New Collection at Maison Cote de Texas





Everyone who reads Cote de Texas knows how much I admire Houston interior designer Carol Glasser.  As I pointed out to you a few weeks ago, her advertisement alone says it all:  the gorgeous painted antique console, the gilt mirror, the blue and white, the wonderful celadon wallpaper, the lone altar stick with its gold taper.    Glasser is a  meticulous designer, she hand picks every item, nothing  comes easily from a catalogue or a showroom.  Instead she searches out the perfect item and doesn’t let time rush her – her clients may wait for Glasser to make her final choice, but, the wait is worth it, no doubt.


Ad photographed by James Farmer (  for Antique Shops & Designers magazine here.


scan0006 The designer Carol Glasser, featured in a no longer published local magazine,  stands on the stairs of her former house.  To read more about her and her “One Perfect House,”  please go HERE.




Over the years Glasser’s style has had a large influence on mine.   She was and remains someone whose style and taste I admire greatly.   With each magazine article about her “One Perfect House” – I would hungrily study every detail and see how I could incorporate her look into my own house – mostly very unsuccessfully, I can assure you.   Without a doubt, the greatest impact Glasser made on me, and legions of other rabid fans throughout the United States, was with her 10’ long Welsh dresser, laden with a huge and gorgeous collection of blue and white transferware.   Through a friend, who was also her client, I had heard about the collection but hadn’t seen it – until this photo above was published.   No picture that I can recall ever affected my decorating quite as much, and so, almost 18 years ago,  I began my own collection of blue and white transferware – to emulate this.  Of course, I didn’t have the 10’ long Welsh dresser, nor the wall space for one either.   But I did manage to purchase a small French china cabinet at Joyce Horn, from whom I have bought many of the antiques in my house.



Another magazine photoshoot with basically the same styling of the Welsh dresser.   Notice all the  white ironstone mixed in with the blue and white transferware.




CAROL6 The Veranda Photoshoot – Quite a Change!


But as soon I as tried to copy Glasser, she changed.  For the next magazine photoshoot (Veranda) Glasser showed her dresser looking very different – the masses of transferware dinner plates were gone, replaced with faience and delft and other pottery.    The ironstone was regulated to the bottom ledge and only the transferware platters remained.   Well, you know I didn’t like THIS as much – and just ignored her changes, continuing to grow my own collection – inspired by her original one!   I was more true to Glasser than she was to herself!   In truth, who knows what her dresser really looked like.  It’s quite possible that all the other pottery was just borrowed for the photoshoot to change it up – after all it had already been seen twice, wouldn’t three times - styled the same way - be too much?     It may just be that right after the photoshoot – the dresser went back to all ironstone and transferware – I don’t know but I have my suspicions, as all the delft and faience was never seen again.




And even later, when Glasser’s house appeared in a recent book – the family room had changed yet again:  toile curtains replaced the checks, chairs replaced the wicker, and French yelloware replaced the delft and faience brought in for the Veranda shoot. 




Finally, one last time, before Glasser sold her house and moved, the Welsh dresser appeared in yet another book, again heavily accessorized with yelloware and ironstone and just bits of transferware.   I have a feeling that this is  how it truly looked – that this wasn’t staged for the photoshoot.  This styling reflects a more natural evolution of the dresser over a 15 year span – from all transferware to a more relaxed mixture of rustic French and English stoneware.   Here too, all new furniture appeared, most likely her own, again.  This family room is so casual, welcoming, cozy and inviting – everything a family room should be.     Soon after this photo – the house was sold, painted white, and furnished in creams, taupes, and whites – any remaining traces of Glasser were erased in a large remodeling.    But where does this leave me with all my blue and white?


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Boy, this sure doesn’t compare to Glasser’s , does it?    I’m brave to show this!!!!     My dresser and collection is quite small next to hers, but I’ve been happy with the way it looked for years.    I purchased the china cabinet right after we moved in our house over 15 years ago.  It’s lasted through many changes:  where once there was a muted Bennison table cloth, there is now a yellow silk plaid one.   Where there were no curtains, now silk ticking hangs over the French doors.   Seagrass covers the wood floors that for years were bare, and French chairs replaced an assortment of other sets that have come and gone.  




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I hung a set of brown and white plates to make the small dresser appear wider.



Extra blue and white transferware platters moved to the kitchen with the white ironstone. 



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But, in truth, I was getting tired of the blue and white plates and wanted a change.   I slowly started collecting something new to put in the breakfront.   Here, for a Tablescape Tuesday I debuted my new obsession – I set the table with newly purchased creamware.



