Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Project & End of the Year Clearance!!

As always, when I put away the Christmas decorations, I get the urge to re-nest; fix something, paint, remodel or re-do something. This year, it is finishing the sitting room upstairs.

In the Victorian era, a lady would welcome her guests in her sitting room. She would do her hand sewing, needlework and crafting in there. She would have tea with her guests and play games and gossip in there. It would be her sanctuary from the "men folk" and her husband could enter only by invitation.

It was almost always on the second floor, perhaps near her bedroom. Mine is near the guest room and could be used as a parlor for guests. Although there are only two of us that live in this big house, I find it very relaxing and comforting in this little room. I read in here a lot and have been known to take a winter nap or two on the chase after staring out the window at the frozen backyard gardens.

This began as a large room at the top of the stairs, perhaps a bedroom. I wanted a walk-in closet, just for me, so we took this room and split it in two. One side is this sitting room and the other side (I'll show you that later) is my closet/dressing room. Each room is about 12 x 12 feet.

Here are the before photos of the floor....

On the left in the first photo is the door to my closet. I'll post the after when we get all done in a few days.

Now, this floor is not in terrible shape, but it was hard to clean with the cracks opening up over the years. They were filled with some tar like substance that has dried out and flakes when you run the sweeper over it. Back in the day, they would have used "second grade" materials upstairs.

I'm not sure what type of wood this is, but it is soft and splinters easily. I know this flooring is at least 100 years old as it is nailed down with square headed nails that are hand forged and obviously made by a blacksmith. It was covered by carpet and heavy padding which I removed a year or so ago.

Between projects, I've been trying to clean and organize my sewing and craft rooms. Boy, what a mess! I have so many new ideas for my Victorian Era loving customers that my head is swimming and I'm really anxious to start working on some of these.

I need to get rid of a few of the cottage items in order to add new. You can help me here! Aunt May's Cottage will be having a HUGE clearance sale soon. Watch for the announcement here!

Have a safe and Happy New Year and come back to visit soon.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Look what I did today....

I was reading up on Victorian Fans and their uses and an idea popped into my head. I thought I'd try to make one myself instead of embellishing one I purchased (I do have a few of those, too). What do you think?

Since I thought we'd all (especially me) look kind of silly trying to act coy and using one to flirt with the gentlemen of today, this should be for decoration only. I love the cameo and glass dangle fringe on the handle and the eyelash fringe brings a more current look to this fan.

While I was at the "gluing table", I thought I'd grab the last two little purses I have from my stash and embellish them, too.

This is the back. Boy, is there a lot of handwork on one of these! I don't know why the sequins look a little yellow. Perhaps it's because they are in direct sunlight. There is so much bling on these that you need sunglasses.

I always embellish both sides of my little purses. You never know when it might flip on you!

These will all be in my Web Store this week! Come shopping for yourself or for an unusual gift for someone special.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Victorians Invented Christmas

The earliest observance of Christmas in the New World was in 1607 at the Virginia colony of John Smith – complete with Yule logs, carols, evergreen decorated churches and a sumptuous feast on Christmas day to which the Indians were invited. Throughout the next few decades in the rest of the colonies, however, it was very different. In Puritan New England, Christmas celebrations were viewed as wanton excesses brought on by the suggestions of Satan. It would be well into the nineteenth century before New Englanders could feel comfortable enough to begin observance of Christmas openly.

In stark contrast to their New England neighbors were New York’s Dutch settlers who not only celebrated Christmas but made it a gala finale to an entire month of merrymaking. During December, normal business would grind to a halt except for the confectioners, bakers and toyshops. Dutch homemakers cleaned, roasted fowl and baked for weeks in anticipation of large house parties.

By the mid 1800s, Christmas was being celebrated as a holiday throughout most of America, largely because immigrant settlers brought their favorite holiday customs with them to enjoy in their new homes with their American neighbors. The Dutch brought their beloved gift bearer, St. Nicholas, who visited good children on December 6th; the English, their love of Christmas carols and decorating homes and churches with evergreens, mistletoe and holly; and the Germans brought their Christmas tree.

