Friday, December 21, 2012

Life is a Gift

Life is a gift to be used every day,
Not to be smothered and hidden away;
It isn't a thing to be stored in the chest 
Where you gather your keepsakes and treasure your best;
It isn't a joy to be sipped now and then
And promptly put back in a dark place again.

Life is a gift that the humblest may boast of
And one that the humblest may well make the most of.
Get out and live it each hour of the day, 
Wear it and use it as much as you may;
Don't keep it in niches and corners and grooves,
You'll find that in service its beauty improves.
Edgar Albert Guest

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Santa's Coming to Town

Undoubtedly, America's favorite tradition is the giving of gifts at Christmas time. Inspiration for this tradition comes from the celebration of the Epiphany, when the Three Magi appeared before Mary and Joseph bearing gifts for the infant Jesus.

In the 4th Century, Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra on the southern coast of present day Turkey, became famous for his generous gifts to the poor, including his presents of dowries to the three daughters of a pious but poor Christian. Today this spirit of gift giving is embodied in the person of Santa Claus, a jolly figure who is often dressed in a red suit and cap lined with fur. Santa lives at the North Pole and year-long with the help of his elves makes toys for good boys and girls. Then, each Christmas Eve he travels across the globe in a sleigh driven by eight reindeer. Santa lands on the roof of each house, slides down the chimney, and leaves gifts. Before parting, he enjoys a cookie and a cup of warm milk and utters a merry, "Ho, ho, ho."

In addition to Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus has many names - Father Christmas, Pere Noel,  Belsnikle, Kris Kringle, and Sinterklaas.

This beloved figure has been adopted by many cultures, each of which has its own unique customs and traditions. In Scandinavia, Kris Kringle appears in white and the celebration with food and gifts begins on Christmas Eve. In the 1800's, German immigrants to the US from the Palatinate Region brought with them the character of Belsnickle, a sterner version of Santa, who scared children with threats of whippings but always came through with a gift. In the Black Forest of southern Germany, Santa is often depicted as a rustic figure carved from the pine trees of the region. And, it was in Bavaria that the Christmas tree was born.

In England, Santa Claus is usually shown in a long green coat lined with white fur. A Christmas Story, is Charles Dickens' memorable holiday tale of a rich but unhappy man and a poor but happy family. Christmas, Dickens wrote, is a time for family and friends to share laughter and good humor. We should remember that giving is better than giving, and that we are blessed for that which we have.

And in the spirit of Christmas, let us all keep in our hearts the words of Ebeneezer Scrooge, who learned the true meaning of Christmas.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

Monday, November 12, 2012

Luminara Flameless Candles

Luminara Flameless Candles

You won't believe your eyes. The Luminara flameless candle uses a patented technology that recreates the look of a burning candle. You have probably seen these candles at major theme parks. The candle is real with a lightly vanilla scented wax. An LED light shines through a prism and rotating magnets create the effect of a flickering candle.

Luminara Ivory Candle - Small
(5 inches tall)

Price - $46.00
Shipping Included

Luminara Ivory Small

Luminara Ivory Candle - Large
(7 inches tall)

Price - $49.00
Shipping Included
Luminara Ivory Tall

Luminara Red Candle - Small
(5 inches tall)

Price - $46.00
Shipping Included
Luminara Red Large

Luminara Red Candle - Large
(7 inches tall)

Price - $49.00
Shipping Included
Luminara Red Large


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Table Dressings

Table Dressings 2012, Holiday Tables November 7 – 10, at the Wichita Center for the Arts.

The annual Holiday Tables at the Wichita Center of the Arts features over 30 beautifully decorated holiday tables. This year’s unique themes include the whimsical and classic movie, A Christmas Story. Ralphie, the Red Ryder BB gun, and the amazing lamp shade are there. But there are 30 beautifully unique themes, ranging from the elegant, to the blessed, to the primitive, with stops everywhere in between. Visit Wichita’s Sister Cities in China, Mexico, and France and enjoy a foreign flavor. Experience some of Wichita’s finest design teams from such stores as Traditions Home, Fairchild Interiors, Pea Pod, Invio & J. K. Design, The Uncommon Market, Accent Interiors, The Red Nest, The Plaid Giraffe, and many, many more. 

