The Oldest Thing in My House #2 – Books

Probably the oldest stuff in the house are my books. Steve has some old crap in the basement, like a 100-year old tiger skin from China, but we’ll get to that later. Let me show you some of my oldest books.

About twenty five years ago, I was visiting a friend who lived in a small town outside of Boston. One day, we roamed through an antique shop, and I rummaged through a basket of old books under a table. I picked up this old copy of Little Women, which is one of my favorite books, and bought it for 25 cents. I promptly put it away in a box and forgot about it.

I found it last year and put it on my Etsy shop. After doing a little research, I found out that it was a I believe it was a second edition from 1870. I sold it in couple of months for $700.

I’ve got a Robert’s Rule of Order from 1876.

I’ve got “The Red Cross” by Clara Barton from 1899, but I haven’t listed it yet.

I love this illustrated history of the Civil War from 1895. I honestly don’t want to part with this one. (Click on the link for all the beautiful and horrifically racist images inside.)

I lost today to parenting chores. Ian was home from school for the Jewish holidays, and he needed a lot of help with an engineering project. For the rest of the week, I’m continuing my break from real writing and will the time listing a huge allotment of vintage textbooks that I bought a couple of months ago for $3. Engineering textbooks from the 1930s are surprisingly collectable.

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The Oldest Thing in My House #1

Picking up a comment thread in the last post, I thought I would find the oldest things in my house. (I’m waiting around for edits on a draft and don’t feel like starting anything new until next week. It’s the Gig Worker’s prerogative.) We’ll do our own Antique Roadshow here at Apt. 11D for a couple of days.

A couple of weeks ago, I unpacked my grandmother’s old sewing machine from its box in the basement and decided to display it somewhere in the house. It’s kinda cool. Check out the beautiful scroll work.

I actually had no idea how old it was until a few minutes ago. It’s from the 1940s, which means it’s probably not the oldest thing in my house, but it’s still cool.

My grandmother used it, until she died about fifteen years ago. In fact, I used it ten years ago for some project or another. It still works great.

More to come.

Decorating Apt. 11D with Vintage Furniture

In my last post about our lawyer’s bookcase, there was some discussion about whether people still are interested in vintage furniture.

I go to a lot of estate sales to find old books for my badly neglected Etsy shop. The dealers are lined up out the door. Of course, they don’t buy just anything old. They buy certain old things — good lines, well made, not destroyed. There was crap in the old days, just as there is now.

I don’t pay for my vintage stuff. It usually just falls in my lap one way or another. Hi, I’m Laura, and I adopt stray furniture.

1/3 of the stuff in these pictures is vintage, 1/3 is quality new (Crate and Barrell, Room and Board), and 1/3 is crap new (IKEA or Wayfair). Our dining room chairs suck. They’re $14 from IKEA. I think I’m going to upgrade to these. I just got that new table runner, on sale at Crate and Barrel.

The vintage prints came from my in-laws. I had reframed them in modern frames, but hated the look. I put them back in the beat up vintage frames, where they looked more at home. I like them hung asymmetrically. (But not crooked, like that bottom one, which needs to be adjusted. I took these pictures in about five minutes. No time to clean up and fix errors.)

The mirror was in my grandmother’s Bronx apartment in the 1950s. The buffet are two bedroom side tables pushed together. I found them on the street on trash day in New York City. Don’t look too closely at them, because they’re a mess.

Because we have a super white kitchen (excuse the mess in the background) and a mid-century modern house, I think we really need the old vintage stuff to give the house some character. I was in a new-build house a few weeks ago, and the whole place was white and light blue. I was redecorating in my head the whole time. The woman’s house DEMANDED some character.

Does anyone else redecorate in their head, when they’re in a particularly cluttered or bland house? I’m sure you all do, and it has nothing to do with some undiagnosed OCD on my part.

SL 690 – Only Girlie Stuff

I have a blog post in my back pocket about the reaction to my last article for the Atlantic. It will have remain back there for another day or two, because I’m flat out exhausted. I’m juggling mulitple writing gigs and the mom stuff, which includes graduation, prom, prom house, 8th grade class 3-day trip to DC (Steve’s going), 20-year anniversary, Jonah’s 18 year birthday, graduation party, Ian’s summer schedule, and college course selection. We still don’t have anybody helping us clean the house or mow the lawn either.

