A murder mystery at the old Carmine estate in Mystic.

Picture this in your mind… It is the gloaming hour… the chilly wind is starting to blow, the skies are filling with rain clouds and you hear on the news; “Heavy thunder storms and ponderous winds will be hitting your area within the hour. Keep safe and stay inside.”MM-3

The storm has hit… As you look out your window, you see lightning rods shooting down from the heavens… Your front gates light up…  You notice it is half past  six as the antediluvian  grandfather clock chimes…MM-61

 The storm has now hit the once serene harbor close by… The Mystic River is filled with choppy, restless waves. The winding road that leads to your estate is lit with tiny, amber lights, making a pathway for all your guests… It has been a long time since you have had company to the Carmine mansion… Within the hour, all of your guests will arrive and then,  the drama and mystery shall begin.  



Welcome to  “A murder mystery at the old Carmine estate in Mystic,” You are the host and hostess of this entertaining, suspenseful and  mysterious evening.

Do the words “thunder storm, opera music, jealous man, woman with glasses, blackmail, marriage problems, suspicion, novelist and cigarette smoking, ” mean anything to you?  They are Key words for the shadowy evening ahead. 🙂



Inclosed in this blog is EVERYTHING you will need to create this memorable and fun evening.

Your job is to choose at least 6 friends or family members that you would like to be your guests. If you choose to have your Detective played by one of your guests and neither you or your mate want to play that character, invite 7. (Perhaps talk to who you are interested in asking to come and make sure they would be up for it.)  (I don’t understand it, but some people just do not like ‘drama.’)  🙂

Your party invitation is ‘Envelope #1.’   Two weeks before your ‘Murder Mystery dinner,’  send out your invitations. Each invitation will have a detailed description of the character they will be playing…Describe the character in full, (how they dress, what their style is…elaborate on your descriptions.)  Remind them, they will be arriving dressed in their full attire and should transform themselves into their assigned character as they enter your doors. Before you write up the invitations, decide who the murderer is, as well as the victim… On those two invitations only, write down who the killer and victim is and which one of those characters they will be acting out.  Also tell them how the murder will occur and the motive so they can act out their parts to a “T.” They are the only  two people , (outside of you and the Detective,)  who will know how the game ends.  (Make sure you only put that information on those two invitations, (and on your Detective’s invitation as well if you choose for them to be a guest.)  Remind  them all to keep it hush-hush.) 🙂

Here is your “setting” as well as six characters for the night.

You live in an old mansion in Mystic Connecticut. You love the beauty of the placid river, cobblestone fences, historic graveyards, old, colossal trees and the wondrous eateries nestled upon the water with superb, fresh seafood.  You have lived in Mystic for all of your life, but the newly inherited family home is now entirely yours as you are an only child.

The 6 characters, (all fictitious of course,)  that your friends will play are your 6 college buddies from your Harvard days.  You were all intimate in your happy-go-lucky “Dorm-days,” but somehow, over the years, you’ve lost touch and don’t talk as often. For this murder mystery, I chose for you three females and three males.

Character number one. This is Ava Terran,  a “Best Seller” novella writer from France. She absolutely adores hats! (Rarely do you see her without one.)  She is single, aggressive, flirty,  is known to over react and  is  a closet smoker. Ava is  very wordy and loves to get to know people. (She is a people person.)  Everyone is attracted to her quirky style and gorgeous accent. She definitely loves to talk about herself and is always sharing  about what a ‘troubled childhood she had.’


Character number two. This is Isabella Giovanni. She is a mother of three, unhappily married, very bored and ready for change. She loves her children and doesn’t want to break up the household. She lives in Rhode Island, loves the serenity of the water with it’s fishing boats heading out to the ocean’s deep in the early mornings. (At times, the charms of  living life on the water mesmerizes her and she forgets her troubles.)  Isabella  has a problem with anxiety, is very shy and only wears her glasses when she absolutely has to. She takes great joy in her new  chic look…( she bought a pair of  beautiful contact lenses.) She remembers her college love with great admiration and is looking  forward to seeing him when she hears he is coming to the party. She dated both Ryan and Zachary in her college years. She was very hurt by one of these men towards the end of their Harvard days…You know what they say about a woman scorned. 🙂


Character number three. This is Alexis Brine. She is one of New York’s top models and adores attention. She is married to hubby number two and adores traveling world wide. She is quick tempered, critical and always likes to be the best at all she does. She also feel deeply in love with one of the 6 college buddies.  Alexis was best friends with Jacob. He was her confidant and always made her laugh. Inside, her heart is very tender but she only lets the world see her tough guarded side.


Character number four Is Ryan Scott . Ryan is a single, handsome pediatrician who lives in Noank Connecticut and practices medicine at Hartford hospital. His practice is booming and so is his love life. He is charming, flirtations, very wealthy, loves children and has a an outgoing personality. He is always the clown at every party and loves to make people laugh. He has been known to date more than one woman at a time. (Sneaky!) 🙂 He actually dated all three of the ladies coming to the party at one time or another…


Character number five. Introduce yourself to  Jacob Wiles. He is a very much, want- to – be- actor, but for now, settles for being Johnny Depp’s understudy and loves every Pirates of the Caribbean movie ever made.  He is very eccentric, has a serious, deep side, loves to watch re-runs, (especially his own,)  🙂 plays cards and  adores Las Vegas, where he wins almost every hand of cards he plays. (And that’s a lot! ) He resides in Laguna Beach California and loves the ocean. (He really does look a lot like Johnny  Depp doesn’t he?) 🙂 Jacob had a secret crush on Ava but she did not feel the same, or did she? (She was very secretive.)


Character number six. This is Mr. Zachary Glover. He has two homes,  a summer get-a-way in  Grotin, Connecticut, over looking the water  and a ranch in Texas. He raises horses on his hacienda and is dating a young nurse…they are fairly serious, but as of recent, they are  having relationship problems. He loves the outdoors, hunting,  and is very much admired and liked. He almost seems ‘to perfect’ if you know what I mean. He is a little nervous to see a certain someone at the Murder Mystery party, but catching up with them again will be a good thing, he has decided. He adored Ava but felt her late night, jet-setting, Hollywood life style at the time did not fit his love of serenity and nature.


The Detective,  (Theodore, known as Teddy for short,)  is a person who is very inquisitive, married, older, has a large vocabulary and is very sneaky… He likes to switch words around and it can get very frustrating. He has a very hard time trusting people, but is trying. (He is actually in therapy.)  Being a detective is so much a apart of him, (he knows it like the back of his hand, ) as he has been doing it all of his life. Quite routine . He has a dry wit about him, is flirtatious and very loud. (He sure loves that pipe!) 🙂


Don’t forget, if you or your mate do not want to play the part of the Detective, then treat that character as you would any other guest, (of course they would not appear until after the murder occurs.) They would have the same invitation as the murderer and murderee with the knowledge of who the murderer is , the victim, the motive, how and when it is done, also where to find all the props for the investigation and evidence, so he can present it to your guests.

  When each person enters the mansion, place their character’s name tag on them and give them envelope #2. Once everyone has arrived, take some time to introduce each character.   In  envelope #2, you will be giving each character their goals for the evening. ( Goals, meaning the right, ( handpicked by you,) questions for them to ask as they mingle. Make sure the questions you give each person will in no way give any ‘hints’ as to their being the murderer or victim. Here are a few examples of questions you may want them to ask one another…Did you ever get married? Are you happy? Where are you living now? What do you do with your time? Also have them ask questions to get ‘clues’ of who would even be capable of murder?  It will be up to these people to ACT out their parts to whatever is asked of them as they are in Character …they can make up anything they want.. Their is no script, it is all impromptu acting. (A lot of fun and imagination.) 🙂  You are the one who will write out their  goals/questions, for your reasons, as you are the creator of the murder mystery.  Before they begin mingling, welcome them to your party and share a light description of how the evening will go…(Again, this is up to you and your vivid IMAGINATION.)

In the 2nd envelope for your Detective, the murderer and the murderee, (amidst their questions to ask,) be sure to tell them approximately what time the murder will occur and what  the signal will be. Perhaps it will be that you wink at the murderer when you are ready for them to begin their ‘knock-off.’ Explain to them what their props will be, where they will be hidden and where you would like them to put them after the murder takes place. (The Detective will need to know where to find the props as he is solving the case.)

 During the week before the Murder Mystery dinner, get all the things you will need for a successful evening. (They are all  illustrated below,) props, music, candles, your appetizers, dinner and dessert, award certificates, “charge of wrong doing” sheets,  questions and goals for envelope #2 and your small trinket gifts for all of your guests.



Start allowing your imagination to ignite…

Okay, you already know that it is  going to be a dark, stormy night…



And that you are all gong to be in a Brobdingnagian mansion. You know the exact time the guest will  be arriving, when to give each guest  envelope # 2 and their  Characters name tag.  So your only job the day of the party is to make your home into ‘that mysterious estate’ and prepare your cuisine. (Or you can prepare the food a day ahead of time and just heat up everything  that evening.)  Have a couple of rooms picked out that guests can saunter in and out of, (mingling with others,) and maybe a deck of cards or game of chess going.


Turn your lights off or keep them very low and use candlelight wherever you can…as well as your dimmer switches and petite white lights. (Having a cozy and inviting fire burning in the hearth is ideal as well if you have a fireplace.)  Set a beautiful table for dinner, (either formal or everyday china is fine, just create a pampering setting with lots of flickering candles and flowers.)   Make sure you have plenty of drink choices out, and ample appetizers to keep the party going before dinner is served. (Make it as simple as possible.) Costco or Sam’s club has great appetizers and I have given you a few ideas of delicious Hors d’oeuvre’s below.  I would make something simple for dinner like a big pot of homemade chili and cornbread, with your finale being some type of a chocolate confection.  (Don’t go to a lot of trouble cooking all day… You have more important things to do. 🙂






The musical background for the evening is also an important part of the party. I would suggest any classical music from  either Mozart symphonies or Victoria Secret symphonies. I also discovered two CD’s that play a haunting combination of  thunder and rain… Very befitting for your evening.  (Keep it soft and low…make it intriguing.) Some other music that would be ideal  for this puzzling and  engaging evening is Opera Music. I believe that all of these CD’s can be found on Amazon.com or check with  your local library for rentals.




Here are some ideas for a variety of scrumptious appetizers. Deli meats over fresh greens with a dip, exotic and delicious sushi, (don’t forget the ginger and wasabi,)  pita bread, or better yet, get some homemade pizza dough rolls  from your near by Italian eatery, chips along side a delectable vegetable dip, fresh grilled shrimp atop a Caesar or garden salad or a  mesquite chicken and black bean salad with arugula and fresh greens. Create your salads in a large bowl and let each guest serve a spoonful or two onto their plates as they enjoy mingling and acting out their part.  🙂





MM-33Yotam Ottolenghi's warm roast chicken and bread salad

Have plenty of beverages for your guests…I suggest, a pot of coffee, Ginger ale, sparkling waters and cider, fine wines, cold beer and maybe a bottle of a nice heavier liquor for martinis or a mixed drink. (If you know anyone that is coming that enjoys a mixed drink.) 



