Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Getting Ready

For most of this summer, I've been getting ready. 

Let me explain.  A few months back I got an e-mail from someone at a magazine saying that they looked in on my blog from time and time and asked if I would consider having my house photographed.  First, I never considered the possibility that magazines might be looking at our blogs. Second, I never thought for a second that my house was at a stage where "magazine" would even enter the same sentence.  And, finally, are you kidding me right now!?

This explains why the summer I was supposedly "taking off" was filled with project after project.   I've been getting ready.

Long story short, the e-mail was from someone at Meredith.com and they're shooting my house for a book entitled Better Homes and Gardens New Cottage Style.  It's an all-new edition of the very popular New Cottage Style released in 2005. 

Cover of 2005 Better Homes and Gardens New Cottage Style

The stylist for the shoot will be the amazing Stacy Kunstel.  I've been following her work for a while and I'm thrilled to have an opportunity to see her magic.  The photographer will be the incredibly talented Michael Partenio who shot Joan's house a few months back.  Be sure to check out Michael's portfolio.  You'll drool all over yourself.

The new book--I mean, MY new book--will be 192 pages of delicious cottage style and will coming out in June of 2012 and will be available in bookstores and online. 

I hope to take photos of the shoot in progress so you all can see them.  I've always wondered what goes on behind the scenes of these photo shoots and seeing it happen in my own house, is almost like a dream.  So, excuse me, I have more getting ready to do.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Transitioning from Summer to Fall

It's time to empty the summer planters to get them ready for fall.  The front faces northeast so it enjoys a few hours of early morning sun.  This year I tried a few Boston ferns for a simple bit of green at the front door.  I've never had luck with Boston ferns in the house but they thrived in the humidity outdoors.

I headed to the garden center thinking I'd get some burgundy mums but when I got there, I couldn't find the color I was looking for.  So I thought I try something a little different.

A grass, purple cabbage and a miniature purple petunia that will tolerate temperatures down to 30 degrees.

The grass is a perennial so as long as I get it in the ground before it freezes, it should be fine.  Under cover of the porch, I also think the petunias will last right up to Thanksgiving.

It's not your typical fall flower pots but I like them.

I'm linking up with Small but Charming's Flower Party.  Check it out here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An Extra Set of Legs

Oftentimes when renovating my old house, I've wished I had an extra set of hands.  But sometimes and extra set of legs also comes in handy. 

I first came across these legs at Smith-Zukas a few months ago.  Art Smith had attached the legs, which are actually Eastlake period casket stands (no kidding!), to an old two-panel door to create a beautiful sofa table.  These turn up regularly on ebay!  I had never seen anything like them before so I was really disappointed to find out it had been custom made for a Boston interior designer who has a place up on the coast.

On my most recent visit to Art's shop, I was surprised to see the table there.  It didn't work out in the designer's space so it came back to the shop.  The entire table was too big for my house so after debating their placement in the house with Carol for a little bit, I decided to take just the legs. Carol thought they would make a great pair of demilune bedside tables and I think that's what they'll end up.  I think they'd look great with a half round of old marble.

In the meantime, I thought they'd be perfect for a little sideboard in the dining room, a little table out on the backporch, or a sweet little TV tray on which to enjoy my Salisbury steak that just folds up and tucks away in a closet.  For a top, I used an old frame into which I've put a sheet of decorative paper.  Nothing new, you've probably seen it done a bunch of times.

And then I just set the frame across the two legs.

Perfect for an end-of-summer nautical vignette.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Autumn in Maine

Snug Harbor Farm

Here in the city we can pretend it's summer for a few more weeks.   But on Saturday, Carol from Sofas and Sage and I headed up to Maine where fall was definitely in the air.  Carol and I had such fun on our last outing to Cambridge Antiques Market, we made another play date.  I wanted to show her my favorite Maine haunts so we headed up north.

We started at York Antiques where we were gabbing so much we forgot to take any photos.  I think we were anticipating the requisite lobster roll.

We stopped at Withingtons.  That place has some of the most magnificent antiques.

They also have really beautiful lamps which I assume they've made out of old architectural pieces.

Nita, this one's for you!

At Smith-Zukas Antiques, I was enamored with this hardware.

And check out this wooden hat form.  I've never seen one like this before.