While you stroll among the tables enjoy live entertainment. Visit the gift boutique and select from the many fine gifts. Enjoy a repast at the kitchen before you leave. And as always have a great time.

The Holiday Tables end Saturday, November 10, 2012, so hurry before the this year’s tables become just another Holiday Memory.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Mark Watts has come full circle in his 20-some-odd years as an interior designer - growing up in Wichita, and then moving to Dallas, Texas, and then Scottsdale, Arizona, before coming home again to Wichita to be near family and friends. While in Dallas, Mark worked with Country Hall of Fame singer Charley Pride and his wife Rozene on their Dallas home. In Scottsdale, Mark lived and worked in what has been described as a desert version of Miami's South Beach.

Wichita is a far cry from big city life, but to Mark, his family and friends, it is home. Dorthy couldn't have said it better.

Mark describes himself as a Modern Traditionalist. While this might seem a contradiction in terms, to Mark, it simply means that he appreciates a broad range of classical influences with an eye on comfort. To achieve this end, Mark works with Vanguard's Compendium Collection designed by John Black. A compendium can be defined as a short concise summary of all that is known. This collection strikes a balance between crisp and clean simplicity and traditional roots. To Mark, this epitomizes today's life style.


The Compendium Collection by Vanguard Furniture.

Eva Sofa by Vanguard Furniture

The Compendium collection balances traditional styling with crisp and clean simplicity.


Color in design is personal. What evokes a reaction in one person may evoke a very different reaction in somone else.

Mark works extensively with earth tones -  colors that draw from browns, tans, greys, greens, oranges, whites, blues and some reds. Colors are muted and flat, emulating the colors of nature. These tones help create a warm, aesthetic feeling.

Mark complements soft colors with the use of simple geometric designs.




"Less is more," Mark believes. Accents should be used sparingly to set the mood, always retaining the same color scheme as the furniture. A classic sculpture, a book to read, and a coffee table on which to rest your feet can fit the bill. The room is polished off with lighting that both warms and provides adequate lighting.


Close your eyes and imagine a sandy beach, blue skies and palm trees waving in a balmy breeze.

"Dorthy, you are not in Kansas anymore."

Blue skies and the Eva Sofa


Click the heels of your shoes together three times and open your eyes. You are home again.

Eva Sofa, part of the Compendium Collection by Vanguard

View the entire Compendium Collection in a PDF format.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The stuff of which dreams are made on

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
The Tempest Act 4, scene 1, 148–158
The Traditions gang has just returned from Atlantis, the Bahamian resort and mystical namesake of the island mentioned by Plato. Like Prospero of Shakespeare's The Tempest, the writer knows that the any trip is but short entertainment that soon melts "into thin air". The palm trees, the golden sun and white sand, the gentle stir of a balmy breeze all fade in time. Life's quickening pace calls us back too soon.

Yet, we can still dream on in a Stressless recliner. Our dreams magically transport us to Atlantis and those sweet memories of sun and sand. At a younger age, the writer would hum himself to sleep with the words of his childhood, "Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream."

Thursday, August 2, 2012

College Hill House of H.W. Darling

H.W. Darling House, 3755 E. Douglas

We loved Barry Owens' article in the College Hill Commoner, July 2012, on the Lumberman's Big Brick House, A Look at the Life, Times and College Hill House of H.W. Darling.  The College Hill Commoner is the neighborhood paper for College Hill, one of Wichita's oldest and most historic neighborhoods.

The two and one half story Colonial home, 3755 E. Douglas, was built in 1907 for lumberman Howard Wetmore Darling. Darling was a self-made man, engaging in numerous occupations, including the furniture business, something near and dear to us, before finally making his money bringing lumber to the broad treeless plains around Wichita and the Arkansas River Valley.

The home has been re-purposed by Victory in the Valley, a non-profit cancer support organization whose mission is,

 “To encourage cancer patients and families on their journey by offering HOPE through emotional and spiritual support, while providing practical services to improve the quality of their lives.”

Thanks Barry for a great article.

College Hill Homes on the National Register of Historic Homes.

Want to learn more about Howard Wetmore Darling?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bless us O' Lord

What is in a word - Traditions, for example? Traditions is part of our name, and we chose it for a reason. Traditions implies something cultural, something shared by family and friends. Literally, it is  the handing down of beliefs and customs from generation to generation.

