Friday, November 28, 2008

Saving Ireland's Castles

As a great-great grandson of the Emerald Isle, I loved this slideshow from the New York Times style section of the Guiness family's efforts at restoring some of Irelands beautiful georgian homes. You can view the slideshow here.

More Staircases

Regular readers know that I'm a big fan of staircases. Today Weburbanist adds to the story with some incredible examples. The full story is here and the pictures are well worth a look.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Origin of Thanksgiving

A Happy Thanksgiving to all. From the WSJ. It is such a great holiday.

'A Day of Thanksgiving'
The national holiday actually began at a dark hour during our war for independence. Here's the story.

When was the first Thanksgiving? Most of us think of the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1621. But if the question is about the first national Thanksgiving holiday, the answer is that the tradition began at a lesser-known moment in 1777 in York, Pa.

In July 1776, the American colonists declared independence from Britain. The months that followed were so bleak that there was not much to give thanks for. The Journals of the Continental Congress record no Thanksgiving in that year, only two days of "solemn fasting" and prayer.

For much of 1777, the situation was not much better. British troops controlled New York City. The Americans lost the strategic stronghold of Fort Ticonderoga, in upstate New York, to the British in July. In Delaware, on Sept. 11, troops led by Gen. George Washington lost the Battle of Brandywine, in which 200 Americans were killed, 500 wounded and 400 captured. In Pennsylvania, early in the morning of Sept. 21, another 300 American soldiers were killed or wounded and 100 captured in a British surprise attack that became known as the Paoli Massacre.

Philadelphia, America's largest city, fell on Sept. 26. Congress, which had been meeting there, fled briefly to Lancaster, Pa., and then to York, a hundred miles west of Philadelphia. One delegate to Congress, John Adams of Massachusetts, wrote in his diary, "The prospect is chilling, on every Side: Gloomy, dark, melancholy, and dispiriting."

His cousin, Samuel Adams, gave the other delegates -- their number had dwindled to a mere 20 from the 56 who had signed the Declaration of Independence -- a talk of encouragement. He predicted, "Good tidings will soon arrive. We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid and protection."

He turned out to have been correct, at least about the good tidings. On Oct. 31, a messenger arrived with news of the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga. The American general, Horatio Gates, had accepted the surrender of 5,800 British soldiers, and with them 27 pieces of artillery and thousands of pieces of small arms and ammunition.

Saratoga turned the tide of the war -- news of the victory was decisive in bringing France into a full alliance with America. Congress responded to the event by appointing a committee of three that included Samuel Adams, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia and Daniel Roberdeau of Pennsylvania, to draft a report and resolution. The report, adopted Nov. 1, declared Thursday, Dec. 18, as "a day of Thanksgiving" to God, so that "with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor."

It was the first of many Thanksgivings ordered up by Samuel Adams. Though the holidays were almost always in November or December, the exact dates varied. (Congress didn't fix Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November until 1941.)

In 1778, a Thanksgiving resolution drafted by Adams was approved by Congress on Nov. 3, setting aside Wednesday, Dec. 30, as a day of public thanksgiving and praise, "It having pleased Almighty God through the Course of the present year, to bestow great and manifold Mercies on the People of these United States."

After the Revolution, Adams, who was eventually elected governor of Massachusetts, maintained the practice of declaring these holidays. In October of 1795, the 73-year-old governor proclaimed Thursday, Nov. 19, as "a day of Public Thanksgiving to God," recommending that prayer be offered that God "would graciously be pleased to put an end to all Tyranny and Usurpation, that the People who are under the Yoke of Oppression, may be made free; and that the Nations who are contending for freedom may still be secured by His Almighty Aid."

A year later, Gov. Adams offered a similar Thanksgiving proclamation, declaring Thursday, Dec. 15, 1796, as "a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Praise to Our Divine Benefactor." He recommended "earnest Supplication to God" that "every Nation and Society of Men may be inspired with the knowledge and feeling of their natural and just rights" and "That Tyranny and Usurpation may everywhere come to an end."

These statements were greeted with cynicism and derision by some of Adams's younger political opponents, who saw them as archaic. One of them, Christopher Gore, wrote a friend that it would be an occasion for a real day of thanksgiving when Adams finally retired.

It turned out, though, that the ideas of thanking God for America's blessings -- and of praying for the spread of freedom everywhere -- would long outlast Adams's career. The concepts still meet with skepticism from time to time. But they are reason enough to pause during tomorrow's football game or family feast and raise a glass to the Founding Father who began our Thanksgiving tradition.

Mr. Stoll, formerly the managing editor of the New York Sun, is author of "Samuel Adams: A Life," published this month by Free Press.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Okay Now This I Have To Try

A New post-Thanksgiving condiment!!It's so wrong!!! I love the idea and can't wait to try it on a turkey club sandwich after Thanksgiving. You can find it here.

