It’s beginning to look a lot like . . .


What a great display! Everything pops against that green door.

Yes, yes, I KNOW it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. But at November’s Sage Farm show, there were a few corners that looked a lot like Christmas.

I snapped some photos of  red & green. Take a look!

What are you waiting for?

Completely non-Christmas fabulous find

I drove by the thrift shop yesterday on my way to the fabric store to pick up a couple dozen jingle bells for my sewing students’ next project.

Am I ever glad I did!

Actually, to back up a country mile in this story, I didn’t drive right by the thrift shop at all. I stopped there before I got to the fabric store, even though it meant taking two left turns on a busy road, which generally I try to avoid.

Because the fabric store always has dozens of jingle bells and if they ever run out they can get more in a jiffy.

But if I miss something marvelous at the thrift shop, well, I’m never going to see it again.

This is what I didn’t miss. Read the rest of this entry »

This is my house . . .


This is what’s over my kitchen range, smack in the center of the house. Hard to miss, that is.

I found this plate a long time ago. It was already broken and mended by a previous owner who perhaps loved the sentiment as much as I do.

You can find these plates pretty easily. Janeray has one at This Old Row House, too, with a much cuter design than mine. (Post a picture, Jane!) The saying must have been popular in the ’50s and ’60s, maybe as a way to shrug off your sink full of dirty dishes or your piles of unfolded laundry or your neatnik mother-in-law’s raised eyebrows.

For me, though, this plate is a sassy retort to all the lifestyle “experts” out there. Why do they get to say which colors are hot this season, what clothes are in style, what projects are worth making? I don’t know those people and they don’t know me. Why should their opinions carry so much as the weight of a raisin in MY house?

They say pale neutrals are fashionable. I paint my rooms sunny yellow and deep green and hot peach. This is my house, I’ll do as I darn please.

They say the “in” color is emerald. I’m wearing my favorite pale aqua cardigan, with battered jeans and a vintage Vera scarf. This is my house, I’ll do as I darn please.

They say vintage china should be perfect, or don’t bother buying it. I’m totally keeping that broken-and-mended plate over my stove. This is my house, I’ll do as I darn please!

What are you doing at your house to proclaim your independence from other people’s taste?

Souvenir plates and color inspiration

Once upon a time Luray had a big porch lined with dozens of souvenir plates. They got taken down last year for never ending house renovations. I sure hope they aren’t gone forever, Luray, cause I found this for you!


And L@@K!!!! (Remember when people wrote that in every heading on eBay? Ugh.) It’s from Luray Caverns!


I love the muted colors on these old souvenir plates, and especially love the way this one just pops on mahogany. The soft greens, browns, taupes and greys remind me of the woods in Maine. Yes, I know this is a souvenir from a cave in Virginia, but I can picture decorating a cabin in these colors.

Better yet, I can create an instant color palette for my imaginary retreat. I just uploaded the photo into CCS Drive Image Palette and got this:


Light, medium or dark? Or select your own colors from the complete set of samples. How cool is that?

My fictional cabin would have the full range from stone to moss, from walnut to balsam and fall maple leaf. I might even toss in a few accents of lavender that the magic color selector omitted. Now I can almost hear a crackling fire and smell a big pot of soup simmering on the stove. A pumpkin pie is in the oven. It’s almost dinner time. All I need is an oversized squashy leather chair, a pot of Constant Comment tea and a really good book while I wait for my pretend meal in my pretend house. My mind has left Luray’s front porch lined with souvenir plates and totally gone on vacation!

What object inspires a color palette for you?

Month of Makeovers Day 4: And there was light! Um, sorta.

Hard to believe, but we’ve been renovating LurayVille for nearly a year now. The foundation for the addition was poured early last November. We’ve had the plans for eight years, drawn up after many many back & forths with an architect friend, so it’s been a long time coming.  And a long time getting built!


That’s our builder there. We’ll call him Mr. Darcy, because he’s British and good-looking and single. I don’t know about the “income of 10,000 pounds a year” part.

As Mr. Darcy set up the framing for the addition, the first impact it had on our old living space was in the stairhall to the second floor. Read the rest of this entry »