1980s mirrored armoireWell, it’s a holiday weekend, and I’m puttering around, so I thought I’d do an update of this and that from my so-called life. (Did you watch that show with the young Clare Danes? I loved it.) No particular order. Let’s see what’s in my camera. To start, that’s me at an estate sale Friday. It was a 1988 contemporary house — quite stunning. Note my “Pebbles meets Escape from New York” outfit (and greige!). This is what I almost always look like. My husband says I dress like a bag lady. I don’t care. I have things to do. The mirrored armoire was very cool. I wanted to buy it and put it in my crafts room. Umm, when I get a crafts room.

1988 contemporary house great barrington massachusettsHere’s the estate sale house exterior. Hey, I could live in this 1988 contemporary. It was in a lovely hilltop subdivision overlooking Great Barrington, Mass. I was in love with their shade garden, too.

laminate and wood kitchen in 1988 contemporary houseNow isn’t this the epitome of a 1988 kitchen? Especially those laminate cabinets with recessed wood handles. This house seems to have been very well made. It was on the market for over $700K, and was sold.

1988 clay pendant chandeliersBig open concept kitchen… Aren’t these pendant chandeliers made from .. clay? … fabulous? Also, note the little shelf built into the backsplash — I like that.

Astro came with me. We took a walk through the neighborhood afterward and had a grand time. He’s wearing his seatbelt — be sure to buckle up your dogs, too! They are like projectiles in the car if you ever have to slam on the breaks or god forbid, get slammed into. They can get hurt really bad, and/or hurt others, if they are not restrained.

1950s dinette tableA couple of weekends ago, I went to another estate sale — which was really a tag sale (drats! big pet peeve!). Saw this yummy 1950s table for $25. Thought of many readers who would have loved it for sure, I bet…

old tappan gas range

My husband has always wanted a gas range, he hates cooking with electric. When we finished the kitchen we needed SOMETHING. The electric came our way, so we bought it as a placeholder. Last weekend I was poking around craigslist and spotted this vintage Tappan gas range for sale in Adams. So I made DH drive up with me in the Ranger to look at and be ready to nab. Alas, not only was it seriously beat up, but also it was only 36″ wide. The people who listed it mistakenly said 40″  in the ad. I was kind of tiffed, but you know what? DH and I really had a fun time driving up there together. We took Astro, too, and chatted away just like we did when we were young marrieds with nothin’ much to do except take a Saturday drive to poke around at antique shops.

1950s decorative screen doorThe house with the 36″ stove for sale had a very cool vintage screen door — and note the awning, too. I have a source for these I need to blog about…

garage sale

To make space for all my new/old treasures that I constantly rescue, I had a garage sale with my friend Ron of Berkshire County Used Furniture a few weekends ago. Ron has lots of stuff that hasn’t even made it into his shop yet, which he brought down. My town, Lenox, is kind of ritzy, so he brought some great stuff. We had a lot of fun. I made some good sales, he did “okay” but then, I had more to sell. That vintage Burke dinette is something I actually bought from him a few months ago. I am now getting it refinished for my kitchen, to replace the knock-off set I bought quickly when we first finished the kitchen.

ital card table

Of course, quite ridiculously, Ron and I made our best sales — to each other. I am nutso for stuff like these tables from an old Legion hall or something like it… Umm, I bought four, thinking they’d make a great art installation. Ron has, like 46 more if you’re interested… Ron recently got married, so he bought his bride my vintage Victorian wire planter and this old white-painted bread stand, both of  which I bought about 15 years ago for the wrap-around porch in my 1912 house in Michigan.

vintage wickerI also sold my vintage wicker from Michigan. I was SO EMOTIONALLY ATTACHED to this set for so many years… I had searched in Michigan for it for, gosh, two solid years. It was the epicenter of my gorgeous 12′ deep wrap around porch. I had that darn porch decorated like a cover of Country Living magazine — it was fantastic. Perfect. Everything you would ever want in a wrap around porch. Then we moved. It took me a long long time to let go of this wicker set, it represented that house for me…But, it was finally time. It’s in the sunroom at the Birchwood Inn now. And I am happy about it.

