Behind My Red Door

Behind My Red Door

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Changes Behind My Red Door

Good sunny October morning to you my friends! I hope this finds you well. October sure is speeding by isn’t it?  It is my favorite month and it just doesn’t last long enough. Just like the foliage, it is gone way too soon for my liking. Most years Mr. Red Door and I take a driving trip south in early November to see friends in NC and spend time with his folks in SC and we get to see the late foliage all the way down and it extends the season for us just a bit. I so enjoy that bonus but this year we aren’t able to do that so thankfully there are still leaves on some trees. Not as many since we had some torrential downpours yesterday, and the bright reds and oranges I like have mostly faded, but that is typical for this time of October. But they are replaced by bight yellows, muted golds and rusty browns. There are still enough to keep the landscape from being barren. And the light is really changing, isn’t? I do love the late afternoon light as it plays across the front of the house…

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Yes, October is indeed my favorite month of the year and I will keep the memories of the colorful images until I can enjoy it once again next year! I do try hard to live in the moment, but it is so nice to have something to look forward to, isn’t it?

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Now don’t fall off your seats when I say this… I really am not a shop until you drop kind of gal. When it comes to my prim shopping trips, it is truly more about the time spent with a friend or friends,  than the act of shopping. Jill can probably attest to the fact that I can wiz through a shop in no time flat. And when it comes to any other kind of shopping, I do it when I HAVE to. I don’t enjoy malls at all. I only go to them when I have to buy that brand name sweater for some young person on my gift list, but otherwise I avoid them. They seem so cold and artificial to me. Same for most retail stores in general. Shopping just to shop does nothing for me so I get what I need and get out. But when this little little sweetie pie needed some more warm clothes,  I was excited and happy to go  shopping with her and her mommy. We made a trip to the Carter’s outlet and while Ang picked some warm winter clothes for Lili, I kept her giggling away. She was a great shopping companion. She is chewing her fingers and anything else is sight and drooling up a storm, so a bib is her constant companion these days.

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Even this non-shopper had to get excited seeing all the cute things hanging on the racks – especially the Christmas dresses. They were positioned right near the front of the store so when soft hearted Grammy’s like me walk in, we make a beeline right for them. Ang picked out the sweetest dress and patent leather shoes and sweater. The shoes are soft and flexible like doll’s shoes. I had never seen them before and just had to get them.  Lili approved of the winter clothing as well as Christmas outfit I bought her. Well actually she would have liked to chew on them, but I took that as a sign that she approved – wouldn’t you? dress,shoes and sweater Now doing lunch is more my style so after shopping we went next door to the Longhorn and once again, she was the perfect date. She cooed and giggled and chewed her hands and was very content in Grammy or Mommy’s arms or her stroller. Then just when we were about done eating, she decided it was time – no she didn’t start fussing. She did something rather impolite and very stinky!! Fortunately there were no other patrons seated close by and her mommy whisked her off to the lady’s room to get freshened up.  012

Ahhhhh! That’s better! It was a delightful shopping and lunch date.

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We’ll have to do it again when she needs some spring clothing!

