Behind My Red Door

Thursday, February 26, 2009

In Case You Don't See Me Around....

...just know it is because I am catching up on some reading! A few posts back I mentioned that I was working at being online less because one of the things I wanted to do more was to read. I love love love to read. Admittedly, blogs and magazines seem to be what I have spent most of my reading time on lately, but I am aiming to improve on that. But not before I spend some more time drooling over this.... Oh yes, I found it at the bookstore today. I didn't want to wait until March for it to get here. And ladies, I have to tell you. In my humble opinion, it is WONDERFUL!! Several prim homes and a great colonial home - there are 10 new tours just as Donna promised and the one repeat is one of my favorites so it is all good! Our sweet blogging friend Linda, from Primp Your Pad is featured. Now I must tell you that I have been privileged to have seen her home pictures for a few years now. Long before blog land I knew her as Craftealady on Webshots. We have admired each other's homes for a few years now. But these photo's are just amazing! Linda you really hit the jackpot with the team who photographed your gorgeous home. It looks so warm and inviting. I am really happy for you!! It is worth the price just to see her home done so well. Trust me!

And then when I am done drooling over Linda's house and the rest of the issue, I am going to look over this neat book I got off Amazon Country Living Handmade Country: Old-Fashioned Crafts and Timeless Keepsakes - get this - only $6.74!!

And then I am going to spend some time with this beauty. You might have seen this on Linda's blog recently too. That girl has great taste! Jessie Walker's Country Decorating
Oh I love these warm and rich colonial rooms...

But I am torn because I love these subdued off whites, tans, and golds too...

I guess I can use both the warm rich colors and the softer subdued ones right?
And then if that wasn't enough, I also have this sweet book to keep me company -Country Living Seasons at Seven Gates Farm Several of my prim friends have recommended this book and I can already tell it is a keepsake.

And while looking for CS Home Tours Issue at the bookstore, I came across this sweet treat! It's a special issue from Old House Interiors called Early Homes - Colonial to Classical. It is right up my alley! For some wonderful period style resources and great places to shop that advertised in this issue, click here.And lest you think I only read picture books, this is also on my reading list. Our sweet blogging friend Lea from Farmhouse Blessing recommended it and I am so glad I bought it! If you have a moment, won't you please stop over at Lea's and leave her some uplifting words? Her young son is facing some health issues and they are possibly faced with some other challenges as well. She is the sweetest lady and is always lifting someone else up, so I hope we can all lift her up now. Thanks so much!
In Stillmeadow Daybook, Gladys Taber tells of life on their New England farm month by month - actually it's in Connecticut just a bit south of me. She paints such vivid pictures with her words and because the countryside she describes is much like where I grew up, I find myself transported back to some places from my childhood. When she talks of things like stonewalls, lilacs, and rhubarb and other scenes from her surroundings, I feel like I am in my old neighborhood. I am so enjoying this read.

Well I am off to to read some more. Thanks so much for stopping by and all the sweet comments I got on my last post - especially for my mom's birthday. It was so nice. I copied them and sent them on to her and she was just tickled. I truly appreciate all your kindness. My mom is a special lady and she deserves all that attention!

Next time I am back, I hope to post some pics of my door project and some other things I have been working on in between reading, helping other, my own chores and life!

So until Next Time - Hugs, Linda

P.S. I have had a lot of trouble with word verification on many of your sites. Sometimes it won't load but even before that happened, sometimes even though I type it correctly (and yes, I am doing it correctly) it won't work so if you have word verification and don't hear from me, that's probably why. I got rid of mine months ago for that reason and haven't had a problem.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Very Special Birthday for a Very Special Mom

See this pretty lady? That's my mom! She sure doesn't look 80 does she? Well she is - that's right, today is my Mom's birthday! She is smiling because those are the chocolate covered strawberries Jay and Angela gave her. My mom loves strawberries. She grew them in our backyard when I was growing up, along side a huge vegetable garden and flower gardens. We had the best strawberry shortcake you ever tasted. No store bought sponge cakes for us. My mom made biscuits from scratch. She also grew rhubarb so we had strawberry rhubarb pies and she made the strawberries into jam as well. Those are just a few of the things my mom used to do. Move over Martha Stewart. You don't hold a candle to MY MOM!

