princess turkey feather

Went to the Museum of Natural History to see the horse exhibit last week. While it was amazing, it was also amazingly packed with crying kids. I preferred the solitude of the "Hall of North American Birds", the owls are so enchanting.
Great Blue Herons will always remind me of home and the Chesapeake Bay.

Elmwood has this amazing Audubon print of a wild turkey with a vase of wild turkey feathers. I love that this house is so rooted in nature, even inside.


In New Hampshire I saw at least 3 flocks of beautiful wild turkeys and was lucky enough that they left some feathers behind for me to scavenge.

The smaller breast feathers inspired me to make a feathered headband, after all as a girl i was in the defunct YMCA program Indian Princesses (like a father daughter girl scouts but you pretend to be a native american tribe).

You even got to make up a very un-pc indian name, mine was Princess Jumping Jackrabbit.
First I striped the feathers of their down, just leaving the smooth tops.

Then I tightly wrapped each feather on my headband with matching thread.

It reminds me of a little girl's dress up indian princess crown. What fun.

Ella, the great great.

Here's a little elmwood snapshot of a letter sent to my great great grandmother Ella Averill while she was in Cape Town, South Africa.


My great aunt Winky recently found Ella's journals and had them transcribed and bound. I can't remember ever enjoying reading something more (and that's saying something).



Wellesley College Sunday, Nov. 24th 1878

"A rousing indignation meeting was held in Chapel Thursday evening incited by the piece which appeared in the Harvard Advocate on Wellesley College and its girls. It is true that some "preps" have not behaved in a very ladylike manner over there, and some disgraceful things have been said and done in hotels, restaurants and on train cars. Well free speech prevailed- opinions of many from each class were expressed, some rousing speeches made and finally a motion was carried almost unanimously to discount everything unwomanly and not fitting for young ladies who were seeking a higher culture."


Wellesley College Saturday, Nov. 23th 1878

"Mollie Bingham has gone home- the oculist fears that her eyesight cannot be saved and that in a very short time she will be totally blind. A letter from her father was read in Chapel thanking students and teachers for the kindness towards her, saying that he wished her last looks might be upon the scenes of her childhood and her friends and family, and asking the prayers of the College that if it could be the Lord's will, a little ray of light soon might be left to her for the remainder of her life."


Wellesley College March 23th 1879

"Our costume party came off with great success Friday evening the 14th. I went as one of the fates. About every female character in poetry was represented, from Mother Goose to Queen Elizabeth. We decorated the gym beautifully. Each of the four beams being draped with the class colors, flags over the windows, Chinese lanterns, statuettes, busts and flowers scattered about promiscuously."

the old mill

ok, now moving from elmwood to the second family masterpiece, the mill, my grandfather emerson's home.

In the 70's he and my ingenious grandmother converted the second oldest operating mill in the states into their home. I will never be so cool.

The house the is amazing. Jacque Cousteau once rented it out, too. Double amazing.

He drives a jaguar e-type convertible from the 1960's. still. at 87. what a class act.


Fully open windows in an old house, nothing like it.


The sluiceway that runs underneath the house. From the kitchen you can actually see through the glass section of the floor down to the water and old mill turbine.

Grandpa emerson also raises ducks that live in the pond.


The fireplace that actually burns tree trunks, not logs.

All the saws are from the mill's operating days.


Cast iron pans and a stone wall in the kitchen. the stuff rustic dreams are made of.


I also love that the house was done in the 1970's but the mill itself dates from the 1740's. It's a great balance, not too fussy. Amazing old wooden floors, mill stones, a groovy sunken living room, industrial spiral staircase and a wall of windows.

so basically, emerson/merrick souls manifest themselves in old houses.

more more more...

only a few more new hampshire posts, i swear.

that is until i go back next month.

A local secret garden. My grandmother used to rent this little place when she wanted to have a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of family summers at elmwood. love love love!

A rambling and fallen victorian garden and trellis. If fairies exist, i think we would find them here.

A pink lady slipper, the best of the best. my father's favorite and also new hampshire's state wildflower. Never knew some states had official wildflowers in addition to their regular flowers.

And because i'm sure you were wondering, nh's state flower is the lilac, my personal favorite!

i have only tipped a canoe once in 24 years. A frog jumped in the canoe with me a couple years ago, not that i'm afraid of frogs, but i don't handle surprises well.

misty night.

My great grandma's treadle sewing machine and button collection. Love the wallpaper in master bedroom and i love that it reminds me of my sweet chelsea rose.

What would a vacation be without a home improvement project? Mom and i repainted the hallway and stair floors. Forgot to get a good before shot, but they were ick.


My faaaavorite thirft store in the whole world. saturday mornings in the hancock church basement. Nothing over a buck and they consistently have "ali mcgraw in love story" stuff and amazing men's things.