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I know you have heard me say it many times, but it bears repeating. I have met the nicest people through blogging and the forums and other online websites for primitive gals. And I don’t just mean ‘met’ as in we correspond, I mean we meet in person and become real friends. Now obviously it’s not possible or reasonable to expect we can do that with everyone we chat with online, but when the stars align and it does happen, well it has been one of the best things to come from my online experiences. And this week was no different.  I had a delightful lunch date with one of my long time blog follower’s Laurie. We have been chatting for some time now and we just hit it off.  We both love the prim/colonial look, we both live in split entry homes, we both have a new grandbaby (her second) AND what makes it possible is that we only live about 40 minutes from each. We finally made plans to meet and we had lunch at the Oxhead Tavern in Sturbridge. The Oxhead Tavern is really very quaint. It was built in 1820 and it was originally located in Brimfield, and was constructed as a meeting house for the town’s Congregational Church. The building was hauled to Fiskdale in 1834 where is served as an Irish Catholic church. In 1860, the building was converted into a shoe factory before becoming a tavern in 1940. It wasn’t until 1973 that The Oxhead Tavern opened its doors on the shore of Cedar Lake next to the Sturbridge Host Hotel. When there is an event in Sturbridge you cannot get in the doors, but it was a quiet day so we got seated right away. Besides having a delightful lunch, Laurie and I chatted for hours – it was like meeting an old friend! Laurie has invited me to her neck of the woods and I am excited to make the trip sometime and see her lovely home in person. In the meantime, she and some of her shopping pals are joining me, Jill, Bonnie and Audrey here the Sunday after Thanksgiving for a brunch, ornament swap and then we are all heading to Walker Homestead’s Holiday Open House. I can’t wait! Here are a few pictures of her wonderful home that she shared with me in the past – now I know you will be wanting to see more but she does not have a blog or a picture trail –sorry folks!  I’ll see if she can get some pictures taken when she is all decorated for the Holidays to share with you. Our homes have a very similar footprint but hers has much more of an open concept. I would love that for all the big gatherings I have. I really love the island between the kitchen and dining room and she he has so many wonderful antiques and prims.

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This view below is looking over the stairway into the den they created by opening up the walls. I think it is a great idea!

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Her hubby made the built-ins where there was once a closet. Pretty neat huh? And c an you see Pam’s Feather basket? Doesn’t Laurie have great taste?I can’t wait to see her home in person!den wall

Just as we were getting ready to say goodbye, we each had a little bag of goodies for the other.  Laurie gave me the sweetest fall towel. I love that the sunflower and pumpkins will allow me to use it from early fall until Thanksgiving time. Can you see the old mini tin strainer and the turkey cookie cutter? They already have a home in the kitchen and the Jack O ’Lantern ornament is on my Halloween tree. The little bag of bowl filler will come in handy next fall when I take everything out again. Thanks so much Laurie! I am looking forward to our next get together!016

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Some how in the midst of all that has been going on Behind My Red Door, I found time to paint my pouting chair. Right now the pouting chair it is next to my settle bench and my Halloween doll has made herself at home on it. I don’t think Lili will mind if I keep a doll or pillow on it until she is old enough to use it, do you?

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I just love children’s books. I did even before I became a preschool teacher. I loved taking my own kids to the library to borrow the classics and I started a large library of our own, buying them books for each holiday, season and birthday and just because. One of my favorite children’s author is Eric Carle. Someday, Liliana will own every one of his books and we will make a trip to his museum in western MA. Some of my favorite’s of his are The Hungry Caterpillar,  Brown Bear Brown Bear,  The Tiny Seed, I See a Song, and The Very Busy Spider. The past week however,The Grouchy Ladybug would have been a very appropriate read.

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Actually The Grouchy Grammy Linda would be more apt because we were inundated by thousands of lady bugs. We are told that the extreme wet summer caused an explosion of ladybugs in our area. And with the cold and snow last week, they started moving in from the fields and meadows to find warm homes for the winter. When it got to over 75 here one day, they apparently thought Behind My Red Door was just the right place to settle! UGH! I know they are beneficial because they eat aphids and are supposedly harmless – though our local expert says they can and do bite humans - but when thousands of them swarm the outside of your home and hundreds get inside Mr. Red Door’s office, well it is plain old GROSS!! I have a vacuum bag full of them.Thankfully that only lasted a few days.

