Behind My Red Door

Behind My Red Door

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Let's start at the very beginning...

...A very good place to start. When you read you begin with - A - B - C
When you sing you begin with DO - RE - MI...
Oops sorry! I got side tracked there. The Sound of Music is my all time favorite movie and I saw it on TV recently and the songs keep playing over and over in my head. What I really meant was that it began with just one suggestion. That is all it took. Just one. It began when I was told that it was a great idea to keep photo's of our home online because in the event of a fire they would be accessible to me from any computer. What all began with that you ask? My discovery of a whole new community of other primitive decor lovers. Until then I had a few friends that liked primitive too, but the gals that were my shopping and decorating companions moved south over the last several years to states with less expensive real estate. My other friends and my family do enjoy our home, but they don't decorate the same way or at least the to same extent that I do. My mom and my friend Chris are always agreeable to making a trip to some of my favorite shopping spots, but many times I'll head out alone. So for awhile, I just plodded along by myself. I continued to decorate this way because it is what felt right to me. I enjoyed seeing other homes in magazines, but I really didn't know many gals to chat with about what I liked so much. So back in the fall of 07, I had no idea just HOW to put our pictures online - just in case - as was suggested and I had no idea what would happen when I finally did!

Then, as if it was meant to be, I got my November 2007 Holiday issue of Country Sampler and there was Jennifer Bowman's house complete with her Webshots address. From there I found my way to the Webshots site and found even I could upload there. I was still a newbie so I didn't realize I had made my photo's public, and soon I was receiving comments from other gals and they told me how to find my way to their albums and a whole new world opened up to me. Soon there was a great community of us sharing our homes, our newest T2T's or makeovers, our shopping finds and our seasonal decor. Those gals introduced me to some primitive forums and that expanded my world even more. That is how Country Sampler and Mercantile Gatherings eventually both found me. And then when I discovered blogging, that expanded my world even further. Recently I moved my albums to Picture Trail because I like the format better. There are many wonderful homes and gals there as well. And all of those places are just some of the places to get a prim fix when I need it. If we want to, we can now spend hours and hours online reading blogs, looking at home albums, and chatting in forums about what we love. It is just amazing. I feel like after years and years I have finally come home to a community of primitive decorators, and it feels so good t be part of this wonderful group!

I have met the nicest people. And the most talented people too. Like Char, over at the Pickled Pepper Patch. She has many great crafting and T2T ideas. She is now on the staff of both Mercantile Gatherings, and my favorite online primitive website and forum, APP. Char recently had a giveaway and I won the second prize of this awesome fall sign! I can't wait until it is time to put it out! You know how much I love the fall! Thanks Char - it is wonderful!

This is a good time to mention something that has been on my mind recently. I have made the decision to no longer enter give-aways or give out my home address because I have been blessed many times winning. And I have blessed and honored with so many RAK's and gifts that I am totally overwhelmed with so much love and kindness. I just feel now it times to spread the love around to other deserving bloggers as well. Thank you so much for understanding.

Speaking of APP, I just learned that another one of our members, Susan from Winterberry Farms, will have her home photographed for Country Sampler in September! That is one shoot I would love to be on. Her home is just gorgeous. By the way, APP has a blog now too. It's a great way to keep track of the newest happenings in the prim world. Country Sampler fans will be excited to read about how they are working with APP to find even more homes to photograph! Click here to read all about it.

Some of those prim friends I have met in the last few years and I have had some interesting discussions about how and when do we know when we have too much clutter. It also seems to be a common thread in many blogs lately too. I am often asked my opinion and asked how I get 'my look', which to the non prim world may seem very cluttered, but to many in the prim world, it is not cluttered at all. Now I have a confession to make... I am NO EXPERT. LOL SURPRISE SURPRISE!! And I do not like giving advice unless it is in a general sense. Since our home was in the magazines, I have gotten dozens and dozens of emails and sometimes phone calls from people wanting me to tell them what to do in their rooms. I just know what I like in my home, given my furnishings and our lifestyle. All of our rooms just evolved over time. Never have I started from scratch in any room. When it comes to the placement and displays of collectibles and treasures, over the years I have picked up some advice and tips from home decorating parties, magazines, books, interior designers, HGTV, and the likes. When I saw homes I liked in magazines or online, I would notice the a common thread was that the surfaces of counter, shelves, etc. were not too jam packed with dozens of items. The walls didn't have dozens of little things all over them. Large pieces anchored walls and the sides of the room. Often, odd numbers are used in decorating. Shelves and pictures are not hung too high on the walls. Not everything is covered in pip berries and vines. Not everything is stenciled or decorated. Nice pieces are left to speak for themselves. Like I said, I know what I like, what works for me and I was finding that if there was too much clutter, nothing stood out but the clutter. I saw that there might be one large shelf filled with items, but they all had weight and they all related to each other somehow and that shelf was THE focal point on the wall. The rest of that wall was kept fairly simple. I looked at how the rooms seemed balanced, color as well the furnishings.

