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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Summertime Suppertime

Sometimes I cheat.
Not on taxes or anything trivial like that, 
but on important stuff like blog posts.

In wanting to share a summertime table setting with you,
I dove back into the Time Machine and pulled pictures
from a hundred years ago.  Or July 2009, if that's more believable.

Last night, my daughter Anne and I watched the 2003 movie
Something's Gotta Give on television.  I'd never seen it before.
Cute film, but honestly?
I watched it because the kitchen in the film's Hamptons house is a decorating icon; 
people are still asking for kitchens that look like the one in that ten-year old film.

Do you ever watch a movie or television show because you want
to see the architecture or the interiors?  I do.  All the time.

The shingled exterior of Diane Keaton's house is a real Hamptons house,
but the interiors are all soundstage sets.
And pretty gorgeous ones, at that.


All the colors in the movie house are taken from sea, sky, shells, and sand.
Beiges, whites, and blues.

Those are the colors I used for this tablescape, four years ago,
in our sunroom here in New Jersey.  Nowhere near the shore!


What I used:
Old hotel silverplate flatware
Dollar Tree wineglasses
Dollar Tree dinner plates and bowls in blue and aqua
Dollar Tree votive candleholders
Clearance table sand-colored heavy cotton tablecloth
Old Syracuse restaurant china salad plates, from my Mom's collections
Vintage linen luncheon napkins in pale aqua, eBay
A wee little sugar and creamer and little plates, with shells, a gift from my friend Betsy

And this fellow:

Probably nearly 40 years ago, my girlfriend-since-Kindergarten Mardi and I found 
this ceramic fish at an arts show on the dock in Greenport Village, on eastern Long Island.
We bought it for my parents to keep at their beach house, which now belongs to me and my siblings.
Be careful what you buy your parents, young'uns.  You never know when it will end up in your house!

Wow!  These pictures are so old, the walls in the sunroom were still
painted in that gold color; now they are a lovely creamy biscuit color.
Kind of like . . . sand!

Happy Summer!  Don't throw in the (beach) towel on the season just yet.
There's lots of beautiful days ahead, lots of corn and tomatoes
still to eat, lots of swimming or boating still to do . . . .
even though the trees at That Old House began losing a few leaves today.
What a revoltin' development.  -- Cass

Link Parties
At Cuisine Kathleen, it's Let's Dish!  Click here.
It's Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps On The Porch CLICK!
Join the Thursday Favorite Things blog party at
Katherine's Corner.  Click here!

Picture Postcard Perfect

Okay, I know it's not Spring.
But the Summer flowers are slumping,
and since nothing makes me happier than seeing
flowers that look like they are wearing their
very best over-the-top party dresses . . . . 

Four gorgeous Irises, that once upon a time,
from 2009 to this past May,
bloomed merrily, if briefly, in our borders.

Do you think they'd make pretty postcards?
"Greetings from the gardens at That Old House."

Or, more accurately,
"Greetings from the scraggly borders at That Old House!"

Is any flower more gloriously party-dress pretty
than the rugged iris?  They amaze me, every year.
Buried in blizzards, doused in spring torrents,
persecuted by chipmunks and squirrels,
they still prevail.

Amazing.  What's your favorite flower?  -- Cass

Blog Parties!
A Haven For Vee, for the August Note Card Party.
A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Bundle of Estate Sale Bargains

I don't know about your neck of the woods,
but around these parts, estate sales are rarely
held on a Tuesday.  Today was an exception.

Ridgewood, New Jersey, is a village in Bergen County
with fabulous - and I do mean fabulous - old homes.

All eras.  All styles.  Nearly all gorgeous.

I can stalk these houses for hours.
 Street after street of beautiful homes.

So when the website told me that there was a 
one-day estate sale in Ridgewood . . . well, you know I was going to be there!

Especially since these were among the for-sales:
Drexel shield-back dining room chairs, 6 of them.

Howard and I had tried to win 8 Drexel shield backs at Sunday's auction, 
but got skunked.  So I thought, today's my chance!

But after I saw them, I decided no.
They were marked at $495 for all 6, but I could
have made an offer.  However, while they 
were lovely, they are not as heavy as the Drexel shield backs
we already own; I'll hold out to find their siblings, instead.

But I did get this at today's estate sale:
An old washstand, pine, nice patina and wear.
(The CD shelf does not go with it, lol.)
Heading for our antiques booth!

And also this:
A sack-back Windsor chair by S. Bent & Brothers, a Massachusetts maker
of fine furniture, especially Windsor chairs.  It's prettier in real life!
It will go to the booth, too.  It's reproduction, but really attractive.

And finally - a maple drop leaf, gateleg table.  No picture!
It will be pressed into duty at the booth to hold "smalls" and
all those things I have so much trouble finding room for.

I made an offer on all 3 pieces at once -- it's called "bundling," and if an estate sale
is amenable to bargaining (check first!), this is definitely a good way to do it.
I paid 65% of the asking prices by offering a single price for all three pieces.  It's a win-win;
I got a bargain, and the estate sale sold three pieces at once for fair prices.

And now I'm going to go wax my new old furniture, so it's all
ready for a trip down Route 287 tomorrow to Somerville Center Antiques.

I hope your Tuesday was as rewarding as mine.
And now, trot over to Coastal Charm blog, to join Linda
in her Nifty Thrifty Tuesday blog party.  Click here, now!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hands Up, If You Went To An Auction This Weekend!

Well, my hand is up, and it's danged hard typing
with only one hand on the keyboard.

An auction of household goods at a beautiful home in the 
western New Jersey countryside; how could we not go?