In the late 1830s, German immigrants settling in Pennsylvania, introduced the custom of bringing a freshly cut evergreen tree indoors to help with the celebration of Christmas. They would decorate the tree with brightly colored paper cornucopias filled with nuts, crystallized fruit, candy, gilded and colored eggshells and wax candles.

During the 1840s, England’s Queen Victoria and her German born husband, Prince Albert, introduced the Christmas tree as the centerpiece of the royal family’s holiday celebration. The scene was immortalized in both the Illustrated London News and Godey’s Lady’s Book in America, capturing the fancy of Victorian women. Very rapidly the “pretty German toy”, as the Christmas tree was frequently called, passed from interesting folk custom to tradition.

Stay tuned for another episode next time.

Excerpts from Mrs. Sharp's Traditions by Sarah Ban Breathnach

I've been very neglectful for the past month in posting for you and I apologize. I've been a bit "under the weather", but feeling much better and will be with you more often. Please check back for two more readings on this subject. You won't be sorry.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

My PRH Friends....

I belong to a wonderful group of the most charming, loving, supportive ladies anywhere on earth! Just over a year ago, I was looking at the eBay groups for one with some common interests. Let's see...Decorating, Victorian Lifestyles, Sewing, Painting, Antiquing, Gardening, Home Improvements, Cooking and Old Houses. Lots to choose from, so I picked the three that sounded most promising. Over the next few months, I discovered that one didn't talk at all, one was overcrowded and had too much drama for me and one seemed to be a family that didn't care for anyone else in their group (I never did know what they were talking about).

Then, out of the blue, Connie invited me to join a group that she had just started called "Pretty Romantic Homes". Sounded right up my alley, so I said "Yes!". Little did I know that this decision was one of the best on-line ones I've ever made. I quit all the other groups and now belong exclusively to this one. Among other things, we are a close knit group that support each other, but more importantly, we all truly love one another! I don't know that most people have real friends as treasured as these "cyber" sisters are to me.

AND, these ladies are the most remarkably talented on the earth! I wanted to show you just how talented they are by showcasing each one and some of the items that they make. But, I'm going to do one better....Just go down this list and you can see for yourself.

Now, don't skip anyone because they have the most wonderful and beautiful gifts you could find for the holidays! Reasonable prices, too! It's worth the time to visit each one and if you need an update, I'll be putting them on my side bar for easy reference later. Happy Shopping and be prepared to drool a bit.

Ele - A Bit of Heaven

Amy - Bunny Rose Cottage

Rhea - Sweet 'n Shabby Roses

Katie - Roses Breeze Boutique

Lorena - 2 Chic Friends

Connie - Rose Porch Designs

Karen - Second Hand Rose

Celeste - La Rea Rose

Stephanie - Angelic Accents

Sharon - Sweet Victorian Rose

Then, there is me....

Bertie - Aunt May's Cottage

Friday, October 19, 2007

So Many Posts....So Little Time

A FRIDAY POST!! I don't know that I've ever had a Friday post, but there is so much to tell you that I just have to get a few extra in for you. This one is about my PRH Secret Sister!

Look what she sent me.....for no reason. It's not my birthday nor an anniversary. I've not been ill or lost a loved one recently. This is just for me, because she thinks I'm special. How Gracious!!

The box was very big but didn't weigh much and I was puzzled when it arrived. What I had forgotten that I ordered? (I do this often lately) Inside the box, among the packing peanuts, was another box. Inside that box was the most beautiful shade of pink tissue. Inside the tissue was a bag with bubble wrap in it and inside the bubble wrap was this little shoe. I love its worn leather look, the beautiful bronze bow and the dried floral arrangement. I ponder for a moment about the child that struggled to take his first steps wearing this little shoe.


