Over the years, I have enjoyed sharing numerous family vacations with you as we traveled across the U.S., Canada and Europe. You may have noticed that we return to one place in particular every year without fail — our beloved Martha’s Vineyard.
The first time I visited MV was almost 32 years ago in the early days of dating John. He had a long history with this idyllic spot, the proof being the 8mm home movies his parents took of him as a baby there. It didn’t take long before I fell in love with both John and the island, and we soon started talking about how wonderful it would be to have a place of our own there someday. We married, had kids, and continued our annual pilgrimage. For fun, we’d peruse real estate listings and wonder if we would ever be able to afford anything. With two children to raise, house prices were always out of our reach. However, once our youngest graduated college in 2015, we became determined to finally make that vacation home a reality.
And now, I am thrilled to announce that after a long search, our dream of owning a house on Martha’s Vineyard has finally come true! We closed on this lovely little cottage two weeks ago and are so very happy and excited. We look forward to spending time there with family and friends this summer. But first, lots of work ahead to furnish it from top to bottom. I will surely relish every moment of it...
Although I never had one as a child, I’ve definitely made up for lost time when it comes to vintage toy sewing machines. These adorable relics are my Etsy shop’s best sellers. I have sold over 50 and sent them to all four corners of the globe!
Aren’t they adorable? My personal collection consist of three that I keep on display in my studio. They are KAYanEE Sew Master machines manufactured in Germany post WWII by the KAYanEE Impex Corporation of New York, N.Y.
Embellished with flower decals, they can be quite hard to find. However, those decals definitely elevate their cuteness factor.
Below is a small sampling of ones that have found new homes over the years.
Have you always wanted one of these charmers? If so, you’re in luck; I have a few for sale in my shop. The Pièce De Résistance is this one below made by Elm City Toy Products of West Haven, CT.
Called Little Lady, this toy sewing machine sports dark pink paint and is sprinkled with tiny cream, yellow and black flowers decals. You can find it in my shop here.
This last one is a Junior Model toy sewing machine that was manufactured by Gateway Engineering Company of Chicago IL. Although it has been well-loved, is sports a couple of special features. The wooden base is not a standard and must have been added by a handy father long ago. It also has a miniature red tomato pin cushion glued to the back right corner. Sew sweet!
In case you didn't know . . . I adore photography. Always have, always will. How nice that I get to share my favorite pics with you right here on The T-Cozy. Lucky me!
Here are some new shots for your viewing pleasure.
Our cottage looks extra cozy when covered in a blanket of snow.
Step inside. Want a cup of tea?
Our kitchen is bright and sunny. And just beyond it is my sweet little studio, also known as My Happy Place.
I can’t help but smile when I’m in here.
It has space for all of my crazy collections.
Needless to say, I have a weakness for things made from wood that are shaped like teapots.
My desk is chock full of vintage eye candy. This is where I work on listings for my Etsy shop.
I’ve spent this week listing valentines from the 1930s. Adorable.
My latest acquisition — three metal trays in the perfect shade of aqua. One is already in use as a message board in my kitchen. The other two are in my shop and come with four handmade button magnets.
It’s hard to believe that my 10-year blogiversary is this March. Wow! How did that happen? Whether you are a new reader, or one that has been with me for the long haul, my hope is that The T-Cozy has been a respite for you, a place to relax during your busy day and enjoy my quirky brand of home decor with a vintage twist.
I am ever grateful to you for being here. It has been an honor to provide you with decorating inspiration and to share my love of photography with you. Have you enjoyed what you’ve seen and read here? I do hope so.
There is something about a gray day that makes me want to hunker down and get creative. So on a cloudy Saturday morning, while John was out getting groceries, I began a crafty little project in my studio.
I’ve been wanting to transform a vintage mail caddy that I found a while back. It was already awfully cute, with three wooden pockets and a scallop at the bottom. But what really captured my heart was the writing on the back saying “Love, Dad, 1980.” So sweet that someone’s dad made this for them.
Time to start the project. I gathered my materials: Mod Podge, brushes, vintage postage stamps and a wonderful old letter dating back to 1945. Handwritten on airmail-weight paper, the letter’s wrinkly, translucent quality would allow stamps placed under it to show through.
First, I adhered a variety of stamps in spots; these are the ones that would be covered by the letter.
Next, I covered the entire front of the holder by decoupaging segments of the letter at different angles. Looking good so far...
I then adhered more postage stamps on top of the background. Finally, once everything was dry, I coated the holder with several layers of matte Mod Podge.
Ta-da! Presenting my spiffed up mail holder! Easy peasy and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. 😊
It has been a busy summer and it’s going by fast. Hard to believe that it is already mid-August.
On summer days when I’m not off traveling and spending time with family and friends, you can find me here...
A great way to start the day, especially because the window above my desk faces east and lets the morning sunlight stream in. After I check my email and do a bit of bookkeeping, I often head over to my work table for a little sewing project.
I am obsessed with cherries lately. So when I discovered vintage cherry-embellished fabric at a local estate sale, I knew just what to use it for...
