"Nothing's more determined than a cat on a hot tin roof."

Is Maggie from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof living on Metropolitan ave these days?

Nope, just me playing around with my new clothesline. Hey, a girls got to do something to pretend she's got a backyard. Even if it's just balancing vintage lingerie on a rope 30 feet in the air.


My old timey Williamsburg neighbors need something to talk about, after all.

And the head case continues...

Last winter I bought this stunning 1920's scrapbook off eBay. Peaking out from under the pasted magazine cutouts of flappers, cute babies and random fruits and vegetables are neat, old illustrations of menswear.
The actual book itself is a men's fashion catalogue of sorts from 1917 so every inch of its 60 pages are a treat. The food images are bizarrely fascinating, too.

I love this pair of beautiful horsey girls (great boots!) and the monogrammed belt buckles in the background are so wonderful.

Going through the book always gets me in flapper mode. All these beautiful girls with their simple and chic hair accessories? Hmmm... Project brewing?

A few weeks back my neighbor was getting rid of this 1960's ostrich feather hat.

Never one to let anything old be unceremoniously thrown away, I snatched it up, not thinking about how I'd make this monster less Marge Simpson and more um... cute.

I disassembled all of the pieces to see what I was working with. I tossed the netting and pillbox base but I'm sure more adventurous crafters could turn them into something very, ahem, unusual.

To make a little flapper inspired hair clip, I took the smaller of the feathers, along with a trusty bobby pin, through the shank of a vintage button. It was a tight fit, so the feather isn't going anywhere.

The button came from my grandma's stash, but any button with a shank (read: no holes on the top like a shirt button) will do.

In action...

I normal err on the side of simple, less fashiony things, but this little gem is very sweet and will be an unexpected surprise the next time I wear a boring men's shirt and high waisted jeans outfit.

(Who am I kidding? That's what I wear everyday.)

Street Fair meets Gypsy Rose Lee

Did the vintage theatrical lights of Williamsburg's St. Giglio Festival inspire my obsession with vaudevillian accessories or was it countless preteen viewings of Natalie Wood in Gypsy?

Not sure, but i did turn these vintage costume bow ties into hair bows as soon as I could exit stage left to get thread and bobby pins.

Kid's collars

When I found this dress in my favorite New Hampshire antique store for just $5, i cursed myself for not being a 4 year old girl anymore. I adore everything about it, the double collar, black glass buttons in sets of 3, the Alice in Wonderland color scheme.

So i just bought it and figured if none of my friends have little girls, I'll just tack it up on my office wall for a bit of daily jealousy that I am too big (and old) to wear something so precious.

And speaking of cute kid's collars, this Victorian scrapbook page has a sweet striped sailor collar, being worn by an oddly proportioned little sailor himself.

This page is going up in my bathroom as soon as i can find a good frame to keep it safe from shower steam. I love when clothing inspiration translates to home inspiration. Makes life that much easier.

Hydrangeas

I can't stop day dreaming about old fashioned, ladylike flowers. I want, no, need them spilling out of ever corner of my apartment.

These were picked by a sweet boy out of his grandmother's garden and delivered from Westchester County to Brooklyn just for me. I think I'm just about the luckiest girl in the world.

I love how these whites have smaller flowers and heads. They look so much more feminine and delicate to me than the run of the mill corner store varitey. My aunt grew them in our Elmwood garden and I promptly snipped several bouquets worth.

These blue beauties were selfishly tucked away on my Elmwood bedside table.

The best and happiest vacation alarm clock ever conceived.

Bringing the out(house) in.

So one of the most quirky things about very old, mostly un renovated homes is that many have an "outhouse" or non flush toilet inside, left over from the pre-plumbing days.

Luckily Elmwood's is in the far back of the house and unlike it's horrifying relatives at state fairs across the country, it doesn't remotely smell and pretty darn cute, too.

I still prefer civilization but it's a funny novelty nonetheless.

Speaking of neat waste receptacles, visiting the Hancock town dump is one of my all time favorite New Hampshire activities. In addition to the usual recycling rigamaroll, they have a "dump shop" where people donate gently used housewares etc... and everything is free! I got all of these amazing old novels and a great, beat-up tackle box. I am always on the lookout for more storage containers!