We buzzed up to Antiques USA in Arundel, Maine which had so many glass cases my eyes glazed over.    While were there, I saw this guy that looked familiar.  I thought, that looks like that guy that I've seen on TV.  But it seemed so unlikely he'd be at an Antique Market in Maine, I totally discounted it.

As we were leaving, he was right in front of us.  I looked at Carol and the look in her eyes said, isn't that that guy I've seen on TV?  And my eyes said, "Oh, my god, do you think he's that guy too."

Now, I would have left it alone because the last time I saw a celebrity I made a fool of myself.  I was in a  hardware store in Cambridge when I heard an unmistakable voice ask "Can you tell me how to get to Walnut Street?"  It was Julia Child!

I don't think I've ever my mentioned my love for Julia Child but it runs long and deep.  I always dreamed of running in to her so I could debate the best method of making the perfect hollandaise and tell about time I made her cassoulet for Christmas and everyone thought it was "pork and beans."  Oh, we would giggle about that.  And here was my chance.   I ran to the end of the aisle and met her face to face, eye to eye.  We were the same height.

M-m-m-m-m-mrs.  Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ild, I l-l-l-l-l-l-love you.  She smiled, said thank you and out of my life she walked.  No hollandaise.  No cassoulet.  I had ruined what would be my only chance of being Julia's best friend.

photo:  Sandy Poirier and Shag Boston

Carol handled it much better. 

It WAS that guy we had seen on TV.  Steve Santagati, relationship expert, author of The MANual.  He seemed pleasantly surprised that we recognized and graciously stood and talked to us for a bit.  He was looking for a glass doorknob so I gave him directions to Old House Parts.  He asked our names, he shook our hands and off we went.

Let me just say, the dude is REALLY good looking.  No one should be allowed to be that handsome.

On our way over to Snug Harbor Farm we drove past the Wedding Cake House in Kennebunk.

The autumn colors were in full bloom at Snug Harbor Farm.

And finally we stopped at Corey Daniels Gallery where I picked up a big stack of really old Chinese bowls.

They're all a little different and quite primitive.  Each one has a ring of the glaze scraped out of the bottom leaving the the brown clay exposed.  Does anyone know why?  It's not a test; I don't know.  I loved these because they feel like something you would dig up out of a shipwreck.

Anyone craving dumplings?

But this is a test.  I also picked up a pair of these legs.  Not the cat legs; the wooden ones.  Is he a ham or what?

The inner set of legs rotate to make a stand.  The upper part that's a different color has been added.  I'll show next time some of my ideas for these.

Carol was a great partner in crime.  She was much better behaved than me.  She bought a vintage wallpaper seam roller for $1.  I have a feeling we'll be up there again sometime. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

On History and Blog Pirates

Please excuse my absence; I've been really busy.

If you've been following for the past year, you may remember I participated in a local event called "If This House Could Talk."  Anyone who wants to participate writes a sign with an historical tidbit about their house and it creates a self-guided tour over the course of a weekend through our historical neighborhood.

This is what my house looked like back then.  It weird to see it this way.

I've done quite a bit of research using old maps, public records and Ancestry.com to find out who the former owners such as Jennie T. Ray and residents of my home were.  As I researched these data, particularly the census records, I came across all the other residents of the street at various points in time.

When this year's event came around I suggested to the organizers that I wanted to do "A Snapshot in Time" and post signs in front of each house on my block with the 1880 census records showing the names, ages and occupations of the residents.  The idea of the event is to get each home's residents to do their own research but they later came back and told me they loved the idea.

  I wold still like to get everyone on the street to participate so I'm in the process of putting out flyers on every house asking they'll participate but if they "don't have time" could I have permission to place a sign in front of their home.  It's kind of big job but I'd love to see my street be "the" destination for the tour.

Actually I thought I would sell lemonade, hot chocolate and cookies and really clean up.  Maybe I could rent dealer booths in the garden.  I'm always thinking.  Gotta raise funds for a new kitchen.

At the same time, Nita from Mod Vintage Life sent me an e-mail early Sunday morning saying that she found a blog that had pirated ALL of our blog posts, as well as those of three other bloggers, and is using our material to generate traffic to make money on ads.  You can read her post here.

This is really unfuriating.  I spend a lot of time doing research, taking photos and crafting the story on each post.  Sometimes they don't work but, let's be real, many of them are genius!  And this lazy-ass person just steals the material to make money.

