Monday, June 27, 2011

It's about time, we all got wired!!!!!!

   French Garden furniture of today, draws from a rich and diverse history, that resulted in many different styles. From 1715 onward, as the Formal French Garden began to yield, to the free design of landscaped gardens, people began to enjoy ,new forms of social leisure and  more intimate and beautifully organized outdoor social functions. It the beginning, furniture and carpets from the house, was carried out into the garden. This required servants and much time. If a sudden rain would appear, every one had to run and the furniture was often ruined. So the need for out door furniture had appeared. The first of this furniture was heavy was not easy to move, nor was it comfortable. It also required a lot of work to maintain it. The "Rococo" period arrived and the out door became very Romantic.  A lot of smaller garden, within a larger garden, made it possible ,to feel like it, was a more personal space. This was the first concept of the," outdoor room", that most people think, is a 21st century ideal. HDTV-this is not a new concept, nor did you all invent it. What goes around comes around. Even the out door kitchen, that is so popular today, is a Victorian concept. The summer kitchen, as it was called, was an out door room for cooking. This kept the heat out of the house and saved a lot of houses from burning down.

My Southern Magnolias have been blooming and blooming for weeks. My nieces gave,My Old Historic House,
2 of them for the houses 2 birthday. They were 6 foot tall then and now they are 12. I worried about them last winter when we had 20 inches of snow. But as you can see they are doing just fine. The Southern Magnolia is my favorite of all trees. 
    The more people wanted to be outside , the more there was a need for furniture that could be used outside, and it needed to be  moved about easy.. Garden furniture created wholly out of wire was light weight, durable, easy to move, and fairly cheap in price. This became the rage of all those outdoor souls during the middle to late 1800's. The French were the first to come up with the wire furniture designs. We owe a lot to the French, like folding tables and chairs. These were invented and used not only in the private gardens, but, also in out door dining and social functions. Thus the ,"Bistro tables and chairs."
   French Wire garden furniture is made by hand. To this day, no one has invented a machine to do this work. Some of the crimping designs and twist and so on, are done by machine. It is a simple process, where a frame is made from a heavy rod, like wire, and smaller wire is applied to that frame. Almost  ever piece made, was outfitted with wheels. This made it even easier to move. Soon, Flower shops were using these wire pieces for display and offered them for sale. Catalog companies carried various styles, pieces and patterns. In the high Victorian  days, almost every fine home had a garden room, green house or sun room. This wire furniture was soon making it's grand appearances in all those homes. Especially the Plant Stand, which could hold many pots of rare plants and make a great display as well. These plant stands are the most found,in todays markets, and the pieces we think of most, when talking of French Wire. Chairs, tables and love seats are not as common, so therefore the price is much higher on these items.
   I have an addiction  to this stuff.. Some people do drugs, I do French Wire. I buy it to sale, and it usually never does, so home it goes. When I do sale a piece, I am kinda sad, but, it gives me a reason to buy another. I have a plant stand on every porch and a couple in the yard. My patio has 2 love seats and 2 chairs. I long for a table, but, they are so hard to come by. My friend, and antique dealer, Blossom, got me started with this habit. She has owned and sold more wonderful wire than I have time to list. We are always sending each other to a shop to see one that we spotted. One of us, usually ends up with it. I remember a pair of the most wonderful chairs we found on a trip to Ill. Blossom bought them and latter sold them. When ever we mention French Wire, those chairs come up in the conversation. I guess one can have too much French Wire, but I can not imagine that ever happening to me.

    Today we have plastic furniture for the garden. I saw at the Home Dept the other day, plastic wicker furniture. I guess that is where we are. The sad  thing is, the price of the plastic, is much more than a real old wonderful piece. I hope I  never get to the day, when I have plastic garden furniture. I would rather have an old rusty piece of iron or wire, even if it is not antique. If you have plastic, I am sorry, if I stepped on your toes, and I will forgive you. Just kidding. What ever furniture you have in your garden, all I ask is, to ENJOY IT!!!!!!
   Come by, My Old Historic House ,soon and see all the French wire. After all, "I think it is time, we all get wired"! All kidding aside, I will leave the lights on and Sissy dog will meet you with a jump and a kiss. I hope you enjoy your garden this summer. Mine has been so alive this year. With all the rain, everything as been over the top. And that includes the WEEDS!Better get this posted and get out there a pull, pull, pull!