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Now to the title of this post – changes Behind My Red Door. Nope, I didn’t move the furniture or knock a wall, or making a change like that. This is a change is how I will be spending  my time.  When I left my job in 2005, it wasn’t because I was ready to retire. I was only 50 after all. But that is what it has turned out to be – an early retirement. I have been so blessed to return to my role as the Keeper of the Home and not have to take a job outside the home thanks to Mr. Red Door. Oh I contemplated it for a time, but I knew that eventually there would come the day when  my folks would need me more and more. And I knew in time we would have grand babies and I would hopefully have a role in helping out with them. So in the meantime,  Mr. Red Door and I took several long road trips during the cooler months – something you can’t do as a teacher/Director. I did many  hours of volunteer work each week with cancer organizations. I made over a hundred cards a month for cancer patients and elderly shut ins. I kept busy with some big projects around here that had been waiting for me. I made time to catch up with old friends. I helped Jen move out and into her first apartment, cleaning and painting it. I helped with a wedding shower and planned a trip for our family with a wedding in the desert for Jay and Ang and then helped with the formal reception back home. In general I kept myself busy until I was needed in those two roles.

And now, the time has indeed come and I am excited to be say that I will be enjoying a few hours a few afternoons a week taking care of this sweet little Angel while Angela works part time. She is actually able to take Liliana with her –but while she is still so young, it will be my pleasure to help out a  few of those afternoons. I am so happy to have this time with Lili. She is growing so fast and I don’t want to miss a minute!

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At least one day a week, she will come here mid afternoon and when her mommy and daddy both get out of work, they will come here for dinner with Lili, Grampy and I.  Now I’ll need to really plan ahead to prepare dinner those days since I won’t be cooking while she is here. And some days I will go to their house for those few hours until her Daddy gets home – he’ll beat Mommy home those days. Come to think of it,  I will need to plan and prepare our dinner in advance those days as well, won’t I?  001

Below is a picture I snapped when Lili was chatting away to me the other day. She is so sweet – her nose flares, her eyes light up and she looks like she knows exactly what she is saying. LOL I sure wish I did! I can’t wait to have many more of these conversations with her!  006

 

And so this all means that I will have to be more organized with my time, using it more wisely to do the other things that I need to do and want to do. And being that it is fall leading into the Holidays, is it already a busy time of year. I have some projects around here that need to be done before Thanksgiving because then things really get busy. Sound familiar? I know it is like that for a lot of you as well. So I won’t be online as often or as much starting tomorrow, and I so that means my blogging will be less frequent. And it may take me longer to answer emails or comment on your blogs, but I’ll still be doing those things as best I can because I have come to enjoy our connections and sharing and friendships so very much.  But please do forgive me if it is not as often as in the past.

I am so very grateful that Angela and Jay are letting me share in this special time in Liliana’s life. I can’t imagine anything I would rather do with my time than be with her! 

If you want to joint the Gratitude Attitude Challenge, click here to go to Mercy’s blog. We are posting something we are grateful for in every post until December 19th.

Thank you as always for stopping by and making Behind My Red Door part of your day!

Until next time – hugs, Grammy Linda

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Good friends + good food = Great Time!

Warning – picture heavy and long post! Hello peeps! Happy snowy Sunday to you! Yes you heard that right – snowy Sunday. This is what it looks like on my deck and in the back yard right now…

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Yup, October 18th and it is snowing – a weee bit early don’t ya think? But this is not the earliest we have seen snow in these here parts! Nope, Actually this was the scene on October 16th - FRIDAY - as was preparing for my Harvest Gathering…008

What? You can’t see out the windows very clearly? Sorry… here is a better look…035

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I bet you can see that snow now huh?? But never fear, 15 minutes after I took these pictures, the sun came out and it was a lovely day. And it stayed that way right throughout the fun yesterday . Only to start up today as Jill and I headed home from delightful lunch out HERE. We intended to make some additional stops on the way home, but with a 2 hour drive to Maine ahead of her, she decided to cut the afternoon short and she headed home.

So back to Friday. Back in the summer, I posted on the forum over on A Primitive Place, that I would host a Harvest Gathering. As time went on, the number of gals that could make it dwindled to just 4 of us. Which was Ok because it allowed me to use my yellow ware - I only have 4 place settings of those dishes and they are perfect for a fall table!