I hope you all will indulge me and let me repeat parts of my Mother's Day post from last May, with a few timely additions thrown in.

~I am one of the really lucky ones in this world. I have such an awesome mom! She is one of my best friends and I would NOT be the strong confident woman I am if it weren't for her. Actually I have to tell you right off the bat that I wouldn't be the wife and mom I am if it weren't for her. You see in 1972, when I was a junior in high school, she fixed me up with this really cute guy that worked at the drugstore where she was a bookkeeper. He worked there after classes at a local college and she thought he was a sweetheart. And as usual MOM KNOWS BEST. That cute guy and I will celebrate our 34th anniversary in June. And she never lets me forget it she picked him out - but that's OK. She done good!
I hardly know where to begin telling you all the wonderful, clever, talented, creative things my mom did as the four of us were growing up. I guess I can start right at the beginning because hanging in my bedroom is the Christening gown, little jacket and slip she made for me when I was baptized. The slip is cotton, and the dress and little jacket are eyelet lace with the teeniest buttons, snaps and bows she hand sewed. When I took them out to display them last year, in the box there were also little felt baby shoes she made for us when we were babies. She made our Easter dresses, our winter coats with matching hand muffs, our back to school clothes and even learned how to make her own lined pinch pleat draperies and slipcovers for the furniture. When the six of us traveled cross country in station wagon pulling a pop up tent trailer that we opened each night and closed each morning for six weeks - YES SIX WEEKS - my mom and sister and I had matching clothes. Not only was she was a saint to take four kids on a trip like that but she also made clothes for the trip!

One fall, every evening after we were all in bed, she sewed dozens of Barbie and Ken doll outfits and all the little accessories that went with them as well. Have you ever seen how teeny those arm holes are? That was a VERY special Christmas surprise for me I tell you. Well every Christmas was special in our house with her handmade decorations and Christmas stockings.
Along with the Christening dress, also in my home are three oil paintings she did. One still life and the two portraits of each our kids she painted when they were young. One of the biggest thrills for me having our home featured in both Country Sampler and Mercantile Gatherings this year is that her primitive portraits were featured in both publications.

She deserves the spotlight for sure. In addition to being a talented artist, several family members are the lucky recipients of the quilts she made - including the one she made for Jay's crib and Jen's bed.
When there was a bake sale at school, no plain old brownies for my mom -no way! She baked whoopie pies - dozens and dozens of the best ones you have ever tasted. At Christmas time she made cookies that were works of art and so many different ones. In the summer she would make pickles and relishes and jams and jellies from the fruits and veggies in season or the ones she grew in her own backyard. I remember eating watermelon so she could pickle the rind. My mouth is watering now thinking of them. When we had lamb, we had homemade mint jelly to go with it - are you getting the idea? I cannot think of anything my mom couldn't and didn't do. She actually went to Girl's Trade School at night and learned just about every trade they offered. I think they finally said "Beverly, we have nothing left to teach you. Go forth and share it with the world". My prim peeps will appreciate this. My mom would take panels of copper and punch colonial designs in them and use hard boiled egg yolks to age them. The sulphur would give the copper a great patina. She would buy old dressers and bureaus at flea markets and yard sales and painted and antique them. See gals, she was colonial long before anyone one else was.

Of course she helped with Girl Scouts all the time and was a Den Mother for Cub Scouts too. She always made every occasion or holiday special for our family. She made panoramic sugar eggs with little scenes inside for Easter and she blew the inside out of real eggs and decorated the delicate shells and we had an Easter Tree. Of course there were never any store bought Halloween costumes in our house. We all had unique hand made ones. And every birthday, our cakes could have graced the cover of Woman's Day or Good Housekeeping or Martha Stewart. We had dolls and trains and rocket ship cakes. And Easter meant a Bunny Cake and there was a flag one on the Fourth of July with fresh berries. She did that before it was in style too. And I can't forget her trademark meat dressing for the turkey at Thanksgiving and the special Lithuanian dish we have only at Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving called Potato Kugelis.
And she didn't stop when we grew up. She helped make my wedding dress, her Mother of the Bride dress, the flower girl's dress and decorated all the garden hats we wore. She would have made the cake too if someone didn't stop her! My first Christmas as a married woman, I got ornaments made from some of the leftover wedding dress lace. They still hold a place of honor on my tree every year. When my sister got married, she made all the granddaughter's special dresses.