Now, I don't know if my secret sister painted this beautiful hankie or if she purchased it like this but it will be a forever cherished treasure. The painted detail is just incredible. Even the gold edging is painted. I don't think I'm going to blow my nose on this cutie!

I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful secret sister! Thank you, my dear, dear friend, whoever you are!

Another PRH friend, Dolly, has so graciously given me the "You Make Me Smile" Award. This is a real honor from Dolly as she is the one that makes me (and everyone that knows her) smile.

Her blog is always a ray of sunshine and a delightful escape from any negativity. She also takes the best photos! Dolly has a very unique way of viewing the everyday, ordinary things that most of us take for granted and making them special with her photographs and her thoughts. Thank you Dolly for considering me your freind!

I think I'm supposed to pass this along. So if you've already been awarded, consider yourself twice blessed. Stephanie, Sharon, Connie, Vickie, Ele and Rhea .

More about my talented, fabulous PRH Sisters in the next post!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Victorian Dining

More from my favorite era... Victorian Dining

Dressing for the Occasion
Imitating the wealth and adopting the social patterns of the English were fashionable among the comfortably off middle class in the closing years of the 19th century. Formal dress was expected for any occasion after 6 p.m. Ladies wore low-necked, short sleeved gowns (and gloves - until they were seated at the table). At larger dinners, matrons appeared in satin, silk or velvet with spangles or embroidered laces. Young ladies chose daintier sheer muslins or chiffon. Etiquette books advised gentlemen to wear dark broadcloth and "fine linen."

Dinner Escorts
As soon as he arrived, the male guest was told by his hostess, or by a card on the hall table, whom he would escort into the dining room. After stilted preliminary conversation, the host led his guests into the dining room with his companion "on his left arm." According to custom, the honor of first seating went to the oldest or most distinguished lady, a stranger in the community, a recent bride, or the wife of the most prominent guest in the house. The hostess entered the dining room last on the arm of her husband or her husband's partner.

The Lavish Dining Room
The Victorian dining room was a large and heavily decorated room. The Social Mirror, stated that it "should be furnished with a view to convenience, richness and comfort." It suggested walls of bronze, maroon, or black. Pompeian red or deep olive, with designs, dado and frieze in old gold, olive or moss-green, and wainscoting on the walls and ceiling. Pompeian red and soft olive were recommended for draperies. Dark woods should be used. A buffet may stand in a corner for the display of ceramics, or decorated china. The sideboard should be of high, massive style with shelves and racks for glassware and china. A cage of stuffed birds, a few large pots of tropical plants and a fernery are in keeping. A folding screen should not be forgotten. But it was the lavishly appointed table that riveted attention.

More about the food and table settings in the next post. Stay tuned......
For today's version of the oppulent linens and tableware used by our Victorian ancestors, visit Aunt May's Cottage.

Monday, October 8, 2007

This week's treasures!

While antiquing with my daughter last week, I stumbled upon a couple of things that I could not live without! This $40.00 find....

It still has the original horsehair stuffing in the seat! Not very comfortable, but lovely to look at. The fabric is in excellent shape for its age and is made of a very light peach colored wool with a wool crewel embroidery in cream. Even though it is in great shape, I think I will need to reupholster it to a color more my liking. I just love the shape of the back, don't you?

We also found this beauty at the same shop.....

I was unsure what it really was, but my friend, Rhea, says it is a candle holder or vase. That sounds good to, that's what it is. See how the glass bulges out around the metal bands? It must have been blown that way. It is very large, standing about three feet tall with the opening of the "vase" about 11 inches in diameter. It weighs about a ton and cost me ten bucks.

I was going to paint it white, but Rhea pointed out that the inside of the metal bands are black and would show through the glass. It was a real "duhhh" moment for me. I didn't even think of that! Looks like it will remain its present color and that will fit in my home perfectly anyway.

New listings on my web store today are....pew bows, satin pumpkins, goblet covers and a new catagory....EMBELLISHMENTS. I'll be adding to the new catagory every day this week. Go check it out at and see if you can find something you can't live without.

