October 21, 2014

Schoolhouse Electric

One of the wonderful things about having an Instagram account is finding new resources. That's how I came to know Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.. This Portland, OR store is filled to the brim with vintage-inspired lighting and a lot of other design goodies. There is something for everyone who loves a taste of the past, but don't think that means your interiors have to match. Modern elements work wonderfully with vintage as you can see from the top photo. This living room uses the Miles Floor Lamp to give this space a nice stream-lined look that could work in a variety of settings. Another Instagram user also found a way to include their Ion C table lamp into her bookshelf vignette. I think it looks amazing!

Check out their website for all things décor and request their catalog.

Bottom photo: Michele LaTier

October 20, 2014

Vacant Home Staging

Last week, I taught a Vacant Home Staging class at Churchill Furniture in Medford, MA. Our enthusiastic group got to view the showroom once class was finished to see just what styles of furniture and accessories work well for staging in general.

The whole debate as to whether or not you should set a table with plates, utensils, etc., was finally put to rest. If you have a small eat-in kitchen that needs a bit of pizazz, go ahead and play with the table a bit more, but if you have a dining room filled with beautiful things, including the table, then simply add a centerpiece and you're done. Get rid of the bulky flower arrangement and candles and use topiaries, a platter, maybe a few teacups as though you're getting ready for a party. This adds color, texture, and a bit of style without going over the top. And although there are a few plants in this photo, don't got overboard here either. Keep it simple.

Living spaces must be comfortable looking, stylish, and accessorized just enough to be able to add color and texture. Don't overdo the pillows on the sofa. Move the throw to the ottoman instead and place a book on top as though you've just placed it there after reading a chapter. Artwork needs to be the appropriate size and color, but it also needs to be rather neutral in theme. Keep decorations to a minimum on tabletops and shelves without it looking bare.

Whether you're staging a true vacant, adding furniture rentals to an occupied home, or outfitting a model, VHS will give you the tools to strike out in this area with confidence.

You may also like, Color: Staging Your Home for Sale and Paint Colors for Staging.

October 17, 2014

Here I Am

I've been hanging around with some pretty cool people this week. I've spent my time in Lowell, MA teaching a class, attending the ADE conference...AND hanging around with some pretty cool people. (Have you been following along on Instagram?) We've been talking shop, learning and laughing a lot. However, I am worn out. I will be spending the weekend putting up my feet and rubbing dog bellies. That's it. Because next week, I'm teaching a class. Who's in charge of my schedule these days?

I hope you all have something much more fun, or at least relaxing, planned. Here are a few things to read that I found around the web. Enjoy your weekend!

Fashion trends real people can wear.

Ditch the book club and start one of these instead. Love it!

Tricks to a long and happy marriage.

Make soup this weekend.

Three Instagram accounts that make me happy...@allthingshusky, @passsionpassport, @theperksofbeingaweasley.

Looking for Halloween costume inspiration for you and a friend? Here it is.

October 16, 2014

Witch City

We're headed to Salem, Massachusetts next weekend! We haven't been there in a few years, so we decided that it was time for a return visit. Of course you know all about the famed Salem Witch Trials of 1692, but did you know that this waterfront town thrived on farming and fishing in the seventeenth century?

In the eighteenth century, Salem developed into a major fishing, shipbuilding and maritime trade center thanks to its burgeoning codfish trade with the West Indies and Europe. International trade with Europe, the West Indies, China, Africa and Russia produced great wealth and prosperity. Salem architect and wood carver Samuel McIntire (1757-1811) was employed by many of the sea captains and is responsible for stunning Federal-style architecture and ornamental carving throughout the city. Salem has one of the grandest collections of Federal style architecture in the world. This alone is worth the trip.

Salem is also home to American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne who worked in the Custom House where he wrote his novel The Scarlet Letter. And of course, The House of Seven Gables made his cousin's home known to all. The settlement, including The House of Seven Gables and his birthplace, are open to the public.

Witch City is also the place to be in October. Not only will you be treated to costumed visitors, stores filled with everything Halloween, but also a host of historical landmarks that help to tell the story of some of America's richest history.

My friend Karen, who is now lives in Salem, gave me an insider's perspective.

You must explore...

Visit the Salem Witch Museum. This was one of my favorites. (And check out the Peabody Essex Museum, too.) Tour the House of the Seven Gables it's located right next to the ferry dock. Hawthorne's spirit is alive and well. The Custom House is also a must see. Take a ferry ride into Boston. The coastline is just beautiful and you'll be able to really see those gorgeous Captain's homes. And don't forget to take a trolley tour to really see it all.

You must eat and drink...

Have a Lobstertini at The Lobster Shanty then go eat at at the Jean-Louis Pasta Shop. My friend tells me this is the best pasta she's ever eaten. Red's Sandwich Shop is a great breakfast and lunch spot. Or indulge in my weakness, a juicy burger from A&B Burgers located in the old jail on St. Peter Street. Pick up some Christmas gifts (like their ribbon candy) or just satisfy your sweet tooth at the Ye Olde Pepper Candy Company.

You must get in the spirit...

Catch the History of Halloween at Cinema Salem. And don't forget to visit the Haunted Happenings website for a complete calendar of events.

Photo: Flickr.com

October 15, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie

This past weekend, per my daughter Kate's instructions (read: pleading), I made this little dish. I had just stocked the house with groceries, but the one ingredient I was missing was organic chicken broth. Luckily, David volunteered to go get some while I started pulling out the other ingredients. Pot pies aren't hard to make, they just take a few extra steps. You can make double or single crust, deep dish or regular, with vegetables or without.

