Friday, November 28, 2008

Gone Thriftin'

I'm happy to be done with turkey (at least the kind you don't get at the deli counter) for another year.  I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I'm not a big Black Friday shopper, so I'm going to take a walk, and then visit the thrift store.  Enjoy your weekend!  :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the bounty that will grace our table.  (Even if I don't look forward to all the cooking.)

I am grateful for the dishes and linens and silver that will make our table glow.

I am grateful for the little things:  for sunshine on silver, and berries from the hedge, and the smell of a freshly ironed tablecloth.

I am grateful for all the wonderful blogging friends who share their homes and their hearts with me daily.

I am grateful for my husband -- my best friend and the love of my life -- and for my wonderful children, who each carry a piece of my heart with them wherever they go.

And I am grateful for our Little Red House, with all it's sweet memories.  From our house to yours:  Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Other Other White Meat

OK, so I'm kidding.  But tell me truthfully, do you really love Thanksgiving turkey all that much?  I must confess, I'm not a big fan.  I do like the side dishes -- the butternut squash soup, and the mashed potatoes with enough butter and whole milk in them to be a meal all by themselves.  I also am seriously addicted to mashed turnips.  No joke.  Sweet potatoes?  LOVE them.  And don't even get me started on my husband's stuffing.  I think my son would trade his right arm for that stuffing, with a little gravy.

But the turkey?  Not so much.

My problem with Thanksgiving is that it is a whole lot of work for something that none of the people in my family really likes all that much.  You see, I'm the only one who really enjoys all those side dishes.  True, my kids devour the mashed potatoes.  But nobody asks for turkey on their birthdays, when they get to choose their favorite meal.  Mostly they ask for ravioli, or baked ziti, or maybe roast beef.  I've had occasional requests for grilled chicken, and even for chicken tacos.  But never turkey.  

Back in the eighties, the humorist, Calvin Trillin, wrote a column in which he considered starting a movement to make Spaghetti Carbonara the official Thanksgiving meal.  Now I know that a lot of you are probably gasping in dismay at the very thought.  But wait.  Consider.  A pasta dish and a salad.  Maybe even an appetizer if you're feeling ambitious.  Three pots, at most.  And a couple of hours later, you don't feel as though you ate two times your body weight.  True, there may be no leftovers to snack on the next day, but I consider that a small price to pay for freedom from the tyranny of the bird.

Of course, I talk a good game, but we will be having turkey this Thanksgiving, like everybody else.  But hey, I can dream, right?

Friday, November 21, 2008


Today my daughter turns 17.  She is scheduled to take her driver's test at 11:30 am.  Holy crap.  Is noon too early to start drinking?

Edited to add:  She passed.  Came home from the test and drove herself to school for the rest of the day.  I've decided to choose brownies over alcohol.  Crying helps, too.  ;)

Thursday, November 20, 2008


OK, I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel here.  I can't think of  single thing to write about, so I'm showing you the new curtains I put up in the dining room yesterday.

Aren't I amazing?  I hung curtains!

(That was sarcasm, in case you missed it.)

Actually, there's a bit of a story involved here.  When I was growing up, my mother had curtains made for this window.  I remember picking out the fabric with her.  We chose a large red toile.  She had an upholstered cornice box made for the window.  

Over the years, the toile faded.  I took the curtains down a number of years ago, but for some reason, I left the cornice box in place.  But it looked kind of odd without the accompanying curtains.

A few years ago, we bought this painted chest and placed it under the window.  (That doesn't really have anything to do with the story, but I just wanted to put this photo in here.)

A few months ago, I bought a pair of gold curtains to cover a chair I got from the thrift store.  Well, I never got around to covering the chair, and I decided to see if the curtains would work in the dining room.

 I bought a shower curtain in a coordinating fabric to recover the cornice board.  (It's a cheap way to get some nice fabric.)  Yesterday, I took down the cornice board and hung the curtains.  But I had second thoughts about that cornice board.   I guess I could say that I didn't want that heavy piece overpowering the window.  But actually, I was just too lazy to cover it and put it back up.  That thing was hard to take down.

So I went down the road to Country Curtains and bought a scalloped valance.  Wow, that was a whole lot easier than recovering the cornice box.   :)

Are you keeping score here?  That's now two things I have not recovered:  the chair and the cornice box.

It turns out that the valance echoes the tiebacks that came with the curtains, and they both go very well with the shade on my $2. lamp.

So that's the story of my dining room curtains.  Don't get too excited.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My New Venture

My creation, originally uploaded by carroll.mary.

Yeah, right.

But wouldn't it be fun? Actually, I'm just having a bit more fun at Big Huge Labs. Now go have some fun of your own.

Before the holiday stress sinks in. :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Making Book

Remember when I posted a photo mosaic last week?  I told you that I also like to make books on Blurb.  It's really fun, and highly addictive.

This is the first book I made.  It's a small collection of my favorite autumn photos.   

The Blurb software is extremely easy to use, and making a book is so much fun.

It would also be a terrific way to record a summer vacation, or a high school team's winning season, or your favorite recipes.  Right now I'm in the process of making a book of flower photographs.

So do you have any ideas for making a book?  I'd love to hear them.  :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Just thought I'd give you a little taste of what the last few days have been like here in my part of New Jersey.  Quiet, soft, peaceful.  Reflective.  (To get a better feeling, click on the picture to enlarge.)

