November 30, 2015

Weekend Update with Highs and Lows!

The past few days have been very busy with the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, which was spent with family, and also babysitting the Big Brown Dog, Halas. He still comes to the house and looks around for Connor and can’t seem to understand why he can’t find him. Having Hal for an overnight stay isn’t the same as having a full-time dog, so when my friend Jonathan called on Wednesday afternoon to tell me he’d found a great dog at the local SPCA where he serves on the Board, I headed over there.

The lab was too big and looked as strong as a tank, so as we wandered around the kennel I saw a little dog and just fell in love. We  had a chance to walk around with him at the SPCA and while he was excited by being outside and the other dogs, he seemed pretty relaxed. And once you picked him up, he just melted in your arms. IMG_6930So I filled out the application, had the interview and made plans to pick him up on Friday morning. After some searching for a name that fit him, I decided on Rhory, using the Welsh spelling. I picked him up on Friday morning, so excited to have a dog again, and when I got him home, much to my horror, he turned into the Devil Dog!

Rhory never stopped jumping and biting me. Even after several long walks, running around the back yard and numerous games of tug, he didn’t settle down, except to completely eviscerate a stuffed hedgehog.IMG_6938

He hated the crate and was frantic to get out, which made us both unhappy. Compounding everything, I realized that either he wasn’t completely housebroken, or that I couldn’t read his signals to go outside. While I realized that some intensive training would probably help him stop the jumping and biting, my schedule was such that it wouldn’t be able to happen for a week or more, and that he’d have to have one-on-one training because he hadn’t had all of his shots yet, which also meant no doggy-daycare.

By Saturday morning, I was miserable. Rhory bit me at every chance and wouldn’t stop jumping on me, so my legs were covered with scratches and bruises. I realized that when I went out for a few hours to do some errands, I was dreading going home. IMG_6933

I felt like all I said to him was NO! Things came to a head when he bit me hard enough to break the skin. After a lot of hard thinking, I realized that the only thing I could do was take him back to the SPCA where they could find someone more suited to his personality. Funnily, as we arrived and were walking in, one of the workers recognized him and was surprised at how “bouncy” he was! I was crushed to return him, but knew in my heart that I wasn’t the right person for him, nor he for me. But doing it quickly before we bonded was the best thing.

Scarily, he’d just had his shots a few days ago, so the SPCA was obligated to give me a pamphlet on RABIES! I know that with some attention and lots of training, he will be a great dog for someone, but not me.

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In the time-honoured tradition of healing a broken heart, I did what any gal would do… I went shopping! I wanted to visit some friends’ shops in support of Small Business Saturday. First, I headed to LaContessa to see what fabulous things they had and to check out the creative d├ęcor at the shop.
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From there, we headed up to Halcyon House Antiques, where the shop is ready for the holidays! Halcyon is known for their stunning mantelpieces!IMG_6868

IMG_6854And for their sumptuous displays!IMG_6671IMG_6690

Halcyon House always has the most beautiful selection of ornaments. IMG_6852IMG_6865This year they also have some stunningly gorgeous snow-globes. IMG_6853IMG_6856

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To cheer myself on Sunday after returning all the things I bought for Rhory to Petsmart, I visited friends who are prepping for the holidays by doing a spot of decorating! This includes my buddy, Andrea who hosts a fundraiser for the SPCA each year. She’s the queen of decorating and her house is always over-the-top FABULOUS! Here is just a peek at what’s in store for the party!IMG_6979

Later I stopped for drinks at other friends, who were right in the middle of decorating their over-the-top tree! We were a little worried, but David managed not to fall on the tree!IMG_6984

I just adored these ornaments from the late Smith & Hawkin, which used to have the very best ornaments. These were tiny Faberge-style eggs that came in a tiny egg carton. IMG_6983

As I headed out, I had a chance to admire their apple trees, which, while still small, had a harvest of more than 100 apples this year, and which still have their leaves as we head into December!IMG_6987

I hope that your weekend was great. What did you do?

November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

All of my best wishes to you and your family for a quiet, peaceful and bountiful Thanksgiving.


This isn’t my house, it’s from Williams-Sonoma!

November 22, 2015

Auction Adventures

You might have noticed that I love going to auctions. The one I used to love to attend has gone from a Saturday morning live auction to an on-line one that seems to drag on forever. Even if it’s not a high stakes auction, there’s nothing like the electricity of a live auction. With that in mind, pal David and I headed up to Pennsylvania over the weekend for my favourite type of auction – a box lot auction!image

Box lot auctions are exactly what they sound like. They are usually the result of house-clearings, when items are piled into boxes and hauled to the auction house. Sometimes each box is auctioned individually, and other times, a few boxes are auctioned, and the high bidder gets to choose which box they want. The auctioneer may say that you can choose two or more for the same money, meaning if you bid $100 for one box, you can choose any or all boxes for the same money. The downside of this is that you don’t know if the people you’re bidding against want the same box as you do. But if bidding starts at a dollar, you don’t have too much to lose. IMG_6776

There’s an opportunity to look through the boxes before you bid, and sometimes you might only want one thing in the box. There’s a fair amount of horse-trading that happens after the bidding’s done. The adage that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure certainly holds true here. The bidding at these auctions is fast and furious, and you really have to pay attention to make sure you get the boxes you want. The auctioneer just jabbers away in his auction patois, and people are calling out the whole time and lot numbers are shouted, so there’s a lot of commotion.


