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?