Saturday, September 22, 2012
I took photos last Saturday in the last of the daylight. It was really a bit too dim, but I kept going anyway. I was so interested in what I was doing, and of course the light changing was gradual and my eyes could easily adjust, so it didn’t seem too dim – and then suddenly I realized I was peering in the darkness.
I saved the pictures to post on a rainy day, when I didn’t have good lighting for fresh pictures. And as it turns out they are murky anyway. Sometimes the learning curve is steep, isn’t it?
I thrifted this book. I almost left it behind, as I thought it was probably too outdated. Funny how our language changes. The title is American Country. Now, we would say Vintage, Cottage, Farmhouse, Shabby, Primitive, etc. But it was only a quarter, so I picked it up again, and looked more closely at the pictures and saw how appealing they were. There is no publication date in it. It is a TIME-Life book.
I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely irrational about my love for old cookbooks. I want to make everything in them, even if they would be strange to contemporary tastes. This picture shows how appealing the artwork is. I think I have the book in the upper left: All About Home Baking. Remind me and I’ll share sometime. Really, half the charm is in the wording of the text. The language has a cheery, quaint quality that is terribly endearing. Do you collect vintage kitchen tools? I do, and I have the gray enamelware dish/plate/pie tin you see in the picture below. Check out the bread-slicing guide! That would be handy in my house. Slicing bread straight really is an acquired skill, and I’ve become pretty good at it. (But I must say that the rest of the crowd around here could use more practice!)I love the prim look of shelf edging. I have made some crocheted edgings, but never put them up on any shelf edges. What am I waiting for? I have never seen newspaper edging, but I so love the thrifty creativity of the humble American housewife that it proclaims, don’t you? I’m dying to try it. I loooove to cut paper shapes. I still cut strings of paper dolls in all kinds of costumes, you know the kind? When you’re done, and unfold them, you have a series of identical dolls holding hands? I’ve made gingerbread boys, ragdolls, Boy Scouts (guess why), snowmen, clowns and schoolgirls. This is how I pass time at family gatherings when the kids need to settle down from the frenetic running around the house. Yeah, I do better at the kids’ table.Have you ever used one of the early electric toasters? I have once. I was visiting my great grandmother for the day, and she made me tea and toast. With homemade bread, and homemade strawberry jam. No, really. And I’m not kidding when I tell you that she also showed me how to cut and press wool strips, and braid a chair mat that I still have to this day. (I really need to take a picture and share that.)I recently inherited the toaster cut off in the pic below from my grandmother’s basement. For all I know, it was the toaster from Great Grammie’s house.The strawberry-painted glasses are a recent GW find. They are in good condition, but some of the paint is a little cloudy from dishwasher exposure. (If you have painted glasses, never put them in the dishwasher, the detergent is too harsh; same for colored Pyrex casseroles and mixing bowls!) There was a matching pitcher on ebay, which I should have bought. Wouldn’t it be a charming lemonade or sweet tea set? (Speaking of ebay, I’ve taken the plunge, and made my first listings, wish me luck!)
I love the old canning jars with the glass lids and the wire bail. I created this little grouping the other day when I was doing my “Back-to-School” mantel display.Speaking of canning, I am working up to learning more about canning, (not that I have a garden, and a bountiful harvest to preserve), along with learning more about pressure cooking.
I’ll leave that as a tease, hinting for future posts. I have recently bought 2 vintage Presto pressure cookers (4 qt.), for only a quarter apiece. And a vintage pressure cooker cookbook. So, if you want me, I’ll be in the kitchen.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
No, the apples I’m talking about are the decorative items in my happy red kitchen. I had just taken the screens down from the casement windows, brushed away the cobwebs and dust, rubbed all the wood with lemon oil, washed the windows and created a little arrangement that made me smile. Then I realized how pretty it looked in the late afternoon light, so out came my camera. Do you like shortbread cookies with your tea? I’ve only made it once. It’s pretty decadent as I recall. Mostly butter creamed with vanilla and powdered sugar, and a little flour thrown in to hold it together I guess. I used the mold on top in the picture below. It’s one I bought about 20 years ago, and has 9 flower and fruit motifs. The round one below it I thrifted recently; both by Brown Bag Cookie Art.
