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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

From the Archives: A Ghost Story

I received so many sweet comments when I posted this last year that I decided to post it again for anyone who might have missed it.

When I was a little girl, watching television was only a small part of my big day of playing and pretending.  In fact, the only show I remember seeing regularly wasCaptain Kangaroo.    Bob Keeshan and his team put together arguably the finest children’s programming ever.  Parked in a child-sized wooden rocker with a glass of milk and a graham cracker, I sat mesmerized for an hour while my mother enjoyed a bit of peace.  I am sure I laughed at the antics of Bunny Rabbit, Mr. Moose, Dancing Bear, and Mister Greenjeans, but my favorite part of the show was when Captain Kangaroo would read a story.  Mike Mulligan and His Steamshovel, Mary Ann; Caps for Sale; Make Way for Ducklings; and A Snowy Daywere a few of my favorites, and they are books that I read to my own children years later.  One book that the Captain read that I absolutely loved was Georgie, a tale of a sweet and curious ghost.georgieI loved Georgie’s shyness. georgie 1The line drawings of a quaint New England  house and its owners, the Whittakers captivated me, and I loved the simple prose  that author Robert Bright used to tell his ghostly tales.georgie 2IMG_2526When we were in New York this past fall, we spent a delightful rainy Sunday morning browsing through the Corner Bookstore, where I found another favorite ghost story, Ghosts in the House!  This charming picture book tells the story of a  little girl who buys a house only to discover it is full of ghosts.  She makes quick work of catching them, promptly tosses them in the washer, and then stitches them up as curtains and bed linens.  It is a delightful book, and I highly recommend you get it for your children or your grandchildren or nieces or nephews or just for yourself, as I did!
So, these were the books I was thinking of when I devised this extremely inexpensive and easy and non-scary way to add some subtle Halloween charm to the T&C house.

Start with white tissue paper, the same kind with which you would line a gift box.  You’ll need at least one sheet for each of your front or street side windows.  Butcher paper would work well for this project, too.IMG_2512
Next, simply draw out some ghostly shapes, with loose, gentle curves.  I tried to leave one corner of each tissue paper intact, to serve as my guide for placement and to prevent the ghosts from looking like blobs!  Cut out the shapes with scissors.IMG_2527Here’s our dining room table, covered with a variety of ghost bodies.IMG_2530Next, using a wide-tipped black Sharpie draw simple round eyes and smiles or O-shaped mouths.  I made some of each. Be sure to use some newspaper or scrap paper underneath your tissue paper because the Sharpie bleeds through!IMG_2537Finally, place your ghosts in your windows using Magic Scotch tape.  IMG_2533It was hard to get a good picture because of the glare, but as you can see there’s a ghost in each window, a few are placed upside down in hopes of giving the appearance of fun-loving spooks whooshing through the house!  IMG_2536I found it easiest to put a tiny piece of tape at the top of the ghost’s head to get it into position, and then to tape the body into place.  Above is one of the ghosts during the day.IMG_2548
And, here’s the twilight shot.

Happy Haunting!


  1. oh my goodness, those are just as cute as can be.
    thank you for an excellent tutorial on how we too might have those at our windows..

  2. This is really so creative and fun. I am going to give this a try!

  3. i just want to say how much I love your blog. I really do. The way you write makes me feel like you are a dear friend and I somehow was there when you were little watching Captain Kangaroo or when you were sitting in the church office, while your children were in preschool, learning about an older lady's days as a PanAm stewardess. I was reading the Pam Am story a week or so ago in the church parking lot (at our Episcopalian church) waiting for Charlie's class to finish up. I felt like I just met a friend for coffee when I was finished. xo, Tessa
    ps. love nordstrom and their philosophy!

  4. Tessa, you have no idea how encouraging your kind words are to me. And I have to say that I adore your blog--it is so refreshing to see that although you love all of the "goods" this world has to offer, your priority is on your family, and that is beyond good--it is great!

  5. Oh TCM, I was just thinking about you today and the ghosts! I put them up last year and received so many compliments. This fall - and October - has just passed me by. (You'll read a little later...) But I think I'm back in the game now.

  6. What a beautiful house, I have always wanted to live in a white house, we have nothing like this around here, I love the shutters too, when was it built?

  7. Dear Bourbon and Pearls, Thanks so much for your kind comments. I'm afraid our house is only about 10 years old, although it is in an old neighborhood, so I think a lot of people think it's older. It has older finishes and details inside, which adds to the "trickery" We recently had some reconfiguring done of some tv and computer cables, and upon arrival the installer told me it would take at least a day to complete the work. After about three hours he presented me with his bill. When I asked how he was able to get finished so quickly, he said that when we renovated our house we did a great job updating the wiring and access panels. I laughed out loud, and said this isn't an old house, it's never been renovated! He had a good chuckle, too, and I told my husband we should leave our front door squeak alone as it adds to the "character of the place!" Whew. Didn't mean to ramble on; thanks again for stopping by!

  8. I might pass out! That is the best new build I have ever seen! I would have sworn it was quite an age. This really is my dream house, it would truly make me happy to come home to that house every night.

  9. I came about your blog from a click on another "foody" blog that I visit from time to time, imagine my surprise when I see you writing about my 11 year old son's favorite book from his younger days Georgie! My mother read it to me as a kid and I read to my son and he was hooked. We would read it all year long! I loved Georgie and his shyness but when needed he could scare the robbers. Thank you !
    Kate and Tyler


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