Behind My Red Door

Behind My Red Door

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Very Special Birthday

It all started with Chinese Food. My labor that is. On a very cold January 28th, back in 1979, DH and I went 'downtown' to the movies. Back then downtown was the only place that had theaters. I have no idea what movie but I remember exactly what theater. And I remember saying that I didn't feel like going home right after the movie, so we drove to our favorite Chinese restaurant at the time, and had a pot of steaming tea and bowl of hot won ton soup. I felt antsy and when we got home, instead of settling down for the night I putzed around our cute little house for awhile. (That should have been a clue but I didn't pick up on it). Knowing me, I went in the nursery and checked everything one more time. The rocker was just right in the corner, the diapers and clothing folded nearly on the changing table with the diaper holder I made to match the quilt my mom, Nany and Great Aunt Ernestine had so lovingly made for me. The gingham curtains I made to match as well were tied back just right. It was the perfect soft yellow and green country nursery - perfect for either a baby boy or baby girl.

Sometime the next morning after DH left for work, I woke up with cramps but it was still 9 days before my due date so I didn't know if it was labor. It didn't take long to decide indeed it was. I called DH to come home from work and called the Dr. I think around 11 AM we headed to the hospital. It was pretty typical labor until a few hours later when my water broke and they noticed meconium in the fluid - and as a nurse, I knew that was a sign of fetal distress. Soon my Dr was sitting by my bedside and he didn't leave to head back across the street for his office hours. They tried to attach a fetal monitor to the baby's head, but it caused more fetal distress and the next thing we knew, I was being rushed into the OR for an emergency C-section. Poor David didn't know what was happening and I later learned he thought he was going to loose both of us. I remember my Dr saying "I am sorry, we don't have time for an epidural, you are going to sleep". And then the next thing I remembered was waking up in a lot of pain with DH standing over me telling me we had a healthy baby boy!! And that is how our son Jason made his entrance into the world 30 years ago today. He gave us quite a scare and that certainly was not the last time. He was the typical rough and tumble little boy who grew into a burly boy as my sweet friend Dot calls her sons.

Jay has always been smart, strong willed and very capable. And he didn't seem to need much sleep. He was up early raring to go and stopped napping well before his 2nd birthday. Just about when I was pregnant with his sister and I needed a nap! I would rock him, hopping he'd get drowsy but I was the one falling asleep instead. He was curious as all get out. When he was a toddler, we would go to play dates at friends and he would get into things their children never even noticed. He kept me hopping. He liked to explore and learn and discover. And he has always been good at whatever he puts his mind to, whether it was sports or school or something else. He was always athletic but for a time preferred his art and he even designed an entire trading card series based on some super heroes he invented. He worked on them for weeks. In high school he was asked to be in the honors art program but by then he had discovered his big love - football and didn't want to take the time needed for the honor art portfolio. He wanted to spend the time in the gym and weight room instead. He played JV while still in middle school. And then, as a freshmen in high school, he quickly moved up to varsity in a starter position. At the end of his freshmen year, Jay and the brand new coach and 3 other freshmen went to the state high school super bowl to watch. Those 4 young men told the coach "we will play in the super bowl when we are seniors." It was a mighty tall order because at the time, our town's football program hadn't done well for years - including that year when they won only one out of 12 games. But true to their word, by his senior year, his team reversed that record and was top in the Division and they indeed went to that Super Bowl but this time, not as spectators. Jay was one of 4 players on his team to be named league all star. The next year in college, he was again a freshmen starter on the team.

Aside from art and sports, Jay has always been good with people and many times I was told how congenial he was as a young man - he could converse easily with any adult. That served him well when he decided to come home from college, enter the work force and continue his college education at night (while his company paid for it - he's smart with money too!) . Jay has always been willing to work hard for what he wants, sometimes holding down 2 jobs at times so he could realize his dream and buy his very own home by himself at the age of 25. Not easy to do in the housing market around here at that time. And not just any house. A 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in a lovely neighborhood. The day his realtor, our friend Sandy, came to pick him up and take him to his closing, was one the proudest days of my life until that point.

Here are just a few pictures of our wonderful son through the years....

Just a few months old with his proud daddy...

Enjoying Mamma's Easter tree..

