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Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

Hauntingly Beaytiful Halloween www.paulawalton.com

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Hauntingly Beautiful Halloween www.paulawalton.com

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Hauntingly Beautiful Halloween www.paulawalton.com

Hauntingly Beautiful Halloween www.paulawalton.com

Hauntingly Beautiful Halloween www.paulawalton.com

Hauntingly Beautiful Halloween www.paulawalton.com

Hauntingly Beautiful Halloween www.paulawalton.com

Hauntingly Beautiful Halloween www.paulawalton.com

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Wishing you a very happy 2014!

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master bedroom www.paulawalton.com

More photos from early last December when Tess Rosch and Win Ross from Early American Life magazine came to photograph our house.  All of these photos are of our second floor.  I’m posting lots of views of our master bedroom which was not included in the magazine article.

Master bedroom www.paulawalton.com

All of the bed linens are antiques.  The sheets and pillow covers date to the mid – 19th century, except the tiny purple and white homespun pillowcase with handmade thread buttons and the purple and white overshot coverlet, which are earlier.  Look closely at the bottom right corner of the homespun pillowcase and you will see an embroidered red W!

evergreen draped canopy www.paulawalton.com

feather tree www.paulawalton.com

I collect purple vintage glass ornaments to hang on my master bedroom and kitchen Christmas trees.  Last year my collection adorned a white feather tree in our bedroom.  The tree was surrounded by my antique bisque dolls.  The three dolls on the left were all made from the same mold.  Brian gave me one of the dolls as a Christmas gift when we were living in Minnesota; it was my very first antique doll!

bisque dolls www.paulawalton.com

purple and green overshot lindsey woolset coverlet www.paulawalton.com

I buy antique purple and white lindsey woolsey coverlets whenever I find one.  In 38 years of collecting I’ve only seen four, and I own all of them!  The one shown in this photo is purple, green and white.

master bedroom hearth www.paulawalton.com

18th and 19th century infant christening pincushions www.paulawalton.com

Our bedroom mantle is hung with antique mid 19th century hand knitted children’s stockings and topped with 18th and 19th century infant pincushions.  These small handmade baby presents are one of my favorite collections.  The pincushion in the middle of the mantle is one of the reproductions that I make.  If you are interested in collecting antique infant pincushions/christening pillows Peggy McClard  usually has some for sale on her website.

mid 18th century blanket chest www.paulawalton.com

This red mid – 18th century blanket chest, with snipe hinges and bun feet, was previously in the collection of the Rhode Island Historical Society.

papier-mache milliner model dolls www.paulawalton.com

children's tree www.paulawalton.com

This is the Christmas tree in our guest bedroom.  It is surrounded with antique Martha Chase and Alabama Baby Indestructible Baby cloth dolls and antique mohair bears and bunnies.

18th century press bed www.paulawalton.com

handmade 19th century rocking horse www.paulawalton.com

The rocking horse in the upstairs guest room was carved in the later half of the 19th Century by an unknown maker.  I purchased it because of its resemblance to the Dare horses on the Watch Hill, Rhode Island and Oaks Bluffs, Massachusetts flying horses carousels, the two oldest carousels in the U.S.  On the shelf above is a paint decorated wooden tray.  Tiny c. 188o’s children’s stockings hang from the shelf, which also holds black and white early 19th Century transferware, a turn of the 20th Century chalkware Father Christmas purchased at a Paris flea market, and three miniature mohair bears that I made.

radio www.paulawalton.com

Our back upstairs hallway is home to the 1930’s radio that I gave Brian as a wedding gift. It holds 1920’s and 30’s dolls and toys.

www.paulawalton.com

The cat was very unimpressed by all of the fuss and excitement.

Walton-house-diagram-2flrIf the Early American Life article piqued your curiosity about our house, read on …

The following is information that I put together for Jeanmarie Andrews when she was writing the EAL article.

Owners:

The first deed to the house and property is obscure.  Extensive searches by Paula Walton and local historian Michael John Cavallaro have failed to turn up definitive information about the original owner of the house.  Mr. Cavallaro* has speculated that the house may have been built for John Nobel, the first Anglo-American to settle in the town in 1707, in his later years (2nd house ?).  Records at the New Milford Tax Assessors office give the construction date of the house as 1790.  If the house did belong to John Nobel at one time, then the house would be older than the 1790 date.

The first owner shown in existing files at the New Milford Town Hall was Ezra Ferris, born in 1804 in Milton, CT and a clothier by trade, who acquired the house around the time of his marriage to Sophronia Guild in 1829. The Ferris’ had three sons, Jay Ferris 1830-1863, Alban Guild Ferris born in 1832, and Hilliard Bryant Ferris 1839-1862.  Jay and Hilliard died while serving with the Union forces during the Civil War.  Ezra owned the house until his death of “old age” in 1895.

 The following owners were:

Delphine A. Clark and John D. Clark March, 1895- October, 1907

Julia M. Millington and Annis F. Martin October, 1907 – October, 1919

Bertha M. Roebling and John H. Roebling October, 1919 – 1961, when the deed was transferred to their daughter and son – law, Alice R. Cooper nee Roebling and George L. Cooper with the stipulation that the elder Roeblings retained “life use” of the home.