It explains the flatware bound up 
and being held hostage in my sunroom:

77 pieces of heavy, excellent condition Community Plate, pre-1920.
(You can tell by the knife blades.  They are silverplate.
After the First World War, knife blades were made in stainless steel.)

The pattern is called "Patrician" and was introduced by Oneida in 1914.
I think it's gorgeously sleek and contemporary, even today!

All pieces are monogrammed with either "M."

Or "R."  Most have the R monogram.

Although Howard thinks that it is a "B."

We'll humor him, and say, yeah, maybe.  Sure.  It could be a "B."

Other finds?  Peek into this plastic bag;
there's a twin size older matelasse bedspread and sham.

A dainty glass compote.

Two chunky glass candlesticks.
(I am keeping them.  Shhh . . . don't tell.)
I do not know why that ten dollar bill is there.  But it is mine.  Really.

A box of old Austrian china, with two covered vegetable bowls,
and a really neat gravy boat with attached plate.

A big box of linens, including several 
banquet-sized Irish damask cloths.
I darkened the picture to try and show the tablecloths more clearly.  They are brilliant white in "real life!"

One has oddly colored flowers that look rather blobby.
This is new to me.  Have you ever seen damask colored like this?

The only furniture: a mahogany muffin stand. 
How cute is he?
He just needs a quick waxing, and he'll be ready to hold
cupcakes and scones at tea, or display tureens,
or be home to lovely cascading pots of ivy.

We also got a watercolor landscape, a print that I bought for its frame,
a small lamp, a few more pieces of vintage silverplate flatware . . .
and I think that's it!  All in all, a good haul for our antiques booth
at Somerville Center Antiques.  Now I just need to find 
some way to display everything to advantage!

Happy Hunting, my friends.
Keep it thrifty, and OLD.  :-)  Like me.  -- Cass

P.S.  Come with me tomorrow to an estate sale, where I am stalking something that Howard and I hoped to get at Sunday's auction but were outbid; wish me luck that this time, I can get the prize(s).  And don't tell Howard.  Oh wait.  He can read.  Eh, he'll forget . . . .

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night - Dining With Al Fresco

You know Al Fresco.
He's the guy who always wants to have meals outside.  

Where bugs live, and wind blows,

and rain falls, 

and it gets dark.

Yeah, that guy.
He joined us for dinner on Sunday evening.

There were 7 of us at the table.  Plus Al, but he don't eat much.

We served grilled sausages, baked beans,
local corn-on-the-cob, grilled local zucchini, cole slaw,
and a dessert of oven-warm biscuits topped with
(local, of course!) peaches and blueberries, with whipped cream.

I forgot to take pictures of either people or food.

So all I have are some shots of the forlorn empty tables.

The weather Sunday evening was glorious,
and I figured I would take pictures in the morning.
Not realizing it would pour rain all night.

But on Monday night, I got shots of the table
with our fence lights lit.  

We haphazardly strung those lights after falling in love
with similar ones at our Hollywood rental cottage, back in April.
Howard in Hollywood, enjoying our patio.  With the ever-present Mr. Al Fresco.
Not many things translate well from Southern California to New Jersey,
but I found these lights at K-Mart, and had to have them.

I was going to do a Tablescape on Tuesday, but . . . it rained.

Kind of a lot.

This morning it was sunny and dry.
But . . . windy.  A big whoosh, and the umbrella
on the round table was lifted up, and off.  Totally.

So, things don't always work out the way you planned.
But trust me, we had fun Sunday night, and ate like wee little piggies.

The step into our sunroom, guarded by an attack rabbit.

Next time Mr. Fresco convinces us to haul
the china and the wineglasses outside,
I will try and remember to take some pictures.
But I wouldn't count on it . . . . Cass

Join me and lots of other outdoorsy types at 
Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer blog. 
 Click here!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

When Walls DO Talk

When we bought That Old House in the Spring of 2008, 
I had two days to choose the colors for the rooms.

Me and the Benjamin Moore fan decks got quite intimate.

Benjamin Moore's Classic Colors fan deck

It is so hard to make these decisions in a hurry.
I had a little guidance from some of the rooms themselves;
they had strong opinions about their colors.

Stick with me for this story . . . there is a point, I promise!

I tried hard to get the dining room to agree to be yellow,
even painting big patches of yellow on the walls,
but it insisted that it needed to be red.
And so it was.  And still is.
You shouldn't argue with these things.

The little upstairs guest room was clearly done with lavender,
and it became yellow.  
Because it said so.  It had to be.

And the upstairs hall bath?
As we found it.
It insisted on being Blue.

But not any old blue; it had to be just the right blue.

And I found it in the fan deck for Moore's Historic Colors.
Wythe Blue.
I adore this color.  If I ever need to paint myself, this is the color I'll use.

And so we come to last week, when the bathtub was replaced.

Down came the tub walls,
revealing old, old, old, very old wallpaper.

The wallpaper was blue.
But not any old blue; it was Wythe Blue.

Even my artist daughter Anne said, "That's the same blue!"

It's a little weird, what with all the other kinds of unexplained
things that happen around That Old House, that this room
should so clearly have spoken to me about its color.

As did the dining room, the yellow guest room,
the master bedroom, and the exterior of the house.

We bought an old yellow house
that I always pictured, in my mind's eye, as white.
Yellow house, green shutters.
Two years ago, when painters were scraping it, we discovered
that the bottom coat of paint, the original color, was indeed white.
And now it is again.

Back to its original white, and its original
ultra-dark green shutters and door trim.
Yup, that's green, not black!

I wouldn't call the past colors secrets of an old house,
but I do love getting a peek behind the walls of our old house.

Have a lovely Tuesday.
We are in for wonderful September-like weather this week.
Hooray!  -- Cass