Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bonus Room.

      Almost every home has a little room or hall way that the owner is not quite sure what to do with it. Well, My Old Historic house, is of no exception. I have a little space,  that once was a hall way and the servants stairs, leading down to the kitchen. The second owner of my house, The Bankhead Sisters, removed the stairs to make a bigger kitchen. I saw no real reason to replace them ,when I did the restoration. Any how to make a long story short, this left a little room in the back hall. It is 6 foot square, 11 foot ceiling and lucky that it  has a window. I should have used it as a walk in closet or storage area.Because my house has very small closets and no storage.  But, I hardly ever do what I should. Another good use for it would have been a second bath room. Again a smart choice.All houses can use another bath ,and many bath rooms, are strong selling points.  The way I figure it, the next owner can do what is best, I want to do what is fun and pretty. What I have done to this room can easily be undone and  it can become a closet or bath room in a flash.
    Sometimes little rooms are hard,.but I have no problem with them. I like to treat them just like they are huge. I always go for bigger than life. I use large chandeliers, busy wall paper and very important furniture and window treatments. One way to make a room look bigger is with wallpaper and fabric that matches. I choice a black and white Waverly Toile for this little room.  In St.Louis there is a store called, Discount Decorating, and it is my Heaven on Earth.I just love to go there and walk up and down the isles and dream, plan and get inspired. The best thing about this store, is all there stuff is in stock and you can bring it home with you, that day, I am not a very patient person, when  I want to decorate, I want to do it now. The Wavery Toile wall paper and fabric was  medium priced. I did not need a ton of it, so that was a good cost savings. I f you have tall ceilings and want to use less wall paper to save money, I suggest you add a picture rail, a few feet down from the ceiling. You can stop the wall paper there and get a lot more footage out of a roll. I also choice a 2 foot wide boarder to add to the top of the paper, again this saved on the amount of paper I had to buy. All these savings are good and bad. Bad because, I now had to buy a very expensive boarder and add some wood picture rail trim between the two. The boarder I chose is from a company called, Burt's Wall Papers. Burt used to work for Bradbury and Bradbury, but now is on his own. He does not have a vast selection to chose from, but his papers are  unique and all historic correct reproductions. And, the best thing about his papers are, that he can make them in any color combination you want. I choice this boarder as it was of the right vintage, 1860's.  I wanted the paper to be mainly black and white to go with the wall paper, but I wanted to add some silver  and cranberry red. The reason for the silver was I planed on using a lot of silver dresser pieces in this little room and a splash of red. So this is the wall paper boarder result. It is not cheap, but as the room is small, I only needed. 9 yards, so I went for it.  I used the boarder as a window cornice and made the rest of the boarder be  at the level of the window, so the eye continues all the way around. I added a black ceiling and black shades on a very large crystal French chandelier.

    The room is just wide enough for a bed to fit, end to end.Having room for a bed,  makes this legally a bed room.  I wanted a  French day bed look, but, did not have the budget for a real one. My solution was to find a nice pair of twin beds and use the two head boards to make a day bed. The pair I found are really  better for my house ,as they are early American. They are mahogany and made around 1900. I got them for a fair price, but that price soon jumped ,when I added the upholstery. I got a new twin mattress and box springs and had the  two upholstered as well as the head boards. The two foot boards and two side rails were left, so I put them together and sold them as a day bed in my shop. This helped me play for the whole project. I didn't want to spend the money for the  Waverly Toile fabric for these beds, so I chose a white damask. It was on sale at Discount decorating. I needed 20 yards,so the price was important.
   At a auction I found a darling little upholstered vanity chair. It was rather small in scale, but had arms and looked bigger than it was. I had it done up, with the Waverly ,black and white Toile. I did not add a skirt as this would have made it, look too 21 century.A black and red rose needlepoint rug was the finishing touch
    This is this finished product. I usually end up in this room, to sleep, when I have a house full of company. It is also a favorite spot in the winter. Being so small, a little heater can warm it right up. The one disadvantage about living in a big old house ,is that they can be very cold in the winter. So, this room is a great place to relax with a blanket and a good book.
   I hope you  enjoy the tour of  this little room. I had a lot of fun putting it together. I wish you could come by some time for a real tour. I will always leave the lights on and Sissy Dog will be there to give you a jump and and a kiss.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apple Fest is a Comin!

This is the 6th year that, My Old Historic House, will be open for tours as part of the 33 Annual  Clarksville Apple Fest Celebration. This is how the 1845 Historic Elgin/Cottrell House Museum looks today.