Monday, October 1, 2007


Medallions were used extensively in Victorian decorating as elements of elegance added to many items in the home. They hung on picture frames, tablecloths, draperies, chair covers, mantle scarves, pillows, slipcovers, etc. Placed adjacent to items of importance, they were the “bling” that drew the eye to that area on the Victorian table, piano, shelf, or curio cabinet.

Used also on clothing, the smaller medallions could be pinned on a blouse at the neckline, on the sleeve or on the waist or belt. They were used in formal attire to pull up an overskirt to show a lovely lace underskirt. You would also see them adorning hats and bonnets (both over and under the brim) or parasols that were so popular at the time. Look at an antique purse and you will probably find a medallion attached.

Some medallions were strictly floras, made by the women of the household by hand from ribbon or cloth. They often showcased beautiful hand beading with pearls, imported beads and jewels. Of course, modern times forbid the use of expensive jewels and real pearls, but we have the advantage of many faux imitations of the same beautiful embellishments.

Other medallions were made in the millinery shops by women and men trained in the art of making fine florals, hand made ribbon work, hand beading and lace work. This was a vocation usually taught in early childhood by a grandparent or older relative of the middle and lower classes.

Usually on a backing of stiff material, the Victorian Medallion would always be hand crafted. Women of the household would sit and do handwork on these beauties to add to their already exaggerated decorating. Many had a pin attachment but most were just sewn on to the item of choice with a heavy quilting thread, and then removed for cleaning or to put on a different element of décor. You would often find several matching medallions throughout a room on different items and in several sizes.

Because medallions are so versatile, you can use them anywhere! Think of how special a gift package would be with one in place of a bow. Imagine one lying next to a beautiful bar of hand made soap in the powder room or pinned on the side of a hand towel.

Wouldn’t dinner be extra special with one holding your table scarf up in one corner or on a ribbon tied around your napkin?

Aunt May’s Medallions are made using popular colors and embellishments. They are of heirloom quality meant to be passed down through generations as reminders of the owner’s beauty, grace and elegant good taste. Each medallion is carefully hand made and intended to be an item of art on its own. We still do hand beading and make ribbon roses just as the Victorian ladies did. A heavy backing with a Venice lace appliqué overlay is used for the base of all of our medallions. Each one has a 1 ½” pin on the back for easy attachment and removal.

All of Aunt May’s Medallions are on sale at half off this week only!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Never on Friday

I thought you all may enjoy some Victorian lore. I've included a wonderful article from Victorian Lifestyles by Satenig St. Marie.

One never opened an umbrella in the house, or walked under a ladder. That was bad luck. And no superstitious Victorian would even think of cutting his or her fingernails on Friday. For Friday was considered an evil day.

When Victorians entered the house for the first time, it was with the right foot forward, and if perchance they were fortunate enough to be well dressed when they entered a new home, good luck was assured.

Men avoided the left side of the street and women worried about breaking a looking-glass. More bad luck.

Deep inside, the Victorians knew that their superstitions were contrary to common sense, but they still had a healthy respect for them. Why tempt the fates?

Men as well as women had their favorite superstitions. Some were handed down from generation to generation, others were offered by ladies’ magazines. They touched upon almost every aspect of daily life.

Take the ordinary broom, for instance. It was never to be loaned to anyone, not even a friend. That was bad luck. And if a family changed residences, they were not to leave the broom behind, not even if it was old. When buying a broom they were to avoid the month of May because~
”Brooms bought in May,
Sweep the family away”

It was bad luck to step over a broom, but good luck to accidentally walk under one. (The ladies’ magazine did not explain how one happened to walk under a broom, even accidentally. Presumably, the Victorians knew.)

Even the lowly dish towel has superstitions associated with it. If it was lost, that was equivalent to finding another home, and it was especially unlucky to touch another person with a dish cloth. The accidental burning of a towel was the forerunner of sickness, while trouble lay ahead for those who burned green vegetables or bread. No doubt these were superstitions that the cook and the scullery maid were careful to respect. And you can be sure, the mistress of the house made certain that they were aware of them.

