April 17, 2015

Events....17thc. life, period shoes, a reception in a seaside town on a spring evening, and a beautiful bright yellow gown~


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The bright yellow, pure silk 18thc. gown I plan to wear to the antique shoe symposium event in Portsmouth NH.
We were thrilled when we were given the opportunity to be able to attend the '17th CENTURY LIFEWAYS CONFERENCE AT PLIMOTH PLANTATION' in April.
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It promises to be spectacular, featuring special presentations by renowned British guest historian and someone we have long admired, Stuart Peachey.
We were able to sign up for exactly which of his lectures and other events we wanted to participate in that day, and we'll have our much-loved copy of Stuart's book about his beloved Green Valley project with us for him to autograph for us.
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WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS SPECIAL DAY WITH GREAT ANTICIPATION.


We'll share our day with you--- 
On MONDAY, APRIL 20th at NOON, we'll have a GALLERY OF PHOTOS UP ON OUR WEBSITE of our marvelous experiences at the conference at Plimoth Plantation.
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Another upcoming event sounds divine---'Cosmopolitan Consumption, New England Shoe Stories, 1750-1850'---A symposium on all things antique shoes, and including a lovely evening reception as well. 
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This is a 2 day event, but we will be attending all the programs and the reception on  FRIDAY,  May 29, dressed in 18thc. finery. What makes this extra special is that that is our wedding anniversary weekend as well.
~We will have a photo gallery of pictures of our evening at the shoe conference events up ON OUR WEBSITE after the event.
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November 9, 2014

High Tea, 'bangers and mash', 18thc. finery, and period dancing~



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We were asked by our friends, owners of the wonderful Clipper Merchant Tea House in Limerick Maine to come and be a part of the Limerick annual 'Snowflake Trail' event on Friday, Nov. 7th. They asked that we come have tea in our 18thc. clothes and talk to the guests, pose for pictures for them,  and then do a period dance later across the road in the 1803 ballroom in the Custom House Antiques Gallery.

Here is a video of us dancing 'The Gay Gordons' in the 1803 ballroom.  
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~We did it over 5 times that day for several groups of people.
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We now have a gallery of photos of our fantastic day up on our website. We hope you will enjoy visiting and seeing all our photos of the day while you listen to the period musick piece we danced to, 'Scotland the Brave'~
***The gallery is only on our website, and only for a short time~We change our galleries periodically to share many of our 17th/18thc. life and adventures.
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COMING TO OUR WEBSITE ON THANKSGIVING NIGHT AT 6 PM~ 
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October 15, 2014

A 17thc. 'guest bedchamber'~

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A box we made from period wood to hide the laptop! See more about this below~

We have finally been able to get around to DIY (of course) re-making one upstairs room in our 18thc. cape into a most snug and welcoming "guest bedchamber"---(aka computer room, sewing room, etc.)  This room was the pits when I was alone and bought the 1700's house 16 years ago, but so was the entire house. There was a seemingly endless list of priority 'to do's' before I could ever consider working on it.
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The window we put in ourselves in the 'new' old bed chamber. The lantern is old,  delightfully crooked and rusty. It was a $17. 'find'. We electrified it.

Because early capes are a story and a half, the 2 upstairs rooms have short knee-walls and charming sloped ceilings. The larger, which I always knew would be the 'guest chamber' went up in a peak, following the roofline. The original hewn beams added a lot of character and warmth. Unfortunately, someone in the 50's or 60's had covered the entire room with that nasty 1 inch thick, 8 inch wide board knotty pine paneling that seems to have been the rage back then, and a 'country look' to some well-meaning but warped minds. The boards glowed with the golden light of the hideous shiny varnish slathered all over them, calling attention to each and every knot. There was also awful, dirty, once-cream wall to wall carpeting on the floor. That was ripped up early on when all 3 of my fireplaces had to be rebuilt from underground to new chimney.
I had hoped to just have the original old floorboards, and although they were there, as is so often the case in early houses in New England they were pretty wonky and uneven, and worse, there were big patches here and there of funky pieces of 'modern' wood. Yankees used pieces of whatever was around---ugly old painted doors, etc.
---A new pine floor would have to be laid, and left unfinished to age .
Back in 1999, I painted the knotty pine paneling off-white, and had to content myself with that for many years until this room could be moved up on the priority list. (So virulent was the varnish, that even with 4 or so coats of KILZ primer and multiple coats of a good paint, the knots still 'bled' through.)

