Friday, July 31, 2009

trouvée: the bee and the flower

Something different today ~ a recto-verso drawing. Found last year at an antiques store in Fredericksburg. I particularly couldn't resist the bee. The embossed crown in the corner is nothing more glamorous than the "A. Pirie & Sons Bristol Board" logo.

Some random fabulousness:
* and two reasons to go to Kentucky: Pope Villa and Pleasant Hill

Sit back and relax this weekend. You deserve it. xo

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

American Gothic

The other day, while musing on the architecture of Benjamin Latrobe, I stumbled across this painting of Sedgley Park. Built in 1799 near Lemon Hill, Philadelphia, it is thought to be the earliest Gothic-style house in America. A contemporary writer remarked "The natural advantages of Sedgley Park are not frequently equalled, even upon the banks of the Schuylkill. From the height upon which the mansion is erected it commands an interesting and extensive view. The scenery around is of unusual beauty, but its character is altogether peaceful and quiet."

Sedgley was the country house of William Cramond, a Philadelphia merchant. Business difficulties forced Cramond to sell the house a mere seven years after its construction. From there it passed through the hands of several owners and tenants, including the Philadelphia sheriff who ran a beer garden on the estate (much to the delight of the local boaters). The city eventually acquired the estate in 1854, incorporating it into what is now Fairmont Park. By that time the house had fallen into such disrepair that it was demolished in 1857. Today, the only remaining structure of the Sedgley estate is the guard house. So one can only imagine...

Here's a little something well worth adding to your digital library ~ Thompson Westcott, The Historic Mansions and Buildings of Philadelphia, with some notice of their Owners and Occupants (1877).

Thanks JTL for the inspiration on this one!

(image: Thomas Birch, Southeast View of “Sedgeley Park,” the Country Seat of James Cowles Fisher, Esq., about 1819, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, Museum purchase made possible by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment)

Monday, July 27, 2009

blackberry season

The woods in Maine are full of wild blackberry bushes, and when I was a kid I used to pick them and sell them on the side of the road. My niece, who is not quite so entrepreneurial (but none the less practical), remarked last summer that blackberries are great, because if you are playing and you get hungry you can stop and have a snack.

Here's my favorite thing to do with blackberries (and I should point out that my measurements are never quite exact!):

Apple Blackberry Crisp

3-5 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
a handful of blackberries
1/4 cup sugar

Topping (taken from the Quaker Oats lid):
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
2 tablespoons flour

Toss the sliced apples with sugar and place in an 8-inch square baking dish. Add blackberries (do not mix them in with the apples or they will break). Combine topping ingredients in a bowl and sprinkle over the top of the fruit. Bake at 350° for 30-35 mins, or until apples are tender.

Friday, July 24, 2009

trouvée: the road trip

The great American rite of summer ~ a road trip! Top image inscribed: "View going from Gertrude Vaughan's N.Y."; bottom: "Bear Mountain Bridge." Taken in the Hudson River Valley, probably 1930s. I love finding a group of photographs together, particularly when they start to tell a story.

Today it is all about the men:

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

historic house tour: tate house

I admit that this tour is a bit of a tease as I did not actually get to see inside (so, I promise a part II some day!). It was pouring rain the day I stopped by the Tate House. Knowing it was closed, I thought perhaps I might be able to snap a few views form the street. However, I had the good fortune of running into the chairman of the board. He gave me a plan of the colonial-style garden (a riot of roses, lavender, sweet basil, and scented geranium), and graciously allowed me to walk around the property.

The Tate House was built in 1755 on a hilltop overlooking the Fore River in Portland, Maine, and the city’s once bustling mast yards. Maine was then the primary source of white pine, prized for its use as ship masts. George Tate came to Portland, along with his wife Mary, to serve as Mast Agent for the British Navy, overseeing the export of white pine to the great shipyards of England.