One custom my family had while growing up was to say grace before dinner. It began, "Bless us O' Lord ..." It was a good traditions, one that I carry on with my own family. Whoever gives thanks, add a special thought asking for extra care to be given to those less fortunate.

While at the Atlanta market, we came across many unusual items. One such item was a collection of handmade crosses in a wide assortment of colors, sizes, and shapes. We think that these crosses remind us of our traditions and the reasons we have for giving thanks for family and friends.

We hope that you enjoy them too.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fine Dining

Fine Dining

Sorry, the two of us are in a bit of a rush. We are here in Atlanta shopping for the best and newest in home furnishings. All we have time to do now is to give you a taste of what is to come. 

 The Legend of Blue Willow Pattern

Once there was a wealthy Mandarin, Tso Ling, with a beautiful daughter, Koong-se. She fell in love with her father's humble clerk, Chang. The father was angry and dismissed the young man, building a high fence around his house to keep the lovers apart.

The Mandarin then planned for his daughter to marry a local Lord. Bearing jewels as a wedding gift, the Lord arrived by boat to claim his bride. On the day the blossom fell from the willow tree, the wedding was to take place. On the eve of the wedding, Chang the clerk, disguised as a servant, slipped unnoticed into the palace. The two lovers escaped with the jewels, running over a bridge, chased by the father, whip in hand.

The lovers fled on the Lord's ship to a secluded island, where they lived happily for years. But one day, the Lord learned their secret. He sent soldiers, who captured the lovers and put them to death.

The Gods then transformed the lovers into a pair of dove.



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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Art is Expressive

Science magazine researchers report that a red disk painted in Spain's El Castillo cave is 40,800 years old - and possibly older - making it the oldest known European cave art. Could Neanderthals have painted it?

I confess that I am an NPR Science Friday fan. Listen to the entire story on NPR's podcast.

The point is that mankind's need to express himself artistically goes back a long way. Here, at Traditions, we love our art work. We have hundred's of subjects, sizes, colors, and figures that touch on our human need to express ourselves. And like the cave art of Spain's El Castillo, the images do not need long explanations. Art touches our emotions in a unique and individual way.

Here are just a few:

Aspen Trees
Harbor Boats

Beached Boat

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

43rd Annual Kansas City Symphony Designers' Showhouse

There is only one week left to see the 43rd Annual Kansas City Designers' Showhouse, located, just off of the Kansas City Plaza, at 47 W. 53rd Street.

The historic house was built in 1909 for businessman and civic leader Wallace Goffe and his wife Beverly. The style is English Tudor Revival. The home was designed by famed Kansas City architect Henry Hoit and later remodeled in 1937 by his successor firm, Hoit, Price and Barnes. In 1984, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The walls of the Showhouse are even rows of coursed limestone. the roof contains a steeply pitched gable and there is half-timbering on the central bay which projects from the second story, supported by curved volutes.

The houses of the district were built to the natural contours of the landscape.Thus, many of the houses in this district are located on rises with steps leading to the main entrance. There are uniform setbacks from the street of 40 feet.

Read the full story of the house. Kansas City Symphony Alliance

The Showhouse is a project sponsored by the Kansas City Symphony Alliance, a volunteer organization dedicated to promoting classical music throughout the Kansas City area, and in particular the welfare of the Kansas City Symphony. Hundreds of volunteers and the area's top designers work together to create something magical. Traditions Furniture is proud to again participate in the decoration of the sun room.

Traditions designers, Linda, Kathy, Julie, and Carol went for a coastal theme. This is in keeping with the naturalness of the setting and lightness of the sun room, which catches the afternoon sun. The upholstery is by Stickley Furniture. Stickley is perhaps best known for American Arts and Crafts, but, as the room demonstrates, there is a softer side to Stickley. The art is modern, pulling in a blue shade to complement the azure blue of the sky. The sideboard is Pasadena Bungalow by Stickley. The matching lamps are faux stone.

There are many other designers who have contributed to the beauty of this year's Designers' Showhouse. And, while we would like to show you everything, we will give you just a tease. Better that you come and see for yourself, and support a great cause, The Kansas City Symphony Alliance.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

How do I love thee?