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I had slowly started buying creamware on Ebay.    And this time, it was not Carol Glasser that inspired me, but Dan Carithers.



Part of Dan Carither’s Creamware Collection

Atlanta interior designer Dan Carithers owns the most beautiful collection of creamware or Queensware – first developed by Josiah Wedgewood in the early 1760s.   Creamware is not porcelain, rather it is pottery or earthenware with a glaze.  At the time, this new cream-colored pottery was the lightest of glazes available and Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, was a great admirer of it.  Wedgewood had partners along with way, and he was very successful with creamware – he died a wealthy man due to the overwhelming popularity of his light colored dishes.    Though the years, there have been different factories that produced creamware and  it is still in production today -  made in exactly the same manner, using the same molds.   Creamware can be plain or highly decorated:   pierced, scalloped  and reticulated are its trademarks.   Some versions come in additional colors that highlight the edges and scallops.    Carither’s collection is quite fine and worth a small fortune.   Collecting creamware can be pricey if you are picky.   I am not so picky!  I like the look of it and realize that in order to get the look, I can’t afford to be so discriminate.    I am more than willing to settle for a newer piece with some age – than go into debt to buy the original.




A close up of Carithers’ fantastic creamware collection.





Here, in a house designed by Carithers, he used creamware plates on a wall – his designs frequently incorporate the light dishes.  On a pedestal he layered a basket under a platter and added a smaller one above.   Over the years, I have admired Carithers creamware collection greatly, but the thought of my starting over with a new collection was overwhelming.  





A few years ago, this client of mine was also inspired by Dan Carithers to begin a creamware collection.  She and her husband are very particular about the quality they acquire – and it shows.   They have purchased wonderful pieces of great beauty -   you can see  in these plates the fine reticulated border – a sign of good creamware.  They buy their pieces at antique shows – not Ebay – and have developed relationships with several vendors who specialize in the light color wares.      




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Here a creamware plate rests next to a French barometer, which is on my bucket list!   These clients have spread their collection throughout the public areas of their house.    The creamware mixes so beautifully with their decor – which is done  in shades of creams and light golds.   The walls are a softly painted creamy yellow with all trim work done in light gray.   These colors are all so soothing and calm. 




My clients placed many of their creamware pieces on the buffet in their dining room.   You can see their pieces are all different – pierced, reticulated, and scalloped.   As their collection grew,  I grew greener with envy!    I  so wanted to change out the blue and white transferware – I even considered just putting up my white wedding dishes on the shelves!




My hero, John Saladino, collects creamware too – here at Villa Dilemma, he puts the plates up high.  At the end of one axis, he uses an oversized creamware platter on a counter as a focal point. 





And finally, another large influence on me was the movie Something’s Gotta Give.   Though this collection is a mixture of ironstone and creamware – new pieces, vintage and antique ones – this was the look I wanted in my dining room, soft with no strong contrasts, in shades of creams,  yellows and gold.   Where to start???? 



This past year, I decided to just check out Ebay and see what was available, how the quality was, what the prices were.    Much to my surprise – I found there were a few creamware pieces at very reasonable prices.   Jackpot!     I slowly began bidding on pieces and won a few.  Some I purchased outright on the Buy It Now program.    In the beginning, I placed my tiny collection on a small desk, but it started getting crowded and recently I realized that possibly, just possibly,  I might soon be able to replace the blue and white transferware on my dresser with the creamware.   At last week’s Round  Top, I found a dealer who had a large inventory of creamware – not the quality of Dan Carither’s or my client’s – but she had plates and that’s what I needed.  I quickly picked out three pairs of plates and a few singles.   I could barely contain myself driving home, thinking that finally I was going to have a new look in my dining room!   And even more exciting was I had not planned on finding any creamware at Round Top – it was fate!



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Here’s my dining room with all the creamware – no more blue and white transferware.  Yeah!!!!  It’s all gone on an extended holiday.   While I still have holes to fill in – the Round Top purchases made it possible to finally trade it all out.   I need a few pieces for the top of the dresser, and the shelves, and maybe for the top of the dining table itself.   But – I’m so excited!  I think it really transformed the look of the room and makes it more sophisticated in a way.   I would love to update my chairs – with painted ones instead of stained ones, but that’s on hold for awhile, while we wait for Obama’s  magic to work on the economy.   :)      But for now, I am so thrilled  just to  enjoy the changes I’ve already made.




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The day after the change out – my mom Betty Rae and my sister Cathy came over give their approval.  I think they really liked it. 



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A close up of the creamware.   I love the little baskets. 




