December 27, 2010

Cans For Comments Total!

Despite Morgan's protestations ("BAD PITURE OF ME BY TREE. LOOK DRUNK. POST NUTHER.") We're taking the rest of the week off, so it's time to tally up our donation on your behalf to Kate's Kitchen. For every comment left on Holyoke Home posts since December 7th, we're donating one canned good or non-perishable item to local hero Kate's Kitchen. I am blessed to have you kind readers here visiting and leaving comments. In this season of giving and showing love to others, it will be such joy to support our local food bank.

Interweb drum roll please.....................

The grand total was 142 comments! We like nice round numbers, so we're going to make it 150. With pictures of the donation to come in the new year, Holyoke Home wishes you and yours the bounty of the season. Thanks for helping make others lives more bountiful too!

December 24, 2010

A Special Ornament

**For every comment left on Holyoke Home posts from December 7th-December 31st 2010, we will donate one canned good or non-perishable item to local hero Kate's Kitchen.  We're up to 130 comments so far! Keep up the good work by leaving a comment!**

***I'm re-posting (with edits) this family Christmas story. Merry Christmas everyone.***
 
My mother spent last December on her hands and knees in a basement crawl space. 
 
You see, she decided to "weed out her stash" of Christmas decorations. For years, she carefully balanced mountains of holiday CRAP items in the pine scented closet under her basement stairs.  Want to see what forty years of Christmas YA-HA looks like?  Okay.  All we ask is that you open the door CAREFULLY: A collection of green Santas, (Seriously.  If it was Santa? And he was green as opposed to red? He's probably in there), innumerable ornaments, evergreen swags a go-go, christmasy candles, at least two creches, advent calendars, wreaths,  all sizes of plastic trees carefully packed up with lights and ornaments intact, holiday themed welcome mats and wind socks, and a multitude of heavenly hosts singing, "Glory to God on the highest! And peace to his people on earth!"
 
She asked what my sister and I wanted.  I could have had it all, a smorgasbord of green Santas.  A ton of tinsel.  A plenitude of painted pine cones. But the only thing I wanted? The one treasure? A Christmas ornament my mother bought for me when I was a little girl. A very talkative little girl with dark brown hair and awkward little-girl glasses, who was crazy about Wonder Woman.


Someone took a clothes pin and made it into my hero.  For a little girl, it was right up there with turning water into wine. Holyoke Home wishes you and yours miracles big and small this holiday season.

December 22, 2010

Cheap-Ass Holiday Decorating + Cans for Comments!

**For every comment left on Holyoke Home posts from December 7th-December 31st 2010, we will donate one canned good or non-perishable item to local hero Kate's Kitchen.  We're up to 115 comments so far! Keep up the good work by leaving a comment!**

Times are tough. Also? The thought of going to the mall makes me want to poke my eyeballs out with my mid-century modern salad tongs. So, in a sudden and homey burst of creativity, I used paper left over from my delicious coffee table makeover and a few other projects that necessitated buying ridiculously charming paper from Essentials (a store in which absolutely NOTHING is essential) to make some cheap-ass holiday decorations.

Self-Deprecating Aside
Hello? Design*Sponge Tuesday 'Before and After' editor? Check you e-mail for my hawt coffee table makeover. From like 6 months ago. And 3 months ago. And possibly last week (insert sound of crickets.)
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd scene.

December 20, 2010

Morgan Monday + Cans for Comments

**For every comment left on Holyoke Home posts from December 7th-December 31st 2010, we will donate one canned good or non-perishable item to local hero Kate's Kitchen.  We're up to 103 comments so far! Keep up the good work by leaving a comment!**
Oh. How I adore this little bread box size fart machine.  What's Morgan Thinking? Leave your answer in the comments.

December 17, 2010

Friday Holyoke Fix: Holyoke Merry Go Round + Cans for Comments

**For every comment left on Holyoke Home posts from December 7th-December 31st 2010, we will donate one canned good or non-perishable item to local hero Kate's Kitchen.  We're up to 90 comments so far! Keep up the good work by leaving a comment!**

Lucky, lucky Holyoke.  Our fair city operates a beautiful, colorful, and musical Merry-Go-Round downtown, next to the Children's Museum. Holyoke is also home to amazing local photographers. And I am lucky enough to feature one of them today.  Peter Palombella, sometimes better known by his online handle VanDog, is a photographer and blogger in Holyoke covering local events. From politics to arts and culture, Peter is usually on the scene. More of Peter's lovely images can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ramblingvandog/sets/72157625524582234/

I am blown away by these images every time I look at them. Their beauty continues to stun me.