You may want to put your confections out on your hutch or a sideboard for display before serving at the end of the party…(Another fresh pot of coffee would be a great idea  when it is time to serve dessert.) 🙂



Amongst the ambrosial appetizers, desserts, savory aromas of your homemade chili, romantically mystique fire and candle light, display the beautifully wrapped gifts upon a table, reminding everyone that there are prizes in this game. (It won’t be until the very end that they will see that everyone gets a gift just for participating.) It’s  a lot of fun and a great addition to any party.




For “the big pot of chili,” I use lean, ground beef, finely chopped red onions,  10 OZ. can of stewed tomatoes, 10 OZ. can of tomato sauce, 1 can of red  pinto beans, 1 can of  black beans and 1 can of Bush’s chili beans… I add lots of seasonings, (Tabasco, ground pepper, red pepper, cumin, chili powder and a McCormick’ s Chili mix, a touch of sugar and seasoned salt.) A hidden trick I have is to pour in an overflowing TBSP. of BBQ sauce… It adds a nice, subtle smokey flavor. This is my recipe just in case you don’t have a homemade chili recipe. This can be used with ground turkey or steak as well. I use Krusteaz  Southern Style corn bread mix in a box and it is to die for…(no pun intended. 🙂 You can make some of your appetizers a day early as well as the chili for a much calmer and less busy ‘Party day.’ 🙂


You will also need some props, depending upon what your murder plot is going to be… A knife, a fake toy gun, envelopes for your notes to your guests, and six -seven gifts, creatively  and stunningly wrapped. You will also need a poison bottle, (homemade of course,) award certificates filled out by you… (you can make then yourself or buy  them at Staples,) a crumpled up piece of paper with writing on it,  a black mail letter, peel off name tags, (also at Staples,) a thick rope, large blunt rock, wine glass, an abundance of candles and “Charge of wrong doing” papers, (examples below.) Your guests will fill these out out at the end of the gala,  as they will guess who the murderer is as well as vote for their choice of the Best dressed and Best actress and actor.) Don’t forget to have your background sounds set up, either music or a thunderstorm CD.









Burning Christmas candlesMM-103






Your gifts do not need to be extravagant at all.  The guests who are voted as “Best Dressed for their part,” Best Actor, Best Actress, ( and perhaps you will have more than one winner of solving the murder,) will all be awarded with a ‘certificate of honor.’ (You can write those up how ever you choose.) So, your six to 7, creatively wrapped gifts are for everyone… everybody gets a gift, (just for participating,) and let me tell you, they will love it! 🙂   Some suggestions for the gifts to have wrapped,  CD’s, DVD’s in the $5.00 bin, (they have great ones at Wal*Mart,)  movie passes,  a popular best selling novel, a scented candle, a quaint picture frame, box of Dove Chocolates, or nice bottle of wine.  🙂






It is now 7:30  PM and your guests are beginning to arrive. (Great costumes!) 🙂  MM-100

 As your standing at the front door greeting your guests, the storm is still brewing, but now a damp, foggy mist is rolling in as you glance to the side of your property at the “Old Carmine Graveyard.”  (Why do grave yards always look the scariest at night and in a storm?) 🙂

You introduce everyone, give them and encourage them to get  drinks, something to eat, enjoy the fire and getting to know one another again. As they are enjoying your delightful ‘happy hour,’ and you begin to mingle with your guests, tell them to take a look inside their 2nd envelope.

 The time will pass quickly with everyone  mingling, enjoying their  appetizers and a drink and  having a good time. (They’re probably secretly admiring the desserts and enjoying the aroma of the homemade chili on the stove top as well.) 🙂  When you feel there has been ample time, perhaps an hour or an hour and a half, wink at your murderer, (or do whatever signal you’ve decide upon,)  and let them know it is time to begin their ‘bump off.’ However it  is set up to happen, it should be in a room where no one see’s them, perhaps the porch,  backyard, a back room, or (drum roll please…) ‘The Old Carmine Graveyard.’ At this point, after the murderer returns and gets a drink and thinks no one has noticed his or hers departure for a few minutes, the Detective, (a new guest and character to your party,) unless you play the part yourself,  will come forward and announce that someone has been found dead in or on the grounds of  the mansion, thus revealing the name of the ‘victim.’  He also will  announce  that it is not known if their death was of “natural causes, or mayhem.” (He needs to stall and keep everyone in the Mansion as he begins his investigation.)  He will give a  short breviary of what will happen next and  that everyone is to stay  in the house until further notice.

 It is time for your guest to mingle again and try to find out as much as possible by  asking questions and looking for clues, but subtly…staying in character.  You could serve dinner at this time as it is a perfect place for conversation. Allow the murdered victim to come and sit with all of you, (of course they can not say a word.) 🙂 Tell them to just enjoy the chili and cornbread…( bring them a glass of wine to unwind, after all, they were just murdered.)  🙂 And yes, the Detective can come to the table and eat as well. He can just say he is waiting for  a phone call and is ravenous. (Again, he has to continue to remain quiet to all he is privy to.)

Next, the Detective (after seeking more info,) comes back and  announces that  it was a murder and not a death from natural causes… He then shows the evidence, (all the props you chose,)  of the murder and what he thinks the motive is. He reminds everyone to stay in the house as it is not clear WHO committed the murder...OK, it’s ”sleuth time ” again… it’s everyone last chance to get info. (Who LOOKS guilty?)


As you all exit into the living room for coffee and dessert, the detective will hand everyone envelope # 3, (with their name on the front.)  This envelope contains a ‘Charge of wrong doing list’ to fill out. (It also asks for your guests votes on  the best dressed actor for their part and best actors and actresses, as well as “WHO” the murderer is.) All of these winners receive an awards certificate. (There may be more than one winner for guessing who the murderer is…)


Have everyone fill the paper out, place them back in their envelopes and hand them to the detective. (Yes even the murderer.)  Treat them the same as everybody else the entire evening as to not give any clues away of “who-dun-it.”) 🙂   After he has had time to tally their sheets, have him return, announcing who the murderer is and their motive. The names of all the winners are announced, (according to their guesses  and votes on their sheet and performances during the evening.)  Award certificates are handed out and everyone gets a gift  before they go! (You can even give your murderer and murderee an awards certificate at the the end for doing a great job! 🙂   Now everyone can relax and introduce themselves for who they really are… Get out of character as the Murder Mystery Party is  now officially  over. (Some of your  guests may already know one another.) 🙂

Remember, you are the creator of the entire evening…you get to choose your props, ( I have given you a few character possibilities and prop ideas,)  but you can choose any characters or plot you would like. You chose who your murderer is, your appetizers and menu. IT is your night to shine...A very  successful gala and an evening to remember by everyone.

Okay, I am dying to tell you (again, no pun intended. 🙂 )  my synopsis of this Murder if I were the one giving the party..




Ryan dated all three of the ladies in college but he was deeply in love with Alexis.  Ryan was the first man Alexis ever gave her heart to completely. There was even talk of wedding bells after they graduated.  Isabella also adored Ryan and felt slighted that he chose Alexis over her. Years later, with her anxiety becoming more intense, added to the boredom of her marriage, mixed with her ample medications, she began plotting to get rid of Alexis. (She certainly was not in her right mind.)  The party was the  perfect place. She had thought of sending Alexis a black mail letter she had made but forgot and left it folded in her coat pocket…The black mailing letter stated that Alexis’ life  was in danger if she didn’t stay out of Ryan’s life.  (Little did she know they weren’t even in touch anymore.)  (She was still jealous of Alexis, even to this day because Alexis won Ryan’s heart.)   Of course,  there came a time during the evening that Isabella and Alexis mingled, reminiscing  over their years away at college. With the storm having lightened up a bit, at Isabella’s request,  they both get a glass of wine and saunter outside to the back verandah overlooking the shadowy waterway. The water seemed placid…the stars were just beginning to peak through the clouds as they placed their wine glasses down on the table. Isabella lights up a cigarette but  Immediately, drops it to the ground, putting it out with the spiked heal of her new shoes. (Her nerves were getting the best of her as she stared at the grave sites through the foggy mist.) She did not want to prolong what she knew she had to do and let her fear take over. Isabella mentions how amazing the  fragrance of fresh rain is. She chuckles as she looks at the sky and remarks on how the fluffy clouds had shapes of  cuddly, chubby, teddy bears, causing Alexis to look up at the heavens.  Underhandedly,  Isabella pours some of her poison into Alexis’  wine glass. It’s tasteless and promised to work quickly. (At least that is what HE told her.)  Before they return to the mansion, Isabella, quietly places a “crumpled” suicide note  in Alexis coat pocket, written in what looked like  Alexis’ handwriting, explaining she was not getting any more jobs modeling and felt her husband was getting bored with her. She felt like she could not go on, (all to the contrary.)  Once inside, mingling with all  of the guests at the gala,  Alexis, feeling dizzy and nauseous, excuses herself to the  ladies room where she dies instantaneously. Isabella goes into the kitchen where she quietly and quickly disposes of the empty poison bottle. No one has suspected anything so it looks as if Isabella has gotten away with murder.

I only used 5 of the props…a crumpled suicide note, poison bottle, the blackmail letter in Isabella’s coat hanging in the foyer, a cigarette on the back porch slightly scented with Isabella’s perfume, as well as the wine filled glass. (All of the  clues / props that the Investigator finds as he is solving  this horrific tragedy, he will  present in the end to your guests for their final clues…) You might as well give  Isabella and the Detective an award certificate after all their hard work too! 🙂


There are so many plots to come up with, ideas and great fun to be had with a Murder Mystery party. I know just the perfect friends and family member’s I would pick,  who LOVE to be the center of attention and live for ” drama, drama, drama.”  🙂 It’s all make believe and impromptu, but maybe, just for an itty-bitty moment,  it feels real!

Have a wonderful evening,  a lot of fun and ENJOY!  Let me know how it goes or if you have any suggestions or questions! 🙂

PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.



A Summer Time of Blithe.



THE DISTINGUISHED QUOTE CORNER:Adorable Baby Boy in Suit on Cellphone

“Each fairy breathe of summer, as it blows with loveliness, inspires  the blushing rose. ” ~ Author Unknown

” In summer, the SONG SINGS ITSELF.” ~ William Carlos Williams

“The Summer night is like a perfection of thought.” ~ Wallace Stevens

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” ~  Sam Kean

“Oh the summer night, a smile of light and she sits on a sapphire throne.” ~ Barry Cornwall

Summer is one of the few seasons that actually begins calling out to you, before it’s glorious arrival. The very word, gives our hearts a friendly wave and gestures us  to come and enjoy all of our felicitious expectations, that we hope to fulfill within the next three months. It is our ‘last hurrah’ before the chilly breezes of autumn knock upon our doors.