... an itty bitty pennant banner. Isn't it adorable? If you, too, have a thing for cherries, this mini flag garland is for sale in my Etsy shop here.
Recently I found the prefect rug to protect the floor beneath my sewing chair. Lucy likes it, too. This sweet pooch belongs to Jacob and stayed with us in July. She’s a wonderful dog and we had lots of fun puppy-sitting.
There is something else new in my studio that I’m very excited about. Say hello to my brand new Janome sewing machine!
Although my aqua 1960s Singer is fabulous, it only sews a straight stitch forward and back. So it was time to get a machine with a few more bells and whistles. I spent a day last week reading the manual and getting to know my new machine. It sews like a dream. I think I’m in love!
With “back to school” days fast approaching, I decided to make a few composition book covers using my favorite 1970s floral textiles. Aren’t they pretty? They can be found for sale in my Etsy shop at this link.
This week’s project: throw pillows for Hannah’s new apartment.
Last week, the bright sunshine that flooded my studio motivated me to spend time working on a few fun projects.
First, I got out my old Singer sewing machine and fashioned a festive pennant banner from a vintage tablecloth with a Vera Neumann vibe. Then I used a bit of the remaining fabric and made an embroidery hoop art swatch portrait. This textile is sunshine personified!
It had been a while since I combed through my vast collection of vintage buttons. So out they came. Before long, I crafted sets of button magnets from translucent yellow flowers and added colorful carved buttons for the centers. Aren't they sweet?
These whimsical magnets would be a cheerful springtime addition to a fridge. Or place them on a metal tray, washboard or cookie sheet and you'd have an instant message board.
Since another of my handmade altered art globes sold last week, it was time to create a new one.
Using a vintage Replogle Land and Sea Globe, this one sports a gold metal stand with a Meridian band attached at the North and South Poles allowing the globe to pivot on its axis and adjust it to any angle.
My, how I love my studio! As I always say... everyone should have a little space that is all their own. Mine never fails to inspire.
Now I'm off to run errands. But before I go, I'd like to wish you all a Happy Spring!
Can’t we all use a little eye candy on a rainy Monday? Thought I’d start off this gloomy day sharing cheerful things that make my heart go pitter-pat. Enjoy!
I found these lovely old tea tins last week. Two sold lickey–split, I plan to keep a couple of them (for now), and one just made its Etsy debut HERE.
A stitchery picture on the wall in my studio features a garden overflowing with flowers. How I wish my cottage garden looked like that!
To me, there is nothing sweeter than vintage toy sewing machines. Shown are a few from my personal collection and some that have sold in my Etsy shop. (They sell super fast.) I still have a very cute one listed HERE. And an extra-fabulous one will make an appearance in my shop soon.
An array of colorful thread that belonged to my dear mom looks very happy stored in this rustic old drawer.
Sometimes all I have to do is walk into my studio and the ideas start flowing. It’s a special place that inspires me daily.
Vintage chenille bedspreads are the epitome of cozy cottage decor. I was thrilled to discover this rare peacock one at a local antiques mall. You can find it for sale in my Etsy shop HERE.
My studio’s vaulted ceiling afforded me space for this 13-foot-long storage shelf, the perfect spot for my collection of picnic tins. I love their different faux textures and patterns. Now all I have to do is look up — and smile. I hope I’ve made you smile today, too.
My studio was featured in Issue #22 of Love Sewing, the UK’s number one sewing magazine. This popular publication offers free monthly patterns, easy-to-follow step-by-step guides and instructions in using the latest fabrics to create contemporary accessories for your home, family and wardrobe, even with basic sewing skills. Each issue also has a Sewing Room Swoon article and I am thrilled to have my studio, and all of its vintage goodness, featured.
What an honor! Many thanks to Love Sewing editor Amy Thomas for including me in her lovely magazine.
Even though I am a morning person through and through, there is something about the fading light in late afternoon that I just love. When dusk approaches, I turn on a few small lamps in my studio that make the room feel extra cozy.
One of my newest acquisitions sits in a pool of light on my worktable: a 1956 Smith-Corona typewriter. Having sold similar machines in the past, I purchased it for my Etsy shop. I even found a brand new ribbon online, so now this relic works beautifully.
I really like its Art Deco styling, sage green color, and the clatter the keys make. Funny because this mid-century model is called the Silent-Super. Back in the day, maybe it was considered one of the quieter portable typewriters. It's fun to use and I find it endearing, so perhaps I will keep it around for a while.
I'm sorry to report that our former house is no longer. Its newest owners decided to tear it down to make way for what I'm sure will be quite the McMansion. Before it was demolished, my dear husband was determined to have a little piece of the home that sheltered us so well for 23 happy years. A few weeks ago, before the wrecking ball struck, he stopped by and boldly removed the old house numbers.
Shortly after, the house looked like this...
And before long, the house, and every last tree, were just a sweet memory...
Places get torn down at the drop of a hat where we live. It is often to be expected when properties change hands, particularly in neighborhoods near Long Island Sound (thanks, in large part, to Hurricane Sandy).
