Behind My Red Door

Behind My Red Door

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My decorating inspirations - part two

I had so much fun reading all the comments and emails after my last post. Thank you for sharing your decorating inspirations and stories - that was a treat. None of my local friends decorate in the same style as I do so it was a delight to read about what inspires others. I loved reading that I am not the only one with thick file folders full of pictures taken out of magazines and piles of books that we go back to often. It is so nice to connect with other gals who like the same type things and who are as obsessed as I am. My DH and kids might argue that NO ONE is as obsessed as me, but I suspect that is debatable in many households out there. I had a feeling that the pictures from the Time - Life books would be enjoyed because I know for me it would be like getting a free magazine or book, and I was right. FYI, someone told me they saw a used set of them being sold on EBay not long ago. And someone else said they did a search on Amazon and came up with some used ones as well. I hope they got snatched up. They are a tremendous resource.

Another great resource for me has been my collection of Early American Life magazines. I was a subscriber for many years – going way back to when the magazine was called Early American Homes. I just recently stopped subscribing – I have so many! They tend to show homes that are so out of reach for the average American or so old they are just museums. But I have learned so much from the articles so I will never part with those magazine. They help fill the big old wooden trencher under my coffee table in the living room.

(to see close ups on these photos, just click on one)

I also have a second set of books that I love to scan through. Country Home Magazine put these out in 1989 through the early 90’s. Each book is a compilation of some of the most popular homes that were featured in the magazine in those years. Back when Country Homes had COUNTRY homes in them. Here are some of my favorites from those books:

By the way, if the photo is dark, it was dark in the book too!

This one below belongs to Warren Kimbel

So now that I no longer subscribe to Country Living, Country Home and EAL what are my inspirations you ask ? Yes, I heard you!! (Unless I am hearing voices again – but that’s a whole other post.) The magazine that inspires me now of course is Country Sampler. I remember years ago when the only homes pictured where those staged to sell the items advertised. It always seemed odd to see luxury colonials with rustic primitive decorations. Luckily for us, they now feature real homes decorated by real folks and they always have at least one or two that I adore. Even if I don’t decorate the same as some of the homes, I enjoy them because they seem so approachable.

Prim lovers - you have reasons to be excited! I know of several homes that recently had photo shoots or will have photo shoots for Country Sampler's 2009 issues and they are all wonderfully prim! My friend Linda , over at Primp Your Pad, had a delightful experience just this past Monday and two of her friends where to have their shoots this week as well. You can read about it in her blog and while you are there, Linda has a link on her sidebar to an album of her home. It is wonderful!! She also has several albums of her house and some other wonderfully prim homes on Webshots under the name Craftealady. And I know of at least 3 other homes that are just awaiting their actual shoot dates - I can't wait to see the 2009 issues!!

I have many new inspirations that are all online. I love to see photos of other homes on Webshots and Picture Trail and other online storage sites. I have met the most wonderful ladies on Webshots and I love seeing the new pictures they post. You can get to them by going to my albums home page And of course some of my new blogging friends share pictures of their homes and I love to go to a blog and see something new. I know I speak for other house peepers when I say "show more house pics on your blogs!" LOL!

There are some great prim houses on HGTV’s Rate My Space website as well. I also belong to a Primitive and Rustic Decorating Forum on Delphi and there are some great home uploaded on Country Sampler’s forums as well. Between reading blogs and looking at homes online, there is plenty to keep me from ever getting anything done around here.

Thank you to my non blogging friend that asked me to write about my decorating inspirations in the first place. It was a great idea and I had so much fun looking through all my old books and magazine and old articles. It was the perfect way to spend a few rainy and humid summer days the past two weeks!

It's time for me to catch up on some blogs before DH's tummy says it's time to make dinner, so until next time – hugs, Linda

Friday, June 27, 2008

Summer at it's best!!

