not definitively datable to 100 or more years in age, it should not be directly referred to as an antique.”
What is vintage?
If antiques are things that are 100 years old or older, what are vintage pieces? The defnition of vintage is trickier. According to Merriam Webster, the term vintage relates primarily to wine and is an altered form of the French word vendage, meaning “the grapes picked during a season.” One of its secondary definitions is “a period of origin or manufacture” (e.g., a vintage 1960s Mercedes) or “length of existence: age.” Ruby Lane provides a much more helpful explanation, noting that “an item described as ‘vintage’ should speak of the era in which it was produced. Vintage can mean an item is of a certain period of time, as in “vintage 1950’s” but it can also mean (and probably always should) that the item exhibits the best of a certain quality, or qualities, associated with or belonging to that specific era. In other words, for the term vintage to accurately apply to it, an item should be somewhat representational and recognizable as belonging to the era in which it was made.” Ruby Lane also suggests that ‘vintage’ should not be used in reference to objects less than 20 years old.
What is retro?
According to Merriam Webster, retro is “relating to, reviving, or being the styles and especially the fashions of the past : fashionably nostalgic or old-fashioned.” Retro furniture may not actually be old but it references styles of the recent past. Retro can also mean something that is not very old but is old enough to be more than just “so last season”. (i.e., the woman wearing the early 80s high-waisted jeans because she hasn’t updated her wardrobe since the Reagan Administration is not retro. She is just outdated.) I am still not entirely clear on the difference between retro and vintage, I must admit. There seems to be some overlap. For whatever reason, “retro” makes me think of mod, geometric shapes and “vintage” conjures up images of faded, floral fabrics. But that’s just me!

Good to know!

Tee Public

Have A Great Day!

Goodness! Gracious! Good Will Goodies!

Sweetwater Style has it’s roots in thrift store shopping with panache!
noun: panache
1.flamboyant confidence of style or manner.

flamboyance, confidence, self-assurance, style, flair, elan, dash, verve, zest, spirit, brio, éclat, vivacity, gusto, liveliness, vitality, energy

I am not so sure about the flamboyance, but I would like to think that I approach thrift store shopping with gusto, confidence and zest!

I have decided to post “Goodness! Gracious! Good Will Goodies!”  every week or so.  The series will be all about how to get the most out of your trips to the thrift store.

Today’s Good Will Goodies post is all about the VASE!
There are always great vases at the thrift store!
I could probably buy a wonderful vase on each and every trip!
In fact, Mr. S would probably say that I do buy a vase on every trip!
Just look at the possibilities here!
That shiny yellow one would look nice….
And the pretty gold one…hmmmm!
Oh and the little red pot would be a fun little planter!

The vase collection at Sweetwater has developed over time.
I have had to focus my purchases on a few very specific types.
I limit my purchases to a few favorite types.

I love vintage mid-century ceramics.
Haeger, McCoy and Redwing are brands to look for.  I am a sucker for this lovely off-white color.  The collection is great for the flower arrangements we do for events.  And the display is a statement on this shelf.  I can usually find these lovelies for less than $5.

Silver Plate 
The classic loving cup shape is a go to favorite.  I have two of these.  What a statement they make filled with a few of the same flowers.

This style looks great with a flowering plants as well.   This is a photo from a few years ago.  The poinsettias bloomed for a long time that year!

 Other silver shapes to look for are footed bowls, mint julep cups and ice buckets.  

French Flower Buckets

There always seem to be examples of these wonderful containers at the thrift store.

They can be found in a variety of sizes and finishes.

Fill a small one with an orchid or a larger one with a rustic flower arrangement.

You can drill a drainage hole in the bottom and use them for outdoor planters.

I think I will do a distressed paint technique on some of these for the front porch this summer!

Or….how fun would these colorful buckets look!  Just a quick spray painting job and you could really make a statement!

If you are planning a baby shower….get yourself to the thrift store!

Buy a few of these little ceramic containers for your centerpieces.  Fill them with flowers and scatter them around.

They are an inexpensive baby gift too!

There you have it….all about the VASE!
Stay tuned for the next edition of:
 HMMMMM….what should that be about?
Maybe I need to go shopping!
or NOT!
Have A Wonderful Day!
 I would love to hear what YOU have to say!
Link Party Goodness

A Wedding in the Family!

Congratulations are in order for the Sweetwater Son and our lovely new Daughter-in-Law!