So with all those resources at hand, I looked around our home and I got tough with myself. I started to weed out and pare down. And it can be tough. I finally have some discipline when it comes to my home! I went back through all my old magazines, books and the hundreds of pictures and articles I have saved since the early 80's once again. I found the homes that still continued to speak to me. And the common thread was that I actually saw the wonderful pieces they owned. This works for any style of decor if you are trying to simplify and weed out. It works really well for the primitive colonial look I love. I started with one shelf and worked from there. I now have a cupboard that I use to store things I love but have no room for at the moment. I can switch things out when the mood strikes. I also have given things away. And it sure helps that only 2 people live in a home that once housed 4 people. It truly does make a difference. I have so much more room to display my favorite things, and the clutter of every day 'stuff' is easier to put away when there are no kid's or teen's things around to fill up the spaces. No school supplies, no lunch boxes, no sports equipment, no sippy cups etc. The closets in their bedrooms are now MINE! MINE! all MINE! Now don't get the wrong idea. Jen didn't move out until she was 26 so I wasn't rushing my kids out just for their rooms. But it sure was fun claiming the space when they were gone!

That is partly how my style has evolved, and it is still evolving. Sometimes my mom asks me if I am 'done' changing things around. My answer is always - never! OH and by the way, DH says if you have to ask yourself the question "do I have too much clutter?" then you probably already feel you do! Leave it to a non prim guy to find the simple answer.

And to see some of the evolution from my decor of long ago, and just for fun, I scanned some old photo's that show how our home looked over the years since we moved here in 1986. I sure wish I had taken before pictures from the day we moved in, when there was velvet flocked wallpaper in the halls. Metallic wall paper in the bathrooms. The master bath had fancy Italian tiles on the tub wall with metallic gold veins in it. The Formica in the kitchen was grayish olive, very glossy and with metal edging. You get the idea I am sure! The second week we were here, I started in the kitchen stripping wallpaper and I have never looked back!

You can see how I used to use colonial and delft blue all the time. It is what I saw in homes in Colonial Homes and Early American Homes magazines and some of my resource books too. I never used the mauve that was popular at the time because I was trying to get a more colonial look - not the trend of the day. This is when I was still into mini print wall papers and when I was selling Longaberger baskets. This was 20+ years ago!

The wallpaper came down and the walls were all stenciled. And you can see my pewter. My taste was really starting to evolve. This was 18 years ago.

And you can see my primitive portraits behind Jen and my niece Hannah. Hannah turns 14 in December so you can this was quite awhile ago.

And more blue and one of my jug lamps. Hannah with Jay.

If you look past the kids down the hall, you can see the jelly cupboard that is now black and now in my office. This picture is 13 years old.

There is my whale shelf in the background... and my little desk is still in the same spot. Sometimes something works so well, even I don't move it!

If you can look over the kids heads you can see the swags and grapevines I had on the dining room windows. And my favorite red cupboard! This was taken 10 years ago.

And this was taken 20+ years ago... see the delft blue plaid couch? And the ugly paneling in our family room that is now painted? That's DH with the kids and my mom.

