Make way for noisy ducklings!



The Easter chicks have landed!

The fireplace mantel in our family room is never bare. It’s long, it’s plain old white, it’s just begging to be dressed up with a collection of something.

For Easter season, some of my pottery bird planters (plus a stray bunny friend) have come to visit. They’re all in cheerful Lu-Ray colors.


Boring white mantel! The starry quilt (made by my mom!) and the silvery-framed mirror are always there. Everything else changes with the season.

On one side, a big bluebird, a tiny chick, a green duckling, and that party-crashing rabbit.


On the other side, more noisy ducklings and an exuberant yellow songbird!


None of the critters are marked, except for the fat bluebird—he’s stamped “USA.”


You can see traces of cold paint on the beak. I like them better without the paint, though.

Some of them might be McCoy, or Shawnee, or some other American pottery. I don’t really care. I collect them for their charming shapes, not for their brand names.


More cold paint! The upside-down blue pot with butterflies is probably McCoy.

What I really love about this vintage pottery is their soft glazes. The way that the clay of the high-relief bits shows through the translucent glazes is so pretty.

Isn’t it funny that something so small can make me so happy?


Placesettings: our Easter table

Uh oh, looks like somebody already ate all the jelly beans that were piled high in this Fanny Farmer candy cup!

Easter Day was sunny and 50 degrees here. Crocuses, snowdrops, and a few early daffodils are blooming. The buds on the magnolia trees are just beginning to open. Lawns are starting to green up.


We’re so hungry for the sight of more blooming things that this floral tablecloth was the perfect choice. It’s not old—the label on it says “Waterford”—but that oversized print (lilacs! lilies! peonies! er, daisies? and, uh, some other flowers I’m too lousy a gardener to recognize)  has a vintage vibe. There are napkins to match, too.

Yep, there’s more!

FINALLY! A pink sign of spring In New England


You know spring has finally arrived in New England when these show up on the shelves at Kmart.

Yes indeed, I picked up a box to replenish my winter-weary flock in the back yard. I wasn’t looking for them, but there they were. Instant happiness.

I have a lot to post about Sage Farm, but for now . . . the first spotting of pink plastic lawn flamingos makes me just about as happy as seeing the pink tulips in a neighbor’s yard.

(Bonus: this means the Serro Scotty Camper Enthusiasts’ spring camp-out can’t be far behind! Woot!)


It’s not a party without penguins and a leggy blonde


Well, we’re back.

That was a long ten days, that was. The flu fairy came to visit. Everybody’s better now. That’s all I’m saying.

Last night we hosted a potluck dinner to celebrate a committee that BluesRay’s been chairing for nine months, who have now successfully finished their task. A dozen people came.

It was the first time since we’d started renovating that we’d let anybody in the door who wasn’t family or close friends or a contractor. I cleaned for three days. It’s amazing how paint cans and brushes and tools and extra doorknobs can spread themselves thin all over the house. Just like plaster dust.

And there is nothing like the threat of “company’s coming!” to induce a panicky rush to tidy it all up. We can’t have anybody thinking that we’ve been actually living in a renovation project now, can we?

Yep, there’s more!

How I stopped swearing at my towels

I’ve never wanted to live in a huge house.

Tried that, once. My parents moved up from a tiny suburban ranch, their first home, to a massive 1920s three-story in-town stone house.

Even with five kids, it was a huge house. It had a music room, inexplicable wall-to-wall carpet in the kitchen, and two maids’ rooms on the third floor that became Janeray’s and my bedrooms. (We didn’t become the maids though.)

And when my mom realized that huge stone house had 40-plus windows, all of which she washed twice a year, I think the glamour must’ve worn off pretty fast.

I do, however, want a house that’s livable. For me that means rooms that are inviting, even if they’re small. Details like light fixtures and hardware that are high-quality. Utility spaces that are actually useful and don’t make me swear with frustration.

– Yep, there’s more!>