Friday, April 29, 2016

Wide Angle View of My Living Room

I got a new toy today, a clip-on wide angle lens. The main room of my cottage is the entire width of the house. The window in this view look out on the front yard. Behind the green checked sofa, there are two French doors leading out to the balcony and the rear of the property. You can't see my fireplace in this photo but you can see the side bricks. 

John Lennon said, "Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted time." That makes me feel better because I wasted a lot of time playing around with different lenses clipped over my iPhone camera.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

My Cottage Bluebirds

I put these photos on Instagram yesterday. My bluebirds were extremely cooperative and posed nicely for me many times during the day. They never fail to thrill me either. Isn't that blue wonderful? See you later! xo

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

House Tour in Buckhead: Atlanta GA

Every house tells a story, and when a major renovation is part of the narrative, the tale can sometimes take a few dark twists and turns. Fortunately that proved to be anything but the case for a 1930s-era, Georgian-style beauty in Buckhead that underwent a yearlong makeover in the hands of architect William B. Litchfield and designer Jackye Lanham.
Article and 17-photo slideshow here. So nice!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hammered Metal Kitchen Cabinets

Jean-Louis Deniot claims that he is always trying to achieve something magical. (Architectural Digest) This is quite evident in his interiors. A kitchen with hammered metal cabinets is a truly stylish and unexpected feature. Creating stylish interiors with layer upon layer of refinement and unique décor are Deniot’s trademark.
See more of his work here. Great portfolio!
Well, these cabinets certainly make a statement, don't they?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tulips on Park Ave NYC

Some interesting facts about these yearly tulips:
This Spring the tulips are a sunny, yellow Darwin Hybrid called Golden Oxford – among the most weather resistant of all garden tulips with large flower heads and strong stems.
After the Tulips have finished, the Park Avenue Fund hosts a “Park Avenue Tulip Dig” – a longstanding tradition that allows members of the community to dig up the spent bulbs for future use in their own gardens.
How nice! via New York Social Diary

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Mosaic Tile Floor with Birds

This is spectacular, isn't it? Wish I could see the whole thing. What a work of art! Hope you are having a great weekend. Most but not all of my trees are budding and the spring green is beautiful. I cleaned my deck yesterday and it looks almost brand new. I forced all of the dirt from between the joints with a screw driver and blew it away with my power leaf blower. Then I squirted with the jet selection of my hose sprayer and wet everything down. Then I mopped it with a foaming oxy-deck cleaner and scrubbed it with a stiff broom. It was fun playing in the water and the end result is very satisfying. I didn't clean it at all last year and it really needed it. That and hacking away at overgrown multiflora were my two accomplishments yesterday. Today I've just been enjoying the weather and not much else. xo

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Queen with her Grands

Taken by renowned American photographer Annie Leibovitz at Windsor Castle last month, these remarkable pictures have been released to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday today. This photo shows Her Majesty surrounded by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Another photo on The Daily Mail identifies the children. Read all about the 90th Birthday of our favorite Queen here and view more photos too. Doesn't she look great? Love her.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Exceptional Kitchen

Swoon.
This kitchen is gorgeous!
I have looked and looked and wouldn't change a thing.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Miniature Basket of Vegetables

Look at the push pin beside the small silver basket for scale. The handmade ceramic vegetables are very realistic. This is one of my favorite finds recently snagged at an estate sale. Don't you love it?

I am off to mow the front yard before it gets too hot. It is supposed to reach 81° today. The sun is still in the back so I think I will be okay. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

DIY Versailles Case (Planter Box)

I photographed the first four images from one of my gardening books on container gardening.
Have you ever lusted over a Versailles box? I certainly have. This is a poor man's DIY version that I like a lot.

These photos are full size versions. Click to enlarge so you can read the text easily.

Directions are very simple and easy to understand. Measuring and cutting the wood is the only hard part.

Make one yourself or hire someone to make several. The assembly is simple once you cut all the pieces. Might as well make a large grouping, right?

Want a real one? Get out your checkbook and buy one on this website. Have a great Sunday. xo



Friday, April 15, 2016

Wonderful Antiques

Not my photo, but it could be. It has all of my favorite things in it. My newly polished sterling silver trophies are lined up on my mantle. Photo found here.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Construction Projects Nearby

This lovely barn/garage/loft/shed is somewhat new construction built on an old stone foundation.