Another post already?? I know, I know but sometimes something is too good to wait and especially when it is food related! While attempting to get caught up on my blog reading, I stopped over at Cathy's Cobblestone Farms. I always enjoy her blog and her pictures. Today I found a recipe for squash patties. Have you ever had a potato pancake or potato latke? Well her recipe uses summer squash instead. I hadn't decided on a side dish for our dinner yet, and I had the squash and the rest of the ingredients on hand so I decided to make them.

OH BOY! This is a keeper for sure! The only change I made in her recipe was to use corn flour instead of corn meal because I was out of corn meal and I always have corn flour in the freezer - I use it to thicken chili and stews. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly and it was quick and easy. Here is Cathy's recipe:

2c. grated yellow squash
1/4 c. self-rising flour
1/3 c. self-rising corn meal ( I used corn flour or masa flour)
1 small onion, chopped
1 egg, beaten
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Spoon out into hot greased frying pan I used olive oil. Brown on both sides and drain.

David and I both thought they were out of this world and I will making them again. We had them as a side dish tonight, but next the next time I plan to have turkey breakfast sausage links on the side, and these will be the main course - they are that good.

So later this summer when you have too much squash, keep this recipe in mind! Enjoy!

Until next time, hugs, Linda

Friends, food and fun!

Edited 9/4/09 - Once again, time has gotten away from me so I have amended an old post with two of my favorite recipes so I can take part in Colleen's Back to School Recipe Pool Friday! I hope you enjoy the chicken salad and Asian cole slaw recipes. Both keep well for a few days so they are perfect to make on a Sunday and pack for lunches, or grab for a quick dinner when running between school after activities, soccer practice and dance lessons!


That’s what we had Behind My Red Door last night. Several times a year I host a get together with some of my former teachers and school moms. There are about 12 of us and we try to make it as casual and stress free as possible. I began this tradition many years ago when I first started working as a teacher at the preschool. We always had a very close group of teachers and aides and it was a great way to get together outside of school and relax and connect. Back then I would cook the entire meal from scratch, often using recipes from sources like Martha Stewart and the Pickity Place cook books I collected on my many trips there.

After I left the school, I continued the tradition with the teachers who I remained in close touch with, and we now include some of the moms who were a huge support to me when I was the Director. Again, I started out making the entire meal but soon we all decided pot luck was the way to go so I can enjoy the evening as well. I will let them all know what I am making and then everyone brings something that works into their schedule. Most of the gals have young kids or other family obligations. The whole point really is the camaraderie and companionship and fun, so we try to not stress about the meal.

Because I don't have to worry about a big meal, I have fun planning the tablescape and theme and shop for just the right napkins to pull it together. This week I found some great patriotic napkins that coordinate wonderfully with my Bennington dishes and a barn red plaid tablecloth I own. Being so close the 4th, that worked for me!

My contribution to the meal this time was chicken salad, hearty whole grain bread, stuffed grape leaves from a local deli and spicy hermit squares. The chicken salad is made with shredded breast meat, diced celery, diced Vidalia onions, slivered almonds and dried cranberries.

The dressing is made with mayonnaise, lemon juice, EVOO, fresh minced garlic and a little salt and fresh ground black pepper. As it is often when I cook, I didn't measure so I can't be more specific - sorry!

I served it on a bed of radicchio for some added color, and sprinkled almonds and dried cranberries on top to let everyone know what's in the salad.

I like to put the silverware in canning jars. I used labels tied on with raffia. Even though the jars are clear, sometimes it's hard to see what's inside. I like to have the handles poking out so people are only grabbing the handles, not the part that goes in your mouth!

Okay, the table is ready - now all I need is some friends and fun!

Last night we were a much smaller than usual group - only 5 of us but there was still plenty of laughter and fun. We just have the best time and I am already planning the next get together late in the summer.

The rest of the menu was yummy! The other Linda brought a oh so good Ramen Noodle coleslaw salad I had never had before. She just emailed me the recipe:

Mix together
1 bag coleslaw
1 package of Beef Ramen Noodles smashed - not too much though
5-8 oz of sunflower seeds
1 cup slivered almonds

Then right before serving mix together 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup vinegar (she used apple cider vinegar), 3/4 cup of sugar, and the beef packet from the noodles.

