Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Puppy Black Tie

Every handsome male needs a black tie for New Years. I made this one from pure silk; the collar has two layers of interfacing in it and a long Velcro closure so it fits next year. The silk was on sale at Jo Ann's Fabrics; $4.50 for 1/4 yd., but all else for the three holiday collars I made were scraps etc., I had around the house.

Happy New Year to all!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Another Collar

Anders Christmas collar was such a success, I decided to make one for New Year's too, and here it is just waiting for the next fun holiday.

The Velcro is about three inches to overlap and fasten. This collar also has bells because a jingling puppy is easier to keep track of and out of mischief with so much excitement everywhere!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

While Bill went to Old Farm to finish the upstairs knee walls before Christmas, I stayed behind with Anders getting ready for our holiday here in Hopewell, which included sewing his Christmas collar. There are enough jingle bells on it to keep track of just where he is snooping.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Stuff

Our first family chore this holiday in Hopewell, is to conveniently stack firewood and kindling...then we went to fill the propane tank for the gas stove top, and while we were waiting we fell for this rescue puppy nearby, coming home with a lot more then expected.

It has been a week of "Anders" (half English Bulldog / half French Labrador) learning to be part of the family while all were here. It was exhausting but we all enjoyed the work that got done and playful moments.

 So I now have five males in our family and am thankful for all the joy and support they are!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Transplanting and Planting

These lovely Endless Summer Hydrangeas in the main garden at Old Farm are becoming crowded and some are wilting in direct sun. This variety hydrangea is the first repeat blooming mophead hydrangea blooming all summer and Fall on new and old growth, which is best transplanted now while it is dormant (or in early Spring before buds form). I plan to move them and create a bed along the far side of the garage where they can be seen as you arrive here and enjoy more shade in the afternoon.

In their second summer, some blooms grew 12" wide and larger. They should be moved now in their third year here also, since the entire root ball has to transplant. Alex will be happy that "blue" hydrangeas will all border the property more, as he had hoped.

This last visit to Old Farm I was able to plant 200 varied Trumpet Daffodils along the southern side of the garage (where the surfboard is drying). When they all come up this Spring, they will have their trumpets facing the house! 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Picking Gustavian Gray or White Paint

I found this Gustavian antique armoire with a Christian VIII top; covered in hot pink and white latex paint, and without a back. It went to Hyannis for proper stripping and I spent an afternoon sanding it, while Bill gave it a new back and then one coat of Benjamin Moore's "Seattle Gray" paint, which is a very pale warm gray since pieces in this style are mostly white. Luckily, this armoire comes apart in six pieces making it easy to work on and move. I used 120 sandpaper to distress the surface a bit after. (We are practicing for a few pieces at Old Farm to be painted next.)

The Gustavian cupboard below is in Christian's shed space in Hopewell and is one of only three built like this for three grandsons by the architect of the Danish National Parliament building "Folketinget". It is lovely to have here.

Some of the nicest antique Gustavian white and gray furniture can be found at "Cupboards and Roses" in Sheffield, MA or listed for them on "1stdibs". Here are just a few cupboards currently shown.

Photos from 1stdibs.com

Originally, Gustavian Period paints were made of linseed oil and turpentine in equal amounts, and applied directly on wood without filling surfaces. Dry pigments were added to the turpentine slowly, making a thick cream, to which the oil is blended in. This creates a thin; vibrant clear paint that allows the wood grain to be seen. My favorite Gustavian Gray paint of this type has 10% black and 5% red oxide added which is also "warm". 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tree Sculptures

Bill has been building big/tall sculptures lately which look like trees to me, and these seem to ironically be guarding the firewood now stacked on the Hopewell porch.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Visiting Nantucket Town

This time of year I feel lucky that Old Farm is a fast ferry from Nantucket town - which greets you with beautifully blooming flower boxes, less crowded streets, sultry/warm/relaxing sunshine, stores with sales, grasses turning wine color and skies honey-tinged. Across from these flower boxes is the First Congregational Church whose 120' bell tower is open from 10 AM to 4 PM with a spectacular view of the harbour and city surrounds.

Even the town "Starlight Theatre" has blooming boxes besides a select amount of old velvet seats which are allowed bar access inside. The Nantucket visitor's center is close-by for maps to places you can walk to like the oldest house in Nantucket...

The Jethro Coffin House was a wedding gift to him and Mary Gardner from their fathers in 1686. It was considered a mansion in it's time and built of imported wood since Nantucket had very little lumber to build from or burn to keep warm. Only one room was heated in the colder months and the salt box roof allowed cold northern winds to blow over it easily while the front faced south. It is a "First Period" house with a plank door and leaded windows built on-site. It suffered a serious fire, but remains in it's original footprint (like Old Farm). The chimney decoration is a Jacobean ornamentation, the opening next to it is for putting out roof fires, and the gardens behind it have raised beds with period plantings of herbs and vegetables.