In the sloped ceiling, on the back of the house in this room was a fairly recently installed skylight, adding lovely light to a room that had only one window, at the gable end. It was nice enough and did not leak, so I kept that. 

Fast forward many years. Something HAD to be done with that "upstairs room". Adam and I painstakingly tore down every board of that knotty pine paneling a couple years ago, then hauling every one to the dump. This was a grueling job. The boards were over-nailed, as if someone expected a typhoon to blow through. Mouse poop would fall on our heads from the nether  regions between insulation and the boards. It was a miserable job.

I won't go into every remodeling detail here. We envisioned a period room, done in the 17thc. style we both love, and our efforts of the past couple of months have exceeded our expectations!
As usual, we had our stash of free salvaged/garbage picked materials.
It has been a lot of hard work. We've removed and rebuilt a window casing, installing a dream leaded glass casement window in that gable wall. I have hand plastered the entire room, and all boards and beautiful beams are exposed.
I have just now finished 'aging' the walls, and they look mellow and authentic. We love them so much, I have now also done it in our own bedroom downstairs.

We came up with an ingenious way to hang rods for bed curtains on a sloped ceiling, and I made the hangings from bittersweet-orange wool.
A lucky 'find' was the headboard only of a 17thc. bed.
Someone gave us 2 thick 18thc. boards, and even though we had never done anything like it before, we made the bed rails and bottom posts from it ourselves, even managing to match the finish on the ancient headboard!

We were able to get new, 12 inch wide pine boards for a bargain, and we laid the floor ourselves, face-nailing each board with reproduction rosehead nails, and then beating it with antique iron chains to distress it. (It will 'wear' and age over time and look like those we put in our kitchen a couple years ago.)

There were many other things we creatively came up with and then worked hard to create the upstairs dream room, and it was done without spending very much money at all.

http://www.thecountryladyantiques.com/tour.php
UPDATE, NOVEMBER 4~
We have now completely finished our room and the photos are up on the TOUR page of our website.


We wove a wattle shutter for the skylight ourselves, even cutting down every sapling to do it! The shutter is hinged at the top of the skylight with period iron hinges and swings up and out as a cage bar would, hooking onto the ceiling just opposite when not in use.
This is one of our favorite things, and looks "so medieval, I love it!", as Adam says.
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SEE OUR FINISHED 'GUEST BEDCHAMBER' HERE~

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SEE MORE OF OUR PROJECT HERE~
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TAKE A TOUR OF OUR PERIOD HOME HERE~
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July 17, 2014

'The great 17thc. outdoor beehive bakeoven-building experience'---A summertime adventure to remember~

THE BACK YARD 'PILGRIM BAKE OVEN PROJECT'

WE HAVE BUILT AN AUTHENTIC PERIOD-STYLE COB 'BEEHIVE' BAKE OVEN IN OUR BACK GARDEN. THE TWO OF US BUILT OUR OVEN WITH NO MONEY, USING HISTORICALLY CORRECT MATERIALS FROM OUR OWN PROPERTY, THINGS WE HAD OR HAD SALVAGED MONTHS OR YEARS BEFORE,  AND CLAY THAT WE DUG UP ON OUR LAND. 
We decided to build our own period-correct (17thc. style) cob bake oven in our back garden similar to one at Plimoth Plantation~
This project was not about money; it was about keeping the 'old ways' alive by making something with your own 2 hands, and investing hours and days or weeks in something worthwhile to enjoy and to remember, and to recreate a little bit of the past of our ancestors.
The biggest allure of the project was not only anticipation of wonderful homemade food we'll make in it, but the fact that we did every bit of it ourselves, and with materials we already had, had salvaged, or dug up ourselves,---Just like the first-comers at Plimoth. 
We have used our own resources, as well as all of our own best efforts.
We're pretty proud of what we have done, especially since we had never done anything like this before.
It was great to learn new skills but most of all it was like taking a trip back in time to recreate something our pilgrim ancestors made. 