Summer is a time where we eagerly leave the beauty and quietness of  the inside of our desired, charming havens and venture outside to the long awaited, sun filled, warm, breezy days…The garden is nodding, motioning us to; “Come and play, create, daydream and unwind in the fresh air.”  Our picnic baskets are taken out of the attic, dusted off and we are already looking on the internet for the perfect place to go fishing, hiking and enjoy an ambrosial meal beneath the inviting and serene, blue sky. It’s an occasion of celebration for our little ones as they are on vacation for what seems to them, an eternity, but when fall arrives, they will look back and think, “How quickly our summer zoomed by….where did the time go.” 🙂   It is also a season of travel, visiting dear friends and family, summer BBQ’s, an abundance of beach days, excursions to amusement parks, a retreat to a beach cottage, alfresco dining,  boating, crabbing, dressing our homes in a lighter attire, changing our own wardrobes to shorts, flip flops and short sleeved shirts… There is so much to do in only three months…read our favorite novels, clean out our storage sheds and garage’s, give our yards a makeover, go boutique shopping or garage – ‘sailing’ 🙂 for special summer finds and of course, celebrating our nations glorious birthday. Don’t you just love Summer and all of it’s magic? I hope this vignette inspires you to “get out in the fresh air,” be creative, adventuresome, (walk barefoot in the grass….)  but most of all, JUST HAVE FUN!S-400


“Our beautiful Porches.” Summer is the perfect time to bask amongst your magnificent and resplendent flowers, refreshing cool breezes and enjoy chatting the hours away with a dear friend over sweet tea with fresh mint sprigs on your verandah. To feel really pampered, maybe bring out your antique crystal glasses from your great grandmother with some fresh sliced lemon cake, sweet blueberries and in-season melon.


What is more appealing than white wicker furniture embellished with bright, cheerful pillows in the summer. Bringing some fresh cut flowers from your garden to enjoy as you relax upon your porch, along with animating hanging flower or fern baskets above the balustrades, is another cozy and alluring decorative touch for one of your favorite summer retreats.  Our front porches are such a gift, especially in the spring and summer months.


There is nothing like a summer sunset on your front porch!SL-419

Summer whites, bright flowers, warm sunshine and our beloved piazza swings speak clamorously that the wondrous season has arrived.




Summer time is beach time… Everyone loves the ocean, sea shells, the smell of fresh  blue, briny water, creating enchanting sand castles, ‘people watching’, sauntering along the  Boardwalk enjoying fresh salt water taffy or a delightfully cold ice cream cone. There are so many exciting andtk5 blissful things to do at the beach…It feels as if you have escaped to another world as you sit under your umbrella, cold drink and best selling novel in hand, listening to the soothing sounds of the gulls squawking, children laughing and the roaring of the waves. It is a very inexpensive reprieve from the hustle and bustle of life. If you do not live close to a beach, your summer vacation may be to travel to some of our countries most  renowned  seashores such as; Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, Newport Beach, California, The outer Banks in North Carolina or our very own, prestigious and renowned Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, (right next to Ocean City, Maryland.)   A week at the beach in a summer rental is a short novella, all in itself. 🙂 My husband and I feel exceedingly blessed as Delaware is probably the grandest maritime state we have ever lived in. Water surrounds us at every corner… We are a twenty-five minute drive from Rehoboth or Lewes beach and we have Slaughter Beach, (I never have liked that name,) 🙂   only ten minutes away.  (A remote, quiet strand with ample natural beauty surrounding its shore line, as well as home to many of the famous horseshoe crabs.) In the winter and autumn seasons, the lifeless shells cover the beaches, resembling helmet shaped, cobble stoned steps. It truly is a sight to see.  It is said that if you go to this remote beach on a  bright, moonlit night in the summer, you will see the beach full of horseshoe crabs mating and laying their eggs upon the sand. (We will have to do that one night. I’ll take some photos and post them so you can share in this magical phenomena.)  My family, while visiting from California said they had never seen anything quite like it!  A great eatery if you come our way is The Buttery in Lewes, Delaware. A quaint, historic restaurant where you will experience succulent seafood, gourmet cooking and an ambiance that is so alluring, you won’t want to leave.




The Buttery in Lewes Delaware…Our favorite pick for fine dining! S-51

The renowned, famous horseshoe crabs… The first photo is when the cute critters are alive and kicking…swimming the ocean blue and loving life. The second photo is taken during the winter season, many of them are no longer alive and their helmet shaped shells cover the  sandy shores of Slaughter Beach.

Horseshoe Crab Ritual - Slaughter Beach - Delaware




There is nothing quite like going clamming in the magnificent  ocean or hushed and peaceful bay. It is a blast! We took Graham, (our Brobdingnagian Briard dog ) with us in the boat at Bethany beach as we ventured into the clear, blue waters. He loved it!  The wondrous thing about clamming is that you get to enjoy a ‘quick reward for all your fun work,’ 🙂  Clams casino  made on the grill the very night you catch them…The clams accompanied by a fresh salad and hot loaf  of sourdough bead with melted butter is a wonderful, maritime meal.





Camping, whether inside your home, ( a children’s enchanting sleep over,) on the beach, in your backyard, or up in the mountains is another Summer favorite. I love camping out as it brings forth a great measure of  creativity in everyone…no TV’s, (OK, maybe a laptop with a DVD,) no phones, (OK, maybe a cell phone or two,) 🙂  but, their is no electric coffee pot, curling irons, hot water, or many of our presumed ‘necessities of life’…Instead we have conversations, an abundance of stories told around the camp fires, flash lights, fresh fish cooked over the open flames and a brilliant show of the night sky with its cream cheese moon and glistening stars every evening before we fall sleep.  We go hiking, (pray there are no bears,) enjoy fishing, crabbing, shrimping or reading our long abandoned novels that we finally have some  free time to read. 🙂 Our kids? They have all the magic and supplies they need…their best friends, great snack foods, flashlights, books and their abundant imaginations! :

Aren’t these homemade, enchanting and magical tents creative?







For the times where we are all vacationed-out or to sun burnt to go back to the beach, it is a great time to do a “summer-makeover ‘ within your home.  I adore using an abundance of whites during this warm season…somehow, it makes me feel cooler! 🙂  I enjoy creating and decorating with all shades of whites, soft pastels, fresh flowers and cheery, light, throw pillows. White slip covers for your couch or chairs are quite  refreshing and very striking. Invite a few friends over for a sure-to-please, light meal. Maybe  serve a potpourri of salads, fresh shrimp or French bread baguette with homemade crab dip, and an angel food cake with whipped cream and decadent, sweet strawberries for a tempting dessert. (Set your dining room table with a variety of textures and shades of whites and don’t forget the fresh flowers.)    Lighten up your bedroom for the season with a mixture of soft , creamy yellows, amidst soothing and serene blues and whites. (Duvets are a great and inexpensive way to makeover your bedrooms.)






Alfresco dining is a lovely gesture for the summer season…whether formal with fancy desserts and gourmet cuisine, ( I love these delicate, creative cakes adorned with fresh roses,) or a lay back BBQ with fresh fruits, ice cream and corn grilled to perfection with hot, melted butter…  Great food, wondrous company, laughter, fulfilling conversations and a convivial ambiance, makes for a wonderful  summer get-together with friends or family.








Summer would not be summer without a trip or two to one of the countries renowned Amusement parks… Disneyland, Disney world, Sea World, San Diego Zoo, Knots-berry Farm, Six Flags or Marine land…Children, (even the youngster inside of us,) 🙂  love the awe and wonder of animated characters, exhilarating rides, enchanting and mysterious sea life, and exploring old mines after a thrilling ride upon one of the scariest roller coasters in the world. (Somebody in the crowd always has to “dare you” to ride…  🙂   I accepted the dare years ago and thought I was going to be departing for heaven a little early…) never again! (Somehow, the kids have no fear whatsoever…oh to be a child again!) 🙂







(I want one of these!) 🙂 He is so cute and cuddly!




Escaping to your Beach cottage for a few weeks is like a little taste of heaven… Pack up your car with some groceries, the kids, your dog, a variety of your favorite DVD’s, books and extra candles. Prepare  to have a wondrous time away from your normal, everyday life. (Yes, our dogs want to be a part of every family excursion as well!) 🙂


This  special time away will be a bonding as well as  intimate time with you and your family. Enjoy the breathtaking sunsets on the shore line, collecting seashells for a craft project with your kids, wading in the ocean waves, (watching your little ones run in as the water recedes …and then run out as the frisky waves chase after them.) 🙂 With all the superb eateries, there is a myriad of fresh seafood to choose from, (the kids can always get a cheeseburger or chicken tenders,) 🙂 and then there is always an afternoon spent at the neighborhood fun zone at the beach. (You always see the most interesting people there as you enjoy your popcorn, cotton candy and salted peanuts.) Relish each and every bonfire you share on the beach, sharing a potpourri of stories with your kids. (Childhood only happens once…) Take a few of their favorite movies for a movie night, some table games, a few extra candles and allow it to be a time of “treating yourselves and your family.” with all the things you love to do, eat and don’t allow any guilt to get in the way. 🙂  It’s your families special time… When the kids are asleep, maybe take a  romantic stroll along the beach with your husband… enjoy the quiet and soothing  sounds of the night birds singing and the soft, ocean waves crashing against the sandy shore, the fragrance of the fresh sea air and allow yourself to get back to that peaceful place you may have lost in the busyness of everyday life, back home. I adore trips to a beach cottage…there’ s nothing like it’s charm and magic.








Summer is also the season that hosts one of America’s biggest days of celebration! Independence day…other wise known as the 4th of July. This is a time for BBQ’s on the beach, watching resplendent displays of fireworks, (whether on the shore or in the big city,)  and sharing great and wondrous new memories with your friends and family. It’s America’s birthday and if ever there was a time for jubilee and gladsome hearts, it’s this beloved holiday! Summer would not be summer without it!





I love the garden quote by Abram L. Urban; “In my garden, there is a large place of sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers and the dreams are as beautiful.”   Gardens are a “good thing” (like Martha Stewart always says…) for a multitude of reasons. They teach us, provide a place to nurture and be nurtured, create beauty and restore our souls. My favorite garden flower is the rose…but there has yet to be a flower that I do not enjoy…Vegetable gardens are also a lot of fun, (as long as you don’t have ground hogs and deer near by. 🙂 (They enjoyed our  romaine lettuce and eggplant way to much! ) Spring and Summer are the season that our gardens ‘explode’ with a bounty of color and bring so much majestic beauty to our lives, (outside of the home as well as within.)  A summer garden has been the muse for many a poet and novelist!  It is a wondrous gift of this beloved season.