Tate modeled his Georgian-style home after the fashionable townhouses of London. At the time, it was exceptional for its grand size, innovative gambrel roof, and windowed third story. Though it is now dwarfed by neighboring Victorians and rambling townhouses, the house remains a relatively intact example of colonial architecture. Most extraordinary of all, the clapboards have never been painted!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

a summer palette

I love how the color palette at this time of the year softens and deepens, and the sun gets lower, casting golden shadows in the evening. Two lovelies from this past weekend ~ False Queen Anne's Lace (a lovely dark variety) at the market, and the frayed hem of a 1840s linen pillowcase I found in Maine.

Some other fabulous things:
* the artist's palette series on Style Court
* and pretty much everything about this month's Gourmet!


Monday, July 20, 2009

some currants

Okay, I wholly admit that I bought these for the sole purpose of photographing them. I was inspired by EEE's post on Paulette Tavormina and her fabulous photographic still-lifes. And lest you think those lovely currants went to waste, I am happy to report that they were rather delicious tossed into last night's salad.

My latest obsession: peach smoothies with a dash of almond extract (thanks K for the tip!).

Hope you are all having a good monday.

Friday, July 17, 2009

trouvee: dans les jardins

A recent acquisition. Uniscribed, undated, and printed on "carte postale." A château in France? Does anyone recognize it? I haven't had a chance to do any research.

Some friday link love:

* Middle Air by Raymond Meeks
* Lacey Terrell
* Poter Hovey's summer reading list on Little Augury
* and Jan Dibbets (look closely)

Un bon weekend à vous!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Ooooh, gosh, two days have slipped by without a post! Isn't summer supposed to be slow and the livin' easy? I do have lots of things to share, including a house tour post (in progress, I promise!), but somehow I can't get my act together. Ah, well, at least we have been treated to a beautiful sunny week here in Washington.

Some lovely things you might like:

* bubbles (via a cup of jo)
* I Told You So (just ordered a print!)

...and not that I am trying to hurry summer, but I am looking forward to the fall exhibitions at Yale.

A happy thursday to you all!

Monday, July 13, 2009

peaches for you

At last! Local peaches. They are late this year, but oh-so-divine. In fact, they are so fabulous they need a post all of their own.

The gorgeous Greer was over for brunch yesterday. I made a quiche and sliced up some of those peaches and a local tomato. I tossed them with fresh basil, drizzled them with Balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil, and then finished with a pinch of coarse sea salt and fresh-ground pepper. (Hint: be sure to wash some of the fuzz off before slicing, and use a firmer piece of fruit as it will hold up better when tossed). I love the combination of sweet, savory, and salty. Yum.

Doesn't this look good? Oooooh, and how about a peach in champagne! What is your favorite way to serve them up? Do tell.

Friday, July 10, 2009

trouvée: camping

Found last week in Maine (click to view larger). No inscriptions or date. However, based on the type of postal card on which it was printed, it was taken some time between 1904 and 1918. Honestly, if one is going to insist on going camping, this is the way to go.

Some things:

* Jefferson Hayman
* Anne Schwalbe
* and a honeymoon (lovely!)

Take care. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

in the woods

My niece is convinced that fairies live in these woods. I am pretty sure she's right. How could they not? Last year my dad planted her a fairy garden, and as you can see the little people have made themselves quite at home.

Have you ever read The Borrowers?

Here's wishing you a little magic in your day.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Doesn't matter what age you are, but there's something about the beach in Maine that draws one's eye to the ground. As a kid I used to collect all sorts of shells, bits of driftwood, sea glass, mica, and stones. And truth be told, I still do it sometimes ~ all part of an uncontrollable tendency to create order out of nature.

I added a few more images to flickr. And lest you think I had a string of beautiful sunny days on my vacation, let me assure you that there was rain. Lots of it! It is just not that fun to photograph in a downpour (which is why they invented books, needlepoint and hot tea). Lots more to share (including a house tour), so stay tuned. Cheers.

Monday, July 6, 2009

a few bits

Back from Maine. Lots of rain, but still wonderful. There is so much catching up to do, but thought I would share a few little bits (more here). Hope you are all well and that the sun is shining where you are.