Add the two together mixing well. Keeps for days after (if it lasts that long).

I think I will mix them about an hour ahead to let the noodles soften. I know this will be a new staple in my recipe box! YUMMO!

Chris brought my favorite broccoli salad, Donna brought a pasta salad with a Mexican flavored dressing - very unique and I am waiting for that recipe. That's a keeper as well and we didn't touch the hermits I bought because Jody brought a Swedish Almond cake that was heavenly. I need that recipe too. The company was 5 stars and the food was as well - it was most definitely a fun evening Behind My Red Door!

The next time I post, I'll have part 2 of my decorating inspiration. I have been quite busy with other things this week but it is coming soon, I promise!

Until next time - hugs, Linda

Monday, June 23, 2008

Decorating Inspiration - part one

Decorating our home is one of my biggest passions - NO kidding - I hear some of my new and old friends saying - LOL! When I was a young girl, I wanted my bedroom done in a certain way. When we had a small fire in our home, the smoke and water did more damage the fire and the resulting construction gave my parents the opportunity to knock down a wall between the room I shared with my sister and the attic. I could not wait to decorate our new bigger room. I picked out the fabric for the curtains and then the paint color. And it wasn't little girl pink. That was my first foray into decorating and I have been at it ever since.

Early American/Colonial/Primitive style has always been my favorite. I love the history behind the collections and items. I like to imagine what it was like using the utensils and tools. I like the casual, warm and inviting feel it has. I try to use as many things as possible that at least have some historical base for their design or use. I am not opposed to reproductions or folk art interpretations, but I don't things that are old, scuffed up and worn just for the sake of being old. I think living in NE and close to places like Old Sturbridge Village, Plymouth, Concord and Lexington and having visited the historic homes in those towns has definitely influenced my tastes in what I choose to use in our home.

In the late 70's, my neighbor, and dear friend Chris had a subscription to Country Living magazine. I was just mesmerized! I loved looking through her magazines and I had to have it. At
some point I also discovered Country Home magazine as well. They were the first two print sources of inspiration. I still have many articles cut from their pages going back MANY years! Here are a few of my favorite pictures and articles from those 2 magazines and a few others:

I think if you click on the pictures, you can see them in a larger format -I know my prim friends will enjoy that! These books are out of print now so if anyone wants the pictures from this post emailed to them for closer peeping, just send me your email.

Shortly after moving here when I was really defining my style, I saw an ad for a set of Time -Life books on Country Style decorating. They were offered in a subscription series and I couldn't wait for the next issue to arrive each month. It wasn't the country style of the time with the mini print wallpapers, geese and cape cod ruffled curtains. These books really dealt with authentic Early American and Colonial style. Not only did they feature rooms, there were great articles about things I loved and coveted - redware, baskets, hooked rugs, candle holders and molds, yellowware, stoneware and the history behind them. I have looked through the 13 books in this series over and over and over. Here are 5 that I still go to all the time.

When I was getting ready to take pictures for this post, I was going through each book (AGAIN) and I was reminded once more that the style I enjoy is indeed based on what our forefathers (or was it our 'foremothers'), used to decorate their homes. Most often the items were not only decorative, but they were utilitarian as well. They couldn't afford things just to sit on a shelf - it had to be useful as well and often it had to be something they could make themselves or barter for:

Wooden bowls, game boards and baskets

Pinkeeps (better known as pincushions)

More baskets

candle holders


Pantry boxes, buckets and firkins



Hooked rugs

Bee skeps

Butter churns and molds

Oil lamps and oil storage

And here are a few of the pictures of rooms that inspire me.

What a pantry!

Great keeping room!

Wonderful kitchen!

Prim bathroom

Another great kitchen

I hope my fellow house peepers enjoyed seeing some of the pages of this book series. More pictures of my inspiration to come later this week. I really had fun putting part one of this post together.

The only problem is my 'wish' list is growing!

Until next time and part two - hugs, Linda