Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mood elevators

Yesterday, I had lunch with my sister at a fantastic restaurant called Bobby C's. I took a photo because the scene was so lovely.

I told my sister that dining al fresco was a mood elevator for me. We laughed about it but it's true. The weather was perfect and just sitting outside relaxing over lunch made me happy. I decided the subject was worth discussing and should become a blog post.

So, dining al fresco = mood elevator.

I love it when I capture a special moment with my camera. Sometimes it's just serendipitous that you happen upon a moment. This shot was taken at the family reunion I photographed a few weeks ago.

So, capturing special moments= mood elevator.

The perfect find is a mood elevator. I found these fantastic Tracy Porter dishes and trays at an estate auction a few years ago. I always view auctions as hit or miss but this particular auction was a definite hit. I get a high from finding items that are uniquely me but have had a history before I possessed them.

Auction finds = mood elevators.

Ilumination is a mood elevator. Twinkle lights, lanterns, or firelight. Anything that casts a beautiful warm glow brings me joy. You should see my Pinterest board entitled Illumination. Soft light soothes and calms me. Brings out the romantic in me. Takes me to my happy place.

Illumination = mood elevators.

A perfectly browned crème brulee. I think this could be my most favorite dessert. A crunchy top with oozy goodness underneath is nirvana to me.

Crème brulee= mood elevator.

And the last mood elevator, the ocean. From Maine to Rhode Island, I love spending time by New England's rocky coast. I love the smell and the sound of the sea. Walking the beach or sitting just watching the waves roll in and out is my favorite way to de-stress.

The ocean= mood elevator.

Ok, it's your turn. What are your mood elevators?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Mid Summer Night's Stroll

I attended the second annual Summer Stroll in Melrose on Friday night. We were blessed with picture perfect weather.

Main Street is shut down from 6PM-9PM so strollers can visit the local businesses along Main Street. Gift stores, boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants were all open and having sales and promotions.

Dining al fresco was a popular activity at the Stroll. Restaurants that normally don't have outdoor seating were allowed to create small cafes on the sidewalk.

Then there was the takeout crowd. Want some shrimp cocktail on the run?  No problem. Turner's Seafood had it covered. They had a streetside raw bar.
There were four legged strollers too and they were welcome to take in the sights as well.
I was the event photographer for the Chamber of Commerce at the Stroll. It's a fun job but someone has to do it. I ran into my friend, Pam and her daughter Nicole as I walked the length of Main Street.
My sister participated too. She did some live event sketching of the goings on.
 This little girl danced up a storm and then took a water break.
The turnout for the event was fantastic!  Hundreds enjoyed the music and danced.
Some just found a seat anywhere and had themselves a chat.
Others came for the musical performances.
Sidewalk art was a favorite activity.

It started to take over the street but no one minded. The kids were having so much fun.

The flower baskets were beautiful. They added nice color to the Stroll.

The Victorian lighting always makes the downtown area even more appealing.

Last year, this man got the wheelchair access he had been asking for. There were curb cuts created in the sidewalk to allow wheelchair access.

A 3-D sidewalk chalk artist was hired. He did a great job.
Another artist painted some of the passersby.

Absolutely Fabulous or Ab Fab as it is known in Melrose, had a great crowd all night. Actually all the restaurants were hopping.

Petrone's Pizza set up shop outside their business.

These girls were not only Melrose chic but they were great salespeople. They were almost sold out when I got to their lemonade ice tea stand.

Speaking of Melrose Chic, there were many stylish people on Main Street on Friday night.

This chalk artist was stylish in her turquoise shoes.

My sister's violin teacher was there too. I thought I had missed his musical performance but I think he was just there to check things out.

My friend Carolyn's daughter and grandson checked out the activities.
Looking at the event through my lens, I would say the Summer Stroll was a huge success, Everyone had a great time eating, drinking, walking, dancing, singing, and creating. Great job Melrose Chamber of Commerce and everyone who participated.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer Bucket List 2014

Will it be another staycation this Summer or something more exciting? Well, no big plans for the moment and here it is mid-July. In fact, I just created my Summer Bucket List for 2014. Mind you I did not even complete my Spring Bucket List but that's ok. It is not a competition.

I would love to add a mini vacation to Martha's Vineyard to my list but my room at my favorite Inn  is booked for Illumination Night  (that is the night of all nights to be on the Vineyard). I wanted to attend the event but I waited too long to book accommodations. There is one high priced "apartment" at the Inn available. My brain says you should not be that frivolous but my heart says go for it. Maybe there will be a cancellation of a more reasonably priced room. It better happen soon, there are catsitters to be booked and vacation days to be requested.

So here's the Summer Bucket List  Calendar for 2014:

1. Waterfire in Providence July 26th?
2. Rockport fireworks August 9th
3. Ocean Park illumination night August 2nd
4. Go to see The Hundred Foot Journey August 10th
5. Kennebunkport daytrip -TBD
6. Afternoon Tea at the Boston Public Library -TBD
7. Provincetown Daytrip- cruise from Boston- TBD
8. See the new Lynx babies at the Stone Zoo- TBD

I purposely kept the list small. Maybe I will actually complete it! What's on your Summer Bucket List/Calendar?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sunday Breakfast at Wimbledon

It's that time of year. Time for my Wimbledon Breakfast party. Happens every July. Right around the time we celebrate our American holiday I am celebrating the very British tennis tournament.

I took a couple of pics before everyone arrived. First, the table setting. A white estate sale tablecloth, my sister's Harrod's teapot, a Harrods tea tin filled with purple and pink flowers.

 Everyone went home with a favor like this one. A small tin of loose English Breakfast Tea from Soluna of Winchester. What a great tea shop!

 I stood on a chair to get this shot for you. Aerial views are the best!

