I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Hi everyone! I've been working on the final touches of the winter decor here at the beach. Mel, you'll be happy to hear I put the black flannel/ wool applique Pokeberry quilt on my bed! [Color me not thrilled with the way the black flannel looks in the relentless winter sun.] I did home tasks, like wash the windows, wash the curtains and throw rugs, ran the oven cleaning cycle on a day when I could open a door to vent the icky fumes. [lasagna , it always spills, doesn't it?] And I finally switched out the red/ pink Staffordshire china for the black version.

I collect many things. With the destash, declutter movements of our current world, is collecting out of favor? Probably that  won't faze me---if you look at my Pinterest profile you will see board after board, all filled with things I love and collect. Quilts, Swedish horses, furniture painted blue; white dowry textiles, 19th century christening gowns, thimbles, decoys, crocks, ships in bottles, Shaker pantry boxes, wooden spools, baskets, souvenir buildings, shells and sea glass, on and on. Obviously everything cannot be out at once, the clutter would be horrifying. Therefore I rotate. I have a lot of English Staffordshire transferware  [think Blue Willow or Pink Italian Castles] in many colors. It ranges in age from early 1800s to just-made-yesterday.

I remember buying my first bits of blue and white china, many years ago. We had just gotten married and bought our loft in Brooklyn. We took all my then-husband's art deco lamps, Japanese prints, juke boxes and my Fiestaware to the loft; we wanted an eclectic urban look, with black furniture and beautifully redone rock maple floors, oriental rugs. The beach house then had to be redone, in, I decided, all white with blue accents. Only blue because we only lived there [here] on summer weekends back then.
At that time I collected just the Fiestaware , silver snuff boxes, and delicate gold Victorian rings.The silver and jewelry were stolen from my old Brooklyn apartment so I just had the Fiestaware, the cottage rooms were bare. We found  beachy furniture in Pennsylvania and at a shop in Manhattan that had Nordic and Irish country  pine. The plate rack came home from a flea market  one October;

---the next day I went to a shop on Court Street and told the dealer/ friend I needed blue and white china to fill the new wall cupboard. He obliged with a stack of what is some of my best blue transferware. Then over the years I added pink [called red]; sepia, my fave; purple, brown, and a few polychrome or multicolored bits. I am especially fond of my small collection of black and white transferware. I enjoy getting it out, washing it gently and carefully arranging the plates on my shelf.

I mix it with blue and also with white ironstone sometimes.

I don't mind if the china is chipped or crackled or stained. In fact I prefer that.

And I especially love the reverse sides of the china. The stamps and decorations are so interesting and beautiful. [actual plates are after the back stamp pics] ~

Back of a very old Wedgwood? small plate. C. 1830-60? [The plate is stamped Wedgwood but this ink logo obviously is some other company. Perhaps Wedgwood made the blank china piece and this WS & Co is the pattern decorator and seller?  :

This is a much-copied pattern, Asiatic Pheasant . I have pieces of it in blue from T J Maxx, but this is the real thing, about 1850; a weird paste china not the usual ironstorne of most transferware.

Very old, "flow" black. The ink was made deliberately so it ran or flowed. This is beautifully decorated on the reverse.

Often too the edges or borders are interesting and beautiful,

Like a wonderful calico or chintz of the same era.

They speak to me of a long ago time.

Even if they were made just yesterday.

What do you think, collect or declutter? Which is more fun, which is ''you''?



gone to the beach...

We had a little snow this AM.

Paperwhite daffs update, yesterday, exactly two weeks from starting, first flowers have bloomed.

So cute and tiny!

Behind it is the jelly ''safe'' I often mention, a family piece, faded red paint over mystery wood. Dovetails and old white china knobs. Made by a German ancestor in Pennsylvania,  to store jams and jelly and potted fruit. C. 1840-50.

What IS transferware? here

Lovely online shop for transferware HERE

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Out and About

Another weekend is upon us! Yesterday my friend L and I went to a new-to-us ''wholesale'' fruit market in search of fresher nicer produce that what we are finding in our grocery stores this winter. L and I often run everyday errands together, a habit since we first met years ago. Our area is notorious for never having parking, so one of us drives and the other runs into each store. This allows us to double park or park in No standing zones and get things done. For quite a few weeks L has been dragging me along to this new market. I'd wait for her with the car, because I don't eat fresh fruit much except the occasional ripe fall apple.

My mom had a ''thing'' about fruit consumption---she thought it was useless sugar, and OMG do not mention apple juice, she'd rather have given you a beer. Fall apples with cheddar cheese or ripe Brie was a huge treat, like cake. In later years my parents branched out into bananas and green grapes at their bossy doctor's insistence, but neither enjoyed the fruit and it often went out to the bird/ animal feeding boulder for my dad's wild pets. Mom did grow red raspberries and blueberries in Cape Cod, but only for making her fabulous jam each June. So fruit isn't on my radar unless I am baking a pie, unlikely .

But when we got a legal parking space, right in front I decided to go in. L never told me the store has gorgeous vegetables! I was in veggie heaven. Again a habit of childhood, we all loved and still love veggies, almost any kind except beans and beets [and my kids will actually eat roasted beets, go figure].
These were interesting, sweet brown tomatoes. Too $$$.

No I'm wrong, must have misread the handwritten sign. To try next time.

I had told my son at Christmas that I couldn't make his eggplant parm because there were no nice eggplants in the stores in December. Well! Look at these.

 And they had many other varieties too.

Every pepper you can imagine.

Tiny parsnips to roast, small as your fingers, yum! Not old, woody, and dry like in the stores. They are so small and fresh I could saute' and braise them like carrots, or roast them of course. No need to mash.

Brussel sprouts the size of golf balls, red radishes as big [crispy tart!] as hen eggs.

My fave kind of large stem asparagus, brilliantly white cauliflowers. Interesting and extensive assortment of Asian-American sauces, and many kinds of rice.

And what are these funny things?

Dragonfruit?  HERE[I thought it was prickly pear fruit].

I was so overwhelmed I didn't look closely at the source of these fresh goodies, I'll look next time. Finding this store is a blessing, with the farmers market closed for the winter, then resuming with such limited hours in May. I'm not a fan of early morning food shopping. An amusing-to-us side note, I mentioned this store to my other girlfriend LK [the gourmet chef/ cook] and she said her daddy took her to this shop since she was a little girl and now she shops there and buys a whole week of veggies for 20.oo. (She is a native of the Beach). I couldn't believe she never mentioned it to me! I think she knew  the superficial grubbiness of the store would put me off. [and the lack of parking,lol.] But the veggies and fruits looked pristine.

It was really fun! And the prices were excellent. For example, not that I bought any, watermelon was 29 cents a pound, instead of $1.29 at the supermarket. I probably bought more than I should, tonite I plan to roast a big pan of squash, B sprouts, tiny potatoes, cauli, and parsnips. Yummy on a cold night.
Paperwhite daff update: 11 days in:

Looking good!

I had to remove the wire grate lid of the Mason jar, it was hampering the growth. I stuck in some blooming pussy willow stems instead for support.

Mo is on an eating binge [a stick of cheddar cheese, a pint of rice pudding, his bed] so I moved the daffs out of his way, onto the jelly safe that is too high for him to get up on.]

"I'm hungry, mommy. The daffs look so yum!
Have a good weekend! Eat your veggies!



gone to the beach....