December 31, 2011

Our DRANKIN'! Table

Since moving into our Holyoke Home, we've used this as our dining room table:
It is not *technically* a dining room table. *Technically* it is a DRANKIN'! and GAMBLIN'! table. The base is cast iron and weighs 27 bazillion pounds. See that little ledge above the base? It's a drink ledge, where you'd put your drink so it didn't spill on your royal flush.

Mr. Man bought the table at Brimfield many moons ago. The dealer claimed - without knowing Mr. Man was from Holyoke - that the table came from the fabled Holyoke Hotel Jess (the bit about the Jess starts at 2:08. WAIT FOR IT!) Here are pictures of the Hotel Jess in the days of yore (the building on the far right), and now.

To add to our new mid-century modern hutch in the dining room, we brought up from the basement an Ikea table we had in storage. Not digging the mish-mash of chairs, but at least I can feed more than four people at a time now.

AND - now we have a DRANKIN'! table in the media room. On which I can style shit.

December 20, 2011

Mid-Century Modern Find!

I want to talk about blog jealousy and lay it out for all to see because - as they say - we are only as sick as our secrets.

I'm pretty sick.

Question #1: Name three blogs you love to read and hate to read. You would never delete them from your RSS feed because their content is magically delicious, but gawd do they agitate the little green monster.
If you answered the question, you have blog jealousy. Maybe they have an amazing skill? Or you want their couch so badly it makes you want to kick yourself in the golden palace? Or maybe their hunting instinct is so sharp they could find a mid-century modern treasure in Duluth for $2.......or a mid-century modern china cupboard/bar for $100 in western Massachusetts.

Dear gentle reader. Don't hate. Be a little jealous, yes, but don't hate.

December 11, 2011

Instant Perspective

Do you ever wake up feeling a totally unjustified kind of mini-despair that you can't put your sad little  finger on? You resent the day already and you haven't even shuffled downstairs yet to see if there's any coffee leftover from yesterday (you HATE making coffee in the morning.)

I've purchased the antidote and hung it in my dining room.
This perfect piece of artwork is by Holyoke based artist Banner Queen. I love it. It is amaze-balls. In case you can't make it out, it reads: SEE THE BIG PICTURE with INNOCENCE AND WONDER. In a completely brilliant move, the artist - the ├╝ber talented Amy Johnquest - re-purposed a vintage flower-y table cloth, painting over it in places, and leaving its delicious 1950s charm visible in other places.

Life is yours to tame. Take the reigns.
BOOM. BANG. There it is, right on the wall: Life is a limited engagement. So shake it off and get ready for the day.

November 23, 2011

Sometimes Progress Ain't Pretty

Hello my little birdies! We are ARE ARE making progress in the upstairs bathroom renovation. I know. Can I get a giant virtual high five to Mr. Man for all his hard work?

Let's review: Kitchen? Done. Back porch? Done. Garden patio? Done. That brings us to the skylight/spray foam/upgrade electricity/dense packed cellulose/build shower and closet where only closet used to be/bathroom remodel project. The WHAT?!?! Oh, you probably remember it as the 'bathroom project'. Said project has evolved somewhat.
What started out as a simple bathroom upgrade ("Let's restore the bead board and refinish the floors and paint the walls and patch the ceiling! It will be great!") has, in the ultimate edition of the 'I know an old lady who swallowed a fly' song, turned into a skylight/spray foam/upgrade electricity/dense packed cellulose/bathroom upgrade project. INTERWEBS! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? (insert computer-y sounds: beep boop beep boop boop beep bop.) INTERWEBS SAYS: You live in old house. Sometimes old house progress not pretty. For example? This:
Can turn into this:
Mr. Man wants a standing shower in addition to our claw foot soaking tub - who am I to say no? So he measured the ridiculous Victorian closet in the abutting bedroom and determined there was enough room for a storage closet AND a shower.  Soooooo more demo.We demolished the ceiling too to prepare for insulation. The installation will be a lot cheaper this way and we can be more confident in a thorough job, because we'll be able to see the whole. damn. thing.
We're going to be getting AMAZEBALLS fixtures from Delta faucet for the shower, sink and tub, and - with these changes to the plan - the bathroom will really feel like a master bathroom. The next step is spray foam installation in the back half of the upstairs. I'll explain WHY spray foam as opposed to cellulose in a future post.

November 21, 2011

Good Thing We Didn't Spend A Lot On That Fence

And After:
Good thing we didn't spend $3000 $2000 $1000......Ahem. Let's start over: Good thing we spent about $500 on that fence! Also? I get to rethink the ENTIRE back flower bed due to the sudden and abundant amount of sun the area will now receive. Also? Everyone is okay.