***(SEE MORE ON OUR 'PROJECTS GALLERY PAGE' OF OUR WEBSITE~
WE NOW HAVE THE~
  'BIG REVEAL' PHOTOS OF OUR FINISHED COB BAKE OVEN ON OUR WEBSITE.

We've had a blast building our oven~ 
WE APPRECIATE HEARING FROM THOSE OF YOU WHO VISIT OUR WEBSITE---
SO MANY PEOPLE DON'T TAKE THE TIME OR TROUBLE TO EMAIL COMPLIMENTS, BUT TO ALL WHO DID, AND WHO LOVED VISITING OUR STEP-BY-STEP PHOTO GALLERY OF OUR ADVENTURE WHEN IT WAS UP, WHO WERE GOB-SMACKED BY OUR EFFORTS AND OUR OVEN,
~THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR KIND WORDS~WE APPRECIATE YOUR COMMENTS SO VERY MUCH.
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*(The step-by-step photos from our
have been taken down now
but see us bake pizza in our oven! Photos are now up on our website~
***( Our galleries are up for a limited time. They change periodically to reflect our 17th/18thc. life and adventures).

January 4, 2014

Friday night in the deep freeze



It is "wicked cold heah", as some locals would say.
It is and has been well below zero. Heating fuel is astronomical, and so we are not warm.  I have never seen it so bad---We normally do not get long periods of weather this cold at a stretch.
We are cold all the time---You spend money for the fuel you expect to last for a couple months at least, and you are not even warm---You simply can't afford to crank up the heat to a comfy 65 or 66, and even so the fuel is gone in a month. Everyone I have talked to in New England and the midwest is complaining of the same thing.

Sparkling snow is a couple feet deep around the houses in the neighborhood with piles up to, or covering a bit of the windows of some. Intricate designs in frost and ice decorate the old panes of our window glass. Deep winter is here and we are in the midst of a rare and bitter deep freeze.

We are wearing layers of fleece and heavy wool socks as always. I can't enjoy the sun, if shining, because I have closed the interior wood shutters in the rooms that have them, in an effort to conserve every drop of fuel. Morale was pretty low yesterday, and I decided I would suprise Adam with a lovely roast chicken dinner cooked in the fireplace. I used the bedroom hearth as we would eat in there, keeping only that room really warm, and be able to watch the TV as well later. I went up to the attic and brought down my 'tin kitchen', or reflector oven, as they are called---designed and made for hearth cooking, this one was made especially for me over 25 years ago by a craftsman in Michigan when I still lived in the midwest.
I have always cooked Thanksgiving turkey in the fireplace, not having done one in the oven in over 25 years as well. I love hearth cooking, and have done it for many years.
I built a "ripping fire" in the fireplace about 2:30 in the afternoon. By 3:30, a good bed of coals lay under the 18thc. andirons, and I kept adding split logs of oak, maintaining a nice even fire.
Ahhhhh......It was so cozy and warm, and so elemental---I was transported back to other long-gone days of our ancestors who had no such creature comforts such as indoor plumbing or any central heat at all, against the chill of a New England winter.

I made roast chicken seasoned on the outside with my own special herb mixture, and stuffed with onion chunks. With the divine smoky drippings, I made a yummy homemade chicken gravy. I made mashed potatoes and homemade fresh cranberry orange relish.
The day before I had made a homemade French apple cream cake, and last evening while the little bird was roasting, I whipped up the most wonderful and easy caramel sauce. For dessert we had the apple cake with the warm caramel sauce drizzled over it.

The bedroom was lit only with a few candles, and the glow from the fireplace. The dinner was fantastic. We shut out the cold and dark, and spent Friday night in our 1686 bed with it's heavy  tapestry curtains, the dogs at the foot, but eyeing the chicken hopefully, and enjoying our hearth-cooked feast.









I served my French Apple Cake with homemade warm caramel sauce~

We laughed until we cried watching old Tim Sample videos on Youtube for the rest of the evening.
Enjoy!