His second birthday. (yes, I made the cake. )
With his little sister...
Dressed in his Easter suit...

5 years old...
At the salmon run on the Cape....

11 years old.....
17 years old holding his cousin Hannah...
Junior prom night with his little sister... (who was dating another football player so she too went to his prom)
Senior prom....
His very first Christmas in his own home with his first Christmas tree.. and on his wedding day last April with his beautiful wife Angela....
and the home he now shares with her....At times it seem so unreal that he is this old, but then he'll do something like invite DH and I over for a cookout to show off his new grill, and cook us a wonderful meal, and then it seems so natural.
And as my regular peeps know, the best day ever was when Jay and Angela found out that they will become parents in June.

So today is not only very special because it is Jay's 30th birthday, it is also the day that we found out that our grand baby will be wearing these come this summer....

That's right - it's a girl - I am so excited I can hardly stand it!! See what the bib say? I couldn't resist buying these for the proud daddy to be! And it looks like daddy and mommy went shopping right after the Dr's. visit - good taste Jay!!They are headed here shortly for a nice lasagna dinner as we toast Jay's 30th birthday. I couldn't post this until now because Jay has no idea both families will be here to celebrate with us and share the good news! And they all have no idea that when he opens the present with the pink clothes, they will find out the sex as well. Keeping this double surprise has not been easy but it is worth it. It indeed is a very special day.

We love you Jay and we are so proud of you and we so excited what the next several months will bring. Take our word for it, just as your birth changed our lives for the better, your daughter will do the same for you!! Happy happy day son!

Until next time - hugs, Linda

Monday, January 26, 2009

Where Do You Blog and more questions answered...

Brrrrrrr - the weather turned frigid here in New England again. Yesterday it seemed like I had had a hot cup of tea in my hand all day and it makes it hard to stitch, do chores or type. Today wasn't quite as cold and I can see the snow melt dripping off the roof once again. Many years we don't have snow cover most of the winter but this year it is here to stay until April I think!
Actually, I really have no right making a new post right now because I am so far behind visiting so many blogs. It's not that I haven't tried but I am also trying to answer a lot of emails and comments about Country sampler, and still keep that balance in my life and not spend ALL day on the computer. I am making head way though and hope to be caught up soon. Thanks for sticking with me even if I haven't gotten back to you yet! I do appreciate it.
Looky looky ! Remember my fantasy shopping trip a few days ago? One of my stops was Circa1892 Homestead Primitives on EBay. I love Margo's gatherings. They are so colonial and the colors are so soft and warm. But I am not a big fan of bidding on things. Either I want it and I have the money or I don't. I don't like waiting and hoping an watching the price go up and up. So imagine my delight when I saw a wonderful gathering and it said Buy It Now!! Yup, I squealed when I saw that and once more because DH bought it for me as an early Valentine's Day present. Isn't he sweet? I can't wait to get it.

This is what I will receive ....
~Cutting Board Handpainted & Aged in Farmhouse White
~Butter Bowl -Handpainted & Distressed Inside & Out in Olde Buttermilk
The Bowl been Simply Filled with 2 Chunks of Cinnamon Toast Soap
Sprigs of Sweet Annie & A Springerle Cookie Mold with a Scottish Thistle Motif
~A Treenware Pie Crimper in its Original Mellow Aged Patina
~Last but Certainly Not Least A Wooden Candlestick
Topped with a Spiced Cinnamon Candle

I spent some time tweaking some displays around the house using her pcitures as inspiration. I'll some updating to do once I have my new goodies.
Admittedly, the two least colonial or primitive pieces of furniture in my house are the ones I probably use the most - my desk and my office chair. Go figure! I am coming out of the closet and showing them to you now because several of my blogging friends have invited me to join in to show Where Do You Blog? Some of my long time peeps may have seen some similar pics before but these are all brandy new for 2009. My office is much more primitive country than colonial but it is really more functional than either of those two things. I really love this space. It is MY space and full of things that have meaning to me. Gifts from my family and friends as well as gifts and memorabilia from my days teaching preschool. Samplers, prints, a lantern, and more.