December 14, 2010

Cans For Comments Update

Hello my little birdies! I want to give you a 'cans for comments' update. We're up to 65 comments on December posts. For every comment left on Holyoke Home posts from December 7th-December 31st 2010, we will donate one canned good or non-perishable item to local hero Kate's Kitchen. I am blessed to have you kind readers here visiting. In this season of giving and showing love to others, it will be such joy to support our local food bank. Don't hold back! Leave a comment!

Is it tacky to leave wreaths on front doors through February? Do I care?

December 13, 2010

Thank You Monsanto + Cans for Comments!

**For every comment left on Holyoke Home posts from December 7th-December 31st 2010, we will donate one canned good or non-perishable item to local hero Kate's Kitchen*. I am blessed to have you kind readers here visiting and leaving comments. In this season of giving and showing love to others, it will be such joy to support our local food bank. Don't hold back! Leave a comment!**

Remember the two red pots I planted with sweet potato vines and licorice this summer?
While cleaning out the pots for the winter, I found an ACTUAL SWEET POTATO. I'm not going to eat it, but (don't tell Monsanto) I am going to put it in the basement, plant it next year, and see what happens.

p to the s: for those of you in agricultural zones 5 and above, the green in that picture above kills me a little.










* up to 500 items

December 10, 2010

Friday Holyoke Fix: Wistariahurst Museum + Cans for Comments!

**For every comment left on Holyoke Home from December 7th-December 31st, we will donate one canned good or non-perishable item to local hero Kate's Kitchen*.  Don't hold back! Leave a comment!**

***ALSO? All photographs in this post - though taken by me -appear courtesy of Wistariahurst Museum, Holyoke, Massachusetts. Please don't reproduce them.***

This week's Friday Holyoke Fix features a local museum. I've written about Wistariahurst Museum before. Wistariahurst (no, I'm not spelling it wrong) was originally the home of a prominent mill owner in Holyoke, William Skinner.  The house includes a conservatory/breakfast room with a window that might have been designed by Tiffany.
The buildings and grounds were owned continually by the Skinner family from 1874 to 1959, when Skinner heirs gave Wistariahurst to the City of Holyoke. With no endowment. Or furniture. Or endowment. And through a lot of love and volunteer hours, the dining room ceiling still looks like this.

December 8, 2010

Cans For Comments!!

For every comment left on Holyoke Home posts from December 7th-December 31st 2010, we will donate one canned good or non-perishable item to local hero Kate's Kitchen*. I am blessed to have you kind readers here visiting and leaving comments. In this season of giving and showing love to others, it will be such joy to support our local food bank. Don't hold back! Leave a comment!
Examples of the kind of items to be donated:
Wait a minute.........WHAT the WHAT?
*up to 500 items

December 7, 2010

Home Improvement Give Me Hives

According to Mr. Man there are two home renovation truisms (and he's an architect, so he ought to know):
1. Demolition is a lot of fun.
2. However long you think a project will take after demolition, multiply by ten. And then multiply by ten again.

These truisms result in two of my own:
1. Hives. Itchy.
2. Seriously. Do we have any benedryl?

Long time readers might remember that our upstairs 'bathroom makeover' project has evolved into a 'bathroom makeover plus also insulation and some other stuff' project. This weekend, we moved that project forward!

Our row house doesn't have an attic. Like typical row houses, we have small crawl space that narrows toward the back of the house. We demoed the upstairs office ceiling because we want to super insulate the house. The front of the house has enough space for loose blown cellulose, but the back part only had six inches between the ceiling and the roof.  Because the space was tight, we have to dense pack the cellulose. To avoid moisture issues, we need a minimum of 10 inches of dense pack. We demoed the ceiling to create a big enough cavity to get in 10 inches or more of dense pack cellulose. Before:
After:
No wait! Wrong picture. Here's the real after:
Next, we'll drop the ceiling, put sheet rock up, and call in our contractor to dense pack.