I must admit, it is sad that our kids can no longer drive by the old homestead and say "That's where I grew up." However, all of our wonderful memories remain — as well as the brass house numbers. Thanks, John! :)
On a cold fall day, there is nothing better for lunch or dinner than a steaming bowl of homemade soup. Today, John whipped up one of our favorites that I'd like to share with you: Lemony Lentil and Rice Soup.
The recipe is from 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson. This cookbook is filled with wonderfully healthy recipes that anyone will enjoy, vegan or not. As the soup sat simmering this morning, the whole house smelled amazing. I couldn't wait to eat it!
Please note that John has made a couple of adjustments to the recipe. He prefers to use vegetable broth instead of water and he replaces the uncooked beans with organic canned lentils that are already cooked.
Lemony Lentil and Rice Soup... hearty and oh so delicious. Enjoy!
Nothing cheers up a table (or me) like a beautiful vintage textile. Sporting bold, lively fruit and flower patterns, these relics always make me smile. Here is a little tablecloth eye candy to brighten up your day.
These tablecloths are 60 to 80 years old. They were made to last from sturdy cotton and printed with bold, colorfast dyes. I think it's safe to say... They don't make them like they used to!
On this day two years ago, we took ownership of our new home. Little by little, we have brought this neglected once-rental property back to life. Although it had its challenges, I found the renovation process fun, fascinating and so rewarding. I adore old houses. And now that I have had the chance to live in and transform one myself, I know just how thoroughly satisfying it can be.
Our biggest project began the moment we arrived: removing walls to create an open concept kitchen and family room. The original rooms, shown below, were long and narrow and shared a common wall.
It was exciting to open up the kitchen wall to reveal the family room's rustic stone fireplace. We relocated the kitchen along the back of the house and vaulted the ceiling to follow the existing roofline. Another wall was removed between the kitchen and dining room.
The finished rooms are exactly what I envisioned — a bright, open space where family and friends can enjoy cooking, eating and relaxing together.
We also carved out my studio from the closet-sized office and full bath/laundry room below. Combining these small spaces and vaulting the ceiling created a surprisingly roomy work space.
Chock full of my favorite things, this light-filled room is everything I hoped for in a studio, and more.
If you follow my blog, you know that these projects were just a few of what we did to revive our good-boned 1925 cottage. We renovated two bathrooms, replaced the roof, paved the driveway, refreshed the landscaping, installed new garage doors, refinished floors, removed menacing trees, tweaked the AC, heat and irrigation system and painted the deck, woodwork and every single wall.
Sounds crazy, right? Perhaps, and I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.
Over the past two years, it has been great fun decorating our cozy new cottage. My goal is to keep it open, clutter free and low maintenance, so I have been mindful to not fill up every nook and cranny. That isn't always easy for a collector like me, so I contain most of the collection craziness in my studio. As for the rest of the house, I have tried to keep it as simple and serene as possible.
We're almost at the point where our home feels truly done, with just a couple of large, empty walls needing attention. Over the summer, John and I have been going to outdoor art festivals and galleries looking for something within our budget; not as easy task. However, within the last month, we finally found two affordable oil paintings.
We discovered the first one at a local estate sale. Measuring 22 by 28 inches, its large size is perfect for the wall in our dining room. And its price? A mere $15! It was unframed and very grimy. I gently cleaned away the years of schmutz to reveal a sweetly primitive landscape with a cottage vibe.
We took it to a framing store and selected a chunky wooden frame to complement its colors. I love the result, even though the frame cost several times as much as the painting.
Our estate sale find now has a new home in the dining room. And with the open concept, it can be enjoyed from our family room and kitchen, as well.
The above photo will give you a good idea of our home's open layout. Shot while standing in the corner directly in front the painting, you can see our family room, kitchen, and even the door to my studio in the distance.
Another empty wall that needed attention was in Jacob's room. Our son has just begun a job teaching second grade in another city, so his room looked rather forlorn after he packed up his things.
We got lucky once again and found this colorful landscape at Goodwill for $25. I was pleased that it already had a wooden frame.
Here it is on the wall in Jacob's room. I love its peaceful composition and rich colors. Just right for the room, don't you think?
The photo, below, shows the sloping ceilings, dormer window and knee-wall storage characteristic of Cape Cod houses. Cozy goodness.
Time to go; John is calling me in for dinner. Enjoy your evening and the rest of the week. Have a wonderful Labor Day holiday weekend, too!
A dear friend stopped by my studio last week. She looked around and said, "Wow, wish my workroom looked like this!"
I love hearing that, especially when it comes from a creative soul who understands my studio's decor style. It consists of a happy mix of all things well-loved and colorful that share a common trait — the smile factor.
A collection of thread that belonged to my mother lives inside a doll dresser drawer; cheerful vintage tablecloths hang from a rustic old ladder; the cutest tin cart ever sits next to my lovely oak Hoosier cabinet. These grin-provoking relics inspire me daily.
Here are more whimsical things that make my studio a happy place . . .
When I sit down to write a blog post or create a new Etsy listing, I usually gaze at this fun array of items on my desk. Even my business cards live in a vintage dish in my favorite color — aqua!
