Behind My Red Door

Behind My Red Door

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav, award thank you's and a teeny sneak peak...

Admittedly, I am no expert on the New Orleans/Gulf coast area but I did live there in the summer of 1975 from July to September. That's the view outside our apartment porch. See how wet it is? It did that every afternoon and then the steam would rise up off the pavement - I hated the weather, the terrain, the bugs and the poverty we saw.

Just a few miles down the road people lived in shacks - just barely 4 walls. They fished in the bayou for dinner. I had never seen anything like it in my life (all 20 years of it at the time). It was just so sad. The apartment complex was in Gretna - just the west of New Orleans city proper - just over the Mississippi River Bridge. If you recall seeing thousands of residents stranded on a bridge after Katrina, that's the bridge that was a short distance from where we lived. Just another block west of us was a 24 hour convenience store and we got to know the fellow who worked the evening shift. He lived in one of the shacks along the bayou, but he drove a very nice BIG car. After we got to know him a bit, our friend asked him about that - why the big car when his housing was so sad? And he said something like this "well, if worse comes to worse, we can sleep in the car, but we can't drive the shack". That was his reality. I wonder how many people down there still live like that. Surely if there were any shacks still standing, Katrina did away with them.

While we were living there, coincidentally my brother was stationed at Biloxi AFB in Mississippi. When he had a few days leave, David and I would make the drive along the coast to get him and bring him back to the apartment for home cooked food. I think we did that 2-3 times while I was there. Because of that, we got to see the Gulf coastline as it existed before Katrina. We would play our Seals and Croft 8 track tape as we made the drive. In an eerie bit of recall, the words of the song I remember the most are "we may never pass this way again". Back then there was very little new development and much of the land still belonged to old plantations. It's said to think so much of it was destroyed in Katrina along with anything built after we left. Having lived someplace, even for a short time, and even though it was over 30 years ago and is many hundreds of miles away, I think it made the reality of Katrina a little more real for us. We knew the areas that had water up to their roofs. We knew the west bank where residents attempted to flee only to be stopped because those areas were low lying and hit very hard as well. It was easy for us to understand how and why everything flooded. Just so so sad.

And now the residents are once again faced with another storm of catastrophic proportions. All we can do is wait and hope and pray for all those residents that are being evacuated from newly rebuilt homes, partially rebuilt homes and even those still temporary shelters. And pray for the safety of the personnel who need to stay behind and for those being deployed to the area for the all important jobs and emergency work. My sweet friend Mary over at Gettysburg Homestead is on standby and may be deployed to the area after the storm. Please keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers as well.


On a lighter note, I have once again been given the Primitive Excellence Award by five sweet Prim blogger friends. Carolyn over at Cranberry Crossings, Wendy over at The Cozy Yellow House, Pam over at Antique or Not, Cathy over at Hazelruthes and Sandy over at For the Love of Prims all honored me with this fun award. I thank them each and you can check out their own Excellent Primitive blogs by checking my blog roll. I love seeing how they decorate and the crafts they make. It has been so much fun getting to meet other primitive loving gals. We each have our own style of prim and I love to see the differences and the commonalities.

The one thing we all love is to decorate for the seasons - prims really seem to lend themselves particularly well to fall of course! I did start my fall decorating this weekend. I have most of my items in place, but in my eye, our home never looks done until all my bittersweet is in place. We may go looking tomorrow morning if time permits. In the meantime, I broke up my new garland into smaller pieces to place here and there. I am really not much of a pip berry/garland type gal but it sure does make it easier to have something you can use year after year. Here in MA, bittersweet is now considered a no-no because it is so invasive. It is being eradicated along roadways and railways and is getting harder to find. It is illegal to sell it in any shape or form even so in the future, garlands and pip berries may be my only choice!

I did take a few pictures and I'll share these as just a sneak peak. Things may change before I am done, but it is beginning to look like fall Behind My Red Door!

Enjoy what is left of the long weekend and pray that Gustav some how weakens dramatically and spares all parts of the gulf coast from any major damage.

Until next time - hugs, Linda

Friday, August 29, 2008

The perfect late summer day in NE!

TGIF to all my regular and new peeps!!
Usually DH works at home on Fridays but not today so I am hoping to finish putting my
fall decor out and get to the farm stand for some end of summer corn on the cob.
I won't be taking pictures of my fall decor until I pick my bittersweet though. We might find time to go looking for it this weekend, but probably not until next. David is so good about going with me each year, helping me find the best branches. He knows to look for some really long ones that I can wrap around my chandelier and when he sees a branch loaded with berries he gets almost excited as I do! I still haven't gotten him to sit and strip the leaves off it yet though.
Maybe when he retires he'll be up to that.
In the meantime, I have a few more pictures of our trip to NH on Wednesday
and some of the goodies I came home with.