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I still need something on the top shelf, but after looking on Ebay and Ruby Lane today – I couldn’t find anything.  I’ll find it – I’m in no hurrynow.  That’s the fun of collecting something – waiting to find the next piece.  Even though the internet has completely changed antique collecting forever – it’s still fun.  Instead of sloshing through damp fields at 5:00 in the morning,  you slosh through the vast world of Google.





I found this beautiful plate for sale online – it’s not a creamware glaze, but a salt glaze which gives it a more matte finish.  Isn’t it gorgeous?




An example of an original Wedgewood piece from the 18th century – sure would be nice!





Another original Wedgewood piece of creamware – look at that date!  Amazing!



image The finest creamware for sale!



Tone on Tone has this gorgeous creamware bowl for sale on their web site here. 



Another piece available from Tone on Tone.




So, what else did I buy from Round  Top besides the zebra rug for my client?  When I saw this picture of a Round Top booth on Hill Country House’s blog  (my former sister-in-law) – I laughed out loud.   Ann and I swear we are just alike and wish we were still related – what fun we would have antiquing!     You see  - SHE took this picture of the clock that I bought.  I had been wanting something to hang over my new casement window in my kitchen – I had bought a huge faux cow’s head from Wisteria that was, well, too big.   And I didn’t want a reproduction clock that you see everywhere.  When I saw this French clock – AND the price – I said Sold!   I was thrilled!




And here it is hanging in my kitchen the next day!   I just love it.  Even Mr. Slipper Socks Man noticed it immediately – which is unusual.  He really loves it too – and even more unusual, my daughter also commented on it!   






A sort of side view – you can see how deep it is.   I’m not sure if it works or not – the vendor didn’t know.   But that doesn’t matter, at least not now.   About an hour after hanging the clock, it came crashing down in a million pieces.   Shattered everywhere - beyond repair.     I was horrified, but thankfully no one was beheaded.   Mr. Slipper Socks Man was furious at me for not hanging it properly.   Now, listen, I am an interior designer – I have hung hundreds of objects on the walls over the years and, as I asked him, “has anything in our house ever fallen down before?”   He had to concede -  No.   Of course not.   I have no idea what happened – but hammering in the nail was a stretch for me, it was high over my head and I was scared of slipping and falling into the sink – perhaps in a hurry to get it all over with I didn’t hammer the nail in hard enough?  Probably.   Lesson learned.  But it did look good for an hour. 




So, now, instead of my gorgeous French antique clock that probably didn’t even work, I have this fake tole clock that used to be red, but I painted it black and gold.  Whoo-wee!   Isn’t it purdy???!!!!!    I am a DOOFUS.    Say it loud, say it proud.

Ann:   Let me know if you find another clock like the one I bought at Round Top.  Go ahead and buy it for me, I trust your taste!   


Charlotte Moss is on the hot seat this week at The Skirted Roundtable – not to be missed, if I do say so myself.  Listen HERE!!!!  She is one fabulous woman!



An excellent article on collecting and the history of creamware is found HERE.

Another excellent article on the proper way to hang a clock is found HERE.

A Hard Days Night in the Country


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I spent Tuesday night at Ben’s brother’s ranch, the KW, deep in the country at Chappell Hill, Texas – a quaint, tiny town just one hour from Houston.   The distance in miles is short, but the terrain changes dramatically as you encounter the rolling hills of Washington County, one of the prettiest and most historical parts of Texas.   I am here to visit Shannon and Kirk and their kids, to be sure, but mainly I am here to rest up for Wednesday – the day the official Round Top Antiques Fair begins.   I know what I am in for and I know I will need a good night’s sleep before a full day of shopping.  For some reason, I sleep really soundly at Shannon’s and sure enough, they have to wake me up at 9:00 a.m. out of a deep slumber.   Of course Shannon and her other antiquing house guest, Carol, have been up for hours, already exercised and showered – all while I dozed blissfully unaware.  They left for Round Top while I drove with half opened eyes to Brenham, the bordering town, in a desperate search for Starbucks. 


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Tent cities of antiques spring up magically in every town and field surrounding Round Top.  Some are small venues and some are huge, like Marburger Farm.