I love all the cubbies and spaces for my notebooks and often used Stampin Up catalogs that I covered with wrapping paper. It's that tendency I have to make place for everything and a cute place at that. No reason why it can't be pleasing to my eye! The red box in one compartment holds my Stampin Up markers in all the colors to match my card stock. The antique recipe box in the compartment next to it has all my address labels for every season and holiday and stamps in many denominations. I use them to send packages to cancer patients. In the antique chalk box to the left of that is my stash of envelopes for the cards I make. When i am sitting here, to the left of me is a double wide closet I have shown before that is full of card making and craft supplies as well as gift wrapping and mailing supplies.
Also to the left of me is this jelly cupboard full of my Stampin Up stamps sets. I painted the lower part of the walls Caramel from the Eddie Bauer Signature Series at Lowe's. I stained yard sticks to use as molding between the two colors. I got the idea from my friend Shayne. I love it! I really love that I did the whole room myself. No help from hubby needed! While I am typing or reading blogs or doing online work, I often listen to music on the computer but I also have the option to turn on the TV. I love HGTV decorating shows - though they need to bring back some country shows don't you think?
I keep wool and fabric in the two cupboards below so it s handy for my projects. The antique cheese box sitting on the bench holds my glasses, the remote and the floss for any project I have in the works.

And when I want to sit and stitch or read or watch something on TV that DH isn't interested in, I use the daybed. When I bought it, I picked it out with future grand children in mind. I think it will be the perfect place for those sleepovers we will have. The full drawer under it is large enough for a second twin mattress if we ever need it.
You can see the antique school bell that was given to me when I retired from the preschool. Behind it is an antique slate and next to it a little tin cup with the ABC's on it. They were part of the inspiration for my own office/ craft room.
So you see I do a lot more then blog here. It truly is a blessing to have my own space at this time in my life. And now that you can picture me sitting at my desk, with a cup of chai tea in my big red mug typing away, we want to know where do you blog?? Please do join in and upload some pics and share it with us! We love those pics you know! (and yes - I did clean up the room before I let you in - the mess in now on the master bed! LOL)
Can you read that? Color her COLONIAL! I love the title of my article!! Can you see - that is our home!! Did you hear me squeal again when I said that? I just had to show you the first two pages and the last two pages of the spread. And in between I'll answer a few last questions. YES - I was WELL worth the wait. I have enjoyed reading it over and over again. It's such a surreal feeling to see our home in print. It's my house but not my house. I guess it's easiest to say this - it is my house, just dressed a little different than I would dress it - how's that! The lighting in the pics is just so amazing. The colors feel so warm and cozy. Only an expert can capture that. And the article is so me. Leslie Mann did a great job. Every single person I dealt with from day one was just so professional and kind and helpful. I thank each and everyone of them for helping to make this experience so great.
And yes I really did give those the tips for making a home look older. Yes I really did design and hand stitch the little applique wool picture they are giving away. What wool picture? Well if you don't have the magazine you have to run out and get it to find out- it's a great issue and not just because my home is in it. Yes yes yes - it was well worth the wait!
And I just had to share this pic I took the other day. I was making our bed and as I often do in the morning, I grabbed the binoculars I keep in a basket on the side of my dresser and I looked out the windows to the brook on both sides. There in the middle of the forsythia bushes was a bright red make cardinal. Can you see him? I swear he was watching me as closely as I was watching him. We live in a very suburban neighborhood but we have so much nature outside our Red Door. For me, it's the best of both worlds.

And from the last but not least files...
I know that a lot of bloggers that read my blog, sell handcrafted items on your own websites, or EBay or Etsy so I wanted to let you in on a new advertising opportunity over at A Primitive Place. (No I don't get a cut of the action LOL) A Primitive Place is a great new website with lots of pictures of primitive and colonial homes, ideas and tip and tricks for decorating and they are now offering Advertising opportunities. For a low monthly fee you receive a listing on their home page and on their Go Shopping page!Your business name with logo or banner, a brief description of what you have to offer and a link to your site. You can try it for one month or try it for six months. So go on over HERE and check it out!!

Well that's it for me today folks. I'll be back on Thursday with a very special post!