When my kids (and eventually each of the other grandchildren) were born, she started doing fun things for and with them. For a time, she and my dad lived on Cape Cod and every holiday - not just Christmas, but Easter, Halloween, you name it, she would make cassette tapes for the kids and mail them to us. She would read the holiday stories from the magazines she bought, and she play songs on the piano and sing to the kids on the tape. We still have those tapes. Yes, she also plays the piano - very well and her voice is as sweet and strong as ever. She painted designs on T-shirts and sneakers for the Fourth of July cookouts and gave them their own sugar eggs as well. I know, I know, you are saying SHE IS MAKING THIS UP - no one could do all those things and be that creative and talented but I have to tell you it is the truth and I have witnesses - many of them!

When the kids got old enough, she would do crafts with them and cook with them and she would take Jason to the movies I didn't want to see and she would paint Jen's nails and toes and do her hair fancy and make jewelry with her. They would get to stay at Mamma's on the Cape for a treat, and she took them to the Herring Run and the Cape Cod Potato Chip factory and every other fun thing she could find. When they were older, she would drive back here for Jen's dance recitals and Jay's football games and their proms. That''s just the kind of Mamma she is. My kids adore her (and Bampa too.)
Yesterday we celebrated Mom's birthday by gathering at a great Mexican restaurant. My mom's brother lived in California when I was growing up and he would fly east bringing with him the freshest ingredients in coolers to make Mexican food - back when you couldn't get it on the east coast. We are all very found of the real deal so it was the perfect place to celebrate!

This is my mom and dad with some of the grandchildren and one great granddaughter. My kids, Jay and Jen are in the back, my sister's daughters are Rachel on the left and Hannah in the middle and Gracie, my parent's great grand daughter is in the front middle. And here is my younger brother Allan -hey bro, you got a blog mention!

My mom again....

And here is most of the gang..

Jay's wife Ang, and Allan's wife Cindy were both feeling under the weather and Allan's daughter Erica and her two little ones, Julius and Avery couldn't make it but all where there in spirit.

And my mom still hasn't stopped doing for others. Every day she helps my dad get dressed and get out of bed and she tends to his medical needs. When her friend Marion was hospitalized this winter, my mom visited her several times a week so that Marion would have company. My sister lives just minutes from my parents and she and her family go away on vacation, my mom often tends to my sister's pets. She is involved in a pen pal program through the senior center and school system in her town. Any child assigned to her is one lucky child!

My mom is one incredible woman - she is like the energizer bunny, she keeps on going and going. Only there is a huge difference. Inside that bunny are some hard metal parts.

Inside my my mom, is the softest heart of gold!
Happy Birthday Mom! David and I love you very much!

Until next time, hugs, Linda

PS After all the rain, we barely got an inch of snow and we awoke to a cold but very sunny day! I'd say that is the perfect present from Mother Nature to my mom!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

All Kinds of Exciting News!

Good evening! I didn't intend to post again until Monday but it was a very exciting day Behind My Red Door today so I barely know where to start! I guess I should do as they say and take a deep breath and start at the beginning.

See that wonderful note card? That came in the mail from Noel and Verge, from Circa Home Living - formerly Circa 1820. It was a lovely thank you note for the times I mentioned their catalog/website in Country Sampler and in my blog. Wasn't that kind of them? I was so excited to find out that they will be starting a blog in the coming month or so. If you click on their name, you'll come to their home page and you can see where you will be able to click on 'blog' when it is ready. Make sure you check out all the wonderful things they offer while you are there.

Well this isn't new today, but I just finally found a spot for the 'new' old fly screen I got during an outing earlier this week. (It's an early birthday present). I played around this morning a bit and made some gatherings like the one in my header and this one below.

But I think it will end up right here on my dough board. At least for now. At least until I tweak again. I think. Maybe.