I wish their could be a free shop containing all of New York's antique books and collectibles. I guess that's what craigslist is for.

Girl's Club

Oh, to be a girl in a old house.

My new favorite flower, feverfew, plucked from the garden.

The flower garden in mid summer. So simple and wild, just how I like it.

The spinning wheel at the top of the stairs.

The girlhood doll.

Some treasures unearthed in a wardrobe.

Lacey bonnet, hat pins and velvet hat stands. 1880 was a good time to be a girl.

Drawer overhaul

Ok ok, so I know drawer liners made from wallpaper isn't exactly reinvention of the wheel, but the exciting thing here is I actually followed through and finally did it.

*I think it was my new old cutlery caddy and and shiny new old silverware that were the inspiration for a kitchen drawer makeover.

Before: ICK! Ink stains, ancient dust, lord knows what else covering the bottom of my drawers.

I've had this roll of vintage wallpaper in my closet for ages. Wallpaper from the 60's onward works the best because it's pre-pasted and most likely washable. So when the drawer gets icky again (which it will), all you need is a swipe of a sponge. No paper damage!

You've just got to measure and cut a properly size piece, then completely wet the pasted side and gingerly drop it into the bottom of your drawer, smoothing out air bubbles as you go!

Yay, organized drawers! Now if I could just master the art of keeping them organized.

The Lady's Book.

One of my most prized possessions is a Godey's Lady's Book from 1840. The lady's book is one of the first American women's "magazines" and features poems, songs, articles and it's famous hand painted color fashion illustrations.



I just can't over the fact the each of these illustrations are hand painted.

I love seeing the small variations between things like these two sleeves and how subtle they seem but how they must have represented different personalities.

And that blue apron is so cute. Looking through these is so inspiring, it's like a recharging of my creative battery from 168 years ago.

Rainy days

My last week in New Hampshire was gloomy and wet and completely beautiful.
I love seeing Elmwood change from bright and warm to dark and alive and growing. I felt like I had been transported to the English moors.

Call me a romantic, but I love an old house in the rain. So many nooks to explore!

I spent hours a day cooped up in my little room and couldn't have been happier about it.

Constant thunderstorms at the summer house mean a return to forgotten projects, like our flower press that was neglected for years, full to the brim with roses. What a great present!

A little bit of light reading, 1915 style. (courtesy of the attic)

There was lots of time for rummaging around in every dresser, unearthing ancient hats, swimming suits, aprons etc...

And more than enough time to pour over old astronomy charts. I couldn't find a date on these but they look old, old, old (and judging from where i found them they haven't been seen in ages).

Old star charts have always made me a bit dizzy with glee.

Wow, if only cabin fever was always this wonderful.

the great great grandmother

I know I've been completely absent for a few weeks, I've been traveling like mad, the summer house, the parent's house etc.... Finally home, to recoup from so much family bonding.

While in New Hampshire I went through some of the best family memorabilia. This is Ella Averill in 1880, my wonderful great great grandmother, with one of her notebooks from Wellesley. Such graceful handwriting she had, too.

The bigger of the two is one of her scrapbooks and the smaller is a wonderful little gem called "The Floral Birthday Book" which designates a flower and little saying or poem for each day of the year. The book was reproduced nearly 100 years later and is still for sale here.

I've always been so happy that my birthday's flower is the iris and that it means "I have a message for you". Perfect!

In my bedroom at Elmwood the wardrobe has Ella's closet organizer. She sweetly embroidered her initials and flowers in red on a great natural and rough canvas and trimmed it herself in red silk ribbon. I'm sure it hung in her dorm room, too.

I found her botanical sketchbook, which almost made me cry. She complied it for Miss Hallowell's botany class at Wellesley in 1878.

A lady slipper. My favorite!

These are Ella's botanical specimens. Each is noted with the plant's Latin name, common name, date (all from the late 1870's) and where she found it.

In a trunk in the attic there are 100's of these sheets. I think they should all be framed with delicate little frames and hung side by side like wallpaper.


Sigh, what an amazing gift for our family to still have all of these relics. Her transcribed journal, her sketchbooks, photos and letters. A whole life documented and with all of the pieces tucked away at her and our home in New Hampshire.