Monday, February 11, 2008

The Dressing Table

My grandmother was raised poor in the rural south. During World War II she got a job in a manufacturing plant and worked in factories her whole life. Since she worked in industrial settings, often dirty and lifeless, she understood the importance of creating beauty in the home.

Her dining room wall was adorned with a Pink Willow tapestry which matched her dinnerware. Her bedroom always had a special corner for her dressing table. It was magical confection of pink and crystal and when I stayed at her house I would slip out of bed very early and sit on her padded stool and marvel at the beauty of it all.

The skirted table is a classic and she had a beautiful tri-fold mirror and crystal dressing table lamps. The top was literally covered with make up beautiful perfume bottles.

I've always kept a dressing table in her tradition and at one point I had my other grandmother's bird's eye maple set in my home. But when the new furniture arrived I passed the maple set to my sister and purchased this desk and chair from Target to serve as my newest incarnation of the dressing table.


The desk drawers provide enough room to store makeup and other items. But anyone that knows me would know this is not finished. I'm debating on what to hang over the table. Artsy photography, artwork or mirror? I'd like some suggestions. I'm thinking perhaps one of those 60's starburst mirrors, or perhaps something very different - a mirror with a frame covered in seashells. My friend Di gathered lots of shells for me at the beach and those would give me a good start.

I'm also thinking of draping the top with some beautiful heavy linen and embroidered cut work cloth. The lamp shades are boring beyond belief and I'd like to cover them with some rich fabric. I'd really love to hear your ideas.

I believe in bling on the dressing table. Mirrored frames, mirrored cones, mirrored trays.....oh, it's a fung shui nightmare for sure!


I have some perfume bottles, certainly not as many as my grandmother.


And my vintage flea market sunglasses. Love them!! Those are my Judith Jack pearls and the compact is a gift from one of my photoblog fans. Thanks Susan!


I keep the rings and earrings that I wear all the time in this cut crystal sugar bowl.


Back when I was doing the craft show circuit I purchased this lovely jewelry box from a woman who had the booth next to me. It's covered in vintage jewelry pieces. She only used earrings that were missing their mates and broken watches, etc.


I encourage you to carve out a beautiful space for yourself, a dressing table if you have the room or a nice spot on the bathroom vanity.


Over the years I've had lots of earring that have lost their mates. I call them "orphan earrings". You can put them to good use by making scatter pins out of them. Get either tie tack hardware as in this example, or earring backs that have those rubber stoppers. Tie tack hardware works best because it "locks".


Use a bit of glue (I use clear silicone glue) and glue to the back. Instant scatter pin!

Tomorrow we're going to engage in an interesting assignment. Mary from Red House put out a tag and I accepted the challenge. Don't worry, I won't tag you!


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

I love the idea of carving out a space for grandmother always had a dressing table...but I have never done it. At least the thought is on the radar screen!

KatKit13 said...

Oooh!!! Pretty!!

Pier One has the most awesome sunburst mirror in their current ad. It would be beautiful. I think what bothers you more is not the starkness of the lampshades but the skinny sticks of the bases. I say you look for new lamps at your favorite flea market. Crystal ones. The more bling and sparkle, the better!

You need some texture here. Although, I'm liking the striped effect from the lampshades on your wall. LOL

KatKit13 said...

Oh! And a tailored skirt, sharp inverted pleats, but in a feminine pattern, with a teeny matching polkadot. Reverse the effect for the chair pad.

Cottage Magpie said...

What a pretty table! It's just lovely, and the tip for the jewelry is great! You know what else I notice? Pink! You should put the link up for the giveaway I have going on.
~Angela :-)

Thirkellgirl said...

Another "why didn't I think of that?" moment reading today's post! I've got a small cut-glass bowl I really like and why didn't I ever think of putting it on my dresser to hold my watch? Love your post today.

I vote for a seashelled mirror, and no fabric on top of the dressing table. I like clean surfaces, though. :)

Suzanne said...

Vee - you need one. Carve one out and I'll send you something special to use on it.

KatKit - I'm heading over towards Pier One today. I think my car might accidently stop there! I am going to look for some crystal lamps. I bought these thinking the brushed stainless would match the metal on the bed - it does, but as you can see they leave something to be desired.

Angela - Yes! I entered and I'm feeling very Vegas (lucky). Thanks for sponsoring the giveaway.

Thirkellgirl - I think the cut glass bowl will be perfect. The reason I put these glass pieces on dressers is because if you keep the jewelry contained, there's less of a chance it will scratch the wood. This is ESPECIALLY true for the farmer, who seems to drag stuff across the dresser for some reason. I'm heavily leaning towards the seashell mirror. The starburst mirror would be more in keeping with the retro/metro/modern feel but I like eclectic surprises in the decorating scheme. You'd expect a seashell mirror in a coastal cottage theme but not this one.

Jill -Forever and Ever House said...

So pretty. Your grandmother was an amazing woman. How fortunate your family is that you are passing her legacy on through stories such as this. :O) said...

Fun tip, thanks!

Unknown said...

How tall are your lamps?