Month: May 2012

hanging basket

The curse of the previous homeowner: episode 2

It’s finally nice outside and not raining–that means Tim and I have been able to get out in the yard and do some much-needed clean-up.

relocated shrub

The mystery shrub has reached well over 6.5 feet tall. Hopefully it will thrive in its new location.

I dealt with another curse from the previous homeowners: an unidentified shrub. The previous homeowner had planted it in the butterfly garden, next to a butterfly bush and a large yellow daisy. When we moved in, it was about knee-high. Even then, I knew I didn’t want it in the butterfly garden competing with two other large plants, so I moved it to the side of the house. Where it thrived. Scarily. To the point where Tim was concerned the roots might damage our foundation. It was also encroaching on the fill pipe to our oil tank. That needs to be easily accessible – especially during New England winters.

So on Saturday, I moved the mystery shrub to part of the back yard next to the fire pit where we keep our compost bin and let things grow wild. So far, it seems to be doing well. I filled in the space on the side of the house with some forget-me-nots from my friend Amy. The side yard looks much more open now, and it will definitely be easier to mow without Mr. Shrub poking us in the face.

forget me nots

Forget-me-nots on the side of the house

I also planted another hanging basket and some pots for the front steps. And I bought a GIANT fuschia for the deck – we get very little sun back there, so I need things that do well in shade. My grandmother used to have fuschia in the front of the house and I always thought the dark purple looked garish next to the hot pink. But this one is white. Much better. And still makes me think of my grandmother.

hanging basket

Petunias and nemesia. In a few weeks they should trail over the sides of the pot.

front steps

I already had the pansies–I added pots with verbena, more nemesia, and tall things that look like fireworks when they bloom.

Giant fuschia.

Giant fuschia. Beautiful.

cherry pin

Antiquing adventure

On Saturday, Tim and I went to visit his parents for a Cinco de Mayo celebration – we made a ton of food and fed his family and several neighbors. At some point after all our prep work was done and before it was time to actually start cooking, I convinced my mother-in-law to go poke around Jeffrey’s Antiques Coop.

Some of the lovely things we saw:

lucite bags

some lovely lucite purses.

teal clock

A gorgeous clock.

more lucite purses

even more lucite purses.

My mother-in-law also pointed out a number of pin-up items and compacts for me – she knows what I like! But my favorite find was this cherry pin:

cherry pin

Austrian cherry pin with glass leaves and a small red rhinestone.

I’ve been doing some research and discovered that my pin was probably made in the 1950s–apparently, Austrian fruit pins are collectible in their own right. I just love cherries! Most of the pins I’ve seen have fruit made out of glass. But the cherries in my pin appear to be some form of plastic. Black Dahlia’s hot water test didn’t yield any odors, so it’s probably not bakelite or celluloid. No matter what, I love it. Before wearing, however, I’m going to take it to my jeweler to have all the prongs checked. I wouldn’t want to lose any stones. Maybe he can even give me a little more information.

May 2012 Hideous Handbag

Hideous Handbags: a new series

One of the hallmarks of the fashion icon: a tasteful, stylish handbag. It would seem simple to get that right.

But alas, so many bags stray so far from the boundaries of good taste that I can’t bite my tongue any more. On the first Sunday of each month, we’ll reflect on hideous handbags. Vintage, modern, large, small, formal, casual…the bag need only meet two criteria.

1. It must be some form of bag. Whether you call it a purse, pocketbook, tote, or clutch, as long as it’s a bag, it qualifies.

2. It must be ugly.

While I’ll start the conversation, reader submissions are welcome. Email photos of the bag to along with a brief editorial on its flaws. I’ll incorporate your submission into the following month’s Hideous Handbags post. Thanks for your contributions.

Our inaugural entry:

May 2012 Hideous Handbag

The inaugural hideous handbag. I will try to find words to describe why this is wrong.

This gold might be fine on a smaller scale, but in a gargantuan purse, it’s overwhelming. I’ll bet the gal who carries this could land aircraft with it on a sunny day. In addition to the main gold, we’ve also got the gold Flavor Flav-style medallion hanging off the handle on the right and some other gold frilliness strapped to the left side of this beast. Neutral straps can only go so far in attempting to convey good taste. In this case, not far enough.

I also can’t decide if it’s supposed to belong to a stripper or a granny from Boca.

Enough. Back to the realms of tasteful vintage.

In the meantime, send me photos of any fantastically disastrous bags you come across, and tune in next month for another post on hideous handbags.

clothing swap dress

I’m home!

I got home last night and can’t even describe how glad I am to be back. While the conference went well and I got a lot of important work done, I missed Tim and the cats. And poking around online each morning with a liesurely cup of coffee. Thankfully, my boss granted us a marketing holiday today so I can recuperate and blog over my coffee this morning.

While I spent most of the day running around like a mad woman, evenings were a bit more relaxing. Tuesday night we had an awards gala and I got to wear my clothing swap dress.

clothing swap dress

People gave me wonderful compliments on this dress.

I apologize for the blurry photo – iPhone, low lighting, and exhaustion aren’t the best recipe for quality self-portraits. But you can see that it’s a pretty dress. I felt ultra-glamorous, and it must have showed because a number of people complimented me and told me I looked great. One person even told me I looked like I stepped out of the 1920s, which made my night.

The hotel was stunning. This place could have fit in during the early part of the 20th century when the rich and famous lived in hotels. Just beyond the lobby on the way to the elevators there was a large birdcage with a family of zebra finches in it…that struck me as an interesting and somewhat odd detail. The birds made cheerful little chirping noises. While birds normally render me slightly uncomfortable up close, these made me smile.

Wednesday evening my company rented out a section of Universal Studios for several hours. Everyone at the conference got to go on rides for free. I discovered that a number of my coworkers are roller coaster fanatics. I love roller coasters, but have passed the age where I can ride repeatedly without suffering nausea. I did go on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit twice (with a looong break between rides) and Revenge of The Mummy. I loved both.

While I was away, all kinds of goodies arrived in the mail:

  • the lovely little purse I bought on etsy
  • the banner Bernadette made for me
  • our passports, in plenty of time for our trip to Japan this summer.

Good stuff. Today I’ll unpack, do some sort of exercise (because really, it’s been way too long), tidy up the house, and catch up on Powder Keg photography and posting. Ahhh. So nice to be home.