Trip to Winterthur

 

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I have been remiss lately in posting in a timely way.  Our trip to see the mansion, Winterthur, in Wilmington, Delaware was a few months ago but still on my mind.  It’s a fairly long post.

Here are a few photos I took of the home which was built by a relative of Henry Francis du Pont in the 1830’s.  Early ancestors came from a small Swiss town and named their home after it, pronounced winter-tour.

Front view:

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The above photo was taken from behind the mansion.

One of the terrace garden areas:

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The DuPont family came to America from France in 1800 for greater opportunities.  I believe they already had a bit of wealth, but became industrialists in railroad and founded the pre-cursor to the DuPont Company.  This company started out as a gunpowder mill.  It is now worth billions and is the fourth largest chemical company worldwide.

Four generations of DuPonts lived in the home until the 1960’s.  It was enlarged over the years from a 12-room home to it’s current 175 rooms.

Ok, that was my history lesson!  I love the history behind everything.

Basically, the reasoning behind Henry F. turning his home into a museum is that he travelled so much all over the world (and collected so much furniture and antiques) he was a 20th century rich hoarder.  Lol.  Not only was he an avid art collector and horticulturalist, he was also well-known as a premier breeder of Holstein cattle.

Here’s a view of the house (beyond) from the gift shop conservatory and plants you can purchase.  Henry was a horticulturist and designed the huge garden on the estate.  It’s beautiful every season.

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Part of the beautiful 1,000 acres of woodland and rolling meadows of the estate:

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Because visitors are not allowed to take photos inside the huge mansion, I took a few of the visitors’ gallery of 17th – 20th century furniture.

Chest of Drawers with Doors, made in London, approx. 1650

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This chest was made of oak, walnut, red cedar, snake-wood, bone, and mother-of-pearl.  The wealthy people in London started commissioning these from Dutch and Flemish cabinetmakers living in the London area. Snakewood was a very exotic wood that came from NE South America.

Side Chair attributed to Duncan Phyfe workshop, New York, 1816

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This chair is made of mahogany, mahogany veneer, ebony, ash, and cherry wood.  As one of Phyfe’s most iconic designs, the chair was inspired by Ancient Greek chairs.  Notice the curved back, hand-carved beading, and ebonized dowels for the lyre “strings” on the back splat.

Plate, Wine Glass, Teapot, 1790-1815

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Plate – French porcelain by Dihl and Gerhard

Wine Glass – nonlead glass made in Germany or Bohemia (now Czech Rep.)

Teapot – silver with wood handle by William Van Buren in New York

Tablecloth, 1896-1926

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This table cover, as they call it, was made by the Deerfield Society of Blue and White, Deerfield, Massachusetts.  They revived 18th century needlework designs.

Needlework Picture, 1680-1720

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Embroidered on linen, this needlework was made by Elizabeth Edwards approximately 1711.  They are unsure if it was made in America or England.  It’s a very ornate design in the William and Mary style with swirling flowers of silk.

Easter Bunny and Egg, 1800-1850

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Johann C. Gilbert – Watercolor and ink on paper.  Done in Berks County, PA approximately 1800.  This is one of the earliest known American depictions of the Easter bunny with colored eggs.  This custom was brought to America in the 1700’s by German immigrants.  Mr. Gilbert was a schoolmaster.

Rare Easter eggs of 1816-1850 on the right made by the Pennsylvania Germans.  They boiled eggs with onion skins, then scratched designs into the shell with a sharp pin.

I highly recommend taking the many tours of this grand estate.  Winterthur has 175 rooms decorated with furniture and art used in America from 1640-1860.  You wouldn’t believe how much there is to take in.  There are rooms complete with architecture taken from castles in Europe that were being dismantled.

There is much to do in the Wilmington area.  Nearby are Nemours Mansion (built by another DuPont) and Longwood Gardens (upcoming post).

(All photos taken by me except for featured image from http://www.winterthur.org/?p=1201)

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Color Trends for Spring 2016 – Blurred Boundaries

 

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The colors Behr picked for Blurred Boundaries paint trends are celadon, modern mint, status, raw copper, and charcoal plum.

Serenity and optimism seems to be the buzz words describing Blurred Boundaries colors.  Once again I feel the paints chosen for the color palette are still a bit strange together, but the tones are starting to soften.  If I imagine them as earth/dirt (copper), grass and trees (celadon and mint), and the sky with some clouds (stratus and charcoal), that is when I can visualize these colors becoming an integral, cohesive unit.