The salt cellar afforded innumerable signs of coming fortune. Good luck demanded that it should always be clean and well filled. Salt was not to be borrowed or lent. This was bad luck. The salt box itself was never to be allowed to get entirely empty and before using salt from a fresh box, some of it had to be burned. Burning the salt could accomplish more that just ensuring good luck. Repeating the name of someone you liked while it was burning could get them to think of you. An old salt box, like an old broom, was not to be given away or left for others to use.

An evil sign to be avoided at all costs was the spilling of salt. If it was spilled on a Friday, it was bad luck and nothing could be done about it, since Friday was an unlucky day. On any other day of the week, however, the bad luck could be neutralized by throwing the spilled salt over your left shoulder. (Sound familiar?)
Do you remember some of these old "wives tales"? I sure do!!
Don't forget the 20% off sale at Aunt May's Cottage!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Check Us Out!!

Aunt May's Cottage is having a big sale!!

20% off everything!

This sale is only until September 30, 2007 at midnight.

Don't forget the Drawing of the Month. You'll need to make a purchase to be in the drawing. One chance for every purchase made.

Thought you'd like to see what I am working on now....

Christmas stuff.....

Antique Restoration......

AND, be watching for a new catagory in the Cottage of special interest to those of you that tag and make cards.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

This Month's Drawing

Well…..I think I’ve finally decided! A pumpkin sounds in order for the giveaway drawing on October 2nd. But, you know me; not just ANY pumpkin will do. This is a very special pumpkin, designed and hand made by me.

It features a lovely heavy weight bridal satin base with so much bling you will need sunglasses to look at it. Wrapping the eight grooves in the pumpkin is a beautiful pink sequin and beaded trim. Then, I made a soft pink lace with sequins into a leaf and added two other leaves made entirely of pink beads. Topping off this beauty is a pink rose with Lily of the Valley and pearl accents. It measures about 7 inches high and 22 ½ inches around.

Just look at this detail!! How would this look on your mantle or table?

Monday, September 3, 2007

The winner of August Drawing is.......

.....Jayme Lewis from Glendale, California!

Congratulations, Jayme!

I don't know if Jayme has a blog or not. I've sent her prize package and asked her to reply if she does. Wouldn't we all like to know a bit about her?

I do know she loves roses and Victorian decor as the items she bought from me were right up that alley.

Anyone who makes a purchase from Aunt May's Cottage during the month of September is entered in the giveaway drawing for that month. You get one entry for every purchase, so the more you buy, the better your chances of winning.

September's gift will be announced later this week (as soon as I figure out what it is). Please check back!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm Sorry!!

I've been terribly remiss lately in posting for you. I apologize! Things just got out of know how it goes......Thank goodness there's a name for this disorder.

Somehow I feel better, even though I have it!! Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. -
Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing. As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first. But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first. I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke I'd been drinking. I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. The Coke is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold. As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need water.

I put the Coke on the counter and discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning. I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I'll be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers. I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.

So, I set the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill. Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do. At the end of the day: the car isn't washed, the bills aren't paid, there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter, the flowers don't have enough water, there is still only 1 check in my check book, I can't find the remote, I can't find my glasses and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all darn day, and I'm really tired! I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.......

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New Drawing for September

After much consideration (and talking it over with hubby) we have decided to make the Aunt May's Cottage monthly drawing active again in September.

Instead of entering through the Guest Book on the web site, you will now be automatically entered when you purchase something from Aunt May's Cottage. One entry for each purchase. For September we will include all sales made in August.

Please keep those comments coming, though, as it means so much to those of us just starting out. I really want to know how I can improve the site and what everyone thinks about it.

Now, the drawing item for September.....

This cute little night light starts with a creamy Mary Rose fabric base. Added to that is a lovely venise lace with pearls, aurora sequins and pearl bead fringe.