Yesterday, I sat on the sofa and read a trashy book all day, because I needed to shut down.    So, nothing but girlie-ness on Apt. 11D today.

I need dresses for several events in June and July, so here are a few of the options: this, this, this, and this. And new shoes – comfortable with a retro vibe.

I’ve been shopping. Oh yes, I have. Want to know what else? Jonah’s birthday and graduation is coming up. He asked for a gold cross and chain for his birthday. I was a little shocked by that request, but he says it’s a very preppy item right now. He needs a new laptop for college. I’ve got a few other little things for him, like this environmental bracelet and a Japanese watch that he heard about on Reddit.

Okay, who loved Pippa Middleton’s wedding dress? I did. And Kate’s dress totally sucked.

And let’s talk about Ivanka and Melania’s clothes on the Mid-East tour. Other than the gold-belt fiasco, Melania looked just like a military leader of a small South American country, which is actually a really good look for her. I’m not judging. Other than Ivanka’s sad hair, she rocked a series of dresses with large flowers.

And I got a haircut, too.

Photo on 5-23-17 at 5.02 PM

2015 Gift Guide – One Mega Post

For like ten? eleven? years, I’ve done gift guides at Apt. 11D. They actually take quite a bit of time, which is something that I’m quite short on these days. So, let me do one mega post. These are items that I’ve thought about buying, bought, bought for myself, or wished I could buy this year. If you click on an Amazon link and then buy something (can be anything, not just the item in the list), I’ll get a kickback. And then I’ll use that money to buy shoes. I like shoes.

  1. Thin and warm Uniqlo jacket 
  2. SONOS PLAY:1 2-Room Streaming Music Starter Set Bundle (Black)
  3. flannel shirt
  4. Coding Games in Scratch
  5. Cuisinart Belgian Waffle Maker, Stainless Steel
  6. Zojirushi Micom 3-Cup Rice Cooker and Warmer, Black and Stainless Steel – Big enough for a family, but doesn’t seem to take up tons of room.
  7. Timberland Men’s Boot
  8. Bean-bag chair
  9. Steam Gift Card
  10. Jonah and Steve wear  Slouchy Beanie Hats all winter long
  11. But Ian wants one of these
  12. Cute bracelet

 

Hmmm. It’s was actually pretty fun to do this. Maybe I’ll do another one tomorrow.

Lifestyle Links

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Alright. It’s hopeless. I’m in a domestic mood and can’t bear to write about politics or policy right now. I surfed around for hours yesterday looking for something juicy, but I kept getting hung up on the pretty girlie stuff.

I’m about to lose all my male readers. Oh well. Here are some girlie things that I found yesterday.

I got started at the New York Times article about how celebrities are expanding their world domination by starting lifestyle brands. There’s Gwyenth Paltrow’s Goop, of course — a silly, silly, tone deaf website and newsletter that I love to hate. (It’s losing money. shhhhhh.) The article mentioned other celebrity brands, including Blake Lively’s Preserve. I’m not exactly sure who Blake Lively is, but I loved the photographs on her website.

And I’ve been cooking a ton lately. I’ve had to move some of my CSA vegetables onto a shelf in the garage, because the damn squash take up too much real estate in my kitchen.

Squash is good. But it’s a pain to cut up. I love Martha’s short cut to cooking spaghetti squash. You don’t even cut it in half. Just piece it with a fork and throw it in the oven for an hour. When it’s done and cooled a bit, then you cut in half and take a fork to the flesh. It’s pretty much fool proof.

I’m not really a fan of treating spaghetti squash as a pasta. It’s a vegetable, dammit, so dumping tomato sauce and a meatball on top  is time consuming and kills the taste.

Last week, I took the shredded squash and sautéed it with butter, parmesan cheese and a bunch of fresh herbs that were still growing in my garden. Here’s another Martha recipe.

This week, I’ve made brussels sprouts, too. (Roast ’em with lots of salt.) Braised chicken and turnips. (Cook with white wine, chicken broth, and honey.) Pork and mashed potatoes. Tonight is a leftover night.

So, this past week has been a lot of cooking and cleaning. I’m rubbing lotion into my cracked hands. I’ve also been going to a lot of local school functions, too. I think that giving back should start locally. And that’s an important part of modern lifestyle.