Are they not just the most gorgeous looking couple?

The wedding was on Saturday at Willow Ridge Gardens.
It is pretty nice to have a brother and sister-in-law who have a wedding venue!

The weather was absolutely perfect for a morning wedding and brunch!

I can’t wait to see the pictures from Matt Hodgman at Edge Gallery .  He took formal as well as candid photos of the lovely people and place.

Of course….I was too busy to take photos during the wedding or at the party…

But I do have pictures from Friday: preparations, the Groom’s dinner as well as early on Saturday morning before anyone was up! I can share some of those with you.

Sweetwater Style is dedicated to sharing ways to save money and still be stylish and elegant!
This wedding had lots of touches that were very special and thrifty!

What fun to create the flower arrangements for the reception tables and help the bride make her own bouquet.

 Here are the arrangements on their way to the barn…..we used my collection of off white Haeger vases with fall bright blooms from the Farmer’s Market and the gardens at Willow Ridge. The total cost for 16 arrangements was less than $100.

The Bridal Bouquet was pretty stunning!  The blooms are from Bachman’s Floral.  The pale pink roses are an amazing color.  They are mixed with white Hydrangea and white Spider Mums with accents of seeded Eucalyptus.  The bride put the flowers together herself!  With a little help from me…..they were wrapped with floral tape and finished off with white silk ribbon.  This bouquet is every bit as nice as one made at the florists…..for a fraction of the cost!  The “special order” flowers cost $60.  There were enough to make the bouquet and all of the boutonnieres and corsages.  There were even flowers left to decorate the cake.  The average cost for a bridal bouquet from a florist is $250 …..and this bouquet certainly doesn’t seem “average”!

The Groom’s dinner was so much fun.  All of the close family from both sides as well as some close friends from out of town were invited to come and celebrate on Friday night.

We were able to hold the dinner in the barn at Willow Ridge Gardens.  The entrance to the barn was decorated for us with this lovely Fall display!

It was a great place to gather for Happy Hour and conversation before dinner.

We set up a large Harvest Table in the barn for people to sit at when they filled their plates from the catered

The flower arrangements on the Harvest Table were the ones that were used on Saturday on the high tops at the reception.

It was also a fun spot for candid fall photos!

Sorry…..but you just can’t blame this Grandma for showing off these cute photos….

The Sweetwater Grandbaby really loves his second cousin!

Now…after that brief commercial…back to the thrifty ideas!

We put a 8 tables together for this giant table so that all 35 guests would be seated together.
That makes for a wonderful feeling of togetherness and a great flow of conversation.
Such a large table presents some problems when it comes to a table covering!
I don’t know about you….but I really really hate plastic party table cloths!
This solution was the genius idea of the Sweetwater Daughter!
All we did was gather all sorts of cloth tablecloths that all had the same color wave and feeling.  In this case….it was sort of “luncheon on the farm”  vintage with some denim thrown it.  Then those were just laid on the table in a sort of random but artistic fashion.  I love the casual elegance…..but mostly the avoidance of plastic or rented linens!

After the wonderful dinner….it was easy to do a bit of last minute set up for the big day!
HMMMM…..a glass of wine while you work does make the job seem more fun!

Then….off to bed in the darling little “Granary”.  Saturday dawned with this perfect sunrise!  I was up before almost anyone else…except the Sweetwater Brother who was out and about tending the gorgeous grounds.

I wandered around enjoying the peace, calm and serenity!
 This is the “aisle” for the wedding ceremony!  

 How cute is this rustic sign post?  With a venue this spread out….people needed some direction!  Kudos to the Sweetwater Brother and Sister-in-law for providing the perfect backdrop for this.

The sunrise streaming in to the barn shows off the great looking flowers on the bartops.

The Mason jars and feathery grasses are a nice rustic touch.

The containers for all the fixings for the Bloody Mary Bar and Mimosa’s were all set and ready to be filled…..


It was sure to be a perfect day…..

And it WAS…filled with so many memorable moments!

For now….I am enjoying the memories as we  celebrate the happy marriage of this lovely couple.

I promise more to come when I have more photos!

You have a Wonderful Day!

Silver Polishing For Lazy People!

Alas….there are no butlers or footmen at Sweetwater who can polish the silver!

I imagine the Silver at Downton Abbey the silver is all real Sterling too!

The Sweetwater silver is all SILVERPLATE…..
And…. it almost all came from the thrift store!