Lastly, as I wind up this vignette on having a blithesome summer, two of my ‘all time  favorite’ summer joys is beholding the illuminating and captivating fireflies, as well asS-2  watching and partaking in an awesomely majestic thunder storm. The dancing, twinkling  fireflies flutter from one tree to another … for some reason, they make me smile.  I love it when they create a frame around our window panes, bringing forth the nostalgic feelings of being on my favorite ride at Disneyland. ( My beloved  Pirates of the Caribbean…)  They are a beautiful creation and bring  forth an exceeding amount of mystery and enchantment as well as excitement to our souls.  There is nothing like catching lightning bugs in a jar as a child…With tiny holes placed on the top, they preform their magic just  for you and they put on a  phenomenal one man show.  🙂

There is an abundance of mystique and wonder in a summer rain storm accompanied by the rumbling thunder as the heavens light up with each bolt of lightning. I feel like a child again, ready for a suspense, (not to scary) movie, a big bowl of buttered popcorn with all my siblings huddled together with me, biting our nails as we wait  for the next jolting moment to happen. At this time in my life, I am happy to be with Grantham and my husband, in the midst of the storm…(still watching the suspense movie and sharing popcorn, but now it’s without salt, less butter and we don’t bite our nails!) 🙂 Have you ever just sat on your porch and actually allowed yourself to become a part of the storm? Feeling the tepid breezes, smelling the fresh, damp air as the rain falls hard upon the roof top…watching the sky get darker and darker. It’s not quite a light shade of black or a dark tint of grey, it’s baronial, grandiose and a little frightening.  As you hear the thunder in the distance,  you know that soon, the storm will be right at your front door. Its an experience for sure…and one of my greatest and  most looked forward to, summer joys!






Fireflies, Cootes Store, Virginia


May your summer time be a season of lightheartedness, gladsome get-a-ways, new adventures , great pleasure and ridiculously filled with FUN! 🙂

PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any photo or graphic, it will display where the picture originated from.





“All Aboard” the maritime home.


“The sea  is emotion incarnate. It loves, hates and weeps. It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects shackles. No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can’t.” ~ Christopher Paolini

“Hark, now hear the sailors cry, Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic…” ~ Van Morrison

“Waves are the voices of the tides. Tides are life. They bring new food for shore creatures and take ships out to sea. They are the oceans pulse and your own heartbeat.”  ~ Tamora Pierce

What is it about  “life on the sea” that captivates and thrills our hearts? Is it the sound of the waves crashing upon the rocky shores? The nostalgic fragrance of the damp, briny air? Hearing the halcyon and untroubled seagulls, coasting above the crystal blue waters, cooing, squawking, creating serene, melodic melodies for our ears and souls? Perhaps, the romance of the sea is made up of all the seafaring tales that  have been passed down by sailors, fishermen and sea captions.  The legends of the mermaids, stories of “old ghost ships,” abandoned by their crew and fables of the dangerous  pirates, rum runners, frighting Leviathans of the deep and buried treasures? Perchance it is the myths and tales of the ominous, colossal storms they weathered at sea and lived to tell about. How about the legends like old Alias, a sailor lost at sea, who comes back to haunt  his maritime home on the water. It is  a Folklore told in the renowned  movie Mystic Pizza…


(The imagined ghost of  Alias visits his home on stormy nights, causing the floorboards to creak as he paces back and forth upon the back balcony, overlooking the sea.)  There are so many mystifying fables that allure our hearts and create within us an abounding love and desire for the arcane sea , filled with all of it’s Brobdingnagian and countless enigma.



  Two irrefutable stories that are uncanny and a bit haunting, are the two schooner ships that truly were abandoned by their crews mysteriously. One ship, The Carroll A. Deering was found run aground in 1921 off of Cape Haterus, North Carolina. Investigators propose that the cause was possibly rum runners or ship pirates. In 1969, The Teignmouth Electron was also  found adrift, deserted and forgotten in the Atlantic Ocean.  These two stories are not folklore and they are not of old. 🙂 (Spooky!)  The sea embodies an abundance of  intrigue,  mystery and impeccable  beauty…  It is fabulously romantic, inspirational and is popular as ‘the perfect muse’ for many prestigious novels such as, The Old man and The Sea, The Phantom Island and The Mermaid. It is also the galvanizing influence of  countless, famous paintings such as, Monet’s La Terrace de’ Sainte Adresse and Niebenkorn’s Ocean Harbor, as well as  the classic and memorable films, The Titanic, Life of Pi and Lifeboat. (And, for many, a MUSE to inspire the decorating and creating of their lovely homes.)


It has always been one of my husband’s and my lifelong dreams to one day live by the sea and host a Bed and Breakfast for people who are in need of a retreat away from their everyday lives… a  convivial respite. 🙂 We adore the foggy mists that come in over the water in the early mornings… the diverse sea birds gliding above the glistening water as the sunshine breaks through mid-morning,  the breathtaking sunsets that gloriously arrive at dusk, (the enchanting ‘gloaming hour,’) and listening to the waves, softly flowing into shore as the day ends and the stars have announced their  brilliant presence.  SL-60SL-64corbiere  pic david ferguson



In creating your maritime home, remember, you may not live on a rocky cliff, over looking the ocean or upon a sandy marsh where you watch the tides roll in and out, BUT, You can create the inside of your berth to look as if you do! 🙂 Capture a part of the romance of the sea, it’s legends and fables, it’s mystery and beauty by bringing forth the decor of a seafaring  home.S-183

Most of the maritime homes that I have visited are dressed in soothing blues and whites and embellished with an abundance of maritime ornamental decor. It is not surprising as the colors of blue and white represent serenity, peace, clarity of mind, fresh beginnings and relaxation. All these qualities make for an exceedingly inviting and cozy homestead.


Our first stop will be the main room of your home, which is the Living room…It is the room that sets the mood and theme for the rest of your resplendent abode. As with any decor that you choose, there is always the ‘formal rendition’ as well as the relaxing, laid back. I have chosen both of these looks for inspiration to begin creating the  Nautical home of your dreams. Lets start off with the living rooms that are a tad bit more “dressy.”I-15







The living rooms in the next few photographs, are still a beauteous and striking maritime  look, but are a bit more on the masculine side. I think all of these living rooms are inviting, galvanic and cozy…It truly depends on your taste and the colors you choose to create with. These rooms are less formal and more on the “comfy” side. 🙂  H-85




I simply adore this antique fireplace festooned in a maritime theme… It is breathtaking and exceedingly CREATIVE! It would certainly be the “conversation piece” in any home. 🙂


One of my favorite nautical decor displays thus far! The whimsical  grapevine wreath amidst the two enchanting topiary trees is prizewinning. I adore this decorators bethnic extravaganza of the life-like and animated ‘sea bird’ amongst all the starfish, sand dollar and weathered beach wood. Her tableaux upon the green wooden chest, creates not only a magical ambiance but exudes charm and  class. I love it! 🙂



Our next stopover will be another renowned and important room in your home …The Dining room. The room where you gather with friends and family over ambrosial cuisine, fine wines, laughter, sharing and story telling in a convivial and warm ambiance.   I think it is fun to mix up your rooms a little bit, still carrying the nautical theme throughout the house, but perhaps in different styles.










The advantage you have with a seagoing look, is that you can create any room in your home, using a variety of shades of white…(eggshell, opalescent pearl, butter cream, off white, even tones of light greys or brown for your keystone.) Once your furniture and color pallet is established, you can begin adding the blue decor along with  alluring benthic ornaments such as lighthouses, old ship compasses, sublime fresco’s or photographs of  sea captains, nautically shaped stars, seagulls, pelicans, sea shells or whatever treasured collectables you desire to display.  You can do the same thing with establishing your primary color pallet in a shade of blue that you love… Then highlight your room with a variety of hues and textures of white. ENJOY the creativity within you and remember, don’t hesitate to bring forth the dream inside your heart and make it reality! 🙂


Here are some decorative ideas to ‘add to your rooms’ for that nautical, cozy look, along with some beautiful blues…I absolutely dote on the color combination of blue and white… Whether in a bedroom, my wardrobe, a fresh flower arrangement, decorative throws or the paint colors on our walls. There is nothing quite as soothing, eye catching and picturesque! (Adding creamy, soft yellows to this famous color combination is an enlivening warm touch as well.)







A ‘nautically themed tree’ is a welcomed sight all year round. It adds a rustic seafaring ambiance to any room… It’s twinkling white lights create charm and appeal as well as ‘romance’ within your room and brings forth added texture and dimension to your colorful haven.


I love this painting… It would go perfectly in a living room filled with blues and accented with a hint of the grandeur color of red…This little girl looks identical to my brother’s daughter when she was about 3 years old, with her bright, gorgeous auburn hair, running into the waves  of the ocean. Now she is a  beautiful young woman, (still loving the sea,) but gosh, does this bring back happy memories of my younger days as she brought so much joy, laughter and smiles to our lives…(And still does.) 🙂


Bring the natural things of the sea, to the inside your home…sea shells, star fish, sea horses, anchors, old ship compasses, and a diversity of mason jars filled with fresh sand from the shore,  topped with a tea light candle. Tie a blue and white  decorative ribbon around  the jar and display it upon your hutch.  (If you make a half dozen of these homemade candles, and light them all in the evening, it will add charm and pizzazz to your room.) 🙂





The next ‘layover’  is the most certain and sure place for rest and relaxation that  I know of...Our bedrooms. There are so many beautiful blue and white linens, duvets, Eiderdown  comforters, decorative pillows and blue and white collectables, that this room should be an easy room to make over or to newly create. Your bedroom is your sanctuary, place of retreat, hide-a-way and wondrous place of slumber.  Embellish this room with  serene, blissful and soothing decor…soft candle light and subtle, yet enlivening  scented fragrances. When I wash our linens and  make up our bed,  I love to spray our sheets  with an ambrosial, redolent scent. (For some reason, I think it helps us to sleep better.) 🙂 They even have ocean scented sprays, decorative candles and scented oils with reed diffusers available in the stores now a days… What a perfect idea to enhance your oceangoing decor style. (Wow, with the nostalgic fragrances of the beach filling your room, all you would need is a sound machine that has the inviting calls of the sea birds, along with the roaring waves…you could close your eyes and be right on oceans shore.) 🙂  SL-408






This bedroom is a little different with its shades of pale, light green amidst the soft, pristine whites, yet It still brings forth a feeling that ‘the soothing ocean breeze and sound of the crashing waves could come through the window at anytime.’ 🙂  A few ideas of some winsome additives are  a lighthouse tapestry for the wall, an engaging Thomas Kincaid nautical throw, a seahorse pillow and a sea shell frame, displaying one of your most cherished ‘beach memories.’