December 3, 2010

Friday Holyoke Fix: Holyoke Canal Tour 2010

**Until next Spring/Summer - when our Friday weekly farm share starts up again - Holyoke Home is posting images/stories/events happening in our fair city.** 

Holyoke (as we know it) was built in the second half of the 19th century next to a 60 foot drop in the Connecticut River to power INDUSTRY.  Some of the ingredients that once made Holyoke a bustling, rich city - renewable water power, a dense urban core, and GORGEOUS mill buildings - remain. In fact, approximately 50% of Holyoke's electricity comes from renewable energy via hydro electric generators at the Holyoke Dam and along our 4 mile, 3 level canal system.

Twice a year, the canals are drained for maintenance. I was lucky enough to join a group of folks inspecting two operating water wheels at Open Square

December 1, 2010

'Tis The Season To NOT BRING PEOPLE SMELLY CANDLES

Is it because I live in the land of Yankee Candle? Why do people bring me smelly candles?

I.
Hate.
Them.

Disclosure: I save the smelly candles for two years. And then I re-gift them back to the person who gifted them to begin with. Because: they obviously like smelly candles (they gave them as a gift! It isn't mean!), but I don't want to be a jackass (two years - so as not to be completely obvious).

Gets them out of my house and into a good home.

What do you re-gift?

November 29, 2010

What is Morgan Thinking?

As always, leave your answer to the question 'What is Morgan Thinking?' in the comments and come back later to read everyone else's funny responses.

November 24, 2010

Mid-Century Modern Moratorium

Mr. Man declared a mid-century modern moratorium until further notice because our Holyoke Home is "starting to look like a Mad Men set."

........................I know, right?

Because we each get veto power about what comes into the house, I was prepared to sell these on ebay. I was. I would not have hidden them in my underwear drawer, occasionally cradling them like two silvery and teak babies. No. I would definitely have sold them on e-bay. Thank you Mr. Man for letting me keep them.


November 22, 2010

How Not To Market Your Blog

We started Holyoke Home a year and a half ago, and other than a personalized banner design at the beginning (thanks www.artbureau.com) and a few code tweaks here and there, Holyoke Home was pretty standard Home and Garden blog visually.  I worked with www.cdevision.com on a new look LAST MONTH. Oops. I am clearly a GENIUS marketer.

I hope you've been enjoying noticed the changes.

November 19, 2010

Friday Holyoke Fix: Canalwalk

I'm still totally bummed our farm share doesn't resume until next May or June. I miss the farm, I miss the veggies, and also? I miss knowing what the hell heck golly gosh to post on Fridays.  I've thought about new Friday post themes for our Home and Garden blog:
-No Farm Share Friday
-White Girl Rap Friday
And then I stopped thinking, because I was clearly high. But then I thought: I take pictures of my fair city all the time, and y'all seem to like 'em.  So until Friday Farm Share resumes, Holyoke Home will host 'Friday Holyoke Fix', featuring images of events, buildings, and people in the 'Yoke. First up? Me trying to be artsy. I took these on a walk along the first level canal downtown.
 Standing just south of the first level canal looking at the top floor of the Holyoke Die Cut Card Building, with city hall in the background. 

November 17, 2010

Grand Rapids Mid-Century Haul (continued)

Am I starting to piss some of you off with the PLENITUDE of my mid-century modern HAUL from Grand Rapids Michigan? That wouldn't give me a tiny sick pleasure at all. Not at all.


November 15, 2010

Holyoke Home of the Week

Like most home owners, I'm PARTICULARLY interested in homes for sale in my neighborhood; what are they like on the inside? When was it built? What changes have occured to the interior and exterior over time? It's pretty unusual - and thus very pleasurable - to know the answer to ANY of these questions, much less ALL of them. That's why this Holyoke Home of the Week is pretty special.

This home is one block from our Holyoke Home and Garden Blog central.  Morgan and I walk by it all the time, and I've often thought, "Boy, looks like someone really put a lot into that house." I had no idea. Before I show you the inside, let me show you a before and after. Before:

November 8, 2010

Our Upstairs Is Like the Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly

So maybe you've noticed a dearth of posts on the subject of the actual HOME that is SUPPOSEDLY the subject of this blog? I mean honestly, we've lived here over a year, and the only project we've completed is the kitchen?! If we don't finish something soon, we'll have our blogger's license taken away.

And I really need that toaster.

Long ago, when we first moved in, Mr. Man and I negotiated a limit on the total number of 'ongoing' projects allowed at any one time. It doesn't bother Mr. Man to have holes in walls, or floors, or ceilings, or a combo platter of ALL THREE.  But for some reason when things in the house are askew, it totally freaks me out. It gives me hives and one really twitchy eye.