 

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Pictured above is a relaxing bedroom loft in celadon with an ombré alcove painted with modern mint and stratus.  (Personally, if I had a cool loft I’d leave the brick walls natural.)  The furniture is more modern but has lots of rounded pieces in the room such as the oval plant pot, rounded side table, round throw rug, bulbous pendant lights, etc. which soften the modern tone.  Modern case goods (hard furniture pieces) can often feel stark or hard-edged.

At least with this color palette I can begin to see a method to the madness!

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Color Trends for Spring 2016 – Luxe Dimensions

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The first Behr color trends post went over like a lead balloon with readers and with myself.  I’m glad I didn’t propose that color trend, just reported on it!

The next group of colors are called Luxe Dimensions.   

 

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Colors used in this room are taupe, coral, dark taupe, citron, and navy.

The study/office shown above depicts a very bold geometric design with 3 wall color horizontal stripes:  coralette, penthouse view, and fifth olive-nue.  The wall design doesn’t thrill me, but it adds a certain dimension to the space.   I like the large-scale herringbone floor, glass-top desk accented in blue vortex (navy), small navy bureau with gold lamps, and leather side chairs.  Accent pieces in coral are lumbar pillows and desk accessories with a touch of gold on the desk legs.

I do like this grouping of colors quite a bit more than the high contrast ones.  There are two more color trends to show you, according to Behr paints.  Bye for now!

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Color Trends for Spring 2016 – High Contrast

 

 

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The first group of colors from Behr paints are considered to be high contrast. This palette consists of: black, fuschia, tropical green, jewel blue, and canary yellow.

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According to an article by Erika Woelfel for Behr, all of their 2016 trends in colors are influenced by technology and how we react to all the sensory stimulation given off by technology.

It states that these high contrast colors (as shown in the above photo) of dark, moody colors mixed with bright colors and glossy surfaces with layered textures would fill the home with delights to stimulate the senses and allow us to unwind.

This struggle leaves us crying out for authentic stimulation, and since the home is a natural place to disengage and unwind, there’s no better environment to fill with sensory delights.”   See more at: http://www.behr.com/colorfullybehr/behr-2016-color-trends-brochure/#sthash.YoXi9BQY.9Or3s7ZD.dpuf

 

I don’t know about you, but coming home to ALL these sensory-stimulating colors after work would not be relaxing.  To each his own.

My take on this first group of color trends for this year would be to use two of these colors in a room, three at most, to add high contrast.

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The room above is done in a dark shade of green, textured wallpaper and a bright white chair.  It really shows that the room is enhanced by the juxtaposition of the dark and light.   I think that’s all the contrast you need here.

This shows just one of the many ways you can take the Behr group of high contrast colors and tweak it to fit your lifestyle.

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Visiting The National Gallery of Art

 

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The days immediately after Christmas are always a bit of a let-down.  All the preparations for the holidays are done and gone.

A visit to the National Gallery was called for, stat!!

There are many types of art housed here, but for now I will show you just a few of the fantastic pieces of furniture donated by the Kaufmans of Norfolk, Virginia.  Over 100 pieces of Americana are at the gallery.

Mr. Kaufman, who started the Guest Quarters hotel  chain, and his wife, daughter of a wealthy Virginia philanthropist, used these pieces of art daily in their home which was a replica of Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage.  The Hermitage is a Greek revival brick home with 13 rooms.  Here’s a photo from Wiki to show you what it looks like:

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I could picture the interior of the Kaufman’s tastefully decorated home with the beautiful pieces I was viewing.  They are placed around the rooms as if you are visiting their home.

(photos are mine, unless otherwise noted)

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This mahogany high chest of drawers is attributed to John Townsend in the late 1700’s.  He was one of the famed cabinetmakers from Newport, Rhode Island.  The most famous being those of the Townsend and Goddard families.

Newport craftmanship is easily recognizable by it’s block and shell motif.  By this we mean a block front topped by a carved shell.

Prominent city harbor areas seem to have given birth to the best furniture of this period:  Newport, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Charleston.

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The style of furniture in the late 1700’s was referred to as Federal style.  It was after the Revolutionary War in America that we were beginning to decide our form of government and take shape as an independent nation.  

“It was a craft for a nation that was literally building itself by hand. ..it was America’s first art form.”  Astrid Riecken, The Washington Post

It was our version of the Neo-Classical Style which was popular in Europe at that time.  It is also known as Hepplewhite and/or Sheraton because of the two well-known craftsmen by these names.

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This desk is thought to be by Thomas Seymour of Boston.

 

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Sideboard by Mills and Deming, New York, ca 1793. Mahogany, satinwood, curly maple veneers, and brass.  The gallery states it’s believed to be the most elaborately decorated NY sideboards.

It was once owned by Oliver Wolcott, Jr., secretary of the Treasury under George Washington!  He was also a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  I learn something new every day!

