Saturday, September 29, 2012

An Autumn Walk in the Neighborhood


Today's weather was damp and raw. In the morning, I went to a yard sale in Winchester and an outdoor farmer's market. Too bad it wasn't nice out, it would have been a little more enjoyable. In the afternoon, I decided to take a walk around my neighborhood.

I could see that Autumn had arrived. Right outside my back door there was a smattering of colorful leaves on the ground.  I thought it was a little early in the season for such brilliant color but then I realized it is almost October! It seems like just yesterday I was standing by the lighthouse in Maine but it was nearly a month ago.


My upstairs neighbor put a new autumnal plant outside the front door of our condominium.


The neighbors next door but the requisite pumpkins on the back stairway. Their hydrangea bush has turned a beautiful mauve color.


Even the flowers/weeds growing by the street looked pretty under a cloudy sky.


I walked down the street and spied a magnificient rose in someone's yard. The color caught my eye and I walked right across their lawn to get a better look. Luckily, they weren't home.


The rose was such a lovely shade I just had to snap a photo of it. Look, it has a companion.


My favorite trees have multi color leaves. The colors look so much nicer when the reds and oranges have a green backdrop.


I can't wait for all the trees to turn. I haven't seen many yellows yet.


Just one more leafy shot for the day. I should have taken some of the fallen leaves home to press. Did you press leaves as a child? Or jump in the piles of leaves your father had just raked?



Many of the homes in the neighborhood had a mum plant and a pumpkin on the front steps, but, this one had to be my favorite. The homeowners definitely gave their display more thought. I like the cornstalks framing the doorway and the use of color.  Very pretty!


 My last stop and I found another rosebush in a neighbor's yard. These look more like Summer roses to me.  I guess Autumn hasn't totally arrived yet. Some of us are still hanging on to Summer.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Blood, Sweat and Tears- Jeanne's Home Renovation

 
Remember my friend Jeanne's home renovation I blogged about here? The living room was ugly and scary and looked downright dangerous.
 

Now it is clean with a beautifully refinished hardwood floor. The filthy stained glass window was removed to be repaired and cleaned. The drop ceiling was removed. The whole room has come alive.


Again, the dingy floor and the nicotine stained walls and moulding needed TLC.



Here's a much prettier cleaned up version of the hallway. What a difference some 409 spray and a fresh coat of paint makes!



Jeanne bought this chandelier at a moving sale in her hometown. It is a nice addition to the entrance. I wish I had been at that sale but I think we would have fought over the chandelier!


A rather uninspring office or small bedroom.  Nothing terribly hideous in this room compared to the others but it still needs some attention.


Bright and sunny now.  Jeanne put some furniture in each room until she has tenants. I'm glad the old radiator is still prominent in the room. I love it.



The kitchen was stuck in a time warp and like all the rooms, it needed major cleaning and repair.


If I had seen this floor, I never would have bought the property. Jeanne is quite determined and handy and she also knows some good workmen.



Clean, shiny and bright. A lovely way to display some prized possessions. Who needs cabinet doors?



The floors are looking great now.  Love the kitchen chairs too. I think there is still work to be done here.


The bedroom- again damaged floors, dirty, old wallpaper from a chain smoker. In need of improvement for sure.


Very nice. I love the color of the floors.  They really turned out beautifully.  The room is ready for some finishing touches and ready for a tenant.


Even the outside is getting a facelift.  The house will be green with white trim.


Do you think Jeanne's job is finished?  Guess again and come upstairs with me.


And let the demo begin!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Harvest tablescape


Fall is almost here! My most favorite season of the year. I love everything about it and I love to create Fall tablescapes for my guests. These are photos from my last year's Harvest Dinner which is an annual event in my home.


I love Fall colors and I try to use a color scheme to mirror the palette outside my window on a Fall day. So you'll find greens, oranges, reds, and golds incorporated in my tablescape.

The burgundy turkey always makes an appearance in the Fall. He can hold gravy or sometimes cranberry sauce. My favorite green glasses purchased from Colleen at Brissonte of North Reading are a colorful addition to the tablescape.


I love the warm glow from my lighted table runner.  This one is a pumpkin color but I have them in many colors. I use little ceramic napkin holders with pumpkins, gourds, and apples on them and I mixed the patterns on the plates.


Sometimes the tablescape spills over onto the kitchen counter. Far be it for me to leave a surface undecorated!  I like to use antique pieces as cake stands and to display my first course.


Old silver trays and doilies are used to showcase dessert offerings. I am already planning this year's tablescape for my Harvest Dinner.  I like to change it up each Fall although I do have my favorite dishes and glasses that I use each year.

I am linking to the Lettered Cottage's blog party.  Click on the button to see other participant's tablescapes.