And when I open my Hoosier cupboard, I'm greeted by a good-humored hodgepodge of Etsy items patiently awaiting new homes.
When out and about looking for things to sell, I only buy what truly delights me, such as the yummy items, below, destined for my Etsy shop.
My studio's lighthearted, not-too-serious collection of vintage goodness reminds me to relax and smile. How I relish that daily reminder.
P.S. Check out other inspiring workspaces at WeWork, a co-working resource for those in need of a collaborative space. It's always inspiring to see where creative people create!
I ❤️ Instagram! It is by far the perfect place for me to quickly share my love of all things vintage. Here is a small sampling of the 464 images shot by me that I've posted over the last seven months.
I post at least once a day, sometimes more, so you will always be treated to something new (and hopefully inspiring) on my feed. If you like what you see, please consider following me at this link: instagram.com/tpartyantiques
By the way, I also have a grouping of my studio photographs that can be viewed by searching this IG hashtag: #tpartyantiquesstudio.
In addition to my sweet little Etsy shop, at some point I would like to sell vintage items via Instagram. If I get a spare moment to set that up, I'll be sure to let you know.
Have a wonderful weekend!
I just got back from an early morning bike ride. Often, I head toward the water and pedal around our old neighborhood. Today, I spotted this...
Yes, that's our old home, the one we owned for over two decades. It has been almost two years since we moved into our cozy cottage, but I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for this house.
We ran into a former neighbor recently who mentioned that the house was slated for demolition — but not because it is inhabitable. On the contrary, we heard that the people who bought it from us opened up walls inside and made all sorts of improvements.
But did they have to rip out the entire garden? Years and years of dividing perennials... Here's peek at the front garden when we lived there. I don't see anything offensive, do you? To each his own, I guess.
Anyway, they moved to California. We were told that the newest owners want to raise up the house, like so many have done in our area after Hurricane Sandy. Apparently, the cost to do that is almost as much as building a new one, so down it comes. I understand that these folks want to make improvements, like we all do when moving to a new place. And many would find this mid-century colonial boring and basic. I liked it just the way it was.
When we moved there back in 1990, it was one of the largest homes on the street. Now, it is in the shadow of new "look at me" houses that are big and bulky with minimal green space. John and I joke that they look more like conference centers than family homes. There is nothing cozy about them. Above shows the view from my former studio before and after a giant McMansion was erected. Monster houses are taking over that neighborhood. We got out just in time!
Luckily, we have tons of photos to help us remember what a lovely spot this was to raise our family. It was a happy, happy, happy place and the memories live on, even though the actual structure will be heading to a landfill soon.
Sometimes all it takes is one new thing to get the ball rolling. In my case, it was a charming wooden bin with two drawers. Belonging to a dear friend, she knew how much I admired the piece that was hand made by her father-in-law long ago. I once told her to let me know if she ever wanted to sell it. Fast forward two years: I got a call from her last week offering it to me. Yippee!
I found the perfect spot for it in my studio — atop my refurbished vegetable bin. Now it holds sewing supplies.
When I cleared off the bin to make room for my new acquisition, I discovered a generous layer of dust. So I began to clean... and clean... and clean. (Once I started, I just couldn't stop.) My studio is chock full of my favorite things — all of the stuff I love but don't want to subject the rest of the house to. Apparently, my cherished collections are quite the dust collectors!
Before long, I had wiped off every surface and item, reorganized a bit, and made sure to eradicate every last dust bunny. And when my cleaning frenzy finally ended, I took these pics to share with you.
I do love a tidy studio!
Using the same materials as the refreshed master bath, our guest bathroom is now clean, bright and ready for visitors. Here's a peek . . .
Doesn't the tub look amazing? Hard to believe that it is the original taupe-colored 1925 model. Re-glazing it was definitely the way to go.
Remodeling the two upstairs bathrooms was the final project on our year-and-a-half-long to-do list. At last, we are done! Room by room, it has been a fun and rewarding journey bringing this sweet vintage cottage back to life. Now I can't help but smile every time I walk in the door. :)
How lovely to have a clean and functional master bath! Have a look . . .
Like our renovated kitchen, we wanted this new bathroom to feel like it belonged in a 1925 cottage. So we chose simple elements: white wainscoting, a Shaker-style cabinet, a vintage-inspired light fixture, a neutral gray floor tile, classic subway tile in the walk-in shower, and a marble countertop on the vanity. To keep costs down, we kept all of the plumbing in the same location.
The light fixture's glass shades match the schoolhouse globes in our kitchen. I love those thin black stripes!
The shower stall now has white subway tile, a marble seat, a frameless glass door and marble basketweave tile on its floor. A niche with two handy shelves repeats the same marble tile. We used Grohe chrome fixtures with a 1920s vibe for the shower and vanity.
And there you have it! Next time, I'll share photos of our new guest bathroom which uses the same basic elements. Do stop by!
