Summer Vibe
By Karen Parr-Moody

At GasLamp, there are many reminders of why people love summer's balmy weather. Everything from bird cages to wicker chairs remind us of how vintage lovers can bring the outdoors inside or take the inside outdoors.

For American bird lovers of the Victorian era, bamboo and wooden cages imported from Asia were hung in many kitchens, generally near open windows. The vintage bird cage in the photo, right, is a Chinese version made of the bamboo that would have been popular in America during the 1700s and 1800s ($195; Booth B-108). It includes carvings at its base, four porcelain feeders and one imitation bird on a stand. Birds remain popular pets in China, where some people hang a cage in a tree each morning so that the bird is outside and shaded. This birdcage would inject any home with whimsy; it could be hung from a ceiling and filled with ivy to create a one-of-a-kind planter.

Any fan of Mid-century Modern decor can take a flight of fancy lately by bringing an outdoor bird into the home. It's easy with this colorful wall pocket in the shape of a tropical bird (photo, left; $49.95; Booth B-113). Wall pockets actually have roots reaching back to 18th century Europe. But it was in the 20th-century United States that they were produced in abundance by such companies as Lefton, Frankoma, Roseville, Hull and McCoy. Such a wall pocket could be used as a a bud vase or planter for bulbs. On the other hand, it could also be used in a more utilitarian way by holding a few pens and pencils near a desk.

A floral wreath used indoors or on a front door is a perfect way to do double duty with a garden theme. The one in the photo, right, features a melange of dried roses, hydrangea, leaves and wildflowers ($65; Booth B-301). Even though such wreaths are commonly seen on and inside homes of today, the custom dates back to the early years of the twentieth century, when Christmas was celebrated by affixing fruits, vegetables, dried flowers, herbs, and other plant life to wreaths. A 1926 issue of House Beautiful features many such wreaths, which were usually found in and around that era's most fashionable homes (along with grand pianos, Packards and sterling silver tea services).

The child's vintage rocker, woven carefully out of wicker, is a charming way to entice a little one out onto the front porch or into the garden (photo, left; $75; Booth B-318). It is illustrative of the place in which society often holds its children -- in this case, as pint-sized adults. It became common during the Victorian era for the better homes to include elegant child-sized parlor chairs, for example. Parents of that era expected genteel behavior of their child in such a formal setting, and even something as innocent as a child's parlor chair underscores that fact. Such furniture was originally only made for the upper classes. But in the 20th Century, mass production allowed children's furniture to be made for the middle classes.

The breezy yellow dress in the photo, right, looks like something C.Z. Guest, one of Truman Capote's "swans," would have worn to the Everglades Club in Palm Beach of the 1950s ($45; B-2015). Anna Haferman, who runs The Mom and Pop Culture Shop booth where this dress is sold, carries many such dresses, with their cinched waists and A-line skirts. If you have to attend a wedding, baby shower or outdoor party, her booth is a must-see for its bounty of one-of-a-kind fashion finds. And don't forget the handbag and shoes! Haferman sells unique accessories, as well.

Summer is a time to let one's passion soar. Getting inspired by the great indoors is one way to get the creativity flowing. And before you know it, birds, bees, butterflies and sunshine will be tempering your décor in ways you never thought possible.

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