Friday, January 19, 2018


One of the first things I learned about Bryce, mainly through his climbing of them, was that he is a lover of trees.  He appreciates their beauty, their shade and their purpose within our environment.

Our property has a lot of trees, which is wonderful, but many are approaching the end of their life span and we are committed to planting more.  While we do have many trees - sycamores and black walnuts being the majority - we do not have many ornamentals or specimen trees.  We have lots of plans to add trees every year but I was surprised this morning, as I wrote down all the trees we've planted, to realize we've already planted 43 here!

One of the very first things we did after we moved was plant 10 maple trees along the driveway.  We figured it would take many, many years for them to make a true impact so we wanted to get started right away.  These have been, by far, the largest trees we've planted.  

The rest of the trees have ranged from small to very, very small as it's not very financially feasible to plant large, expensive trees.  We planted 10 autumn cherries in front of the garden this past fall.  I'm super excited about these as they bloom in the spring and fall (though fall is a much lighter bloom).

We also planted 8 dogwoods along the Birthday Trail in the woods.  They are teeny tiny but hopefully they won't always be.  The tubes are to protect them from the dreaded and loathed (sorry, but they destroy everything!) deer.

We've also planted 4 crabapples, one red maple (other than the driveway trees) and 8 dwarf fruit trees in the garden.   Planting trees is really an exercise in patience and looking toward the next generation, they being the ones who will truly enjoy a mature tree, but one that I think is totally worth it.   

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Celebrate Rosie

Today is the anniversary of when Rosie came into our lives.  I've never been much of a dog person so if anyone had told me just how much I would love this dog, I wouldn't have believed them.

But love her we do!  She seems to be just about perfect for us and we are so thankful for her.  To celebrate we made her a hat (she wasn't a fan) and a doggie cupcake (she was a fan!).

Recipe for doggie cupcakes from Butter Celebrates: A Year of Sweet Recipes to Share with Family and Friends

Friday, January 12, 2018

"New" Latches, Hinges and Knobs

One of my very favorite spots in the whole house is the butler's pantry.  I loved it when we first saw it and I love it even more now that it's 99% done and "us!"  Something that was totally unexpected, but I'm absolutely thrilled with, are the hinges, cupboard latches and knobs!  Let me explain...

The hinges on each of the cabinets were totally covered in paint and seemed to me to be a total loss.  In fact, I never even considered keeping them, instead going online to find a replacement as soon as the painters started working in that area.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find a single hinge that was the same size, which meant that we would have to drill new holes, fit new hinges to the doors and figure out how to shim them as well. 

However, as I was working on measuring them, for the umpteenth time, I noticed a logo that had the letters SW enclosed in a heart.  It's the heart that got me.   It turns out the company that made my hinges, Stanley Works, was founded in 1843 and from 1920 to 1935 they made what is known as the sweetheart logo in honor of their longtime CEO, William Hart (he worked for the company for his entire life!).  Of course, I now had to keep the hinges!

Fortunately, my sister knew of someone who re-plated metal and he was willing to plate the hinges in brass (unlacquered).  I found it interesting that James explained to me that in his opinion it was completely worth the cost to strip and plate them because it was next to impossible to get such high quality hinges today.  The hinges are high carbon steel (they hold large doors with glass in them) and he said he wouldn't trust such small hinges today.  We also went ahead and re-plated the cupboard latches and knobs as they were solid brass but the finish on them (nickel) was wearing thin. 

It certainly wasn't an economical way to go, I could have replaced all of the hardware for less, but I really love re-using things that were already part of the house. 

P.S.  Stanley Works is till around, it's just now called Stanley Tools!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Goings on...

Happy New Year everyone!  I sure didn't mean to step away from the blog for so long but things got really, really busy here with Christmas and the renovation and I just couldn't keep up!  So instead of doing a million posts about everything, I think I'm just going to do a bit of a synopsis of what has been going on...

Christmas was really lovely this year.  We spent Christmas day at my sister's house this year as my Mom, who was planning on hosting, fell and broke her wrist rather badly a few weeks prior to Christmas.