Sorry! I must apologize for taking so long to share our bathroom renovations with you! My computer was on the fritz and I finally had to lay it to rest and purchase a new one. So, as promised, here is our latest (and hopefully last) reno project. Let's start with the "before" pics. (FYI: prior to moving in in the fall of 2013, our house was a rental, neglected for almost 12 years, poor thing!)
Here is what our master bathroom used to look like. Updated back in the 1990s, it was covered in a sea of white tile with grout that would never come clean. Its low vanity had a worn Corian countertop and the stall shower sported glass doors with layers of old caulk along the bottom. Plus, the shower fixture's temperature control valve was jammed making it nearly impossible to adjust.
We installed a new medicine cabinet and toilet back when we first moved in, so we would reuse those items as well as the window shutters.
Now for a peek at our pre-reno guest bath. With white and black vintage tile and another low vanity, it still had the original 1925 cast iron tub that had been reglazed 25 years ago. Unfortunately, it was peeling in several places revealing a murky taupe color beneath the white. The mixing valve in the bathtub was faulty and would often switch from scalding hot to ice cold while showering. Not fun!
Even though the floor tile was charming, it had to be removed to make way for new concrete to level out the floor. The plaster walls and ceiling needed to be taken down to the studs, as well. However, we planned to keep the tub (which would be reglazed) along with the new toilet and window shutters.
Please stay tuned until next time when I'll share the "after" pics of our much improved and oh-so-lovely cottage bathrooms.
Have a great weekend and most of all — Happy Mother's Day!
It's been almost four months since I started posting on Instagram. My, how time flies when you're having fun. And I do mean fun. Filled with visual splendor, Instagram is truly a feast for the eyes. I love it!
Are you following T-Party Antiques on Instagram? I do hope so. But if you haven't discovered me there yet, here is a quick peek at just some of the 255 pictures I have posted so far...
What do you think? Fun, right? If you like what you see, I hope you will consider following me on Instagram.
Thanks a bunch!
How could I resist? This vintage Amsco TV Cart captured my heart. So I simply had to find a spot for it in my studio.
Now it is quite happy in its new home at the end of my Hoosier cabinet. And an old train case that I use to store some Etsy shop items fits on the cart's lower shelf perfectly.
When needed, I can raise its two leaves and roll the cart over to my worktable where it will provide an extra surface for sewing or craft supplies while working on projects.
So yes, I have decided to keep this sweet relic . . . at least, for now. You know me; I tend to sell most things eventually.
Now we're off to spend time with our extended family over the next few days. I'm sure you have similar plans for the holiday weekend. Enjoy!
Vintage relic seekers love the thrill of the hunt. When there is something they have a hankering for, they will diligently search far and wide until they find it.
Are you that way? I can be from time to time. And I must admit, looking for something very specific can be fun but daunting also. (Sites like Chairish.com can make it easier.) Know what I enjoy even more? The thrill of the find, when I discover something marvelous that I wasn't even looking for.
While scouring flea markets, thrift shops, estate sales, and more, I try to keep an open mind and a discerning eye to make sure I notice things that aren't typically on my radar. If I'm lucky, I sometimes find a special piece that speaks to me and says "Take me home." That is precisely what happened when I came across my studio's work table.
I found the table at my dealer friend Kim's inspiring booth at the Stratford Antique Center. She specializes in vintage kitchenware and her stall is always chock full of fabulous finds. When I spotted this teapot-embellished table in her booth, I knew Kim had really outdone herself. And although I wasn't looking for a table of any kind, I knew it had to be mine.
I purchased the $200 table right around the time we moved into our sweet little cottage. Without any notion of where it would go, I stored it down in the basement until we completed our kitchen/dining room/family room/office reno last winter. Then when the time was right, I gave the table a good scrub, tightened various screws and bolts, and decided to place it center stage in my brand new studio.
Isn't it the cutest? And absolutely perfect for a former tea room proprietor! I bet the table was once part of a 1950s dinette set with matching chairs and an extension leaf. Now it serves as a useful work surface. And it looks great with my vintage office chair.
My new table's shapely top wears its original red and cream Formica with a crackled ice pattern. This laminate top features a scalloped design and two cheery red teapots.
The table also sports a banded aluminum apron and chrome splayed legs brimming with mid-century appeal.
My whimsical and thoroughly wonderful work table provides an ample surface for sewing and other crafty endeavors. And best of all, it never fails to make me smile. :)
More snow, you say? Sure! Bring it on!
Yesterday, we hunkered down to wait out yet another snow event. While the white stuff silently piled up around our sweet cottage, John and I were productive and did that painful, yet necessary, annual chore — taxes.
When we were done, it was cozy time. We treated ourselves to a good movie in front of a roaring fire. Along with a cup of hot tea, there is nothing better on a snowy afternoon.
Aside from all of the snow, our driveway is now home to this: a large red dumpster. Why, you may ask?
Because we are about to embark on a final reno project — updating both the master and guest bathrooms. And demo begins tomorrow! This remodeling project should take a couple of months. I promise to share lots of before and after pics with you as things progress.
It has been snowy and gray here for far too long. However, I am happy to report that today, we have blue skies and sunshine. Yay!
