Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Little R-n-R, part 1

Last week my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary. While that's unbelievable in itself (has it really been 10 years already?), what might be more surprising is that we have never taken an overnight trip on our own, without kids, in seven years. So it was high time to remedy that situation.

Once Grammie was settled in and taking care of the kids- bless her, it's not easy to get a 3 and 6 year old off to school in the morning- we set off on a little trip to Lancaster County. Our itinerary was to spend Thursday shopping in Adamstown, PA -the antique capital of the world- and stay overnight at an old hotel in Lititz. Friday we would spend some time in Lititz, then make a stop at a farmer's market on the way home.

Pennsylvania's Lancaster County (aka "Amish Country", for those of you in parts far off) has always felt like home for me. My family has lived there for generations, since the mid-1700s. My grandmother lived in Lititz for much of her life and I spent many happy weekends there visiting. So I wasn't exactly the usual tourist (something there are lots of, this time of year), but it was a little different to actually be there as a hotel guest.

Adamstown is a little over an hour's drive from our home. But it was well worth the trip to do some shopping at all the antique malls and stores there. We spent hours poring over the booths at the Mad Hatter, Pine Hills, Adams Antiques, and others. I bought some goodies, which will be part 2 of this post!

We ate lunch at a great brewpub, the Union Barrel Works in Reamstown. It's a little off the beaten path, but well worth seeking out. The food and the brew were incredible! We had originally planned to eat lunch at Stoudt's in Adamstown, but they are not open for lunch during the week. Quite a few of the antiques shops in Adamstown are also not open during the week, so plan your visit accordingly. It wasn't a problem for us, because there were plenty of other places that were open- more than we could do in a day!

This was my outfit for the day- a Lilli Ann knit suit with a 1940s collegiate look (the skirt is pleated, hard to tell in the photo) and saddle shoes. It was the perfect outift- quite comfortable for a day of shopping.

Then it was on to the General Sutter Hotel in Lititz for our overnight stay and dinner.

Our room was beautiful- nice and roomy with antique Victorian furnishings. It was just our style; we don't really enjoy the corporate hotel chains, and try to stay in places like this whenever possible.

I loved the "TV lounge" just down the hall- it was really a library/sitting room for the guests. I was daydreaming about how to turn this old "portable" TV into an aquarium....

We ate dinner there as well; the food was out of this world. I had a NY strip with an Asian soy-ginger sauce, and my husband had crab cakes. We dressed for the occasion- my dress is the first piece of vintage clothing I ever owned. It's a black velvet wiggle dress with the most incredible beading detail around the neckline and front pocket. I think it dates from the mid-late 1950s. It was given to me in high school by a friend of my mother's who knew I needed a black dress for a concert. Needless to say, this dress is a little over-the-top for concert attire, but still one of my favorites for dressy occasions.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Halloween at Chez QT, 2011

These last few years I have really been getting into the Halloween spirit, and decorating up a storm around Chez QT. I think it is one of the few holidays I enjoy as much, if not more, than my kids.

Since my kids are so small (6 and 3) I try to stay away from the blood and gore, monsters and such. They're too young for that sort of thing. I focus instead on generally creepy things, like bugs and naturalistic/decayed things. I'm big on groupings of slightly weird objects as well, like last year's display of stopped clocks (up again this year).

My kitchen sideboard. It's nice to get out some silver and not polish it for a change, LOL. The pumpkin on a candy dish pedestal is a real pumpkin from last year that we hollowed out down to the skin and dried in the oven. It's basically ever-lasting now, and filled with faux leaves. 

I love bugs this year! The branches are curly willow from my brother's tree, spray painted black. We used a lot of them all over the house.

My son found these skulls in the woods- one is a fox and the other a coyote.

More curly willow stuck in a fat lava pot with a mum. This is probably one of the best shots of the new TV aquarium, with its new test-pattern backdrop. (Why I couldn't get a decent shot before, I'll never know...)

I love this idea- reminds me of something out of a magazine. Normally I have cornstalks on the front porch, but ours were all ratty after the hurricanes and not fit for display. Thank goodness for the curly willow! (And did I ever mention how much I love galvanized stuff? The bucket is an old sap bucket I trash picked from a dump in the woods ;) 

Jayson grew all of our pumpkins in the garden this year- it was a very good year.

Also note my Halloween blowmolds, all lit up and happy at night (like some of you are, I'm sure, LOL)! I put orange flicker bulbs in the front carriage lights also- that is such an easy, cool effect, I wonder why more people don't do that.

And finally, RIP Dracula...
While it looks nice and sunny, I turned around and snapped this picture of the cold front coming in!

If that's not scary, I don't know what is!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Stove update #2

Hi everyone, things have been kind of crazy around here (it's deer hunting season- I am a hunting widow...). But I do have a stove update, since that's what I've been focusing my free time on.

I found a great place for parts and wire, and best of all it's local! Bergey's Electric in Hatfield, PA was a life saver for me so far. At the urging of my mother-in-law (the Bergeys are her cousins) I gave them a call searching for the right wire (heat resistant, right amperage, etc.). I highly recommend them, and if you're tackling a similar project, do not hesitate to give them a call: 215-723-5518.

I had not had much luck with the other local places I had called, so I was not expecting much. (Because no one actually repairs appliances anymore, they just tell you to get new ones!) I know some of the parts are available over the web, but I much prefer to support local businesses and it's so much nicer to deal with people face to face.

Not only did they have the right, OEM wire in stock, I had the owner and the appliance repair man there to help me get the rest of my shopping list. I needed the burner wires- they had the original spool wire there and cut it to my measurements- the heavier gauge wire that goes to the oven elements, the connectors, and also as a bonus, an original ceramic recepticle for the burner itself.

The burners plug into a ceramic connector which is wired directly to the knob. I had one that was cracked and they just happened to have an identical one on the parts shelf. And guess what? They gave it to me!

And here's the neat part- know why they happened to have that original part on the shelf? They were the original and only licensed Westinghouse dealer in the area. Chances are that they were the ones that sold my stove when it was brand new. The owner said that if I can track down the name of the original owner, they can probably locate the original bill of sale. Now, if that's not a reason to shop local, I don't know what is!