Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cooperstown, New York -- Part II

So on Tuesday, I announced that I would show you my most favorite home in all of Cooperstown.

Everytime we visit the village, I have my husband drive by this house just so I can get a glimpse of the beauty of it. This time it was especially gratifying because I was on my little walking tour, so I got to see it a little better than just from the car.

I can imagine myself living here. The house is old and charming and quite large...the grounds are spectacular...the back of the house faces the lake. In my little world, it's absolute perfection.

Wanna see it?



Sigh.

I think I would spend all of summer & maybe even fall on that porch. Can you just see it when the leaves change in the fall? Something I found amazing was that the front door give a clear view straight through to the back door. As a result, you can literally see the lake behind the house through the view of the front door. Breathtaking! I would love to see the inside. I have a feeling it's been tastefully preserved.

Because I was walking, I was able to see this plaque and therefore get information that I would have never known.



The home is named Lakelands, it's on the National Register of Historic Places and was built circa 1802! I never imagined it was that old (which only makes me love it more.) It was built for John M. Bowers who studied law at Columbia University and later settled in Cooperstown.

So, what do you think? Is she a beauty? Do you see why I call it my most favorite house in all of Cooperstown? Could you see yourself living here?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cooperstown...baseball & beautiful homes

**This post is photo intensive & make take a bit to load**



My family & I took a day trip to Cooperstown on Wednesday of last week. (In case you didn't know, Cooperstown, New York is the birthplace of baseball. This is where the Baseball Hall of Fame is located.)

My husband & children love all things baseball, so we visit Cooperstown often.

While I enjoy baseball and seeing all the awesome memorabilia, like this Lou Gehrig & Joe DiMaggio photo seen in the Hall of Fame,



and this Hall of Fame induction plaque for Reggie Jackson,



and modern-day Yankee memorabilia (such as Derek Jeter's helmet & batting gloves, CC Sabathia's cleats & hats worn by Mariano Rivera & Joe Torre),



what I really love is the quaintness of the village and the beautiful old homes.



Oh I can just walk the streets of the village looking at houses all day long.

So this time, I left the pack for a bit and did just that!

I felt kind of weird taking pictures of people's homes and hoped I didn't encounter anyone wondering exactly what I was doing. (Thankfully, I didn't.)

Here is some of the beauty of Cooperstown, New York...






















I wish I had more time, walking around the village, taking photos, but maybe next visit.

In my next post, I will highlight my most favorite Cooperstown home of all...stay tuned for that one, it's a beauty!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Just a quick tease

I couldn't let this day go by without a little tease.

Today marks 5 months until Christmas Day!!!



Normally, about this time of year, I am ready for fall, ready for Christmas, ready for summer to be history. For some strange reason, this is so not the case this year. I'm perfectly enjoying summer and am in no rush to move it along.
Sorry Santa!

But still, I had to tease all of you anyway. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tablescape Thursday



After many, many months of watching with wide-eyed wonder the amazing tablescapes over at Susan's blog Between Naps on the Porch, I decided to try my hand at one myself. I'm just a beginner, but I figured what better time to join than on Susan's 100th Tablescape Thursday!

Welcome to my Italian Feast...



Mangia, mangia!





My solid red plates, as well as the tomato & pepper plates, are from Pier 1, purchased 10+ years ago. The placemats were a gift from my husband's dear aunt.
The glasses are from Target. The red flatware was an engagement gift from my godparents some 18 years ago. My centerpiece items are pieces I've collected over the years from who knows where. So there you have it...Buon appetito!

Hey, check out all the amazing tablescapes at Susan's blog here. I know you won't be disappointed!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Chocolate Passion Dessert

If you are looking for a yummy dessert, especially one that's perfect for the summertime and easy too, look no further. I have had this recipe in my arsenal for years. I make it at least once every summer. It's such a cinch to throw together and guests simply looooooove it!



Chocolate Passion Dessert

24 fudge brownies (I make a 13 X 9" pan of brownies and slice them up into cubes once they are cooled, but I suppose you could use storebought brownies)

2 cups sliced strawberries, fresh or frozen (I personally have never used frozen in this recipe)

2 bananas, sliced

2 tubs (8 oz) Cool Whip (now, back in the day when I first started making this, there was such a thing as chocolate Cool Whip, however, since I can no longer find it, I just use regular old Cool Whip.)

Cut brownies into 1/2 inch cubes. Layer in a 3 quart bowl: 1/2 of the brownies, 1 cup of the strawberries, 1 sliced banana and 1 tub of Cool Whip. Repeat layers. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

See? I didn't lie to you. Nice and easy. Dig in and enjoy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

China mistake

Today I am here to admit a past error that has haunted me for some time.