This is my new Banana Tree, a friend gave it to me, it was  a stick with roots. I will keep you posted on it's progress this summer. Makes me feel like I am in New Orleans or the South. 
The Southern Magnolia  stays green all winter, loses it's old leaves in the spring when new ones appear. It is a favorite of mine to use for Christmas decorations. After the blooms the seed pots have bright red seeds and look good on mantles and in vases for the holidays.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

If it ain't Broke- Don't fix It!!!!!!

The new August issue of Victorian Homes magazine.

Victorian Homes magazine Editor, Hillary Black.

Address of the editor at Victorian Homes magazine.

The Mailbox section of Victorian Homes Magazine, August issue, with mention of, My Old Historic House.

   I am in a deep debate, with the editor of Victorian Homes Magazine, Ms. Hillary Black. The magazine did a 12 page feature of ,My Old Historic House, in the June issue. The newest issue, August, is soon to be on the news stands and it also, has a 1 page article ,about my home. Thanks to a lot of my Blogger friends who emailed and commented , about  the June article. One of my good Blogger buddies, Curtains in my tree, was mentioned, and, as was my blog, My Old Historic House. That is all very good for the blog world. When the June issue came out, with the article about my home, I got a lot of people who commented , that they did not like the last few covers. So I passed this along to the editor. True to form, the newest issue, August,  has another cover that is un-Victorian. To me, it looks like,Better Homes and Garden or House Beautiful. If you want those magazines, buy them, but we want, Victorian Homes, that is why we buy or subscribe to this magazine. I know where the editor is going, she is trying to reach  more readers,by attracting Old Home owners, who are not die- hard Victorian interior lovers. I understand the concept, so put it inside ,and put, Victorian on the cover. I am just saying!!!!I am so afraid, next, we will see a Victorian home, void of color, shabbied up, like so many of the other magazines on the market today. Is there no magazine, "GOD"' anymore. Please do not show ,a Victorian House ,with a flat screen TV above the parlor mantle.

A mock up cover, I did, from a house featured  in the August issue, which one do you like better?

Another Mock Up Cover I made, using a picture of my entrance hall, taken from the June  issue.

A Mock up issue, showing my kitchen, can you compare it to the August issue cover, showing  the greenish, yellowish, kitchen.

    The June issue and August issue are both in a greenish,yellowish, muted, void of color,  bah-bah-bah, tone,
of a bed room and a kitchen. I would not have bought either issue, if I had just looked at the cover. I might have taken the time to look at it, on the news stands, and bought it, after the fact. I just wonder if this is the personal taste of this editor. If so, I am asking, is she the right person for this job, editor of a Victorian Homes Magazine??? What do you bloggers think? If you agree or dis-agree, I am sure the editor would love to get you're feed back.
   I emailed the editor yesterday, and stated the same facts to her. She was very nice and emailed back in great speed. I asked her if the  past 2 issues had done well on the news stands. And now this is the third issue to look this way. Her answer was, that the numbers have not came in yet. Takes awhile, but she would keep in touch. I know the June issue did pretty good, as I , bought and sold 150 copies. And she did say that the June issue, with my house, had gotten a lot of attention. Her other comment was, that covers that are lighter and brighter, do well on the news stands. Well, not all Victorian Homes are dark. I have tried to do some mock up covers, so you can see what a different cover might have looked like. Ms. Black, the editor, did say that the Dec. issue would please me and she was still  working on Oct., and she would keep my comments in mind.At least she seems to be listening!

Does this excite you???

