Wednesday, October 31, 2007

More Thrifted Silver

Yes, my cabinets are bursting at the seams, and no, I don't really need another silver -plated sauce boat, but damn! I just couldn't resist. I do, actually, bring stuff to the thrift store, too, so give me a break here. Sheesh. Besides, this wasn't really a planned trip to the thrift store. It just kind of happened when my friend, Robin, and I decided to walk at a park nearby. I swear.

The larger sauce boat is new; the smaller one I found a few weeks ago. Each about $3. Can you say "collection?"

I'm not sure what this tiny pitcher is -- maybe a creamer? I just loved the shape of it.

What is this silver oak branch for? I haven't the slightest idea, but I think it will look nice on my Thanksgiving table.

Today, Robin is dragging (um, I mean accompanying) me to the antiques market at Lambertville, NJ. But it was all her idea. I swear.

Oh, and Happy Halloween to all the little ghosts and goblins out there! This is for you! :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Sorry, but I have to brag here for a minute -- my daughter's soccer team finished the season yesterday with a 22 and one record!

This is what a winning team looks like at season's end -- 23 goofy girls who came together to post five preseason wins; 15 wins, no losses in regular season play; and two wins, one loss in tournament play. My daughter, Katie, is a goalkeeper. (First row, fourth from the right, in the team picture.)

We've known many of these girls since they were little; Katie has played on travel teams with them. They've grown up before our eyes, into wonderful young ladies -- strong and confident. To see them come together here and have such a tremendous season is so sweet. It doesn't get any better than this.

Congratulations, Ridge High Junior Varsity Girl's Soccer!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The End, Again

We have already discussed my mania for creating tabletops here. Well it's been at least a few days, and so "now, for something completely different," as they used to say on Monty Python...

Here is a thrifted Limoges platter, some old books with wonderful red leather covers, and a blue glass swan.

A seashell basket with child (very cracked), an old plate with roses, and a little green rose cup.

A German platter with some very vibrant colors, antique green tea tins, and a souvenir cowbell, also from Germany.
I think I'll try to leave all this in place until after Thanksgiving, but then all bets are off!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Tagged Again!

I've been tagged my Michelle, of I'm A Little Teapot, to play the Seven Interesting Things game. I did this not too long ago, so let's see if I can come up with seven more.

  1. I love to sing. By myself. When no one is around. Once, I was wailing away in the garage, when my neighbor happened to stop by. Major embarrassment.

  2. I'm a frustrated artist. I used to draw, and paint in watercolors. Now I channel my artistic urges by shopping in thrift stores, arranging my finds, and photographing them for you.

  3. I hate to vacuum and clean bathrooms. I don't mind dusting, and I love to empty the dishwasher. This last one may have something to do with the fact that dishes are involved because, as you know, I love dishes! :)

  4. I am addicted to Sudoku, the Japanese logic puzzles. Have you tried them? They're great.

  5. I get nervous if I don't have something to read. My husband and I both read at the dinner table. Yes, I know this is rude, but I guess it's OK if everyone at the table is doing it.

  6. In person, I'm very quiet and shy. Online, I can schmooze with the best. Go figure.

  7. I love the smell of horse manure; it reminds me of my childhood. Cow manure, not so much. Chicken manure -- yikes.

Well, there you have it -- me, in a nutshell. I find it really hard to choose others to tag, so I'm just going to leave it open to you. If anyone wants to play, consider yourself tagged!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Autumn Remembered

We're finally starting to see some serious fall color here at our Little Red House. This is the sugar maple that my dad planted years ago. It's always the most beautiful color in our yard. When they were little, my kids would rake all the fallen leaves, and jump off the picnic bench into the pile, crunchy and fragrant.

Afterwards, we would all cram into the car and drive to Wightman's Farm for homemade donuts and apple cider. If we were really lucky, the donuts would still be warm, and the cider was always freshly pressed.

Oh, I miss those days when such simple things made us all so happy -- the autumn sunlight slanting through the leaves that were left on the trees, making them come alive with color like a stained glass window;

the weight of a child squirming in your lap as you tied her shoe; the lovely smell of the crushed pears from a nearby tree, fallen to the ground amid the lazy drone of the bees.

Will another autumn day ever be as sweet?

Edited to add: A family in my daughter's school lost a child to suicide this week. Please remember them in your prayers.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Already Green

Nowadays, the mantra is "Reuse, repurpose, recycle." Being green is suddenly fashionable. Well, I'm here to tell you, my dad was green fifty years ago. Or maybe just cheap. We have two doors in our Little Red House that were already old when they were hung here. I don't know where he got them; my dad did a lot of work on construction sites, so maybe they just "fell" into the trunk of his car one day.

One is our front door -- painted white on the outside, and wonderful old grained wood on the inside. It has the greatest old doorknobs.

Even as a child, I loved these old doorknobs We used to have a skeleton key for this lock; I don't know where it is now.

The other door leads from our kitchen to the back hall. I'd like to call the back hall the mudroom, but it's really just a glorified hallway that comes from the back door. Some people have suggested that we paint this door to match the kitchen cabinets, but I wouldn't dream of it. I love it just as is.