Wishing you a calm weekend.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The View

We had a really rainy day yesterday.  It's been wet and foggy here this morning, too.  I got some lovely foggy landscape pictures, but I can't help waiting for some sunny weather so that I can enjoy the view from this comfy sofa.  Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!  :)

To enter a really fun giveaway, stop by Erin's blog, The Good Life in Virginia.  She will be giving away a copy of her book about vintage textiles (love them!) and a little something extra.  All you have to do is leave a comment with your favorite funny holiday story.  

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Playing with Pictures

This is what I do when I ought to be vacuuming or doing the laundry or stripping wallpaper.   Or even writing my next blog post.  (Can you tell I've got a lot of things on my to-do list?)

I make a mosaic on Big Huge Labs.  Or make a book on Blurb. (More on that one another time.)  Try it.  It's great fun, and also highly addictive.  ;)

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

For our Veterans

My father landed on Omaha Beach a few days after D-Day.  My uncle was shot and wounded in Italy, and was a prisoner of war  for several years.  These men and many others like them, both men and women,  fought to preserve our freedom.  Please take a moment to remember our veterans today.  

"I'd like to thank the Academy..."

Do you remember the photo contest I entered this summer?  Well, I didn't win a big screen TV, but with your votes, I had two of my photos included in the book of New Jersey photos!

Isn't that neat?  You might remember the yellow foxglove photo (above),  or the photo of beach umbrellas at Wildwood Crest (below).

This was just such a kick for me, to see my photos in this really beautiful book.  Thank you SO MUCH for your votes -- your support means the world to me, and I couldn't have done it without all of you.  :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mary's Story

Last week, I showed you some photos from this historic church and cemetery in my town.  In addition to being a beautiful place to visit, it is also quite interesting.  There are 35 Revolutionary War soldiers interred here, as well as two United States' senators, one member of the House of Representatives, and at least one slave.  

But here is the story of  a simple wife and mother, who lived an extraordinary life:  

This is the gravestone of Mary Kinnan.  Sorry about the quality of the photo -- I had a hard time getting a clear shot of it.  It is very faded.  But here is Mary's story:

She was born Mary Lewis in Basking Ridge in 1763.  At the age of 15, she married Joseph Kinnan.  Together they moved west to farm in a place called Tygart's Valley, Virginia.

Eventually, they shared their home with two sons and a daughter.  Also living with them was Mary's brother, Jacob Lewis, and a woman named Margaret Ward and her son.  Margaret was the widow of a soldier who had served in the Revolutionary War with Mary's husband, Joseph.

In 1791, three renegade Shawnee braves attacked the farm, killing Joseph and their daughter.  Mary's two sons, her brother Jacob, and Margaret and her son all managed to escape.  Mary was taken captive to Ohio, and then to the Detroit area.

After three years, she managed to get a message to an Army courier, who promised to deliver it to Mary's brother back in Basking Ridge.  Unfortunately, the courier contracted yellow fever, and died before he could deliver the message.  He was quickly buried.   But because it was determined that he was carrying important Army messages, his body was exhumed.

Mary's message was found and delivered to her brother, who travelled to Detroit, rescued her, and returned her to Basking Ridge. 

 She lived to a ripe old age of 85.

What an amazing life this woman led!

My thanks to church historian, George L. Fricke, who compiled this and many other interesting stories from the cemetery at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Milk Glass by Lamplight

Do you remember my $2. lamp?  I found a $15. silk lampshade at HomeGoods, and have placed it on the painted chest in my dining room along with my beloved milk glass.  I'm loving how the pool of light makes the milk glass glow at night.

Do you have a lot of overhead lighting in your house?  I don't.  The only room that has recessed cans is the kitchen.  Here in the dining room, the crystal chandelier is on a dimmer, and I think it really helps to create ambience.

Just look how the milk glass glows in the lamplight.  Yes, I know I'm gushing.  But little things make me happy, ya know?

OK, I'll shut up now.  ;)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We have a new president-elect.  I have been never been more proud of my country, and more hopeful for the future, than I am at this moment.  And I am humbled to have been a part of this historic moment.

My World Tuesday: Basking Ridge, NJ

I'm sharing a few pictures of my historic town in autumn, for the My World Tuesday meme.  

This is the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church, built in 1839.  The original church structure was a log building dating from 1717.  To the right of the church in the photo above, you can see the great white oak tree that overlooks the church's cemetery.

General George Washington and The Marquis de Lafayette are said to have met under the tree.  It was a favorite stopping point for soldiers traveling from Washington's headquarters in Morristown to an artillery encampment in Pluckemin.  The cemetery is the site of many graves from the eighteenth and nineteenth century, including the remains of 35 soldiers from the Revolutionary War.  

The tree itself is estimated to be over 600 years old.  

To take a virtual tour of places from all around the world, visit My World Tuesday.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Even Better

Do you remember this house, that I posted about earlier in the year?  I was in love with their garden, and called it my dream garden.  At the time, I told you that the house was under renovation.  They were adding a wing, and almost doubling the size of the house.

Here is a picture of the newly renovated house.  As you can see, they also painted.  Is this beautiful, or what?!

I am in love.  All over again.  Now it is my dream garden, and my dream house.