Monday, September 18, 2017

Beginning to Decorate for the Fall..... White and Pale Blue Pumpkins

Can you believe it's Monday morning already?  We were away for the weekend. It's good to be home!
         Well, I finally began to decorate for the fall. I decided to use white pumpkins this year. I wasn't so sure when I started if I would like the look...But I have to say I love it!!  It is a softer look for fall.
         I'm still not too sure what I will do outside.

White Pumpkins and Dried Hydrangea
Glass Front Kitchen Cabinet...White Pumpkins and Straw

Dining Room Centerpiece

 Matilda the Witch
There is a story behind this witch..... I purchased her at Home Goods many years ago when the grandchildren were younger. I fell in love with her! I especially loved her satin, velvet and lace dress. And how I loved the feather in her hat not to mention the jewelry around her neck!! I thought she was  so ugly, that she was beautiful!!! I believed the grandchildren would love her as I did. I sat  her on a bench in the kitchen for all to see.
When the grandkids came to visit they didn't love her as I did. In fact they hated her!!! Some where afraid!  but they all found her Very Creepy!!!
So Matilda sits in the kitchen, but has to fly away when the grandchildren to visit. 


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Displaying Old Photographs

Hi Everyone!
    Happy September!
       Do you believe it's already September?
 Here in Northeastern Pennsylvania it's been quite cool. The feeling of Fall is in the air. It makes me want to run out and buy those beautiful colorful  mums and pumpkins that I love. But the flowers in the garden are looking so beautiful at the moment. I can't bring myself to replacing them just yet.

                                         Nothing says Fall like sunflowers in the kitchen!!

              Todays post is about old photographs. Recently we inherited a couple of old photo albums from Phil's mom and grandmother. The albums were in poor condition so we decided to place these old pictures in new albums. Phil worked for months on this project. So many pictures from so long ago. Some pictures of people we didn't even know. Pictures of celebrations and holidays. People laughing and smiling for the camera. I was amazed at how many photos were taken at what seemed to be just an ordinary Sunday dinner. They were photos of different times, times when the whole family came together to share a meal. Much different then the pictures we take today.
      After finishing the albums we decided to take a few of the pictures and display them, The people in these photos were our relatives, our history. Seeing their happy times and realizing how important these times were to them, so important that they needed to capture these moments in pictures. We just knew we had to give them more prominence than being stuffed in a closet until our children inherited them some day.
       We chose to display them on a wall in our hallway. The frames I used were simple and mostly the same. This keeps the display from looking too busy. I also believe that the more simple the frame the more you appreciate the picture We used mostly original photos not copies. I hung them symmetrical, again to try and keep it pleasing to the eye. Most of the pictures were black and white and sepia. This kept the display looking old world. We also had some original birth certificates and wedding certificates that we hung. The pictures go back as far as my great grandmother. Some of them are as old as the early 1900s. My only regret is that the wall isn't bigger.

We still have a few more to add.  We have been waiting for family members to send us some old pictures that we didn't have to add to our wall. I like the fact that it is always being added to.

Phil's Grandparents Wedding Picture 1922
My Grandmother's Engagement Picture 1916
Phil's Grandfather WWI
Each time I pass through the hallway I can't help to look at  this display. I am so glad we did it!



Saturday, August 5, 2017

Summer Tomato Sauce and Penne "Farm to Table"

                 Happy Saturday! Can you believe this week is almost gone?
      This week we decided to search for a farmstand. We know there is a farmer's market not too far away. But it is only there on Monday and Thursday. For what ever reason we never seem to be able to make it on those days. The area in which we live is mostly farm country. In fact that is just what attracted me to this town...Acres and acres of farmland. I am in love with the beauty of the many miles of corn fields. I think There is no doubt this is what sealed the deal for us to move here.
I also think the farmland reminds me of what Long Island was like when I moved there many years ago. All of the farms are now gone from where we lived on the Island. The land became so valuable most farmers sold their land. The farms are now replaced by shopping malls, shopping centers, home developments and condominiums. I know this is progress but I missed them. I loved them!
When I get homesick what makes me feel better is to ride past the miles and miles of farms... the corn fields, the vegetable farms the peach orchards, the strawberry fields, the fields of wild flowers and the rows and rows of greenhouses For those few moments the memories of back home fill my heart. I am in awe of the beauty here. Little by little I am falling in love with this little corner of my world.
        I wanted to buy local produce. There are so many farms we knew there had to be a farm stand. We came across this stand in the middle of nowhere. It looked like it had been there forever. What fantastic vegetables! There is something very appealing about standing in the middle of the farm where you can see the vegetables growing.Smelling the air and the earth and being able to purchase what was in the ground just a short time ago. Buying what is in season and locally grown is not only healthier, but also tastier.
Corn field

       Tomatoes, garlic and basil to make a summer sauce with penne pasta for dinner. The cantaloupe smelled so good we couldn't resist... they were only $1.00.