The cover of the new August issue of Victorian Homes Magazine, with a kitchen the same color as the bed room on the cover of the June issue.

What magazine do you think this was from???

This is wonderful, my favorite from the new August issue of Victorian Homes magazine.

How many of us have a porch like this? 

     Ok, now that I have ranted and raved,I just wanted to announce that once again, My Old Historic House, was mentioned  in Victorian Homes Magazine, the August issue, soon to be on news stands every where. Just thought you might like to check it out.
   I would love your feedback. I blog for comments, you know. If you like the direction the Victorian Magazine is going. Vote -Yes. If you don't like the new format, vote -No. If you would like to see the magazine go back to more of a Victorian look, vote- Yes. If you think I am nuts, and just about crazy, please don't say a word. As, you are probably right.Or, maybe you just don't care!
   I hope you enjoyed my Victorian Homes Magazine review. Come by some time and see me at, My Old Historic House. I would love to give you a tour. Sissy Dog will meet you with a jump and a Kiss and I will leave the lights on.

Would you rather see this than a green bath tub?


Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Quest for the Golden Raintree!!!!

The beautiful Golden Yellow blooms of the Raintree.

Talk about Romance, How about a Golden Raintree and a Purple House. Where is Alice?

    I do not believe, that I can look at a Golden Raintree and not be taken back in mind, to a former day and time. There is Romance, War, Sadness, Happiness, and Mystery, all wrapped up in those branches, bearing those long golden blooms.
    The story of the Golden Raintree is  long, complicated, and excites in  a  novel like, experience,. un-written, just flashing through my mind, like a movie.There  has always been Romance associated with the Golden Raintree,  from the opera, "Flower Drum Song", to a best selling novel. "Raintree County", and even a block buster,epic, of a movie, "Raintree County". Once you see the trees burst open in full bloom and fall gently to the ground below, making a golden blanket up on the ground, you can not help, but to fall in love with them. My little Mid- America town, Clarksville,Mo. is full of these Golden Raintrees and they are, yes indeed, in full bloom. Close your eyes, as you look at my pictures and see if you don't see the same, Romance and Mystery, come to life.

     The Golden Raintree-or "Goldenrain",   are from  Asians ,where the trees first came from. The correct name is, "Koelreuteria  Paniculata". It is  popularly grown as an ornamental tree in temperate regions all across the world , because of the aesthetic appeal of it's flowers, leaves and seed pods. The seed pods look like lanterns on a string, and  in the fall, many floral designers, collect them, and use them in there arrangements. The seeds are edible when roasted, but  not commonly consumed. They are considered a  invasive species and hated in some places. I think ever seed that falls, grows. Often called weed trees, because of this reason. Sometimes known as stink trees, as when you break a branch ,there is a bad smell.  None of this sound Romantic, yet?----Just be patient, you will see.