It's Beginning To Look

From Daily Painter Justin Clayton. A classy Xmas gift, don't ya think? You can grab it here.

Holiday House In New York

Kudos to local talent Kelly Proxmire and her beautiful contribution to Holiday House in New York City. Her participation in this worthy cause, The Susan G. Komen for the Cure, has her in great company. You can view more pictures of her room at Washington Spaces and see more of the event at 1stDibs. Cheers Kelly. The show runs through December 7.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Continental Furniture - Sotheby's Dec 2, 2008

Click here for the highlights of the auction. Will report back on how much they get. The full catalogue here

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hungry ?

Looks like a great new site which I will link to and use often. My first search for a bolognese sauce recipe gave me Alice Water's version. Now that's a good start.
by Evan Orensten

cookstr.jpg—created by Will Schwalbe and Katie Workman, both former publishers who worked on dozens of successful cookboooks—just launched and is a true evolution in cooking sites.

Considering the millions of recipes online you'd think this would be difficult to do, but features recipes exclusively from cook books. Many of these recipes have never been published online because of copyright issues, but has partnered both with the chefs (each of whom has a dedicated author page) and also with their publishers to make this possible. The all star list currently includes Alice Waters, Nigella Lawson, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Jamie Oliver, Mario Battali, Suzanne Goin, Marcella Hazan, Michel Nischan, Nancy Silverton, Art Smith and dozens of others.

One of's strongest features is its search functionality, which allows you to search by ingredient, mood, difficulty of preparation, chef, and more. The site's editors are curating the best recipes from the best cookbooks, and are constantly adding more chefs and more recipes. A range of additional functionality—including community tools—will be added in the near future.

The site was designed by The Barbarian Group and built by Pivotal Labs.

This entry was originally posted on 21 November 2008

The Leading Decorators 50 Years Ago

A group of leading US decorators sitting for a portrait at a party before the opening of the Home Furnishings Show.
Location: New York, NY, US
Date taken: October 1957
Photographer: Eliot Elisofon

This could be fun. I can't put a name to a face. Anyone out there care to enlighten the rest of us??? You can click on the picture for a closer look.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Auction Houses Are Hurting Everywhere

This article confirms my findings on business at the auction houses. An interesting read from yesterday's New York Times.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Homer Takes A Holiday

It's been too long and the time has come. Homer's taking a holiday. Sun, beach, etc.. Back before Thanksgiving. Ciao.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Daily Painter Stephen Magsig

I'm not ready for this scene in reality but loved the picture. I Love snow scenes in New York. Starting bids at $100.00. Now that's a Big Apple nice xmas gift.

Susanin's Auction House Chicago, Nov. 8th- Results

I had a lovely lady in the store today looking at expensive fabric. I asked what it was for and she mentioned that she'd found a pair of good older french armchairs that she was going to recover herself. She mentioned that she had found them at a yard sale over the weekend and I asked how much she paid for the pair. I admitted that I was a well known auction hound and she said that she got the pair for $200.00. Now the fabric she picked was going to cost around $350.00 total and she was going to do the work herself. So, $550.00 plus her labor for two new chairs. That's a deal. Folks, I have to report on the results of the Chicago auction at Susanins. I think the prices reached for the pieces I highlighted are astounding. To this semi-expert I'd say 50-70% off what they would have fetched a year ago. Maybe more. What does this say about the economy? It says yikes, it say's buy! There are four pieces to follow here that are outright steals. If your a young married couple looking to buy one or two pieces to start a home, now is the time to buy a few nice pieces. You won't see this last for long, god willing.

Have I caught your interest. Yea? Just take a look. To reprise:

Folks the days seem grim but there are deals to be had for the smart buyer.While boating today out on the eastern shore, yes Homer does have some fun, I talked about the blog and auctions. A lovely shipmate mentioned Susanin's Auction House in Chicago as a great find and tonight I decided to take a look. I found some great potential deals. To my readers in Chicago and of course wherever you have a fast internet connection listen up. I went through Susanin's catalogue for their November 8th auction and oh my, are their some great buys.Now remember I have not seen these pieces for the kick and smell test but I know what many of these similar pieces cost in the stores and these prices would mean a steal, and I love a steal.. LETS TAKE A LOOK.

H: 20.5" W: 21" D: 16"
$150/$250 Condition: No Specific Condition Recorded - Sold As Is
SOLD FOR $275.00. A great special end table. If it looked as good as in the picture worth twice that.

With key
H: 38.25" W: 72" D: 23"
$200/$400 Condition: No Specific Condition Recorded - Sold As Is
SOLD FOR $125.00!!!. I don't care if it was scratched through and through, a bit of work and you have a $1,000.00 piece.

H: 22" W: 44" D: 32.5"
$150/$250 Condition: No Specific Condition Recorded - Sold As Is
SOLD FOR $150.00! At least a $400.00 saving.