Recently, I posted this picture of a bit of architectural salvage that I am using as a shelf on my "bird wall" in the kitchen. I was contacted by Karen, of Scioto Salvage, who wanted to use the photo in their newsletter. If you get a chance, check out their website. It's got the most beautiful old doors, and hardware, and much more. And, as they say, "you won't find this stuff at Lowes."

This is a picture of what remains of the old barn on our property. I'm determined to use those old boards for something. Any ideas?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Come fall, I start getting the urge to curl up in our tiny den. The room is literally tiny -- about 10 x 12ft.; I've seen walk-in closets bigger. It's also dark -- pine wainscotting and a brown patterned wallpaper.

The sofa is down-filled, and covered in a paisley chenille in warm golds, reds and oranges. There is an orange knitted throw to warm me, and a brown leather ottoman to put up my feet.

There are two chairs, one covered in a brown damask,

the other a wing chair in cream velvet. Sitting in this room, with a good book and a cup of tea, is like retreating to a nest, or a burrow, or a womb.

It's warm, and enveloping, and comforting. Winds may be buffetting the leaves outside, and rain splattering the windows, but I feel oh-so-warm and cozy right here in my nest.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Book Report

I wanted to show you this book, which my children gave me for my birthday a few years ago. I've collected lots of decorating books over the years, but this has to be one of my all-time favorites. It's called An Affair With A House, by the American decorator, Bunny Wiliams.

I'm sure you're all just like me -- spy a beautiful house, and you long to see what's inside. Well, this book is the answer to all your longings. Williams takes you inside the wonderful country house she shares with husband, antiques dealer John Rosselli.

There are literally hundreds of pictures of every gorgeous, antiques-filled room, from the kitchen (don't you wish you had a fireplace in your kitchen?)

to the living room (just look at that beautiful desk!).

There are double porches along the back of the house -- very southern, even though the house is in the northeast.

She also has a wonderful barn that has been converted for entertaining. This is the guest bathroom in the barn.

Here is the great room in the barn.

And there is a a whole separate guest house across the street! Is this house a dream come true, or what?

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Birds

I hate to say this, but I think the birds may be taking over the kitchen from the roosters. (Sorry, Julie!) I'm not sure how this all started, but I seem to be gathering an awful lot of bird-related items lately.

I've already told you here how I seem to be drawn to casseroles with lids. Some of them have bird lids. How can you pass up something like this at Homegoods, when it is only $3.99?

Have you heard the saying, "Two is a coincidence, three is a collection?" I am the living proof of that.

I found these two bird prints (below the shelf in the dark frames) earlier this month at the Visiting Nurse's Rummage Sale, $6.50. each. Have I told you I love pairs of things? OK, that's another post.

Last Friday saw my dear friend, Robin, and I running through the pouring rain to visit the Red Bank Antiques Mall in Red Bank, NJ. And I do mean pouring! When we left in the morning it was 73 degrees and humid, but no rain. It was so muggy that neither of us could bear to bring a raincoat. Well, hell, that was a big mistake. I think we got soaked at least twice running from building to building. But I did come away with two more bird prints, a piece of architectural salvage I'm using as a shelf, and a silver sugar and creamer ( tarnished, of course). Sophie, I thought of you when I saw the bit of turquoise paint left on the shelf.

So this is my new "bird wall" in the kitchen. Am I nuts, or does anyone else suddenly find themselves in the middle of a new collecting obsession without quite realizing how it all started? OK, maybe you shouldn't answer that...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dreams of My Mother

Lately I've been dreaming of my mother a lot. I think about her often during the day as it is, because everything in our Little Red House carries memories from my childhood. It is also her voice I hear when I'm about to do something I ought to think better of. She is my conscience, as I'm sure your mothers are for you, too.

The dreams, though, are real in an almost frightening way. She will walk into the dining room, and tell me that she loves my new German transferware plate. She will be seated in her favorite chair in the den, chiding me for the dust kitties under the TV. She will be standing at her old stove in the kitchen, making meatballs, or fried cakes, or stuffed artichokes. A part of me in the dream knows that this is not possible but, just as surely, another part of me is comforted by her presence.

As a child, I was a strange mixture of tomboy and princess. I was an only child, and my parents had me quite late in life, so I think at times they just weren't sure what to make of me. I loved to read; they had to kick me outside to play when I had a good book. I loved Saturday mornings -- going to the feed store with my father, the lovely smell of grain filling our nostrils; or bringing our trash to the dump, where my father would inevitably find some lost treasure to bring home.

But I also could spend hours rearranging furniture with my mother, or playing with her jewelry box. Here are a few vintage pieces from her costume jewelry -- none precious but every one priceless to me for the memories they evoke.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thrift Store Silverplate and Kate Spade

I stopped at my favorite thrift store yesterday. I had actually just been in there on Monday, but came away empty-handed. Since I was in the area again on Thursday, I stopped on the off chance that they had gotten some new stuff in the meantime. They seemed to have gotten a lot of new silverplate, so I found a cute little sauce boat (I feel a collection coming on), and some flatware -- the knives have monograms, and the spoons have a lovely etched design. I wish I could show you a closeup, but my camera doesn't want to focus that close.

I also picked up this Kate Spade polka dot purse for $10.

Do you suppose it's real, or a knockoff?