   My home town, Clarksville,Missouri, population 490, is getting ready for the 33 annual Apple Fest Celebration. It is in a couple of weeks. October 8th and 9th. This is the 6 year , I have been involved with this celebration , by opening my 1845 Home for tours.Clarksville is 70 miles from St.Louis and 50 miles from Hannibal . Clarksville can be reached from Hwy. 61, 54, or 79. It is a beautiful ride on any of these highways, as Ocobter is a beautiful time to visit this part of the country. The tress always have beautiful colors and the fields are full of amber waves of grain. You are more likely than not, to see deer, wild turkey, pheasants, quail  and foxes. You will pass farm stands in every little town, selling pumpkins, Indian corn and  hale bales. Every mile or so is another old farm with a wonderful house and barn.I love to see the cows and sheep out in the pastures. seen them my whole life, but am always glad to see them again.  Tractors are in the field and there is no place like the country.
   Clarksville was started in 1817, 4 years before Missouri became a state. Early settlers soon learned that the land was just right for growing apples.For many years this area was know for there apples. In the early 1900's apples were one of the areas main source for income. A giant apple shed was built at the edge of town for sorting, sacking and shipping the apples. The apple farmers soon gave up the apples for other crops. The apple shed remains today and is now the home of ,Pike and Lincoln County Center for the Arts. Used for art shows, plays and other special events, we are lucky to have such a center in our small town.33 years ago the Arts Council got together and started the Apple Fest. It is still going strong today and is one of the most successful events in our area. Art and Craft Shows are held in the old apple shed. Food vendors are found through out town. Many locals ,host yard sales in there yards. And I, Open, My Old Historic house for tours.
   I bought the old house in the spring of 2006. After a few months of working  on it,I held the first tour, that October. I hailed it the, '"Sneak Preview Tour." Only a couple of rooms were done, there was ladders and scaffolding everywhere. But we had a tour and there has been no stopping us since. Every since that first tour my nieces come and help me do the tours. They have fun getting all dressed up in Ante Bellum dresses made for them by my dear sister. This is the 6th year for the tour and the first year that the whole house is complete and open to the public. For the past few years my famous friend Dean, comes from Chicago and plays the baby grand and sings, he is much loved and appreciated. The big celebration is always started off with a parade and the girls love that part. We decorate a truck, put them on it ,with baskets of candy and signs that say, house tour today, and down the parade route they go.It is a fun and busy weekend. I always seem to add to the fun by hosting a party on Saturday night.

This is  how the house looked that first fall, 2006, when I hosted the first tour.

This is Ms. Prissy, she is now in Heaven and Ms. Sissy has taken her place. I love you Prissy.

This is how the house looked for the first tour, fall of October 2006.

Me and the girls. The lady in purple is my sweet Sister-in-law.
    I know most of my wonderful friends ,out there on the Blog ,live far, far away. I only wish you could come for the tour and the party. I also know some of my followers and readers live close by, at least not to far. I only hope and wish that you will try and make an effort to attend. It would mean so much to me.If you need a place to stay, I have several bed rooms and lots of friends, who are willing to share there rooms.  If you can't come this time, maybe real soon. I will leave the lights on, you are always welcome and Sissy Dog will always meet you with a jump and a kiss.
                           OCTOBER 8 AND 9  -  10:00 to 5:00 - EACH DAY
                          COME TAKE A TRIP BACK IN TIME.

My very special nieces who dress up in there Ante Bellum Costumes and help me give the tours. Linda, Sherry and Elizabeth.

Elizabeth in the Ladies Parlor

Barn lanterns are used to light the path to, My Old Historic House, for the party

Tour guides in Ante Bellum costumes  will greet you at the door.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Here Chick, Chick. Here Chicky, Chick.

  I grew up on a farm in rural Missouri and one of my chores was to get the chickens put away for the night. Most times they would go in the coop all by themselves, but sometimes I had to call them and round them up. Here chick-chick, her chicky-chick , was kind of the call, I would use. I also had to gather the eggs. Some times the eggs were, well, kinda dirty, so another job I had, was to wash them off ,before I took them in the house. Most kids of my generation growing up on a farm, spent many a day bare foot. I was no exception, hardly ever wore shoes. Do you know what it is like to gather eggs barefoot? Think about it. Chicken do and bare toes. Not a very nice picture. We also raised chickens to eat. Each spring a box would come in the US Mail with about 100 baby chickens. Most of them were hens, a few were roasters. Some got to live to an older age and were used as laying hens. Of course those were replacements for the old ladies that became chicken and dumplings on cold winter nights. It is hard to believe that I raised, fed, watered and looked after these sweet baby chicks and then a few weeks latter, watched as my mother, rang there necks and we had them for supper. Hasn't bothered me a lot as, fried chicken is still my favorite food. I just pretend I do not know where it comes from. To quote my little 4 year old great niece, where  do chickens come from - Kroger, where do you think they come from. No need to let her know any difference.
    The history of chickens is a bit of a puzzle. They were first domesticated from a wild form called red jungle fowl, a bird that still runs wild in Asia. Recent research suggests there may have been multiple origins, including China, Thailand and India. The new breads of chickens are geared  to gain weight, egg production starts earlier and more frequent and they produce larger eggs. Studies show multiple origins of domestication. The evidence dates to China in 5400 BC.
    It is believed that chickens were brought to the Polynesian Islands from Asia. And it is assumed that they had been brought to America from the Spanish.
   People really like to keep chickens because they are cheap to get started and cheap to maintain, as they can be left to run free and almost live on the land. Early settlers feed the chickens left over bread and food scraps. Chicken has always been a good food source. Once a chicken has been killed the whole thing can be eaten in one day, without worry of it going bad. This was really an advantage in early times before there was refrigeration.
    The dictionary defines a chicken as a domesticated fowl. Chickens are one of the most common domestic animals and with a population of more than 24 billion, makes more chickens in the  world than any other fowl.
     Humans keep chickens primarily as a source of food., consuming both there eggs and meat. Eggs have often been called-"The perfect food." The first chickens domesticated in Asia were mostly used for cock fighting. This still goes on today. Chickens have been recorded as early as the 18th Dynasty in Egypt.