Until then - hugs, Linda

Thursday, January 22, 2009


photo by Franklin and Esther Schmidt for Country Sampler

Did you hear me cheering? Yup that was me. I finally have my very own Country Sampler!! YEAH! YIPPEE!! YAHOO!! You can stop worrying about me now. I will be fine and I can get out of my sick bed!! LOL I am so sorry some peeps didn't see the humour in my last post. I wasn't seriously sitting here pining away for my copy. Yes, I was annoyed I had to wait so long but I had plenty to do in my life to occupy my time. Like answer emails and comments and keep track of all the questions about the whole process that I have gotten in the last 8 days. And now that hubby doesn't work on Fridays, we are planning to do our errands and have a leisurely lunch out as often as we can and indeed we did that today. Mother Nature cooperated and it was the warmest day in weeks. After a bunch of errands, we stopped at Bertucci's and I had the yummiest Chicken Piccata!!

When we finally got home, there in my mailbox was the big envelope from Country Sampler with my complimentary issues- Wahoo! I forced myself to put the perishables away at least and then I made a cup of the chai tea that my sweet blogging friend Colleen sent me and I sat down and read and re-read the article and looked at Earlene's photo's. I LOVE her house. (the first article in the magazine) I will admit I am jealous she got to use her prim eggs and bunnies. I wasn't allowed and they are much more style than some of the 'spring' staging done in my house. We have some of the same collections and prims even. I can see several things her photo's that were moved out of mine and rerplaced by something else. I had the same rug in my kitchen in front of the sink that you can see her in photo, but mine got swithed out with one I like less. I find it very interesting how the different teams felt some things could stay in a photo and some couldn't. Her team didn't use as much food and fruit in each room and let her own collections things take center stage more - I prefer that!

Now that I have had time to see what photo's were used and what the article actually says, I am ready to answer all those questions I have gotten. Even though some of these questions were covered in previous posts, I know there are new readers who may not have seen them so I will do my best to answer them all. I hope I don't miss any!

1. Did they change much each room. Yes and no. The major pieces of furniture are still there. Sometimes they need to be moved slightly so they do not obscure something else in the photo. The camera is set on a tripod only a few feet off the ground - not up at our eye level so the field of vision is very different. Try this. Sit on your desk chair and start taking photos. For most of us, that is lower than when we stand. I now take a lot of mine that way. In the photos, all the actual accessories are mine but used in different ways and different room than I use them. Some I would never use in the same room or same spot that they did. Many things were done the way they were to "lighten up" the picture to make it look like spring instead of the very dark rainy day it was. For instance in the dining room photo, my black iron candle holder was taken off the sideboard and my pewter ones were added. In the kitchen, my dark braided colonial rug was moved away from the sink and the much more country style one I have in the laundry room was placed there instead as mentioned above.
2. Did you see the actual pictures that day. Again, yes and no. The Schmidts still use a 35mm camera with film and that film then has to be sent away for developing. Later, Franklin sits at his light box and chooses the best to send to the magazine. But before he shoots with that camera, Franklin sets up a Polaroid and takes a black and white photo. Then he and Esther check it over to see if something isn't right. They tweak it and take another one. When they feel it is right, they then take a color Polaroid and then they switch cameras and take many shots with the 35mm camera. I have some of the Polaroids so I saw those. But that is very different from seeing them on a computer screen like most homeowners get to do when the other teams go out with digital camera's.
3. Did you see the photos after that day. Yes, I was sent an email with them PDF form so that when the writer called to interviewed me for the article, we both had the photos in front of us. The same is true for when the associate editor calls and then the copy editor calls to confirm details, spellings of names etc.
4. Did you see the actual article before it was published. No, I had no idea what would be used and what wasn't used. The writer sent me a list of questions to answer before the interview phone call. Here are some of them:

How do you describe country style and the feeling it evokes?

What are your decorating bugaboos?

Do you have a vanity license plate?

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

Describe yourself in 3 words.

If you had a decorating theme song, what would it be?

What are you passionate about?

If you had a house fire, what is the first thing you would grab and why?

Your decorating/collecting motto?

So you can see from this list it could be hard to know what would be used and how ahead of time. Some of it makes a lot more sense to me now that I have seen the article.

