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Here you will find a variety of things that might interest you: food, books, house decor, crafty things, random thoughts, dishes, gardening and more!

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mosaic Monday: Quiet Snowfall

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Some pictures I took last winter; the trees are in our yard, the red farm-house is across the street and of course, the big Victorian is ours.
Thanks for stopping by; be sure to visit all the other wonderful mosaics for Mosaic Monday at Little Red House!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Crafty Things: Crochet Projects

The other day I posted some pictures of a baby afghan I recently completed for my newest nephew and had so many nice comments that I thought I'd post a few pictures of some of the other ones I did and also these cute booties I crocheted for my godson! (Below). He wore these under his baptismal dress.

This afghan I made for my step-sister's first child. It is the only baby afghan I have made that is entirely white. I loved the pattern though, with the open-work spaces that made zig-zags. I couldn't find another picture of it other than this one; I usually try to take a close up picture as well.

This was the afghan I made for my nephew/godson (who also got booties!). I couldn't decide whether to make the ripple stripes in blue and green or green with yellow, but I went with blue and green. It worked out well, the baby turned out to be a boy.

Ok, so I lied....I did find a close-up picture of the white afghan ! (It was in a different folder!)

I wish I could find pictures of the other three that I did!  :-(
 I know I have pictures of two of them for sure, but I haven't been able to locate them on my computer. I have either A) deleted the digital images from my computer files or B) they were on my old computer and didn't get transfered. I got a different computer in late 2006, right after we bought our house in the fall. I made two afghans in 2006, one in the winter and one in the spring.  They were so pretty!! I'm sure I'll find the printed images in my photo album for that year and then I can scan them for a future post!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tablescape Thursday: A Winter Luncheon

Winter whites, pale blue (like the winter sky), sparkling cut glass, like ice crystals, all evoke a wintery mood. January in Wisconsin is never as pretty as my winter lunch table! Come join me..........

Blue and white snowflake bowls are perfect for hot soup on a cold day!

I used sparkly white snowflake Christmas tree ornaments as napkin rings. I folded my light blue tea napkins in a simple fold called the "nosegay".

I have about 8 of these small cut glass bread plates; they look like icy stars (or even snowflakes!) A perfect place to put a crusty roll to go with my soup.

This glass pitcher I use frequently in summer for lemonade or iced tea. It looks pretty sitting on a doily as part of my winter luncheon table; perhaps I might use it as a water carafe today.

For my centerpiece today, I have used my vintage Fenton milk glass cake stand and a pillar candle. Underneath the candle, I have used a larger plate that matches the cut glass bread plates. I only have one of the larger plates; I use it as a serving dish or appetizer tray sometimes.

The centerpiece is flanked on either side by these candlesticks with crystal bobeche. These were a Christmas gift last year from my mother-in-law. I wanted the center pillar candle to be taller than these, so instead of using tapers, I placed a short votive candle in the candlesticks.

I thought it made a nice effect! I used one of my vintage white lace-edged dresser scarves as a runner.

My vintage milk glass covered hen dish usually has a place on my dining room table at all times; she usually has nuts or butter mints inside. Today, she will provide decoration! Sometimes I use this dish for butter, but not today, because I have my individual butter domes in service!

Here you can see the butter dome at the top of the cover. And again, I 've used my casual dinnerware, "Emma", from Pottery Barn, and my casual flatware as well. The dusty blue damask place mats I bought many years ago to go with my formal china, which does have some blue in it.

And even though the cloudy, dreary day was not co-operating, I dressed up the chandelier with snowflakes and a glittery silver bead garland, even though I could not get a proper picture. The snowflakes are the same white Christmas tree ornaments I used for napkin rings. Note: I really dislike this chandelier; the previous owners chose it and I loathe it. Eventually I hope to find a really beautiful one for this room to replace it.

As daylight wanes, I add a couple more votives to the table.

A variation here of the place setting, with no bowl and just the pretty glass plate in the center.

Here again is another variation. I can transition my table from a winter luncheon very easily to a winter dinner, with the addition of a wavy glass salad/dessert plate. I have a set of twelve of these and I believe they came from Crate & Barrel.

For the transition from lunch to dinner, I remove the drinking glass and replace with balloon wine goblets.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to visit all the other fabulous folks and their tablescapes for Tablescape Thursday over at Between Naps on the Porch!