                                                 Summer Tomato Sauce with Penne

            1 lb. ripe cherry tomatoes (vine ripened are best) rinsed, dried, and cut in half
            1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling over finished pasta
            1 teaspoon sea salt
            pinch of crushed hot pepper
            4 cloves garlic peeled
            10 fresh basil shredded
            1/2 lb. bocconcini (bite-size mozzarella) cut in half
            1 lb.penne
Toss the tomatoes, oil, sea salt, and crushed red pepper together in a large bowl. Whack garlic with side of knife and toss into bowl. Let marinate at room temperature, tossing once or twice for at least 30 minutes.
While the tomatoes are marinating, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8 quart pot over high heat.
Stir the penne into the boiling water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi covered 10 to 12 minutes,
Remove the garlic from the marinated tomatoes and toss in basil. Drain the pasta, and add it to the bowl, and toss well to mix. Check the seasoning. adding salt and more crushed red pepper if necessary. Gently stir in bocconcini and serve.
Serve with freshly grated cheese (Grana Padano)


Thursday, July 20, 2017

A French Chateau in the Pocono Mountains

         Since we moved to Pennsylvania two years ago we spend a lot of time traveling to new towns. It began as a way to learn our way around, but now it has become an adventure. We both love historic towns where main street is full of small shops and great restaurants. Some of the towns we have traveled to have been a big disappointment. But last week we traveled to a town called Milford, Pa.
A neighbor's father heard we liked historic towns and he told us we had to go to Milford. He assured us that it was exactly what we were looking for.
         Milford is about one and a half hours northeast of us. I don't think either one of us was setting our expectations too high. All we could think of were the many times we drove for hours only to find a town that was called historic, but was a run down town with abandoned buildings and a few mom and pop stores.
          Much to our surprise it was Beautiful!! Milford was everything that was promised and then some. A town filled with such beauty and history. The streets were lined with antique shops, gift shops, a cupcake shop, an old fashioned candy and ice cream shop. I was in my glory!!!!  And oh, the beautiful Inns, Bed and Breakfasts and Hotels. I was most impressed with the warmth and friendliness of the shopkeepers. They seemed to want you to enjoy all their town had to offer. That's how we found out about the Historic Site Grey Towers.
           Grey Towers was built in 1886 by James Pinchot. Architect Richard Hunt designed the summer home to utilize local materials and to reflect the French heritage of the Pinchot family.
                                                                           Grey Towers

                                     View of Pocono Mts. from front porch of Grey Towers

                                                              Antique shop in town
One of the Inns in town
   We missed the last tour of the house and  garden. So we will return!!!! I can't wait!!!! I also didn't get a chance to check out all the antique shops. So I have to go back, right???

Have a great weekend!!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Blue and White Con't......Teapots

      I can't believe it's Friday already! The time seems to just fly by, Do you believe it's July already?
We have a very busy July. Friends coming from New York for a few days. Also, our grandson,Ryan is coming to spend a few days. I just can't contain my excitement!!!! We're so glad they are all getting old enough to spend time with us. I can't wait to spoil them all!!!!
Antique Children's Teapot Willow pattern
      Todays post is a continuation of the post from last week. After finishing last weeks post I realized just how much more blue and white pieces I have. Today I would like to focus on blue and white transferware teapots. There is something very special about these teapots. They are so pretty!! I can't seem to get enough of them even though I'm not a tea drinker......
Johnson Bros. Old Britain Castles
Wedgwood  Romantic England
Teapot For One


Friday, June 30, 2017

Blue and White Love!

      I was shopping for groceries yesterday and spotted these beautiful lilies in the garden section. This supermarket usually doesn't have nice flowers. These lilies seemed to stand out ! They were not the usual ordinary half dead flowers I usually find.They were so pretty! I just couldn't resist!!
I decided to put these magnificent flowers on the dining room table in the blue and white ginger jar I always use for large flowers. The beauty of this simplistic arrangement inspired this just never know where the idea of a post will come from.
      Blue and white Chinese porcelain has been a part of decorating for a long time. It began as vessels used by the Chinese to store spices and herbs. Their vivid cobalt blue and white patterns and  unique shapes brought them into homes as decorations. They have never lost their popularity because of the beauty they add to any room. Blue and white Chinese porcelains come in many different patterns, shapes and sizes.
I have found that no matter what your color scheme, using the blue and white porcelains as an accent brings a bit of elegance and style to any room. The cobalt blue seems to make all the other colors in the room "pop". I have used this blue with red, apple green, and yellow. It's amazing how beautiful it looks with almost any color. Just yesterday I saw a display of blue and white plates against an orange wall on Just Stunning!!!
                              You can never have enough blue and white....

Blue and White Centerpiece
Large Ginger Jar and Happiness Jar on Table
Blue and White Planter
This is the piece that started it all for me. I found this planter in Chinatown in San Francisco many years ago. I fell in love! In fact I carried it on the plane and it sat on my all the way back to New York.

Blue and White Planter

Blue and White Garden Stool in Bedroom

Happy 4th of July! Have a Great weekend!


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Making The Most of a Small Yard

         So glad the summer has finally arrived! We have had a week or so of beautiful summer weather.
The plants in the garden are flourishing. I guess they needed the sunshine, just as we all did. Did you ever notice how much better your mood is on a sunny day?
         Townhouse living doesn't give you a lot of garden space. I have tried to make the most of the little space I have. There isn't too much space for a lot of gardens, but I tried to use ever inch of space I could find.

