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How To Create A Stress Free Seating Arrangment

December 8th, 2016 Country Entertaining

“No politics, no religion.”

It’s a hard-and-fast rule of keeping the peace at family gatherings. But even if you stick to this decree, there’s no way to ensure that there won’t be conflict when everyone sits down to eat.

That doesn’t mean you’re helpless. When we were putting together our Holiday Guide for this year, we were pleased to come across an article in Real Simple that suggested seating people according to their personalities. Try it this year and see if it leads you to a lively-yet-civil gathering. Continue Reading

What’s the Deal With Mistletoe? The Origins of Christmas Traditions

We love history here at Piper Classics, and have enjoyed using this blog to discuss everything from presidential homes to the American tradition of quilt making.

But somehow, even though we’ve explored the origins of Easter, Halloween and the Fourth of July we’ve never taken a good look at the history of the king of the holiday mountain: Christmas.

Where did Christmas caroling come from? Why do we kiss under the mistletoe? Who was St. Nicholas? Read on to discover the origins of some of our most cherished holiday traditions. Continue Reading

10 Gifts For Under $10

November 17th, 2016 Gift Items

Holiday shopping can be tough, especially when you’re trying to avoid maxing out your credit cards.

But not every gift has to cost an arm and a leg. Here are 10 Piper Classics products that possess originality, charm, and thoughtfulness. No one will ever know they were less than ten dollars.

1. Frog Trinket/Key Box

This cute little cast iron frog would make a great decorative addition to your porch, home or garden. But he’s also ready to perform double duty. Use him as a paperweight, or flip his mouth open to store your spare house key. Cost: $9.09 Continue Reading

Country Decor Inspiration: The Olson House

November 10th, 2016 Country Decor

We began our series on using historic homes to find country décor inspiration by talking about the simple Iowa farmhouse featured in the painting American Gothic.

Today we’re going to conclude by discussing another house that inspired a great American painter: Olson House, which was depicted by Andrew Wyeth in a number of paintings and sketches between 1939 and 1968.

Among those works was Christina’s World, considered to be Wyeth’s masterpiece. Completed in 1948, Wyeth got the idea for the painting when he glanced out the window of his home in Maine and saw his neighbor, Christina Olson, crawling across her field and picking blueberries. Continue Reading

Burlap: From Humble to Chic

November 6th, 2016 burlap decor

Burlap has held a number of different jobs over the years, and for a long time, none of them were very glamorous.

Farmers made their clothing from burlap during the Great Depression. It’s durable and breathable, which is why coffee companies use it to transport beans. During World War II, we fashioned camouflage netting from burlap. Communities all over the world have counted on burlap sacks filled with sand to protect them against flood waters.

But lately burlap has shifted beyond its utilitarian origins. The same versatility that allowed people to use it for clothing and shipping and flood protection makes burlap the perfect fabric for fashionable country décor applications. Continue Reading

Country Decor Inspiration: Grouseland

October 27th, 2016 Uncategorized

Ask people what they know about President William Henry Harrison, and most of them will mention the same fact: He gave his inauguration speech in the dead of winter, caught pneumonia and died in office 30 days into his first term.

Based on that little nugget of trivia, Harrison doesn’t seem like a good fit for our series on finding country décor inspiration from historic homes.

But we think Harrison and his home – called Grouseland – are still pretty interesting, if not inspiring. Let’s go back to 18th century America to begin our story. Continue Reading

Country Decor Inspiration: The Molly Brown House

October 20th, 2016 Country Decor

For many of us, a love of history and respect for the past is reflected in our homes through the use of historic accents and other country decor elements. We’ve enjoyed exploring notable historic figures and homes with you. So far, our series has looked at one home that inspired a classic American painting, and another home where an American icon wrote his finest work.

Today we’re going to focus on Denver’s Molly Brown House, named for the philanthropist, activist, socialite and Titanic survivor Margaret Brown. To spend any time studying the house or its namesake is to see a story of success and endurance. Continue Reading

The Art Of A Vintage Vinyl Floorcloth

Are you searching for a way to introduce something beautiful into a functional area of your home? Would you like to give your floor a new look?

Consider the vintage floorcloth.

These floor coverings are in vogue right now, but they can trace their roots to Colonial America. The first three presidents had them in their homes, which shouldn’t be that surprising: back in those days, everybody owned a floorcloth. Most modern floorcloths are made of heavy fabric which is then coated with several coats of gesso, before being painted with decorative motifs and patterns. They are then varnished to make them waterproof. Continue Reading

Affordable Hostess Gift Ideas for 2016

October 6th, 2016 Hostess Gifts

In today’s always-connected, tech obsessed society, many of the more genteel niceties once associated with inviting guests to your home – or being a proper guest in someone else’s home—are often overlooked.

Indeed, it isn’t unusual today for a house guest or a partygoer to not consider presenting their hostess with a small token of gratitude. Perhaps even more common, however, are those among us who would love nothing more than to arrive at the home of a hostess with a perfectly thoughtful gift, but who simply don’t have the necessary disposable income. Continue Reading

Country Decor for Small Spaces

September 29th, 2016 Country Decor

If you’ve spent any time at all on Facebook or Instagram over the past year or so, you are probably aware of the growing trend toward extremely small living spaces.

Upwardly mobile couples have dreams of moving into a so-called “tiny house.” A new movement known as “van-dwelling” has seen scores of millennials tearing up their leases and living full-time in converted trucks and camper vans. And self-improvement gurus like Eric Altucher are preaching the benefits of extreme downsizing and simple living.

It’s one thing to move into a small space. But how do you go about decorating? Continue Reading

Country Decor Inspiration: The Mark Twain House

September 22nd, 2016 Country Decor

No matter where you go in America, you’ll find historic houses. Some are little more than log cabins, while others are stateside versions of the grand palaces of Europe.

Regardless of size or splendor, many of these houses have the same thing in common: someone notable was born there or lived there.

And because we’re interested in homes and history and how they intersect with country decor here at Piper Classics, we’ve decided to devote some space on our blog to some of these houses.

Today we’re heading to Connecticut, to the Mark Twain House, the one-time home of a man considered – as William Faulkner put it – “the father of American literature.” Continue Reading

Country Decor Inspiration: The American Gothic House

September 15th, 2016 Country Decor

We’ve been celebrating historic houses in America ever since someone thought “George Washington slept here” and realized that was something important.

Our country is filled with historic homes, and beautiful country decor, whether they’re tiny houses where notable people were born or grand estates built from great fortunes.

And because we’re interested in homes, Americana decor, and history here at Piper Classics, we’ve decided to explore a few of those historic houses on our blog.

First up: the American Gothic House in Eldon, Iowa. Continue Reading