This morning, I loved how the sun was streaming in through my kitchen window. So I thought — why not share my latest pottery find with you. Isn't this old pitcher wonderful?
With lots of windows and two skylights, I like how bright our new kitchen is. It's rare that I have to switch on any lights during the day. And when the sun is out, the room absolutely glows.
Having lots of white surfaces helps, too. And all of my green and blue vintage pottery adds pops of pretty color.
I always longed for a kitchen with glass door cabinets. Now my pottery collection has a happy place to live.
As you can see, I'm not afraid to mix many different shades of blue and green together. No need for everything to match.
I also like to combine vintage pottery with Jadeite glassware and even a few new pieces. Aren't the colors yummy?
I think my new cottage kitchen is pretty yummy, too. And don't forget all of the yummy meals that John has been creating in it for family and friends. Yummy, all around!
Can you believe it? Our pet frog is 17 years old!
Spike came into our lives in a surprising fashion. Back when Jacob was four years old, he returned home from his friend Jack's birthday party with an unusual item in his party favor bag — a frog! Apparently Jack's mom thought it would be fun to give all of the guests fully-formed baby aquatic frogs. Crazy, right? This sudden addition to our family promptly took up residence in a fish tank on our kitchen counter. Jacob named him Spike, and the rest is history...
Happy Birthday Spike! We're so glad to still have the pleasure of your easygoing company.
Ugh! Today brings bitter cold and even more snow. And although I'm a trouper when it comes to winter, it doesn't mean that I like it. However, I do like sipping a hot cup of tea as I work in my snug studio. Makes this nasty weather so much more tolerable.
Wishing you a warm and cozy weekend,
As reported, a respectable amount of snow fell on southern New England over the last 24 hours. Luckily, not nearly as much as they were forecasting. Even so, it was a quiet, peaceful day where kids got a much-anticipated snow day and most folks stayed put until driveways and streets could be cleared of the fluffy white stuff.
Having grown up in Northeast Ohio, snow really doesn't faze me. However, where I currently reside, it seems to make people very nervous. Of course it doesn't help that the first big storm of the season gets way too much media attention. Hopefully after a couple more snow events, everyone will relax and remember that it is winter, after all.
I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of my cottage stitchery collection...
...this adorable needlepoint house with dormer windows, a red roof and red shutters. I discovered it a few weeks ago at an antiques mall in New Bedford, MA. How appropriate that I found a Cape Cod-style cottage while on our way to Cape Cod!
My new acquisition reminded me of our very own Cape Cod-style cottage. Last week, we had our first snow of the season — just a dusting really, like someone sprinkled a fine coating of powdered sugar on everything.
Anyway — I hung the needlepoint on my studio wall among the other cottage pictures. It looks right at home there, don't you think?
Whoever made this little gem wrapped it around a piece of wood in the same shape which gives it a bit of dimension. Pretty clever.
Isn't it the cutest?
Here's a little mid-week eye candy for your viewing pleasure — pics of my studio's teapot embellished and oh-so-photogenic vintage work table . . .
Isn't it the cutest?
I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. With both of our kids home, John and I enjoyed the long weekend tremendously.
Happy Hump Day!
Remember my inspiration book?
Filled with tear sheets of wonderful rooms from my favorite shelter magazines, it really came in handy over the past year.
When we moved to our new house last fall, it was the first place I looked for kitchen ideas. I have been saving pictures of kitchens with a vintage vibe for years, not knowing I'd ever get a chance to design one from scratch.
Our new home gave me that opportunity. We are thoroughly enjoying our new kitchen, which I believe is just as lovely as any of the ones in my inspiration book.
What do you like to pin?
365 days ago, we became the proud owners of a house brimming with potential. From the very first time I set eyes on it, I knew this humble abode had everything I wanted. All it needed was a little TLC. Well, maybe more than a little...
Over the past year, I've shared our vintage home's top to bottom improvement projects with you — its new roof, garden, paint, floors, kitchen, dining room, family room, living room — and let's not forget my new studio. Yes, it has been a lot of work. But I would do it again in a heartbeat. I hope you've enjoyed seeing the progress as we brought this 1925 charmer back to life. Thank you for coming along.
Is this finally the cottage of my dreams? You betcha!
It has been a while since I've blogged about my new studio. Hard to believe that I've been in the space for seven months already! As time marches on, I continue to tweak my lovely new workroom, making small changes and improvements that keep me happy and organized.
I love to spend time in this special room where I am surrounded by cheerful things brimming with vintage appeal. These whimsical relics never fail to inspire and make me smile.
Do you have a smile-provoking place in your house that is all yours? If so, I'd love to hear about it. If not, see if you can find one. You'll be glad you did!
Look what I found . . . a 1960s Singer sewing machine in a pretty shade of blue!
This classic machine had been very well kept, so a little oil and a quick dusting was all it needed to ready it for a small sewing project. Doesn't it looks right at home in my studio's sewing area?
