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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dinner In The Library At That Old House

Only . . . Dinner is not in the Library because A) we don't have a Library, and B) I could call our Study a "Library," but there still wouldn't be a table in it.

So what we have is our Dining Room pinch-hitting for a Library. If I were going to set a table for two in a library, it might look like this. . . .

I'm joining in Tablescape Thursday, at Susan's Between Naps On The Porch blog, and also hooking up with Tales from Bloggeritaville, for Leigh's Thrifty Thursday party! Just click on the highlighted words, or on the icons at the bottom of the post, to flit on over to these great, fun blog parties.


Yesterday I moseyed on down to my daughter Anne's college, where she is in graduate school. She wrapped up her day at 5pm, and we headed off to Goodwill; Anne needed to shop for some pieces for a play she is costuming.

On the way we stopped at Dollar Tree. Need I say more?

Here, tucked at the end of our dining room table
(so you can't see the dishes waiting to be put away at the other end -- reality check!)
is a Tablescape for Two.
(Another reality check; that poor ivy plant is half dead. Ivy doesn't thrive indoors.)

We can dine by candlelight, although that
makes it hard to read the books in the library. :-)

What's in it? I popped the pieces into a mosaic.

And they are . . .
**Dollar Tree dishes; they were in the Christmas aisle, but they don't look particularly Christmas-y to me.
**Dollar tree tea light holders; I have seen these on other blogs, and I am such a copy-cat.
**The white porcelain "parakeet" I featured yesterday, a Giveaway win. Here.
**A couple of boxes that look like books.
**Dollar Tree placemats and napkin rings; I love the khaki and red together.
**T.J. Maxx bowls.
**Home Goods napkins.
**Crystal Pilseners -- can't remember where we got them, but they pre-date my dedictated thrifting days, so they may have come from (gasp!) a regular retail store.
**And my trusty century-old Georgian pattern silverplate, from Ebay.

Oh! Almost forgot. That candleholder, the one that looks like mercury glass with
a twisted glass stem? $2 at Goodwill. There were two for sale.
Ask me why I didn't take the second, and I can't give you a good answer.

That's it!

I know I didn't need those red and white plates, but aren't they adorable? -- Cass

P.S. I am taking a week off from blogging; see you October 3rd unless I can squeeze in a quick post now and then. Play nice while I am gone! ;-)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mystery Outdoors, Gratitude Within, Sunday Favorites!

I am taking advantage of Sunday Favorites, hosted by Chari of Happy To Design blog. That means I get to re-publish a post from the past. This time, it's a post from the very recent past -- last Wednesday, in fact. And I'm not really republishing... but adding the link.

I'm taking a break from blogging for about a week. Have a good week, everyone! -- Cass

Do you think these poor little green tomatoes will ever reach their goal of being nice, big, red, fat juicy grownups? I have my doubts.

They are proud to be part of Outdoor Wednesday, hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer. Go visit for more Outdoor Posts, just click!

Welcome to Wednesday at That Old House.
It's a day for Mystery, and Thanks.


Gratitude first.

Shouldn't it always be that way?

I owe humble apologies to Tam of The Gypsy's Corner, for being so slow in acknowledging her wonderful Giveaway. I opened it late; it arrived here last month, and in the flurry of moving Anne to her new apartment, it was mistakenly put in the Pink Bedroom. It took me awhile to find it, but oh my it was so wonderful when I did!

Open it with me. . . .

Don't you love to just see a big ol' pile of peanuts?

And a charming note from the charming Tam!

It all came packed in the loveliest box that just happens to be the exact
right colors for my bedroom! The box says "Dream" -- how appropriate.

Can you believe how generous Tam was?
I can't believe she managed to put so much into one box; the girl's got mad packing skills.
So many wonderful things!

Individually. . . a wonderful white porcelain bird which I believe is a parakeet;
I adore parakeets and have owned several. Okay, I know it's not a parakeet, but to me it is.

Black and white toile potholder and oven mitt -- too pretty to use. A candle -- lovely fresh scent -- and the most beautiful matches to light it. A charming little glass bottle, with a crown on it. See, Howard? Tam knows I am a Queen!

Then, a print that is so perfect for our hall bath that I cannot believe it.
And ...drum roll please... chocolate! Feast your eyes. (Sorry, no chocolate feasting; they're mine!)

If you haven't visited Tam at The Gypsy's Corner, well . . . you should! It's a delightful blog, very well done, with excellent pictures. And Tam hosts one of my very favorite blog parties ... her Three Or More Tuesdays! I have blogged about trios of everything from big white ironstone pitchers, to pets, to French guys named Pierre! Join the party next week, ok?