A recent house fire destroyed a beautiful 18th century home and it is being torn down. Owners who weren't home at the time will rebuild. A neighbor told me flames were shooting up from the basement. I'm wondering if it was started by a dryer fire? 

New construction replacing an 18th century house in horrible condition that could not be saved.

All three of these photos are on the same street with only a few homes in between. Photographed from my car yesterday on my way home from a haircut.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

My Metal Polishing Products and Secrets

This post is on the fly this morning. Running late for an office meeting.
Yesterday I polished this antique copper coal scuttle. Last time it was polished during my stewardship? Never! I left the inside unpolished. I use this for storing old magazines. It's really a fireplace item but I don't have room for it there.

I polished all of my brass candlesticks and trivets. First I spray down the item with Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day multi-surface. Then I dip my dampened cleaning rag or sponge into some Bar Keepers Friend cleanser which I have in a shallow bowl. The rest is magic. The spray loosens the tarnish and the cleanser dissolves it before your very eyes. Wipe and buff. For really old tarnish keep spraying and dipping and rubbing. No need to wipe it all off until you are finished with the entire item. 

For horizontal surfaces like switch plates you will have to soak your rag in the liquid (just the part wrapped around your finger) and wipe over the tarnish first. Then do the second step. I used a Q-tip when I was polishing an engraved brass plate on the top of a cellarette without ruining the wood.

Just experiment. You will be amazed. Handle the powder with care. It's powerful stuff and is probably quite dangerous. But it's been around since 1882 and hasn't been recalled yet. I don't plan on using it every day so I don't think it will kill me before I'm finished. 

I got this "Radish" Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day spray at TJMaxx because this "scent" has been discontinued. I'm sure almost any multi-surface spray will work; this is just what I had on hand. I polished all of my silver trophies using this method and nothing got scratched. You can probably make a paste using these two products as well to "dissolve" the powder if you are afraid of scratching. All of my things are antiques and have already been around the block so I wasn't worried.

Good luck. I think I have hunted down almost everything tarnished in my cottage except for my copper pots and my antique andirons. I will tackle them soon. I spread a small tarp on my kitchen table to do the coal scuttle. For the smaller items, I used a folded turkish towel on my kitchen counter near the sink and rinsed under running water before drying and buffing, Just play around and see what works for you. You can also "rinse" small items in a dishpan full of water and keep using it for that purpose. You can soak heavily tarnished brass candlesticks overnight in this solution for really easy cleaning the next day.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Polishing Frenzy at My Cottage

If you are silver
or 
if you are brass, 
I will find you!

Once I get started on a big project, I can't stop. I have polished almost everything in my cottage that is in plain sight except for the andirons and they scare me. I want to wait until the weather is mild enough for me to do them outside. My fender looks fabulous and so do the fireplace tools. So happy. xo

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Prettiest Kitchen Garden Ever

I posted a couple of photos on my Instagram feed yesterday and found this beautiful fenced garden while enjoying the photos of others. Isn't this the best kitchen garden ever? It's the perfect size in the perfect setting.
Thanks, Wendy-Louise @wlk235louise

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Classic "Model T Ford Tin Lizzie"

I spotted this classic car outside the bank near my office recently. The proud owner takes it out quite frequently for an airing on nice days. 





This one is a beauty and has been lovingly restored. It's hard to believe 15 million Model T Fords were assembled and so few survived. Read the history here. Have a nice weekend. We have April showers in my area today. xo

Friday, April 8, 2016

Back to Work

Click here for a high resolution version of the wonderful photograph. This dog seems to have this flock under control, doesn't he? Have a great weekend. xo

Wonderful pied-à-terre in Paris

It's for sale too in a beautiful Haussmannian building! Details here. I love the layout, the floors, and especially the views.

I am fine, really! I have been busy polishing silver and brass, cleaning windows and floors, and trying to catch up on inside chores I have been house-blind to because I no longer have any excuses! It's rather overwhelming but I will soldier on and do a little at a time until it's time to start all over again. I have also been busy trying to tie up loose ends with a difficult real estate transaction. 

My neighbors across the street captured photo of a bear at their bird feeder several nights ago with a critter cam. Now they aren't feeding the birds and they are keeping their garbage cans locked in the garage. I have noticed more wild life on my property too now that I have no animals. Flocks of wild turkeys and more deer than I've seen in a long time. Not thrilled about the deer and their ticks though. The turkeys are fun when they fan their tail feathers. 

