Curious Mood Boards

I have been busy this summer freshening up my Etsy shop Curious Portraits in preparation for the holiday season. I make a habit of reviewing the product shots in the shop from time to time which I find has a similar effect of re-arranging the art on the walls. It makes everything look new! I have been very inspired by the many beautiful Mood Boards I see on Instagram and have discovered how much I love putting together cherished, vintage objects from my collection.  The result of all this is an on-going project of styling some of the items from my shop in with the vintage collectibles. They make a pleasing display and a gentle advertisement all in one!

Animal Portrait Brooches from

Animal Portrait Brooches from

This is the latest in the series featuring some of my favorite vintage jewelry arranged with my Animal Portrait Brooches. I often use my own textile designs printed out as the background, this is one of my original damask stripes.


I thought that some of my vintage buttons and notions made a pleasing display when arranged with some of my Victorian inspired Portrait Miniatures. (You can read more about the inspiration and making of these here)

I used one of my favorite vintage alarm clocks in this one along with a few writing notions. I thought the soft grey of my Daisy the Squirrel Portrait Miniature complimented the color scheme.


My dog Bingo also got his paws into it and created this one featuring his own portrait miniature with one of my original dog themed textile designs in the background!

The Nostalgic Appeal of Recipe Cards

I love to cook and particularly love to bake. I am always jotting down a new recipe idea on scraps of paper or printing them out from Epicurious but when I find that a recipe becomes a favorite I love going through the ritual of writing it out on a fresh new recipe card and filing it away into one of my vintage recipe boxes. There is something so satisfying about it, as if I am giving it my stamp of approval. I know how much I treasure my Mother's recipe cards written in her own hand that stood the test of time. Mostly they are worn at the edges and stained from use but that gives them their charm and meaning. How sad it would be for future generation to miss out on that piece of history. I know I am not alone in this as there are many adorable recipe cards to be found especially on Etsy. I have also found some fun ones that are free to download from The Graphics Fairy, one of my favorite sites for vintage ephemera.

free recipe cards from The Graphics Fairy

I have used many existing recipe templates that I have downloaded over the years and recently decided to design some of my own. I started out with 6 images per set (2 of each)  from my each of my anthropomorphic food prints which are vintage inspired. I am offering them for sale in my Etsy shop The Curious Kitchen as they go along with their matching kitchen towels and prints. I thought photographing them in my kitchen along with some of my vintage recipe boxes would be appropriate. The one below even features the salt shaker I used for the print!

Here is a cute vintage Halloween Recipe Card that I found on Amy Barickman's blog:

vintage halloween recipe card

Here is one of several adorable Halloween Recipe Card Templates (despite the misspelling of cauldron...) over at The Peach Martini blog:

vintage halloween cat recipe card

Here is a particularly pretty Christmas Recipe Card that is for sale on Zazzle

vintage christmas recipe card

There are even  vintage cards complete with recipes available, these are from Regina's Studio on Etsy:

vintage recipe cards


Hail to the Queen

Image Oh happy day, I just received this GORGEOUS tin from my dear friend Katy in Scotland to add to my collection. It commemorates her coronation and is dated 1953. I can't believe she parted with it. I photographed in it's place of honour on my mantle. It's arrival has inspired me to go around the apartment and dig out the rest of my tins which are all in use.


This is my favorite and is from Lazzarroni who make the great amaretto di soronno liquour. I've used it to keep my gouache in for years.



This atomic beauty I found in my Father's workshop in the basement. It has paint and wear but I love it all the more because he used it. I think he kept nails in it!


 Here are 2 from Mere Poulard where the best butter galettes in Brittany are made. These were sent to me by my friend Jeannie


This one was brought back from Sweden by my friend Cajsa


I love these 2 from Fauchon but I can't remember how I acquired them


I actually keep my tea in these, the Lipton one belonged to my dear Aunt Gertie who always promised me I would have it someday and I think of her every time I open it.


One can never have too many recipe boxes. The rooster one is just like the one my Mother always used and I found it on Ebay (as I did all the others).


These are some of my tea tins which are in constant use.


These 2 are new commemorating the Queen's 60th anniversary and I don't own them. They are supposed to be from Marks and Spencer but they aren't on their website but I will continue to search for them. Many thanks to Katy for inspiring this post with her thoughtful gift!

Time and Again


 Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I do not need another clock in my apartment. I honestly was not out looking for one but stumbled upon this adorable Teapot clock from the 1940's on Etsy (courtesy of a lovely shop called The Love Butler). Not only was it in the shape of a teapot which I also collect (see photos on an earlier post called Apartment Therapy House Tour) but it is a windup and so it TICKS! I hadn't realized how much my kitchen needed that reliable, comforting sound until now...

This aqua General Electric once belonged to my Parents and so it has a special place in my kitchen. The Santa mugs look so good with it I haven't been able to put them away with the other Christmas things.

This one also a General Electric and belonged to my Parents. The dial is truly a work of art. You can see a painting I did of it in my Etsy shop Curious Portraits.

This one I actually found on the street, I can't believe someone threw it out!

I've had this lovely copper wall clock for so long that I don't remember where I bought it. Probably at a flea market before the time of Ebay. That darned "11" is still tumbling.