This is my dear friend Ellie’s guest bedroom in her lovely nautical home in Delaware. She just finished painting her contrast wall in a fetching, wispy, gossamer, pastel blue. It adds an exceedingly stunning  and visual ambiance amongst her white walls. She made her  own creative and bethnic lampshade.  Isn’t it adorable?  Yes, Ellie, you have “quite the creative touch.” 🙂 This room is not only soothing, but filled with warmth and charm. Eleanor1

With the warm and inviting, navy blue stripes upon the comforters, the ocean blue carpet and the freshly painted pastel blue wall,  she highlighted this maritime room with a  mixture of vintage and country-cottage, captivating white wooden dressers, adorned with a potpourri of her sail boats and merchant ship collection. Great job Ellie! 🙂 This room beckons our hearts to go and  spend a day amongst the ocean shores. 🙂   Eleanor-Dressers


Now, we enter the room that is the most popular…You have heard the saying, “No  matter where I serve my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best.” 🙂  Kitchens are the place we “CREATE.” Whether it’s a fanciful confection for a loved ones birthday, a savory and spicy pasta dish with sweet Italian sausage and fresh herbs from our gardens, or we are baking Christmas cookies with our kids…there are so many wonderful conversations that take place within our kitchens…(Along with delicious cuisine and some great aromas that fill our home…) This truly is one of my most cherished rooms of all!

These first few kitchens are all bedecked in blissful blues and whites… all they would need to awaken the pelagic feeling  throughout the room would be a few pieces of nautical decor; a framed photograph of a famous lighthouse, an ornate helm from a schooner ship,  decorative anchors as well as accent towels evoking the emotions of life by the water.






In these next photos, I got a little inventive and imaginative. 🙂 These kitchens are not the standard, maritime colors of blue and white, but with dressing these rooms up, adding the  right decor, they would bring forth the nautical look  in a charming, elfin kind of way.   Below each photo are some ideas that I hope will inspire you and get your ‘creative juices flowing.’

For this kitchen, I  thought the perfect accent colors would be red, white and blue… all the eye-catching, maritime  decor items would fill up the mantle above this fabulous, eccentric stove, except the accent towels. 🙂  (The rooster is adorable, but for now, he has to find a new home! ) 🙂





This Kitchen already has an ideal foundation with it’s rustic, warm Faux painted walls accompanied by the rich navy blue…By adding a maritime picture on the far wall, some Lighthouse plates, blue and white dish towels and a lighthouse canister set, your kitchen would come alive with the romance and mystique of the ocean..


KT-20Beach painting 3


These two kitchens would look great with a few starfish, a lighthouse spice rack, blue and white accent towels as well as a diverse collection of seashells. I would leave the warm hues of the yellow…It’s very cozy and inviting.



This has got to be one of my all time favorite Cucinos, (as the Italians would say!) 🙂 It’s soft white structure and delicate woods, accompanied by a combination of blue and white china, maritime plates and homemade, sand filled mason jars with a potpourri of taper and tea light candles along with intricate, motley  seashells, would make for a beautiful, enchanting and notable kitchen. (Maybe add a blue and white runner on the stunning wood floor to tie in the mixture of blues and whites. )




This white kitchen would  look wonderful with a highlight of green and soft hues of tan to bring forth your nautical theme. A lovely ship for your counter top, tan linen accent towels with the nautical star, a topiary star and once again, the beautiful soft light of candles burning in your mason-jar, sand filled candle creations.




Lastly, one more ‘White kitchen” to bring into our theme… How about some blue flowers on the counter top, blue and white china as well as light house plates to fill the ‘show stopping’ window-paned cabinets, an enchanting lighthouse and nautical pillows to top your bar stools? A bright, beach themed painting would be a spectacular addition to bring out your vibrant colors that you’ve chosen.  Add a few blue and white accent towels and your set to go!



KT-12Bouquet from Forget-me-nots (Myosotis)

Here is a back splash tile mural with a maritime theme for the back of your kitchen stove. I love these new ideas…. What will they think of next? 🙂



We will take a short stop at our next room…the bathroom, Ladies room, powder and Mens  room as we call it!  Because it is the smallest room in your home, ( and no, I do not plan on illustrating a nautical walk in closet, ) 🙂  this room is very simple and  easy to create… I love our bathroom as it is the place that houses one of my favorite things in all the world… OK, two of my most cherished….A bath tub and luxurious bubble-bath… 🙂

Here are a few ideas to inspire you with the ‘soul’  colors  of your room, blue and white.





These decorative ideas are all fabulously soothing and festive highlights for ‘this very important’ room! 🙂 I especially like the greyish-blue tinted walls amidst all the creamy white sea shells and shelves, (The 4th photo.) This unique color is definitely a stunning and impressive maritime color…



Here are a few SEAFARING “powder rooms” already finished! 🙂








We can’t forget the passages that take us to our beloved rooms…our foyer and hallways… Here are a few inspirations for you..Some of these are quite formal, others very cozy and inviting…again, add some of your own touches amongst the blues and whites to bring forth your personal, signature touch and  theme within your own home.

There are not many foyers like this one… It’s extremely formal and regal, but it presents the  idea of how wondrous and appealing mixing different shades of blue amongst the white can look.


I adore this color of blue mixed with this butter cream white, not to mention the breathtaking structure of this foyer. I can just imagine how majestic it would look with seafaring decorations.


This foyer is simple, yet elegant…again, the soft tans amidst the white is resplendent.


This hallway is immense…it’s charm reminds me of the South… I love the soft blues amongst pearly white.


This passageway to the porch speaks it’s own fabulous introduction. 🙂


Lastly, the mixture of the blues, pastel green and sunny yellow is so charming in this foyer. It is not only refreshing, but sure to make everyone who enters this home feel ‘very welcomed.’




Our second to last stop is the land that surrounds our homes. If you are blessed to live on the ocean, (and don’t have to dream that you are, 🙂 your views alone will be captivating. If you do not live by or on the ocean, these are still some great ideas to enhance the natural loveliness of your yard and bring forth an abundance of beauty, peace and serene days to your lives. Alfresco dining , creating a floral arbor in your garden, sitting on your porch watching the sunset, and adding seafaring decor to your outside piazza with decorative sea shells and fresh, crisp, white lace table runners.



I love the wildflowers, straw basket, (great for gathering your sea shells,) summer hat and maritime throw amidst the weathered wooden fence. It goes to show you that almost every place on our property can use a little touch of love and ‘fixing up’ to bring forth charm and warmth.






OKAY….our seafaring journey has just about come to an end…I feel like I have been to the beach and back! 🙂 I wanted to leave you with a few ideas for a magical, dreamy, Maritime and “Merry -Time” 🙂  Christmas! 🙂  (I just got that as I was writing.) 🙂    I am amazed at how many ideas there are for a nautical Christmas theme… Not only is it a beautiful decor style for everyday life, but it is eminently eye catching at the most wonderful time of the year. ENJOY even though Christmas is a ways away…( But…have you heard of “Christmas in July?”) (“Just saying”…) 🙂

Welcome your guests with a beautiful, fetching alfresco Christmas tree, adorned with starfish, sand dollars, as well as ocean blue, silver and white decorative balls. (Don’t forget the enchanting, twinkling white lights! ) 🙂


This certainly would  change the memories of the traditional festivity of “Bringing Home The Tree,” (the day after Thanksgiving,) wouldn’t it?   Yes, Christmas by the sea is very romantic, magical and sublime.


I love these very ‘unique and informal’ Christmas stockings hanging from the mantle, all homemade in alluring red, white and blue. SL-410

This mantle is much more formal, yet very refreshing, taking a turn from the norm. These photos and ideas make me want to rent a cottage at the beach for Christmas… (Or change my whole house for the holidays to create this enchanting seafaring ambiance.) 🙂


A beautiful nautical Christmas tree…I love the mixture of the light blues and whites…and the tree topper is gorgeous!


This table top tree is adorable and accents the color of the walls to a “T.” (And it would be an easy decorative addition to create.)


I love the traditional Christmas tree, but this one gives you a little magic and awe of both styles…the decorative shells yet ample decorations of the glorious reds and greens… A very festive and picturesque tree, evoking the joy inside of us as we think of Christmas’ past. (As children, we always wondered how Santa could get down that fireplace chimney…) 🙂


This nautical tree is  not only striking but magically kaleidoscopic. It’s  abundance of sea shells amongst the colorful ornaments, (I love the purple added in,) is very alluring. (The mermaid tree topper is so unique and definitely brings this tree to life.)


Rustic and enchanting garlands with miniature white lights to bedeck the outdoor porch for the holidays…How about adding a string of sea shells, intertwining them within the greens and berries? What a great idea for the enchanting season.


WOW, a white Christmas dream come true, right on the ocean! I still find it miraculous to see a fresh snowfall on the sandy shore of the beaches. This charming tree, the warm fire burning, and the inviting alfresco dining, is a wondrous Idea for a cozy Holiday evening.   (Bundle up and make some homemade beef stew with a loaf of hot bread …That would be the perfect, wintry dinner.) 🙂C-71

For the front porch, decorating the balustrades with this picture-book, festive cheer is breathtaking.  The decor is traditional, yet against the soft yellows and whites of this regal home, it looks incredibly stunning. For a more nautical look, you could add some starfish and lighthouse ornaments amongst the  lush greens. What a great way to welcome home your loved ones for the holidays!


Celebrating the season in a rustic, yet a bit formal wintry wonderland style, with the feel of the sea being close by would be heavenly.  Winter whites are hard to beat in setting a festive, holiday table and the tree, adorned with shells and sand dollars combined with  the pearl like strands, is very Victorian, lovely and elegant.

romantic white

A cozy summer, beach house, embellished with Christmas cheer! (Though it doesn’t look like snow is in store for this Balboa Island, CA. cottage home. ) The blue and white home bedecked with the festive and cheery red is so lovely…


A very simple and  beautiful Christmas wreath for your front door! (I think I will make one of these  for this upcoming Christmas…) Very soothing and calming. This wreath reminds me of  my childhood years … You know the days  when you’d  lay in the freshly mowed grass and look up at the sky, mesmerized by the wonder of the stars and bright lit moon, on the clear, balmy summer nights?


This home went all out with it’s maritime decor… I love how all the colors chosen in this festive garland go PERFECTLY with the sandy brown paint color of the home, accented by the bold whites and the rich, dark wood of the front doors . (The decor even draws in the color of the shudders! ) Very Classy!


Lastly, a tranquil, serene and festive holiday table … Again, there is nothing like the combination of  the color and textures of blue and white, sea shells, accompanied by natures beloved hue of green. (I would have never thought up the idea of a bench painted blue and white….it’s so pretty!)


OK, I am  now ready for a hot, freshly brewed, cup of coffee and something to eat after this home tour! 🙂 Happy house creating….Enjoy bringing forth your individual and magical nautical  home as you add some new ideas to your abode. Whether you  decide to just change one room or change them all, treat yourself to the house decor that fulfills YOU and surround yourself with all the things YOU LOVE!

( And no, I do not think that mermaids are real! 🙂   Well maybe in the dreams and imaginations of  our children… 🙂

boy and mermaid







Winsome living in a Vintage Home.

The Glorious , classy vintage years…. A time of expression, fashion and ” History in the making.”