As they used to say on the Ginsu knife infomercials... But wait! There's more!

I have two more wonderful ladies to thank.

The first is Renee of the beautiful and informative Cottage Lifestyle blog. Renee is an amazing writer; on her blog are links to articles she has written -- loads of information on decorating, thrifting, organizing, junking, creating . . . all that stuff we hold so dear! Renee's blog is a wonderful resource. And great eye candy, too.

Renee sponsored a Giveaway about 3 weeks ago, and it was unique:
you got to choose a beachy watercolor print from the talented Sara Tetley.
Well. Well. Well.
I am a seaside girl from the days my Daddy would strap me to the seat of the old rowboat,
bring along diapers and a bottle of formula, and take me flounder fishing.
I am not kidding; he did that will all the babies.

I looked at Sara's Etsy shop, and fell in love with her images. This is what I grew up with -- little summer houses with their horizontal siding, their exposed rafters, their tiny rooms and nooks, the shutters that were only down for hurricanes, and after Labor Day.

I chose one. And here it is, still in its protective sleeve
because I'm not going to take it out until I get it framed --

Isn't it beautiful?
I am awed by anyone who paints in watercolors. They are so difficult!

Don't you just want to go inside this cottage? I feel I know exactly what it would look like.

Sara sent me such a lovely note; she's a delight. She is so sweet she even wrote "Please do not bend" on the envelope. I just always put "Do Not Bend." I wonder if the postmen respond better if you say, "Please?"

You can visit Sara's shop for yourself and see her charming and dreamy watercolors.
They are affordable, signed, and I can tell you that the quality is excellent.
Click here!

Sara sent me a couple of business cards; she has a place she rents
in Beaufort, South Carolina, one of the loveliest coastal towns in the USA.
Hmmm.... vacation next year?

I haven't had the print framed yet. I am not sure where I will put it. Maybe in the beach house, but not until next summer. Right now it is sitting on my printer, where I can see it from my computer perch. I used to have some of Annie's fashion drawings propped there, but they have been displaced.

I think I may need a second Sara Tetley print, don't you?
Say Yes.

Many, many thanks to Tam, Renee, and Sara for their kindness and generosity.
My apologies for not posting about these wonderful windfalls sooner.
If you haven't already, please visit these terrific and generous women. I'm sure glad I did.

Now, about that mystery mentioned in the title.

Several months after we bought That Old House in the Spring of 2008, I noticed some carving on a stone in the old wall outside, next to the steps. Can you see it? The top stone, the big one.

For more than a year, I'd stop every once in awhile and try to figure out what the words were. I couldn't get it. Then, one day last week, I was coming back from a walk with Dion, late afternoon, and the low sun just hit the stone the right way and I clearly saw the second word: Tuttle.

Tuttle. Aha. This house is known to the local historical societies as The Tuttle House.

The Tuttles didn't build it; I think they married into the original family, but they were here a long time. Tuttles are still in this area, and are also prominent in the Eastern Long Island community where our family has a beach house. The name is spelled both Tuttle and Tuthill.

I still couldn't get the first word. I told Howard, who by the way had never noticed the chiseled letters, and he took one look at it and said, "Oh, it says Robert." And son of a gun, so it does.

Now I am going to find out who Robert Tuttle was; I believe a Robert Tuttle was born in this town in 1900 but I don't know if he is my Robert Tuttle.

Maybe I should get a handwriting analyst to tell me if he was the comedian who wrote Hunger on the wall of our cellar in red paint!

Whew! Off to have dinner with Annie, and visit the Goodwill Store near her campus. Have a lovely Wednesday! -- Cass

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Welcome Fall Party -- Darn It

Yes, it galls me, but I have to bow to the calendar. It really is Fall now. I'm waving the white flag of Summer Surrender, and celebrating the good in this Season.

(New Jersey) - Pumpkin Garland Runs Amuck - Tries to Strangle Dime Store Scarecrow!

In Monday's post, I asked your opinion about draping a garland of teeny pumpkins and squash over our fireplace mantel as part of the new Fall decorations. (Click here.)

The little punkin chain lost the informal poll.

I agree; they just didn't look quite right dangling in front of the mantelpiece. I tried swagging them up in the middle, but no. . . still not quite right.

So today we'll see if they can fit in anywhere else, as That Old House joins
Rhondi's Welcome Fall party at her Rose Colored Glasses blog.

I'll be using Three Or More things I found in the house to decorate my pie safe;
how's that for fitting into Tam's Three Or More Tuesday party at The Gypsy's Corner?