I do love the silver pieces I have….
I do love using the stuff…..
I do love sharing it with friends…

In fact…a girlfriend is coming over this week to take inventory of the collection and see what pieces she might use for her wedding reception.


What I do not love is polishing this stuff!  But it needs to happen every once in a while!  Especially if it is going “on a field trip” to a wedding reception!

Typically, I get out the polish and just do it….
Then I remembered reading somewhere that you could use tinfoil and baking soda to remove tarnish without polishing!
So of course…..I did some research and found a bunch of tutorials about doing this!
And it WORKS!
This is what you need!
This is what you do!
Line a big pan with aluminum foil.
Pour in some baking soda.
3 or 4 Tablespoons per quart of water
Get the water boiling!
Dump in the silver pieces….
Let the magic happen….
It takes a little while….like five minutes!
Look at the dark color the foil turned!
According to Mr. S (he is not a chemist….but pretty darn smart about stuff like this)…what is really happening is a chemical reaction that results in sort of electroplating the foil with a tiny bit of the silver.
Mr. S. told me I needed to find the scientific reason this works….here is a link from some guy at John’s Hopkins if you feel the need to study up on this….but here is a quote from the article:
“The reason that this process works so well is that it acts electrochemically. There is a flow of electrons between the silver object and the aluminum foil, and that’s what removes the tarnish.”
Sounds just like what  Mr. S told me….don’t you think?
I decided to try this with the silverplate flatware for the first try with the process.
I hate polishing this the most….as you can plainly see!
The results were truly amazing!
Not perfect…..but with no polishing!
I decided to try using the kitchen sink for some of the bigger pieces!
I wasn’t quite as happy with the results…..probably because I couldn’t keep the water hot enough!
I will figure some way to put a bigger pot on the stove next time.
I was really pleased with the way the tarnish came out of the grooves in the edges of the trays.
 It would have been a real pain to get this result with silver polish!
Remember that all my silver pieces are thrift store bargains and NOT heirlooms!
In the process…..a tiny bit of the silver is coming off and going to the aluminum foil!
Mr. S thinks it would take a WHOLE bunch of treatments to actually damage the pieces….but I thought you should be forewarned if you have precious pieces!
I don’t think I will completely give up my Downton Abbey moments….but this process is one that I will use more often!
I would love to hear from anyone who has a solution for doing this on the larger trays and bowls.  
I am thinking that my roaster might work…..what do you think?
Have a Great Day!

Vintage Value American Made

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I am pretty darn good at thrift store shopping!
In fact….I thought I was the best of anyone in our family!
Alas…I have lost the title to my son-in-law!

He has taken his thrifting to the highest level!

Greenwich Vintage Co sells All American Made Vintage

Refurbished Men’s Clothing

Greenwich Vintage
Honestly…the stuff they have in the shop is so fabulous…You really need to go to the website and look….here is just a sample!

Greenwich Vintage

Greenwich Vintage

I found a Pendleton skirt at GW for $8..took it apart and gave the fabric to Tommy….look at the lining of this Dopp kit….Amazing!

He is a COBBLER too! He customizes these amazing shoes!
Greenwich Vintage

Greenwich Vintage

Greenwich Vintage

Everything is completely American made-lots of Pendleton and Woolrich….all high quality and refurbished for you!
There is a lot of buzz out there about their unique shop….articles in several magazines and the Minneapolis paper’s Lifestyle section featured them this week! WOW!
This article in the Gentleman’s Gazette really gives a great overview of what is going on at Greenwich Vintage and is worth a read if you are interested in learning more!

 If you don’t live in the Minneapolis Area…don’t despair….they have an Etsy Shop that you can connect to from the website! 

If you do live in the area…you might want to check out SNOWGRADE a Pop-Up Men’s Market next weekend at Architectural Antiques….lots of great atmosphere and lots of STUFF!

 Now I might not win the title of “Best Thrifter” in my family any more…
but in keeping with the whole vintage look….

Here is an outfit I put together from GW!
Plaid Skirt….GW
Red Cotton Sweater….GW
Black Cashmere Sweater….GW
Black Patent Pumps….T.J. Maxx
Total Cost….$30
Very “Catholic School Girl” don’t ya think!
Funny story about the skirt….whenever I wear it to school….all the little girls tell me how much they love my skirt….hmmmm….do you think that means it is “too young” for the “old lady librarian”?
Hope you get a chance to thrift shop a bit this weekend!