When you stop and reflect upon what the word  “Vintage” really means, the knowledge will present you with an abundance of understanding as well as  guidance to create ‘what could be,’ the dream home that is just waiting to be discovered within your heart… “A Winsome Vintage Home..” You are the creator, designer and decorator ….ENJOY learning and displaying your own signature style …take that vision you have deep inside and bring it forth into reality….whether it is just one room, two rooms or your entire house.  HAVE FUN…and venturesomely begin creating!

According to the experts on the English language, the word vintage  has several meanings…In regarding to a fine red wine, the harvested grapes are placed in a fermentation vat, then the ‘patient and long wait’ begins.When the winemaker knows it is time, the wine is then placed, (in my favorite,) an oak barrel, then goes through a filtering time and is finally  bottled. It is the ‘long wait’ that creates such a five star, stellar, much awaited bottle of wine.     Excellent wine, that is high quality, will have a specific year, vineyard and district of origin upon it’s label.awine1 It’s new to me, but I am sure all of you, who are collectors of fine wine,  understand this completely. A vintage red wine, (a 1951 Bordeaux,)   can in no way, be compared to an updated bottle of Toasted Head or Turning Leaf Merlot. (Though they are both great wines.) The Older wine is definitely worth the long wait. That is the same truth with anything Vintage.

The vintage ambiance brings forth a surge of Nostalgia to romance us back to a time where everything seemed so lovely, magical and novel. Through our decor and ageless collectables, we have something that is palpable and touchable, to intensify that ‘created mood’ and  atmosphere in abundance.   The Vintage style brings us a delightfully wrapped present…a touch of our history.   🙂

To learn more about this distinguished word, lets look at Vintage movies, books, artist’s, movie stars, television shows, homes, automobiles and fashion. These are all the REAL THING…not made over to look vintage. ( Which we will get to that area of vintage decor later on in this vignette.)

Old and cherished, exceedingly notable and delightfully made  films are the ‘old movies’… They  just don’t  make them any better than “A street car named desire,” with Marlon Brando. (Who can forget the classic line; “Hey Sella.”Avint100 ) Alfred Hitch-cock’s renowned Rebbecca. The story of a shy, young woman, unaware of her own inner beauty, falls crazy in love with a  handsome and wealthy socialite. He marries her and brings her home to his mysterious mansion upon the cliffs of the ocean at the Old Manderly estate. Little does Rebbecca know that the house is ‘supposedly’  haunted by his first wife’s presence, (with the help of the vindictive head maid.)  The  movie is spell-bounding as they try to live out their newly married life amongst his rich friends,  the dark mansion, hidden secrets and her doubts of his true love for her.vint21 Lastly, one of  all of our childhood favorites, The Wizard of OZ…We adore every minute of the adventurous  journey Dorothy is on to get back to her home in Kansas…(except the flying monkeys…they were a little scary as a child…still are!)  🙂  All of these are  vintage, refined and excellent films.

Antiquated books that you can’t find everyday in Barnes and Noble’s on their new and  best  seller shelf,Vint15  are such tales as Moby Dick, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Moll Flanders and the prestigious  C.S Lewis’ notable novellas, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screw tape letters and The Magicians nephew.  (All Keepers!)

What was your favorite TV show as you grew up…(be careful as these vint18answers really date your age.  🙂 Mine was “Father knows best.”  Robert Young could do no wrong in my eyes.  🙂 Other ageless and priceless shows are ‘The Three stooges,’ ‘Tarzan,’ our beloved, “I love Lucy,”  ‘Please don’t eat the daisies,’  ‘Laugh In’ and The Ed Sullivan show. Everything on television when I was a youngster seemed so clean…

Some of the greatest and most noted musicians were Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and  Elvis Presley. I  have yet to hear a match today of any of their  stellar voices …They were ‘one in a million,’ classy, unique and remarkable.  Museums today, host vintage paintings and photographs that cost a fortune, but bring back so many nostalgicVint24 memories of the ‘older days.’ Marilyn Monroe’s “Vintage Christmas in Hollywood,”) Monets’ “Impression Sunrise,” and all of the light-some and clever artwork of Norman Rockwell. Old world artwork is not only magnificent and ageless but it sets an exceedingly high standard for artwork today.  It is a difficult pursuit to find the same quality… Often times the ‘old’ is used as a muse for the ‘new.’ Vintage movie stars? There are so many, they are hard to count. 🙂 Judy Garland, Gene Tierney, Jane Russell,Robert Mitchum, Rita Hayworth, James Dean and Dorothy avint30Lamour. How could you ever forget or find even a close match for  Leslie Howard, Vivian Leigh and Olivia De Haviland in the wondrous classic film, Gone with the wind?


Vintage automobiles. These are the cars that owners pamper and coddle as they keep them stored in garages, visiting them on occasion while they dote upon them…These motor cars get washed,waxed, vacuumed, taken out for a spin drive, (so the owner can hear the ‘special hum of the engine,’ 🙂 and then, they masterfully get parked just right in their ‘protected place.’  (Until the next reunion with their proud owners)   🙂 You can tell that the Vintage automobiles are their ‘babies.’:)


Lastly, Vintage clothing…Now a days,  you see this fashion all the time in Hollywood and all over the country… It is vintage because it is ‘out of style’ in our 21st century,  yet it is the ‘in craze,’ and is more popular than ever. Go figure!



So, what we have learned is that “Whatever is old, priceless, desirable, treasured, antiquated, old world, obsolete, ageless, timeless, quaint and exceedingly valuable is  Anything VINTAGE!

Then there is always making the New, look like the old for the charm and pizazz of the vintage era. 🙂

With all the modern day architecture, expensive, well made couches, love seats, over sized chairs, fine wood dining tables with hutches and chairs to match, as well as kitchen appliances that can do almost anything but sing…(maybe they to do that by now too,) 🙂  it’s truly amazing to see the high demand for the old world style. Even if the brand new is purchased, it is remodeled and made to look old and antique again. 🙂   Being the magazine and decor connoisseur that I am, one of the most popular and ‘in style’ looks  within homes, Vila’s, estates, cottages, mansions and ranch houses, is a home filled with classic, antiquated and old word decor style.Vi229 Yes, again, the VINTAGE look is “in”…even in our bathrooms and upon our porches ! We give our old furniture a makeover, ( and perhaps embellish it with decorative stenciling,) or we bedeck our new King Louis XV bed to look exactly like it did in that exciting, opulent time where people socialized at Fancy Balls and feasted upon fine dining in the 17th century, over 500 years ago.  We adore the old kitchen appliances and decor that speaks of our memories when we were young, or the memorabilia of our parents from their childhood. (The Campbell soup kid mugs, the Little Rascals on decorative plates, old antique coffee grinders and china that is painted in a myriad of greens and pinks that aren’t even on the market today.abear2) Our beds have a fair-haired, teddy bear siting peacefully upon the comforter… He can’t be bought with any price,yet he is at least 60 years old and looks like he just came out of the washing machine, (and the Tide detergent didn’t work.) 🙂 My little guy is named Cornelius and he is 36 years old...he has been through everything with me…he has known me longer than my husband. 🙂 If our house were ever to catch on fire, Cornelius would be one of the treasures I would grab and ‘save’ as I was rushing out of the home. 🙂 Of course, my husband and dog Grantham would be first! ) 🙂

It is the same thing with people…Those in our lives that have many years behind them, a bounty of wisdom, enchanting stories from their youth and grey hair, (even though most of them color it,) (hey, we all do what we need to do, to look our very best) 🙂  are fabulously exciting and beautiful people to be around. They  have such a refinement and regal nature about them, likened to a priceless, cherished bottle of vintage wine. These are the people you adore and love to have over for dinner, ask important questions to and make sure there is plenty of fresh coffee in the pot and an abundance of lemon pound cake at hand, so that they have ample time (and refreshments) to share their many tales of yesterday.  I adore the famous saying in the classic movie, ‘Calendar Girls.’ In  Napely, England, there is a close  knit group of ladies, as well as dear friends that belong to a notable and entertaining  book club. When one of the women’s husbands, John, becomes ill and they need money for his medical care, she decides to put on a fundraiser amongst all the residents of the quaint English village. The object of the fundraiser is ‘Calendars.’ They are not just any calendars…They are  photos of each woman, (Over 55,) posing with only  fresh fruits,vegetables,loaves of bread or decorative pastries, etc… and no clothes.  🙂 Believe me, it is a wondrous movie, well made and they don’t  show anything  that is not tastefully done…John has a saying that I enjoy so much; (and yes, it is planted in my notebook of expressive  words and extraordinary phrases.)  🙂 “The flowers of Yorkshire are like the women of Yorkshire, in that, their last stage of growth is the most glorious.” 🙂 I hope my husband feels that way about me when I am in my autumn years. 🙂

These are noteworthy people in our society that are becoming vintage… Perhaps already are as they are older, priceless, desirable, treasured, ageless, timeless and valuable. (I am not going to say they are antiquated.) 🙂 I think most men and women would love to be as healthy, full of vigor, with meaningful lives and an abundance of  loved ones at the ages of these renowned people…72, 94, 78 and 77. The name ‘vintage’ would just be an HONOR.

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WE  have a tendency to see growing old as a negative thing when in fact, there is so much beauty and wisdom within people who are older. They have learned all of life’s challenging  lessons, are at a  place of PEACE and acceptance of who they are, (no pretenses)  and are enjoying their retirements and doing the things they absolutely love. Their lives thus far, have earned them notoriety and the prestigious biographies that they posses.

Even cheese gets better with age! 🙂 The list could go on and on…Let’s Cars14take a look and see what some wonderful people have to say about the subject of VINTAGE! 🙂


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“I don’t do alcohol anymore,  I get the same effect just standing up fast.” 🙂  ~Author unknown! 🙂

“Old age is fifteen years older than I am.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Our admiration of the antique is not admiration of the old but of the natural.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Grow old with me, the best is yet to come.” ~ Robert Browning. (That is my new ‘numero uno’ MOTTO! 🙂FR19

“Priceless things  matter not for their value but because they offer us an enduring reminder of stability and permanence.” ~ Barbara Taylor Bradford.