Annuals in planters on the deck railings

Small Deck Garden

                         Using large pots throughout the garden makes up for limited space.

The Deck

            Decorating is always a challenge. It doesn't matter if it's inside or out. We have to learn to make the most of what we have. Well,what fun would it be if everything was easy?
                                              Have a great weekend!!!


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Changing the Style of the Living Room

              We can finally say the outside is finished for this season. Hopefully it's time to sit and enjoy!!
So now my mind is turning to the inside projects that have been put on hold. I want to change the dining room and living room. When I say change, what I would like to do is change to a more neutral color scheme. I would like to try and create rooms that are warm and inviting. More of an "Old World" look rather then the formal look I have now.
               Wow!! I'm feeling overwhelmed already! Sometimes I'm so overwhelmed I do nothing.
Through the years I have learned a few tricks that can help as you take on any remodeling project big or small.
                      1.  Take pictures of the rooms to be re-modeled
                              A picture doesn't lie. It shows you exactly what your working with.

                      2.  Set a budget

                      3.  Make a list of what isn't working in the room
                              It is very hard for me to let go of things that aren't working. The more sentimental an item is the harder it is to move it or get rid of it all together.

                      4. Create a Pinterest Board
                      5.  Begin to change one thing at a time

Magazines and decorating books help in the planning

Design from your heart not your head! Then your home will be a reflection of what's inside you.



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Blue and White Transferware

           The thing I love best about the summer is eating outside. It reminds me of our trip to Italy when we ate every meal outside. The Italians know how to slow down and enjoy their food. Every meal was leisurely and enjoyable. When I move our meals to our deck in the summer I am brought right back to Northern Italy. The world seems to slow down. The air smells cleaner and the sun warms your soul. Sharing a meal becomes more than eating it becomes a special time. A sharing of ourselves, a scared time. It is truly a time we break bread with one another.
              Today I decided to set the mood for a special breakfast on the deck by setting the table with
Blue and White English Transferware. The  pattern is Old Britain Castle by Johnson Brothers. I just love this china!



Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Fairy Garden

            I wanted to create a Fairy Garden last year but never got around to it. This year I made sure I took the time to plant one. It was so much fun and so easy! Every craft store and garden center has  fairy gardens on display and they sell all the material needed.
           You are only limited by your imagination! Great project with your children or grandchildren.
I decided to start small, but you can use any size container you want. I've seen Fairy Gardens made in anything from a wheel barrel to a large coffee cup. Once again the skies the limit!!!!
I used a tin planter I purchased at Home Goods. I bought the Fairy house and accessories at Michaels,.
The plants I used I bought at the supermarket,  I told you it was easy!!
            My "inner child" had so much fun I want to create another one. Only this time I think I will make it larger!!!!!

Happy Thursday!


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Displaying Your Collections

             One of the most important details in a room is our personal collections. They are the items that give a room personality...Your personality! No one else can have the same room because our collections are as unique as we are. Any one can fill a room with furniture and accessories, but it is when we add a bit of ourselves to a room that the room comes alive and interesting. The items we collect are those things we can't seem to live without. Sometimes we don't even know why we are attracted to a specific item. There is something about it that catches our eye. The only way to describe it is that we fall in love!!

              Rule number one in collecting.... If you love it Buy it !!!!
              Rule number two.... Don't try to create a collection overnight.
               Collecting takes time. It is the hunt that makes a collection so important. Those memories of where each item came from sometimes becomes more important then the item itself.
               Rule number three...A collection doesn't have to be expensive.
It is whatever is important to you. It could be$1.00 or $1000.00 it doesn't matter. It's those items that make your heart sing!
               Rule number four....Display your collection!!!

Red Transferware
Transferware in the Chinoiserie Secretary
                   The transferware is one of my favorite collections. I've collected it for years. I am always on the lookout for a new piece. Collections never seem to be complete. It wasn't until we moved into our townhouse that I decided to give this collection the importance it deserves. It is now displayed in our Chinoiserie secretary that sits between our living room and dining room. It is the first thing you see as you walk into our home. I love how it looks! I love how it makes me feel! It truly makes my heart sing!!!!

Happy Thursday!


Friday, May 19, 2017

Perennial Garden

       Well all the planting is FINALLY finished!! The planting season is shorter in NEPA than on Long Island. This has been the first week of warm weather so we worked  all week to plant the flowers and clean the deck and patio furniture. What a good feeling when it is all finished! The flowers look beautiful!!!
       The most beautiful part of our yard is the new perennial garden. In the last post I shared the perennial garden was to be my Mother's Day gift from Phil. Well the garden is in and it is more beautiful than I expected. Thank you George Burger and Sons for the magnificent job.
Perennial Garden

  As you can see we didn't repaint the bench. Once the plants were in place the color seemed just right. I guess I learned a valuable trust your first decision...don't doubt yourself. Once the garden was completed it all seemed to go together the way I had envisioned. I just love it!!!!
Pink Foxgloves
Potted Annuals