Alice R. Cooper and George L. Cooper 1961 – 1983

Mary Ellen Burns and Richard J. Zavoluk 1983 – November, 1990

Paula D. Walton and Brian R. Walton November, 1990 – to present time

Interesting Bits and Pieces:

 The Ferris’ raised three sons in the home, as did the Walton’s

 John Roebling was a farmer who also worked at theRobertson Bleachery & Dye Works, a fabric mill in New Milford, and according to one of his granddaughters, he would bring home so much cloth from the ends of the bolts that the bedroom on the main floor (currently the stenciled room) was so full of material that it was almost impossible to enter the room. Currently the attic and Paula’s studio, located on the site of the former chicken coop, are over flowing with fabric.  Thanks to the generosity of a friend, Paula does own several yards of cloth made at the Bleachery.  The same granddaughter recounted the fruits and vegetables that her grandmother, Bertha Roebling, grew in her kitchen garden.  Long before they knew what Bertha planted, Paula and Brian had planted and were growing the same things Bertha did (plus many more varieties).  When the Waltons first moved into their home, townspeople were still referring to house as “the Roebling house”

 Ezra Ferris had his occupation given as a clothier at the time of his marriage in 1829.  Several shoe lasts, dating from the 1820’s and 1830’s, with his initials on them remained in the house when the Waltons purchased it.  Paula routinely makes miniature reproduction leather shoes for her dolls and occasionally makes a few full size shoes as well.  She owns and uses two antique Singer shoemakers’ sewing machines.

 One of the owners of the house was a stonemason and there are many impressive examples of his work on the grounds surrounding the home.  Most notable is the stone lined pigpen with exterior and interior pens in the tack barn and a recessed area cut into the hillside behind the barn.

 There are three barns on the property, a cow barn, a tack barn and an 85-foot long tobacco barn.  The front half of the tobacco barn is pre-Revolutionary, and pre-dates the house, if the 1790 construction date is accurate; the back half of the tobacco barn was built following the Civil War.

 The house and barns sit on approximately 9-1/2 wooded acres.  A small brook runs behind the barns.  There were no surviving gardens when the Waltons purchased the house, other than one lone heirloom rose and a handful of naturalized bulbs.  Paula added numerous flower and herb beds and the couple worked together to create two large vegetable gardens and plant two-dozen heirloom fruit trees.

 In 1994 the Waltons were presented with a preservation citation and plaque from the New Milford Trust for Historic Preservation.

 The house was boarded up and sat empty for many years before being purchased by the Zavoluk-Burns.

Structural/Architectural/Interior Design Notes:

 The house has 42 windows and 39 doors.  All doorways, except one, have doors.  There are five exterior doors, there used to be seven, the previous owners removed two exterior doors and replaced them with windows.  All doors, except four, are antique – two of the four are newly made commercially purchased doors and two were constructed to fit odd size doorways.  31 out of the 42 windows are original to the house and retain almost all of their antique glass panes (one window opening in each bathroom was added and windows from elsewhere in the house/barn were used).

 The Waltons have replaced the roof on the house twice.  The first time they had multiple layers of asphalt shingles and the original wood shakes torn off and replaced with new cedar shakes.  Three sections of the roof leaked with the shakes, due to a very low pitch, and were subsequently replaced with standing seam copper.  In 2011, after incurring damage to the interior due to multiple instances of ice dams and additional storm damage, the Waltons had all of the cedar shakes removed and replaced with a standing seam steel roof.  The cedar shakes would normally have lasted much longer, but the roofing contractor had improperly installed them.

 The house has been repainted twice in the 23 years that the Waltons have owned it.  Most recently in 2012, when the entire exterior was scraped, sanded, repaired and painted by hand.  All of the windows were repaired and reglazed before painting.

 The house is comprised of nine rooms on the main floor, eight on the second floor, with an attic above the main c.1790 section of the house and the c.1840 addition.  There is a stone lined basement under the original 18th century house, with crawl spaces under the c.1840 and c.1890 additions.  The 18th century house has wide board chestnut floors; the 1890 addition has wide board pine floors.  The floors in the 1840 addition have been replaced.

The story goes that the four rooms in the 1890’s wing of the house were rented out to summer visitors.

 The Waltons have replaced virtually all of the lighting fixtures in the house with reproduction lighting.

 Going Room by Room:

 Main Floor:

Parlor: previous owners (Zavoluk-Burns) added a fireplace and antique mantle/surround.  Paula repainted the room in 1991, then later repaired cracks in the plaster ceiling, stripped portions of the ceiling, walls and woodwork to determine the original paint colors and repainted a second time, returning the ceiling to a pale buff color, the walls to a very light Prussian blue and the woodwork to white.  She also grain painted the fireplace mantle and surround.  The Shaker box stove was a Christmas present from Brian to Paula.  Brian had to convince furniture maker Ian Ingersoll to sell him the stove, one of two that he had displayed in his furniture shop in West Cornwall, CT. 

 Front Hall and Entryway: Paula repainted the woodwork in the hall and entryway soon after moving into the house.  She repainted all of the woodwork, with the help of her son Blair, in 2012.  Its current color is a very close match to its original dark terra verdi (green earth) paint.  Paula is in the process of painting a reproduction Rufus Porter mural in the hallway.  She has the scenes sketched in, a yellow ocher wash applied to the walls and the white background for the sky painted in.   Her son Colin, an illustrator, sketched the scene for one wall.

 Original 18th Century Kitchen: Brian removed vinyl floral wallpaper from the walls, and Paula repainted the walls and woodwork.  Later Paula and Brian repaired the plaster in the ceiling and repainted the walls with milk paint and repainted portions of the woodwork.  In April, 2011 a plaster and painting contractor repaired and repainted the ceiling, as part of the work done due to ice dam damage.  The original chestnut floor in this room has been covered over with narrow oak flooring by one of the previous owners (most probably the Roeblings).  The chimney was rebuilt from the first floor up in 1984, with four flues added, one dedicated to the furnace (which is a combination oil/wood burning furnace).  The Rumford cooking hearth still functions beautifully as does the beehive oven.  The woodwork color is a Spanish brown (actually a dark red) that was originally made by mixing brick dust and buttermilk and was the most common color used for kitchens in early America because it was so inexpensive.