This is Bonnie with her new beau at Country Culture in Brookline, NH -
just over the border from MA. Bonnie lives very close to this awesome store. The owners
live in the attached antique home and the homeowner graciously let me use
their rest room (long drive - morning coffee - what can I say!) and what little I
got to see of the inside of the house was just awesome!
The outside was all decked out for fall. It was so inviting.
Bonnie and I inside Country Culture
This is the pretty redware plate Bonnie gave me as a thank you for doing all the driving.
It was not necessary but very much appreciated.

Here are a few of the very old colonial homes on the road into Frye's Measure Mill in Wilton, NH. For me, part of the allure of going to Frye's has always been the drive through the countryside with the really old homes, stone walls, farm land and rural setting. In the winter, it's easy to imagine how isolated the original residents would have been with just handful of houses in the this area. The stone walls rising above the snow would be the only marker between field and roads. In the fall, the foliage is just the best - a canopy of warm colors. In the spring, there are huge mountain laurel, wild forsythia, and lilac bushes in bloom and in the summer it is green and lush and it is so quiet.

This little 1811 beauty is for sale. It's only $329,000.00! Probably because it is so rural.
In my town it would cost about twice as much. I told hubby we could sell ours, buy this and have money in our pocket to play. He said he was NOT interested in taking on 200 year old problems! Oh well, a girl can try huh? I'd love a peak inside - wouldn't you?

This old home has been added on several times over the generations and it is gorgeous.
I didn't even get the barn/garage addition on the right. It's huge!

Here is the other tree we saw with a touch of foliage. Just a tease!

Found this crock at a great shop Bonnie introduced me to.
The price was great because it has a little wear and tear - just like me!

I found this neat garland at Country Culture - not sure where I will put it. I might even break it up. I love that it isn't all shiny and the leaves look so real!

The front bobbin, little hanging bowl and basket were all good finds!

And I finally have a slaw cutter. I have been looking for one at a decent price for ages!

That's it for my Friday Show n Tell!

I have to be honest - I am not sorry to see summer end. Except for the last week or so, the weather was horrid most of the time. But on the bright side, being stuck inside, I spent more time exploring all the wonderful blogs out there and meeting more wonderful gals. They say there is always a bright side to every bad situation and meeting and getting to know
all of you was it for the summer of 2008 for me. For that, I thank you!

I hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day weekend.
Just think, September is around the bend and that means crisp tart apples fresh from the orchard, homemade apple pie, wood smoke in the air, a pot of stew simmering all day, a warm cozy sweater, and all the other wonders of fall!
Until next time - hugs, Linda

An Award!

WOWSER a PRIM award! How cool is this??!! Jan over at Olde Harbor Saltbox left me a message that she had been reading for awhile and was awarding this Primitive Excellence Award. What a kind and sweet gesture. Thank you Jan and it's a pleasure to meet you! I am going to beg forgiveness of the rules because instead of singling out JUST 7 prim friends (which is way too hard and not fair to ALL my prim friends) I am going to say to all my prim friends who blog, and you know who you are, please grab this, plant it on your blog and tell them I SAID SO! As usual, I leave it to each of you as to how you choose to award this. I love receiving the awards and I am so touched and honored, but I have to be honest, I find it just too hard to leave out anyone when it comes time to pass them on. I know each of us puts a lot of time and effort into our blogs. I guess the school teacher in me doesn't want to hurt any one's feelings by not including them. So I truly mean it, if you love Prims and you are one of my blogging friends, I bestow this on you. Proudly show it off on your blog and let everyone know you are a proud Prim gal!!
Until next time (which is coming in a few minutes) hugs, Linda

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Playing catch up!

Quintessential late summer in New England!

Happy Thursday! I am spending the day trying to get caught up on blogs, visiting my Webshot friends, emails, Angel work, getting some of that fall decor put out and just stuff in general. It's amazing what a day away does to your schedule but it is so worth what it does for your soul. Bonnie and I had the perfect late summer day - the bluest sky, cool dry air and we had a wonderful day. I'll post the rest of my pics tomorrow but I wanted to share the scene that greeted us as we drove up the hill towards Frye's Measure Mill in Wilton, NH. The sky was so blue, and we could see the church steeple and as we got closer, what did I spy? FOLIAGE! AHHHHHH - that's me taking a deep breath. Just a little sneak peak - but I'll take it. This picture does not do the brilliant colors justice.