“Age is opportunity no less, than youth itself, though in a different dress, and as the evening twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.” ~ Author Unknown

“I think living to be 100 would be great but living to 50 twice, would be better.” ~ Barbara Johnson    (I adore Barbara Jonson and her fabulously, cheerful and happy perspective of living life.) 🙂

“The scary thing about middle age is the knowledge that you’ll soon grow out of it.” ~ Barbara Johnson

“Youth is not a time of life but a state of mind.” ~ Barbara Johnson

“If you live to be a hundred, I want towinnie2 be a hundred minus one day so I would never have to live without you.” ~ Winnie The Pooh

I will always remember a priceless gift my mom bestowed upon me about aging. When she was in her 50’s, (still a very beautiful woman who had 8 children who simply adored her, 🙂 a few  of my brothers went to her one day and said, “Mom, you have got some wrinkles ‘going on’ in your face…you need to go and get a facelift.”  (If you know any of my five brothers,Vi100 they will deny they ever said those words…) 🙂 Anyhow, she calmly smiled and said; “To be honest with you boys, I kind of like these wrinkles as they remind me of each one of you, my children.” As she kept smiling, she would point to one of her wrinkles and say; “This  one is Donnie, and this one is you Jim, etc…) My mom was very naturally beautiful and aged without any concern of getting any extra help. 🙂 I am trying! 🙂

Lets face it, growing old is inevitable… No matter how many pounds we loose, (or gain,) the abundance of ‘night-firming cream’ and Revive-a-lift we buy, face lifts, new hair styles to hide our wrinkles, wearing ‘spanks’ and the color black to appear thin, and finally breaking down and buying the ‘next size up’ jeans….Accept it, don’t fight it and keep a grateful heart.(Easy words, I know, but It’s worth trying!)  🙂 I admire the people who in tuning 50, give thanks to God for giving them those 50 years and would be honored to have 50 more…

The one thing no one has to adjust to or accept is a winsome home, bedecked in Vintage decor. 🙂  This style of decor is not only high in demand, but it is stunning, inviting and brings and ‘oomph’ to our lives.  Its a unique, one of a kind theme and brings comfort, gladsome hearts and coziness to us as well as each one of our guests.

Welcome to “your Vintage Home.” Are you ready to get a cup of coffee, some sweet tea,  a bite to eat and get comfy? 🙂 Lets take a look at the architecture of the Vintage home first.

My heart has always been charmed when my husband and I go for a drive in the country and see old, established, historical homes on acres of land.  I find my mind beginning  to ponder, “what memories fill the corridors and rooms of that house?”  What do they remissness  about there?” ” Do they get together for a jubilant family Sunday dinner every week?” (Like we did as a family.)   “Do they hear old creaks in the wooden floors and unexplainable sounds at night, being tempted to think it’s haunted by the ghosts of the original owners? “You have heard; “Every picture tells a story?” I also believe “Every home tells a story.” Vintage Homes make for wondrous and fascinating tales. 🙂







OK, hold your hats, this is not a haunted mansion…It is an abandoned Vintage home and is known as a “Fixer upper”…. Truly it is a beautiful architectural home…it just needs some TLC! 🙂 Some fresh paint, a good landscape team, a gardener and lots of kaleidoscopic flowers to add some life and color. 🙂  A loving family would be nice too!


Lastly, my mom’s childhood, vintage home in South Carolina. It no longer stands, but wow, was it awesome! (On boy, the stories I have heard about that house, could be a bestseller for sure!) 🙂 (I still have not decided what genre the novella would be written in, yet.)  🙂



Here are some gorgeous Vintage Porches.  Even if your home’s architecture is not Vintage, if you have a porch, you can bring a little “old world” decor onto your veranda, thus enhancing the charm and potpourri of color, texture and the personality of your home.




This piazza is beautifully feminine…  I adore all of the pastel colors amidst the soft whites.vinatge porch 4

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Upon entering the home, the first room we see is the Living room. Remember, just as you have witnessed with these diverse porches, there are all different extremes of bedecking your home with the vintage style. Any decor that has antiques, old school furniture, home decor that is obsolete and carries that ageless, timeless ambiance, is a vintage style home. Many people mix their themes and styles, perhaps combining vintage with country cottage or shabby chic decor. The most important thing to keep in mind as you create your signature style home, is the rule I share on every decorating blog… Pick your style, decor theme and color pallet, then fill your home with the things you love, that  reflect who you are.  Be comfortable and enjoy creating each room the way you desire it to look.


Your Vintage look can be made up of all sorts of old world, timeless and classy  decorative items. Pick up your theme through aged colorful fabrics, antique furniture, throw pillows, pictures or paintings, oriental rugs, antiquated china, bowls  and vintage books. Anything that you can think of to bring forth that desired look, dauntlessly place it out in your room and see if its a fit for you. 🙂




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This living room is old word, a little shabby chic with a hint of maritime life, which all blends in so well together…Not only is it charming, inviting and cozy, but it’s light and ethereal.

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Again, this quaint, old school living room has a nautical hint to it, but is also undeniably  vintage and rustic. (Pleasingly patriotic as well!) 🙂


This sublime and stunning  book case filled with vintage books is a conversation piece as well as a strikingly picturesque addition to any room.  Old books bring ” an aged caliber.”  Maybe add a few photographs of your grandparents or a vintage family home, placed within a few choice and ornate, ‘old world’ picture frames to embellish your collection of ageless writings.


There is one word for this Vintage look...STELLARIt’s my favorite look of all…romantic, yet augustly antique. (They do not make mirrors like they used to anymore,  or fireplaces for that matter! 🙂 Vi215


The aged and antiquated bedroom is not only eccentric, unique and romantic but  it is magical, creating a  fairy-tale like ambiance where you can sneak off and rest, read your novel, write an overdue letter or just listen to your favorite classical CD. This  is your special room to be pampered and coddled in…Light a candle, enjoy and revel in all the beauty that surrounds you!



Wrought iron, brass and old, weathered wood are perfect for a bed with the Vintage appeal. This bed room has an antiquated tin ceiling rescued from a New York City Movie theater, that no longer is in business.  How eye-catching, clever and creative!





The designer of this vintage room, excelled in their artful display of multicolored greys, greens and golds with creating a weathered look, amongst fauz painted walls,diverse fabrics and linens that blend together perfectly for an old world, nostalgic and  prolific ambiance. This bed room is very impressive.



In creating your vintage style home, you may chose to make every room this delightful style or just a few of the rooms. One of my  most cherished rooms in the house is my kitchen. Here are some charming vintage kitchens…This  antiquated and memorable decor style will surely be a “topic of discussion” with friends and family, when your room or rooms are completed. 🙂

I adore the brick in this kitchen…This kitchen looks liven in, cozy, welcoming and FUN!


A perfect kitchen for the connoisseur of fine wine and you already know how much I adore “chefs,” (In any shape, size or color.) 🙂  Aren’t they so classy?




This antique kitchen has a combination of Shabby Chic and vintage throughout the room. These two decor styles are refreshingly alluring when mixed together… It is a room filled with charm, a fairy- tale like ambiance and is creative and inviting as well.



For my tastes, there is nothing more charming, nostalgic and inviting, than a combination of old brick and antiquated china. The dark, rich woods amidst the brightly colored flowers add a fabulously warm and cozy touch to this Kitchen.


This kitchen is so felicitous and amiable, I would love to spend a day here just cooking and baking the hours away…over a pot of fresh coffee of course. 🙂




These next photos of the Vintage bathroom are very warm and creative. There is absolutely nothing like a real claw-foot bath tub. Once you experience this luxurious experience, it will be hard to go back to the regular tub that most of our homes are equipped with. (I have got to remember to write this ‘claw-foot tub’ as a ‘must have’ in my Dream Home – Wish book.) 🙂    Vi51




How about the one place that you can relax, (right about the time the sun is gloriously setting through your windows and glass doors?)  Yes,your Dining Room.  It’s time to sit down with a delicious dinner, accompanied by a glass of chardonnay, perhaps a roaring fire, soft candle light and good friends, sharing superb cuisine and wondrous fellowship. These antiquated dining rooms are ‘bonny.’ (As the British would say.) 🙂






Here are some photos of beautiful Vintage china and tables settings to inspire you!


I  am going to share this ambrosial corn casserole recipe (below) with you in my  “Unforgettable Recipes” category. 🙂







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Decorative accessories are a ‘must’ in creating your new look. In the following photos , I hope you find some great ideas and inspiration. 🙂


This is a vintage set of the “Winnie the Pooh” collection. Don’t you just love it? Piglet is just to cute. 🙂


I adore these ornate, old candle stick holders. They are very rich as well as festive.



This august, winning book vintage bookcase brings not only a wealth of ‘history to your haven,’ but an abundance of charm, color and beauty!


This Garden planter is absolutely breathtaking. I would love to have two of them on my front porch! The Vintage shed below, would be such a wondrous addition to your ‘Old world’ style garden. I think that it is about as “Vintage” as a piece of furniture could  be. 🙂






I love this antique mirror…It’s not only ornate, but classy and refined. I have many friends who display antique purses as a decorative addition to their room…hung on a petite hutch door, placed inside a glass dining room cabinet, or set out on their comfy bed, (next to their ‘antiquated teddy bear,’) to add color and style to their decor theme. Great idea!


In closing, I want to leave you with a few magical ideas for a “Vintage Christmas.”

“The perfect Christmas tree? ALL Christmas trees are PERFECT.” ~ Charles N. Barnard





I love the creativity this woman has used in decorating her dining room table.  The apples placed within the crystal goblets, mason jars filled with miniature Christmas scenes and the animated , winter white napkins adorned with red berries are already motivating me for the Christmas season. 🙂


For Christmas, it is hard to beat a fresh , winter white celebration!



I have never seen a Vintage train set like this one before. This would make any little boy, (or big boy) 🙂 happy on Christmas morning.


A very merry, colorful and  traditional, Vintage Tree. It is Perfect! 🙂 (Like Charles’ quote expressed above!)



A fancy and formal Christmas table fit for a king! I adore all the gorgeous , old silver and glistening candle light amidst all the soothing butter cream whites. (The confections don’t look to bad either ) 🙂


What is more ageless and timeless than a nativity scene displayed on a hutch or side board? It’s is one of my very  favorite Christmas decorations.  I love my original Nativity set as it was a gift from a very special lady. I was so sad when I unpacked it one year and  baby Jesus’ hand had broken off.  For the life of me,  I could not find that hand anywhere… so after going on my “creative – treasure – hunt”  around my home,   I discovered a miniature, decorative red heart and placed it where baby Jesus’ hand would be.  It fit perfectly. This little red  heart has the word LOVE written upon it. ) Now my nativity is not only “really original,” 🙂 but a great reminder of what this joyous season is all about.” 🙂




I hope you have enjoyed getting to know the Vintage home as much as I have. It has more meaning to me now that I understand why they call it Vintage decor. I hope you feel inspired and have obtained some great ideas. If you don’t want to go out and buy a new piece of vintage furniture, don’t forget, they have vintage slipcovers for old couches and chairs that have tares or frayed areas upon them. Stores as well as online shopping, also have a bounty of specialty paints to  ‘make your modern day furniture look old.’ Have a wonderful time planning, going to thrift stores, boutiques and garage sales looking for some extra items you may need to make your decor changes.  Enjoy CREATING and adding more BEAUTY to your life as well as the lives of your family.

PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.






France’s Finest…The French Country Kitchen

Accueil, (welcome!) to one of France’s finest inventions, their french Country style kitchen. Or their ‘cuisine’ as they call it.


I do not think that the human language has come up with the exact word to express the beauty of France. Whether the alluring city of Paris, the fetching French country side with all of it’s charming gardens and quaint villa’s or the magical homes nestled upon the jagged cliffs, over looking the gorgeous and mysterious Mediterranean sea or French Atlantic Ocean, France  is undeniably a par-excellence country.