The kitchen, for all intents and purposes, is done!  I forgot to order hardware for our island, so we have to wait for that to get here, and there is some touchup painting that has to be addressed, but we are in there cooking and making a mess every single day.  It's wonderful and I look forward to sharing it with you!  In other parts of the house, the old kitchen has been gutted and the bathroom is slowly but surely coming along.

right after the sink was installed but missing hardware on drawers and sconces

The weather has been the coldest, for the longest period of time, that I can ever remember.  We've had three or four snows and the temperature hasn't been above freezing in weeks.  The cold really doesn't bother me as much as some people (though I'm dreading our heating bill) and I love having snow on the ground instead of brown everywhere.  We've been for walks around the property and it's so beautiful and peaceful.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are settling back into a routine.  One of the things I really want to get done in the new year is figure out this blog.  It REALLY bothers me how the Photobucket bits are still on here and yet I cannot seem to figure out how to get them off (and I'm not willing to pay them a fee).  Hopefully, we can make it better than ever!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Exterior Paint Colors

I read somewhere that when you are trying to pick paint colors that it's best to pick one piece of inspiration that you can build around and that is exactly what we did when picking the exterior paint colors.  The entire color scheme was designed around an antique frog door knocker that I got soon after we bought our home!

I find paint colors to be fairly overwhelming, especially on the exterior of a house where it's not easily repainted (or inexpensive!).  When I first started thinking about what color to paint our exterior, I thought I would stick with the same color we painted the garden shed and chicken coop, Ballet White by Benjamin Moore.  However, once I painted a piece of siding, I realized it was a little too stark and I needed something a little warmer.  I borrowed my friends paint deck and started narrowing it down but it was very overwhelming and confusing.

Finally, I called in a designer friend and she gave me a great piece of advice.  She said that when in doubt it's always a good idea to try to match the mortar of whatever stone/brick you are painting around.  In that vain, we decided to go with a warm white called Elmira White.  It's one of the historic colors from Benjamin Moore.  In the spring, we will paint the rest of the siding to match the new addition but for now it will be a bit of a mix up!

I originally wanted to keep our green shutters, we are Frog's Hollow after all, but I've decided to go with a bit more of a black/green.  I love the classic look of black!  Again, the shutters will get painted in the spring.

When we were in England this summer, I absolutely loved some of the doors I saw!  They came in all sorts of colors and they appeared to glow!  I've read up on how exactly they get the doors to look like that (it involves specific paint, lots of different steps and lacquer).  Needless to say, our painter, while very good, wasn't ready to go to that length!  I did find a really lovely color that I love though!  It looks like patinaed copper.  Both the kitchen door and the mudroom door will be this color.  I envision pink roses spilling over around the door...

Monday, December 4, 2017

Tree Trimming

Most of our house feels as if we are living in a disaster zone (butler's pantry, kitchen, dining, bedroom and bathroom are all cleared out so that we have boxes, furniture and misc. stuff everywhere) so we can't do our traditional decorating for Christmas but, of course, we have to have a tree!  I'm so thankful the library is put together enough, though our dining room table is stuffed in there, to be festive and bright. 

For dinner, we had a cozy soup served with pull apart bread in the shape of a tree. 

Grace made this beautiful Gingerbread Cake. 

This year, Harris got an ornament to represent Rosie and Grace got a suitcase since she has such wanderlust!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Barn Loft and The King's Sofa

I didn't go up into the barn loft until after we had purchased Frog's Hollow, but as soon as I did I had visions of a teen hangout space (that is until a friend told me that lots of drinking happened in barns when she was a teenager!). 

Our barn is very rustic, with lots of holes in the siding, humps in the floor and absolutely no conditioned space.  However, since we don't have a finished basement the loft is the best place we have to put a few recreational items.

The number one problem to be solved was access.  There was a hay loft ladder that Harris and Grace used with no problem but it wasn't ideal and it certainly didn't lend itself to carrying anything in ones hands to get to the loft.  Last spring, Al built us stairs to the loft.  They are steep and narrow but sure beat nothing at all!  Harris still uses the ladder though :)

We have a sofa up in the loft that we affectionally call the "King's Sofa" and naturally there's a pretty good story to go with it..

Last spring, I went to an estate sale with my friend, Gretchen, who immediately fell for this modern, super duper long, white, pleather sofa and ottoman.  However, she had no use for it, but then she found out it was only $80!  $80!  So naturally, she decided someone needed to have it and therefore it somehow made its way into our barn loft.  And for $80 it couldn't be more perfect for our space!  Getting in the loft was also an adventure...

Bryce has his dart boards up in the loft and Marilyn gave the children a ping pong table. Also, a colleague of Bryce's was moving and gave us an awesome air hockey table.

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