I traveled to Iowa recently to attend my niece's graduation. Over brunch, everyone was discussing a story in the news about some idiot kids who burned down one of those landmark Iowa covered bridges. They got caught when they posted photos of themselves standing at the bridge with a container of kerosene. Just despicable. We all tsk-tsked about the fall of civilization and how somewhere, Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep were crying.Read More
Every week, I work hard to write witty posts for you people and I hit 'send' and I'm happy. Then you open the email and write me back. Or you post a comment on the blog. Or on Facebook or Instagram. And let me tell you, you're a bunch of memoir-reading, NPR-listening, SNL-watching, kombucha-sipping smarty pants. This is my teasing way of saying that your comments are wonderful! You seem to be a very well-rounded crowd. Interesting. Funny. Worldly.Read More
Last year at an estate sale up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the woman standing next to me remarked that this was the home of her deceased surgeon. "Sorry to hear that," I said. "Yeah," she replied, "Good thing my cleaning lady saw the obit. I was scheduled for a boob job that Tuesday."
Of course I immediately looked at her boobs. Couldn't have helped it if I tried. My glance answered my first question, which was whether she found a replacement surgeon. But the second question I asked myself went unanswered. Which was why. Why did this nice woman tell me, a perfect stranger, such a thing?Read More
I have a tiny powder room off the kitchen that I redid last summer in time for the wedding party we hosted. It is such a perfect little jewel box, I thought I'd share some photos.
The wallpaper is from the Brooklyn company, Flat Vernacular. Can you see the peacock pattern? They're arranged in mirror images so that they form a kind of chain link.
I decided on peacocks for a couple of reasons. First of all, peacocks are vain and this is a powder room. Second, peacocks are a symbol of Persian monarchy, referring to the Peacock Throne, a famous golden throne stolen from India by the Persians in 1739.
Also, the peacocks in this wallpaper have actual gold foil feathers -- irresistible to me because I am a child of the 1970s, and remember fondly the gaudy foil wallpapers that encased every rec room, bathroom, and foyer worth its weight.
The lucite tissue box and the pagoda shadow boxes are vintage of course. The mirror is from One King's Lane. The wall sconces are Thomas O'Brien. The sink, vanity, and commode are from the local toilet czar up the road, Kohler. I like shopping local.
Here's the best part of my powder room: a rubber rodent. For a while there, we had a mouse problem. I thought that if I kept a rubber mouse around the house, moving him from time to time, I would become conditioned to and perhaps fond of the sight of real mice. I did not become fond of real mice. What actually did happen is that I scared myself a million times. One would think a person would remember that the mouse was fake but one would be wrong.
I did figure out that this mouse does have a higher purpose. By attaching him with fishline to the back of the bathroom door, he scoots across the floor when the guest closes the bathroom door. The overall effect really breaks the ice at parties.
I don't have any rubber mice at present, but I do have two brass peacocks new at Finder Not Keeper. Click on the photos for shopping information.
I love house tours and try to share one each week in my newsletter. I also find interesting antiques from around the web. Sign up below and you'll receive the newsletter every Friday morning:
It is time for a new profile pic. I'll tell you the reason in a moment. I saw the photo on the left and decided that this was the look I needed.
Renn, my most trusted photographer, said, "No, I don't think this is going to work."
"But I'm a sexy laaady," I said.Read More
A few years ago, I watched the Albert Mayles documentary on Iris Apfel, the self-described nonagenarian starlet. Have you seen it? She's quite a woman, a darling of the New York fashion industry who worked as an editor at Vogue Magazine, founded her own textile company, decorated homes of the rich and famous, and recently stars in national ad campaigns for Kate Spade and Alexis Bittar.
But only once does she touch upon one reason for her success. The director asks her about children and she says, "You can't have it all. I knew that."
Oh, did those words sting me.Read More
In my suburban town, the unwritten dress code for girls attending prom is straightforward: juniors wear long gowns and seniors wear cocktail dresses. Over the years, as four sons attended, and I went to various houses to take photos, I never witnessed anyone who challenged this rule. Except for Clare.
Clare wore a vintage sari to prom.
