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?

Lincoln’s little speech


One hundred fifty years ago today, a Massachusetts guy named Edward Everett delivered an important speech at the dedication of a military cemetery on a Pennsylvania battlefield of the War between the States. Everett had served his country as a US representative, senator, governor of Massachusetts, secretary of state, and president of Harvard  University. Now at the end of his career, he was still a powerful speaker. His remarks went on for two solid hours on a cold November day.

When Everett finally sat down, the president of the United States stood up to offer a few thoughts. Ten sentences and two minutes later, he was finished.

Schoolchildren used to be expected to memorize–and recite!–Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It was one of those things that marked you out as a citizen with some notion of what this country was about.

I don’t know if schools do that anymore. Pity if they don’t.

When this English-made souvenir plate was brand-spankin’-new, there were still plenty of living soldiers who’d fought at Gettysburg. Plenty of guys who had stories to tell to grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

It’s tantalizing to think that this plate might even have been owned by someone who’d been there at Gettysburg . . . a century and a half ago.

How close we can be to the past sometimes.

And yet how far.

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?