With brass mounts and key
H: 22" W: 19" D: 12"
SOLD FOR $200.00. Arrgh. I loved that.

Height: 17" Diameter: 20"
SOLD FOR $425.00. Close to reasonable, but still.....

H: 22" W: 38.5" D: 25.5"
SOLD FOR $200.00! $800.00 in a just nice antique store. A steal!

H: 27" W: 30" D: 19"
SOLD FOR $250.00. A couple of keen eyes spotted that one.

Each panel: 84.5" x 16.25"
SOLD FOR $550.00. Slaughter. Think Michael Smith with a sofa in front. SLAUGHTER!!!

Height: 19"
SOLD FOR $125.00. They're coloring was a bit suspect but not that bad. $125.00 for the pair!!!

63" x 41"
SOLD FOR $500.00. Fine.

SOLD FOR $175.00. If you love needlepoint pillows and know what they cost, this was a steal.

Width: 2'11" Length: 4'8"
SOLD FOR $175.00. At the end of ladies bed or entering the bathroom. Folks this would have retailed at $350.00. A great deal.

Watercolor, signed LR
29" x 22"
SOLD FOR $500.00. My heart sank. In the style of Wyeth for $500.00!!!! I wanted that..dammm.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Wonderful, Wonderful, Copenhagen

What a great design idea. I hope we see it happen. Full story here.

A Nice Romantic End Before Monday

A nice short video from the motherland in Galway, Ireland of a late fall day and romantic to boot.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Would Love This In My Living Room

From Duane Kaiser. Very beautiful.

Best of What's New 2008

Popular Science has a great compilation of the best of what's new 2008. I love new gadgets and technologies. This will keep the like-minded busy looking at some very cool stuff. Click here for the full story.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Two New Books to Look Forward Too

I posted back in May about these two books and they have just arrived in the store. Both make great gifts for the Holidays but I have to honestly say while terrific to look at and that both will lend an idea or two, they are so out of reach of the common man or woman and so out of touch with today's reality that they are fantasy's to enjoy and to reflect.

From six months ago: Two new books that all of us interested in living well come out this fall. Just this afternoon an old friend of distinctive taste asked me for a great resource on interior design and I sought out a copy of Michael Smith's "Elements of Design." Thanks to the "Peak of Chic," I learned that his new book is due out this fall. Here are both books covers

I'll also include in this post an additional mention for Carolyne Roehm's book due this fall on the "Passion on Blue and White." I'm sure both will be bestsellers. To be honest though I tip my hat to the talent that is, Michael Smith.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Works from the Corcoran Gallery of Art Opened at The Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona

BARCELONA.- The Joan Miró Foundation is presenting “American Modernism”, an exhibition sponsored by BBVA and selected by Sarah Newman, Sarah Cash and Philip Brookman, curators at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., and by Martina Millà, programmes and projects coordinator at the Foundation.

The show is an invitation to explore the complex emergence of modern art in the United States through more than 100 works by American artists from the late nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century.

Just another reason to visit one of my favorite towns. Full story here.

An Exclusive But Ultimate Gift For The True New Yorker

Here's your chance to show just how much you heart New York (and stunning photography of it). The classic photography book "New York" is being published by Gloria Luxury in limited edition form, with only 25 copies available worldwide. From Cool Hunting

Freebies For Performing Your Civic Duty

Star Bucks - Free coffee on Election Day 2008
Posted 5 hours, 42 minutes ago

As if choosing the next president were not incentive enough, Star Bucks is enticing everyone to get out and vote this Election Day by offer a free tall-size brewed coffee. Flash your "I Voted Today" sticker and your caffeine will be on it's way. Combined with the other free offers we previously posted for Election Day, you should now be covered with freebies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Valid 11/04/2008 only.

Free food on election day
Posted 2 days, 11 hours ago

A few restaurant chains are doing their patriotic duty by giving away free food on Election Day this November 4th. Start the day with a free star shaped doughnut with patriotic sprinkles from Krispy Kreme. Each customer that shows up with an "I Voted" sticker will receive one. Then head over to Shane's Rib Shack where they'll be giving away a free "Vote America Meal" that consists of three hand-breaded chicken tenders, fries and a 20 oz. drink. Here again you must show your "I Voted Today" sticker. Chick-fil-a is also fulfilling their patriot duty with a free Chicken Sandwich for all voters. Finish up the day at your local Ben & Jerry's between the hours of 5-8pm, and you'll get a free scoop of ice cream. All offers valid on 11/04/2008 only. [Thanks, Everyone!]

Our Civic Duty

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Grey Gardens

Grey Gardens is such a fascinating and sad story.I loved the original documentary and missed the New York Musical version with Christine Ebersole. I was pleased to see that it will be produced this month at the Studio Theater and will surely see it with Barbara Walsh reprising the role Christine Ebersole made famous. Here's a clip from you tube of one of the great songs from the show. Ebersole, what a voice. For information and to buy tickets just click.