Oh yeah, and now i want a back yard so i can have goats along with a garden. not too much to ask?

hello and welcome inside elmwood.

the house has 3 attics, some plastered with old posters. these are dream attics with family relics galore.
family doctor bags, family photos and school papers. i found some paperwork dated 1875 from wellesley college listing my great great grandmother Ella as enrolled in their first ever school year.

it's a lovely thought to know these things have been in the attic for over 100 years and will stay there for another 100.


all of the fields were filled with daisies. delightfully simple.

the family history hand written on a chalk board in the kitchen.

the wood stove works. nothing tastes as good as scrambled eggs cooked in a cast iron pan, on a cast iron stove heated by a fire you start yourself with wood you've split yourself.

hand delivered from our nearest and dearest neighbor straight from the coop that day. this is the same neighbor who sweetly names his pigs after members of the emerson family and has done so for my whole life.

i like that a lot of these old bottles entered the house as new and just never got thrown away.

this simple, clean and sunny room is more impressive and inspiring to me than any manicured interior.

the family has collected a lot of brown transferware china. i like that is isn't all in a big cabinet, little pieces are hiding everywhere.

oh boy, there is still more to come....

home again, home again.

well, not quite home. stopped over at grandfather's house, but connected to modern civilization (and wireless internet) again. just offloaded photos, i have hundreds and now feel just completely at a loss of what to show. everything was so perfectly new hampshire and emerson family that i could barely stand it.

heaven.

canoed out to my favorite spot to read. the sunlight was simply perfect.

she's a good old girl, my lady love.


my bedroom.


moose brook runs along side of our property and then empties into powder mill pond next to the house.

i can barely believe my mother, grandmother, great grandmother, great-great grandmother and on and on.... have been rounding this bend and seeing this view for hundreds of years.

the new hampshire bow.

I spoke to soon, it's sweltering in the city and my hair has been sticking to my face again. Blasted long hair. Luckily i'm escaping today to go to the family summer house in new hampshire and while i was waiting to be swept away, i made a bow to get my sopping hair off my face.
This is the family's summer house, Elmwood, the love of my life. It's been in the family for over 200 years and the land was bought from John Hancock. This place is definitely worthy of a commemorative hair accessory, among far greater things.

I also love homes with names, they become like insta-WASP retreats. What should my rent-controlled junker of a williamsburg apartment be christened as?


Oh I got it... "Green Vinyl Siding Hide-a-way"

The fabric scrap is from the shortened hem of my beloved Ralph Lauren shirtdress from the 70's. Perfectly new england and not too obnoxiously waspy. Make a tube 2 1/2" high by 8" wide.

Attach the two ends and run a loose running stitch down the middle to cinch it into a bow shape.
I used vintage seam binding for the center of my bow, but you can use the fabric or a contrasting ribbon etc...
I love hair combs to pull back my hair. They always seem to add a little bit of volume, but girls sometimes seem to have a hard time getting them to stay put. The key is to put it in your hair against the grain so that the teeth are towards your face. Seems unnatural, but really locks it down.
When sewing the comb on the bow your stitches need to be tight and if you tack the sides several times over, it keeps the bow from wiggling.

My lovely Violet wearing my new hampshire bow in her actual victorian human hair. So eerie and wonderful.

*This post is dedicated to Ginny Branch, the queen of hair bows. She is creating an amazing collection of Alice in Wonderland inspired hair accessories and I knew this girl to be no joke after we discovered we were both bidding on the same vintage bow on ebay. I won but she ended up with it because, well, that's what friends are for!

***Don't worry, ginny, I won't mention that the same bow ended up lost in the snow this winter only to be discovered after the thaw, having been run over by a car. Now there is just a ghost of a velvet bow haunting East 11th st.

summertime nap checklist

Something about warm weather makes me want to take naps constantly. It's cooled down in brooklyn over the past few days, which i think has actually made me more drowsy. Now it's not revoltingly painful to be alive and i can actually fall asleep.

First, windows must be open all the way. say hello to window box and my happy tomato.


Water windowsill plants. Must do every day when it's hot hot hot.


Put on record, lately joni mitchell or something equally 70's mom.

pick out book to read in bed.


lately DH Lawrence's The Rainbow. next up, Woody Guthrie autobiography, thanks for the borrow, james.
love my ladder. The shelves are old wooden bed slats. love reclaimed wood.

the destination, quilt heaven. the one on my wall was my first quilt, a present from my dad when i was 11. it's my favorite, it's made out of old men's indian cotton shirting. Plus it's huuuge. thanks, dad.

tomorrow i'm headed to CT visit grandpa emerson with the folks for father's day weekend. hoping to spend the next week at the summer house in new hampshire with mom. will have amazing photos to show.

snoozing now.