Believe it or not, ALL THE HOLES ARE RELATED (twitch twitch.)

Before we can move the bathroom project forward (hole #1), we have to deal with........a plumbing issue. We ripped up the floor to fix the joist, and it turns out the plumbing isn't quite legal. We're missing a sink vent. Why is a vent important?  According to Mr. Man, there's a danger that when you flush the toilet, it would pull the water from the trap for the sink or the tub out, resulting in wonderful odors and explosive gases entering the bathroom.

Yes. He actually said 'explosive gases.'

We discovered the original vent for the sink. Unfortunately it's in the location of the toilet. So, if we want the toilet to stay in it's current location, we have to install a new vent for the sink. So we needed to rip a wall open to see if it was possible to put the vent in the wall (hole #2). 

Now, at the same time, we are trying to insulate the attic. One of the issues of insulating is, you need to get a vent into the attic from the bathroom to deal with moisture issues, so we needed to.........wait for it.............poke a hole in the ceiling to see about clearance (hole #3).

Twitch twitch twitch. I'm singing that song about the Old lady who swallowed a fly. 

I know of a couple who bought an old house.
They demoed the bathroom to redo the floor,
They opened the floor to check the joist,
They married the joist to a big steel plate,
They noticed the plumbing didn't look right.
They opened the wall to fix the plumbing.
They opened the ceiling to vent the bathroom.

I don't know why they bought the house,
You'll occasionally hear them grouse. (twitch) 


November 4, 2010

Grand Rapids Mid-Century Haul (continued)

As if the brass, teak and glass rolling cart wasn't enough, my trip to Grand Rapids (the mid-century modern center of the universe) also brought me this mid-century modern RECORD ALBUM holder (Holla back if you know what a record album is.) I could tell you what I paid, but then you'd want to kill me.

I'm thinking bed-side table. What do you think? It's completely empty inside.

November 1, 2010

What is Morgan Thinking?

**Leave your answers in the comments! Click on the image to see a larger version.**

October 29, 2010

Last Friday Farm Share (until 2011)

**Every Friday since May, Holyoke Home has posted images from our weekly farm share at Mountain View Farm. For little birdies in the area, 2011 Farm Shares at Mountain View are available! Contact the farm to bring all the gorgeousness you've seen here to your home.**

There were extra butternut squash this week per share - just to make the end of the season that much more bittersweet?
But there was also extra cabbage, so.......

October 27, 2010

Say It With Me: Bumping Out

To make room for the five red twig dogwood trees, I had to move a lot of perennials: a hosta or two, a big clump of pink phlox, and a hyssop bush (<-they smell SO GOOD, are a very pretty chartreuse color and are virtually indestructible. If hyssop bushes had a Facebook page, I would 'like' them.)

There was no space within existing beds, so I had to......bump out the beds. Bumping out. It's a nice and non-threatening way to describe the act of increasing the size of something. (One can also 'bump out' a dining room or a living room, for example.) Here's the before:


October 25, 2010

Red Twig Dogwoods

Found an AWESOME deal on red twig dogwood trees at a local nursery, where I'd gone to get more Moo Doo for the garden (you can never have too much Moo Doo. Seriously. Buy three more bags than you think you need. I am not being paid to say this.)
Unfortunately (sometimes) for Mr. Man, I come from planet If-One-Is-Good-Then-It-Totally-Makes-Sense-That-Four-Is-Way-Better-Right? But knowing that an odd number of plants is more visually appealing we purchased five. Five red twig dogwood trees.  And Moo Doo. And mulch.  So then I was obligated to plant them. Red Twig Dogwoods provide gorgeous color in winter, and these will produce lovely white flowers in spring. All season awesome. I started playing around with placement.
I really took my time because once you plant a five gallon container of dirt, you don't want to move it.

October 22, 2010

Friday Farm Share!

**Every Friday, Holyoke Home posts images from our weekly farm share at Mountain View Farm. For little birdies in the area, 2011 Farm Shares at Mountain View are available! Contact the farm to bring all the gorgeousness you've seen here to your home.**

It was a cloudy fall day this week at Mountain View.  The clouds made lighting images a little tricky. One of these days.......

October 21, 2010

Mr. Man Speakifying

Mr. Man: Our house is starting to look like a Mad Man set.
Me: Oooh! Do we win something?

