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Friday, April 15, 2011

Shoestring Chic and She-Crab Soup

How many consignment shops do you know of 
that have their own shopping bags?

 This past weekend, Howard and I visited my brother Kirby and his wife Doris at their home in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Yes, that Williamsburg, as in tri-corner hats and tourists.  

We had a blast -- laughed a lot, ate even more, enjoyed some grownup beverages,
talked & talked & talked, and . . . shopped.

My personal favorite stop:  The Velvet Shoestring.
This ain't Goodwill; it's a high falutin' consignment shop.
Visit the website here and you'll see what I mean.

We brought home this:
 In fact, we brought home two of this-es:
Frick and Frack, our new chairs, sitting idly in the Parlor, biding their time till they get their new duds.
 I've been looking for Martha Washington-type arm chairs for our parlor for 3 years.  If they are good quality, they cost a bundle to buy (gasp!) new, and in many cases they also cost a lot used.  Check eBay and you'll see what I mean.

These caught my eye right away.  They are big, with lovely wide seats
for those of us who are the possessors of lovely wide seats of our own.

 But what I really loved were the frames.   These are really nice chairs.
 Chinese Chippendale fretwork.  Oh, be still my heart!
 I think it's nice that the dust makes it easier to see the piercings in the stretchers.
Not a good enough excuse to leave the dust, though, is it?  No, didn't think so.
 The upholstery is clean but worn, and it will be replaced.  Okay, I'll be honest here;
mostly it will be replaced because it's teal and peach and forest green. 

The 1980s wants its colors back.
For now, the chairs sit patiently in the Parlor until I can get them to the guy down the street who refinished our marble top sideboard, and who has a brother who does beautiful upholstery work.  This gives me time to develop a really good tension headache deciding on the fabric.
 Yes, I know -- nothing can replace that old flamestitch tapestry fabric in those 80s colors . . .
but what would you use to cover these chairs?  Our parlor is Lenox Tan walls, cream sofa, old wide pine floors,
black wing chairs, and a stunning old Oriental rug that I haven't found yet so don't know the colors.
Now, if you visit Williamsburg, I very much recommend doing the rounds of the consignment
shops, especially The Velvet Shoestring.  But I recommend visiting Williamsburg, period.
It's one of my favorite spots, even more of a favorite now that Kirby and Doris live there.

It was our first visit to their house; it's gorgeous, in beautiful Ford's Colony.  We'll visit often.
(Doris and Kirby, you have been warned.)
Our guest room had its own en suite bathroom; how swanky is that?
In our house even the master bedroom doesn't have its own bathroom!

We had lunch Saturday in Merchant's Square, at Berret's Seafood Restaurant.
She-Crab Soup and some kind of special-of-the-day sandwich that I cannot remember
because the deliciousness of the soup has totally wiped out my recall of any other food at that lunch.
She Crab Soup is "she" because there is roe in it.  Tell your kids that and you'll get to eat their soup as well.
At Berret's the server asks if you want a drizzle of dry sherry atop your soup.  Yes, please.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my supermarket potted hyacinths are going all rebel on us.
They look innocent enough, sitting here this morning getting a good bath and watering in the kitchen sink.
 But looks can be deceiving.
They are making a break for it, going over the wall, busting out of their dirt prisons.
They are climbing out of their pots; you can see their nekkid bulbs! 
What gives?
Am I going to come downstairs some morning to find them frolicking, rootless and free, all over the kitchen?  Ordering pizza online?  Making long distance phone calls to second cousins in The Netherlands?  Liberating the asparagus from the vegetable drawer because they are distant relations?  Pointing at one another and giggling, "You smell!"?

Whew!  It's Friday, my friends.  Tomorrow Howard and I head for the beach house, as the painting contractor begins on Sunday (yes, Sunday!).  I'll spend a good chunk of next week watching paint dry out there, and don't know if I will have any internet access at all, but I'll try!  -- Cass

Friday Link Parties!
Show and Tell, at My Romantic Home.   Click here!
Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.  Click here!
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage.  Click here!
Furniture Friday at Miss Mustard Seed.  Click here!


  1. The crab soup looks delicious and Ilove the chairs! Beautiful hyacinths too!....Christine

  2. So much to see in this post. Love the chairs and can't wait to see what fabric you choose for reupholstery. Those exuberant hyacinths really are kinda creepy, makes you wonder what they used for potting soil and fertilizer that makes them want to gad about the house? They are so pretty, though, we'll forgive them for being adventurous.

  3. Fun post, Cass!! The chairs are terrific...I want to see what you cover them in. My husband had drapes made in that flame fabric for our house when he first moved in {he bought it before we married} and I couldn't wait to replace them! Definitely 1986! I'm so glad you had a great visit with your brother, it sounds like it was a lot of fun. We tried She Crab soup in Charleston and LOVED it!

    I hope you have a good weekend. It's exciting, the progress you are making on your beach house! Keep us posted!


  4. It is hard to find fabulous fretwork...I just like that word. Those chairs are beautiful please do not fret {hehe} over the fabric. Have a lovely weekend♥O

  5. Love the chairs and Williamsburg. We were there about a year ago on our way to DC, but it was so HOT that day, didn't even want to walk around much, which must have been baad since I love old places and that place is the ultimate!
    I'd love to see the chairs in a paisley print, or maybe oriental to go with the fretwork? Can't wait to see what you pick!

  6. I have one similar chair (only have Queen Anne legs) and I love it -- don't have room for another but I do like the style. Lucky you and a great find. I've always admired Williamsburg (you should see my shelf of Williamsburg books) but have never been. And now you have relations there ---does Kirbey and Doris accept other company?

  7. I've been reading your blog for a month or two now and have enjoyed it very much. I just bought an old house although not as old as your old house. Mine is a 1929 Dutch Colonial in pretty good shape structurally but I have a long list of things I want to change. It is fun to see and hear what projects others are doing. I just had to comment on this post as clever as it is. I love the chairs and had to laugh about the dust because I just brought home a table today that had it own dust issues. Looking forward to seeing photos of the house after the painting is done and also the chair makeover. Hope you enjoy watching that paint dry.

  8. Oh you got 2 great chairs, and they will always remind you of your trip and family visit.

  9. Isn't there some rule that if it comes from Williamsburg it must be covered in toile? Actually, a few years ago Waverly put out a toile of scenes in Colonial Williamsburg. If you could find some of that wouldn't it tie in nicely as a memory of your trip?

  10. Hi there Cass- Frick and Frack are great finds and they will look wonderful when you are done with their makeovers! Sounds like a fun trip~ thanks for sharing at FNF! :)

  11. Judging from the date of this post, you and I were enjoying she crab soup the same day ... me down in a southern seaport called Charleston. I love your new chairs...and now makes me miss a chair in my childhood home, I'm wondering where it went and who got it. Yours will be lovely I'm sure.

  12. Just sitting here still smiling from your description of the renegade hyacinths. Thanks for my laugh of the day.


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