And I wanted to share an email I got today from my sweet friend Karen in OH - so simple and so true. I am going to print this out and keep it posted on my desk! As I get older I am much better at a lot of these things - one of the real benefits of beng a woman over with 50 with a wealth of life experience, but we all can improve on something in our lives can't we? I promise I won't be eating salmon, but I can do everything else on this list if I put my mind to it! Can you?


1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.

3. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My purpose for today is_’

4. Eat more foods that grow on plants, and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

5. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

7. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

9. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

11. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

12. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

13. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

14. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'

17. Forgive everyone for everything.

18. What other people think of you is none of your business.

19. GOD heals almost everything and He can heal everything if it's in His plan. We just need to trust His bigger picture.

20. However good or bad a situation is -- it will change.

21. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch!!!

22. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

23. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: 'I am thankful for _____.' AND 'Today I accomplished______.'

24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed

25. Share these with everyone important in your life!

Oops - I wanted to add a big thank you and prim hug to two of my favorite bloggers, Rondell over at Tomatoe Creek Prims, and Lisa over at Black Sheep Prims. While I was out and about and away from blogland, they both awarded with the You Make Me Smile Award posted under my blog awards. I m so touched by their kind words. I enjoy each of them and their blogs and honored to be a recipient of this kind award again. Thank you ladies! You know you make ME smile!

Until next time - hugs, Linda

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Whatcha Working on Wednesday

Because Blogger makes it so easy to write a post ahead of time, by the time this publishes, I will be well on my way to pick up one of my sweet Webshots friends - Bonnie, also known as Prims4me. Check out her adorable prim house - you gotta love a girl who uses black, red and mustard and tan. We live about an hour apart and this will be our first on person meeting. I can't wait - and yes, my camera is ready! We are headed out to do some shopping - she is introducing me to one of her favorite places, Country Culture, and I am taking her to one of mine - Frye's Measure Mill. The weather should be perfect for shopping and I a so looking forward to meeting Bonnie!

Just so I'd be ready for Whatcha Working on Wednesday, I dragged out my sewing machine and got my fall pillows all sewn and stuffed. Here they are and I am loving them. I was warned that wool is addicting and it is. So user friendly! And I figured out how to use one of the special effects in the old Print Shop program I use for a zillion other things.

The rest of my projects this week involves more fall decorating. The WONDERFULLY chilly morning air yesterday inspired me to get my fall goodies out of the attic and I am glad I did. I forgot everything I had! I wanted to get the plastic tubs back up in the attic (a prim girl can't have purple plastic tubs just sitting around you know!) so I put most of it on my dining table and of course, snapped a few pics. Bloggers like a lot of pics, don't we?

Here's my stash just waiting for my attention.

So that's what I'll be working on the rest of the week!


I mentioned in my previous post about the RAK group I belong to that I have been sending to and now, receiving from. Well I got another RAK in the mail on Monday. Deb from GA, sent me the cutest little wax log cabin. It smells all smokey - and reminds me of going into the old houses in Old Sturbridge Village when they have the old fashioned fireplaces and the old bees wax candles burning. I love it! It has found a home in the dining room - but you know me, it might not stay there. Especially after I decorate later this week. Thanks so much Deb!!

And last but not least, you might want to head over to visit one Rondell over at Tomatoe Creek Prims to see the awesome give away she is having. She is a really sweet lady and has made some really nice prims to celebrate her 100th post! Just look at the goodies some lucky person will win: I hope you all are having a great Wednesday and I hope to have some pics of our
shopping trip to share with you on Thursday or Friday.

Until next time - hugs, Linda

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Treasures in the mail, some thanks and a baby shower!

The mail brought several goodies this week! I am participating in a RAK group with several gals from the Primitive and Rustic Forum I belong to. (The link is below my blog roll.) We each answered a questionnaire and each member of the RAK group got the questionnaire answers of everyone else - like birthdays, what we collect, favorite season, favorite holiday, favorite colors etc. We can choose when and what and how to send at any time and any way we want. I have sent out about 10 RAKs so far and this week I received my first two. I have already personally thanked the ladies who sent to me, and I because I don't have their permission to use their names, I won't. The first RAK I received was this scented silicone bulb. It smells all spicy when the lamp is on -so cool. I put it in the candlestick lamp on my computer desk and it looks great. I only use that lamp in the evening when I was just a touch of light and the new bulb gives the room, just the right amount of glow!!

The other RAK I received is this very interesting kitchen tool. It is dated 1927 inside. The front edge is sharp so the sender and I both think it might be a melon ball maker of some sort. If anyone out there knows differently, I'd love it if you would let us know.