The Lettered Cottage



Thursday, September 13, 2012

Melrose Victorian Fair 2012


It's September and that means it's time for the Melrose Victorian Fair. Each year the fair seems to get bigger and bigger.  Booth spaces numbered 187 at last check and then there were the artists and crafters at Artisan Alley. A large section of Main Street is closed every year to accomodate the crowds.  Some years, the attendance is over 10,000.



This year's fair was a wonderful blend of community organizations and the business sector. Students sold items as fundraisers for their sports teams.


I went clothes shopping at my favorite booths, hoping to achieve the Melrose chic look like this staffer at the Rada Boutique booth.


My co-workers were on hand to answer questions about banking and to give away some cool items.


The day started out cloudy and then the sun came out and the temperature was perfect.

 
In my opinion, the best giveaway at the fair was a Tshirt from Full Circle Design.


Some people brought their dogs. In fact, I saw almost as many dogs as babies.


Turner's Seafood did a brisk business.  They were serving mini lobster rolls and clam chowder.


Center stage had a variety of performers. One could see Irish step dancers, karate demonstrations, and choral groups.


A municipal parking lot served as a mini carnival with games and rides.


Another cute dog takes it all in from street level.  I hope he enjoyed himself.


I liked these costumes the best of all the center stage performers. Melrose chic, mais oui!


I was asked to take a photo of this man who is 90+ years old.  He rode his bike to the fair and then relaxed outside the local Starbucks at the heart of all the action.

 
I told you dogs were plentiful.
 
 
Center stage was not the only place for performers. There were clowns and living statues.


This man wanted to talk about free speech and the democracy amendment question on the November ballot.

Kudos to the Melrose Chamber for organizing another first class Victorian Fair. It was a perfect day.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Every once in a while, a girl has to indulge herself


"Every once in a while, a girl has to indulge herself" those are the words of the character Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City.  I tend to agree with Carrie so last Saturday I set out for Concord, Massachusetts for a little retail therapy.

I knew in advance the two shops I was going to hit. One was Nesting on Main and the other was Jack and Toba. These are my favorite shops in the area.


Years ago, when I would go out shopping it would be for clothes.  I still enjoy fashion but clothes shopping has lost it's lustre. I think it is mainly because of two things: one, I am older now and two, I have gained weight and it's harder to buy clothes off the rack and they don't look as good as they did when I was thinner.

I gravitate towards stores that sell items for the home. Since I bought my condo I am more interested in home decor. I get inspired by reading blogs and then I want to redo all the rooms in my home. So off to Concord I went and my first stop was of course Nesting on Main. I've posted about Nesting before and on Saturday they did not disappoint.


The price tag listed this as a planter but to me it has pot rack written all over it! It was a cool chippy green.  Loved it but it would be too big for my kitchen.


Ooh, vintage cameras! Tempting to add one more to my collection but no.
 


I do like old signs but red is not in my color scheme and this is a big sign. I do like this lamp and it would go with my decor but I didn't need it.


I thought about this rack with hooks.  It is old and it would be perfect for the hallway outside my door. There are holes in the wall of my hallway courtesy of the previous owner.  I think I might need to go back to Nesting.


Time to stop by the next shop. Goodbye to Nesting for now. I love your displays and product selection, a mix of old and new.

.
On to Jack + Toba, an eclectic selection of furniture, housewares, gifts and clothing. If you buy something at this shop you will feel that it is a one of a kind item.



Wouldn't this entrance peak your interest? Love the vintage clothing especially the coats.



And how come I didn't notice that necklace until I was leaving?  That's a smart outfit too!


These bottles look pretty in the window.  Not sure if they were cooking oils or bath products.



Artful displays are everywhere in this store. Owner Suzy has a real knack for finding unique items and setting up interesting vignettes.



I love bath and laundry products. If I hadn't just restocked my laundry detergent and fabric softeners, I would have tried this line. I just bought the Beach Days product from Good Home Company and I love the scent!



More cleaning and bath products. The line is Laundress and it smells heavenly! Next time.




I do love this sideboard and it's such a pretty color.  It would be perfect in the dining room.

I did buy something here. Something for me and something for you. I am going to have a blog giveaway soon and it will be revealed. I also bought something for my new home office and when it comes together you will see it.

At Nesting, I got a burlap market bag which I have already used for groceries and a vintage beaded lampshade. I have the perfect base for the lampshade, wait till you see it!


Whenever I drive to Concord I look for Drummer, the horse I saw almost two years ago at Christmas time. Drummer was rescued by some kind people and he is living at their Concord farm.  He was alone two years ago but now he has a companion and I am sure he is happy.  I blogged about him here http://cafechatelaine.blogspot.com/2011/01/what-i-did-with-my-week-off.html.

I had a wonderfully indulgent day. Another mini vacation if you will. Every once in a while, it is ok to indulge yourself!

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