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Change in Country Style

 

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The term “country” in home design differs only a little from place to place.

Today the term farmhouse style is used to describe country design. To me “country” is the way to describe a simple yet comfortable style. It can still be elegant without being rustic.

Years ago, (I’m dating myself) country style meant using the colors mauve and baby blue.  When I redesigned my first house in California those were the colors I used.

It was a small house, 3 bedrooms and one bath.  In the bathroom was a beige tub and white tile with blue grout.  That was for tub wall and floor.  The kitchen had a white tile counter with blue grout and white floor tile.

 

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Beige and gray, sometimes called greige, play a prominent role in farmhouse style.  If you stick to neutral sofas and chairs, as above,  it’s easy to change out the pillows and area rugs for the seasons. (from p. 29, home of Jenny Miller, Charleston, SC)*

 

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White walls can also be a neutral canvas for you, but I   feel it’s tricky to use all white walls.  You’d need lots of wood and many textures to make it work.  Above they have a terra cotta floor and fireplace, tall wood cathedral ceiling, and area rug to warm the seating space. (from p. 27, home of Jenny Miller, Charleston SC)*

 

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French and English country style are very similar.  I love both.  French uses toile fabric and wallpaper, which I love.  This comfy chair and ottoman near the window make the perfect spot for reading. (from p. 14, NC home of Corine Longanback)*

 

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In the kitchen warm woods are used on the island and counter stools.  I’m loving the thick cushions used on top of the rush seats.  The red and white gingham on the cupboard doors echoes the backsplash tiles. (from p. 13, NC home of Corine Longanback)*

 

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Last I want to show you this beautiful room with a Louis XV desk and inset wall bookcase.  Linen drapes are used to separate the room from the entry doors.  Even the arched doors are lovely.  Dream room! (from p. 54, home of Nathalie Beatty, Balt. MD)*

More about country style to come.

* Photos from Country French special edition, 2012.  Meredith Corp., Des Moines, IA.

 

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Decorate for Halloween

 

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Hello all!  Now that it’s the week before Halloween I’m sure everyone is looking for some really cute ideas for your windows or tables.  First let me run out to the store because the 3 bags of candy I bought last month are gone!

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I found a few really easy ideas on HGTV.com.  This idea is perfect to add some “dark shadows” to your dining room.   Using an empty wine bottle, vinegar, or any other interesting shape bottle, you can easily make these to pick your poison!

HGTV recommends spray painting your bottle with primer then 2-3 coats of black matte paint.  After it dries print out a label showing what poison you chose.

 

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If you don’t have time or don’t want to carve your pumpkins, spray paint them black and use construction paper to make eyes, nose, ears, and whiskers for your kitties.

 

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If you’re not into scary things or want something simple, make these chicken-wire cloches.  They’re made by putting chicken wire around a metal lampshade frame.  For directions click here.  You could use them for other holidays too.

Last year I made big spider webs out of trash bags.  It was easier than I thought.  I can’t find my photo, but here is the one from Listotic which is where I learned how to do it from Pinterest.

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I also loved the idea of floating candles, both the webs and candles were found on Pinterest.  Here is my first lonely candle (a la Harry Potter) from last year hanging in my front window.  It’s made with a toilet paper roll, construction paper, with a fake votive light, and bendable wire from Michaels store.  Idea was borrowed from centsationalgirl.com.

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So DRESS UP your house for Halloween!  Get cacklin!

 

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Eight Photos of Happiness (Blog Hop)

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This week I’m sharing my eight photos of happiness.  I was nominated in this blog hop by my blog buddy Darla who I met through the A to Z Challenge at the beginning of the year.  Thank you Darla!  Click to go over to her site where she shares cat photos and many other musings.

This week was the autumn equinox which means that our daylight will become shorter and nights longer.  We are moving from warm weather to cool with the changing leaves.

Things that make me happy……

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A simple window looking out onto a fall day.

 

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A bowl of pasta with vodka sauce because it’s comfort food.

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A tufted leather comfy chair

 

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A lovely hot latte with whipped cream

 

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My animals make me happy.

 

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An English cottage with a beautiful garden.  This one is 200 years old made with Cotswold stone.

 

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I love old books and libraries.  This is the funkiest bookcase/stairs that I’ve seen.

Now here are the guidelines for this happy blog tour:

1.   Link the creator of the tag.

2.   Display your 8 photos of happiness.

3.   Add a description to the photos if you wish.

4.   Tag up to 10 other bloggers.

 

I’m tagging:

bookbug2012 (Emilia)

cedarhillfarmhouse (Anita)

sweetandsavorybyshinee (Shinee)

Thanks for checking out their blogs!

