Today is my birthday! I am now 56 years years old, teetering at the top of the 50s hill about to roll down the other side. As I begin my descent, I must admit that the first half of my 50s was a bit challenging. So when I blow out the candles at dinner with my family this evening, you can be sure I'll be wishing for smooth sailing during its second half and beyond.
A while back, John asked me what I wanted for this birthday. My answer: Not a single thing. You see, I have everything I could have ever hoped for — a loving family, wonderful friends, the cottage of my dreams — and most important, my health.
How grateful I am to have this day. As a breast cancer survivor, each and every day is a gift. What more could I possibly ask for?
A couple of mornings ago, John and I headed off to the Elephant's Trunk Flea Market. The weather was sublime and we enjoyed waking the aisles in the Sunday sunshine. I wanted to find some home decor items for our new living room, but we weren't able to come across anything that said "Take me home!" However, I did buy a couple of things for our kitchen, shown below: a pair of Shawnee Pottery salt and pepper shakers in the perfect shade of aqua, and a copy of The Basic Cook Book from 1947. I really like its simple, clean cover design.
As you may have noticed, I like to display books facing out on shelves all around my home. And old cook books with interesting covers are always fun to have around the kitchen. Not only do they look great and add a bit of vintage charm, they have useful tips and provide insight into how foods were prepared in the past.
I found The Basic Cook Book from a friendly dealer who was selling off her late father's collection. He was once a chef and had amassed an impressive array of culinary literature over the years. Thanks to his hard work, I was able to purchase an instant collection of eight of his cook books, below.
These appetizing treasures will make an appearance in my Etsy shop very soon. Until then, you can find the two cook books for children, below, in my shop. Both are classics and are a great way to introduce kids to cooking. Plus, their sweet covers make them irresistible.
When pretend kitchen play is preferred, I am offering my 1950 Marx Modern Toy Kitchen Set for sale. Found at the Wellfleet Flea Market on Cape Cod last summer, I was thrilled to find a complete set with stove, fridge, broom closet, sink, dishwasher and storage shelves. Plus, it has retained all of its plastic door handles, knobs, faucet, utensil rack, sink basin, dishwasher tub, pots, pans, dishes, ice cube trays, tea kettle, canisters, cooking tools and flatware. There is even a red plastic turkey and a t-bone steak!
I've so enjoyed this toy kitchen, but I can't keep everything. So now you can find it in my Etsy shop HERE.
Happy cooking . . . or playing . . . or both!
P.S. Almost forgot to mention — we saw them filming an episode of HGTV's Flea Market Flip while at the Elephant's Trunk. Pretty cool!
This past week, it felt great getting back to sewing. I haven't done any projects since before we moved last fall, so this was a good test to see how well my studio's sewing area is set up.
My red vintage kitchen table is perfect for my sewing machine and the Hoosier cabinet's pull-out tabletop affords me even more room to work. So I was able to create five new pennant banners in no time at all.
While sewing, I listened to an audio book, At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson. I need to read it for my book group next week and it's been hard to find time to devote to it. A truly enjoyable book; here's what Amazon has to say about it: With his signature wit, charm, and seemingly limitless knowledge, Bill Bryson takes us on a room-by-room tour through his own house, using each room as a jumping off point into the vast history of the domestic artifacts we take for granted. As he takes us through the history of our modern comforts, Bryson demonstrates that whatever happens in the world eventually ends up in our home, in the paint, the pipes, the pillows, and every item of furniture.
Listening to Mr. Bryson was great as it made my sewing time so much happier. I was even able to photograph and list my new creations in my Etsy shop. These pennant banners are fun to hang wherever you want a spot of color and whimsy… in your studio, craft space, office, bedroom — anywhere!
In a small home like ours, taking down a few walls can make a world of difference. What was once a tiny dining room, narrow kitchen, and sliver of a family room is now one large space that's bright and inviting. This newly configured open area runs the entire width of the house. That means that while at the kitchen sink, I can see the sunrise in the morning. And from the family room window, I view the sun setting across our front lawn. Plus, the abundance of windows has provided refreshing breezes this spring. Another perk: the family room's original stone fireplace can now be seen from the kitchen and dining room.
Enough talk — here's a tour! I think the pictures speak for themselves.
Embedded in the fireplace mortar is a 1935 penny, shown below. Our home was built in 1925, so perhaps this was left as a clue as to when the fireplace was added. Love it!
Within the first few moments of stepping inside, that tiny penny was just one of many details that immediately sold me on our endearing cottage, sweet cottage.