A Step Back in Time

At least once every summer for quite a few years now I have been summoned from my office in Maryland to the summer home of my employer to help with the paperwork that accumulates there. I love this time away because the house with its 30-some bedrooms remains much as it was in the early years of the twentieth century.  The house was built in the late 1880s. Yes, there is electricity and running water but the furniture and other decor are clearly from another era.

Bridge with iron railing at the mouth of the driveway

 Here’s a detail of the bridge medallion that’s repeated on each corner.

Railing detail

 The approach to the house is a long driveway that passes by open fields and fern forests. 

Ancient ferns carpet the woods

 The transition from hectic modern life to a kinder, gentler time seems to  unfold as I traverse the private road.

The driveway twists and turns up the mountain

  Just before the last bend is a small waterfall that opens into a 14-acre lake.

Small waterfall emptying from the lake

 Then the house appears which is really a glorified log cabin.

The house appears along the driveway

  The front of the house faces the lake; the driveway edges the back of the house which has its own fabulous view.

View from the back of the house

 After parking, I enter through the kitchen wing and await my bedroom assignment.  I’ve stayed in many of the rooms but my favorite is the third floor room that overlooks the lake.

View from my bedroom

 I am blessed by wonderful opportunities that can only come from the Hand of God. How Great Thou Art!

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Our Everyday Dishes

I love dishes.  I’m attracted to them.  They call my name and I respond.

We have 2 sets of everyday dinnerware that we alternate. The set we’re currently using is made by Royal Vale which apparently dropped off the face the earth in 1972. I am unable to find a pattern designation.  We inherited this set from my mother. It’s perfect for life at The Glade and by that I mean not too fragile.  Although definitely porcelain of some type it’s not the soft paste variety that easily chips and definitely not stoneware which to my mind is too heavy.

Royal Vale dinner plate and cereal/pasta bowl

This set comes with dinner plate, bowl, dessert plate, bread plate, cup and saucer. We have 6 place settings which for the 3 of us is just about perfect. I love that it’s mostly blue and yellow.

My morning cup and saucer set.

 Because I am a dish diva, however, I wouldn’t mind having 6 additional place settings (which I have never seen and can’t find anywhere).  Do I sound excessive to you?

With the Royal Vale set we also use mugs that are not matching but go with it.  We have 2 of the iris below and 4 of the Churchill design (blue and white).

Everyday coffee or tea mugs

Stored in the dining room and ready at a moment’s notice is our vintage Red Wing pattern, Merrileaf. 

Merrileaf dinner plate

 “Merrileaf” was made with china grade clay by the Red Wing company of Minnesota. The hand-painted underglaze colors are smoky teal, and a minty smoky green on a cream body. The “Merrileaf” pattern is attributed to artist Charles Murphy and was described as “subtle, yet vibrant”.

Merrileaf cup and saucer

 This I have acquired over the years from eBay and own lots and lots, maybe more than 12 place settings.

Merrileaf by Red Wing setting and service pieces

   This pattern from the 1960s has many interesting pieces beyond the plates and cups and saucers. There are small individual serving bowls as well as cereal bowls. 

A pile of Merrileaf individual fruit bowls.

 The divided vegetable and celery server keep company with long-handled sauce pots with covers and place for a serving ladle.  These dishes are versatile for use on an informal party table.

Merrileaf by Red Wing celery dish (front) and divided vegetable

Every so often I come across some Merrileaf at a good price and I snatch it up. I haven’t been successful lately in expanding either the Royal Vale or Merrileaf lines at The Glade.

Do you really, really like your daily use items?  Do you have things that have been handed down to you? How do you complete or add to sets you already own?

At Long Last

We’ve waited and waited and finally one of these green monsters have turned PINK!

First ripe Pink of the season!

 We weren’t sure we’d even get a plant let alone a gorgeous tomato. But now just as the Sungolds are waning, the Pinks have begun to turn.  Oh give me a tomato sandwich and I’ll shut up.

Pink tomatoes - meaty and delicious

 Now we must, must, MUST save some seeds for next year’s crop. Something I should read up on. Not exactly sure I remember how to save tomato seeds. Paper towel?  Plastic bag?

And just in: See that tomato in the top photo that’s just blushing.  Ooooh, I picked her today. 

I wonder how much this tomato weighs.

 A true heirloom.

I’m linked to an Oregon Cottage Tuesday Garden Party.

Weather Stripping

Glade Cottage door

Let me start by saying, “I’m an IDIOT!” I must be.  I put up this weather-stripping (tubular vinyl gasket) three different ways and the door won’t close. 

For me, this weather-stripping doesn't work.

  How hard can it be?  And just to prove what a ditz I am, the third time I nailed the thing up I made sure all the nails were in really, really tight BEFORE I tested the door to see if it would close. (It would NOT close.)