The antique fair has already been in full swing for the past week.   In the fields and towns surrounding Round Top, tents are pitched here and there and each has its own opening and closing dates – but the main event at Round Top is always Wednesday through Sunday on the first weekend in April and October.   Over the years the fair has grown to enormous proportions.  We used to be able to see it all in one day – even leaving at 3:00 p.m. feeling that we had left no antiques unseen.  Those easy days are long gone.  Now it could take a week to hit every tent city in search of antiques and still, you wouldn’t see it all.   Originally, Round Top was in the Rifle Hall, a nice air conditioned building, and then you would head out to Carmine – another air conditioned building in the next town.   But ever since Emma Lee Turney sold the Fair, old traditions have changed.   Round Top has moved to the new, Big Red Barn with two huge additional tents.   Where once the fair was mostly Americana and Texan antiques, now Swedish and French have overtaken the newer areas like The Arbor and Marburger Farm.  The most popular venue today is Marburger Farms with its numerous and endlessly long tents that stretch so far out,  manned golf carts are there to cart you to and from your car.   The air inside Marburger’s tents is stifling hot and oppressive, it’s actually cooler to stand outside under the blazing sun than inside.    Obama should bring the prisoners from Gitmo here – they would be tortured enough inside the hot tents to confess to any war crime. 



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Two tin men and a horse, but where are the usual  throngs of people?


The biggest surprise this year was the lack of crowds.  Round Top is usually crowded with throngs of shoppers, but this time, the aisles looked so empty!   I’ve never seen it so quiet – it was an unsettling statement on our economy, but less people meant more breathable air for us.  It’s hard to imagine how much hotter it would have been had it been crowded!   As always, the most fun of the antique extravaganza is seeing old friends and meeting up with people.   I spent the day shopping with Brooke Giannetti from Velvet and Linen who flew in from L.A. for the event to buy for her decor shop.  Also shopping with us was Angela who flew in from Washington and had met up with Brooke in Austin Tuesday night.   As the day wore on,  I had finally had enough of the stifling heat and headed up to Brenham to see my friend Maryanne at Beadboard Upcountry.  Then, it was back to Chappell Hill to pack up and drive home to Houston.  Thursday, I spent the day nursing my sore legs.   If you’ve never been to Round Top, you should come see it at least once.   Yes, it can be overwhelming, hot, crazy,  and nerve wracking, but mostly it’s great antiques and great people!


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On Tuesday when I pulled up to KW Ranch, my niece and nephew greeted me on their horses, only in Texas, folks!




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 And Bella, a baby longhorn and the newest member of the KW Ranch family, came up to greet me too.  She’s sooo darling – look at the grass caught in her mouth!  Her longhorns are finally just sprouting out.



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Two of the three donkeys came up to see the visiting city-girl.  The donkeys just crack me up – they are so funny looking with their long floppy ears!  They work hard though- their very serious job is to protect the chickens, dogs, and cats by scaring off the coyotes. 



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I could only get a picture of two of the FIVE English Springer Spaniels – one of them is my Georgie’s litter mate!   Hi Sarita and Quatro!  There are also three cats hanging out, lots of rabbits, and tons of chickens which lay the most gorgeous pastel hued eggs.




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The front yard at KW Ranch.  During the spring the entire yard is covered with bluebonnets.



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My favorite place to blog while I’m here is under this huge Live Oak tree.



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The barn and stables where all the animals live.




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The swimming pool – you have to have one here in the summer!



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There is a charming guest house at KW Ranch, with two bedrooms.   Casita Dos’ bedroom is so beautiful with all its antique French furniture.



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The window coverings are so pretty!  



RoundTop2009 088 I love the chandelier mixed with the beadboard ceiling and walls and concrete floors.  Who wouldn’t sleep soundly in a bedroom this pretty?




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In the main house, Shannon has already decorated for fall and Halloween, of course!  She also bought out the entire supply of gourds in Washington County.    I’m sure she is counting down the days until she can put out her Christmas decorations.  I was under strict instructions not to take anymore pictures inside the  house until Shannon could style it all up, but antiques were calling us!   Next time I’ll show pictures inside – especially of her new turquoise colored office.




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The next morning, I’m off to Round Top, a short 20 minute drive from  Chappell Hill.   There were even some wildflowers along the way.   During the spring Round Top Antique Fair, the fields are a sea of blue from the bluebonnets which is a huge draw for Texans. 



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First stop is Marburger Farms– a tent city larger than Chappell Hill.   Notice something missing?  The people!    In past years the aisles would be filled with people.  Whenever I go to Round Top, I usually spend the first few hours overwhelmed by all the antiques.  It’s hard to stay focused on a mission when you are hyperventilating from all the beauty.  Then there is buyers remorse.  As soon as I made my first purchase, I walked around to the next aisle and found the same items at a better price!  Should I go back and return it or just forget it?  In the end, you just have to realize that no matter what you buy, you’ll probably see it again at a better price – you just have to keep moving. 