Getting them taken down isn't easy.  You have to file a complaint for every single post giving the URL for your post and the offending URL, the nature of the copyright infringement.  For me it's about 160 posts, for Nita it's about 400 posts and one of the other poor bloggers, the pirated posts go back to 2008!  I've responded to some of Blogger's boilerplate e-mails asking what we need to do to take this blog down.  I got a curt e-mailed saying "As we stated you must file the URL for the original and offending post...."

If anyone knows a better way to stop this, we'd be appreciative of your experience.

ADDENDUM 3:20 p.m. on 9/15/11: I'm happy to report the pirate blog has been taken down as of about five minutes ago. It took several days and probably well over 50 complaints between Nita and I alone, but it's gone....hopefully for good.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Benjamin Moore Color Capture App, Put to the Test

I've gotten a lot of questions and comments about the two Mexican antiques I have in the house (green cabinet pictured here in the old dining room).  Rene from the wonderful blog Cottage and Vine asked me if I could pick a color that was close to this green cabinet because she might like to paint something this color, the perfect "farmhouse green" she thought.

The difficulty is, as you can see, there's not just one color.  There are at least three different paint colors in addition to the wood, along with their respective variations from years of use and abuse, that all go in to the mix.

The thing that makes the surface so exciting, in my opinion, is an alternation of a warm green (one that's more yellow than blue) and a cool green (more blue than yellow) that create an almost electric vibration of color. 

I started out by shuffling through my Benjamin Moore fan decks to see if I could pick a few warm and cool greens that would come close.  But I was reminded of a post I saw recently on Miss Mustard Seed about a device that will diagnose a color and provide the name of the color in a variety of manufacturer's fan decks.  A cool device but at over $600, a lot of commenters stole her thunder by pointing out that there were FREE iPhone apps that do the same thing.  (I'm talking to you, Amy!)

I don't have an iPhone so I invited some friends over for Labor Day cocktails and Indian takeout knowing that a few of them had iPhones and I'd just ask them to download the Benjamin Moore Color Capture app and give it a test.  Sneaky, right?

We removed a drawer and took it outside so we could get a good close up photo captured the photo in the app.  Here are the results.

Even though there are several colors here, the app allows you to touch the screen to pinpoint an exact spot on the photo where you want the app to interpret the color.  Unfortunately the little bubble disappears when you take your finger off the screen. It would be nice if that stayed on the screen.

Here, the warm green on the right edge of the drawer comes out as Bunker Hill Green or BM 566

The cooler green came out as Scotch Plains Green, BM 587.

Another capture in that same area of came out Stokes Forest Green, BM 2035-40.  (I'm happy that the app gives colors from both BM fan decks.  Our friends in Canada can't get the three- and four-digit colors for some reason.)

And finally, there are a few areas of a color that are even more blue (immediately to the right of the knob) that came out as Summer Basket Green or BM 2040-40.  

This color rang a bell.  I remember someone using this color for a painting project.  I suspected it was Lori from Frugal Farmhouse Design so I did a google search for "frugal farmhouse summer basket green" and I was right.  Here's Lori's post of a table painted using this color.

So let's put the app to the test by comparing the colors it chose to the actual piece.

Here's Bunker Hill Green which was the app's choice for the warm green.

Scotch Plains Green.  This one seems off.  Too saturated.  Northern Lights looks a little better.

Stokes Forest Green.

And Summer Basket Green.

A color capture of the green console in the kitchen came out as Green With Envy, 2036-30.

In the end, I'm quite impressed with the Benjamin Moore Color Capture application.  It's not something you would use every day but I do recall being out in a store, for example, and seeing a great color on a wall or on a piece of furniture and wishing I knew what it was.  This free app is the perfect way to capture the moment...and the color.

**   WARNING **

This app is a little addictive!  You'll find yourself wandering around your house snapping photos of things just to make sure it's still working.  Case in point...

Chicken Tikka Masala is Festive Orange.  Benjamin Moore 2014-10.

And it should NEVER be operated under the influence of alcohol.

Bergamot Martini.  Benjamin Moore Bronze Tone, 2166-30.

(Addendum:  The Bergamot Martini was my own experiment.  It's vodka, cointreau, lemon juice, simple syrup infused with Earl Gray tea and a few dashes of Angostura bitters.  It was pretty good.  I guess you could use regular tea and call it a Arnold Palmertini.)