Weather-stripping totally nailed on.

  Now, because of the recent heavy rains the door will hardly close at all.  It’s all swollen up I guess, but I decided to try installing the weather-stripping again. Voila! Finally figured it out.  Still won’t work so for now I GIVE UP.

Weather-stripping held on with tacks

 Do you have any simple projects that simply befuddle you? (My dear grandmother use to use the word befuddle. I haven’t heard it used in conversation for a long time.) Do you have any antiquated words that you love to work into the conversation?

I’m Not Trying to Metal

You know how hard I’ve been trying to rid us of clutter before we begin to build next year. But, it seems like everytime I make a little headway, SOMEBODY (and you know who you are) fills the empty space with more  CLUTTER.

Scrap metal stored in the space I cleared. UGH!

I had the space under the ladder in the Cottage almost clear when these boxes of scrap metal appeared.

What kind of crazy tedious job is stripping wire?

Now all this wire needs to be cleaned (the vinyl removed) and the other parts (whatever in the world they are) taken apart and sorted into

  • copper
  • brass
  • aluminum.

Then it can be taken to the scrap metal recycling place and exchanged for cash. The current prices are:

  • clean copper – $3.15 per pound
  • clean brass – $1.70 per pound
  • clean aluminum – $.60 per pound.

OK, Boys, this is your monkey so I hope you can make him dance.

There, ‘nuf said.

Old Table, New Life

We have this old coffee table which has little value to us because it’s not something we inherited from our parents or grandparents.  Because we keep it in the Cottage a beachy theme is in order. 

Old coffee table ready for a transformation

 My inspiration for this project is a rug which I’ve seen on a lot of sites including this one. This rug comes is many different color combinations.

Coral rug

 The great part about his project is that I need some new paint and I have a coupon for a free pint of Benjamin Moore.  I’m looking for a coral color.

My color inspiration for the project is Lilly Pulitzer’s “Ribbon Reef” bedding available at Garnet Hill.  

Color inspiration

 I picked up a handful of swatches this morning at my favorite Benjamin Moore dealer, Budeke’s. My first thought was the turquoise/coral combo.

"Coral Gables" and a lighter turquoise like "Spectra Blue"

 Then I wondered how the coral color would look with a darker grey color that had just a hint of blue-green in it.

"Coral Gables" and "Templeton Grey" - How sophistocated is that?

  This may be my favorite part of a project: planning, deciding, choosing.  In addition to color choices I have to come up with a painting technique that best suits the piece.  I’m thinking of trying something I’ve never tried before which sounds difficult (tedious) but doable.

Are you a tedious planner or a go-for-it optimist? I waffle between the two.  Sounds psychotic. YIKES!

Oh, yeah, do you have a preference of color combos above?  Not promising anything, just asking.

Trip to France: Securing an Apartment in Paris

Ever since I was a French student in high school I wanted to SEE what we were learning.  I guess that’s really the point of learning.  Recently I have been offered the opportunity to go to France, specifically Paris: the City of Light.

The Eiffel Tower at Night

 Making plans for the trip, however, is not as easy as it may seem. When you go online to find a place to stay there are hundreds (probably thousands of choices) and they need to be searched one at a time.  Each photo must be scrutinized and the text copy read and the reviews of others who have used the service considered. 

Since my dates are flexible, I wanted to confirm housing accommodations before I bought plane tickets. On our trip to Rome a few years ago we had arranged for an apartment rather than stay at a hotel and we really enjoyed the freedom and charm.  So I contacted representatives for apartments at a number of agencies on the internet and all the apartments I wanted were taken so we changed our dates to later in the year and still the best choices were unavailable. 

 Since I wasn’t about to miss a trip to Paris, I continued to look and finally was able to secure 2 different apartments for our stay (neither of which had been a first choice).  For the first three nights we’ll be in a luxury penthouse near the Eiffel Tower (15th arrondissement).  Then we’ll move to the historic Le Marais district (4th arrondissement) on the right bank of the Seine which is where I really wanted to stay all along.  It’s near the heart of the city, close to Notre Dame, the Louvre and other museums.

Map of Paris by arrondissements

 Here are a list of agencies that I tried:

  • VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner)
  • VIP (Vacations in Paris)
  • Roomorama
  • Paris Perfect
  • Holidays France Rentals

I probably tried a couple more that I can’t recall but I DID NOT TRY Paris Craigslist.  I read some stories about the scams people were perpetrating and decided to stay away.  If I were French and living in France I might give that a try; however I’m not and I didn’t.

I should have asked before now, but where have you stayed in Paris? Was is merveilleux or disappointing? Can you recommend anything that we shouldn’t miss?

Sidebar:  This post is the first in a series about planning and going to France.  It’s off the topic of rehabbing the house but I’m going to use it as a decor research trip.