This is how it looks opened up.
It has already joined some of my other old kitchen utensils. I LOVE it!!
Coincidentally, one of the gals in the same forum is traveling from CA to MA in September with her hubby and posted a question asking about prim shops, antiquing and historic sites in MA. I put together a package of ideas including brochures and the MA Country Register and sent it to her. Even though I was happy to help her and expected nothing in return, she sent me this adorable wool Jack O'Lantern on a stick as a thank you. Doesn't he look great sitting in the basket of sweet annie on my settle bench? Do you think he minds that he clashes with the red paint?

I am not sure if he will stay there when I get my fall decor out next weekend, but I don't think he will mind hanging out there until then, so PLEASE don't let on that he is the wrong color! What he doesn't know won't hurt him, right? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

See my new handmade dishcloth? Would you believe it is the first one I have ever had?

I have been a sponge gal my whole life. But so many people I know have been making and talking about hand knit or crocheted dish clothes and now I get to try one - thanks to Marie over at A Little Country on the Shore. This was the PIF I signed up for. Didn't she do a nice job? And look at the adorable tag attached to it. Thanks Marie! I can't wait to try it out!!


Saturday morning I had the pleasure of attending a baby shower for one of Jen's best friends, Alana. Alana (Lani) and Jen have been best friends ever since middle school and it has been fun to watch her grow into a fine young woman. Lani kept in touch with me through her college years via email and I was one of the first to know about her engagement on New Year's eve of her senior year. When I signed on to AOL New Year's Day that year, there was a very cute email from a very excited young lady. It was so much fun knowing she was thinking of me in the middle of the night and that I was important enough to share in her special news so quickly.

A few short years ago we attended her wedding to Mike. He is a great guy and they make an adorable couple. During college, they spent their summers together working at a Christian children's camp and forged a solid relationship.

Lani and Jen on Lani's wedding day:

And now Lani is going to be a mom! I can hardly believe it! She looked so cute at the shower and the girls recreated the cute pose from the wedding.

Mike and Lani opening gifts. Amidst a sea of pink and ruffles and pastels, there was one outfit on the registry that had Mike's fingerprints all over. Despite being a Minnesota native, he has become a loyal Patriots fan - I knew I liked him right away!!

Lani said baby Linea will wear it in the house ONLY! LOL
Here's the gang from high school - Sue, Jen, Lani, Michelle, Lauren (due on the same day as Lani with a girl as well ) and Jacqui. Poor Jen has a horrid summer cold and was not feeling well so her face was all red and puffy. Except for these quick pictures, she stayed farrrr away from the mom's to be !!

Lani and Mike, David and I wish you and soon to be born Linea, all the blessings life has to hold!


Last night we doggy sat while Jay and Ang went to a wedding and I brought my stitching to keep me busy while David and Brady played ball and wrestled. I am working on some little wool fall pillows and I hope to have them all ready for Whatcha Working On Wednesday even though Leslie might not officially host it this week. She and her family are at the Grange Fair all week making great memories!

I hope you all are having a great weekend!

Until next time - hugs, Linda

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Simple Things in Life..

Sometimes when things don't go as you expect or want them too, it pays to step back and take stock of the good things in your life, especially the simple things that bring so much joy. Julie, over at Country Girl at Heart posted about the simple things just when I needed that.

Wednesday evening I had dinner out with my dear friend Jenn to celebrate her promotion and raise at work. We had a great time chatting and the chicken piccata was YUMMY! I ordered extra meals as take out to bring to my folks on the way home so my mom got a break from cooking. They were SO excited! And as an extra bonus, the weather was cool and it was just a really nice evening.

Then David called me from Chicago between meetings. I could tell something was up and I finally made him tell me what was bothering him - he wanted to wait until he got home Thursday night. He told me about a change in his work schedule that will take place probably this winter, and will take him away from home way too often for both his and my liking. We are used to him working away from home - he has always done that but this new schedule will be the worst. He'll travel to the same corporate office every week for 4 days of the week, and it is 3/4 the way across the country. UGH! It's not that it is a change - we are used to changes in his schedule for 35 years - it's that he will be so far away - he can't get home in a few hours from where he will be, and because it we'll be apart so much. So I have to say, my mood changed on a dime. I was really upset but I didn't let on to him because I don't believe he should have to be far away from home and worry about me back at home. That's not fair to him. So instead, I had my own little pity party here that evening. I think we are all entitled to a little pity party once in awhile, but I make them REALLY short parties. Life is too short to dwell on the bad.