And then, when he was coming in from an errand, DH noticed a package by the front door. I was so excited to find that inside were my complimentary copies of the spring issue of Mercantile Gatherings magazine. See the cover illustration?

Twigs drew that and it is her interpretation of my bucket cupboard and cabinet. Didn't she do a wonderful job? She is so darn talented!

Twigs gave me permission to show you the article. If you are not familiar with this magazine, each page of this really well done magazine is a real visual treat. They are purposely designed to look like scrap book pages. They are so nicely made, they are like books you want to leave on the coffee table.

Each photo is framed so nicely!

Isn't it pretty?

I am so honored to have been chosen to appear in these pages.

In addition to several articles featuring homes and businesses, each choke full of photo's, there are free patterns and lots of resources for your favorite prim and country items. Here are some pics from the Christmas Issue.

If you can't find this at a country or prim store near you, I highly recommend you go to the website here, and click on order the magazine on the sidebar, gather the info and take it to your favorite shops and encourage the shopkeepers to start carrying it so you can get your fix every season! Or you get your subscription started online as well. Just like Frank Bielec from Trading Spaces, you will be a Mercantile Gatherings fan as well!

The most exciting news today took some time to develop. I was chatting by email with my friend Kathy, who lives in New Brunswick, Canada and we were talking about how even though we both work hard at living in the moment, sometimes it really helps to have something fun on the near horizon to look forward too - especially during the long winter months and with the scary economic forecast. Then we decided to chat on the phone. I was saying I hoped DH and I could get away for an overnight later in March as a late birthday present for me. After chatting back and forth and researching where I could redeem my Choice Hotels points, I found out there is a hotel about 15 minutes from her house. Kathy and her DH Stephen have a special event coming up later in March and we were talking about how wonderful it would be if DH and I could get there for it. After we got off the phone, I got online, did some research and BINGO! We now will be traveling to New Brunswick for a long weekend! I am so excited I don't know if I will be able to sleep tonight. Not only will I get to see her and Stephen again, (we met last May when the were in Sturbridge, MA) I will be able to introduce them to my DH (who was working in Hicago that week in May) and I will finally get to see her lovely home in person!!!!!!!!!!! I feel like I know her home by heart as we are always sharing photo's and updates with each other, but to actually be there in person will be just amazing! Click here to see a slide show of her beautiful home. Some of you will recognize her home from the Christmas Issue of Mercantile Gatherings. Hopefully, Mother Nature will cooperate so we can make the long drive without a late spring snow storm! We often get them you knowl. And you can be sure I will have plenty of pics to post when we get home.
And yes, that was me you heard squealing again!
Speaking of Mother Nature, we are under a winter advisory tomorrow - not good. My family is planning to gather at a new Mexican Restaurant for my mom's 80th birthday. Please keep your fingers crossed we still can have the party. My brother and his family have a pretty long drive and we really do want to be all together for this special birthday, but of course their safety is paramount. I will be back Monday, mom's actual birthday, with a special post.

Until Next Time - Hugs, Linda

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Sneak Peak and Hide and Seek!