Around the entire shade is a soft organza and pearl gimp braid.
Six little white hand-made satin roses with more pearl fringe adorn this shade.

Bulb is included and shipping is free to the winner of September's drawing. Good luck to you all!

Monday, August 13, 2007

July Drawing Winner is....... very good friend, Connie (Living Beautifully)! My granddaughter picked her name for the mixing bowl of contenders. I had some foreign entries this time, too. I am so happy that this beautiful lamp shade will go to a loving home. I hope it brings joy to Connie, too.

That's the good news. The bad news is that I am forced to close my Web Site Guestbook. It's being terribly misused for advertising purposes and bogus email addresses, using much profanity, to vent someone's angry feelings about everything. I just can't take the time to delete 15 to 20 posts every day and I'm sickened while reading them to determine if they are of good content or not.

What a shame that all the good comments have to be redirected because of folks that do not know, or will not read, the reason for a guestbook, even though I've posted it right on the page.

So......I will not be having any more monthly drawings until I can figure out a better way for the applicants to submit their names. Any suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

Thanks so much for those of you that participated in the drawings and left wonderful comments for Aunt May's Cottage.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


My good friend, Stephanie at has nominated me for the Nice Matters Award. This, from one of the nicest people that I know in the world! Thank you, Stephanie!
Webster defines nice as being agreeable, delightful, pleasant, courtious and considerate. Wow! That's a lot to live up to, Steph.

I think I am supposed to pass this along, so here are my nominations...

I know Stephanie also nominated Dolly, but whenever I think of "nice"......Dolly comes to mind right away. I always delight in the joy she finds in the simplest things. Her blog is my "shot in the arm" for the day.

I have met so many "nice" folks while blogging and have made some true friends on line. I really need to thank my nice friend, Connie, for encouraging me to get one. So, thank you, Connie!
Thanks also to those of you that visit me here on a regular basis. It's nice to know that someone other than my children are interested in what's inside this overflowing-with-useless-information head of mine. I truly hope to become deserving of this honored award.

Monday, July 30, 2007

I'm baaaack!

The trip was everything we needed! Saw many of the sites, walked lots of beaches and swam in tons of water. I didn't get as much reading done as I would have liked, so guess I'll wait for the rainy days at home to accomplish that. All rested and, back to work.

Have you forgotten to sign up for the July drawing? If so, run right over to and sign up NOW. Tomorrow is the drawing and my granddaughter will do it this time. I will announce the winner on Wednesday!

I thought you might like to see a photo of part of the goodies that I got on my trip! We covered the area antique shops and little flea markets for some unusual treasures. Here are a few.....

Some will be displayed in my own home, some will be put in the cottage for sale, some listed on ebay and some will be given as gifts. I love the little jelly bowls with silver rims and matching silver spoons! I'll probably keep those for a while. Won't they be great for my next tea?

I'll keep and frame some of the Currier and Ives prints, sell some and give some away. I've already kept aside some favorites I picked up especially for my PRH secret sister so those items will be a secret from everyone!

Watch here for the August giveaway item and the sales that will be going on next month in my web store. Have a great day all. I'm off to take more photos to post!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Girl's Vacation

This year we decided to start a new family tradition and I hope it continues for a long, long, time. I am going on a "mini" vacation with my daughter, granddaughter, granddaugher-in-law and great granddaughter. We call it the "Girl's Vacation".

We've had a couple of meetings about this and everyone thought it would be nice to stay local our first time, so we are visiting a place in our home state of Michigan......Boyne Mountain. Now, the mountain is well known for it's ski resorts and wonderful golf courses, but we won't be doing any of that. We are hitting the little shops, antique stores, flea markets, eateries and beaches in the area. It is, after all, a GIRLS vacation and who could resist a place named the "Flatiron Deli"?