Look at her. Was she not most fair and lovely? And so open to the world.Read More
My friend Patrick has created the most cozy and welcoming guest room (womb) that no one in their right mind would ever want to leave. I met Patrick because our husbands work together. He and Ed live about a mile away from us, so after you've toured this room, you'll understand my problem -- how to finagle a situation where I would be forced to stay in this incredible space. Snowstorm? Tequila shots? Dead car battery? Poltergeist? Help me out here.Read More
One afternoon last summer, I fell asleep on the patio and dreamt that a deer walked up and licked me. I awoke with a start and there in the distance stood a doe, gazing at me, and — I am not making this up —her eyes were filled with longing.
No surprise, really, when one considers that I am perpetually covered in a thin sheen of salt, a side-effect of hot flashes. That day was no different. To the doe, I must have appeared a rounded-off salt lick.Read More
This week's post is nothing at all about antiques or design. But you guys like it when I veer off topic. I know this because Mailchimp tells me so.
Mailchimp is the platform I use for sending my newsletter every Friday. I love Mailchimp, and I'll tell you why in a moment. But first, let's talk about the worst email I ever sent you, performance-wise.Read More
It was April in Wisconsin, the meanest month of the year when winter jabs a fat finger in your chest and laughs as she slowly backs out the door. Coincidentally, April also happened to be the name of my companion that night.
April and I can't go anywhere without drawing a lot of attention. Maybe because she's what you would call a long tall drink of water. Or a nice piece of wicker. She's one of those lucky dames who never has to contend with the usual midwestern roll of fat that can turn on your laptop if you're not careful. It's just not in her DNA.Read More
This photo is my sister's family room. I hope by now you can recognize my touch. She and I worked hard to accessorize that large expanse of shelving. Bookcases are difficult to make cohesive. I'll let you in on a couple of tricks.Read More
Recently, I attended Alt Summit, a conference for creative entrepreneurs. Alt Summit used to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, a logical setting for a conference organized by members of the Church of Latter Day Saints. I've attended twice in that location. But this year, founder Gabrielle Blair moved the whole shebang to Palm Springs, California, and the new setting made a big difference for some interesting reasons.Read More
Against a wintry backdrop, a man peruses a magazine while a woman shovels snow behind him. The couple are Don and Dottie Hagan, of Des Moines, Iowa, and something about their photo reminds me of Grant Wood's painting, American Gothic. Do you see it too? The Iowa setting, Don's deadpan expression, that shovel, the house in the background.
Unlike American Gothic's subjects, who were father and daughter, Don and Dottie are husband and wife. You won't be surprised to learn that they have been married for fifty-six years.
When I saw this photo, my first question was who took it?Read More
That very dashing young man in the header photo is my friend Max. As a film student, he produced both of the videos for Finder Not Keeper. We go back a long way. Late last year, he baited his Facebook hook with a very juicy worm of an opinion and the following conversation ensued through texts and Facebook messages. Max's commentary is gray. Mine is green and blue. We both use swears.Read More
Mr. Grant must be scowling at the news, and not because of the usual bumbling incompetence in the WJM-TV newsroom, but because his best hire ever, Mary Richards, has finally let him down.
Mary Tyler Moore passed away this week and right now, all I want to do is pull out a hide-a-bed, grab a box of kleenex and mourn Mary the way that she mourned Chuckles the Clown. Laughter and tears.Read More
I've always struggled with deadlines. Procrastination and I go way back. I tried to dump Procrastination but he was like the Navy seaman Jon Something-or-other who had a thing for me in 1979 and kept popping up outside our kitchen window, scaring the bejeezus out of my poor mother, until 1984 when he showed up AWOL and got put in the brig and finally left me alone.Read More
You did not misread that headline. I'm not writing about a "cold snap." In my Wisconsin world, this is "cold crack" season and I dread it like I dread a pile of unfolded fitted sheets.
To be honest, it's not exactly the crack that's cold. It's the upper jowls of the buttocks that retain coldness with an awful tenacity.
But "cold crack" has a nice ring to it. It's an anatomical alliteration that was invented by my friend Mike. He talks in rapid fire double entendres and makes puns in his sleep.Read More
I used to work in the adult fiction room at a suburban library -- the greatest job I ever held. It was better even than working as a counselor at a French camp where I received $200 a week for making moon eyes at a guy named Jean-Michel from Winnipeg. At the library, I brewed coffee, compiled reading lists, led a monthly book discussion, recommended titles to patrons, and never ceased to be amazed that every ten days, someone handed me a check for such "labor."Read More