   Chickens have been used in art for thousands of years. In China they were  copied in ivory, lead, bronze, gold and jade. Chickens have been painted in art for centuries. Usually as a back ground subject. More recent, they have become the subject. In the 1900's  chickens became the subject for many ceramic and porcelain figure. They have been mass produced ever since. Often found on French Toile wall  paper and fabric. Chickens as art, are widely loved and collected today. If you look on 100 blogs, you would probably find at least 80 of them ,would do at least one post about chickens. Recently there was a chicken party on the blogs. I never think ahead,so I am running a little behind.
   I have always loved chicken statues and paintings. I have always had them in my kitchens. I used to collect dozens of them, they were piled every where. In my old age, I  have pared down ,only only have 5 statues. They are all fine Italian ceramic ones and all larger than life size. A white pair live on my kitchen island. My rooster and Miss Hen, are used to hold tea towels and often my glasses, are place on Mr. Roosters comb. The brightly colored pair live on the ice box, as we can not  have the two roosters fighting. The single hen lives on the side board. She has no mate and often causes fights with the others.
    I hope you enjoy my chickens, as much as I do. I just love them and can not imagine having a kitchen with out them. Please come by some time for a tour. I will leave the lights on and Sissy Dog will meet you with a jump and a kiss. I will never promise to make fried chicken, but my favorite restaurant , right up the road, makes the best, so I would be glad to take us for a platter full.And don't forget the gravy and mashed potatoes.Got to go, fried chicken and lunch are calling my name. Have a wonderful weekend.

Today on the Mississippi River in from of, My Old Historic House.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Will work for food.

    Well ,now that I have your attention, I will explain. My friend Nancy, up the road 9 miles, in Louisiana,Missouri., has a shop called, Kate's Attic Antiques and Mini Mall. She knows the best way to get me to do something, offer me a good meal. When you live alone, if you are  like me, you do not like to cook and eat by yourself,so I often have frozen TV dinners  or pizza. Nancy has been after me to come help her, rearrange and display her shop. I usually say OK, but we never make a date. This time she called and offered me a fried chicken dinner, my favorite, if I would come and help and give her ideas.When you are in your shop day after day, sometimes it is good to have a different persons outlook on the things. After awhile every thing starts to look boring and you can get over whelmed. I have a knack for display, always have, and that is how I made my living in the past.So, she almost made one mistake, she feed me first. But after we had our dinner, to work we went. We moved all most everything in the shop, including show cases and china cabinets. She was very generous, as she had two extra men to come and help move.  WE worked till late that night and I came back a second time, this time for a good breakfast. The shop turned out really cute so I thought I would like to share it all with you. If you see anything you like, give Nancy a call. 573-754 - 4544, and I am sure she will work out all the details. Nancy and I go on shopping trips together, I am sure you remember me mentioning her before. Her shop is a little more country  than mine. The shop has 3 big areas, the area I am showing today is Nancy's things, the other two are rented mall spaces.
    I hope you enjoy Nancy's shop. Come by any time. She is open 7 days a week. Stop by My Old Historic House first and I will show you the way. Is it OK if Sissy Dog goes with us? Better be, as I am not going if she can't go to.

Ms. Nancy on the phone offering me a chicken dinner if I would  come and help.

Please go and check out, Savvy Southern Style Blog. She is having one of the best give a ways ,I have seen. It is a  big piece of M A Hadley pottery. Just wonderful. I love it. I have a large collection, but never enough. I was suspose to put her on my side bar, but, I am to dumb with this computer to know how. I hope this works just as well as I sure would like to win. No one would love it more. Richard