Chicken Pot Pie

2 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (instructions below)
2 tablespoons butter OR 1-2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn...)
2 prepared pie crusts or homemade (instructions below)

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Make and/or assemble pie crusts for a 9-inch pie pan.

2. In 2-quart saucepan, melt butter or canola oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently until tender. Stir in flour, salt and garlic powder until well blended. Gradually stir in broth, cooking and stirring until bubbly and thickened.

3. Stir in chicken and mixed vegetables. Remove from heat. Spoon chicken mixture into crust-lined pan. Top with second crust and seal edges. Cut slits in several places in top crust. Remember: You can opt to only use pie crust as a topper. Simply fill pan or dish with mixture and top with crust.

4. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. During last 15 to 20 minutes of baking, cover crust edge with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Baked Chicken Breasts

2 lbs. (approximately 2-3) chicken breasts
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste.

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Coat chicken breasts with olive oil (approximately 1-2 tsp. per breast) and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Bake for 20 minutes.

4. Remove from oven and let cool before shredding.

Pie Crust

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup Crisco
6 tablespoons of cold water plus 5 additional tablespoons as needed.

1. Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.

2. Cut in the shortening with your fingers or a pastry cutter, until the pieces are the size of small peas.

3. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons water over the flour, and gently toss with a fork. Push the flour to the sides of the bowl, add the remaining cold water, and mix until all is moistened and combined.

4. Divide the dough in half, and form each half into balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Photo: flickr.com

October 14, 2014

Shopping Peterborough

While we had company this past weekend, we went into town to celebrate Our Town's 275th birthday along with everyone else, and I scoped out a new store. Cross Road isn't actually new, it's just back. Now housed in a newly renovated building that is home to Sarah's Hat Boxes, business offices, and tenants, you can find Cross Road on the lower level alongside the Nubanusit River and right next to the Waterhouse restaurant in Depot Square. Filled with vintage finds and new and unique gifts, it's definitely worth a look. (You can find other store recommendations in my Our Town post.)

A few trends to note: wall sconces are very big right now. They add architectural interest and dimension to a room that regular wall art just can't. Glass vessels of all shapes and sizes are still going strong and you can find many of them here. And, of course, vintage suitcases not only look smart, they provide additional storage for just about anything in any room of the house.

And not quite so new, Treat Goods is an adorable store filled with treats and goodies for your pet, and you. So far, Cooper and Dante have enjoyed chewing up two squeaky toys and that beautiful bone you see in the photo. They're still stocking up, so I hope that have more durable toys for my two! 2% of all proceeds are donated back to animal rescue organizations. Treat Goods is also located in Depot Square.

October 10, 2014

Happy (Long) Weekend!

My girls will be home together again for a nice, long weekend. I'm smiling just thinking about it. That's something we often do togetherthat and laugh a lot. Mostly at each other. Ha! That's the two of them apple picking a couple of weeks ago. The photo is a bit grainy (my real camera batteries died and so did the back-ups!) but you get the idea. The two of them can be grumbling one minute, but the moment the camera is on and I tell them to pose, they're on. However, Amanda just couldn't stop making fun of her sister or control her giggles. Kate never broke character.

This weekend is a mixed bag of hanging out (It's Peterborough's 275th birthday so we'll at least take in the fireworks.), working on house projects, cat-sitting, decorating for Halloween, watching football, and having some company (who will watch football with us). So today is a shopping-cleaning-organizing day for all I have to do in the next couple of weeks (conference, class) and this weekend.

In the spirit of laughter, I thought I'd share these links with you. Enjoy!

Check out this guy's job application. If you don't laugh at at least one of these, have your funny bone checked.

The adult way to handle any situation.

Did you miss these jokes too?

And to get you in the Halloween spirit...

Adorable (and funny) hip costumes for kids.

The girls will be headed off to Spooky World soon. Wonder what they'd look like...

Which horror movie character are you?

I'll be posting photos from the conference next week on Instagram in case you're interested.

October 9, 2014

Etsy Find

I've been doing a little shopping on Etsy lately. The Christmas list (!) has started and I can't stop myself from visiting all these shops. My latest find is this print shop that has lots of fun with typography. Seeing as I just had to create a new header for this blog, I have been looking at a lot of fonts lately. (It's mind-numbing just how many there are.) I have a whole new appreciation for this art form.

Enter Why Hello from Letters on Love. They make simply elegant black and white posters that will cheer up any wall or corner in your home. All posters are digitally printed on a beautiful quality, heavy stock (300gms un-coated stock) using fade resistant inks. All you need is a frame and you're good to go!

They take custom orders AND you can buy digital files to create your own.

October 8, 2014

King of Cupcakes

Our dear neighbors brought the three of us a treat last week. Chocolate cupcakes! Apparently, there is a very popular cupcake bakery located in Newport, NH that everyone loves. But beware, its owner sets the hours and decides whether or not certain varieties of cupcakes will be made. In other words, you take your chances. The Death by Chocolate was my favorite. It was so moist you didn't even need frosting. The Mocha was also yummy and the Strawberry Frosted Chocolate came in a close third.

The King of Cupcakes doesn't have a website, but you can find them on Facebook. Every now and then they'll post specials, so pay attention because your addiction could get very pricey.

Some flavors to check out: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Hazelnut Crème Brulee, Red Velvet, Fluffernutter, and Maple Bacon. Yum!

Want to make your own? Use this delicious cake recipe. Fill cups 3/4 full and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Photo: Flickr.com