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





Monday, May 8, 2017

An Early Mother's Day Gift

          Mother's Day is this weekend. Now I know my family believes that it is hard to find me a gift. Phil especially says he never knows what to get me.  I don't understand how this happens. I start hinting months in advance. Maybe I start hinting too early....maybe he forgets by the time Mother's Day rolls around...maybe he doesn't hear me.
         This year we decided to have a garden made in our backyard. We brought a garden bench from our other house. The bench sat alone in the yard last year. Even though I added some large flower pots along side of the bench it still looked out of place. I thought it would be nice to have a garden planted around the bench. We hired our local gardener George to create the garden. Last week I saw the plans for the garden. It was just what I had imagined...Hydrangeas and other perennials flanking the bench. A small patio created out of stones for the bench to sit on. George would  also leave some space for me to work in some annuals. To say I was excited would be an understatement!!  I was sure that this design would be more money than we expected to spend. I was sure it would be way too expensive. Phil told George the price was fine. When could he start? The date was set for this week.
           In anticipation of the new garden I decided to have Phil paint the bench. I chose this bright pink. I thought it was pink...I wanted a bright pink. As Phil stirred the paint in the can I told myself it would look much different on the bench. Well maybe it would look better with a second coat. Phil didn't say he didn't like it because he thought I had a vision that he just couldn't see yet. I decided to have Phil bring the bench into the yard thinking that the color might look better in the sunlight. Well it didn't!!!  We both agreed that it looks awful! I never seem to have much luck choosing colors that are usually out of my comfort zone!!
           Phil is my photographer for my blog. He refused to take a picture of the bench for this post. That says it all!!!! We will repaint!
          The garden is my Mother's Day Gift. I guess Phil does listens to me more than I know,. He knows what makes me happy!!!  
          I will post pictures of the garden when completed.
          Thank you Phil for the beautiful gift!! I love you!!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Spring in the Kitchen

          Today I have been trying to "feel" spring! Hard to do when it's cold and nasty outside and you still have to turn on the heat. So I decided to add some Spring to the kitchen. Nothing says Spring more than yellow tulips!! It was an instant transformation!!

                 I decided to change the corner cabinet to all white china. I think it brings a cooler look to the kitchen for the spring and summer months. Sometimes it just takes a small change to change the feel of a room. White makes everything look and feel cool. 

                                Well it may not be Spring outside but it is Spring in my kitchen!!

                                                                       Sue xo


Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring Pansies

Happy Monday!

                 Hope you all had a wonderful Easter Sunday. We had a very busy weekend!
          We were able to visit with our children and grandchildren. What a Wonderful weekend!!!

                  I planted the first pansies of the season. This is the first  flower I plant every spring.
         I plant pansies in honor of my Grandfather Frank. They were his favorite flower. I remember him planting them every spring. Grandpa planted all different color pansies in the front yard of our home. My grandfather was an avid gardener. He began in the spring with his pansies. It was the beginning of his favorite time of the year...the beginning of the gardening season. He may have began with pansies but I remember all the beautiful flower gardens at our home. Grandpa spent ever minute of his days off in the garden. It was his great love....To this day each member of my family plant pansies in their garden in honor or Grandpa Frank. I know my love of flowers comes from my grandfather. I think of him often especially when I'm working in the garden!!

Spring Pansies

                                                                      Welcome Spring

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hello Spring!!

The last few days have been absolutely perfect!!! Spring has finally arrived in North Eastern PA.
                 The forsythia is blooming, the birds are singing and the air smells heavenly.
I opened all the windows for the first time after a long winter. The house smelled like spring, fresh
                     and clean!!
My thoughts turned to making the house feel more spring-like....
                     I decided to begin with the Master Bedroom
The first thing I decided to do was to change the bedding to a lighter look. I loved the bedding I was using,but I decided the duvet and shams in the heavy linen toile print looked too heavy for the summer. I was looking for a change....
I began by ordering a new dust ruffle from Country Curtains.. The dust ruffle is a toile print in a color called Lagoon. Now I had no idea what the color Lagoon was. I couldn't tell if the color was blue or green in the catalogue And I was way too impatient to wait for a sample. When it arrived I was so pleased not only with the color but also with the quality of the fabric and the workmanship. The color was actually a bluish green on a white background. It is a soft pastel. I am in love with it!!! I couldn't be happier!!

I decided not to use shams to match the dust ruffle. I thought the white shams continued that summer look that I wanted. I used three layers of pillows for a full elegant effect. The room now has a light airy look. I am so pleased with the way the bedroom turned out! Now on to the rest of the house!!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Easter Table


                                                 Hope you all had a great weekend!
                 We finally had some sunshine today. Hopefully spring is just around the corner!
         Today I'd like to share a table set for Easter Brunch. I purchased the cabbage placemats,cabbage napkin rings and the pink flower salad/dessert dishes in Pier 1.They were so cute I just couldn't resist!! Pier1 had the nicest decorations. I used many of my own dishes to complete the table. Pink tulips was the finishing touch! Believe it or not I found them in the supermarket. Sometimes I get lucky!!

Table set for Easter Brunch
Nest with Easter eggs hangs on the back of the chair

Bunny napkin fold.
You can find instructions on
Rabbit Egg in a nest

                                 Have a Blessed Easter!!                                                    


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Home Office in the Sky!!

Hi Everyone!

         Today's post is about our children's house. Paul and Lauren moved into the house about 9 years ago. It is a beautiful farmhouse colonial in a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA. I remember the first time I saw the house. I fell in love with the front porch. I know the porch was what made Lauren fall in love with the house. The porch runs  the length of the house. At one end of the porch sits a large porch  swing. I believe everyone should have a porch swing. There is nothing more relaxing! As your swing it seems to transport you back to your childhood... the days when you didn't have a care in the world... Oh how I love that porch!!!
          Recently Paul and Lauren decided to add on a sunroom to the house. The sunroom would become Paul's home office so the girls can each have their own room. Emily wanted a room of her own. She had shared a room with her little sister, Sarah since she was born. She took such good care of Sarah all those years, now it was Emily's turn. It was time!! So Paul and Lauren looked at all ways to make this happen and decided a sunroom was the best option.
           The construction of the sunroom began in the midst of a  freezing, snowy winter. Paul and Lauren seem to take things in stride. They remain focused on the end result. To cut costs
they decided they would do some of the work themselves, They decided to install a wood floor and sheetrock and paint the interior of the room. No DIY project seems to be out of their reach. They both take on the challenge to completion. I have learned never to doubt their capabilities. I have watched them do things that I know I would never have had the courage to do on my own.
The floor came out beautiful!!!! This time  Ryan helped his Dad install  the wood floor. So the DIY gene is now passed down to the next generation.
         The sunroom is absolutely beautiful!!! The room has windows on all three sides. Because the room is on the second floor it has a view of trees and sky. What an awesome view of nature!!

         It's like being in a treehouse!!! I think everyone should have their home office in the sky!
It makes going to work a pleasure!  Enjoy your new room Emily!