thanksgiving to-do: finally polishing grandma’s silverware

We’re getting ready to host our annual Thanksgiving Redux feast at our house, which means dusting off all the serving platters and seasonal trinkets out that have been in our basement for a year. It’s usually around this time that I start to regret never having a formal wedding registry: I loved our low-key wedding, but it didn’t end with us getting a 12-piece china pattern or the flatware of our dreams. Instead, we’ve been slowing acquiring the things we love and truly need step-by-step. Today, while moaning about our lack of elegant flatware, I suddenly remembered a little treasure box that I was given after we cleaned out my grandma’s house a few year’s back. It contains a set of very fancy, yet very tarnished silverware. Inside is an 8-person set complete with soup spoons, pie knife and tiny little oyster forks. The certificate says WM A. Rogers AA and is says that each piece, except knives, is plated overall with pure silver. My grandma was issued this guarantee in 1952. Though the intricate Oneida pattern doesn’t really fit our clean and modern aesthetic, it seems a shame not to use. But how to brighten up? We picked up a tub of Goddard’s Silver Polish and gave it all a good rub. Quickly it started looking bright and clean. Afterwards we ran it through dishwasher, which I thought seemed silly, but this article assured me it that it work. (The key is to NOT mix with stainless-steel flatware, which can cause a chemical reaction and discolor the silver.)

For more silver polishing tips, see this Real Simple story.

Do you have any silver polishing tips to share? Tell me how to do it better next time!

the ultimate “yard sale” — oprah sells her stuff for a good cause

Oprah’s had a very busy November. No, we’re not talking about receiving the Medal of Freedom from President Obama yesterday. We’re talking about the auction which just wrapped up at Kaminski Auctions of a collection of Oprah-owned antiques, furnishings, art and signed memorabilia, all gathered from her gorgeous homes in Maui, Indiana, Chicago and Santa Barbara. Over 7500 people bid on the goods which quickly sold out. Among the featured items: A Bottega Veneta steamer trunk that she stored her sweaters in (!) that sold for $10,200. In the end, the sale raised over $600k for the fund. We can’t help but wonder if Oprah was cleaning house in order to make room for some new things. A pre-redecorating purge perhaps? Stay tuned!

steal this idea: clipboards to display illustrations as wall art

Every time I visit the Marie Robinson salon in the Flatiron district I come away inspired. Maybe it has something to do with walking out with a freshly shorn crop or perhaps it’s just having a half an hour to sit still and unplugged, but the place provides a creative recharge. One thing that inspires the collector in me: A display of vintage illustrations above the waiting area hung cleverly with classic office clipboards. These witty doodles were a discovery James “Ford” Huniford who designed the airy and clean interior. The clipboards make them feel light and spontaneous, as though they were portraits of other clients who recently left the couch to be shampooed. My favorite is the lady above, who looks like she has a secret. They make me want to scour the overlooked boxes of antique stores in hopes of finding my own pile of illustrations. Perhaps I’ll just use clipboards to display my five-year old’s growing pile of masterpieces. Clipboards are about $1 each, so you can afford two rows of ten or more, easily.

So tell me: What would you clip and hang?

discover the photographer behind jonathan adler’s inspirations: slim aarons

We get a lot of emails from the busy bees over at Jonathan Adler, but this one was definitely the highlight of our day. The man who has brought everyday mod to American life is now selling the artwork of one of his inspirations: Slim Aarons. Slim Aarons began his career as a combat photographer in World War II but afterwards moved to Hollywood and became known for capturing the lifestyles of the rich, famous, and fabulously chic. You must click over to Adler’s site to peruse the collection, even if you can’t spring $1200 for a collectible print. One of our favorites is above, Truman Capote at home. We want to know the story about the exotic scarf tacked on the wall above the couch of his Brooklyn Heights apartment. It’s the kind of intimacy you so rarely see in today’s super-staged, always-ready world. Visit to see more of Slim Aarons’ work.

high or low: state pillows of our favorite vacationland

We’ve long been a fan of Catstudio‘s embroidered state pillows. They seize the distorted, dreamy memories that float in our heads of vacations gone-by. Handmade with delicate stitching, each one incorporates not only only the character of the state, but also the artisan who made it. It can take up to one week to embroider one pillow! Take for example this Maine pillow, that not only features the prerequisite blueberries and Moose, but also the L.L.Bean flagship store and Stephen King! At $158 a pop, these beauties are in family heirloom territory in both quality and price.

But for $15, what is not to love about this vintage retro state map pillow at Fabricadabra. There’s something decidedly Wes Anderson about it, with all its earnest fisherman, campers and hunters.