Cloches and bell jars are bell-shaped covers with open bottoms, and they're typically made from clear glass. They're used outdoors in the garden to force seedlings and to protect them from frost, and in laboratories to create a vacuum for gaseous experiments. They're also used to protect fragile objects on display, making them ideal if you enjoy decorating and creating vignettes with your delicate treasures. To get you started, here are 10 types of items you can display under bell jars and cloches:
If you're hesitant to hang your delicate antique ornaments on your tree within reach of your cats and children, display them safely during the holiday season by placing them under bell jars. You can display ball ornaments in a mound under the glass, or give a single tree topper or showpiece ornament the starring role by displaying it alone.
Give your home an earthy touch by displaying the little treasures you find while walking in the woods. Birds' nests, pinecones, feathers, clusters of berries, or a pile of moss-covered stones are all good options. Display the items singly or create a vignette using different types of nature finds.
If you favor beach-style decorating, collect small objects while beach combing to display under a cloche. Consider shells, sea urchins, a cluster of coral, or a small branch of driftwood. Add color to your beach-inspired vignette by including a few bits of blue or green sea glass.
Turn your memories of a special trip into a home decoration by displaying your souvenirs and mementos under a bell jar. Create a vignette from a mix of postcards, ticket stubs, and photos of your trip. Even the cheesy little trinkets -- such as a tiny model of the Eiffel Tower or that so-called Egyptian scarab that was actually made in Taiwan -- look charming as part of a bell jar vignette.
Create a mini shrine to a deceased loved one by displaying an old family photo under a bell jar. Sepia or black and white photos look particularly lovely. You can put the photo in a frame or just prop it on a tiny easel. Then, add a few mementos you associate with your loved one, such as your grandfather's pocket watch or your grandmother's cameo. Other good options include a lock of hair or a packet of old letters bound with raffia or ribbon.
A stack of small leather-bound books look lovely under the cover of a cloche. Miniature volumes of poetry or the small primers once used by schoolchildren work well. You can even use a small easel to display an open book at the top of the stack.
If your religion is an important part of your life, you can incorporate religious artifacts into your decor by displaying them under a cloche. Most family bibles are too big too fit under a bell jar, but smaller versions may work. Display yours flat or open, and then add an antique rosary, icon or statue crown, if you belong to a Christian faith. Or, opt for a Hebrew bible and a small, antique menorah. These are just examples. Whatever your religion, choose the artifacts and objects that are sacred to you.
If your child is growing up far too fast, put some of your memories of his or her baby years on display in a special place in your home. Baby shoes are a classic choice for display, whether you've had them bronzed or left them in their original finish. You can also include a lock of hair, a favorite rattle, a silver spoon, or fabric scrap from a favorite newborn garment.
If you saved the topper from your wedding cake, keep it save while showing it off by placing it under a bell jar. If the cake topper is lovely enough, it will likely look good on its own. Or, display it along with a wedding invitation, a favorite photo, a souvenir from your honeymoon, or even your garter.
If you enjoy decorating your home for the different seasons and various holidays, use one or more cloches with your holiday decorations. At Halloween, for example, you could top a stack of mini pumpkins with a realistic stuffed raven or bat, or display a trio of old apothecary bottles to make visitors wonder about the mysterious potions within.