As a test, I used it to sew up a couple of kitchen towels out of a vintage tablecloth with issues. When I find a less-than-perfect old textile with a pretty design like this one, I work around its flaws (holes, stains, etc.) and turn it into dinner napkins, tea towels, embroidery hoop swatch portraits and more.
I embellished these towels with two types of vintage trim. I'm happy to report that my new Singer handled sewing through bulky layers with ease, much better than my other machine that dates back to the 1980s.
My new (old) Singer is a bells-and-whistles-free, bare bones, straight-stitch only, low-tech workhorse of a machine.
Don't you just love a good "Before and After"? Me, too! So have a look at what our vintage cottage looked like when we put in a bid to purchase it last fall.
And here is what it looks like today . . .
Top to bottom, this home underwent a subtle, yet much needed transformation. First off, we took down several menacing trees and put on a new roof. Then, we selected exterior colors, had it painted, installed new garage doors, and settled in for the winter to work on its interior reno.
Come spring, we resurfaced the driveway, replaced the gutters, and seeded the lawn. And just last month, we put in a new garden, moving and/or saving existing shrubs where possible.
And of course, let's not forget the icing on the cake: a historical plaque officially naming the house after its original 1925 owners, Harold and May Wilson.
Ten months after it became ours, the work is finally done. And I couldn't be happier with the end result. It was so enjoyable and satisfying to bring this lovely abode back to life. Now it most definitely has earned "cottage of my dreams" status.
When we first moved into our cozy cottage last October, our living room did triple-duty. During the home's four-month-long renovation, it served as our family room, kitchen/dining room and studio. Then, once the construction was complete, the living room went back to looking like this . . .
Last summer, we sold virtually all of our living room furniture (e.g. the 1990s busy floral tapestry sofa and loveseat) at our former house's estate sale and I was excited to start fresh. I longed for classic neutral pieces that would be more timeless and go with everything.
We opted for Bassett Furniture in Westport, CT, where Robin, one of their designers, kindly came to our home and measured the space. She helped us select fabrics and order the appropriate size sofa, occasional chairs, pillows and two upholstered benches. Each was custom-made and delivered within 30 days. We even found the rug there. Robin, thanks for your help. Truly great service!
Once we had those basics in place, I began to look for a chest of some sort that would provide us with much needed storage. I found a pine one, below, at Knock on Wood in Norwalk, CT. We placed it against the long wall across from the sofa and chairs. Perfect! Then it was time to hang something special on the wall above it.
I chose to create a gallery wall using my collection of hand-tinted landscape photos from the early 1900s. Many of them were shot by Wallace Nutting and a few are by his contemporaries. I adore these old pictures. They have just the right vibe for our 1925 home.
Finding a coffee table became my next task. I wanted one with a glass top so that the lovely medallion in the center of the rug would be visible. After much searching, I finally found one I liked at Wayfair.com. The small, white table between the chairs came from there, too. Even though I had to put both of them together myself, they were so reasonably priced, it was worth it.
Next, I focused on smaller home decor pieces. For the coffee table, I found a rustic wooden tray on Etsy from a seller called Cupola Vintage.
Homegoods provided the glass bell jar that sits on a galvanized tray from Terrain. This cloche displays rocks and shells found on our recent trip to Martha's Vineyard. An old photo of Edgartown Lighthouse serves as a backdrop.
More MV beachy finds reside in a green glass bowl from Spain that was discovered at Marshalls.
This oak secretary was one of the few things we kept from our old living room. Filled with white pottery and old books, a chair from Goodwill completes the vignette.
Of course, I had to find a spot for our beautiful dollhouse . . .
And our collection of heart-shaped rocks . . .
The very last piece of the living room puzzle was finding lamps. I envisioned a matching pair of floor lamps for either side of the pine chest. I am so darn picky — it took me forever to find them.
After an extensive search (thank you, John, for your patience), I found two very affordable ones at Wayfair's Joss and Main. They just arrived, so I took a quick pic of them for you.
And there you have it . . . our finally furnished living room! We love it. What do you think?
Yikes! Where is the time going this summer? I have so much to share with you, but it has been crazy busy. So please bear with me. I promise to bring you up to date on what's new here very soon.
Like our new cottage garden . . .
Our finally furnished living room . . .
And yesterday morning's perusal of The Elephant's Trunk Flea Market.
I found several vintage goodies at The Trunk that will make an appearance in my Etsy shop before long. I'll share them with you, along with other items ready for their Etsy debut, as soon as time permits.
Thanks for your patience. Please stay tuned!
One last detail was added to the exterior of our cozy cottage last week. A Rowayton Historical Society plaque was installed. We are officially living in the Harold and May Wilson House!
The RHS plaque program calls attention to the historic character of Rowayton and gives recognition to early buildings and to the people who built or resided in them. Along with our new plaque, the Historical Society provided us with a list of every owner since 1925, as well as drawings showing how the property lines have changed over the years. We learned that when the original owners Harold and May lived here, the house stood on 30 acres. Wow! Today, this sweet little abode nestles on .39 of an acre. And that is just the right size for us.
There is finally light at the end of the renovation tunnel! This week, we've embarked on our last major project: transforming barren and neglected flowers beds into a lush cottage garden.