Now, even though I am still not happy about it, I am determined to make the best of it. He has a great job, with great benefits and great compensation. We were blessed with a lot of security before, but this job kicked it up a few notches. Our plan is that we have the financial freedom so can retire in just a few years, on or before his 60th birthday, so if he can live with it, so can I. In this time when so many are struggling, we have MUCH to be thankful for. We have a strong marriage and this is nothing we can't handle. There are so many families facing far worse situations. We have since talked about me going with him occasionally (I could go anytime I want if I wanted to spend all day alone in a hotel room) and some other things to help make it easier on both of us, but being human, I was still a bit down Thursday morning. Then I read Julie's post and I thought, OK, that's what I need to focus on. The simple things - because they really do change the bigger picture if we can remember to focus on them. Thanks for posting that at just the right time Julie!

So here are just a few of the little and maybe not so little, simple joys in my life that I am thankful for:

A goodbye kiss from DH as he heads out the door, his "I love you sweetie" when he calls, and when he comes homes, hollering "Hi honey, I'm home" as he heads up the stairs.

My blogging and Internet friends. Lately, you have honored with me so many kind awards and, more than that, graced with me with your humor, wisdom, kindness and companionship. Since I first received the I LOVE YOUR BLOG award, I have been honored with it my five more sweet bloggers, The Pickled Pepper Patch, Cynthia Lee Designs, My Country Home, Back in the Day and Jojilla. Thank you ladies, it really means a lot to me that you think I am worthy of it.

The feel of the hardwood floor under my feet when I get out of bed in the morning. I am not a carpet kind of gal. It's my barometer too. I can tell if it is dry or humid, cold or warm by my floor.

The window in my bathroom. Already some poison ivy trailing up a tree behind the brook is turning brilliant colors. Soon the entire view from that window will be spectacular. Sometimes in the winter when I pull the shade up in the morning I'll glimpse a red fox trotting through the yard or spy a red cardinal in the pines.

My own room!! My very own office/craft room where I can create and connect. With my favorite colors of black, tan and red, and my comfy daybed, my little TV, my samplers and gifts from friends, my stash of paper craft supplies, craft magazines, fabric, ribbons, buttons, threads and patterns, it is all good. My mom says all I need is a frig and toilet and I can move right in here. LOL I love it!

A taste of something chocolate every day - isn't it wonderful knowing that dark chocolate in moderation is not going to harm us?

The pretty flowers and herbs on the deck. I love to walk out to the kitchen grab my cup of coffee and open the back door and check out my plants every morning. I sometimes sit in the other rocking chair out there with my coffee. Yes, life is good.

A phone call from one of our kiddo's - I really love that they still need mom sometimes!

An email from a friend in another state. How lucky are we that even when those we love are far away, we have so many options to connect, thereby making it easier to maintain our relationships. See that's me in my blue robe. Right after my coffee, I head over here!

Looking forward to the next time we see our grand doggy Brady. He greets us like we are the most important people in the world. Well we are, aren't we?

That bit of chill in the air - I don't need to explain any more, do I?

The spicy aroma coming from the candle I am burning. Thank you Karen (PrimKarlee)!

The sweet sounds from the CD I am playing. The songs are the ones we danced to at Jay's wedding reception in May.

A good book to read. When my honey is on a business trip, I keep one on the kitchen table and read while I eat my dinner. I just finished one, and I have 6 new ones to pick from. I also read while I watch TV and eat breakfast and whenever I need to escape!

The sound of the school bus coming and going in the neighborhood. It signals the start of a new school year and I always try to use that as a reason to start something new and fresh in my life. What will it be this fall? Maybe my punch needle? Maybe more?

The black cherries waiting for me for later today. I hand picked the best from the bin the other day and divided them into bowls, one for each of a few days. This is the last of them and I will savor each one.

My light blue Lands End sweatshirt robe. It is like the sweatshirt material of old - 100% cotton and heavy! It has huge kangaroo pockets and a hood. They make a similar one now, but not like my old one. (nothing at Lands End is the same since Sears bought it- phooey!) Mine is so old it is getting threadbare along the edges of the cuff, and along the zipper. I have the newer version for when I feel I need to look good, but I'd rather wear the old one. It is like an old friend. I know this will sound like Andy Rooney - but I'll say it anyway. They don't make things like they used to.

My blogging and Internet friends for reading this far! (yes you guys again) Thank you for always letting me indulge my thoughts and feelings; and likes and dislikes and you still keep coming back!

My red door - it's a cheerful greeting as I drive up the street, and it welcomes friends and family to our home.

Yes, there are SO many simple things to be thankful for. Please share with us the simple things bring you joy! Let's start a domino effect and see how many folks can post about the simple things in the next few days.

Until next time - hugs, Linda