Friday, November 29, 2013


Mr. W and I have hosted Thanksgiving so many times now that we run like a well oiled machine.  Our menu doesn't change much:
  • Cranberry daiquiris
  • Appetizer of guest's choice
  • Butternut squash soup w/ cornbread
  • Barbequed turkey and gravy
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Corn
  • Brussel's sprouts
  • Gr Grandma's green beans
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Dinner rolls
  • Candied nuts
  • Stuffing of guest's choice
  • Brandy pumpkin pie
  • Pecan pie
  • Apple pie
  • Berry pie
In the interest of keeping people out of  the kitchen, I set up the cocktail station in the Drawing Room. My decorating theme this year was children's artwork, so hand turkeys and painted mini pumpkins abound.
We were having 15 for dinner, and rather than setting up an auxiliary table in the Parlor, we decided we could set up his and hers tables in the dining room so everyone could be together. This is Mr. W's table, two out of 3 little boys sat here.
 My table was longer and held all the older two generations. Wow, four generations in one room to celebrate the holiday. I have a lot for which to be thankful, in spite of all the loss.
 Nothing beats a boy in a bow tie.
 Mr. W, master griller.
 Continuing on a theme of meats without utensils...
This is as good of a photo as I'm going to get of a 6 yr old and nearly 3 yr old. I've got to learn to take these photos at the beginning of the party...before I give them desserts.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Decent Proposal

My mother has offered us an enormous gift. She will be giving us a sum of money to use toward reupholstery and wall papering, projects she knows are way down on our list. It is a little morbidly inspired, but she would like to be able to see what her money is going toward rather than waiting until after she is dead. I think that she likes projects just as much as I do so she is also looking forward to being a part of the process of picking things out. She has two caveats though. One is that we need to strip the wallpaper from the playroom upstairs, the second is we need to recover the two wing back chairs she gave us which are in our Family Room. She wanted to pay to have them recovered when she first recycled them to us, but we declined that offer since we felt the children would trash them anyway. Her new theory is that we ought to recover them with the consideration that this will be a short term fabric. Something to get us through the next 10 years and then we can recover them again. That made a lot of sense to me, so while I worry what destruction the children will cause, I ready to go for it.

I had already ordered a lot of wallpaper last year as inspiration for picking the exterior paint scheme.  I pulled those out and Mr. W and I began the process of selecting our favorites for different rooms. I think with our budget we can repaper the Parlor, Family Room, and Dining Room, and strip and paint the Play Room and Study. Mom also wants us to purchase a china hutch so we can unpack all of our boxes of dishes and serving pieces still lingering in the basement.

The original Povey window of a bird in flight (Portlandia has been putting a bird on it since 1890) has partly inspired me to create a peacock blue Parlor. The turquoise blue in the background and in the jewels in the scallop shell/shield in the other window are about the right blue. My other idea was to do a dogwood motif, since there dogwood flowers in the transom in the bay as well as a dogwood tree planted just outside. Mr. W liked the peacock blue idea though. We settled upon the Bradbury & Bradbury Anglo-Japanese Roomset in Eucalyptus.

We'll go high Victorian in the Parlor and use every paper, dado, fill, frieze and a 3 papered ceiling. This is what it will look like with all the papers line up. It even compliments our Oushak rug from our trip to Turkey. When I was just dreaming about wallpaper for the Family Room, I noted that our picture rail is set at 14" below the ceiling in every room. This creates a problem since the bird frieze paper in this set is 24". If we trim off the top and bottom bordered we can get to 14".  
 What to do with all that wasted border paper? While brain storming how to treat the walls in the Entry, which has an even smaller frieze at 10", I realized I could stack the trimmed border pieces and run them above the picture rail. Among the ceiling papers is the Valencia Panel, which has oranges cascading from a vase. That comes two to a sheet. If I order one of those and center it one opposite walls in the entry I can add a little interest to the frieze.
She and I drove around to several fabric stores over the weekend and I brought back my favorites to see them in the space and get Mr. W's input. Since our new sofa will be brown, green is the best choice for the wing back chairs. From these three options:
Mr. W and I favor the green counterpane. It is all natural too, a cotton & linen blend. It was in the middle of the price range, but had a 15 yd minimum.  That wasn't a problem though since I need 14. I can use the surplus to make throw pillows for the new sofa.

Mr. W wants to configure the location of the television in the room and run speaker wire under the wall paper. We drew up some schematics and there just doesn't seem to be a place for my Amanda chair and ottoman. I can substitute my Eastlake arm chair for it and place it next to the fireplace, I'm not sure how comfortable that will be for me long term, but I have been thinking it would be nice to include one period, wood frame chair in this room, especially with the new mirror. It would help to break up all the upholstery and modernity. Here are the fabric options. Mr. W had some visceral reactions to some of them. (He hates my second choice!)
My first choice is the 3rd option, and he likes it too. This is so exciting!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Closing a dooor

Volunteers of America is coming by today to pick up our donations and I put out all my maternity clothes. Even though I definitely don't want to go through fertility treatments, pregnancy, and cesarean sections again I'm feeling a little sad. It seems so final. And all those memories!  It took all my will power to not go out on the porch and bring the bags back inside.  And later in the afternoon when I realized they were gone I got a little sad again.

And just for fun, here's the tally of what I wore over the course of 3 pregnancies, (2 summer and 1 winter due dates):

(1) rain coat
(27) tops
(9) pants
(3) skirts
(6) dresses
(3) sweaters
(5) pajamas

Today is also Martinmas so it seems appropriate to be giving away clothes in honor of St. Martin who gave away his cloak to someone in need.