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Sunday, October 31, 2010


A little atmosphere, please.
After all . . . it is Halloween! 

 . . . and . . .


That Old House is haunted by some charming ghosts, including this one . . . 3-year old Annie, in her beloved "Maid Marion" costume.

19 years ago.
How did that happen?

This adorable little girl (and I am not the least bit biased in that judgment), is now a grown-up graduate student.

Seriously, when did that happen?

Actually, it's I who am haunted.
Not That Old House!

I hope we get at least a few
Trick Or Treaters at our door today.

We'd be happy to see them!

We're not so scary.

Truly, we're not.

And as I said . . . we have some of the
most charming ghosts.  Just ask our Rudy,
all dolled up in a witch cookie hat:

BOO!  -- Cass

P.S.  thank you for the good wishes and prayers for my Dad.  He had to go back to the hospital yesterday, but was not admitted and is back home today and doing better.  Please forgive me for not commenting on so many of your blogs -- I am snatching time to read but time's been tight this week -- not much commenting.  I hope things settle down now.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Good News! and Some Pretty Pictures

Thank you for your kind wishes and prayers for my father. 
He is coming home from the hospital today; crisis averted.

And that's always the best crisis - the one that doesn't occur.

So since I'll be heading out soon to spring him from the clink, I'm just going to share some pictures Howard took last spring at the East Jersey Olde Towne Village.  If you are ever cruising through Piscataway on River Road, you should stop in.  And after seeing these pictures, you probably will.


Olde Towne is a collection of, well, old New Jersey houses, representing a couple of hundred years of local architecture.  It's a lovely small grouping, very peaceful, and a great place to stop and have your egg salad sandwich and coffee when you are too early for your afternoon visit with your daughter at a nearby school.  

This is my favorite house:

 But there's something wonderful about all the structures.


 Olde Towne is one of those well-kept museum secrets;
even most New Jerseyans don't know it lurks behind the hedges along River Road.

Go visit if you have a chance.
You may find me on a park bench, having that egg salad sandwich.

You'll have to bring your own.

Have a lovely weekend!  -- Cass

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Quiet Lunch In An October Parlor

There is a temporary halt in the kitchen painting at That Old House; yesterday I had to take my father to the hospital, and he will probably be there for several days.  Which means I'll be there a great deal of the time.

My Dad is 90, and I ask for your good wishes and prayers for his recovery.
So I'm cheating and re-cycling a Tablescape from last October; it's oddly warm here this week but let's pretend it's windy and chilly, and all those other good things that October is supposed to be.


 (From October 7, 2009)

It's Thursday!  That Old House is jumping into the Tablescape Thursday blog party, hosted by Susan at Between Naps On The Porch.  Head on over for more table settings.

At That Old House, it's chilly and windy -- a real October day.  Welcome. . . .

That Old House has a split personality.

On one side of her center hall are what we could call our family spaces --
the kitchen, pantry, study, conservatory, and the back (kitchen) stairs.

On the other side of the hall are what we could call our company spaces --
the dining room, parlor, front entry and main staircase.

You notice I said, we could call. . . .   because I don't.  Call them that, I  mean.  All of the rooms in That Old House are both family and company spaces.

While the dining room and parlor are a little more formal, we use them every day, even if it's just a matter of setting the dining table for two at suppertime, making sure I use the front stairs as well as the kitchen stairs, or having lunch or afternoon coffee by the fireplace.

And that's what I'm going to do today -- set a table for one in the parlor.

My first attempt . . . . eh.

 I didn't want Mr. Rooster on the table;
I wanted to use a cheery sunflower tea pot my daughters gave me years ago:

I like how it looks on the table; it would be toting coffee if this were indeed lunch.

A candle in a lantern provides a little warm glow for a chilly day:

The lantern is a freebie; my daughter Alida worked one summer as a waitress at a local country club, and these lanterns were used to decorate tables at a wedding.  They were left behind.  What good daughter of a thrifter would not take one home?

The rooster plate is from Marshall's. . . in Hollywood!

Howard and I had to kill some time in Hollywood last week, before meeting Alida and her boyfriend for a taping of The Big Bang Theory. . . which we got shut out of, but them's the breaks.
Luckily there was a Marshall's near the In'N'Out Burger where we had dinner.

Underneath the rooster is one of the Dollar Tree aqua plates from this past summer.

I love those aqua and blue plates.

My long time everyday stainless, by Pfaltzgraf, works for lunch for one.

I can take a seat on the sofa, and enjoy my Autumn decor on the mantelpiece.
And if I look in the other direction. . . .
I am using a very old linen napkin, monogrammed with an elaborate "C" -- but I have to be careful;
it's so old that the very fine faggoting around the hem is separating:

I really should fix that, shouldn't I?  I dare not launder this piece till I do.