The large apple cookie jar is a recent thrift store score, and the Bread-and-Butter pickles in the Mason jar were a generous gift from a co-worker who has been sharing his garden bounty. The dishtowel is a calendar towel that I crocheted an edging for, and now it’s my fave.
On another leaf, I found the most adorable book (for only a quarter). Do you know the book Wind in the Willows? Of course you do. Well, anyway my little happy discovery is another book by the same author, Kenneth Grahame. It is a collection of short(er) stories, and was published before WITW.
Many of the illustrations are by E.H. Shepard, and I believ he also immortalized the WITW characters. But another treat is that some of the art is by Maxfield Parrish! If you don’t recognize the name, you can click on it and see who he is. I’ll bet you’ll recognize his early 20th century art.I love the italicized font with the flourishes.
This is just a gratuitous picture of a vintage saucer I found last week. I love the colors. Absolutely smitten. And the images: birds, a ship, cherry blossoms and a windmill. What’s not to love?
Just found the little squirrel covered candy dish. Very a propos to keep one’s treats and treasures hidden. Do you remember those old penny candies in the yellow and red wax paper? The Squirrel-Nut-Something caramels? If I can find them, I’m going to stash some in this dish. In the meantime, it has acorns. Those acorns around the candle are huuuge. I picked them up after a football game in Kennebunk on Thursday. I have never seen them this big. I wonder if next summer’s squirrels will be bigger than usual.
The 3-footed dish is also a new thrifting find. No cover. Too bad, but too pretty to leave behind.
What treasures are you squirrelling away this weekend?
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Oh, I’ve had such a wonderful day! I took a day off work to meet a college friend who lives in New Hampshire. We chose a spot on the Maine-N.H. border – South Berwick to be exact.
Historic New England (formerly known as The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities) has 3 properties in South Berwick, but only one was open today: The Hamilton House. So that’s where we met, and took the tour, before having lunch (an amazing lunch) at the Pepperland Café. This fabulous restaurant is across the street from another Historic New England property, the Sarah Orne Jewett House. Do you know the name? I know it, but I don’t know if one would if one hadn’t read Country of the Pointed Firs for their New England Literature class (sprinkled in with Emerson, Thoreau, Dickinson and Frost).
On the tour, guests are not permitted to take photos inside the house. But, oh did I have an itchy shutter-release finger. The house, built in 1785-6, was home for Hamiltons, then Goodwins, before being bought and restored by the Tyson ladies of Boston. They must have had significant resources at their disposal, and worked hard to restore it to the grandeur of its early 19th-century life. They added gardens and used the house as a summer home, wintering in Boston, and ultimately leaving the house and garden and much of the furnishings to the Society, I think they said in the 1940’s. Do see the photos of the interior on the website.
We strolled in the garden before and after the tour, enjoying balmy breezes off the Salmon Falls River.
So, I’ll share with you some shots of the lovely gardens. In the picture below, I have my back to the house, and you can see a little cottage. Apparently, this was situated in N.H., and was to be demolished. But the Tyson ladies had it moved. This garden area used to be the location of a decrepit barn, which they obviously removed. By placing the cottage among the gardens, they had a little place for seclusion, or for entertaining. Currently, the docents have some office space in there, and they begin the tour there.
The cottage has a little garden all its own. (And I didn’t adjust the color on these morning glories!!)
Apparently, it was a common practice to use a millstone as a paver in gardens, and the Tysons collected no less than 14 for their gardens. I photographed many of them, but I’ll spare you.
You probably recognize the pineapple as a colonial symbol of hospitality. I read (I think on the Colonial Williamsburg website), that when a sea captain came home from exotic places, a pineapple was displayed prominently (perhaps on the gate, or above the front door?) to indicate that he was receiving callers.