Thanks for taking that blast into the past with me. WOW - we've come a long way baby!!!
So now on the Watcha Working on Wednesday. What have you been working on this week? We have had more fun with our sweet angel. She is getting more and more alert and sleeping longer periods at night. It seems she changes every time we see her. I got some time with her all by myself yesterday. She loves sitting on your knee with one hand under her chin and one rubbing her back. She can sit there for a long time. I am thinking she will be holding her own head up very soon. I did read this book to her...
She loved it! I plan to spend many hours with her on my lap reading to her. I hope to instill in her my love of reading. I have a big collection of books from when Jay and Jen were growing up and so many more I love from teaching preschool. I have many craft and cooking ideas to go along with the books too. We are going to have so much fun!
I love this picture that Jay sent me. Can you tell her daddy was a football star in high school and college?
I did do some stitching this week too. With the monsoons we had this weekend, I found some time to stitch up these two fall pillows for a sweet blogging friend. I hope she receives them today. Make sure to head over to Leslie's to see what other bloggers are doing this summer!

Tomorrow evening while most of the guys play league golf, I am having the girls in my side of the family that live locally over for dinner. I am planning a salad bar and my mom is bringing the apple squares we all love. My sister and nieces haven't met Liliana yet so I am looking forward to some great pictures!

I was floored today when I saw how many followers I have. One of my fellow bloggers already said this so well - I prefer to think of it as having you join me, rather than follow me. Thank you to all of you who do join me here on my blog! I really do appreciate each and everyone of you. Every time I sit down to make a post, I am writing about something near and dear to me, while hoping very much that it is of interest to you as well.
And seeing that number grow, I think I am going to need to celebrate it with a give away of some type in the coming weeks. Of course it will have to be fall related. Stay tuned for more info as I put it together.

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!

Until Next Time - Hugs, Grammy Linda

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Whatcha Working on Wednesday

Look at what was in my mailbox last night? I was so excited to see it! My E-mailbox that is! Some of my friends around the country have their new issues of Country Sampler, and they are raving about the fall photos. Mine is always one of the last ones to arrive, stateside that is. So until my issue arrives, I will feed my prim home fix by going to the galleries of great primitive homes over in the Members Gallery on A Primitive Place. That site gets better and better. New homes are being shown, new gatherings and displays, and the forum is wonderful. The gals are so sweet and so kind and supportive. There are RAK groups, swaps, even prayer chains - IF you choose to participate. If not, you can just enjoy sharing ideas and inspiration about decorating.The next issue of real Country Sampler looks like this one below. Our blogging friend Anne, over at Seasons of the Past, has a hooked wool runner that is featured on the cover! Woohoo! Congrats Anne! One of the things I love about blogging and belonging to prim communities is that I have met so many gals who love this style of decorating too and many have been published in one way or another, or have their own small business. It is amazing how we have so many common threads! In fact, our friend Jen over at Talyors*Farmhouse* Attic is having her photo shoot with Country Sampler today! Good luck Jen - I know it will be great!
So you are now wondering - what does this have anything to do with Whatcha Working on Wednesday, right? I am getting there ... I promise! You see, just looking at that cover makes me crave the fall. It is no secret how much I just love the fall. In addition to the cool weather and foliage, it is so much fun to decorate with all the natural things that shout fall. And our home is really suited well for the fall decor. As a matter of fact, when Esther and Franklin Schmidt were here one year ago this week for my Country Sampler photo shoot, they said that many times. Esther walked in and exclaimed that this was one of the most autumnal homes she had ever been in and it should have been an Autumnal photo shoot. My stomach did a flip flop when she said that (several times) because I couldn't agree more and that would have truly made it even more wonderful.

So each year, I look forward to getting my bittersweet and gathering pumpkins and gourds and going to town decorating. And seeing that Country Sampler, just makes me itch to start. But, alas, it really is too early to decorate for fall even Behind My Red Door, so instead I change out some of my summer decor right about now. I put away the Patriotic and take out my sunflowers and yarrow and a crow or two. Just those colors are a great transition into fall don't you think? Below, I added my second set of summer blocks I bought from Kindra last year, and added dried yarrow to the basket. Last summer my yarrow plants in my perennial garden were full and lush. This summer, not so much! Another basket with yarrow...
I almost forgot I had these dried pineapples. I got them at a local shop, Old Glory in Northboro, MA. No website. I thought the coloring was great for late July and August...
And it is still most certainly watermelon season....
In the dining room, I simplified the gathering on the tablebench DH and I made last year and flipped my tablecloth over to the reverse side. I have had many gals ask me about the tablecloth and I noticed one for sale at Country Plus last Thursday. I believe the tag called it a throw or afghan. You can click on Country Plus to get their contact information.And here is the big wool strawberry my friend Kathy made me last year...
And just to show you that I have been doing more than longing for fall and tweaking and spending time in the APP Forum, here is something else I worked on when you weren't looking. Remember my gathering last week? I gave Bonnie and Audrey each one of these little wool fall pillow tucks. We had been chatting about fall in the APP Forum and I thought the pillows made from hand dyed orange wool were the perfect little gifts to get them ready for their fall decorating. And just for y'all, I also did some research found a picture of lamp kits I used many years ago in my jug lamps. I am not sure if these are still available but....