Now for a few details:

And ... a moment of reality.  The Awful Truth.
(And for once it is not dust, although you can find that, too, if you look hard enough.)
When we left for California, I had a little stone mustard pot of garden mums on the mantel;
I forgot it there.  Now I have this on the mantel:

They are more dead than they look in the picture, I fear.

I could be Morticia Addams' gardener.

Happy Autumn!   -- Cass

PS..... The glass and ceramic pumpkins on the mantelpiece are missing this year; 
we can't find all the "Autumn" boxes.  Are our ghosts getting frisky again?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

There's More To Life Than Painting -- There's eBay And Goodwill

It isn't all cans of paint and rolls of wallpaper here at That Old House.
One must make time to feed one's thrifting soul . . . .

This past weekend, the Goodwill Industries stores in New Jersey
marked all housewares and pictures at 50-percent off.

Sadly, I only got to one GW, and that one on Sunday, but it was well worth my while.
Also worth my while, my annual Fall eBay search for vintage linens.

Grab a cup of tea, while I show you what my few bucks bought.

Four vintage pillowcases with beautiful handwork embellishment, and a linen table runner with amazing filet crochet trim.  Each piece:  99-cents on eBay, all from the same seller so she combined shipping and charged me just $3 to ship it all.

One pillowcase with knitted lace:

A second knitted lace pillowcase:

 A hand-embroidered pillowcase:

I fiddled with this picture, below, so you could see the beautiful work.
I think it was originally done in blue floss, but the blue has faded to near-white over time:

Last pillowcase -- lovely heavy old percale, with sturdy crochet trim:

Now, about that table runner:

Ecru linen, worn tissue thin with use and washing:

Beautiful ecru crochet cotton work -- loads of filet crochet of roses, in perfect shape.

My plan for this dear old piece is to layer it with another piece of linen to reinforce the very vulnerable original linen, and then to -- maybe! -- cut it in half across the middle, and make sweet curtains for the window above my kitchen sink.  My heart shrinks from cutting it, but it can't be used as is without endangering the seams holding it together or actually tearing the linen.

If I'm brave, I'll show you the results!

Next from eBay, different seller, 5 perfect vintage table napkins, 22" square, for $2.99.  60-cents apiece.

Here's a hint to getting excellent bargains on eBay or even at brick-and-mortar resale shops:
buy odd numbered groupings.

5 napkins sells for far less than 6 napkins.
1 pillowcase is a steal.  2 matching pillowcases?  Definitely not a steal.
7 sells for less than 8, etc. . . you get the idea.

 Now, what about Sunday at Goodwill?

 I am always on the lookout for bowls, and found a really nice, perfect, maroon colored one,
definitely meant for the holidays, but I put a pothos in it because I always have more plants than cachepots.

At 50% off -- $1.00.

 A 15-inch long silverplated serving dish caught my eye.

 It has grapes and vines, and we love grapes and vines here at That Old House.
Because of our real grapes and vines!

 A wee bit of tarnish on the Art Nouveau style handles. . . .
 It even has grapes on its little backside!
 $2.00 for the tray.  Score!

Last Thursday I used pewter in a tablescape, and
decided that for Thanksgiving this year I'd use pewter candlesticks on my table.
And since I'm having trouble locating all my pewter candlesticks, I felt lucky to find these at GW:

$3.00 for the pair.  Sweet.

And if you are still with me, I salute you.
Sorry for such a marathon post!

My last GW bargain:

This is a large piece of crewel embroidery.
It's a Jacobean style, and I think it may be a pattern from a Williamsburg kit.
It is gorgeously and meticulously done.

It was professionally framed once upon a time in Texas;
how it ended up in New Jersey will remain a mystery.

It is self-matted, with a very plain and now-scuffed wood frame.

I am not sure what I'm going to do about the frame, but I'll think of something.
I just could not leave this lovely piece of needlework leaning up against the wall at the back of GW . . .
especially not for $6.00.

It would make a beautiful pillow, but clearly the stitcher wanted it protected and not sat upon,
so I'm going to keep it framed, as she wished.

It's bad enough that I might be cutting up some other woman's linen table runner!


I've linked to 3 sweet linky parties today.
Check them out, below!  -- Cass

Visit Tam at The Gypsy's Corner for Three or More Tuesday.  Click here!
Linda at Coastal Charm hosts Nifty Thrifty Tuesday.  Click here!
 Bonnie at House of Grace is hosting her Twice Owned Tuesday Party.  Click here!

Thanks for visiting!  It's back to the paint cans for me: Thanksgiving looms!