The auction we went to is in the middle of nowhere. We thought we might have taken a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in deepest Appalachia, but we finally found the spot (and I am not telling where it is!). IMG_6756We did look a bit out of place, me with my cashmere and cords and David with his artist’s aesthetic. I managed not to wear the leopard-print tassel loafers, and smartly put on some thick soled shoes, because these auctions can be cold!

We had a very successful auction and both got the things we were bidding on. I found the most gorgeous hand-made quilt in the Lone Star pattern. It’s stunning and incredibly well made.IMG_6833

What is so interesting about this is how it changes the closer you look!IMG_6835IMG_6836IMG_6837

As I said, when you buy a box lot, you take whatever’s in the box, and in with the quilts were a bunch of old wool US Navy sailor uniforms, complete with middy tops and bell-bottom trousers, with the sailor buttons and lace-up backs.IMG_6793IMG_6795IMG_6797IMG_6802

I also got a HUGE lot of my favourite Blue Willow china. I know it doesn’t look like much china, but there are about 12 of each plate. IMG_6822Here are the marks on the bottoms:
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I also got these gorgeous cups and saucers, which are similar to a set I bought at an auction about a year ago. IMG_6819

There was one lot I forgot to bid on – I think I got distracted by an elderly woman with a lurid red MOHAWK! It was sort of a gentleman’s box, complete with instruction books, IMG_6758

and a straw boater with this label inside. I kept trying to decide whether the book was about South Americans, or Americans from the Southern USA. But with the reference to Latin ways, I think it’s South America. Published in MCMLI or 1951.


And now for what David got! In the telling, it doesn’t sound like much, but it’s actually pretty fabulous. It’s four grape sconces. The grapes and grape leaves are all glass, probably Italian, from Murano, an island off of Venice known for its glassblowing factories. In addition to the grapes and leaves, there are metal stems with tendrils. IMG_1699

Because David is such a genius, he can figure out how this whole thing goes back together. You can see on this one, that there’s a light bulb inside, but the plugs on it were horribly outdated and certainly not up to code. These pieces each weighed about five lbs.IMG_0463

After consulting Mr. Google, we came up with this, which is similar.


All in all, it was a fun evening and I am sure that we will do it again in the not-too-distant future!

November 20, 2015

The Book Thing

There are many times that I reference the Book Thing in my posts, usually in the context of having found some fabulous book there, but you might not know what the Book Thing actually is.

In today’s local paper, there was a great article about the Book Thing, how it was created and what exactly they do. Click here to read it.

I thought I’d share some of the treasures I’ve found at the Book Thing.

Numerous copies of the Chic Simple books, still relevant almost 25 years later.image

One of the prize finds: The Giraffe Cover to with the Zebra Cover!image

A fairly comprehensive collection of books on JBKO.image

Another great find! I also found one of his books on flowers.image

I probably find a copy of this book every other month.image

Billy Baldwin’s Decorates, as well as copies of Remembers. One even had the original review letter in it.image

I hope that you will take a moment to read the article on The Book Thing. It’s truly one of the things that makes Baltimore special.

November 16, 2015

I’ll Take This: 1830’s House on the Chesapeake

I knew this house when I was younger, a friend’s parents lived on this property in one of the many tenant houses. imageIt is surrounded by a sod farm, so it was always beautifully green and lush, imagebut it also backed onto a creek off the Chesapeake Bay, so sailing out to the Bay was easy. image

The driveway was made from years and decades of crushed oyster shells from the surrounding waters. imageThe house is simple and stately with minimum ornamentation, not even show-offy window treatments (in some rooms). The interior seems to be somewhat restrained, in parts. image

Those may be the original floors, but the planks don’t look wide or uneven enough.image

Nice classical center hallway, but the mural looks a bit dire. I lived in a house once where the owners let their high-school age children paint a mural. It was the worst!image

This piece of the mural was a bit concerning, I was afraid that they’d put some ghastly and inappropriate addition on the back of the house, but in looking at the exterior shots, I don’t think this image is this house. image

Nice dining room. The floors look more authentic here and you can see where the HVAC vents have been subtly added below the windows. image

Here are some of the other interior images:image



imageDon’t quite know what to say about this ceiling!image

The designer kitchen is a bit too modern for the house. I’d love to know what they pulled out to put this in!image But good lord! What’s that thing hanging over the counter?imageimage

The realtor had this tidbit to say about the house,

Circa 1830 with two guest houses, 3 tenant houses, 3 bay garage, barn with workshop, and deep water pier stands proudly on 150 acres. Designer kitchen, formal parlor, 8 fireplaces, plank wood floors & original windows. Built by John Ridout & the former home of Captain Philip V H Weems, Father of Celestial Navigation who taught Lindbergh to navigate and Admiral Byrd to fly.


The house has been on and off the market since 2012 and the price has dropped from $6.75 million to $5.7 mil. It’s about 25 miles to Baltimore and about 35 to Washington, DC. For more information and additional images, please click here.