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Here’s someone I know:  Olga Granda-Scott from Dancing Through Paris!!!   Olga and her husband own the beautiful antique store Alhambra Antiques in Florida and they were showing at Marburger.  I was shocked at young Olga was!  She looked like she was 15, but I’m sure she is just a little bit older since she has three children.    That ridiculous looking person on the left is moi – the scarf lasted about 10 minutes in the heat.   See how empty the aisles were?   Unreal!



RoundTop2009 124 I’m in love with chandeliers that look like this – with a gilded wooden column and glorious crystals.  I could swear I saw this exact chandelier two years ago?!!   And at the price they were asking for it, it probably never has sold.



RoundTop2009 126 There was plenty of gray painted furniture everywhere, especially in Marburger Farm and The Arbor.   Brooke is more picky about her finishes than I am.   I just can’t afford the finest finishes, though I wish I could, but I CAN tell the difference though!



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This booth had great trendy things, especially for Marburger  Farm.  Look at the basket light fixture.



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Swedish in Texas from Atlanta. 



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RoundTop2009 137 Grain sacks and burlap were everywhere.   Loving the lanterns, of course.  



RoundTop2009 138 I came to Round Top with one real mission which was to buy a zebra rug.   But everyone told me the “zebra” lady wasn’t here this year.  Well, they were all wrong.  She was there, but her trademark foot-high stack of rugs is now down to just two remaining ones.  And she said, this is it – she doesn’t think she will ever get any more!  At least I got one for my client – she was thrilled and so was I.  I was just glad I didn’t miss her otherwise I’m not sure my client would have wanted to pay what everyone else charges for them. 



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We left Marburger Farm to check out Round Top’s Big Red Barn where Bobo’s is.  Mark Sage had rented 20 spaces for all his things.  Of course it was located in the one unairconditioned tent at Round Top. 



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More Bobo.   Most disappointing was Mark wasn’t there,  I really wanted to meet the genius behind the wine barrel chandelier, etc.  But his assistant was extra cute and sexy, so that made up for it!   OK OK OK, I KNOW he wasn’t actually interested in the sweating, bloated elephant that I had become that day, but I can pretend!!!!



RoundTop2009 147The Garten:    The Garten had two booths – one in Marburger Farm and one in Round  Top.  Owned by Julie Greenwood (whose house I feature on my blog ad nauseum) who has the best taste, her booths certainly reflected this fact.  Both Brooke and I were foaming at the mouth over her things.   I wish I had more pictures of the merchandise, but at this point I was DONE with the camera.  Taking it out expended too much energy.  Energy generates heat.  But of course, Brooke, being so skinny and lithe wasn’t sweating like a pig like I was so she took more pictures.   After we left Round Top, Brooke wanted to go back to the heat of Marburger Farm.  So, we returned and found some great things we missed the first go round which was a real lesson to me.  I usually don’t go back for a second look – but it’s worth it when the merchandise is so beautiful.  Marburger Farm is definitely THE best of Round Top, in my opinion.  The dealers are, for the most part, top quality, with more Swedish and French inventory than elsewhere.  And it’s so large – its amazing how much wonderful inventory there is at Marburger.  Thursday night, a cool front blew in and the temperature dropped significantly.  I’m almost tempted to go back this weekend – it’s going to be so much cooler in Round Top, which is great for the dealers who have to sit there all day and even better for the shoppers. 



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At this point, the sweating Elephant had had enough and headed out, bidding goodbye to sweet Brooke and Angela.  Sshhh:  don’t tell the fat one, but hiding behind your purse does NOT make you look skinnier especially when you stand between two people who put together weigh less  than you do!  Shame!



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Off to a quick Starbucks pit stop and into Brenham to visit Maryanne at Beadboard Upcountry – the best store in Washington County.



RoundTop2009 185 Looking chic and cool as ever, Maryanne is going into the grocery business.



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My kind of place:  air conditioned!  And so cute too!   I bought one of her shawls in gray and black.



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Such a cute display!  A table set for one, with two chairs.   Someone just won’t eat.   I love her pillows – they are so darling and trendy and they match my necklace. 



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The best part?  There’s no place like home!   Contemplating my collection of blue and white transferware which is soon going on an extended vacation, thanks to my purchases at Round Top.  Stay tuned to see the changes I made to my Carol Glasser-inspired collection.   Living with something for over 15 years gets rather boring, don’t you think?




AND – To read all about A Day in the Life of Cote de Texas, go read it HERE on the blog, In Her Shoes.   I spill all my secrets, that’s for sure!!




AND BE SURE to listen to the new Skirted Roundtable where we talk about high and low decorating and that FAMOUS $349 Ikea slipcovered sofa (yes again!).    Tune in HERE for another fun filled adventure with the Two Grinches and the Jew aka The Skirted Roundtable.