Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Maine Picks

While in Maine I thought I would look for some inspiration for the guest bedroom.   Now that the outside of the house is done, I have an idea in my mind what I want the interior to look like and it's always fun to find things that match that idea.  And there's no better way to kick off Christmas shopping by buying some things for myself!

As you saw in my earlier post about redoing the guest bedroom I was considering glazing over the wallpaper and coveting some of the bedding from Restoration Hardware.  As you can tell from that post, I'm aiming for a very neutral gray/brown color scheme.  And, if you've been following me for a while, you've also seen that I look unique vintage items.

Here are the things I found that fit all of those criteria:

This is a press of some kind.  I don't know what it's supposed to press but I thought it would be fun to put different things in it to fit my mood or the season.  Maybe a holiday Easter egg...a stack of old get the idea.

I love the legs on the press.  It looks like it could get up and walk away.

This is a little Kosta Boda head I already had to put into the press today.  I think we've all had days we feel like this.

I LOVE this globe!  A black cast iron stand and a silver earth.

It's even got Boston on it.

Some vintage candlepin bowling balls that say "Lovie."  These have my name all over them!

Two vintage wooden disks from industrial wood molds.  I thought these would make great bases for cloches or just a stand for just about anything...

...kind of like this.  These wooden disks and "Lovie" balls came from the gallery and studio of a local Wells artist.  It was one of the most amazing places I've ever visited.  I'll have to tell you about it later.

I like these lamps because they look and feel like old silver trophies.  These were made by Smith-Zukas Antiques that I showed you back in the summer.  They're made out of old vases and the bases are black marble.

I think with a black shade, they'll look really handsome.  I know this shade isn't right.  If anyone can tell me the rules for lampshades, I would be appreciative.  I want a drum shade so it doesn't compete with the  shape of the base, but I'm not sure how big it should be.  I'm not convinced the finials are perfect either.

This old architect's drafting table would make a great bedside or accent table.  It's cast iron and the base is telescoping so the height is adjustable.  Smith-Zukas is making a top for me out of reclaimed pine.

I also thought I'd visit my country home away from home: Snug Harbor Farm.  If you missed last summer's post about Snug Harbor Farm, you can read it here.  They say they're open year round so I decided to see what was going on this time of year.

I was able to walk through the greenhouses and pick a few topiaries to bring home and enjoy for the winter months and then I headed up to the shop.

Check out this little work area off to the side of the shop.  It didn't photograph well but it's just enchanting in here.  The lit balls seemed to be floating in air.

Inside the shop, these wonderful little terrariums welcome you inside the front door.

Preparations for holiday visitors are well under way.

And the shop is packed with holiday decorations and gifts for the garden lover on your holiday list.

If you're in the Wells-Kennebunkport area next weekend, Snug Harbor Farm is having an open house from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.  You can find more details here.

Thank you, Michilyn, for being such a great host!

Back at home, my new topiaries have found a regular home in my sunny kitchen window.  When visitors are coming, I'll move them from here so everyone can enjoy them.

I deposited my new picks from Maine in the living room so I can enjoy them and get a feel for them before I make more decisions on the guest bedroom.   Here they are so you can get a look at how it looks right now and see how these new things fit in with my other things.   I think I'm happy how this room feels as you walk in from the new front porch.

This is the back corner of the living room.  It's what you see when you walk in the front door.  I've also got the gray and brown color scheme in here.  The painting on the wall is something I recently bought at auction.  Auctions are a wonderful place to get wonderful original art at reasonable prices.  It desperately need a new frame but it's not high on the list right now.  I might take it apart and paint it for now.  I think a weathered gray frame would look great.  I think I also need to put the drapes back up.

I love this photo.  It makes the house look really light and airy.  I'm editing out the TV and its stand from the left of the photo.  I'm still looking for a solution for the TV.  I'll show you another day.

This is the front corner of the living room.

And, finally, this is the front wall of the living room showing the new windows that go to the baseboards.  It's so bright in here.  You can almost see me in the convex mirror above the chair.  I'm sitting in one of the Louis XVI chairs that I showed you a while back.  I've not done anything to transform them as of yet because they turned out to be too small for the living room.  I think they may work as a side chair in the bedrooms or as a formal arm chair for the dining room.  So that's project on hold.

Are you getting an idea of how the guest bedroom will look by the ideas I've discussed?  Is this a place you'd be comfortable visiting?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

R. Jorgensen Antiques...and Flowers?

Whenever a friend visits from out of town, I always like to take them someplace they've never seen before.  My friend from Upstate New York who was visiting for Thanksgiving had never been to Maine before so I thought that would make a perfect day trip.  

Our first stop was R. Jorgensen Antiques in Wells, Maine.  The building and property alone is worth a visit.  This 1685 building in on the National Register of Historic Places.  And check out the incredible espaliers on the outside of the building.

Check out the birds' nests.

This is what it looked like last summer when I visited with my mom.

The inside has been lovingly restored with paneling from a Portsmouth, New Hampshire mansion and the antiques are some of the finest quality I have seen anywhere...ever.  Every piece is spectacular and in perfect condition.