 Main floor bedroom:  Was repainted by the Waltons a few years after moving to the house.  They also repaired the plaster ceiling where it leaked before the copper roof was added over a portion of this room.  The room had additional plaster repair and was repainted in April, 2011 by a contractor.  Paula, Brian and son Blair, sanded down the walls of this room after a botched glazing job done by the contractor, then Paula repainted all of the walls and woodwork.  Paula and a friend reglazed the walls with hand mixed paint, and then Paula stenciled all of the walls with some measuring assistance from Brian for stencil placement.

 “New” c.1840 Kitchen:  Brian removed vinyl wallpaper and fluorescent lighting that ran above the counters, plus one upper cabinet.  Paula and Brian repaired the ceiling and wall plaster.  Paula painted the ceiling, walls and woodwork, and then painted the Reproduction Rufus Porter mural (which she cleaned and touched up in the fall of 2012).  A contractor repainted the kitchen walls and ceiling in April, 2011.  Paula and son Blair repainted the woodwork and cabinets in the fall of 2012.  The kitchen sub-floor and flooring (Mexican tiles that look like bricks) were added by the Zavoluk-Burns when they had to pull up the original flooring and replace joists in the 1980’s, due to carpenter ant damage.  The Walton’s removed the Jenn-aire stove added by the Zavoluk-Burn’s to replace the wood burning cast iron stove that was in the house until 1983.  Brian laid a piece of cut stone on the floor to go under the “new” c. 1980’s Elmira Stoveworks reproduction range that they bought on eBay.  The woodwork in the kitchen is “claret colored” which is a color made by mixing Spanish brown with white.  Paula chose this color, as it seemed appropriate to paint the newer kitchen a pastel shade of the traditional spanish brown kitchen color.  She also likes the pale plum/lavender color because is goes so well with her extensive collection of purple transferware, which are the Waltons ”everyday” dishes.

 Pantry: The wallpaper was removed and a contractor did extensive plaster repair in April, 2011.  The walls and woodwork were painted to match the kitchen.  Brian removed the open shelving, covering two walls that was added by the Zavoluk-Burns.  Brian also cut down the height of one of the many antique cupboards, that Paula collected for 18 years until she had enough to fill the pantry.  Paula stripped peeling paint from some of the cupboards, which Brian sanded.  Brian painted the cupboard interiors and Paula painted with exteriors (with help from her daughter-in-law) with milk paint in a color that she hand mixed.  It took the Paula, Brian and all three of their sons to move the cupboards into the house and maneuver them into the pantry.

 First Floor Bathroom: This room was a “preserving room” where canning could be done outside of the main kitchen. It is located in what was originally an attached barn.  The Zavoluk-Burns turned this room into a bathroom and it was the only bathroom in the house when the Waltons purchased the home.  While Paula and Brian were still unpacking, after moving into the house, their children explored the barns and found where the cupboards from the preserving room and all of the canning jars had been moved and stored.  Brian and Paula cleaned and repaired the cupboards, and washed the canning jars.  One of the cupboards resides in the hallway, just off the kitchen and adjacent to the former “preserving” room, a second is in Paula’s office and the third is in her studio.  She uses the antique canning jars to store her huge supply of sewing notions. Brian removed the vinyl wallpaper and manufactured composite hardwood flooring.  He replaced the floor with boards that he removed from the attic (he put wideboard pine in the attic).  Paula stained and finished the floor, painted the walls and the woodwork.  The Waltons had the shower rebuilt about 10 years ago.  Paula and son Blair repainted the woodwork in 2012.

 Dining Room:  Brian removed vinyl wallpaper.  Paula painted the walls, ceiling and woodwork.  A contractor did plaster repair in 4/2011 and the walls and ceiling were repainted.  Plaster repair was done a second time in the fall of 2012 to rectify work done by the previous contractor. Paula and son Blair re-painted the ceiling, walls and woodwork.  Paula and friend Joy Gaiser stenciled the floor, with some help from Brian in figuring out the stencil layout.  Paula chose the historic salmon pink simply because she likes the color and it goes very well the multiple sets of pink depression glass that she has been collecting since she was 15.

 Paula’s Office: Paula repainted the walls and woodwork in the mid 1990’s.  This is the room she used as her sewing room until getting her new studio, which is located out by the barns on the site of the former chicken coop.

 Back Hallway: Paula repainted this hall in historic colors in the 1990’s.

 Laundry Room:  Part of the attached barn, turned into a laundry room by the Zavoluc-Burns.  Brian removed vinyl wallpaper and Paula painted the ceiling, walls and wood work in historic paint colors.

 Second Floor:

Master Bedroom:  This room was originally two rooms; a wall was removed by previous owners to create the current space.  The Zavoluc-Burns added a fireplace.  Paula and Brian bought the antique cast iron woodstove at a local flea market.  Paula had the mantle shelf made to match a built in shelf, original to the house, in the adjoining room.  Paula repainted this room immediately after the Waltons bought the house in 1990.  Brian chose the purple woodwork color to match one of the antique quilts that the couple has collected.  Plaster repair (due to ice dams) and painting was done in 4/2011 by a contractor.  Paula chose a slightly different purple for the woodwork the 2nd time around, this time matching the color to one of her several purple antique Lindsey-woolsey overshot coverlets.  A second contractor did additional plaster repair in the fall of 2012 to rectify mistakes made by the first plaster contactor.  Paula repainted the walls and ceiling.