October 20, 2010

Moving the Ball Down the Field

So, the bathroom is nowhere CLOSE to being done, but I'm delighted to report we moved the ball a little further down the field this weekend. And since this is supposed to be a Home and Garden blog - not a 'Look what I Found at the Salvation Army' blog, that's good thing. And I'm not even sorry about the football metaphor because it's fall and I grew up in Michigan and I am the daughter of two generations of Michigan State football fans (Go Spartans.) Click this link if you need the bathroom renovation back story.

Weeks ago, Mr. Man cut a LOOOOOOOOOONG and surprisingly (to me) heavy piece of thick steel plate the height of the floor joist that needs reinforcing.  When I asked him how he cut the steel, and he looked at me plainly and said, "with a torch."

Uh. Okay.

We had to put this:
 in here:

October 18, 2010

The Mid-Century Modern Center of the Universe

I’ve been holding out on you.  For weeks now.

You know when you find a retail therapy location that is so yummy and cool, you don't tell anyone about it - lest some OTHER PERSON grab that cute skirt in your size? Well. I found the mid-century modern equivalent in GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN (This makes total sense, actually, given that Grand Rapids is the home of Herman-Miller, Steelcase, Stowe-Davis, etc.)  Grand Rapids' mid-century modern cup runneth freaking over.

October 15, 2010

White Girl Friday Rap

White (very) Girl Friday Rap (insert your own beatbox sounds for added entertainment)

From the F to the R to the I to the DAY,
I've worked all week and made some pay so
Stamp the check b/4 it goes up in smoke y'all
At the Credit Union (cause we shop local.)

Don't get me wrong, I sure am grateful for
A roof and a bed and a spadeful of dirt
To dig! And plant! And holy shit!
Get those red-twig dogwoods in the ground QUICK,
'Cause a super hard frost? Just around the corner.
But the bathroom project needs to move FORWARD.
No progress? No posts. No posts? No Feed!
And with nothing cool for readers to see?
They're off to another blog about the H and the G.

From the F to the R to the I to the DAY,
I've worked all week and made some pay so
Stamp the check b/4 it goes up in smoke y'all
At the Credit Union (cause we shop local.)

October 11, 2010

Saving What We Can

I'd like to bring in a few select plants for the winter.

October 8, 2010

Friday Farm Share!

**Every Friday, Holyoke Home is posting images from our weekly farm share at Mountain View Farm**

It was a gorgeous fall day at the farm this week. Further evidence of the sadness to come when our 2010 Farm Share ends.

What am I going to post about on Fridays come November? Friday Farm Share Bereavement? Friday No Share? Obviously I need to put some thought into this seriously dreadful problem. And also world peace.

October 5, 2010

Pulling The Bathroom Together?

I'm having a hard time visualizing the completed upstairs bathroom. I'm afraid it's going to look like a weird mishmash.  Before I finish painting the upstairs bathroom floor, I'd like to have a better sense of where we're going. Here's what we've got so far:

- Painted floor (Benjamin Moore Cumulus Cloud)
- White claw foot tub (ignore stained beadboard and wall color.)
- Modern (ish) looking porcelain sink ($50 at the ReStore brand new!)

- Annnnnnnnnd beadboard. Lots and lots of beadboard (Benjamin Moore Atrium White).
How do we visually pull this all together and have it look hip and modern and not like a cottage bathroom?  I'd like to avoid 'a little bit country' and focus on 'a little bit rock and roll'. What should the light fixtures look like? The walls? What should we use for storage? So many questions. You got any ideas? Here are some images that thrill me.

Via DoorSixteen
via k2yhe
also via DoorSixteen
Any thoughts are appreciated!

October 1, 2010

Friday Farm Share!

**Every Friday, Holyoke Home is posting images from our weekly farm share at Mountain View Farm**

The theme of this week's Friday Farm Share post is carrots. 

Wait! Don't go! If you scroll to the end of this post, I'll reward you with the image of a fuzzy woodland creature (seriously)!
I'm not a real carrot fan, but Mountain View's carrots are super sweet, super crunchy, and probably contain some crack cocaine because I can't stop eating them. Ever wonder how a farm cleans your carrots? WONDER NO MORE DEAR READER!

And now, as promised, look what the aroma of washed carrots elicited from the woods. I am not EVEN making this up.