No men allowed! No toilet seat always up! No cooking! No cleaning! No laundry! My 10 year old granddaughter says we won't have to hear any grunting or cussing, put up with greasy hands or dirty smells, watch sports, weather or the Military Channel or kiss anyone's sweaty cheek for a whole week! How divine!!

Dear hubby has consented to let us use our time share for the event. We will be staying in a wonderful Inn called Mountain Run. Because it's all girls, we need lots of bathrooms so we are getting a combined suite and two bedroom unit; three bathrooms, three balconies, two kitchens, three bedrooms, two living rooms, five TVs, and two fireplaces. How cool is that??

I have not had time to read any of my magazines since about February and I have several books I need to crack the bindings on, so I plan to relax and read, watch some old movies on TV (hubby hates those) and maybe not get dressed at all for a whole day. There are some historic sites I wanted to see also. Did you know Ernest Hemmingway had a home up there? It's now a museum on the "must see" list. Then there is Petoskey, which is only about 10 miles from the mountain. This is a little town steeped in history and lovely old Victorian homes. Although, it's oldest structure is a mission built 11 years after our home was.

Also planned is a trip to the largest indoor waterpark in Michigan which is almost across the street from where we will stay. Now, here comes the hard part....I've not been in a bathing suit in over 10 years! I don't even own one (unless you count the black and fucha, size seven, packed away for when I lost all that weight)!

Do I just "let it all hang out"? I don't know anyone there and probably will never see any of them again. Or, do I act like the lady my Mother raised; be reserved and dignified and sit on the sidelines, smiling sweetly, holding the towels and let everyone else have all the fun?

Think I'm going bathing suit shopping this afternoon!


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fabrics play such a HUGE part in Victorian decorating! The opulence and “over the top” approach of the time was partially created by the lavish use of fabric. Draperies often used at least three layers, and often times up to eight or nine layers of fabric. In my many visits to Historic Victorian Homes, I have seen three valances, two layers of outer draperies and three layers of under curtains on their windows.

Draperies, valances and under curtains were also used to surround the Victorian bed. In addition to making a grand statement, they were used to keep out drafts and to add to the warmth and comfort of the sleepers. Coverlets and several layers of quilts, spreads and sheets were also used. Most were heavily embroidered or edged in fine lace. Then, there were the pillows of silks, satins, damask, velvet and lavishly embroidered cottons, most with heavy edged trims of fringe, lace, binding or tassels. Window fashions and bed draperies would often puddle on the floor by more than 12 inches.

Parlor chairs, chaises and settees would be draped with wraps and quilts in the finest fabrics, many of them imported from Europe and the Far East. The furniture items would often be covered in the same fabric as the draperies and sometimes, the walls would be softened with the use of fabric or padded insets of fabric.

Throughout the 18th century, Americans depended almost completely upon imported fabrics. British fabrics were most often used because they were protected by the high tariffs imposed by England on goods imported into the colonies from other countries. Indian goods were also imported under the protective arm of the British East India Company. The qualities of British fabrics varied, but for the most part, were far superior to anything made in Colonial America at that time.

Remember to use fabrics lavishly in your Victorian decorating. They will give that illusion of grandeur to your home.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

And the winner is..........

Kathleen Grace

The winner of Aunt May's Cottage June drawing is Kathy Grace from MICHIGAN. I was amazed, when my daughter pulled her name from the hat, that the winner lived in my home state! I'll bet that won't happen again.

Congratulations, Kathy! Next month it may be one of you that wins! It's so easy to enter.....just go to my web site,, and sign my guestbook! It's as easy as that. The winner doesn't even have to pay the shipping! So rush right over and take a little look around. Then sign the Guestbook to enter.

July's drawing item will be this sweet little lamp shade! It's made from a bridal gown bodice from white satin and a lovely, very heavily beaded lace overlay. Also adorning the shade are several satin ribbon roses and pearl drops.

This shade has the heavy beading on all sides. It can be used on a boudoir lamp, a nightlight or a votive candle holder with stem as shown here. I've even used these on stemmed glassware with a floating candle! So sweet and a wonderfully warm glow.