 Tiny Bedroom:  This room was used as a nursery by the Zavoluk-Burns.  The Waltons had custom, stand alone, storage pieces built so that they can use this room as a Master closet.  The storage units are all free standing and can be removed to return the room to a bedroom, keeping it’s original plaster and woodwork intact.  Paula painted the woodwork and storage units in an historic paint color.  Plaster repair and painting was done in April, 2011 to repair water damage due to ice dams.

 Guest Room/ Sitting Room: We have used this room at different times as a sitting room and a guest bedroom.  Currently it is furnished as a bedroom. Plaster repair and painting was done in April, 2011 to repair ice dam related water damage.  The woodwork color has been painted to match the room’s original dark grey color.

 Upstairs Bathroom: When first built in the 1840’s this room served as a bed chamber, later when plumbing was added to the house the room was turned into a bathroom.  When the Walton’s purchased the house this room had been gutted.  They  hired a contractor to add plumbing, add one window, install the floor boards that Brian removed from the attic ( replacing the attic boards with wide pine planks), and build an L shaped wall.  The new wall allows the hallway, closet and 2nd floor office to be accessed when the bathroom is in use.  Paula stained the floorboards and painted the room.  There was extensive water damage to this room in the winter or 2010-2011, which was repaired in April , 2011.  The room was repainted at that time.  The toilet and one of the sinks are original to the house.  The Walton’s hunted to find the matching sink, urinal and foot bath at selvedge yards and antique shows.  The bathtub is an oversized reproduction.

Back Hallways: Along with the rest of the home, these hallways suffered water damage from ice dams in 2010-2011.  The hallway that leads to the office was also damaged by a tropical storm in the fall of 2011.  The ceilings and walls were repaired by contractors and repainted by both the contractors and the Walton’s.  The woodwork has been painted to match the original color of the 1890’s addition hallway.

Brian’s Office: This room was originally part of the attached barn.  The Zavoluc-Burns had floors built to create a second floor in the barn addition.  The barn had originally been open from floor to roof.  When the Walton’s first moved to the house, they used this room as a bedroom.

 Bedroom #1 1890’s Wing:

 Bedroom #2 1890’s Wing:  Sustained plaster damage due to ice dams.  The plaster was repaired in April, 2011 and the room was repainted, with the woodwork painted the same color as the back hallways on the second floor.

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Tess Rosch and Win Ross setting up to take photos in our 1790's kitchen as Brian looks on.

Tess Rosch and Win Ross setting up to take photos in our 1790 kitchen as Brian looks on.

On Saturday December 8, 2012 publisher Tess Rosch and photographer Winfield Ross of Early American Life arrived at our house slightly before 8 a.m.  They had originally planned to spend most of the day photographing, but due to a  snowstorm forecast for Pennsylvania and Ohio the following day, they revised their schedule and cut their visit to us in half so that they could drive back home ahead of the snow.  Win and Tess asked for a quick 10 minute tour of the house, then Tess chatted with us as Win moved from room to room with his lights and camera.  Tess had previously told me not to bother overly with arranging  vignettes throughout the house, since there would be plenty of time on Saturday to arrange items before photographing.  Imagine my surprise when she told me everything looked perfect as it was.  The only last minute additions necessary were  putting out the fresh beeswax candles that I hadn’t gotten to before they arrived, then lighting the candles and a fire in the hearth.  Tess cut one of the steamed puddings I had made and arranged a piece on a transferware plate and then we were set to go!

Here are some of my photos taken the day of the photo shoot.  They don’t compare to the gorgeous ones Win took, but they will give you an idea of what things looked like outside the frame of his lens.  You can read much more detailed captions about the items shown in the photos in the December 2013 issue of Early American Life.

Hearth www.paulawalton.com

just right www.paulawalton.com

looks good enough to eat www.paulawalton.com

finishing touches www.paulawalton.com

just perfect www.paulawalton.com

picture perfect www.paulawalton.com

Our front door and entry hallway.

Our front door and entry hallway.

Tiny shoes wait by the door for Saint Nicholas, along with carrots for his horse.

Tiny shoes wait by the door for Saint Nicholas, along with carrots for his horse.

Our parlor festooned with ever greens for the holidays.

Our parlor festooned with evergreens for the holidays.

One corner of the parlor houses a walnut cupboard filled with transferwear, early 19th century papier-mache millinar model dolls, and a few of my handmade bears.  It is topped by a tin flag box made by David Clagget, that holds Brian's father's memorial flag.

One corner of the parlor houses a walnut cupboard filled with transferwear, early 19th century papier-mache milliner model dolls, and a few of my handmade bears. It is topped by a tin flag box made by David Claggett, that holds Brian’s father’s memorial flag.

Waiting under the Christmas tree are some of my hand made reproduction Izannah Walker dolls and a pair of antique bears.

Waiting under the Christmas tree are some of my hand made reproduction Izannah Walker dolls and a pair of antique bears.

www.paulawalton.com

www.paulawalton.com

Three of my antique Izannah Walker dolls on top of a large corner cupboard that conceals a TV.

Three of my antique Izannah Walker dolls on top of a large corner cupboard that conceals a TV.

www.paulawalton.com

The fireplace in the parlor was added by previous owners.  I grain painted the mantle and surround.  Brian gave me the antique Shaker box stove as a present one Christmas.  A tiny child size metal carousel horse patiently waits along side the stove...

The fireplace in the parlor was added by previous owners. I grain painted the mantle and surround. Brian gave me the antique Shaker box stove as a present one Christmas. A tiny child size metal carousel horse patiently waits along side the stove…

A French papier-mache doll stands beside a small feather tree filled with some of the spun cotton ornaments that I make.

