Sunday, September 30, 2007
On October 20th I am involved in a huge estate auction. The property and its contents belonged to a lifetime collector. Her home is filled with treasures accumulated over the past 75 years. Her family have taken the pieces they desired and the rest is to be sold. The auctioneer (I work for) has rented a circus tent for the occasion which will give you some idea of the vastness of this undertaking.
It is my job to sort, clean, catalogue and prepare for display, all the goodies. (If you'd like to take a peek yourself you can go here.)
For the next several weeks I will be surrounded by glass, art, furniture, linens... (even the historic solid oak wall panels are included) of this almost overwhelming estate. I'm not new at this, I've been doing it for 10 years so it's an adventure and a privilege to be involved in such a sale. Therefore I will excuse myself from posting for a little while. This does not mean I won't find time for visiting my favorite blogs (or putting in my two cents).
I shall return with more of the "Journey of Nellie', and tales from the auction. I'm off to the kitchen to make a batch of red ruby grapefruit and cranberry marmalade. It's absolutely great with cold chicken or turkey.
For now I will leave you with this.
Mother Nature's paint brush at its finest!
Posted by Susan McShannon-Monteith at Sunday, September 30, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
As usual I have arrived too late for the ball. Other commitments had beckoned.
May I present to you my Bloglandia gown. It is a combination of old and new. I have a treasure trove of goodies to work with so this was lots of fun. Antique white Broderie Anglaise was used for the petticoat, which is faintly visible under the billowing skirt of copper tulle. The bodice is draped tulle with a dangling beaded front. A black Edwardian lace over-shirt tops the tulle. Vintage ribboned trim gives a bustle effect at the back. The color scheme was influenced by hand dyed silk cocoon thread from a friend in England. To me the shades are the epitome of autumn.
Thanks eb for the inspiration to create. My carriage awaits!
Posted by Susan McShannon-Monteith at Thursday, September 27, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
I get so frustrated when...
The jeans I tried on two days earlier at the store fit perfectly. As I'm getting dressed now to go out...not so fitting. That clerk must have changed them to a size smaller when she rang up the sale.
I'm rushing out the door, enough bags and totes in hand to take everything I NEED on a day's outing, get to the car and realize I still have my slippers on.
The seam on the bottom of the bag of dry cat food comes apart just as I'm pouring from the top. And to add insult to injury it's 5:30 am and I'm standing in the semi-dark surrounded by cats and kibble.
As in most situations you've learned to take it all in stride and once the moment has passed you even get a giggle out of the mishap.
What frustrates you?
Now I'm complaining. Could you imagine trying to swim in those outfits.
Posted by Susan McShannon-Monteith at Friday, September 21, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
At this time of year when the daylight shadows change and the hours of sunshine are less, the word cozy summarizes exactly what we wish for. It speaks of an intimate place we seek that reflects warmth.
Perhaps surrounded by one's favorite things or just a big comfy chair to snuggle in to, cozy seems to become more sought after during this transition to autumn and then into winter.
Sometimes it involves a favorite old movie, a good book, a bowl of popcorn, rich coffee, a glass of wine or a slice of homemade pumpkin pie. (Do you ever notice how I manage to bring food into almost everything I write about?)
Mostly it occurs when the sun has faded away, the coolness of evening has set in, all the requirements of the day have been fulfilled and you finally get to relax.
The whole state of being eases into cozy as I sit by the wood-stove, the soft light from the fire flickering around me, cat curled up on my lap, and realizing it doesn't get any better than this.
Write to me and let me know what inspires your cozy.
Posted by Susan McShannon-Monteith at Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
This tale is of great length and I have so much to share. I have decided to follow the lead of the famous novelist Charles Dickens. He would submit chapters to the broadside (the newspaper of the early 1800s) that would allow his audience to indulge in the story as it unfolded before them.
Welcome to the Journey of Nellie, Part I
Several years ago I was asked to give an appraisal on some items that were coming up for auction in a nearby town.
It was a living auction, meaning that the sweet little lady, well into her 90s was still alive and participating in identifying the articles. It was a multi-generational home full of treasures from both her and her late husband's families. Her name was May.
As she took me from room to room and told me the stories of her beautiful pieces it was a journey back in time.
May unwrapped a couple of the quilts that I was intrigued by and she explained they had belonged to her great aunt Nellie. I spent two weeks with this adorable creature looking over the inventory and discovering things long forgotten. There was so much for sale it would take two weekends to complete.
The first Saturday of the auction I found a small diary and a little stack of letters tied with a faded ribbon lying in one of the showcases. I picked up the journal and inside the cover the owner had left her script, Nellie C. Fitts, Shrewsbury, Mass., the year was 1883. Could this be May's great aunt who also owned the quilts? I was captivated.
I roamed about looking at all the other goodies, through the barn, across the lawns, on the front porch and under the big oak tree. I saw the two quilts draped over a rack far away from the case that held the precious tokens that lured me back to them.