    The Golden Raintree, is also known in some parts of the world as, "The Pride Of India". or,"China Tree"
They are native to Eastern Asia, especially, China and Korea. It is not really known how they made it to the United States. Some people  believe they were imported here, on spice trade ships ,from Asia. They are a small to medium sized deciduous tree and domed shaped. They bloom in mid June to early July. The flowers are bright yellow with 4 pedals, growing in a large terminal, down hanging, in  a weeping effect. In the fall the blooms turn into a lantern looking seed pod. Some say that the seeds were scattered all over the United States by Johnny Appleseed. Now, there is some Romance!
   In 1948 a Novel by Ross Lockridge Jr, was the start ,of making the Golden Raintrees, what they are  today.The title of this novel was, "Raintree County". Raintree is a whale of a book, in every sense of the word. It took six years to write and several more years to do research, before the writing could take place. It runs 1060 pages. It is a Great American Novel. A bold drama full of love and conflict. A love story as daring and  frank as any other ever written. There are secrets,  mental illness and demons to be  fronted.The story is told all in one day, July 4th,1892. Replete with history, romance and adventure. The tale is brillantly intertwined with a series of flashbacks.It tells a story of a small town in mid-western America. There is a teacher and poet, named John Swanessey, who, in younger days, before his service as a Union Soldier in the Civil War, meet and married a beautiful Southern Belle, however, her emotional instability leads to the destruction of their marriage.  The novel, set in fictional, Raintree County, Indiana, is essentially in two parts, before  and after the war.It spans the 19th century, history of the United States, from Pre-Civil War, Westward Expansion, to the debate of Slavery,the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution and Labor Movement, , which followed.  The book takes readers on a quest to find the legendary Golden  Raintree, which supposedly was planted somewhere in Raintree County by Johnny  Appleseed.
     In 1951, the  film rights for the movie was bought from Lockridge by  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, for $150,00.00 and a movie, by the same title, "Raintree Country", was made.  The movie, was filmed in Louisville,Kentucky, and stared, Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor. And Eva Marie Saint played the left behind sweetheart. It was filmed toward the end of Hollywood's Golden Age, in the tradition of a great traditional Civil War Romance. The movie was lavishly conceived, made for the wide screen, with a great musical score by Johnny Green. The film premier was in 1957 in Louisville, Kentucky.My best friend in St.Louis, was Richard Haley, he was from Louisville and  the movie company rented his family home for Ms. Taylor to live in during the filming. That makes the whole story, even more Romantic!
     Suzanne, played by Elizabeth Taylor, is a beautiful Southern Belle who tricks  Shawnessey, into marring her, by saying she is  with child. She is surrounded with  mystery from her early childhood ,when she lost her parents in a house fire., that some people think she started.  She was raised by the Black Nanny, whom she thinks, might be her mother. She has a thing for dolls and keeps them in the bed she shares with her husband. Shawnessy drifts away from his child hood sweetheart, played by Eva Marie Saint, to his loveless marriage to Suzanne. Swanessey who is a teacher and poet, spends the most of his free time, looking for a rumored Raintree. No one really knows if it actually exist. Suzanne driven by the fact, she might be part black, runs off into the swamp in a rage  and is found at the end of the story, dead, under the falling golden flowers, of a Raintree. Now that is Romance!!!!!

From the Movie,Taylor, Saint and Clift, visit the home  that brunt when Suzanne was a small child, killing her parents.

From the movie, Raintree Country, my favorite scene, where Taylor and Clift get rid of the dolls.

Taylor was a true beauty and made for this part.

   If you have not read this book, I would suggest you do so soon. It is hard to put down and the 1060 pages go fast. The movie, is just about perfect. The only other, I like better, is another Civil War story, "Gone with the Wind". Taylor is young in this movie and is more beautiful than one can imagine. She plays the part with great passion. Her Southern  actions are the best, I have seen. She gives her best performance during a scene when her and Clift,  get rid of the dolls. I always set on the edge of the chair when this takes place. I just want to pitch a few dolls out the window along with them.I would say, if you have not seen this movie, do so, soon.
   When I was restoring, My Old Historic House, I had to make a decision,  on what kind of porch rails to use. The original ones were long gone. Doing research, I came up with some cast iron ones, that had a lamb under a Raintree. I knew there was no reason to look any more, as this was it. Having the Raintrees in Clarksville, and the love of the movie and novel on my mind, I had no choice but to pick these . I get so many people, who comment on them, stop and take pictures of them ,and I only wish I could tell this story, about the connection, to them and the Golden Raintree.
   When the Raintrees started blooming, I knew I wanted to share this story with all my friends on the Blog.  I wish you could come see me and Sissy Dog while the Raintrees are in bloom. Take a tour. I will leave the lights on and Sissy Dog will meet you with a big jump and a kiss. If you get a chance, I would suggest you plant a Raintree. They grow very fast and there is a wonderful story behind those Golden Blooms.

The porch rails at, My Old Historic House, with a lamb, under a Raintree.

A real beauty.

This is how the seed pods look in the fall.