I've been collecting these Westclox Baby and Big Bens for years now. The square one is actually a Telechron and the small one with the golden face is an old travel clock with a sliding cover that closes over the face.

This Moonbeam clock is a real prize. I had been looking for one for years with just the right face and hands as they do vary. It is translucent and glows when the alarm is going off. You can see a painting I did featuring this and some of the Westclox in my Etsy shop Curious Portraits.

Here is another Westlox and a beautiful old leather bound clock that was left to me by a friend.

This one is made by Reveille of which I know nothing. I just loved the Deco look.

This ship clock was a crazy purchase but my Grandfather had one just like it when we were growing up and I thought the chances of me ever finding another were slim. There is a little night light inside so that all the portholes glow. Just charming.

This pewter clock isn't vintage at all but I saw it in Pottery Barn years ago and loved it. It has become my every day alarm clock as it has a very quiet tick and a very calm alarm.

This beauty belonged to my Father and is my treasure. He used to repair clocks so I guess I know where my love of them originates. It has a deep, mellow tick and a beautiful chime on the half hour and gong on the hour.

Last but not least is this adorable one that isn't a clock at all but an old bank that I found in an antique market in Lambertville, NJ.

The beauty of vintage Vermouth Labels

Some things are so beautiful the way they are and simply don't need to be changed. One thing that has long been a bee in my bonnet is vermouth labels. My Father always believed it was best to have a well stocked bar for when people drop over and I've continued this practice. I remember as a kid being fascinated by all the gorgeous and intricate labels on the liquor bottles in his cabinet and I derive comfort and joy to see some of the same labels gracing my own kitchen. At some point along the way I noticed that liquor companies were modernizing their bottles and labels and so I began to keep the original bottles I had and simply pour the new liquor into them. Here are some of the ones I have:

Vintage Vermouth
Vintage Vermouth

Cinzano Bianco was one of my Father's favorites and I am so glad I still have that bottle as well as the Martini and Rossi Red Vermouth. I don't know if the Strega label has changed because I've had this bottle for about 100 years now. Seriously, it isn't something that gets consumed regularly. The Punt e Mes was recently changed but it actually looks more vintage now so I have the new one. I think they modernized that one long before I even discovered it.

New Labels
New Labels

Here are some newer bottles that aren't so bad. The Martini and Rossi Bianco isn't the original but it has been modernized even more since so I still hang on to this one. I would love to get my hands on an old Bianco or even a dry vermouth bottle as all mine are sadly modern and kept in the back of my cabinet where they don't show. The Hendricks Gin bottle is gorgeous and this old Lillet is lovely. (Changed into something strange now).

This Lazzaroni Amaretto tin is brand new (in the past 2 years) and so beautiful and old fashioned that I thought I should include it along with the Angostura which at least looks old.

Vintage Tomato Labels
Vintage Tomato Labels

Last but not least I thought I'd give a nod to my favorite tomato labels, I certainly hope Sclafani and La Bella San Marzano don't have any ideas of change. These are gorgeous just the way they are!

My obsession with salt & pepper shakers continues

Now I know full well that I do not NEED any new vintage salt and pepper shakers but when I saw these gorgeous lobster claws on Etsy I simply had to have them! In fact I have been looking for the perfect set of lobster claws for years but they are usually too large, too orange, to worn out or have words and advertising on them. These however are perfection right down to their deep ruby red color! I guess finding the perfect object after years of searching is the thrill of being a collector. I have to admit that my collection of shakers makes me very happy. I look forward to putting out my pumpkin heads and ghosts at Halloween and my varied Santas at Christmas. I even have a pair of turkeys...

Of course Mr. Peanut must make an appearance....

These 2 humble red and green fellows are my everyday shakers. I bought them this year and they bring me endless joy every time I use them. The color of their caps is just the right vintage shade and they look so pretty in front of the aqua lamp.

The Kitchen Tour

Part of my Apartment Therapy photo shoot was for their Kitchen Tour section which came out today. Since they hadn't planned to do a separate kitchen tour I wasn't prepared to cook anything so we pretended that I was mixing a batch of pistachio biscotti!  (My favorites) It was great fun. I am very fortunate to have an eat-in kitchen which is rare in Manhattan and have spent many happy hours in there laughing and eating with my friends. One of the best parts of living in the West Village is that it is so centrally located making it easy for friends to come by. I have a lot of my vintage collectibles in there including vintage tea tins and salt and pepper shakers, not to mention vintage appliances some of which were my Mom's. I also hang all my needlepoints in the kitchen because they have an old fashioned feel about them. I think I get my love of cross stitch from my Ukrainian ancestors and I thought I should mention that as the tour emphasizes the Italian side of the family. That is only because I grew up with them and they became much more of an influence. However I look so much like my Father and the Zadors that there is no mistaking where I come from!  Be sure to click on the Slide Show button to see the whole thing.

My Father always believed in having a well-stocked liquor cabinet; that way you are always ready to be hospitable when your friends stop by! He also passed on to me his love of vermouth which ironically is italian!

I bought this beautiful cupboard at a flea market down near Canal St over 15 years ago. It was in such great shape I didn't even have to paint it! The corner cabinet was being thrown out by an upstairs neighbor and even though it was mustard yellow and red at the time I could see it's potential. It is where the Franciscan china that my Parents bought for me over the years is proudly displayed.