5. Were all of your photos used? No - I was disappointed to see my bedroom photo (above) wasn't used. ( I don't know why but I am guessing space in the layout?). And I asked that the photo of me not be used. It was a close up, I was squinting, my hair was a frizzy mess because it was taken outside when we had a brief break in the rain. I didn't find it flattering. I know I am my worst critic but the editor was very gracious and gave me the option. So out of 11 possible, only 9 were used.
6. Do the photographers decide which photo's to take? Yes and no again. When the team arrives, they have a print out of rooms and sort of a script of the specific shots the Editor wants. In my case, they had 2 vignettes to choose on their own in addition to the specific shots. One of those vignettes is the bedroom photo that wasn't used.
7. Did you know all along what issue you would be in? No. As mentioned in previous posts, originally I was told it would be a season less shoot and possibly for the January issue. But then about 36 hours before the shoot I found out it was a spring shoot. But not Easter. And then I wasn't sure which spring issue it would be in - that is why I couldn't use Easter specific decor.
8. Did you have a choice of which season? No. A lot of it is timing on when a team can get to your home. In my case, the Schmidts were to contact me in May but never got a hold of me for well over a month later because they had been calling the wrong number and leaving messages on someone else's machine and didn't know why I wasn't getting back to them. That delayed when they could come here by over a month. They had to travel from Virginia to Massachusetts and they wanted to time it so they did other things on the way up and back and in other places in Massachusetts. Shoots for fall and Christmas are done during those actual seasons.
9. Did you get paid for this? No and I honestly never thought even thought of that until people asked me that. I never occurred to me because it's an honor to have your home featured in one of your favorite magazines.
10. Did you have to feed the crew? Well there were just two people in my case and no I wasn't expected to at all but I thought it would be a nice gesture. I made some salads the day before - chicken salad, Asian cole slaw and broccoli salad and had a nice peasant bread. There was no shooting taking place down in the family room so we ate at the bar down there. The Schmidts were very appreciative of that. And they didn't have to leave and find someplace to eat so it saved time as well.
11. Is there anything in the article you want to correct? Well I'd like to say that yes Brady drools on my furniture, but I do clean it up. It is not part of the aging technique I use. :-)
12. Is there anything you would do differently the day of the shoot? That day, I really wanted to let Esther and Franklin do their thing and I wanted to respect the process. Now that I have a chance to reflect and I have had a chance to talk to other homeowners who have gone through this but with other teams, yes I might do a few things differently if I could. I would speak up and say if I didn't like something. Like the daisies in the preserved Sweet Annie. And the fresh mint laying around the side board, and a few other things they switched out that were not my style.
13. Has anything changed in those rooms since the shoot? Yes, the sideboard is now a coffee table in the family room and I have had a new piece in that room for awhile now. I have new braided rug in the living room and the curtains have changed in the living room as well as the furniture placement. I did some rearranging in the kitchen and changed what it is on the open shelves by the window.
14. So are you happy you did this and would you do it again? YES!! YES!! YES!! Despite my teasing and whining about not getting my copies right away, and despite some of the staging not being exactly what I would choose, I would do it again in a minute! BUT I want to do a fall shoot (or Christmas!) But preferably fall! Did you know I love fall?? ( New readers are saying" huh? " Old followers are saying 'oh no - here she goes again with fall! ") But I don't think that will happen. I whined too much! Actually, I don't know that they even revisit homes except when they did that for the first Home Tours special issue. I'd love to have the Schmidts here again some fall and I'd loved to hear about their latest adventures. I'd make them Pumpkin Soup and some other fall goodies this time. And I'd have plenty of bittersweet, and pumpkins and gourds and mums everywhere! I'd stage it like THIS! Oh yes, I'd love it in the fall!!

So for those of you still here, thanks so much for sharing in this excitement with me. I am so grateful for all of you. Your excitement has multiplied my joy. Now I can't wait to get my family their copies. I am so excited my mom will see her name in print for these paintings she did of our kids many years ago. Most people can only dream of owning a primitive portrait and at best can only own prints. I have original oil paintings done by a very talented artist. I am indeed blessed for many reasons.
So that's the end of this chapter and it's on to new things and other ventures! Until next time- hugs, Linda

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I need some distractions!

