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In the center of our entry, we have an antique Asian wine barrel. Or maybe it’s a rice barrel, I really don’t know for certain.

wine barrel

Point is, I’ve had it decorated pretty much the same way for the past 12 years. I switch it out for Christmas and add decor for other major holidays. For the rest of the year, it has looked like you see above, minus the arrow sign and the basket of books below.

While I was putting everything back in its place this year, I decided I was sick of the way it looked and decided to change it up. Out with the urn full of faux greens. Goodbye large iron dragonfly. Adios to the bird cage and the stack of coffee table books the cage sat upon. (I must have moved the books for the “Blog 2-Year Celebration Cookbook Happy Hour,” photo you see above, but they were usually present.)

the barrel

Hello to a collection of cloches filled with pretty little treasures I gathered up from around the house.

side view

I’m pleased with the way it looks, but I have to admit that I now live with a fear of someone knocking into it, resulting in it all of it crashing down like a deck of cards. Hopefully, that day will not come, but just in case, let’s take a look at it on its first day. We’ll begin with the large centerpiece of the group.


This very large cloche sits on an old upturned milk can lid. It is filled with pieces of vintage French ephemera, some of it is rolled up and tied with twine and other pieces are left open.

leather books skeleton key

The papers sit atop small leather-bound journals. A brass cow tag with a skeleton key completes this vignette.

The next largest cloche is the most recent find. It is actually a necklace stand from Pottery Barn.  Please do your best to focus on what’s inside the cloche and not what is behind it. It appears that the Christmas tree was fully undecorated, but still standing, and an evil ladder is leaning there, taunting me.

Speaking of ladders, I should report that I feel fully healed. I am in San Francisco visiting Marissa this weekend and I have a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday. I expect the x-rays and doctor will confirm my belief that I am recovered. I don’t really believe this particular ladder is evil, only extension ladders – those are straight from the devil, himself!


This lovely cloche holds a collection of rosaries, and olive-wood cross from the Holy Land, and various religious charms.


A dessert cloche holds a few of my French Limoges boxes.

box closeup

I especially love the boxes that have a little something removable inside. The pea pod has little individual peas and the cookbook has a sweet little recipe card. They are two of my favorites.


Next up, teacups and sauces from my paternal grandmother’s china. I don’t remember Grandma Otter, she passed away when I was only 1 1/2 years old. When my Aunt Connie passed away, her daughter and my cousin, Carol Ann, gave my dad some of the china pieces, and he gave them to me.

They have been sitting, unseen in the back of a china cupboard. I love having these few pieces out, where I pass them daily, to remind me of not only my Grandma Otter but also of my beloved Aunt Connie.

vintage tins

This is a simple vignette of vintage dessert tins, topped with a zinc tag on twine.

cards and coins

I found this cloche on the clearance end-cap at Target for $3.99. It holds vintage French playing cards, foreign coins, a cool pair of scissors, and a porcelain toothpaste powder container that I purchased on our 2-week cross-country trip to France in 1997.

music box

Another religious-themed cloche holds a music box and the cross that Connor received as a gift at his First Holy Communion. The cloche sits on top of vintage children’s illustrated book of ABC’s from Sweet Salvage.

baby cup with spoons

The final cloche sits on top of another book from Sweet Salvage, this one is a music book. The cloche is the only one that has writing and illustrations on the glass. It holds Marissa’s silver baby cup, which is filled with souvenir spoons that I’ve collected since the beginning of our marriage.

spoon closeup

This represents about one-third of the collection.

from above

Lastly, a bird-eye view from the staircase. I’ve tweaked it a bit; adding mercury glass, candles, the blinged-out clock that Peggy gave me for Christmas, and other like items.

Tomorrow, I’ll show you another decorating change I made. This one rocked someone’s world. I had to remind him that Change is Good!

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1 Marissa { 01.26.13 at 10:25 AM }

Great, now I can never come home again! I’m too clumsy and will be the first one to knock down and break a pretty cloche! 🙁

2 Peggy { 01.26.13 at 12:01 PM }

I can guess who’s world was “rocked” and the cause… 😉

3 Pat { 01.26.13 at 2:21 PM }

It’s a good thing Marissa will be home before I get there again, because I’d be the first one to knock one or all of them down. Brilliant use of so many things!

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