A French papier-mache doll stands beside a small feather tree filled with some of the spun cotton ornaments that I make.

My youngest son, Colin, painted portraits of himself and his two brothers as a Christmas present to me when he was majoring in Illustration at Pratt.

My youngest son, Colin, painted portraits of himself and his two brothers as a Christmas present to me when he was majoring in Illustration at Pratt.

The cooking hearth in our 1790's kitchen.

The cooking hearth in our 1790 kitchen.

Aview from the 1790's kitchen into the main floor bedchamber.

A view from the 1790 kitchen into the main floor bedchamber.

Looking from the 1790's kitchen into the dining room.

Looking from the 1790 kitchen into the dining room.

The Christmas tree in the 1790's kitchen.

The Christmas tree in the 1790 kitchen.

A folding 18th century campaign bed in the main floor bedchamber.

A folding 18th century campaign bed in the main floor bedchamber.

We assembled this rope bed from various bits and pieces of early 19th century beds, which I grain painted.

We assembled this rope bed from various bits and pieces of early 19th century beds, which I unified with grain painting.

A small Christmas tree graces the bay window in our 1840's kitchen.

A small Christmas tree graces the bay window in our 1840’s kitchen.

My favorite pie safe!

My favorite pie safe!

www.paulawalton.com

www.paulawalton.com

A child size C.W. Parker carousel horse that we restored gallops across the Rufus Porter style mural that I painted in the kitchen.

A child size C.W. Parker carousel horse that we restored gallops across the Rufus Porter style mural that I painted in the kitchen.

A rare child size M.C. Illions carousel horse stands a top a salmon painted pie safe from Brimfield, MA.  The crib quilt behind the horse is French, purchased from an antique shop in Paris.

A rare child size M.C. Illions carousel horse stands a top a salmon painted pie safe from Brimfield, MA. The crib quilt behind the horse is French, purchased from an antique shop in Paris.

www.paulawalton.com

www.paulawalton.com

The dining room is also home to a French carousel pig.

The dining room is also home to a French carousel pig.

My maternal great great grandfather made the one drawer black table.

My maternal great great grandfather made the one drawer black table.

One of my reproduction Izannah Walker dolls sits on a 19th century drop leaf table, with early salmon paint, along side 19th and early 20th century cloth dolls.  C. 1830-1840 milliners models fill the hanging box at the left.

One of my reproduction Izannah Walker dolls sits on a 19th century drop leaf table, with early salmon paint, along side 19th and early 20th century cloth dolls. C. 1830-1840 milliners models fill the hanging box at the left.

www.paulawalton.com

Remember Tess’s comment about the “dust not showing” ???  As you can see, even on a somewhat dreary December day our house is filled with light, so I did have to dust before they arrived!

To be continued…  Part 3 The Second Floor

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Not quite finished painting...

Not quite finished painting…

Last year in early September my phone rang with a call from Early American Life’s publisher, Tess Rosch.  “Why haven’t we ever shown your house in the magazine?” she asked.  My answer was simple, “Because it is always covered with thread and bits of fabric!”  She assured me this wouldn’t be a problem since they like to shoot with low lights so that the photos have the dark, cozy feel of an early interior, so “the dust won’t show”.  Then she asked me what I was doing in two weeks!  In a pure panic I explained that I was in the midst of getting ready to host an Izannah Walker doll making retreat in my studio at the end of the month, and the studio was still under construction, so I had 14 sewing machines sitting in my dining room at that very moment.  Plus I was having the exterior of the house painted and the windows repaired and re-glazed, a process that had been ongoing for four months with no end in sight.  Undaunted her next question was “Tell me what you do for Christmas?”.  The rest is history…

We spent all of October, November and the first part of December, right up until the wee morning  hours on the day of the photo shoot, getting the house ready to be photographed.  Here is a look back at some of the projects we took on.

For a closer look you can click on any photograph to enlarge it.

Duane Duncan and Linda Anderson had to finish priming and painting the exterior of our house.  They finally finished just a day or two before Tess and Win came to take photos.

Duane Duncan and Linda Anderson had to finish priming and painting the exterior of our house. The exterior of house had been scraped, sanded and repaired throughout the summer. They finally finished just a day or two before Tess and Win came to take photos.

Porch pillars had to be replaced for the second time since we bought the house.

Porch pillars had to be replaced for the second time since we bought the house.

My very dear friend Joy came over and together we repaired an antique quilt top from my stash to hang in my front 2nd floor hallway.

My very dear friend Joy came over and together we repaired an antique quilt top from my stash to hang in the  2nd floor hallway at the front of the house.

This quilt top was damaged when I bought it, so Joy and I removed one row of blocks and used the undamaged ones to repair the rest of the quilt top.  Without the extra row of blocks the quilt fits just perfectly on my 7 foot high upstairs wall.

This quilt top was damaged when I bought it, so Joy and I removed one row of blocks and used the undamaged ones to repair the rest of the quilt top. Without the extra row of blocks the quilt fits just perfectly on my 7 foot high upstairs wall.

I machine stitched binding around the edges of the quilt, then Joy took the top home and turned the binding under and hand stitched it by candle light during a power outage.  I faced the top border with muslin, then sewed velcro to the muslin.  Brian cut a piece of white pvc board to fit and we attached the other side of the velcro to the front of the board.  After that all that was left was to nail the board to the wall and attach the quilt top to it with the velcro.

I machine stitched binding around the edges of the quilt, then Joy took the top home and turned the binding under and hand stitched it by candle light during a power outage. I faced the top border with muslin, then sewed velcro to the muslin. Brian cut a piece of white pvc board to fit and we attached the other side of the velcro to the front of the board. After that all that was left was to nail the board to the wall and attach the quilt top to it with the velcro.