How is everyone?? I am OK. Nothing is wrong other than I STILL DO NOT have a copy of Country Sampler! I am trying to take it in stride but it is hard when HUNDREDS of really sweet kind folks have gone out of their way to leave me messages on the forums, comments on my blog, comments on Webshots and sent emails telling me how much they are enjoying THEIR copy of Country Sampler. Thank you for all your kind words, comments, compliments and thoughts. It means a lot. It really does. The last 7 days my mail box has been full and it has been a lot of fun.
I just wish I had either my own subscription copy or the complimentary issues I am supposed to receive. I have heard from folks from the Pacific to the Atlantic, from our northern most states to our southern most states and everywhere in between and they all have their copies. So I would think by now, I should have either my subscription copy or the complimentary copies or both. But NOPE! I have neither. I really isn't fair and I don't like it one bit! (Did you see me stomping my foot and pouting? - cuz I did LOL!)

So like a big girl, I got busy and I have been doing things to distract myself. Like cleaning and organizing my entire bathroom - both closets, the vanity, the medicine cabinet and a drawer. With my music blaring. You see I didn't want to hear the angry letter I was composing in my head! Cleaning and organizing all the cupboards - all 4 of them and the little bureau in my dining room. And I went through all my old magazines and decided I just can't keep them all. So I cut out the good parts, put them in my file drawer and then donated anything worth saving to the senior center. Going through the old Early American Homes started me thinking of all the things I would like acquire someday. Some of you may remember back HERE in July when I did a post on a fantasy shopping trip. It was a lot of fun to dream about what I would buy if I had Cart Blanche. I was reminded of it when I saw Janae over at the Cozy Coop had made her shopping list of things she hopes to get this year. She has great taste so I decided those items would go wonderfully with my old shopping list. But then I thought, gee where is my Country Sampler -- Ooops sorry - I mean I thought gee - about 6 months have passed since my last Fantasy shopping trip and it is time to take another trip. Nothing like shopping to distract a gal right?

I started out at my very favorite online catalog and shop - Circa1820. I could furnish quite a bit of my home from their shop. They carry wonderful colonial and country wares. That canon ball bed would be my first purchase. Since we upgraded to a king bed about 2 years ago, we have not gotten a headboard. Our old queen was similar to this. And now that I have my coverlet, this would be perfect!
I'll take both the sampler and the tin punched lantern. They would look great by my night stand.

Ooh lookey lookey at these sweet pewter measures! I love how they look old already!
And isn't this the prettiest piece of red ware? It even has the crackle finish to make it look old.

I already have the stand mixer cover from 1820 and now I need to hide my microwave too! I already have some of those jars, plates and bowls but I will take more! Oops sorry, I mean I will take more - please.

LOVE this pewter chamberstick! I can use this in so many places! Better get a pair.

And I will take a few dozen of these candles. My favorite kind!
Isn't this bird pinkeep so sweet?? It would look great in my office/craft room with other sewing stuff.
And I MUST have this. We have replaced all the lighting upstairs with colonial styles except in DH's office. This would be sweet in there. Come to think of it, it would look even better in my office and he can have my smaller light fixture.

I have a hooked star but a girl can always use more than one., right?

Oh now here is some really good stuff! I have towel rods and a towel ring very similar to these in the bathroom next to the family room but silly me, I didn't get the toilet paper holders. I'll take 2, one for the master bath as well.
Oh that was fun huh??!! I am not even tired yet so next we'll be off to Circa 1892 Homestead Primitives on EBay for some antiques!

I love this old bowl and paddle. (I'll take the stuff in the back ground too!)
Here is a nice gathering...

I can always find room for another firkin!!
Oh be still my heart... look at these bowls! Wrap them all please....
And then to light the way home, this awesome kerosene lamp.
That was fun, wasn't it? Ah what the heck - I can shop just a wee bit longer so if you aren't tired, follow me to Shaker Studios!
Oh, oh, oh, oh!! I must have this dry sink... oh the beauty of it!! I need to sit a minute and catch my breath!

And do you see this chair table?? ~sigh~ I am sure I can find a home for this little beauty!
And last but not least, I can't leave DH out can I? I'll get him this armoire for his TV!!

I think that will do for today. Did I do good? We really should remember to do this every few months. Maybe we can do a fantasy lunch next time too.
I REALLY hope the next time I come back, I can say - I GOT IT!! If not, I might be REALLY grouchy and that could be ugly.

Until next time - hugs, Linda