 And another one.
A better view of the tea tin turned vase. The flowers on the favors are fake. I spent a total of 98 cents on them at Michael's.

I made overnight baked French toast for the main course. It's so easy and delicious. Prepare it the night before and bake the next morning. The small plates with the green edging are from an antique store, the outside from Valerie Parr Hill and QVC.

This photo is of the frittata my friend Mary made for the event. It was so delicious!

Here's the French toast and strawberry and blueberry skewer. My friend Debbi brought the skewers.

My friend Mary also made the scones. My sister made the mock Devonshire cream for the scones and I provided the strawberry jam and lemon curd. I always put the curd on one half of the scone and the jam on the other half.

Congratulations to Novak Jokovic who beat Roger Federer. I am a Federer fan but it was a great match.

 I had a second arrangement made in my Wimbledon tea tin. I got this on a trip to England in 1984. It is very dear to me.

A better view of the tin. I usually use my loving cup/trophy as a vase for the Wimbledon breakfast but I downsized this year. The floral arrangement was smaller as was the dining room table. I did not put the leaf in this year. The dining room looked so much bigger!

 I took this picture a little late, we had already eaten most of the cheese and crackers. We had goat cheese with cranberry and cinnamon and white stilton with mango and ginger. Yum!

My kitty pitcher always makes an appearance. This kitty looks like my Percy. The pitcher is another antique store find. Do you see a pattern here?


I put a little tea vignette in the living room. I thought my guests might watch the match from the living room so I set up a little table with a teapot and teacup.

We had a few desserts. The all American fruit tart, chocolate and lemon cake slices, and Mary made her lemon cookies. My Dad loves her lemon cookies. He calls them snowdrops because she always brings him some at Christmas.
We had a wonderful time and before I knew it it was late afternoon. Time to plan the next party.  Now when should I have my Harvest Dinner?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Repurposed Heaven-Vintage Bazaar, Summer 2014

Last Sunday, I went to the Vintage Bazaar at Pettengill Farm in Salisbury, Massachusetts. Last year, I went to the one in the Fall so this year I thought I might enjoy the Summer market.

There were so many vendors covering the fields. I knew I could not cover it all in the time allotted. Of course, I was stopping to take photos and talk to the vendors so I know I missed so much.

I love ornate furniture and this one was clearly repainted and distressed. Great green color and love the knob and hardware.

What a cute idea, combining two chairs to make a bench. Fabulous color too!

I wanted this vintage moped! How adorable! I asked the vendor about it. He said it was from 1968 and he wanted $1200 for it. It would have been fabulous to tool around Boston with it but I had to say no.

I did buy one of these steampunked shoe lasts. I think it would make a great business card holder.

This is so funny. Wouldn't this yield table be perfect for a high traffic area of the home? The guy that made this is fascinating. He's a young man who loves anything old and can repurpose anything. My sister and I spent some time talking to him. He wants to open two shops, one in Portsmouth and one in Portland.  I will definitely keep an eye out for the shop openings.

Here is another one of his creations, the fire escape bookcase/shelf. As you can see, his stuff is one of a kind.

Whenever I spy a tea cart I take a photo. I already have 3 carts so no need for another one.

If you were hungry, you could order lunch from this trolley car restaurant. Too cute!

Aren't these birdhouses fabulous? I would love one of these for over our patio at my condominium.

We had a celebrity in attendance too. Cari Cucksey of Cash and Cari on HGTV was signing autographs and chatting with fair goers.

Her booth was fantastic and I loved her style. That apron makes the outfit.

Since we were short on time, we decided to bring our own lunch. Pinwheel sandwiches of eggplant, tomato, mixed greens, cheese and roasted pepper dressing. Delicious. My sister's SUV hatchback turned into a café.

Some people arrived fashionably late, animals were welcome too. This puppy was adorable. Oops, that's my sister's feet!

Back to the shopping! What a cute little trailer turned vintage clothing shop! The owner certainly had a flair for merchandising.

I have a friend who would wear and look good in the dress on the left. I wish she had seen it.

Yes, inside there were more items. A mobile vintage shop, genius!

The interior was as cool as the exterior. Just so cheery and adorable!

Not sure if the trailer is named Rosie or the shop is named Rosie. Maybe both. We did not see the vendor.

Ok enough with the photos of this shop. Time to move on.

Wish I bought this for Molly. She would have liked to cat nap in style. Perhaps I could DIY one?

Not the best photo but I wanted to show the creeper table/bar. My sister bought this one for her porch.

Do you know what a creeper is? It is used by auto mechanics to slide under the cars they work on. It is actually much cuter than depicted in the photo. My sister liked that it was repurposed and a narrow piece.

I liked this big piece with the shelf and cool hooks. It was too wide for the space in my house so it stayed on the market.

There was musical entertainment scheduled for the whole day. You can tell by the blue skies that the weather was fabulous. A perfect day to be outdoors.

We did not stay to watch the entertainment but we heard them and they all sounded wonderful.

So what did we buy? My sister as I mentioned bought the creeper table. Here it is on the porch. It may actually make it's way to my sister's art studio as my Dad was not all that fond of it.

From the back of my sister's SUV, I photographed my new old box collection. Yes, I bought all of these at the Fair. I have big plans for the breakfast cocoa box. I have a small shelf with ornate black wrought iron brackets that I think would look great with this box atop of it. It will be cute in my kitchen.

I like to use this type of box to hold photos or teabags. If I ever do fairs myself and sell my photos I might use these for display.

The tall box in the middle has a leather strap. It was used to hold window glass. The boxes were purchased from different vendors. If you like vintage boxes and crates, this is the place for you.
The next Vintage Bazaar is September 20-21 at Pettengill Farm in Salisbury, Massachusetts. If you don't live to far away, you might want to make the trip.


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