We had to re-do all the paint in the first floor bedroom, after a painter we hired botched the job.  The first set was sanding all of the walls so that when we repainted the paint would stay on the walls without peeling.

We had to re-do all the paint in the first floor bedroom, after a painter we hired botched the job. The first step was sanding all of the walls so that when we repainted the paint would stay on the walls without peeling.

Step two was to repaint all of the walls and the woodwork, plus touch up the ceiling edges.

Step two was to repaint all of the walls and the woodwork, plus touch up the ceiling edges.

Step 3 - Reglazing the walls to get a more even look.  My friend Joy helped me repaint two walls and rub the first coat of glaze on all of the walls.  I added a second coat to even out the color.

Step 3 – Reglazing the walls to get a more even look. My friend Joy helped me repaint two walls and rub the first coat of glaze on all of the walls. I added a second coat to even out the color.

Step 4 - Stenciling  I ordered pre-cut stencils from MB Historic Decor.  I had originally planned to cut my own, but nixed that because of time.  MB Historic Decor was wonderful, they had to overnight me a replacement order when my first set of stencils was lost in transit.  After I stenciled the first wall Brian pitched in and measured and marked most of the stencil placement for the remaining walls.

Step 4 – Stenciling I ordered pre-cut stencils from MB Historic Decor. I had originally planned to cut my own, but nixed that because of time. MB Historic Decor was wonderful, they had to overnight me a replacement order when my first set of stencils was lost in transit. After I stenciled the first wall Brian pitched in and measured and marked most of the stencil placement for the remaining walls.

Finished walls!

Finished walls!

Stenciling around the pipes for the hot water baseboard heat was tricky.

Stenciling around the pipes for the hot water baseboard heat was tricky.

After getting the bed back in  place we had to tighten the rope on the bed. Definitely a two person job!

After getting the bed back in place we had to tighten the rope on the bed. Definitely a two person job!

A couple of years ago we had ice dams, which caused a lot of water damage though out the house.  The first floor bedroom was one of the rooms that needed extensive plaster repair and repainting.  Because so many rooms had to be worked on we hired a painting and plaster contractor.  During a very traumatic two week period nine rooms, plus both stairwells and the surrounding hallways had plaster repair and were repainted.  As a treat to myself for living through the work, we had the contractor, who was supposedly an expert in decorative and faux painting, glaze the bedroom walls.  The glazing was the last thing he did and he rushed thorough it, slopped paint on the floor and ceiling and wound up with a very uneven, poor quality glazing job, quite different from the sample boards he had done for me.  It turned out that this bedroom wasn’t the only work we had to re-do.  Much of the repaired plaster failed and had to be done again.  Long story short, it’s sometimes much easier in the long run to do the work yourself!

Our scrub top kitchen table needed a little tlc.  We bought this table in Brimfield 15 years ago because it was the perfect size for our kitchen.  When we purchased it it had extra boards nailed on to it to brace the legs and it was covered in spilled paint and oil from years of being a wood working table.

Our scrub top kitchen table needed a little tlc. We bought this table in Brimfield, MA 15 years ago because it was the perfect size for our kitchen. When we purchased it it had extra boards nailed on to it to brace the legs and it was covered in spilled paint and oil from years of being a  work shop table.

My friend Joy bravely came back to help me stencil the dining room floor.

Joy bravely came back to help me stencil the dining room floor.

The floor stenciling actually went fairly quickly and was only a two day job.

The floor stenciling actually went fairly quickly and was only a two day job. The only really difficult part was determining the layout and spacing, which Brian helped with.

Working around the furniture.

Working around the furniture.

We took a break in our projects to celebrate Thanksgiving.

We took a break in our projects to celebrate Thanksgiving.

The day after Thanksgiving it was back to work, with my son Colin and his new bride, both professional artists lending a hand.  Eventually I ran out of time and quit working on the mural to concentrate on cleaning.

The day after Thanksgiving it was back to work, with my son Colin and his new bride, both professional artists, lending a hand. Eventually I ran out of time and quit working on the mural to concentrate on cleaning.

Other projects that I didn’t remember to photograph were:

– painting the kitchen cabnets

– repainting the kitchen woodwork

– painting all of the woodwork in the front stairwell and the adjoining upper and lower hallways, a huge project due to all of the doors and windows

– repairing the plaster on one wall and the ceiling of the dining room

-repainting the dining room wall, ceiling and woodwork

– repairing the plaster on the master bedroom walls and repainting

– making a mantle shelf for the master bedroom fireplace to match the shelf in the adjoining room

– repairing the plaster in the upper hallway and repainting

– grain painting the parlor fireplace surround

– cleaning and touching up the kitchen mural

– framing samplers

– hanging samplers and prints on the walls

– restoring a crib quilt to hang over the TV in the 1790’s kitchen and adding muslin facing and hanging loops

– an all out cleaning of all the gardens and flower beds ( our yard has never been so clean and ready for winter!)

– painting our bedframe

– repainting the main floor bathroom woodwork

Then came the decorating…

Brian and I went to a tree farm in near by Kent, CT the weekend before the photo shoot.

Brian and I went to a tree farm in near by Kent, CT the weekend before the photo shoot.

One tree down, three more to go.

One tree down, three more to go.

Four perfect Christmas trees!

Four perfect Christmas trees!

All the trees loaded for the trip back home.

All the trees loaded for the trip back home.