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Ten Festive Fall Finds – Ideas

 

 

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As Summer starts turning to Fall, daylight starts to lessen, a nip grips the air, and a nap under an afghan seems to call.  We begin to spend more time indoors.  It’s a great time to change things up a bit in your decor.

The crisp smell of Autumn, indoors.

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Photo of autumn simmer pot shows cut apples, orange peel, and cinnamon sticks.  You bring a pot of water to a boil, put in your chosen items, then simmer.  Set a timer for about 20-30 minutes so that the water doesn’t evaporate and burn the pot.

 

Candles and Lanterns Adorned for Autumn

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An easy thing to do is place candles in a glass bowl and surround with nuts or acorns.

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Instead of candles in your lanterns you can add pumpkins, acorns or various silk leaves.  The plates above are Royal Stafford Harvest Hayride.  Mine are the same except for the hayride.  My dishes are the herdsman.

 

Set your table with a Coastal Feel

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If you don’t want the traditional route for a special autumn table add some light blue plates on top of a burlap table runner.  Small white pumpkins can be place card holders.

 

Shabby Chic Pumpkins

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I’ve seen these velvet fabric pumpkins at TJ Maxx recently, but you can make your own if you are crafty.

 

Frame an Autumn Printable

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Change up your photo grouping by printing off some festive photos such as the one above.

 

Bathroom Chic

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This is such a clever idea for the fall and requires no sewing.  Use your toilet paper rolls, a little fabric, and brown paper to make adorable bath pumpkins.  It’s something unexpected!

 

Mad for Plaid

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I just love plaids in the fall!…scarves, skirts and now chairs.  Above is a beautiful Ralph Lauren chair that adds that cozy library feel to any room.

 

Time to Cozy up to a Warm Throw

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These throws just happen to also be plaid.  They’re great for keeping warm at a stadium or curling up with a good book or two.

Pendleton also makes beautiful wool blankets that last forever (below).

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A Welcoming Porch

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There are so many great ways to decorate your porch for the fall.  My train of thought is that simple is best.  You don’t have to go overboard.  Just one or two mums and a few pumpkins and gourds give it that “welcome to our home” touch.

 

A Bountiful Wreath

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The custom of decorating with a wreath goes back to ancient times.  The harvest wreath hung on the door in ancient Greece was to protect against plagues and ensure crop growth.   They used wheat or other plants.

 

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George Eliot was the pen name for Mary Ann Evans, a famous Victorian author.  She wrote Middlemarch and Silas Marner.  Read her if you have the chance.

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Styling Your Bookshelves

 

 

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September always makes me think of going back to school and books.  Because of my love of books I am constantly dreaming and ogling those huge libraries in estate homes.  I’ve toured many a gorgeous library and long for a comfy chair and ottoman surrounded by my antique and favorite book selections.

From a practical viewpoint, since my shelves are not yet full of leather-bound volumes lovingly placed side-by-side while totally filling each shelf, I’d like to discuss how to style your bookshelves.

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Shown above is a typical home den/family room.  I love the built-in shelves with elaborate crown molding.  It’s small and cozy.

The rule I follow for setting up books and personal items is that there are no rules.  

A few general guidelines I recommend are:

ADD family photos in unique frames –

GROUP similar size books together –

INCLUDE items picked up from your travels –

PLACE a few larger objects on higher shelves –

DON’T forget natural items such as baskets!

 

Books that are too tall to fit standing up are laid down with a few more books on top horizontally or a frame with a family photo.

If you have some old children’s books or novels you can create a special grouping by tying a few books with twine as seen below.

 

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Sometimes you may want to cover your books in one color paper, like white, if your room’s decor is shabby chic or if your books are not in great shape.  There is a site called booksbythefoot.com where you can get ALL kinds of books for any particular bookcase.  You can get books in certain colors, vintage books, books by subject, faux books, books already wrapped… I could go on.  It’s very unique.

Unique bookends (like the bunnies below from Restoration Hardware) add interest to your shelf.

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I went crazy finding cool bookends!   Here are some working gears from eBay.

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I love these stand-alone bookcases on Pinterest.  (It was shown as being from roomsrenew. topekakansas.com, however there doesn’t seem to be a link to verify.)

I love the addition of baskets.  I add baskets to every room.

Once you place some of your items on a few of your shelves, stand back and look at them from a distance so you can adjust as needed.

Here are some pretty macassar ebony inlay with lacquer boxes (macassar ebony is a dense hardwood from Indonesia).

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Another natural-looking element for a shelf is a small topiary such as the one below from Restoration Hardware.  You can always do a DIY:  buy a container from Michael’s (such as a copper one), put some greenery in it and secure with styrofoam.

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Those are my shelf stylings for today!

 

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(above from Pinterest)

 

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