... even more importantly, I found this Bottle Lamp Kit from National Art Craft online. This is exactly what I have seen in primitive shops. You can click on the name to get to the site to order them. There is no wiring needed - just pop the appropriately sized rubber gasket into your jug, and viola, an instant lamp!

Of course the most important thing we did all week was to babysit a few times for this little Angel... Liliana has brought us more joy than we ever imagined. We have a date with her on Friday night too. Remember when you were in high school and babysitting on a Friday night meant you had no date (oh no!) or nothing better to do? Well now, in this most wonderful season of my life, I can't think of anything I would rather do than spend time with my DH, babysitting for our little darling. Back when DH WAS my Friday night date in high school I don't think either of us could have imagined how amazing it is being grandparents to this darling little girl. It's a good thing!

Make sure you stop on over at Leslie's to see the other gals who have posted for Whatcha Working On Wednesday as well!

Now for some minor bloggy business... I almost typed soggy. We are back to rain rain rain this week. Soggy is an understatement!

Never fear, I am not going to change my decor to Pottery Barn, or the likes. I simply meant that I am trying to be realistic about what this house can and will look like in the future. Sorry if I scared some of you into thinking otherwise. Not that there is anything wrong with Pottery Barn. It just isn't me.

Nope, I do not live in Maine. No biggy - I love Maine - it's a beautiful state. I just don't live there. That would be ME. I live in MA. :-) And that's a good thing too!

Until Next Time - Hugs, Grammy Linda

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Prim Gathering

Did anyone see CNNMoney's list of the top 100 best places to live that was recently published? Our town made the list and I have to say, I agree with CNN! We love our town. We love the amenities and the town services. Yes, they are struggling a bit with the economy like every other town in MA (or the country for that matter), but they still are top notch. We have a great school system, wonderful senior center, and one of our favorites is our town owned electric light, Internet and cable company. We don't get those services from some huge conglomerate that doesn't care about the little guy. Our town has it's own. And the prices are extremely competitive and the service is first rate. We have gorgeous parks - our Dean Park even has foundations that dance to music. We can park by the fountains and tune to a local radio station for the music that synchronizes with the fountains. Our town is located close to major highways yet we still have the feel of a suburban town with open spaces. We are minutes away from a huge medical center with a world class trauma center. There are many colleges close by as well. And shopping - we have just about everything you could want within 10 -15 minutes. But the best part, most of our family and friends are close by. Now that tops MY top 100 list anytime!
Okay, okay, I know you are chomping at the bit to hear about my prim gathering with Bonnie and Audrey. It was sooooooooo much fun! We could have talked all day long. We had a nice visit here and enjoyed lunch - which I forgot to take a picture of!!Colleen's salad was hit of course. I did get some nice pics of their visit and our shopping trip to Country Plus though.

Please meet Bonnie and Audrey!
And Bonnie just had too see where I blog and she sent off a message to our friends in the APP Forum too!
The gals were so sweet to bring me hostess gifts - not necessary but so appreciated. This adorable bee is from Audrey - she made it! Isn't it darling?
And inside - more goodies. She made the wax rooster and he is clove scented. I wish we had smell a blog! It is soo yummy! And look at that absolutely primilicious bear she made. He is precious! And look at the cute birdie and her nest. They will be added to my spring decor! And the cute little sign will go in the family room. Thank you Audrey - you are so talented!
And Bonnie just had to get some for Miss Liliana for when she is visiting Grammy. It is the cutest and softest turtle blankie. He is just so cute. I know our sweetie will love him. Thanks Bonnie!