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France is home to many of the wondrous gifts our country is blessed with …I am most thankful to this romantic and Junoesque Country for giving the world the Briard dog.grahammy 13   That is the breed our precious Grantham is. He is our cherished French herding dog  and has blessed our lives to the moon and back. 🙂 The other gifts bestowed to our world through the French are the wondrous, acclaimed actors and actresses, Bridgette Bardot,Gerard DePardieu, Eva Green, Catherine Doneuve and my favorite, Juliette Binoche. (Remember her in the movie “Dan in real life,” where she was dancing to the jukebox music in the bar with Dan, his brother and her rival, ‘Ruthie Pig-face Draper?’ I laughed so hard, my jaw ached!  🙂

They have given us delicious and winning recipes to enhance our romantic evenings straight from their kitchens. Their specialties are Beef Bourguignon, Creme Brulee and Coq au Vin.liberty3 The French are known for their delicious and popular Quiche Lorraine, Crepes, French Onion soup, the French Dip and Croque Madame. What would we do without the decadent  Remoloude, Hollandaise and Bernaise sauces for our fresh steamed vegetables, eggs Benedict and  rich, beef and chicken dishes?  I had no idea that the  renowned authors from this mesmerizing country have written some of the most prestigious and notable books ever created…liberty5  Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, The count of Monte Cristo, as well as Charles Perrault’s Puss in Boots, classic Cinderella and the amazing Sleeping beauty. All of these wonderful novellas are now classic films in America that we cherish and enjoy time after time. They’ve endowed us  with extraordinary,liberty6 heavenly and stellar music with their melodic Opera as well as beautiful artwork with  the notable Claude Monet and his inspirational paintings.  We can’t forget the ‘French Kiss,’liberty8 yes, they are the culprits,  🙂 French Toast, one of the unbelievable  wonders of the words, the Eiffel Tower and the beret hat, (that is quite dapper if you ask me.)  🙂 Did you know, (I didn’t,)  that the French  gave us the Statue of Liberty that stands proudly uponliberty Liberty Island in the New York Harbor, in 1886? They also gave the world the name “CHEF.”  (How fitting for this ‘gourmet’ country. )

The French are friendly people…they welcome all tourists and deeply appreciate our efforts to learn some of their language as we try to communicate with them while visiting.  Just  like the Italians, they have a love affair with the ‘lunch hour.’  Monday through Friday, they take long lunches, closing down the towns businesses as they relax, share cherished time,liberty10 fellowship and gourmet food with their friends and loved ones. (WE could all learn a lesson or two from the Italians and French.)  🙂   The quality of life is very important to the people of France. They absolutely ‘aimer’ (love)  their family and are fiercely  protective of their cherished ones. They are said to enjoy Cocoa Cola in their whiskey…(I think many countries do too.)  🙂 They adore big family gatherings and gourmet cuisine,liberty1 great wine and of course, a myriad of fine cheeses.  They have over 240 types of cheese to be exact… Can you even imagine? 🙂

Here are some popular French quotes from people who know France best… most of these come from the French proverbs.

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“To a valiant heart, nothing is impossible.”

“After the rain, the nice weather.”

“Goods poorly gotten, never profit.”

“You need to break the shell to have the almond.”

“Paris was not made in a day.”

“Christmas on the balcony and Easter at the embers.”


“Everything spoken, sounds much more sexy and romantic in French.” ~Author unknown

“In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport.” ~ Julia Child

“Dogs smoke in France.” ~Ozzy Osborne…(I am still trying to figure that quote out….) 🙂

“What isn’t clear, isn’t French.” ~  Antoine de Rivarol

Out of all the kitchens I have researched, truly, (and I mean it this time,) 🙂 The french Country kitchen is by far, my very favorite…Not only is it breathtaking, causing wonder and awe, but the French architecture seems to please both men and women alike. Hey, what is not “TO LIKE?” 🙂 This particular kitchen is warm, welcoming, simple yet has a hint of elegance. I love the combinations of woods and the collection of Roosters.


The rustic aged brick combined with the dark sage green wooden shutters, august  customized stove top with it’s Back-splash tile  mural is riveting, sharp and masterful.  The eat in kitchen is an added blessing. This “cuisine” is soothing, warm and amiable.


This kitchen with it’s decorative tiles, soft, granite counter tops, charming white cabinetry and checkered Center- Island is brilliant. I have never seen a kitchen like this one… Engaging as well as spell bounding!


This “cuisine” definitely possesses a rustic charm…It exudes the patina of the French Countryside being right outside the front door. 🙂


I adore the ornate style in these kitchen’s…Both the stove top and oven, as well as the sideboard are so classy, sterling and quite the ‘conversation piece.’ I would like one of each, please. 🙂


More examples of the beauteous “Black splash tiled murals.” I adore the added touch of the candlestick lights. (It creates an exceedingly romantic lighting for this French kitchen. )


This French Country kitchen is brilliantly crisp, bright and ethereal. What a great idea to mix a dark granite table top amongst a cottage style, wooden foundation.   A lot of ‘creative thinking’ went into designing this lovely kitchen.


This enticing kitchen with it’s  butter cream yellow amidst the, smooth and rich chocolate brown wood,  striking designer tiled flooring and charming, quaint, enchanting center Island, is a sensational combination that dauntlessly speaks  “Accueil!”  (Meaning “Welcome” in the romantic French language.)


Charming and even more charming! 🙂 I think I am going to run out of English words to describe the French Country Kitchen in all of its grandeur. 🙂


I know I said in the beginning of this “French Cuisine tour,” that this style of kitchen is my very favorite and that surprisingly, men and women alike, find it to be appealing…well, I don’t think my husband would ‘dote upon’ this next kitchen like I do, but this is the “French kitchen of all French kitchens!”  🙂  It looks like something out of a fairytale book. It’s delicate design, enchanting shudders, winsome character and perfect choice of colors combined together is magical, almost haunting…(Haunting meaning ‘mysteriously fantastic.’)  (Not like ‘spookish and creepy.’ ) 🙂


The Rooster is the unofficial national symbol of France. (I was wondering why I was seeing so many gallant roosters in all of these French kitchens.) 🙂 I adore roosters as when I was a youngster, my mom had a collection of them and they remind me so much of her…her  charm, warmth and great sense of style. This Back splash Rooster themed tile is as the French would say; “Belle.” (Beautiful, fetching and gorgeous.) 🙂


Now this is a kitchen that I would guess a man would ‘dote upon.’ (Perhaps men do not dote. I will ask my husband.)   🙂 It’s very handsome, august and baronial.


Again, this kitchen brings about the patina that right outside of those doors is the bucolic country side with it’s divine array of motley flowers and towering, picturesque, ancient trees. This is simple, yet tasteful and beautifully galvanic.


This kitchen is warm as well as polished. It is refined, yet welcoming.  I could see my husband creating a delicious breakfast of Belgium waffles, eggs with black truffles and espresso coffee. 🙂 (Maybe a French crepe or two.) 🙂


This ‘Cuisine’ evokes a diaphanous and buoyant mood… It is a show stopper for sure and great for entertaining as it is exceedingly spacious. (It would be a magnificent kitchen for a gourmet chef!)


I know I have said it many, many times, but this ‘cuisine’ exudes CHARM … It almost looks like we are peaking through a tiny window, viewing an animated and magical dollhouse kitchen. 🙂


A different kind of appeal…I like this French rustical,  whimsical ambiance…the high ceilings, the added touch of dried flowers, toasty, soft colors and mixed woods. It’s a potpourri of delight and splendor.


Again, a beautiful and clever  mixture of soft woods and old brick…This is an original look and very “French.”


These two kitchens are a great illustration of how the tone and textures of the woods you chose, shape and define the room in how it will look in it’s grand finale stage. I think both of these kitchens are picturesque, winning and gracefully done.


These  roosters certainly make a  dauntless and grand appearance on these  kitchen shelves. I love it.


More roosters, yet these seem more playful, whimsy and gossamer. (I love the bunny the decorator  added into the mix. )  🙂


This looks more like a modern day French kitchen… very refreshing and inviting!


I adore this beautiful, wooden archway above the stove with it’s French themed tile.


This kitchen looks like a provincial garden…a rainbow of color, amidst a potpourri of fabrics and woods…Very alluring and cordial. The eat in kitchen is cozy and beautifully inviting.


Lastly, a new look from what we have seen…This kitchen, with its diverse textures and tones of green, red, black and sunflower yellow, bring forth a depth and eminently classic ambiance. You can tell that an abundance of “bonne nourriture” ( French for “great food”) is created within these walls with delicious, ambrosial aromas filling the house.  🙂KK-104

In the next photos, I have placed a few warm touches, (some ideas,)  to add to your French Country Kitchen style. Kitchen accessories or accents, as we call them.  Remember, the decor we surround ourselves with, in our beloved havens, are the tangible things that we love, nurture us and are beautiful in our sight.

I’d take three of these in a second! I’d move things out of the house just to make this fit!  It is so unique and adorable! 🙂


A animated, fun loving rooster menu board, (I love it,) and a bright, cheery canister set! Not only would these add an abundance of color but many a warm smile as well. Very cozy!



My favorite Rooster thus far! 🙂


Okay, you know my motto? “You can never have to many Roosters.” 🙂



What adorable and lively accent towels!



Here are some more vivid and life-like Back splash, French themed mural tiles. These can be ordered in any decor style you choose to use for your kitchen’s theme. I simply  ” aimer” this fascinating invention….(French for LOVE.)





I don’t know about you, but I want to clean out my entire home,win the lottery and remodel our entire home in French Country decor. This style is exceedingly regal, classy, authentic and fabulously romantic.  I hope that this writing has given you some great ideas for your ‘new kitchen.’  Perhaps to just ‘get started,’ pick a back splash mural tile for behind your stove top and work from there…or start a collection of Roosters. 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful time thinking, planning and creating the changes you want to make to bring forth a French Country Kitchen.

I am thinking that we should rent that movie again, “Dan in real life.” I can’t stop thinking about that one scene and if you have never seen this movie and want a great laugh, be sure to check into it.

With this vignette on  the French Country Kitchen, I want to leave you with a delicious, healthy and hearty French recipe.



This recipe is for Zucchini Gratin, created by a French Cuisine chef.

You will need;
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for topping
1 pound yellow onions, cut in 1/2 and sliced (3 large)
2 pounds zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick (4 zucchini)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup hot milk
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated Gruyere
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Melt the butter in a very large (12-inch) saute pan and cook the onions over low heat for 20 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add the zucchini and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the hot milk and cook over low heat for a few minutes, until it makes a sauce. Pour the mixture into an 8 by 10-inch baking dish.Combine the bread crumbs and Gruyere and sprinkle on top of the zucchini mixture. Dot with 1 tablespoon of butter cut into small bits and bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.
 French Recipe from the ‘Barefoot Contessa.’

PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics,  it will display where the picture originated from.