This fountain is marble, and a treasured piece, and is replicated on a painted mural in the sitting room overlooking this garden. (oops, I just realized I uploaded this photo twice, but it’s so pretty, I’ll leave it.)
There were some lovely cherubs cavorting here and there, see them hold up the bird bath?
One feature of Georgian architecture is Palladian windows. This one in the door below was installed in the little garden cottage to echo those in the main house. There was a much larger one opposite it, which I wish I had photographed, but it was in shadow. You could see that both were entirely the original glass, completely with ripples, bubbles and wavy distortion. I was hoping that would show in the pic, but it doesn’t.
Just a striking bouquet, even in shadow, in front of the large Palladian window that I didn’t get a picture of.
So sweet, I wish I had taken close-up pictures of the facial expression.
Just a gratuitous view of an old New England barn, where one of the 3 full-time gardeners has just finished mowing.
After my visit with my friend, I drove and drove all around the hilly farmland, enjoying rustic pastoral views at every turn. Farmers’ Markets, antique shops, and PYO (pick-your-own) apple orchards. In all my years here, I have never picked apples. Everybody always asks: “Have you picked your apples yet?” And for years, I would shrink guiltily, and say vaguely, “No, not yet…”, and silently wonder if I should feel ashamed of not harvesting the bounty allotted to me. I’ve since gotten over it.
Monday, September 10, 2012
I probably wouldn’t have seen the potential in this find. In fact, the first time I saw it, I left it behind. I ended going back for it. Having just read every post on Becky’s blog, I aspired to have a little bathroom display over the toilet, like this. It’s her first post, but not her first attempts at home decorating with vintage goodies. Well, I’ve already blogged a little bit, and I feel like I’m beginning to challenge myself to really cozy up my home.
Before this little vintage shelf unit, that lighthouse pic was alone on the wall, looking small and forlorn. And the little jars and shells were on top of the tank. I guess I should have taken a “before” picture. Maybe over time, I will improve this arrangement and then this will be the “before”! And I’ll keep working on my photography skills.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
I’ve been doing a lot of thrifting lately. It’s hard not to, GW has opened an outlet next to the building where I work 5 days a week. I’m not really good at identifying true vintage, so it’s a good thing that the prices are so very reasonable. I am so easily influenced in what to collect. I see a display on a blog that I like, and then I am spying similar treasures at the GW, and the next thing I know I am taking them home, and trying to re-create the vignettes I’ve seen on my favorite blogs.
In an unabashed declaration of my admiration, I direct you to my latest blog infatuation: Sweet Cottage Dreams. She does some especially delectable Christmas decorating, and caused me to fall in love with chippy, vintage-looking Santas. (Although I do think I had a tendency in that direction already!) Check out these kitschy vintage Santa mugs on etsy.com This Santa is actually a planter, with an opening in the sack over his shoulder. I think it’ll be perfect to put candy canes in. As I look at this picture, I realize that it is too cluttered to see all the great finds individually.
And check out this happy mug! (Get it? Mug?! Heh-heh!)
And another view of the Christmas-y things. That box with the tree stand really has the tree stand in it – score!
The vase that looks like old mercury glass probably isn’t, but I wouldn’t know.
Do you love the doll-sized park bench? It’s really painted cast iron and weathered wood. I think somebody had a front porch display because there were a couple of pine needles still on it. I’m considering ways to use it, including using it to display my treasured Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls.
The crescent bone dishes are green transferware, and bear the marking: “Genoa J&C Meakin Hanley England”.
These don’t appear to be too terribly old, but I think the bright red cards with the charming illustration make a good accent piece in a vignette, and the Bingo cards will be terrif for various crafting projects (at least I know that I’ve seen others do clever things with them!).
Again, these items aren’t particularly old, but made it into my cart by virtue of their timeless charm. The fabric is a curtain, rather small. I will not use it for a curtain, it is quite loud when you stretch it all out. It will be better suited incorporated in pillow tops, tote bags, that sort of thing. The colors are so cheery, no?
That’s all for now!