Casual dinner ware: 'Emma' collection at Pottery Barn
Casual flatware: J.A. Henckels Vintage, Bed Bath & Beyond
Cut glass plates: vintage, an antique store find
Drinking glasses: Pier 1 Imports
Balloon wine goblets: Crate & Barrel
Blue vintage tea napkins: antique store find ($4 for a set of six of them)
White lace-edged dresser scarf: vintage, $3 at an antique store
Milk glass covered hen dish: vintage, purchased at a large antique mall in Columbus,WI
Fenton hobnail milk glass cake stand: approx  c.1940s-1950s, antique store find
Damask place mats: Boston Store, years ago.
Individual butter domes: Boston Store, about 4 years ago.
Blue and white snowflake bowls: plastic!!! from Target.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rockin' Out with the band........

My hubby has been in many different types of bands over the years; he's a drummer and has been playing the drums since I think he was probably about twelve or thereabouts. The latest band that he formed with some of his other musically inclined friends is called Stoneship Eden, a classic 70s rock cover band. They've been together for about 3 years now and play out fairly regularly. As part of the "70s experience", they also wear 70s clothing. Some of the clothes are actual vintage 1970s, some are Goodwill finds that have been altered or modified to be in the 70s style. (For instance, we found a pair of tan corduroy pants and a pair of jeans at Goodwill for $7 each and I made them into bellbottoms by tearing open the leg seams and adding fabric to create big bells).
I got some groovy pictures of my hubby at the band's latest show on January 23rd!

Note the super cool hologram-like orange drums!

Like any 1970s concert-style rock band, they have a large band, with 7 members ( 5 guys and 2 girls). For those big 1970s harmonies, they all do vocals. They also trade off on lead vocals; Erik sings lead vocals on several songs.

His shirt is actually vintage late 1960s; the denim vest was bought at Farm & Fleet, to which I added some groovy iron-ons and some beads. I found the gold medallion (with Buddha on it) at a flea market for $1 and the other one, wood beads with a peace sign, I made myself!  He's also wearing the corduroy bellbottoms I made. And yes, that is his real hair! My hubby is a rocker dude and he has long hair and tattoos; but he also shares my love for antiques and Victorian decor. Go figure!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hand-Crocheted Baby Afghan

One of the many crafty things I enjoy doing is crocheting. My mother taught me to sew and embroider when I was young. Both she and her mother (my grandmother) also did knitting and crocheting, but my mother never got around to teaching me to do either of those! I taught myself to crochet in my early twenties; I actually bought a how-to book that came with a videotape. I have not yet tried knitting, but I think someday I might like to try to learn it! I have made many afghans as gifts over the ensuing years, but most of the ones I have made in the last few years are baby afghans. This one I just finished last week for my newest nephew, who was born on January 15th. I have two younger sisters and a step-sister and they all have children now; I have five nephews and one niece; all of them have a baby afghan made by me! My step-sister is currently expecting her second child, due in April, so of course, I am busy working on another baby afghan right now.

One of the other afghans I made, for my sister's second child , had a popcorn stitch that she liked a lot, so for this one, I found a pattern with a popcorn stitch also. It's always a challenge when I don't know the baby's sex, trying to make one that is gender-neutral. I do like to use color though, so even though white would be probably the best "neutral" color, I have only made one baby afghan that was entirely white. I really lucked out when I made my niece's baby afghan; again, I didn't know the sex of the baby beforehand, but I just had a feeling that it was going to be a girl, and made a beautiful pale yellow basket-weave patterned afghan.

This one has variegated yarn in blue, green, yellow and pink.
I think something hand-made is always special....and can be kept for years and years to pass along! I presented this afghan to my sister for the baby's baptism ( I tried to finish it before the baby was born, but the holidays were too busy and put me behind schedule!). I'm sure it will also find a spot in the baby's nursery, on the glider rocker maybe, to use for snuggling and rocking baby to sleep!