Just look at the detail on this beauty! I love working with these beautiful fabrics. How can you end up with anything less than spectacular with fabric this lovely?
All beading is done by hand and it takes hours to accomplish this look.

If anyone wonders why I make items from bridal fabric and trims, it's because I am addicted to them.

For over 22 years I designed and made bridal gowns and evening wear. I've always had a love for fine fabrics.....satins, silks, brocades, organdy, embroideries, velvets and lace of any kind.

In a day of career women, I was a stay at home mom. I wanted to see my children on and off the school bus, be there with milk and cookies when they got home and be available for any problems they might have and help with homework.

To make extra $$ for the "wants" of the family, I began sewing. First for the family, then for friends and soon for complete strangers. I lost count on the number of weddings I did, but I believe it to be around 240. A few were just the bride's gown, but most were the bride, bride's mother, groom's mother, maid of honor, bridesmaids and flower girls. Many included the decorations for the wedding and sometimes the reception, too.

More about my "sewing" days at a later time. I have dozens of stories about people for whom I've sewn and designed costumes over the past 40 years. Some of them are hilarious!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Regal Queen

Don't forget my free gift drawing. Only three days left to enter! Go to for details.
Of all the Victorian house styles, Queen Anne is the most elaborate and the most eccentric. The style is often called romantic and feminine, yet it is the product of a most unromantic era -- the machine age.

Virginia and Lee McAlester, authors of A Field Guide to American Houses, identify four types of detailing found on Queen Anne homes.
Spindled - This is the style we most frequently think of when we hear the term "Queen Anne." These are "gingerbread" houses with delicate turned porch posts and lacy, ornamental spindles.
Free Classic - Instead of delicate turned spindles, these homes have classical columns, often raised on brick or stone piers. Like the Colonial Revival houses that would soon become fashionable, Free Classic Queen Anne homes may have
Palladian windows and dentil moldings.
Half-Timbered - Like the early Tudor style houses, these Queen Annes have decorative
half-timbering in the gables. Porch posts are often thick.
Patterned Masonry - Most frequently found in the city, these Queen Annes have brick, stone, or terra-cotta walls. The masonry may be beautifully patterned, but there are few decorative details in wood.

A list like this can be deceptive. Queen Anne architecture is not an orderly or easily classified. Bay windows, balconies, stained glass, turrets, porches, brackets and an abundance of decorative details combine in unexpected ways.

Even the history of the style is bewildering. These homes were built during the age of Queen Victoria. So, why are they called Queen Anne? Popular during the time of Britain's Queen Victoria, Queen Anne architecture has little to do with the 18th century Queen Anne. Moreover, the exuberant style bears little resemblance to the formal architecture which was popular during her time. Rather, British architects borrowed ideas from the earlier Medieval era.
In the United States, Queen Anne houses became lofty, fanciful, showy, exuberant expressions of the machine age.
Excerpts from

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My Baby Girl's Birthday

I know that I said we would talk about architecture this week and I promised to relay some information about Queen Anne homes, BUT I feel a little sidetracked this morning and want to share something else.

Yesterday was my only daughter's birthday. For HER birthday she brought ME this doll! I gave her a plant.

Now, she's not only beautiful, she is huge! She stands a little over three feet tall! AND she looks amazingly just like my daughter, Tammy!

Her beautiful dress and hat have such great detail. The dress itself is gold brocade with three kinds of lace trim. The underskirt is a soft organdy print in gold and cream over satin. The really amazing thing about this doll is, it's an umbrella! Yup, the skirt opens just like an umbrella.

I've got to find a special place for her. Right now she is sitting on the coffee table in the living room...right in front of hubby's spot on the couch. He's not happy with that, but I love going by and seeing her there. Just for a couple more days. You know how it is.

Did I mention she is porcelain? Her hat has a white feathered crown and her hair is in long spiral curls.

Isn't her face just beautiful?

How lucky am I?