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I have to give my friend Kathy credit for the leaf idea. She set her table that way for her Thanksgiving dinner recently. She always has wonderful ideas that inspire me! I made place cards and had favors for each of the guests.004

We did swap, and I got mine all wrapped and ready to go!

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I spent the rest of the day cooking and cleaning and anticipating their visit.

Jill arrived early Saturday and as usual, she brought me some great hostess gifts. A bag of these really neat pods.

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I added some to my treenware bowl on our harvest table..

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This cute little jar that I have plans to prim up….

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and she also made me this adorable prim cat pillow!

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And we did another swap of sorts – she made me something and bought her more hand dyed wool for her pillows and hand wrought nails for a future project of hers. Jill asked me if there was something I wanted her to make me. I thought and thought, and after a visit to Kris’s Simply Prim blog, I knew exactly what I wanted!

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Can you guess what it is? Need a closer look?

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Did you guess yet? Okay – in case you gave up, here it is…

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Yup –it’s a chair just the right size for Liliana! Also called a pouting chair. Isn’t it sweet? Didn’t Jill do a wonderful job? I love it and I don’t think Lili will be pouting when she comes to visit Grammy! Thanks Jill for another wonderful piece that I will treasure. And thanks you so very so much to Kris for sharing all the measurements with us. Jill said it made it a lot easier!

Shortly after Jill arrived, so did Audrey and Bonnie. I had Hot Mulled Cider, Spiced Chai Tea, and Coffee ready to warm them up. I was so excited to use these pretty fall napkins that my sweet friend Colleen from And Baby Makes Five gave me last year. She knew they would be perfect for this fall and she was right! Thanks Colleen!

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As we visited and chatted, we munched on fresh Veggies with Garlic dill dip. I served the dip in a hollowed out Green Pepper. And would you believe, none of us remembered to take pictures of my carefully and artfully prepared food! UGH!

After some chatting, we then had our swap! It was so much fun seeing what everyone got. I numbered the bags as the gals brought them in, and then had each of them pick a tag with a number. The tags were placed face down so they couldn’t see which number they were picking.

I picked the number to Audrey’s bag. I got this gorgeous Give Thanks plate, some adorable seasonal note pads and the cutest little early doll that Audrey made. She is so talented!

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Here is a better look at my goodies…

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As part of a birthday celebration over at APP, we had a sale earlier this month and I purchased this adorable wool Pilgrim Girl that Audrey made and donated so she brought it with her. She included the sweet pumpkin as well. I have very few accessories to decorate with for Thanksgiving, so I was thrilled with my purchase and my swap! Thanks Audrey! Stop over at Audrey’s blog – Audrey’s Prim World when you have a minute!

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Audrey picked the number for Bonnie’s swap and she got this beautiful wool penny rug and yummy candle tapers.

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Bonnie picked the number to Jill’s swap and she got this gorgeous spoon rack that Jill designed and crafted herself.

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And Jill picked the number to my swap and she got a prim cat, hand painted pumpkin plate, a bag of gourds and some pumpkin dip mix. We were all so excited with our new treasures! 006

And then it was time for some lunch! We feasted on ~

Pumpkin Soup (recipe at the end of this post)

Chicken Salad with Cranberries & Almonds

Couscous Salad with Apples, Red Onion & Pecans

Applesauce

Nine Grain Bread with Cinnamon Butter

Yummo – and I still can’t believe we didn’t get pictures!

And then it was time to go shopping! We piled into my Murano, and off we went.

We headed first to Walker Homestead on 19 Martin Road in Brookfield.

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Up and down the winding road…

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Past the horse pasture…

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and then in the clearing you can start to spot it…

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Is this not quintessential New England?? Come on -let’s get a little closer….

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is the sun in your eyes…

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is this better?

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Let’s go inside!!