See those pretty colors? That's just a sneak peak of the nursery we worked on the last week. I finished painting on today and in the next week or two, the new carpet will be installed. Now I can't take any credit for the design, my DIL Angela chose the bedding and paint color. I am simply the skilled laborer at this point. I do hope to make some special touches for the room though! I'll have more to show in the coming weeks.
Does anyone still watch Trading Spaces on TLC? Do you know the delightful designer Frank Bielec? Well just like many of us, he is now a fan of Mercantile Gatherings magazine! Yes, the magazine that will feature our home in the next issue!! (yes you heard me squeal - again!!) When I was over at the Primitive and Rustic Forum, I saw a post by Twigs (Tiffany Carnal), who is the Editor of the magazine and also the owner of Primitive Blessings. This is what Twigs posted...
You know you just never know who will be on the other end of the phone when it rings.........What a surprise when Frank Bielec from TRADING SPACES.....called Mercantile Gatherings. Frank was in a home measuring for a Trading Spaces episode when he looked down and saw a stack of primitive style coffee table books. When he picked them up he was in AWWW as he said of the wonderful magazine that laid before his eyes. He asked the lady where she had gotten this publication. (she had a stack of about 15 he said and she would NOT part with a one.) He managed to talk her into copying down the contact information and he rang us up.....HOW EXCITING.....He just eeww’d and aww’d at how he had never seen such an amazing magazine with all his favorite things all in one publication and the quality was amazing......He told us about some wonderful contacts for us to pursue and invited us down to Texas to visit him........HOW COOL IS THAT????Anyway just had to share, you just never know who will have a Mercantile Magazine......
Isn't that the coolest thing ever? I am so glad that they were noticed. It's nice when a small publication gets recognition like that. And who knows, maybe we'll finally see some prim inspired makeovers on Trading Spaces!! We can always hope, can't we?
How fun is this? The other day when I was between chores and projects and I was a trying to get caught up with my blog reading, I saw a headline over at A Country Shop Blog that said Colonial, Primitive Home pictures. Well, of course that caught my eye so I headed right on over there! Imagine my complete surprise when it was my slide show she was posting about. Thank you so much Dale Elizabeth!! I am so flattered!
A short time back, my sweet friend Connie over at CT Log Cabin did a cute post on Hide and Seek and I told I would join in. I just love seeing pics of her lovely cabin and I so enjoy the little pics on her side bar. Make sure you click on her picture trail as well. Connie showed several ways she hides modern conveniences in her log cabin and invited us to play along. Make sure you check her game of hide and seek HERE when you are done! She has done such a nice job of making it look period - much much more so than my home.
I try very hard to hide things that scream modern. For instance, positioning electric cords behind furniture and I have even taped them to the backs of legs of tables or furniture to keep them out of view. And you will never see an electric candle or lamp on a shelf with the cord dangling. I'll also do whatever I can to position things in front of outlets and plugs so you don't see them. Whatever I can do to minimize modern things within reason, I will try. I even paint my light switch covers and outlets the same as the walls instead of using decorative ones. I don't want them to be the focus at all. I cover my frequently used books and catalogs with Kraft paper -now I know that is not period, but it is better than looking at the original covers.
At the sink, I use redware soap pumps because I can't leave the soap bottle on the counter. I know, it's a sickness but I can't help it. And if I could, I would hide all TVs and computers in cupboards and cover the phones with boxes. So while there are still many 21 century conveniences out in the open, Connie inspires me to find more ways to hide them as time goes on. Here are just a few places I have played hide and seek:

Now you see a thermostat -

Now you don't -

Here is a cord and outlet - Now it is gone -

Some switch plates and another outlet-

And no more
And here is the switch for the disposal-

That all but disappeared -

Here's an old unused phone outlet-

Now it is my little secret -
Here is my stand mixer-
And now so much better-
Here is my stove top-
And now it is gone - Okay, okay - I know that is stretching it a bit but it works for me! And here is the recycling and trash-
And now you just see some great old crocks-

Here's one I really like - see the ugly old cord-

And now some textiles just hanging around-

And last but not least, this is what you Behind My Red Door - literally. You open the front door and the stairs are 3 feet in front of you and as you go up a few steps, this is what you see. Did you notice the light switch? Not right off I bet you are saying. That's because it is painted the same color as the wall. I don't want visitors to see that right away when they enter our home.

Now if I can find just the right pieces to hide the toilet paper and phones like Connie did - I'll let you know! I like this game of hide and seek and hope to hide a few more things in the coming weeks. And I hope you will join in and show us some ways you hide those things you don't need to see. We can all use more ideas can't we? Take some pics and make sure you come back and let me know you are playing along so I can let others know. If you'd like to me, I"ll add a link to your blog the next time I post. Please just make sure you mention it to me.

A few gals have asked about my door re-do project. We got new doorknobs so I am almost done and I hope to have some pics the next time I post as well. I am taking a breakfrom projects tomorrow to spend the day with my dear friend Chris as we have our monthly shopping and lunch date. And this weekend, my entire family gets together to celebrate my mom's 80th birthday. I'll be back early next week with a special tribute to her.

Until Next Time - Hugs, Linda