We cut fresh trees at a near by tree farm and got them put into stands, then three friends came to help me decorate the trees, garland the windows and ring the chandeliers with evergreens.   After that it was cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning, followed by a stint of baking and even more cleaning.  Which brings us to 3 a.m. on Photo Day, when I declared a halt and Brian, our middle son Blair, and I put down our dust rags and went to bed!  To be continued…

This is the bit where I say thank you to:

– Brian for cleaning, all of the yard work, filling in the carvings on our bedframe and helping me paint it, and being tolerant.

– Blair for helping me paint endless quantities of woodwork, countless doors and the occasional ceiling and wall.

– Colin for drawing on my hallway wall (can you even believe a mom would ever say that to her son?).

– JungHwa for mixing paint and working on the hallway mural.

– Joy for sewing, stenciling, painting, glazing, finding me the best evergreen roping, untangling a million Christmas lights, decorating trees and being a true friend.

– Susan and Kathy for dropping everything in their busy lives to come help me put up Christmas decorations.

– Linda Anderson and Duane Duncan for all of their hard work and expertise with exterior painting, repairing, glazing, plastering, and undertaking dozens of other tasks large and small.

– and yes I did edit the thank yous, everyone really did much more  but the list was getting very, very long…  I could not have done it without you!!!

* Curious about the ice dams I mentioned?  Click here to read more.

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You can see our home on the cover and in the article on pages 20-29 in the latest issue of Early American Life magazine.

You can see our home on the cover and in the article on pages 20-29 in the latest issue of Early American Life magazine.

The magazine is currently in the mail to subscribers and will be for sale on newsstands on Tuesday 10/22/13.

EAL-ad-1213- www.paulawalton.com

If you are still curious about our house after reading the great article written by Jeanmarie Andrews and seeing the wonderful photographs taken by Winfield Ross in the current issue of Early American Life, you may want to come back here to read upcoming posts-

Behind the Scenes – What You Didn’t See in the Magazine

A Search Through Time, The History of Our House

Looking Back at Our 2013 Vegetable Gardens

In the meantime I invite you to enjoy browsing through past posts and receipts (recipes).

Paula

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Yeast Raised Gingerbread paulawalton.com

Instead of cookies, cakes or candies, this year I am baking bread to give for Valentine’s presents.  There is nothing cozier than freshly baked bread to warm a winters day.pear tree in winter paulawalton.com

I wanted to bake sweet yeast breads redolent of 18th century flavors, something delicious that would evoke, but not copy the past.  I began my baking experiments with dark chocolate and coffee, both important beverages in 18th century England and her American colonies.

Chocolate Yeast Bread paulawalton.comChocolate Yeast Bread

This dark dense chocolate bread makes a wonderfully indulgent breakfast.  Loaves keep well at room temperature for several weeks during the winter, or may be frozen.  If by some miracle you have any left long enough for it to get a bit dried out, it makes an amazing bread pudding!

6 cups flour

2 cups warm brewed coffee

1 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa

1 cup Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate chips

3 Tbsp. active dry yeast

1/2 cup melted butter

Measure all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  Add warm (110-115 degrees) coffee and cooled melted butter.  Mix by hand with a large wooden spoon or use an electric mixer with a dough hook.  When your dough is completely mixed, shiny and smooth, stir in chocolate chips.  Turn out into an oiled bowl, lightly oil top of dough.  Cover with a clean cloth and set in a warm spot to rise until doubled.  heart shaped chocolate yeast bread paulawalton.comPunch down, and shape into heart shaped loaves on parchment or silpat covered baking sheets.  Chocolate yeast bread in terra cotta heart pans paulawalton.comAlternately shape into smooth loaves and put in heart shaped terra cotta bread pans.  Cover loaves and keep warm to rise.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, or build a brisk fire and ready reflector oven or dutch oven.

Cross my heart!

Cross my heart!

Slash tops of loaves in an X using a sharp knife.  Bake for 20- 40 minutes depending on the size of your loaves, being careful not to burn.

Chocolate and peanut butter, a classic combination...

Chocolate and peanut butter, a classic combination…

Delicious with whipped strawberry cream cheese.

Delicious with whipped strawberry cream cheese.

Red currant jam, alone or mixed with cream cheese compliment the deep rich chocolate.

Homemade red currant jam, alone or mixed with cream cheese compliments the deep rich chocolate.

After playing with chocolate I turned my hand to yeast raised gingerbread.  I had originally planned to stud my loaves with handfuls of crystallized ginger, but my husband found out that I was making gingerbread and immediately asked me not to put “those chunks” in it…  He knows me too well… I hadn’t even taken the ginger out of the pantry yet!

This recipe makes a soft moist bread,  not overly sweet, with a bite of ginger.  It can be baked into rolls or loaves and would make an outstanding base for cinnamon rolls.

Yeast Gingerbread Hearts paulawalton.comYeast Gingerbread

6 cups flour

2 Tbsp. yeast

1 Tbsp. baking powder

3 Tbsp. ground ginger

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups warm Earl Grey tea (I used Earl Grey Extra from Simpson and Vail)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. orange oil

2 Tbsp. rum

Measure all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  Add warm (110-115 degrees) tea and cooled melted butter, molasses, orange oil and rum.  Mix by hand with a large wooden spoon or use an electric mixer with a dough hook.  The dough will be soft and slightly sticky.

Turn out into an oiled bowl, lightly oil top of dough.  Cover with a clean cloth and set in a warm spot to rise until doubled.

Heart shaped yeast gingerbread paulawalton.comPunch down, and shape into heart shaped loaves on parchment or silpat covered baking sheets.  Or shape into rounded balls and put in a heart shaped cast iron muffin pan. Cover loaves and keep warm to rise.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, or build a brisk fire and ready reflector oven or dutch oven.

Slash tops of loaves in an X using a sharp knife.  Bake rolls for 15 – 20 minutes. Bake bread for 20- 40 minutes depending on the size of your loaves, being careful not to burn.