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When you walk through the front door, you enter the quilt shop just full of fabric, wool, thread, and patterns for just about any fiber art you can imagine. Make sure you look past all the goodies at the architecture of this wonderful old home!

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Hi Doreen!047

When you are done shopping in here, make sure you head through the narrow hallway and enter the world of prims….

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OOPS caught Jill with her hand in the cookie jar…028

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If anyone needs ideas for my Christmas gift this year, this hooked rug will do nicely…041

Here is a peak at the back of the house as we headed over to the guest house…23

Some birdhouse gourds…

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and the friendly chickens greeted us…

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On the path to Ivy House. 055

And inside the Ivy House – choke full of herbs and drieds!

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We so enjoyed our visit to the Walker Homestead!

After traveling the long and windy road again, we headed to Sturbridge for some more shopping with stops at the Handmaiden

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and Village primitives – both on Main Street in Sturbridge neither with a website. We decided to pass up all the other shops in the area, as the day was getting long. We piled back in the car and headed back Behind My Red Door for some coffee, tea and dessert! The gals each brought something and it was all delicious!!

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After some more chatting and fun, it was time for Bonnie and Audrey to head home to their hubbies and kiddos. Later, Jill and I enjoyed another small bowl of pumpkin soup as we reminisced about out wonderful day! We are hoping to head back to Walker Homestead in November! I can’t wait!

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I decided that I am going to join Gratitude Attitude Challenge over at The Stone House. Mercy’s idea was that each time we post until December 19th, we mention something we are grateful for. I am always game for another way to appreciate the blessings in my life. Thanks for this great idea Mercy. Today, I am grateful for blessings of friendship with so many wonderful woman that I have met on the Internet through sites such Webshots, blogging, Picture Trail, and A Primitive Place. You have enriched my life beyond measure!

Did you know that A Primitive Place has 3 distinct entities? I think there is some confusion so I wanted to explain. First there is the main website A Primitive Place. It is simply that – a website. You do not need to join or sign up to view the many pages of home galleries, decorating ideas, craft ideas or the special pages like my musing’s.

If you so choose, you can click on APP Forum in the left column and join a wonderful forum where other like minded gals share ideas and pictures and recipes and crafts and support each other. You can choose to read threads such as Primitive Displays, Gramma’s Attic, Fall Foliage, Winter Displays, Holiday Crafts, Patterns and Freebies, Brag Book, Primitive Eye Candy and many many more. You can share pictures of your home or ask for decorating advice. You can find resources for just about any prim item you need or want.

And A Primitive Place now has a blog. Bonnie does a great job of keeping us informed of what is new at APP. Head over there to see the great video she and her daughter made of our fund day yesterday!

Well the snow continues to fall. I have been working on this post off and on this afternoon/evening as I have some time in between making a pot of vegetable beef barley soup (using leftovers veggies from yesterday) and other chores. Just before it got dark, I snapped these…

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Do you want to see the cutest Lily ever?

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Grammie Lori bought Lili her first Halloween costume. Isn’t it perfect ? Thanks Lori! She looks adorable!

Now it’s time for me to try that soup that has our home smelling so good. Thank you as always for stopping by and making Behind My Red Door part of your day!

Until next time – hugs, Grammy Linda

Pumpkin Soup

2 cups of cooked mashed pumpkin

1 medium onion finely minced

2 apples peeled and finely minced

3 tbsp butter (use the real deal)

3 tbsp frozen apple juice concentrate

3 cups chicken stock

1 cup light cream ( I sometimes use Fat Free half and half)

salt, pepper to taste

Saute onion and apple in butter until very soft - but don't brown. Add the pumpkin and stock, juice, and simmer for 30 minutes or so. I cook it longer in my slow cooker.Just before serving, add the cream. Add salt,and pepper to taste and carefully reheat to serving temperature (the cream will have cooled it down). Enjoy!! I always do! ( Can be made up until just before you add the cream and then frozen. )