cuteness overload

I spent yesterday treasure hunting in Quakertown, Pennsylvania and it was a whirlwind trip because I went to four different antique malls and shops. Exhausting but I figured, since I'd driven an hour and a half, I might as well do as much as I could while there. I found some great stuff but I'm still processing everything (logging in prices and info for future reference, soaking and washing linens, then picture taking) so it will be a few days before I start showing you the goodies. But I couldn't wait to show you this sweet embroidered towel. Are these the cutest dog and cat portraits ever?

embroidered towel

Amazing how just a few simple embroidered lines can convey such personality! Nice use of chain stitch for the bows, too. Click through to my Flickr page to see some closeup shots of the animals.

embroidered towel


the immense edifice of memory

I knew someone in college who had no sense of smell (the condition is called anosmia), and hence no sense of taste either, since the two are intertwined. I can't imagine what that must be like. Some of our best memories are often tied up with scents (and tastes). I can't tell you how many times I've smelled something and it took me right back to my childhood. Maybe it was a whiff of perfume and cigarette smoke that reminded me of my Aunt Peggy, or the smell of the honeysuckle I mentioned a few days ago taking me back to my great-grandmother's porch.

Marcel Proust, in The Remembrance of Things Past, described what happened to him after drinking a spoonful of tea in which he had soaked a piece of madeleine: "No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses...with no suggestion of its origin..."

"Suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was of a little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings...my Aunt Leonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea.... Immediately the old gray house on the street, where her room was, rose up like a stage set...and the entire town, with its people and houses, gardens, church, and surroundings, taking shape and solidity, sprang into being from my cup of tea."

"When nothing else subsists from the past, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered...the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls...bearing resiliently, on tiny and almost impalpable drops of their essence, the immense edifice of memory."

Some of my favorite smells:
• baking, especially fresh bread or anything with cinnamon
• the wet dirt smell right after it rains
• fresh-picked strawberries in summer


• the farm smell of vintage feedsacks that haven't been laundered yet
• sheets that have hung out on the line all day in the sunshine
• Coppertone suntan lotion at the beach

What are some of yours?


color is subjective

When I heard that Pantone's choice for color of the year was Honeysuckle, I immediately thought of the honeysuckle vine that climbed the lattice of my grandmother's porch. And was expecting a pretty yellow, not the dark pink that they chose to represent the color. That's the problem, I guess, with naming something after a flower that has 180 species (and presumably 180 different colors).


I actually started this post a while ago but was reminded of it today when I received an email from retailer Ann Taylor announcing their new hue for spring - Fresh Tulip. Not a bright red like you might expect when you think of tulips, but a lavender purple. Now, tulips have even more colors than honeysuckle does, so you can see the problem.

The reason I wrote this was that a friend posted on Facebook that she was repainting her living room with a color named Alpaca, which she said was just another name for a neutral beige. I'm not sure when this naming of colors thing started — maybe it was Martha Stewart who started the trend with her paint line for Sears. My bathroom is painted with a color called Sea Glass which sounds a whole lot better than aqua and fits perfectly with my seashore-themed bathroom. But, I've seen real sea glass in all sorts of colors and who's to say that you don't think Sea Glass is a different shade of green than what I picture.

So, yes, color is personal.

One of my favorite movie scenes is from Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, where Myrna Loy, who plays wife to Cary Grant's ad executive, is discussing colors with their contractor and house painter:

Muriel Blandings: I want it to be a soft green, not as blue-green as a robin's egg, but not as yellow-green as daffodil buds. Now, the only sample I could get is a little too yellow, but don't let whoever does it go to the other extreme and get it too blue. It should just be a sort of grayish-yellow-green.

Now, the dining room. I'd like yellow. Not just yellow; a very gay yellow. Something bright and sunshine-y. I tell you, Mr. PeDelford, if you'll send one of your men to the grocer for a pound of their best butter, and match that exactly, you can't go wrong!

Now, this is the paper we're going to use in the hall. It's flowered, but I don't want the ceiling to match any of the colors of the flowers. There's some little dots in the background, and it's these dots I want you to match. Not the little greenish dot near the hollyhock leaf, but the little bluish dot between the rosebud and the delphinium blossom. Is that clear?

Now the kitchen is to be white. Not a cold, antiseptic hospital white. A little warmer, but still, not to suggest any other color but white.

Now for the powder room - in here - I want you to match this thread, and don't lose it. It's the only spool I have and I had an awful time finding it! As you can see, it's practically an apple red. Somewhere between a healthy winesap and an unripened Jonathan. Oh, excuse me...(she leaves the room here)

Mr. PeDelford: You got that Charlie?

Charlie the Painter: Red, green, blue, yellow, white.

Mr. PeDelford: Check.

And that just about says it all :)