Eight children were raised here by this first couple, and tours given by John Belash are remarkable.

Walking back to town you pass Cape houses still blooming...

And cool old cars...

The shops in town also have boxes blooming outside and the Hospital Thrift has fun old stuff inside.

The best part of visiting Nantucket for me is staying overnight in the Union Street Inn B & B (1770 whaling captain's home) at 7 Union Street, which booked my fast ferry a few blocks away and is in the historic district of town.

The garden patio.

Rooms have Frette linens, Matouk duvets, gourmet breakfasts to order and afternoon baked macadamia nut and white chocolate cookies or double chocolate brownies. Each room has been recently redecorated with lovely English/French designer wallpapers and fabrics with the impeccable taste of owners Deborah and Ken Withrow whose hospitality services and Inn win top awards always. Baths are marble, glass and polished chrome with cotton terry robes and MALIN GOETZ amenities. The outdoor patio is expanded with new gardens, and a private patio. My room this time of year was $159.00 which includes a full breakfast such as French toast made with Challah bread and served with strawberries, blueberries, Vermont maple syrup and sausages. A constant availability of coffees, teas, and water besides fireplaces, flat screen TV's, WIFI and full concierge services tailor visits to be most memorable to such a special island.  

The hard part is leaving (and this was Restaurant Week, which is a whole other post). Thanks to Deb and Ken for my stay, showing me their own house in the prettiest; preserved part of the island, and for their great company.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Anything Goes With Gustavian

Anything you love to live with or in, looks good with Gustavian furniture, I think; old, new, Retro, or rough. Bill uses our dining room in Hopewell to dry many of his clay pieces and our chairs are often supporting platforms of clay chunks or pieces set under the ceiling fan; however, it looks lovely to me.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Custom Building A Sceen Door

We hung the screen door Bill built with all solid brass hardware, mostly from the "House of Antique Hardware". Below is an old screen door spring the local hardware store gave us, which is mounted with an inch of tension: "thwap!"

Building the Screen Door...

Alex suggested a screen door for the front of Old Farm, and we all immediately liked the idea since it would allow more light and air into the front of the house. Bill got to order a new tenon joiner machine (open box price from Amazon), copper screening, and solid brass hardware, while I got to design it like a few favorites I had seen in Nantucket.

After fitting the door on site, Bill has routed the screen area edges here where he will paint the door and screen stops before assembling it all. The screen gets stapled into place and stops (mitered trim) are nailed over the edges..

Although the craigslist biscuit joiner Bill bought to enlarge the closet door could have been used here, he was convinced that an exterior door would last much longer with tenon joints (and Titebond III glue). I decided on 4" clear pine stiles and 9" bottom board which allowed us to order a 5' stock piece of copper screen and trim the door to it's trapezoidal opening shape.

Installing a Screen

While the screen stops are off, the new screen (this one is 90% copper + 10% zinc to keep from turning green) is cut to size with wire cutters and laid in place. A staple gun and 3/8" staples are used to secure the screen.

The screen stops are then fit into place and 5/8" brads are used to nail them in place.

We made protective screen bars to mount on the front and back of the door, which are secured with solid brass screws.

The screen door below appears to have nice new copper screening which looks wonderful with the color paint around it. This is the Tate House, built in 1775 on the coast of Maine for the Senior Mast Agent for the British Royal Navy, who oversaw the cutting and shipping of white pines to England. Note: All tree trunks 24" and wider were marked with three axe slashes and claimed for the English King to be used as ship masts, which is why we haven't any boards of this size at Old Farm, but almost.

Below is the screen door on the Union Street Inn in Nantucket, and a favorite. The bars help with high traffic, and mostly boys in the house in our case. Ours has 5; 1 1/4" bars outside, and 3 inside. The cost of the materials was about $100.

The inside of our front door is now painted a light blue/green "Glacial", by Restoration Hardware in Benjamin Moore gloss paint which we had specially mixed. It will also be used on steps across from the door inside.

This door finally got an old indoor handle we found here and a hand forged slide bolt from "Fagan's Forge" besides the latest in weather stripping of three different sizes (Bill read about from "This Old House") which makes it shut like a refrigerator.

I love green painted doors of all shades, from English black/greens to paler shades like the color of Bucklebury Manor's front door, where Kate Middleton's parents live on a Georgian Estate.

What's built behind this door is quite impressive. There are solar panels on a newer roof and I plan to put two large skylights in the front roof of Old Farm, which will be as radical an idea I hope.

Pictures from "mylusciouslife.com".

Outside of our front door is just a hammock when we are on vacation...