Right after lunch we took off for Country Plus in Hopkinton. It was so humid and it started to sprinkle as we walked from the car to the shop. Not a good hair day! But not to worry - it was nice and cool inside thanks to Tricia! You might remember that I mentioned that one of my followers, Tricia, was going to be working there that day. Tricia is just the sweetest gal ever! She made me feel like a celebrity and even asked me to sign her copy of Country Sampler. Bonnie, Audrey and I so enjoyed meeting you Tricia!

Here are just some of the antiques and prims we got to choose from!

There were so many antique bowls, baskets, cupboards chairs and tables. I wish I had won the lottery!

This corner cupboard was amazing! I would have liked to take this baby home!

Audrey and Bonnie liked it all too!
Before we left the store, Tricia surprised me with a bag full of goodness! Can you see the card? It says From One Prim Chick to Another! In the prim jar is her family's home made blueberry jam that they make every year. She told me that their family and friends eagerly await it each summer. Let me tell you, as soon as these pics were uploaded, DH and I had some on toast. Then last night, it was yummy on vanilla ice cream too! You can tell it is made with love. Tricia also included the wonderful napkins because she knew when we went back to my house we would be having dessert. How kind is that? And she also included the star plate and adorable basket with candles and drieds. Thank you Tricia! I can't wait until you can visit me Behind My Red Door!

I am so proud of myself for being very selective when I shop now. Saving for DH's hopefully early retirement is a priority so I only came home with one thing. But is a winner. I got this wonderful antique yellow ware mold.
It has a similar shape to one of my molds and has the corn motif of the other. The best of both!It was just a wonderful day with wonderful friends - old and new - and I can't wait to meet up with all of them again!
Last week I promised you some updated pics of the tweaking I did in my office and I didn't forget this time but thank you anyway to my loyal follower that emailed me and reminded me - just in case! LOL You must know I have CRS and mentalpause sometimes!

My office is much more country prim than colonial but I love it. I have recently decided that while my goal has been to make our home as colonial as possible, I know that without the painted woodwork and the antiques I would like, I just won't ever achieve that real period look. And I don't mind anymore. I'd rather spend the time and energy and money on my family and friends. I am not saying I am done decorating and tweaking and changing things by any means! I just am relaxing a bit and focusing on it differently. And I gotta tell you, seeing Karen's Red Farmhouse (formerly Yellow Farmhouse and briefly Liberty House) this week, it really helped me to cement that decision. Her GORGEOUS home is not colonial but I could move right in and not change a thing!! I love all her choices and finishes! If you haven't seen it yet, get ready for some breathtaking eye candy. Grab a drink of you choice, grab a snack, tell everyone you will be indisposed for a bit, lock the door to keep them out and head on over here - with the biggest drool towel you have. It is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, back to reality - here are some of my favorite things in my office...

Lookey here, my little bear has a new home!

When Colleen made the adorable stitchery, I knew it would go in my office where I spend a lot of time on the computer, reading, stitching, making cards or even. It is now over my desk with other samplers I love.

I moved my whale tail shelf from our bedroom to this corner.

My antique school bell and slate are some of my prized treasures.

The last time I shared the day bed, I had the mustard blanket on it but I pulled out my quilt again. I love the colors in it and even though it is more cottage than colonial or prim, I love it. I love all the linens layered too!

Someday this little Angel will have sleepover on that day bed. I can't wait!!

I feel so blessed to have my own space. And I feel blessed to have so many wonderful followers and prim friends as well. Thank you for coming here to visit me!

Until Next Time - Hugs, Grammy Linda

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You light up my life!

You really do! With all sincerity, everyone that takes the time to stop by and read my blog and leave me a message or comment or email, brings light and warmth into my life. I really do look forward to hearing from you. For that I thank you!

But for those times when you aren't around, I must rely on other methods of light and warmth. I love to light candles for the warm glow they give a room. There is nothing like it. And it is what Colonists and Early Americans used primarily. I like pure beeswax candles because they burn so nicely, but they sure do burn fast. But, let's face it, it is pretty hard to read or work by candle light - especially with 54 year old eyes. Over the years I have been fortunate to collect a variety of Colonial inspired lighting. Some are for task lighting, some for mood lighting. Some are overhead and wall lighting. Some are made in a style pretty close to what might have been used, only they are electrified. Others are really more inspired by colonial times and are less accurate but I still prefer them over what the typical discount and home decor stores carry. I have been asked by a few prim friends to show my lighting so here is part of my collection. Be warned - picture heavy post!

