Monday, November 29, 2010


Justin and I figured that it is only right that our first upstate Christmas tree be one that we chop down ourselves. After a bit of internet research (mostly on this site) we decided to go to Saltsman Christmas Tree Farm in Rhinebeck. It's only twenty minutes away, they grow organically, and they have Blue Spruces (also known as MY DREAM TREE. I mean...look at that color!)

After a few rounds in the field and some further inspection we picked out this beauty...

She's a little lopsided...but nothing a little pruning can't fix.

The whole experience was delightfully charming. Pastoral farmland, hot apple cider, rows of tiny baby spruce trees, stacks of firewood, ramshackle barns. They even had chestnuts roasting on an open fire. I mean...SERIOUSLY. This is the way to get your tree people! I'm never going pre-cut again.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


On Tuesday Justin and I went down to Brooklyn for the annual friendsgiving celebration at Christian and Reshma's house. We cooked up two sides for the event: roasted garlic mashed potatoes and acorn squash puree with sage, cinnamon, and nutmeg. And we tried our hand at two new desserts: s'more pie and a chocolate caramel tart with fleur de sel.

I was happy with how everything turned out...but the chocolate caramel tart was DEFINITELY the biggest hit. It was rich and decadent and gooey and crunchy and salty and sweet and quite possibly the best thing we've ever made.

I found the recipe here. It's fairly involved and there's a lot of waiting for things to cool...but it is worth EVERY second.

Now go make one!

Monday, November 22, 2010


One of the things I love most about our house is all of the original hardware.

The door knobs...

The pocket door handles...

The entry bolts...

the mortise locks and strike plates....

The hinges...

The sash locks...

The keyhole covers...

They are all heartbreakingly beautiful. And they are still here. After 120 years.

This is why I am going to make it my mission to replace any cheap, unattractive, modern hardware that managed to sneak in over the decades.

The first thing I'm going to tackle: the slide locks in the bathrooms.

Currently, they look like this...

But how much better would it be if they looked like this...?

This one is a cast iron reproduction of an original Aesthetic Movement slide lock from House of Antique Hardware. I think it would go perfectly with our Eastlake style original stuff. And it's only $13.49! Consider it mine.

**NOTE: The image at the top of this post is a page from the 1895 Montgomery Ward Catalog. And look! One of those keyhole covers is the EXACT same one we have on our front door! I love that.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I am currently OBSESSED with the photo galleries on

The images of stars and nebulae and galaxies are all unbelievably magical. I mean...look at that picture above. That's what outer space looks like? Are there wizards and unicorns there too?

Here are some more of my faves.

Monday, November 15, 2010


As promised, here's the scoop on the downstairs bathroom...which is now a pinky-pink wonderland of vintage cat photos.

Eventually, I'd like to do a COMPLETE overhaul. The sink is really dated...and not in a cute way. The toilet is newer...but I hate the style of it. It's too big and modern looking. And the floor? Ugh. Don't get me started on the floor. It's really unattractive vinyl tiling that I think is supposed to look like red clay tiles (maybe?)...but they're not fooling anybody. Trust me.

Unfortunately, it's gonna be a LONG time before we can afford to replace most of that stuff and give the bathroom the proper makeover it deserves. But, in the meantime, I figured I would do as much as I possibly could with a little bit of paint and some things we already own.

Here are a few before photos so you can see what I was working with. (And yes, those are stenciled paw prints.)

And here is what it looks like now.

I figured if you are trying to transform a room with little more than paint you better go for a statement color. So I went SUPER pink. I know it's over the top...but I personally love a kitschy pink bathroom...and I really had nothing to lose.

I painted the sink cabinet and mirror a dark charcoal gray. Still not awesome...but MUCH better.

And then I covered the place with vintage cat photos. That made ALL the difference.

The sweet vintage frames and black and white photos totally work with the pink and charcoal color scheme. And the bathroom certainly has personality now...which is what it was really lacking before.

Sadly, the hideous floor is still there...but I put this rug down so that I don't have to see quite as much of it.

Eventually, I would love to do the floor with the tile pattern below from American Restoration Tile.
And I think the room would look fantastic with a tin ceiling (painted the same shade of dark gray as the sink) and an art deco style light fixture. Maybe something like one of these two from Schoolhouse Electric.

Luckily, those are all manageable updates which would be fairly affordable as far as those things go. But for now I'll just keep adding cat pictures as I find them...because the bathroom's shortcomings and imperfections seem way less noticeable when there are so many cute kitties to stare at!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Here's a sneak peek at one of my most favorite collections: old black and white photos of people with their cats. I get SO excited every time I find one. I mean...I love old photos to begin with. But old photos with CATS in them? I DIE.

I had been hoarding all of these gems in a box until recently...but I finally got down to business and merged them with one of my other collections: little decorative old frames.

(Okay, so the cat in the next photo isn't real...but how could I resist? I mean...look at that bow!)

These are just a few of the ones that I have put together. There are MANY more. And I gave them all a home on the walls of the downstairs bathroom....which I'm gonna show you in my next post. Can't wait!