Serve with butter and ginger spread or apple butter.

Serve with butter and ginger spread or apple butter.

An Unexpected Yeast Bread…

Mace Shortbread CookiesMace Shortbread

3 cups flour

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar

1-1/2 cups butter

1/2 tsp. yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 tsp. mace

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

*Proof yeast in warm water for 5 minutes.  Measure flour, powdered sugar, mace and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl.  Add slightly softened butter and mix until all of the butter is worked into the dry ingredients.  Pour proofed yeast/water into bowl and beat until thoroughly incorporated.  Cover bowl with a clean dry cloth and set in a warm place for 1 hour, then chill for 30 minutes.

Roll dough out on a well floured surface to a scant 1/4 inch thickness and cut out with heart shaped cookie cutters.  Emboss the cookies by stamping them with new, washed rubber stamps that have been dusted with flour.   If desired, lightly brush ground nutmeg into the stamped designs before baking.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes, until just starting to very lightly brown at the edges.  Cool completely before removing from cookie sheets.

* 18th century shortbread receipts call for the addition of barm (yeast).  I followed this tradition when I developed this recipe.  I love mace and decided to add it, along with nutmeg to the cookies (both spices are part of the seeds of the nutmeg tree).

To see more Mace Shortbread Cookie photos visit my Izannah Walker Journal.

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May Day

Corinna’s Going A-Maying

by Robert Herrick

GET up, get up for shame, the blooming morn
Upon her wings presents the god unshorn.
See how Aurora throws her fair
Fresh-quilted colours through the air :
Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and see
The dew bespangling herb and tree.
Each flower has wept and bow’d toward the east
Above an hour since : yet you not dress’d ;
Nay ! not so much as out of bed?
When all the birds have matins said
And sung their thankful hymns, ’tis sin,
Nay, profanation to keep in,
Whereas a thousand virgins on this day
Spring, sooner than the lark, to fetch in May.


Rise and put on your foliage, and be seen
To come forth, like the spring-time, fresh and green,
And sweet as Flora.  Take no care
For jewels for your gown or hair :
Fear not ; the leaves will strew
Gems in abundance upon you :
Besides, the childhood of the day has kept,
Against you come, some orient pearls unwept ;
Come and receive them while the light
Hangs on the dew-locks of the night :
And Titan on the eastern hill
Retires himself, or else stands still
Till you come forth.   Wash, dress, be brief in praying :
Few beads are best when once we go a-Maying.


Come, my Corinna, come ; and, coming, mark
How each field turns a street, each street a park
Made green and trimm’d with trees : see how
Devotion gives each house a bough
Or branch : each porch, each door ere this
An ark, a tabernacle is,
Made up of white-thorn neatly interwove ;
As if here were those cooler shades of love.
Can such delights be in the street
And open fields and we not see’t ?
Come, we’ll abroad ; and let’s obey
The proclamation made for May :
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying ;
But, my Corinna, come, let’s go a-Maying.


There’s not a budding boy or girl this day
But is got up, and gone to bring in May.
A deal of youth, ere this, is come
Back, and with white-thorn laden home.
Some have despatch’d their cakes and cream
Before that we have left to dream :
And some have wept, and woo’d, and plighted troth,
And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth :
Many a green-gown has been given ;
Many a kiss, both odd and even :
Many a glance too has been sent
From out the eye, love’s firmament ;
Many a jest told of the keys betraying
This night, and locks pick’d, yet we’re not a-Maying.


Come, let us go while we are in our prime ;
And take the harmless folly of the time.
We shall grow old apace, and die
Before we know our liberty.
Our life is short, and our days run
As fast away as does the sun ;
And, as a vapour or a drop of rain
Once lost, can ne’er be found again,
So when or you or I are made
A fable, song, or fleeting shade,
All love, all liking, all delight
Lies drowned with us in endless night.
Then while time serves, and we are but decaying,
Come, my Corinna, come, let’s go a-Maying.

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Love Tokens

This is the time of year when I love to pull out my paper and scissors.  I have been busily snipping away and weaving hearts into hands.

SOLD - THANK YOU Woven heart in hand in a grain painted frame, 4 inch square opening, 6-1/2 inch square frame. $37.00

SOLD - THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR LOOKING Hand cut heart on watercolor background. 4-3/4 x 3-3/4 inch grain painted frame. $29.00

Woven hearts in hands in 3-3/4 x 4-3/4 inch grain painted frames. $30.00 each.

These are all one of a kind.  They aren’t up on my regular website yet, so if you would like to buy one send me an email, paula@asweetremembrance.com.  Free shipping to U.S. addresses.  I’ll be added more of these love tokens in the next day or two, so please come back to see them all 🙂

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Wishing you all the very best possible New Year and every happiness in 2012!

The perfect finish to 2011.  Sitting front of a cozy fire that is burning merrily in our stone lined cooking hearth; sipping champagne from my grandmother’s champagne shells, nibbling on lavender vanilla sugar cookies…

Lavender Vanilla Sugar Cookies

4 cups flour

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 pound butter

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp ground vanilla beans

1 Tbsp dried lavender

for decoration:

Cake Mate Cupcake Gems in Glitter Gold and Shimmer Silver (or try pearl sugar)

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs.  Stir in flour, salt, baking powder, ground vanilla beans and lavender.  Chill.  Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness on floured surface.  Cut with desired cookie cutters (preferably antique 🙂 ) Place on baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper.  Sprinkle with silver or gold sugar.  Bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.  Cookies should not brown, but stay very pale around the edges.

Lavender Vanilla Sugar Cookies

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