As luck would have it I purchased the diary, letters and some family photos. I was disappointed I had missed out on the quilts, but content in the fact that I was now the caretaker of these other timeless effects.
I took the tiny box of items home and placed it on the corner of my desk.
To be continued...
Posted by Susan McShannon-Monteith at Saturday, September 15, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
They say your sense of smell ignites your memory above taste, touch, sight, and hearing. I find that to be true.
I have long hair (to the middle of my back) that requires a conditioner to comb through it after washing. Always looking for something a little different to try, a few months back I bought a shampoo for children. It was a new fragrance, and not one to endorse products that spend a king's ransom on advertising I must tell of this one.
The scent is cocoa. Now I know what you're thinking, who wants to run around with a head smelling like chocolate. But this liquid's secret ingredient inspires such memories it's hard to explain.
It takes me back to Sunday evenings when I was young. Dinner was over, my sister and I fresh from the bath, jammies on, we sat down to the TV. The Wonderful World of Disney was about to unfold.
Davey Crockett, Pollyanna, Mickey Mouse, Hayley Mills... we sat transfixed. Mom was in the kitchen making hot cocoa. You know the real kind; Fry's cocoa mix, sugar and hot milk. (Long before we cared about waistlines and cholesterol.) I could smell it all the way into the living room. And when it was delivered there were little marshmallows or a dab of whipped cream on top.
That's what this shampoo smells like. Heavenly, divine, delicious...
It takes me back to a time of innocence, contentment and simplicity.
So when ever I feel stressed, overwhelmed, or just wanting to return to those Sunday evenings I reach for the little bottle of child's shampoo and wash my hair!
Posted by Susan McShannon-Monteith at Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
To each of us a husband is defined by different things.
Someone who supports our every whim; I think not life would be boring. A man that provides for us; not necessarily, women hold positions that earn good wages nowadays.
For me it has been a guy who accepted myself and my daughter (yes I was married before) into his home to share his life almost 20 years ago. There are probably times he wished we'd gone back out! He has made sure we were never hungry or cold or went without. We live in a humble little home that surrounds me in comfort and security. I indulge in my business ventures, which he does remind me from time to time have taken over the house. He has always been good to and very tolerant of my daughter's whims. He has allowed our animal shelter (at one time we had 2 dogs and 4 cats) to exist. He is a generous soul.
So whatever definition you give to the word husband or partner, as long as he reaches out a hand when you're falling, has a kind word or a warm embrace when you fail, and he doesn't complain about the cookin' - you've found your man.
May you stay healthy, grow old together, and be grateful for that fella' you chose.
And for those of you still looking, he's out there, sometimes he's just being elusive.
Posted by Susan McShannon-Monteith at Monday, September 10, 2007
Thursday, September 6, 2007
When I told the lovelies that they had been invited to a special celebration they could hardly contain themselves!
The dollies have gathered together, with banner held high to send their wishes to their creator. The lady that wove her magic and gave them a beginning.
So from all of us here to you our dear friend Christe', Happy 20th Anniversary.
Sincerely (L to R), Wintra, Susannah, Charlotte, Patience, Cordelia, Temperance, Mina, and Emma.
Posted by Susan McShannon-Monteith at Thursday, September 06, 2007
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Keziah Augusta Carter was born January 1818, in Lynn, Massachusetts. Her father Daniel, a prominent doctor from Boston decided to move his family south to New Bedford.
Growing up in a whaling town, young Keziah developed a love for the sea. Many a sunny day she could be found down at the wharf gazing soulfully out across Buzzard's Bay, as if she was waiting for someone. One day in April of 1833 that someone arrived.
The young captain had been brought to her father's practice. His leg had been terribly wounded aboard ship and the crew had carried him ashore.
Keziah was a young lass of fifteen and she would often tend to her father's patients. When she passed the young man's bedside she was deeply moved by the dashing figure lying there. He was asleep from the laudanum he'd been given to relieve the pain. She gazed at his strong, dark features, his muscular shoulders and rugged hands.
Keziah returned every day to care for him. His name was Nathanial and he was captain of his own whaling ship from Nantucket. (In the early 1800s Nantucket was the whaling capital of the world.)
Throughout his convalescence they became inseparable. She would read to him for hours. When he was strong enough to begin walking again, it was she who would take him by the arm and stroll down to the sea.
Months passed, and when he asked her father for her hand in marriage it had come as no surprise. Her parents only concern was that Keziah was so young.
So Nathanial would leave on his ship, the Camilla, for a whaling trip to the winter seas. He would return for her the following autumn.
He sailed at first light on a cold, rainy day in November. Draped in her brilliant hued woolen shawl that he had given her, Keziah stood on the dock watching his ship disappear into the mist. It was a blessing that it was raining in the early dawn; no one could tell the tears from the rain drops upon her cheek.
Posted by Susan McShannon-Monteith at Tuesday, September 04, 2007