Tag Archives: China

Turkey Day Jumble

By: Clare

A lot of things were different this Thanksgiving.

For one thing, there was absolutely no snow on the  ground.

And crazily enough, I’m kind of ready for it to snow. In fact, I kind of miss the snow we usually have around at about this time. Except I know once it actually starts snowing there aren’t many chances of it stopping, and then the snow will be here to stay for awhile. And I will grow sick of it. Very, very sick of snow and cold. But thats something I can tell you about during winter. For now: Thanksgiving.

If you hadn’t noticed from the above picture, something has changed on our dog too. He no  longer looks like a groomed poodle, instead, he looks like the Australian Shepherd he really is.

Speaking of dogs, did I mention I missed this year’s National Dog Show that airs on Thanksgiving day? Well, I did, and I must say, I was extremely disappointed. Stupid football. You ruin everything.

You might have also noticed the stacked pile of wood in the first photo. We use a small wood stove to heat our entire 3-story farmhouse, which makes everthing all warm and cozy in the winter. It actually got so warm we had to open the windows to cool the kitchen. I love wood heat!

And just because I can, why not throw in another wood pile shot?

Wow, I’ve strayed quite off topic, haven’t I? I suppose I might have to go back to my Thanksgiving theme…

Well, this Thanksgiving we had a much smaller crowd. Only eight people ate with us! Can you believe it? I couldn’t, as I set the table, but it did make it so that everyone had the same matching china dishes, which hasn’t been able to happen in while due to there not being enough of our good china to go around.

The table is set a lot differently on Thanksgiving day than it is at any other normal meal. And the ridiculous thing is, I actually like setting the table for Thanksgiving, and on every other day its one of my least favorite chores. First we put on a pretty lace tablecloth (we never use tablecloths, they’d get absolutely ruined if we used them everyday).

The china that I mentioned before was a wedding gift to my great-grandmother on my mother’s side and has been handed down to us. This makes the china even more special, because I’m all about the history.

So when the table was set to perfection, thanks to yours truly, the food was put on and we all sat down to stuff ourselves.

Ironically, we never eat turkey for Thanksgiving. Instead, we opt for our own homegrown chicken!

And of course, the most delicious stuffing ever.

There was more…cranberries, homemade bread, but I don’t want to overload your taste buds!

Well, I guess that was it. Not a very eventful Thanksgiving, but there is so much to be thankful for my life that that fact was forgotten…until my teenage attitude remembered and went downstairs to complain to Mom and search for some leftover stuffing.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

anthropologie, slatterie style

by Kate

One of the benefits of living in a densely populated city is that you can walk out your door and keep walking till you come to a fancy store, the kind that exists only as a catalogue that you curl up with near the woodstove in the middle of the winter when you are living on a far flung farm. Granted, it may take an hour to get to said store on foot, which is about what it takes to drive into a real town where I’m from, but unlike my middle sisters I am not a runner. I am a rambling walker, meandering along as I gaze upon the world around me. I love walking in the city for the same reasons I love walking in the country- there is always a new story, new vista, new adventure to see.  A few days ago I bundled up the baby against the bitter chill of early spring, slung her in the sling, and headed out to peruse the wares at Anthropologie.

The dress in the front window display reminded me a great deal of the shipwreck dress that my incredibly talented friend Rebecca created for our North Carolina production of Twelfth Night. I am pretty sure that given lots of fabric and old hangars she could create a frock similar to this one.

Anthropologie is a high end retail chain that started here in Pennsylvania back in 1992 and has expanded rapidly. The stores specialize in high class bright bohemian shabby chic elegant and inordinately expensive household items and women’s clothing. The store received a great deal of press a couple years ago when Michelle Obama ordered some of their furniture for the White House. Some decorators were in an uproar at the proletarian nature of this move, but the store is anything but cheap, though presumably more accessible than your average White House furniture dealer. Here is the  bench that awaits customers in the entrance, inviting you to sit down at your peril and quite possibly snap it in two.

Let’s take a closer look at that pricetag, shall we?

Why yes, it is a wooden painted bench from Belgium, circa 1900. Yes, it is $1,300 dollars. Hmmmmn. I have a peeling painted rocking chair from Pittsburgh, circa 1900ish, with very similar (and probably arsenic based) peeling paint on it. Casey threatens to throw it out the window on a regular basis. Perhaps I should see if this high end retailer will take it off my hands?

It was at this point, pondering the bench, when I began to see the store through new eyes. I stepped back outside to view the other window display, a ramshackle weathered grey green structure that looked like it had been designed and implemented by none other than my father.

I kept the parking sign in lest you be led astray and think this was actually a scene from Sweet Ridge Farm. It does look eerily like something my father would build. It reminded me so much of home that from that point on, I made mental notes to have Clare photograph the flawlessly stylish high end anthropologie aspects lurking in plain sight back home at the farm. I think you will agree that the goat shed on the farm is significantly sleeker than the urban version. The sleekness is due entirely to the fact that my brother Robert, and not my father, built it.

Moving inside the store, the rustic rural motif continued with a full sized wheelbarrow- unlabeled and not priced as far as I could see but it looked as though it may have experienced hauling work during the French Revolutioin.

Of course Clare was able to locate a similar scene, minus the candles, out in the still snow covered fields.  Note the artistic nature of the apple trees, which my father has brutally attacked with his spring fervor of pruning. There are few things harder on my parent’s marriage than my father and his love of excessive pruning.

Back inside the tasteful, softly scented, flawlessly decorated interior of the store, I realized that the brilliant and tasteful designers had some serious common ground with my mother when it came to shelving and the kitchen/dining area. Here we have the store:

And here is the far less rickety version created by my farmwife mother. Well, it is less rickety now after Robert came and secured it into the wall. Having a son grow up to be a carpenter really allowed my mother to realize many of her dreams. It just took twenty five years or so.

As for aprons, well, if you saw the post Mary and Colleen did on Sunday baking, you’ll know we’ve got that covered.

The folks at the store had a huge wooden table and bench.

Which also looked strikingly familiar to our Amish built dining room table.

Ah but the store did have some pretty beautiful china, like this

whereupon the resourceful photographer/stylist  Clare brought out our Great Grandmother’s wedding china.

I loved wandering through the sophisticated big city store and viewing it through the prism of my Wisconsin ridgetop home, and to realize that you don’t need to pay two thousand dollars for a beat up cupboard from India in order to have beautiful style in your house. I’d go for the amish built table myself in a heartbeat. I found a great deal of inspiration in Anthropologie, which I think is a significant part of what they peddle- style and inspiration. I also have a newfound level of respect for my mother and her farmhouse decorating style. Who knows- perhaps she will be asked to consult in decorating the White House. I can see my father gleefully hoeing up the lawn to expand the White House garden, or perhaps volunteering to teach them a few lessons about pruning.