Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Post Halloween Post

Well, the Trick-or-Treaters are done for the evening. Quite a few Spidermen came by today! After dinner, my husband and I walked the neighborhood to see how the neighbors decorated this year. Take a look...


Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Memories

When I was little, I loved to go Trick-or-Treating! My brothers and I would get to pick out our new costumes at Woolworth's (usually flammable nylon things with molded plastic masks). We rushed home from school so we could Trick-or-Treat well into the evening. Our haul was so big, we had to go back home to dump out our loot a couple times throughout our quest.

We knew the houses that gave the best candy. Some people gave big sized candy bars! Others gave small toys. Some gave pennies. One man who lived around the block gave out pads of paper (he must have worked at a paper company).

There were always those who didn't answer their doors. We knew they were home, because we could see their shadowy figures lurking around the darkened rooms! To us, these houses were a waste of our time. Now, I think these folks were probably too poor to afford to hand anything out, or maybe were too old or afraid to answer their doors.

I remember asking my grandma what she did for Halloween when she was little. She told me that Trick-or-Treating for candy wasn't around in her day! Back in the 1920's-30's, she ran with a wild group of kids that pulled very mean tricks on people... no candy involved! They soaped the windows of businesses, turned over cars, and had bonfires. Gramma!! I couldn't believe my own sweet grandmother could commit such heinous crimes!

However you celebrate, have a safe and Happy Halloween!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Eastlake Haunted House!

Some Halloween spirits have come to haunt our home!
They seem to have a taste for Eastlake Victorian things... go figure!

A skull took up residence among our relatives!

Jack Skellington was found hanging out in the gravy boat!

A scary rat was caught red-handed near the teacups!

A frightened black cat perched atop the clock!

Crows have alighted upon our chandelier!

A severed hand crawled across the platform rocker!

A Jack-O'-Lantern has found a comfy spot on the sideboard!

A werewolf came to check out our cherub lamp!

A slimy green ghoul found its way into the sugar bowl!

I hope these frightening beings leave our house once Halloween is over...
I wouldn't want them hanging around for Thanksgiving!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Picking out Pumpkins

It was a crisp, sunny fall day today as my husband and I made our annual trek to Goebbert's Pumpkin Farm! This year we didn't pick out a jack-o'-lantern pumpkin to carve, but got some pie pumpkins and decorative gourds instead.

Goebbert's has a lot of fun things to do, especially for families with kids. There's a haunted house, pony and camel rides, a petting zoo, corn maze, hay rides, and pig races. We did the hay ride this year, which took us through the corn rows and a haunted barn!

We also bought pumpkin pie slices, apple cider donuts, caramel apple slices, and some other yummy desserts. It was a lot of fun, and a great way to enjoy what's left of the milder weather of Chicagoland.

Husband Terry with our pie pumpkins

Haunted House!

The Haunted Barn

I felt like a kid again!

Gooey caramel apple slices!

Our gourds on display in their new home


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Baking season has arrived! Today I made some delicious Pumpkin Cupcakes from Martha Stewart's recipe. Mmmmm! Tastes just like autumn. I like cupcakes because they are already portion-controlled, not like a cake where you can cut yourself a big piece, by accident of course... and then you HAVE to eat it because it would be rude to put it back!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sofa Reborn

We recently stopped by the home of our friends Dave & Jessica to see their "new" sofa. Dave had found the remains of the poor old thing in somebody's trash, and decided the frame was sturdy and in good shape. All it needed was to be reupholstered.

Well, just look at the sofa now! Aren't the patterns gorgeous? I like the multiple fabrics used. I think it will look great in the room. It's a comfortable and large sofa, too. Right now, they are still worried about the dog and cats getting at it. I always have that problem, myself. Our cats have clawed every upholstered chair we've ever had. None of the tricks seem to keep them away.

I wish my friends many long and happy years with their beautiful sofa. And if anyone has any good advice for how to keep cats from scratching furniture (other than declawing!) please let me know!

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Library Inspiration

Interior of the old Chicago Public Library, now the Chicago Cultural Center

I just found the best site for inspiration for my home library! The site is Curious Expeditions by Michelle Enemark and Dylan Thuras. They have amassed the most amazing photos I have ever seen of gorgeous libraries of the world!

I remember being impressed with the original Chicago Public Library, which years ago was converted into the city's Cultural Center. I remember the tall rows of shelves, and ornate and beautiful details everywhere. The building is now used for concerts and private events, and is still very beautiful. I've also been to the Boston and New York Public Libaries, which are impressive.

But just look at some of these libraries!


Kitchen Inspiration

"Country Kitchen" by artist Randy Souders

Sometimes my favorite inspiration for creating the Victorian home of my dreams comes from an artist's interpretation rather than any real-life scenario. This is true of the print I have hanging on my kitchen wall by Randy Souders entitled "Country Kitchen."

I would love to step inside that room! Although I know I would never go so far as purchasing a reproduction stove, so many things about this print have given me great ideas. I love the wood floor! There is a wood floor under the layers of linoleum and vinyl tiles that are now in place, so eventually that will happen. And I've found an old scale, coffee mill, and old food tins to set the scene. I probably won't get rid of my modern counter space or appliances, but I do have a freestanding kitchen cupboard filled with jars and cans of dried beans, pastas, flours, sugars, oatmeal, corn meal and other dried goods we regularly use. I love the beadboard wainscoting, and will probably add that to my kitchen as well.

The beadboard ceiling looks really nice, but it would be a fire hazard. I have my eye on some nice reproduction tin ceiling from Armstrong in a smaller tile size, since my ceilings are only 8-feet high.

Our house didn't have a kitchen or bathroom when it was originally built in 1873. It was a one room building, probably built by the first owner himself. According to the home inspector we hired when we bought the house (he is an expert on historic homes in the area), a second room was added not too long after the house was built.

It was never meant to be an elegant home, but a simple home for a working class settler. We consider ourselves to be the modern equivalent, so I try to stay away from any antiques or decorating styles that would not have been appropriate to the history of the house or the neighborhood. But it's hard not to dream big! And the Victorians did the same, adding cheaper versions of high style furnishings and architectural details to their homes whenever they had the chance. They wanted to show off their good taste and keep up with the Joneses as much as we do today!
Reproduction stoves from Elmira Stove Works

Armstrong Metallaire faux tin ceiling tiles