November 6, 2011

Howdy Neighbor!

The bad news? I have to wear clothes in the kitchen now to spare our neighbors a frightening view. The good news? More sunlight in the garden?

October 11, 2011

Conversation with Mr. Man

Me: How's the 'skylight shopping' going?
Mr. Man: I'm a little annoyed.
Me: Why?
Mr. Man: Because the company I want to get the skylight from isn't releasing their Mer Bler Blah* technology until January 2012.
Me: (deer-in-headlight blinking)
Mr. Man: (continues what he was doing)
Me: Uh. How important is *that* technology to our house? Is it worth waiting until January? Before you answer: I will sob for hours about how cold I am three-four times between now and January if we don't finish the insulation project before then.
Mr. Man: Oh, we definitely want the Mer Bler Blah* technology because it has a sensor that will close the skylight when it rains and it has a wireless radio protocol that can be connected to a whole smart house technology so we can open the skylight from a smart phone. Or we can hook it up to outside sensors, and program it to automatically open and close at certain temperature differentials.
Me: So, sobbing.
Mr. Man: And I am totally annoyed that after a year of searching, the highest R value you can get in American skylights (without mortgaging the house) is R2, but the European standard is R5.
Me: I'll put kleenex on the shopping list.

*Can't remember actual name of technology.

October 3, 2011

Hitched <-I Gotz It

I can finally share why new posts on Holyoke Home have been so sparse as of late. I got married. To Mr. Man.
This isn't a wedding blog, so I'll keep it brief. But I want to share: I worked really hard to keep everything about our super small gathering *super* local. Nothing was purchased from a chain, and some things were actually hand-made right here in western Massachusetts. I am really proud of this. My dress is from Tiny Crush Society, a western Massachusetts based clothing company. I worked with owner Dre Rawlings to pick out a 'wedding-y' fabric for a one of a kind version of her 'Pie Dress'. Comfortable. Flattering. Simple. And did I mention comfortable?
My shoes were handmade by a local shoemaker.......I'm going to give you some space to let that last sentence sink shoes were *hand effing made* by Daphne Board. Daphne asked what I wanted, and I said, "Oh, I don't know, maybe some red leather strappy sandals? With a T-Strap and something three dimensional on the vamp?" She nodded and measured my feet. And THESE are what she created. Totally amazing.
Mr. Man's ensemble is from Jackson and Connor in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Ribbons on my bouquet and dinner place cards are from Essentials in Northampton (Possibly the most ironically named store in the universe. Because NOTHING there is actually 'essential'.) Instead of seating arrangements, our place cards each had a fact written on them, and guests had to guess if the fact was about me or Mr. Man.
My earrings and headpiece are from Pearl Bridal Boutique at Open Square in Holyoke, Mass.
Our flowers are from Cary's in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
The only thing I couldn't find locally is my shrug. My shrug is from Seattle Etsy member OkaySK.
We had an amazing dinner at Blue Heron in Sunderland, Massachusetts with a few of our very very very closest friends.

So - does this make me Mrs. Man? No. I am keeping my name. Hi. My name is Maggie.

September 19, 2011

Dear Front Porch, I Want To Break Up With You.

I hate my front porch. From a distance? It looks okay. But upon closer inspection, it's like the poor country cousin to our gorgeous back porch. Oh sure! It may have been a fine front porch back in the day-o. But the bloom is off the rose, the bolts are out of the railing, and whole swaths of white paint are off the ceiling. Here's a tour of the front porch in all it's ghetto-y glory.
I have suspicions as to how the bolt ended up missing. But if I told you, I might be sued for libel.
I am so scared to pry off the plastic ceiling. So scared. Because I am guessing that whatever is underneath was covered for a reason. Possible (likely) reason: the ceiling is in very shitty condition. The thought of 'restoring' another round of bead board=crying and hand flailing. But the plastic has to go. Why? Because it is plastic, that's why.
And don't even get me started on that light.
The view through the glass panel is:

a. Cringe worthy
b. *(stunned silence)*
c. Rage inducing
d. A twice daily happening
e. Oh dear, what are those paper bags? Are those.......CAT BEDS? OMG.
f. All of the above
Maybe I can just glue the peeling paint back on?
Can't get rid of the 1960's era aluminum storm screen door fast enough. SWAT! Don't let it hit your ass on the way out!
Concrete steps are one thing. But broken crumbling patched concrete steps? 'Ghett' to the 'O'.

I hope you've enjoyed the tour. Don't you feel better about your front porch? We'll be here all winter folks! Don't forget to tip your bartender!