When I first started to look for more primitive lighting back in 1986 or so, it was not easy to find - even in the local primitive shops. One of my favorite things to do was to take an old jug and make it into a lamp. One local shop back then sold lamp kits that were set into a cork and the cork was then set into the jug thereby avoiding making any holes in the jugs. I have seen similar kits using a rubber stopper instead of a cork in stores in my travels and online sites but I don't recall exactly which ones right now - sorry. Below are some of the jugs I made into lamps back way then.

Two in this corner of the living room...

This one on my little desk in the living room...This one is on DH's side of the bed...
And this one is one top of my desk in my office...
Some of my other lamps are made to resemble different style candle holders. These are not great for bright light, but when used with the silicone dipped bulbs, they are wonderful for soft mood lighting. Almost as nice as a real candle. Now that our eyes don't adjust at night as well as they did years ago, we use a few of them as night lights.
Here are two on my side of the bed...
This one is a night light in bathroom...
This one in DH's office.... This one right next to my computer monitor...And this one on top of the refrigerator is a night light too. My favorite are these two lanterns - this one in the dining room I got at the Seraph MANY years ago...
and my newest lantern in the living room. Except for this one, I have had all my lamps and electric candle sticks for several years at least.
These next few pics are types of bridge lamps. Some are old and some are repros.We got this is wall sconce when we moved here. The previous owners had something hard wired here and I didn't like it. Back then it was hard to find colonial wall sconces and when I did find one, it had to be modified because this was not linked to any wall switch. And it was brass to boot! We started to replace the ceiling fixtures almost immediately. This one in the dining room did not have the dripped candle look sleeves back in 1986. I added them several years ago. I got the sleeves from New England Traditions in Sturbridge.
I added the drip sleeves to this one in the kitchen too - this is from 1986 as well!
This is the second colonial light fixture we have had over the sink. The first was a punched tin witches cone but it blew up one day! I couldn't get the parts or another one exactly like it so I got this revere lantern instead. Of course I then found the cone lanterns everywhere after that!
This little guy is in the front hall.
and this one from our bedroom is the exact same style, just painted.
I love this one in my office....
And this is in the hallway outside our bedrooms...

So that is the lighting tour Behind My Red Door! I hope that was helpful to the gals that asked me to post the pictures of them. Some sources for primitive lighting are: New England Traditions, Irwin's, Lt. Moses Willard, The Country House Catalog, Piper Classics, Circa Home Living, and Early American Tin Lighting.


Now for Whatcha Working On Wednesday! Make sure you head on over to Leslie's to see more! We have had a busy time the past week Behind My Red Door with the in laws in town and babysitting our sweet angel and other summer time business, but I did manage to finished my pillow from last week. And I even managed to make two more little pillow tucks for the fall but I can't show you those just yet!


I wanted to let you know the source for the Swedish Rhubarb Meringue recipe It was from the Heart Change Place Blog. Thanks Kathy for steering me in the right direction!


We have had a few glorious days of gorgeous summer weather. Mid 70's, dry and breezy - but it is coming to an end tomorrow. The humidity is coming back with a vengeance - DARN - and just in time for my Prim Gathering tomorrow. Back on go the a/c's. I have been busy cleaning and tweaking and primping. It's amazing what you notice needs fixing, dusting, or tweaking when you have prim friends coming to SEE THE HOUSE! LOL

I offered Bonnie and Audrey a choice of a lunch or a brunch menu and Bonnie chose brunch so I am making:

Broccoli cheese quiche

Apple maple chicken sausages and

Colleen's Strawberry, Spinach and Feta Salad.

After brunch we are going to head out to Country Plus in Hopkinton, and Pepperberry Cottage in Westboro. One of my blog followers, Tricia, will be working at Country Plus for the owner, so I will get to meet her - how fun is that??!! When we get back here, we'll have a cool summer dessert made with fresh blueberries and raspberries before the gals head home.

I best get back to my tweaking and cleaning. I heard Bonnie is packing a camera!

Until Next Time - Hugs, Linda