This very skilled landscaping crew put in over 80 shrubs and perennials for us today. And even though it may not be the best time of year to plant, lots of irrigation will ensure that everything will thrive.
A couple of things were unearthed while the guys were digging: an old red Matchbox car and a teeny tiny real live toad, no bigger than an inch long. A friend for Spike perhaps? No way; he would eat the little guy.
Stay tuned! Once everything is mulched and looking extra pretty, I'll be sure to share more pics of our lovely new garden with you.
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.
One year ago today, we put our home of 23 years on the market. Many people cautioned us against it. They said it was too soon after Hurricane Sandy to list a place so close to Long Island Sound. We were very fortunate, however, that the super storm had little impact on our house and we were able to sell it within 5 months. Now, a young couple with four small children resides there. We are sure it will be a great place for them to raise their family.
Today, we are happily settled into a smaller, sweeter home. Located in a quiet neighborhood on the outskirts of Norwalk's Rowayton, we are perched on much higher ground. Because this peaceful property had been a rental for the last twelve years, it needs a lot of TLC. Now that our interior renovation project is complete (I have a few more pictures to share with you next time), we are focusing on the exterior. By mid-May, we'll have a new driveway, and in June, new plantings will fill the neglected garden beds. Plus, we are shopping around for comfortable outdoor furniture so that we can entertain on our large deck this summer.
We've been in our 1925 cottage for seven months, and although it has challenged us a bit, it is definitely shaping up to be the cottage of my dreams. A lot has happened over the last year — and it's all good!
Almost every week, I receive an email or two from folks with questions about Hoosier Cabinets. Usually they have one that they'd like to restore, or have inherited one and want information about their newly acquired cupboard.
How do they find me? A "Hoosier Cabinet" search on Google shows the many posts I have written about them over the years. So I get inquiries about their value, the best way to refinish them, and how to determine the maker and age. I do my best to provide a bit of insight, but quite frankly, I'm not a Hoosier Cabinet expert. I am simply a fan.
I've been in their shoes. For many years, I tried to find out more about my lovely cupboard that now resides in my new studio. My cabinet doesn't have any maker's tags or markings. My research revealed that although it wasn't made by the Hoosier Company, it is an I-X-L cabinet made in Goshen Indiana by the company of that same name. They sold them on their own and through the Montgomery Ward catalog.
Recently, I found an old advertisement that confirms my research.
It states, "Built of the best kiln-dried lumber; accurately constructed by the most expert workmen so that there is absolutely no danger of warping, swelling and getting out of shape." I can attest to that as, decades later, my IXL is sturdy as can be.
This line of Hoosier-style cabinets was equipped with many compartments and special accoutrements: nickel trimmings, a drop roll curtain, a complete set of glassware consisting of five spice jars, one tea jar, one coffee jar and one large jar for sugar, a flour sifter, flour bin, bread board, metal bread drawer, cake drawer, divided cutlery drawer, meat chopper block, porcelain steel full sliding top, ant proof casters, and more … all for around $100!
My IXL is missing many of those extra features, but it is still one fabulous cabinet.
Since we moved in last fall, I have been patiently waiting to see what would appear in our garden come spring. As the days grow longer and the sun warmer, an assortment of pretty flowers are sprouting. How lovely — and so worth the wait.
What a nice surprise . . . bright yellow Daffodils, purple Hyacinths and brilliant blue Siberian Squill. I've also noticed Hosta beginning to grow and other perennials that I can't identify just yet.
From the very first time I saw our cozy cottage, I knew I wanted to place window boxes within the three deep window wells along the stone front of the house. At a nearby garden center, I was pleased to find white painted cedar boxes in the perfect size. Score!
Don't they look sweet? I've filled them with pink and purple Pansies. By mid-May, I'll replace them with a variety of colorful, heat-tolerant flowers and a few trailing ones spilling over the edge.
Now that our interior renovation project is complete, we need to give the neglected garden some attention. It needs perennials for smaller beds, foundation plantings along the front, and shrubs to fill in bare spots below the evergreens that encircle our property. Lots to do!
One last post about my new studio. Enjoy!
My antique oak Hoosier cabinet has a place of prominence along one wall of my new workroom. This beloved piece of furniture provides storage for all of the items in my Etsy shop.
Hanging on one side of the cupboard is a wooden wall pocket featuring a charming Dutch girl and one of my handmade vintage button bouquets.
I am so pleased to still have room for my large collection of picnic tins. Above the Hoosier, a twelve-foot-long shelf keeps all eighteen tins on display. I love how they look all stacked and lined up!
A small wicker table alongside the Hoosier is a nice place to showcase some of my favorite things. I plan to change it up from time to time. Right now, it features one of my Literary Origami books, a weathered shard of antique china I found on the beach, a cheerful 1940s covered bowl, and the sweetest mixed-media collage gifted to me by my friend and talented artist, Leslie Rottner.
That's it for now. I hope I've provided you with a little eye candy — and maybe even some inspiration in finding a space in your home and making it yours.