From the Kitchen Counter…

Home Design, Travel, Vintage, Antiques, Flea Markets, Home Renovation, Crockery and Dishes of any sort–writing, wandering and wondering…. I write about them all.

Forever Girls – Notes from Red Door Cottage

Red Door Cottage – Cannon Beach, OR
 * This was written a week ago while I was in Cannon Beach, but wasn’t able to post until now for technical reasons. (read that: operator error.)

A friend of mine recently commented that she missed my blog.  I was heartened and flattered she even still remembered it and admitted that I missed writing it too. I told her the last couple years had left me a bit uninspired – what with the nasty political climate and onset of Covid, it was hard to get motivated to write anything remotely perky much less entertaining.  Swinging a hammer and sawing up ceramic tile seemed better suited to my mood and the resulting design and renovation projects satisfied any creative longing not extinguished entirely by the nightly cable news.

But as with most things in life, things have a way of coming full circle… of settling back into a more stable equilibrium. Like when your pounding heart slows to a normal beat again once an immediate danger has passed. Read the rest of this entry »


Prescription for Le Trip : Shop, Sip, Schlep, Ship….repeat daily as needed.


It’s a grey, rainy day in Paris – the perfect time to sit with a cafe au lait and tell you about IMG_0106my sunny, wonderful week in the south of France on Le Trip- and a fabulous schlepping trek through Provence .  What a terrific time I’ve had with a great and rowdy group of new friends and our fearless leader St. Jill (aka Jill Mitchell – Le Trip-the one in the hat  in photo above). If you ever want to take a Vintage Market Tour through Provence (or Paris, or a wine tour, or historical tour ) Jill is the person you want to become friends with.  She’s knowledgable, speaks fluent French, is fun, vivacious, enthusiastic about all things French and knows all the best little vintage shops and large markets far and wide. ((Very cute too-she reminds me of young Meg Ryan before that awful plastic surgeon got hold of her!) IMG_0213

Bearing in mind that the above group was not an easy one to corral in one direction  (like herding cats) Jill’s  attempts were only marginally successful.  Half of us were ADD, some were distracted by awesome prices, some by handsome french garçons, some were taking pictures, a few were wanderers, others were sitters, and some, like myself, just wanted to experience any and everything we possibly could… all at one time!  I suspect Jill went back to her apartment at the end of each day and poured a large Provençal Rose before tearing the rest of her hair out!

Not to worry – she greeted us each day for a new adventure and didn’t lose a singleIMG_0173 one of us the whole week.  (Wait, where did Rosayne get to? And Val? Did we lose Val??)

Here is a pictorial  guide of Le Trip, with some of my (ahem) astute observations and advice for further reference:

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The Secret Society of the Vintage Shopping Sisterhood – where extra baggage is a desired trait!


When I received the email back in January promoting a  a trip to France and a week long antiques/vintage market tour in Provence – I thought to myself “if only…..”IMG_0125

If only I had the time, if only my current renovation project house was done, if only I didn’t have a baby shower and political fundraiser to plan at same time, if only the two new design projects I’d taken on were further along, if only this, if only that, if only the moon, stars, and my personal horoscope were perfectly aligned and served up to me on a silver platter…

After reading the email, the practical voice in my head said “Fat chance sister, press delete and get on with reality”.  BUT – the other side of my head, the cheeky one that doesn’t like to be told what to do, quietly filed it in the ‘save for further reference’ folder on the sidebar of my laptop, with nary a utterance to the bossy boots  who usually runs the show.

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A Thousand Words for the Price of Two (or…Have I Got a Deal for You!)



So….got up this morning feeling ready for a new adventure…

I finished my last project house a mere 3 weeks ago and literally installed renters and the new drapes simultaneosly. It came out pretty cute I think, so decided to hang on to it (I will be in big trouble if I start collecting my project houses the way I do classically cut blazers–don’t use them anymore  but too well made to part with!).  This one was exceptionally fun but physical. I was able to do a lot of the work myself and certainly have the aches, pains, chewed up nails, and one very moody sciatic nerve to prove it, but in the end it was worth it.

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Of Toilets, Towels and Toaster Strudel …inspiration can come in some unlikely places!

View from: my living room sofa – where I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time of late.

So…. I have been laid up for over a week with an angry sciatic nerve screaming at me louder than a politician’s denial of inappropriate groping. (Geez…did these guys miss that fundamental Kindergarten lesson – “keep your hands to yourself.”??) The culprit for my screaming back I’m sure is the toilet I heaved singlehandedly out of the bathroom of my newest project house because I was too impatient to wait for my big burly crew to arrive.

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All I want for Christmas is….a palm sander??

View of my latest project:

IMG_8399 copy

Mood Reading: zz (had a restless night last night – think the decaf I ordered after dinner wasn’t : (

Hope you all survived a happy holiday season and are on the road to recovery. Around our house it’s always a mad dash to the finish but we managed to pull it together at the very last moment. Seems I’ve got the Dasher part pretty much down, much to my husband’s vexation. Think he prefers more the Prancer and Vixen in me but with my new palm sander, saw horses, fully kitted tool belt, and a gift card to Lowe’s, (all Xmas gifts from the fam) he’s settling for Blitzen for a while!

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As I was saying…


View of my latest project: (Read that: “latest creative distraction”)

Mood Reading: Beginning to look a lot like frazzled…

I know, I know….nothing like popping in on you at the busiest time of year. Especially since it’s been a little while since I last sat down to blog (okay, a BIG while – but what’s a year and half between friends?) But since I was thinking of what I would say in a Xmas card anyway, I thought what the heck – I’ll fire up the ol’ blog and see if she’s still churning!

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Fire Emergency Kit 101 – White Wine for Spritzers is essential.

View From the Patio Weds. Eve:Image 7

Mood Reading: ZZZ’s (now that the embers are out, sleeping much better : ) 

So, there we were on a hot, sultry Wednesday evening this week, preparing dinner as usual with the news on in the background. With temps in the 100’s all week – no air conditioning and humidity hanging thicker than molasses in the normally arid desert, I was more concerned with my now-sticky linen blouse and less-then-alluring hairdo than any forces of nature. As I mindlessly washed the arugula at the kitchen sink, (and dreamed of the downpour that Read the rest of this entry »

The Great “Sip, Ship and Schlep” (aka: My Aching Back) Tour Wrap Up

View of the haul atop my dining room table:


Mood Reading: ZZZ’s (jet lag’s departure is late – I’m getting 8 hours in…only they’re between 8p.m. and 4a.m.)

photo copySo thought I should do a “Sip, Ship, and Schlep Tour” roundup as I just arrived back home from 3 weeks in France and Italy. As you can see from the opening picture, “schlepping” outdid the sipping and shipping by a good 3-1 margin! And somehow hauling all the goods (in an extra suitcase) over cobblestones, on and off trains, up flights of stairs, and through little alleyways still didn’t offset the kilos of pasta and liters of vino consumed each day. I am still wandering around somewhat dazed from the jet lag and sorely missing the frothy cappuccinos and morning croissants we’d become accustomed to, but have to admit, it’s a good thing we came home when we did. My jeans are woefully tight and my wallet is empty and we couldn’t have packed in one more flea market, brocante, wine tasting or Basilica if we’d tried! Read the rest of this entry »

As I was saying….

View from the Tuscan Countryside: image As I was saying, (see last blog post), sometimes the things unplanned are the most memorable on a trip like this.  Case in point…we set out this morning to go rent the car that we planned to have for three days of touring through the Tuscan countryside ala Thelma and Louise sans (hopefully) the final cliff scene. Read the rest of this entry »