As amazing as their collection of antiques is I wanted to show you some the most incredible bouquets of dried flowers they had throughout their two buildings of showrooms.  These aren't your mother's dried flowers.  These arrangements, usually presented in layers, seem more modern, elegant and fresh.

So check them out with this amazing antique shop as their backdrop.  I think you'll enjoy them.

photo: R. Jorgensen blog

photo:  R. Jorgensen blog

You'll notice that almost every arrangement has a magazine under it to protect the surface of their antiques.  This is a perfect example of the level of quality you'll find at this shop.

Okay, not an arrangement, but I love this mirror.

I think this green and orange combination was my favorite.

The dried arrangements unfortunately aren't shippable--I was going to send you one--but I think there's a lot of inspiration here.

And if you're ever in Wells, Maine, R. Jorgensen is definitely worth a visit to see their treasures.

R. Jorgensen Antiques
502 Post Road
Route 1
Wells, ME  04090
phone:  207-646-9444

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Thanksgiving preparations are going in to full swing so I wanted to do an early Thanksgiving post.

I have a great deal to be thankful for this year.  All of my friends and family are healthy.  Everyone close to me has made it through the recession without the difficulties that many have faced.  I have 111 followers I never expected to have.  I've been able to complete a fairly major renovation on my home and I'll be hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my "new" house.

Although I often joke with my mother about my brother, sister and I being victims of her Crock Pot-everything with Cream of Something soup-the truth is much different.

My mom taught me to cook.

Mom with my grandparents and her younger
sister about the time they emigrated from Canada.

Mom wanted her boys to cook.  Just in case no one would have us, at least we wouldn't starve, she said.  Every Sunday after church while dad puttered in the cellar, mowed the two-acres of yard or worked on a home improvement project, my brother and I would put on our "play clothes" and help mom prepare Sunday dinner.  It was always the best meal of the week and never, ever from the Crock Pot.  Not on Sunday.  It was usually roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and whatever vegetables were fresh out of the garden (or frozen from the garden):  potatoes, carrots, onions, green beans and squash were typical accompaniments.  She planted a seed in us that matured into a love for cooking; in fact, I think she would agree that we're both really good cooks.  My sister on the other hand can't make toast.

My brother and I shortly after being incarcerated.
I'm the one with the ears (which I'm thankful my
parents had fixed when I was six.)
Click on photo to make my ears bigger.

My brother Cliff is a real "guy's guy" cook.  He loves to smoke and grill things; I prefer to saute and braise.  He's more of a tried-and-true cook; I'm more of an experimenter.  He would never make a dessert because that's a woman's job; I love to bake.  He loves Emeril and Guy Fieri (and Giada, but that's a different story); I love Julia and Ina.  He uses recipes; I tend to skim recipes to understand flavor profiles and then just wing it.

(It's my dream to retire early and go to culinary school)

As a result of this gift my mother gave me, everyone wants to be at my house for holiday dinners.  I love trying new dishes on my guests but, at Thanksgiving, people don't like you messing with the traditional dinner.  A few years ago, I presented a Southwestern Thanksgiving that included potatoes gratin with poblano peppers and goat cheese and sweet potato tacos with maple-ancho chili glaze.  My spicy Thanksgiving dinner received a chilly reception.

So it was expected when I put out the idea that we would have a vegetarian Thanksgiving this year, that I would be shot down.  Not only shot down but offered a few expletives in return.  I explained that I would come up with several wonderful vegetarian dishes filled with the flavors of Thanksgiving so one would even miss the turkey.  No one was buying in.

So this is my menu:

Stuffing with fresh herbs and apples
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Roasted and pureed butternut squash
Roasted brussels sprouts
Fresh cranberry-orange relish
Pumpkin pie

It's a meal perfect for any nursing home.  But it's what people want and it will be nice to spend the day with friends who appreciate it.

This year, an old friend is visiting from Upstate New York.  It's been 22 years since he was here on Thanksgiving and, the last time, the occasion was marked with a snowstorm.  It will be a  long weekend event with probable visits to the newly opened wing of the Museum of Fine Arts and a day in Maine or "down the Cape."  I'm also doing brunch on Saturday for another group of friends.  I have no idea what I'm making but I'm experimenting with a brunch cocktail to kick it off.

Rosemary twigs in Svedka vodka

Although I've joked to the contrary, I'm not a big drinker but I am very interested in the idea of infusing savories into sweet foods and drinks.  So I'm infusing rosemary into vodka that will most likely be mixed with grapefruit juice, a lemon-lime simple syrup and maybe a splash of champagne.  A Rosemarymosa maybe?

I'll let you know how it works out.

Still life with gravy boat and pomegranates

This is a peek at Thanksgiving table.  I like to mix and match and create a spirit of the holiday without being too literal.  I love cotton bar towels for napkins.  They're cheap, not at all fussy and they're more generous in size than a standard napkin.  This simple red striped towel (about $1 at Ikea) pairs as well with brown transferware for fall/winter dinners as well as it does with a blue plaid tablecloth for summer cookouts.

Whatever you do, wherever you are, whatever you eat, I hope you have many things to be thankful for this year.  And don't forget to be thankful for the cook!