Thanks for checking in and worrying about me. xo

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Gorgeous Landscaping

Perfect for this old house. via
Stay tuned for more about a wonderful real estate listing in my office. Right now it's an exclusive but will be on the MLS any day now. It's really world class! See you soon. xo

Monday, April 4, 2016

Irish Apple Cake Recipe

Recipe found at Connecticut Country House.
It looks so good!
Legend has it that St. Patrick planted an apple tree in Armagh County – also known today as “Orchard County” – an area recognized for its apple blossom tours and festivals. This cake, made from simple ingredients, is uncomplicated, easy to make, and so honest in its appearance and deliciously satisfying in flavor.

Irish Apple Cake, Serves 8 to 12

For cake:

2 large baking apples

1 ¼ cup self-rising flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus a little extra for greasing the pan

½ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons whole milk

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting, if you’re serving it cold.

For crumb topping:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed

Optional plating garnish:

Sprigs of fresh mint

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Generously grease a 9-inch springform pan with the extra butter reserved for this purpose.

Make the crumb topping first. Sift the flour into a medium sized bowl, and cut in the butter by rubbing the flour and butter together with your fingertips. It will turn into a bread crumb-like texture. Mix in the sugar with your hands. Easy. Set aside.

For the cake:

Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples, to about 1/8 – ¼ inch thickness. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar until light in color and smoothly blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, and beat on low speed.

With the mixer still on low, gradually add flour mixture to the wet mixture. Slowly pour in the milk. When fully incorporated, you’re done mixing.

Scoop the batter into the buttered springform pan, smoothing the top to make level. Using a circular pattern, place the apple slices on top of the batter. (It doesn’t have to be perfect, as it gets covered with the crumb mixture. You just want even coverage.) Top with the crumb mixture.

Bake for 1 hour, or until lightly browned and firm to the touch.

Serve warm, unadorned, or if serving as a dessert, try it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

If serving cooled, give it a dusting of confectioner’s sugar – my fave for to elevating the look of this cake.

I love the simplicity of this recipe, don't you?
I am still doing well even though I missed my Webster all the time. Especially when I am cooking and that was his favorite thing for me to do! Thank you for all of your words of comfort. The Wonder Dog had a fabulous fan club and we all miss him. xo

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Goat and A Sheep


Beautiful Animal Portraits.
I am heading to bed to watch the new season of Call The Midwife followed by Grantchester. Thank you PBS! xo

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Extraordinary Garden in Provence

I love this photograph with a rising mist in the background.
Experimental Garden by Dominique Lafourcade in Provence. More photos here.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Screened Porch with Swing

Today it was almost 80 degrees and tomorrow there will be rain. On Monday snow is in the forecast. BUT spring is in the air. I love this porch, the fan, the brick floor and the swing. via
Have a great weekend. xo

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Things To Do For Your Body

I haven't been getting enough exercise lately. I used to walk Webster four times a day on my property but that routine went out the window about a month ago because he didn't want to walk that far. On Tuesday I walked down and back twice before bed and it felt good. Now I'm doing that after breakfast and before bed down and back four times total. Each session lasts 15 minutes so I'm walking 30 minutes each day and that feels about right for me. Makes me drink more water too and that's a good thing. via

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Favorite Photo of Webster

This is one of my very favorite photos of Webster The Wonder Dog when he was still able to jump up on the bed and get super comfortable. I want to thank all of you for your comments this week. It has been so comforting to know you were concerned about me and upset about Webster's passing. I know he was loved by so many wonderful friends and he will be missed. 

I love this Thomas Campbell quote.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Webster RIP

My dear Webster died yesterday on his own terms, at home.

I was with him right here at the end, in this very spot.

I called my local Mobile Vet earlier in the day to assist with his passing but Webster died before they arrived. They came and picked up his body for cremation and that was a big help. I considered burying him on the property but decided against doing it. That turned out to be a good thing because my favorite helper who would have helped me dig a grave was in Vermont picking up a new puppy as a companion for his 12-year-old Lab.

Webster was a huge part of my life since he "rescued" me at 9 weeks of age 14 years ago. We had a great life together and of course I miss him terribly. But it was time for him to go and it was a peaceful passing. Boo Hoo.

I know my readers will miss him too. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Egg Evolution




Friends dropped off an Easter Basket for me yesterday with candy and two dyed eggs. Yummy breakfast this morning and lunch too. I like my egg salad with only 3 ingredients: mayonnaise, salt and pepper.