September 15, 2011


We had some cobblestones and stone dust left over from our back patio project. Hmmmmmm.....what to do, what to do........
We dug out a 15 foot section of the asphalt path that connects the sidewalk to our back gate. Eventually, we'll remove all the asphalt and install a nice fence and gate along our property line, but for now, we dug out the asphalt and disposed of it and lined the trench with weed blocking fabric. Then I laid out the curve of the garden bed (curves are good!) After marking out the curve, we laid down the cobblestones, filled the path with stone dust, and back filled the garden bed.
I love the different colors of the cobblestones. And it pleases me that stones from a Holyoke street are now in my garden.

September 8, 2011

The Green Strip Between the Street and the Sidewalk. What's That Called?

What's that strip of land between the street and the sidewalk called? A landing strip? A green-a-way? A pain in the ass? I can't remember. The point is, even though it's city property, it is a homeowners responsibility to keep it tidy. Which means I have to schlepp the electric lawn mower to the front of the house, bring a super long extension cord out the front door, and mow it. Eff you, landing strip.
That's a whole lot better. I sought out VERY drought tolerant, low-maintenance plants that are pleasant to look at and can thrive in partial sun. Here's what made the list. Your big basic green Hosta, Bugleweed, Heuchera ('Purple Palace'), small Hosta ('Green Mouse Ears') and orange geum. 
Bugleweed is known to spread, and that's actually TOTALLY fine with me. Over the next few years, as the bugleweed expands, I'll move matured plants to make room for it. A contained space like this is the ONLY place I would ever plant something like bugleweed. What have you done with your landing strip?

September 6, 2011

Thank You Door Sixteen

One of my favorite bloggers, Door Sixteen, recently posted a 'make a circle' tutorial. If she hadn't explained the steps? There is no. way. I *ever* would have figured it out.

I thought I would share my results. Perfection, right?

September 2, 2011

What Do Morgan's Like?

We continue to push the boundaries of Boston Terrier research here at Holyoke Home. Our careful scientific approach is, however, leading us to consider changing our dissertation title from 'What Do Morgan's Like?' to "What DON'T Morgan's Like?'

August 31, 2011

Holyoke Art.

Holyoke Home recently purchased two amazing pieces by local artists. I'm not sure how to hang one, but it makes me cry and I just know you will love it to pieces. So you'll have to wait to see that one. But the second piece doesn't require hanging; we just didn't know where to put it.

Remember the art show I went to at Open Square? Matt Johnson took down his show a few weeks ago and we were finally able to bring home Coils #2 (still need to come up with a better name for it than '#2'. Don't want folks to think we're talking about poo.)
I scratched my head like a monkey trying to figure out where to put this very (to the tenth power) heavy sculpture. I tilted my head to the side, like a dog when you say 'treat?' or 'outside?' Don't the coils kind of look like flames? Voila:
 Morgan approves. Which means everything to us.
Until we get the fireplace working, I think this is where #2 (not poo) lives.

August 24, 2011

The Post In Which I Hyperlink 'Unitard'

For two years, I schlepped the 50 foot garden hose around the back yard when I needed to water plants.  And when I was done watering, I would - like a Mexican Wrestler (you are definitely going to want to click on that hyperlink)- put on my cape, mask, and unitard, bare my teeth, crouch down with my hands out, and SPRING into attack mode, contorting my opponent (the hose) and wrangling it into submission.  I received bonus points if the hose ended up in something resembling a 'heap' or 'pile'.

This 50 foot of hose pile/heap would then sit on the back porch floor, taking up about 20 square feet (my wrangling skills are limited), making the back porch very 'GO AWAY-y'.


Dear reader, I bring you, the HOSE PUT-ER AWAY-ER!
Oh happy day.

August 22, 2011

Tis The Season For: Half Price Garden Pots!

Mr. Man and I are enjoying the fruits of our back porch renovation every. day. We love it. And I love decorating the space with pots of flowers and herbs.
I cannot resist a lovely garden pot. I think of them as my colorful little garden babies. I have a lot of garden babies. We're talking 'Octo-mom' territory. This is a dangerous time of year for me to visit garden centers, because inevitably, they're trying to get rid of everything before they close up shop for the season. I better be careful, or Mr. Man will declare a 'colorful garden baby moratorium.'
This little red and white flower put actually caused me to salivate, even though I generally stay way from pots that are smaller than a breadbox (their small size means you have to water the crap out of them i.e. water them a lot). For more pots like this, visit Annie's Garden and Gift Shop in Sunderland, Massachusetts.