Mosaic Monday: Wedding Day

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Our 3rd anniversary isn't for another 3 months, but I was recently looking at some of our wedding photos and thought I'd try to make a collage with a few of them to share. Thanks for stopping by! Please be sure to check out all the other beautiful mosaics for Mosaic Monday at Little Red House.
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Cats Sleep Anywhere..........A Short Poem

Cats sleep anywhere, any table, any chair.
Top of piano, window-ledge, in the middle, on the edge.
Open draw, empty shoe, anybody's lap will do.
Fitted in a cardboard box, in the cupboard with your frocks.
Anywhere! They don't care! Cats sleep anywhere.

...Eleanor Farjeon

Yes, this is a comfortable position.....if you're a cat!

The life of a spoiled house-cat is definitely tough!!  :rolls eyes sarcastically:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Show & Tell Friday: A Found Harmonium

The harmonium, also known as a pump organ, parlor organ or a reed organ, is an organ that generates it's sounds using free metal reeds. Smaller, cheaper and more portable than pipe organs, parlor organs were popular and widely used in small churches and in private homes throughout the 19th century. Reed organs are operated with either pressure or suction bellows. In North America and the U.K. a reed organ that uses pressure bellows is often called a harmonium, where as in Europe, all reed organs are called a harmonium, regardless of whether they used a pressure or suction bellows. Many different types and styles were made throughout the late 19th century until advances in technology made pianos more affordable in the 1900s, at which time the reed organ fell out of favor.

Our harmonium is beautifully decorated and in excellent shape. It even has a fairly ornate back, which was common for pump organs, especially if it's use was intended for a small church. The back of the pump organ typically faced the congregation, which was the reasoning for it to be elaborately decorated on the backside as well as the front. Pump organs were not solely for use in churches however, and many were ordered and purchased for use in a private home.

Our harmonium was made by the A.B. Chase Company which was located in Norwalk, OH. The company was started in 1875 by Capt. Alvin B. Chase. The factory was located in the old Norwalk Barrell Company buildings on Newton Street. After Alvin Chase's death in the late 1870s, the company was owned and operated by Calvin Whitney until 1909. A.B. Chase made both reed organs and pianos and won the grand prize at the 1893 World's Fair for their quality,scale, tone, action and pedal systems. I'm not sure why "New York" is also written on this pump organ; possibly they also manufactured them in New York as well as Ohio.

The pump pedals to operate the bellows still have their original carpet-work in place. We do not know the exact date our pump organ was made, but it does have markings related to the 1893 World's Fair, which was also known as the World's Columbian Exposition, which commemorated Christopher Columbus' 400th anniversary of his arrival in America. This World's Fair, which took place in Chicago, was where A.B. Chase Co.received it's grand prize for quality and workmanship. It is likely this model was manufactured the same year as the World's Fair, either before or after they received their award, because of the stamp. Typically there are serial numbers which can  give the exact date of manufacture. The serial numbers are often located inside the harmonium and we have not yet been brave enough to attempt to remove the back panel to do this.

It even still has the key that locks the cover which closes over the top of the organ keys!

We have since found some contemporary music books for parlor organs. This one was published in 1886.

This one has pages devoted to the care of a pump organ and also an explanation of the stops and how to use them!

This song book, "The Song Herald" was published in 1876, but the date written on the cover leaf shows that it was purchased or acquired by it's owner in 1891.

The owner of "The Song Herald" apparently was Elmer J. Walker. What beautiful penmanship! The most popular penmanship style of the 19th century was called "Spencerian". I learned calligraphy in an advanced art class I took in high school and later, self-taught myself  Spencerian. I am by no means able to do Spencerian in a professional quality, but I can do it well enough that I was able to address all my wedding invitations in Spencerian and it looked very beautiful.

We have been keeping our eyes open to find a suitable bench or stool for it, as it did not come with one. We acquired this gorgeous harmonium in 2008; it still plays beautifully and sounds really good although it might be slightly out of tune. I would guess that after 117 years it might need a tune-up, but all in all has held up extraordinarily well. A friend of Erik's was the generous giver of this pump organ; it had once belonged to his grandmother, who had gotten it from his great-grandmother and so forth, so it had been in his family for many years, but nobody was particularly interested in it. It had been sitting under an old quilt on the enclosed porch of the house which had formerly been his grandmother's, which was now a rental property. He knew of our interest in antiques and generously gave it to us, knowing that we would cherish it and care for it as it ought to be!

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to visit all the other blogs for Show and Tell Friday at Cindy's My Romantic Home!