Mother's Day, Sunday, May 13th

It seems to me that we often search for ways or words to express our love to our mothers. Ways never seem adequate and words can never express the depth of our feelings. After all, how do you repay one who has spent her entire life with one objective - loving us. Then again, love is expressed in so many different ways. Love can be shown with a simple a smile on a cloudy day, a flower chosen at random from a garden, or a kindness unexpected and unrequested.

While Mother's Day is celebrated one Sunday a year, we should all remember that mothering is a 24 - 7- 365 day-a-year job. Mothers don't stop loving us, and neither should we stop appreciating all that our mothers have done for us throughout the year.

If I had to choose the words that come closes to expressing my love for my mother, it would be the classic lines from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count the Ways.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Express yourself

Here is a simple test to take:

Don't think about it, be spontaneous: close your eyes, lean back, and accept the first color that comes into your mind.  Don't second guess yourself, don't analyze your choice. Your choice of a color tells you a lot about yourself.

This color does not have to be one you wear all the time, for different seasons and different days, even different times of day or occasions require a change in mood and color. But you do have one or more favorite colors that excite you the most and makes you feel alive.

 Express yourself with color, it will bring you joy.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Like a Lamb

Is there truth to the saying, "In like a lamb, out like a lion."? March weather can be temperamental. This year, for example, March has been unseasonably mild. So mild that I have been going around singing Phil Collins' Another Day in Paradise. Okay, the lyrics to the song don't quite make for a happy feeling, but the words are still catchy.

It has been relatively speaking a beautiful Spring. The daffodils are in bloom. The birds can be seen, going from branch to branch in search of a place to nest. The grass is now green. The seeds have begun to sprout. Let's hope that our paradise continues for awhile and the tornadoes will not come out.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wine Tonight

I am a bit of an oenophile - not seriously but happily. The word oenophile can mean a connoisseur of wines or a lover of wines. I fit nicely into the second category.

That means that I don't stack unopened crates of wine in the cellar. My nose can not distinguish a Granache from a Sangiovese. Nor, do I spend hundreds of dollars on a wine that I will longingly look at, but not drink. No, wine is meant to be enjoyed, and I do love a glass or two with dinner and with friends.

In moderation, wine has a calming effect at the end of a hard day's work. And with friends, we can uncork a bottle and share worldly thoughts around the dinner table.

I select a bottle not because of the price, but by region. A bottle of Chianti or Valpolicella reminds me of Italy and it goes great with pasta. Both wines are from Tuscany, home to Florence, Pisa, and Sienna.

A fine wine from the Rhone Valley suggests to me the countryside of Provence. where grapes have been grown since the days of Julius Caesar. These fruity wines complement veal or chicken. A bottle of the saintly sounding, Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape, either red or white, reminds one that even the popes enjoyed a glass or two.

For something a little more robust, then select a French Bordeaux or Spanish Rioja. Of course, there are great American wines that come from regions all along the west coast. Most famous of these are the California counties of Napa and Sonoma. There, movie director Francis Ford Coppola has been happily fermenting grapes for decades.

The point of this worldly excursion is to demonstrate that one can stay at home and yet travel around the world for the reasonable price of ten to twenty dollars a bottle. That is, unless one is dining out at a fine restaurant.

Loving wine as much as we do, Traditions Home has surrounded itself with much with which to celebrate wine.

Consider our unique wine furniture made out of old wine barrels. The newest item is the coffee table seen to the right. A great item together or separated as end tables.

There are dozens of items to choose from, including tables, bar stools, a lazy Susan, relish trays, and, of course, wine bottle racks. And, all of these items are made in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Georgia. What will they think of next?

 If you like to show off your selection of wine, then choose from the many styles of wine holders available. We have wine holders that accommodate just one selection or a dozen.

Of course, we can't stop there ... .

We have jewels for the bottles, whimsical sayings, art work of your favorite wine region, ice coolers to keep that favorite bottle chilled, and, even a French bistro table and chairs to sit around while you sip.

 It is all in fun. So, whether you are a girl or a boy who likes wine, Traditions Home is the place to come for furniture and gifts. And, if we are having a party, you just might find we have selected a favorite wine to share with you.