Click on any of the highlighted words, or the icons, to visit these parties
and these two lovely blogs and see what other folks are featuring today.


The pie safe in the conservatory began life probably in the mid 19th century, homemade by someone with more need than time; it is not finely done. But I'm sure it saw good use in someone's kitchen, keeping varmints out of the food.

It was my Mom's; I brought it here two weeks ago. (Click here.)

My husband believes it will be filled with pies; he has a rich fantasy life.

To celebrate this brand new season, I began with early apples
from a New Jersey orchard, on a white platter I got at a thrift shop this summer.

Added a plum-and-pewter candleholder, a gift from my friend Betsy.
I love the reds and golds and oranges of autumn,
but I like to also bring in that rich plum of fallen leaves and ripe fruit.

An old vanity jar full of sedum blossoms, plucked from the border.

And a little old pitcher, an Ebay score.

There. I like it.
Let's add a goofy scarecrow

and a bittersweet wreath balanced on the windowsill.

That window is at the foot of our back stairs and gives light from the sunroom onto the landing.

For Halloween, a little stack of Jack'O'Lanterns would be nice.

Oh my.
Look who showed up.
The scarecrow doesn't look pleased.

Sorry, fellas. You don't belong here either. . .

Nor here.

Nor here.

Nor here.

This could get old.

OK. You can stay on the cupboard until your father gets home
and we decide what to do with you.

I wanted to use that pumpkin tureen, way up there on top of the kitchen cupboard.

It's one of my favorite things, but it's too much trouble to wrestle it down and I'm afraid of dropping it on the tile floor. I'll wait till Howard gets home. He won't need to stand on a chair. I hate to stand on chairs.

Our grapes are ready.
We've been harvesting them over the last couple of days. My dad helped on Sunday, but he ate as many as he put in the bucket. I'm going to make Grape Jam, friends. Stay tuned. I don't promise success!

Tomorrow -- I am featuring some wonderful things I won in two giveaways, and am delighted to show off to you. Please come back! -- Cass

Monday, September 21, 2009

Autumn Arrives at That Old House -- Mosaics and A Metmorphosis

It is the last day of Summer.

I'd like to hang onto it, but. . . the grapes are ripe, the leaves are beginning to yellow, the tomatoes are staying green, and last night I was appalled when it was dark by 7:30.

Even I can't fight it. I'm tossing in the beach towel and welcoming Fall.

Some weeks back, I posted about not having done any decorating in the parlor; the mantel was usually bare, sometimes sporting a simple vase of garden or supermarket flowers. Or, all too often, the empty vase of flower water and a few fallen blossoms:

Pretty pathetic, huh? Yeah, you can say it.

So with the onset of the new season, I fished around in my
"Fall Decor"storage boxes to see what I could find.


It's Metamorphosis Monday; thank you, Susan, for your hosting (hostessing?) of this terrific blog party at the equally terrific Between Naps On The Porch blog.

Click on any highlighted words or the icon to visit Susan's blog and see other entries.

I hope you stick around -- I would like your opinion on something!

For Mary at the lovely and elegant Little Red House, who hosts Mosaic Monday, I've put the parlor mantel into two collages. Mary's own mosaic today is particularly nice; I want to walk into it.

One of my mosaics is supposed to look very casual, as if you've just recklessly tossed the photos
and voila! they landed in perfect artless grace. Yeah, that's what I did. . . .

The other is more regimented.
The pictures stop clowning around and behave themselves.

Well, it ain't perfect, but it is an improvement over smelly flower water and dead petals.

Oh dear . . . another of my reality moments; the dust cloths are casually draped over the
arm of the wing chair, exhausted after their unaccustomed labor. Oops.

Closer looks:
My old hurricanes, with chunky candles perched on pewter candlesticks.
A pottery pumpkin -- can't remember where I got it.
The glass pumpkin at the other end -- a gift from my brother Lindy and his wife Carol.
A runner of old lace, from my Mom.

A swag of faux magnolia leaves (I think) and fruits and berries, to which I added some random glass-glittered fruit.
I've had this swag since 2002 and it's the first time I used it.

And now. . . this:

It's cute, but, well, kitschy -- a long string of tiny fake pumpkins and squashes; not any attempt to make it seem real. I draped it around the decorations, but ... I can't make up my mind.

Here's both ways --

With the phake pumpkin garland

Without the phake pumpkin garland

And there you have it.

I will leave you with a visit from a tiny friend,
who is inspecting our conservatory roof. . . and mooning us!
I'm not sure what he's finding up there, but he and his buddies are visiting every day.

Have a lovely last day of Summer. Sigh. Till June, then -- Cass