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Vintage, Retro, and just old

There's nothing more frustrating than web shopping for vintage housewares and finding craptastic 1980s worn out stuff. Just because it's old doesn't make it vintage or retro. These things must be in good condition, represent the era it was created, and reflect quality. Its like a car--it can't just be vintage because it was built in 1972. They built some shit then too. D:

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Good Asian Markets?

I'm looking for some good grocers for my NYE party and I hoped people would have some suggestions. I can use for the majority of my needs, but I still have a few more obscure ingredients that I need--like Chinese chives and water chestnuts. I know I could always trot out to the Dekalb Farmers Market, but it's far and crowded. Anyone know any small local stores that would have what I need?

If you haven't tried, I insist you do! They deliver next day to the greater Atlanta area--and their goods are always fresh and on time. In most cases, I wake up and find I've already had a delivery. There is a five dollar convenience fee, but that's tiny for the time you save fighting at the store or going out in the middle of the night to prep for the week's meals.

I'll post about my dim sum NYE party later today!
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Holiday Baking and Bootlegging; or, Martha Stewart meets My Aunt Dolly

So shortly after I finished my Christmas cards and ornaments, I moved on to baking, baking, baking. I have a Wilton cookie press that I only break out for the holidays, so I dusted it off and filled it with vanilla sugar cookie dough. I sprinkled cinnamon sugar on the cookies and baked them--and then repeated the process for the next few days.

Christmas for me doesn't only represent an Americana tradition; it also reminds me of growing up in a Jamaican household. So along with egg nog and sugar cookies in the shapes of Christmas trees, I also feel the urge to make traditional Jamaican holiday fare. Collapse )

Now that I have these things in the works, it reminds me that my move from New York (little JA) to Atlanta has introduced me the the pleasures of Southern cooking, but when it comes to feeling truly domestic, truly like a homemaker, it's my Jamaican taste that wants to be sated. So while I'm still loving Martha Stewart, I'm also loving Aunty Dolly and Cousin Hyacinth for their delicious contributions to my ideas about the holidays and home.


If you look closely, you can see my Martha-inspired ornaments too! So tell me friends, what are you doing this week to feel domestic? How are you enjoying your home this holiday season?
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Continuing my research on the dresser and photos

After I cross-posted my entry on the photos to myhappyhome , I got some useful tips on dating my dresser, and, perhaps, dating the photos more accurately. soylentpurple gave me a link that uses furniture handles as a guide for determining a piece of furniture's age. So I looked at my dresser handles.
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From this, I'm fairly convinced we have an original Sheraton dresser. This dresser is significantly older than the images we found in it, so I'm guessing it may have been a family heirloom. Given that it's over 150 years older than our house, I'm going to keep it as OUR heirloom.

James Baldwin collection: 1950s
our house: 1920
the photos: 1880(?)
the dresser: 1780(?)

I love these historical layers. After traveling to Germany this summer, I bemoaned the absence of anything truly old in the United States. I wanted to find something that represented permanence here. That's why I love my old house. That's why I love the South, even with its problems. I value that which has withstood time AND changing values and mores. I hope my house (and the things within it) withstand too. I hope to preserve them for my future generations so that they will understand the important of making things that last.

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Antique Dresser and extremely old photographs

While redecorating for Christmas, my husband and I discovered some extremely old photos in the back of the dresser we were given by a friend. The dresser is very old and beautiful; we gauged it at probably 70 or 80 years old, but now we think it may be more like 100-150 years old.
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What this tells me is that the dresser is closer to 150 years old than 80 years old. AND WE GOT IT FOR FREE. I intend to find out any information our friend--who graciously gave it to us--has on it. We've moved it into the downstairs hallway, the entrance way basically, to help add to the feeling of age in our home.

Between the dresser, the photos, the sconces, the dining table, my book collection, and the actual house, our space is really starting to feel like layers and layers of history. I just can't believe it. I always wanted to be a part of a narrative that spans beyond the 20th century, and now I feel like I'm on my way.

x-posted to myhappyhome
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Winter Baby Shower: Thumbelina-themed

My girlfriend is having her first baby--a girl--and asked me to plan her shower. We know the baby's a girl--and given her personality in the womb, her mom's personality, and all the women that'll influence her over time, we know she'll be so creative. I wanted her shower to reflect daintiness, classical taste, and ladylike qualities. Usually people go with princess themes or some other kind of fairy tale, but I wanted to do something more extraordinary. Thumbelina is the fairytale of a woman who wanted a child but was barren. She was blessed with a plant that grew a tiny little girl in the center of a flower. Through a wonderful adventure, the little girl, Thumbelina is introduced to a community of fairies and is married to the fairy prince.

My shower is built around growing things and tiny children. The tenderness of little Thumbelina. We're going to a tiny French bistro for brunch--petit fours and scones. Winter vegetables. We'll play baby games and fairytale games; I'm thinking guess the fairytale character and the traditional don't-say-baby game. I've made tiny gift bags filled with plant seeds for the guests to plant, along with instructions, so it will grow as the baby grows. Here's my initial bag decoration design:
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Holiday Homemade Ornaments

Christmastime makes the domestic goddess in me sing! I've got stuffed dates for a holiday party we're going to tonight and Christmas cookie dough ready to go in the cookie press. But, to me, I can't think Christmas until we get that tree. This weekend is the weekend for buying it--woo! I'm envisioning a Douglass Fir--if we can get one down South--that's tall and relatively thin. Since we have tall ceilings, I'd like to make use of that.

Thanks to Martha Stewart, I've learned how to make the coolest Christmas ornaments for my tree. They're pretty, vintage-looking, and easy to make. I'll link to her instructions on her website.

I made a bunch of the Christmas card orbs from cards that looked more classic and I'm going to hang them with a combination of clear tree lights and popcorn "tinsel". I am also going to add some quilted ornaments too like these:

Anyone have any other good ideas for a homemade, vintage-styled tree? Maybe I should switch popcorn strings for cranberries?

Transplant shock what?

So I didn't harden my plants as long as I should have and as soon as I planted my peppers, they curled! They refuse to spread out and grow more foliage. I am not sure what I need to do to save them--at this point I may just buy THE DREADED seedlings from the store in order to save time and get enough vegetables for the season.
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This is a process, right?
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Restoring our dining table

When we first bought our house, my mother shipped us "an antique expensive table" for us to use in our dining room. I was thrilled to have a table that would really make the room--it's 14x16 with a period fireplace--and I waited everyday for the shipment to arrive. When it came, I confess myself disappointed. It was large and wood, extremely intense-looking, but the table had tons of wood rot, splintering, and weak points. I couldn't entertain without a tablecloth, or my guests would get splinters. Of course, I couldn't tell my mother that the table she bragged about may have been nice at one time, but mishandling and no maintenance had all but ruined it.

Instead, the hubby decided to repair it.

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I think it worked out quite well. We have a few more projects that I haven't shared:

-temporary dining room floor (laminate)
-running data throughout the house (internet for all!)
-raised bed is full of 09 veggies!

I will post on haste!


Spring Garden Tilling

x-posted to ljatlanta, atlanta, atlanta-living:

Hi everyone,

Spring is right around the corner and with the economy spiraling out of control, now is a great time to prepare a garden in your backyard. I can help with tilling any size garden, including spreading and mixing in organic compost.

For the rest of February I am offering to till any garden up to 1000 square feet for $75. If you need raised beds add $50. Please contact me for availability.

a Girl and her Tractor, LLC offers garden tilling, grading, bobcat and excavation services to the metro Atlanta area.