I, being a lover of dishware of all kinds, made a big mistake...a big china mistake. When I was engaged, I never did the traditional thing...I never registered for wedding china. Why? I have no clue. I guess being 23-years-old, fine china was not exactly high on my list of priorities. Now I can honestly say, what was I thinking? Who allowed me to get away with this?

How I long for a beautiful set of china now, even if it does nothing more than collect dust in some china cabinet in my dining room!

If I had to pick a pattern today, I don't know if I could do it. Would I want to go with something that had classic elegance like this one, Gardner Street by Kate Spade/Lenox?



or how about this Vera Wang/Wedgwood beauty?



*sigh*

or even Noritake's Rosella Taupe is lovely to look at:



BUT...

What if I didn't want to go with something so classic? What if I wanted to have a little fun with color? Take a look at this one, Aureus by Villeroy & Boch:



What about this eye-catcher by Jasper Conran/Wedgwood, Chinoserie Green:



How could a girl possibly choose from so much loveliness?

BUT...

What if the girl isn't into "new"? Perhaps she would like something vintage?

How about this gorgeous one by Stetson?



There's also this delicate beauty by Haviland to consider:



All of these patterns make me *sigh*. Maybe, just maybe, the *sigh* is slightly sweeter for the vintage patterns. With that thought in mind, I'm beginning to think that 23-year-old me may not have made such a big mistake afterall. Maybe she was smarter than I thought. 23-year-old me with my modern brass & glass tables would have never even considered vintage. Heck no! Somebody's old dishes? Cringe! Ewww! Now as I've grown "wiser", somebody's old dishes sound perfectly fine to me. I think it may be time to begin the search after all these years.

So, what about you? What do you think of fine china? Do you have a set? Is it new or vintage? Let's talk china.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

10 years, many changes

Today for fun, I thought I would share my kitchen as it has progressed over the past 10 years. Warning: You're not going to see some huge kitchen reno here, just minor enhancements over time, so don't get too excited. (Granite & stainless steel have no place in my 1933 home.) I don't want you to be disappointed.

This is what it looked like on the day we closed on our house in July 2000. I guess you could call it tired:




We spent some time before moving in to pull down the wallpaper, re-wallpaper, and then repaint the blue of the cabinets the same shade of blue for a fresh look. Here she is (August 2000) :





A few years went by and I tired of the wallpaper. I tired of the flooring and countertops too. I talked the mister into a transformation. I painted the blue on the cabinets to off-white, we then changed the hardware, the flooring (what a nightmare that was), the countertops, sink & faucet. I painted the walls a soft yellow. (Side note: the new countertops & flooring were not exactly my picks. I lost the fight to the mister on that one who wanted something "dark". I just shook my head and went with it because they looked better than what we had inherited from the previous owners.) The new look (2002):





Early 2009, I decided it would be a great idea to paint the cabinets, yet again. But this time, I wanted to paint the cabinets white and I wanted to paint the wooden oak doors as well. The mister, being a wood man, was not crazy about this idea but I forged ahead anyway. I researched how to paint cabinets the right way so they wouldn't end up a chipped up mess over time. It took me literally 3 months to paint them. Every single day, after work, I would spend time degreasing, sanding, priming or painting a drawer or door. We have 20+ doors and 9 drawers and each one would take almost a week at a time. I wanted to cry when they were completed...talk about a labor of love!

We bought new hardware, and changed the faucet. I painted the walls my favorite, Nantucket White (Ralph Lauren). The mister also installed a pendant light over the sink. I also had him take down the microwave over the stove. It may seem odd, but I couldn't stand that thing. So much so, that I agreed to have a small microwave cluttering up my countertops instead! Here is what she looks like now (2010):




It's been a little over a year and the paint job is holding up beautifully. I will admit that the mister does not love them, he loved the look of the wood better, but I don't care because I do love them! I am one day hoping to change those darn countertops & flooring again, but I need to tread this issue very lightly since it hasn't been that long since they were replaced. (I also need to get rid of the dishwasher with the black door. Ugly!) The cabinetry, I don't believe I will ever change. They're original (1933) & so huge inside...perfect for storing lots & lots of pretty dishes. I've toyed with the idea of getting rid of the cobalt blue tile behind the sink area & installing beadboard instead, but again, the mister meets me with resistance. It may take some years, but eventually he'll end up seeing things my way, as past experience goes anyway.

So there you have it! I hope you have enjoyed reflecting back with me.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Stars & Stripes

Wishing all of you a very Happy 4th of July...best wishes for a wonderful day and may God bless America!

As my pulled pork BBQ is slow cooking away (it smells heavenly in here right now), I thought I'd leave you with some pics from home as we get ready for our big cookout. As you will see, the kids & I have been getting our craft on. :)

















So grab a lei, a cold beer or Smirnoff Ice, and let's celebrate!!!



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