Part of the reason the house in Michigan was so special to me, is because that’s where I became a mom. I don’t write about that part of my life on the blog too much… mostly because, well, the blog just didn’t start off that way. My baby is now about to turn 16. In September we had a dinner for her volleyball team, and I made enchiladas, refried beans, and this cake. This cake was definitely one of my Supermom moments, possibly #2 behind that panda bear costume I made for her — panda head and panda feet included — when she was 1. That panda bear costume still is hard to beat. The recipe-ish for the cake came from the Family Circle (Woman’s Day?) magazine at my optometrist’s office. Yes – I tore it out: Evil Supermom! Here is how you make it:

  1. Line a big cheesecake pan (the kind with the bottom that drops out) with wax paper.
  2. Make the bottom crust: Crush like 20 oreos in a food processor and mush them in place.
  3. Line the edges with ice cream sandwiches. Put the cake in the freezer while you prepare the next step.
  4. Soften one pint of ice cream – your choice of flavors. When it is soft enough, pour it into the pan and spread it around.
  5. You can add chocolate (or other sauce) as an additional layer, if you like (optional). Return cake to freezer so that the ice cream hardens again before the next layer is added.
  6. Repeat with 2nd pint of ice cream. Return cake to freezer etc.
  7. Repeat with 3rd pint of ice cream. Return cake to freezer.
  8. When the last layer of ice cream has hardened enough, take a big container of Cool Whip and spread it on top of the cake.
  9. When the cool whip is frozen enough, you can add decoration, if you like.
  10. Freeze it some more. Before serving take it out for 5-10 minutes.

The cake was , as you can imagine, a big hit, as a hearty dose of sugar, fat, and messy homemade mommy love usually is.


  1. Caryn Sobel says:

    I treated myself to a leisurely read of this entry today–our 23rd wedding anniversary 🙂

    I love that contempo in the woodsy setting–my favorite for that kind of house, and common where I live. The backsplash shelf is cool–good place to put the open cookbook when you’re working.

    Astro is adorable, and looks so manageable next to our 100-lb German Shepherd 🙂

    The vintage screen door–we have tons of them around here, but I think Long Island was the place for the awnings. Wonder if there are any left there…I’ll have to try to snap a few shots of our door designs.

    I am glad you blogged about being a mom–I never knew that, and now I am even more amazed at how you get everything done–although I was never organized until I became a mom, so maybe that’s the secret.

  2. Carolyn says:

    Hi Pam-
    the 1988 contemporary you visited is actually a deckhouse http://www.deckhouse.com- we live in a 1968 deckhouse w/ the same tongue & groove cedar ceilings and beams. They are still building them today- but they seem to be getting bigger and bigger- ours is maybe 1800 sq feet. We don’t have the laminate cabinets though- ours are all wood- yay!
    Slowly but surely I am pulling our house together- we moved in when our daughter was 5 weeks old, she’s now 2.5 and has a 5 month old brother, so as you can imagine it’s tough to get major stuff done w/ 2 little ones.

  3. Mark says:

    Pam, Please please please do not buy any gas stove unless it is a Chambers!
    They are the best and your hubby will love cooking on it, I promise!

  4. sandie sinatra says:

    Pam~it was fun to read about your life and some tidbits that happened through the years. Life touches are always a good thing!! YEP, I remember My So-called Life!! It was a fav show and I had the Christmas show about angels on tape that I watched every year thereafter, until my DD (Darling Daughter!) commandeered my copy!! I love that Burke set, too! I guess I would take a “fake” one or a knock-off because the Saarinen’s are so pricey…but then that would be something to look for in my future. Always, always enjoy this blog!!!! 🙂

  5. LBC says:

    Oh, dear God–all of our school cabinets, desks, etc., were white laminate and blonde wood. I think I would have a nervous breakdown in that kitchen.

    I’d kill for that table and the wicker set, though.

  6. eudora says:

    Wanted to second Mark’s comment about the joys of the Chambers stove (the one that Vikings are modeled after…there’s one in the lobby of the Viking headquarters). I have a high-back baby blue one…they crank out two or three times the btus stoves do now. Their motto is “cooks with the gas off” and that’s because you only have to fire the oven or well for half the total cooking time and then turn off and let it finish cooking through the heat retention features! This and all that dreamy chrome….

  7. Mr. Modtomic says:

    “DH and I really had a fun time driving up there together. We took Astro, too, and chatted away just like we did when we were young marrieds with nothin’ much to do except…”

    Awwww…can Mr. Modtomic just say how utterly sweet that is? Me and the Girlfriend take LOOooonnngg roadtrips together every summer and never seem to get tired of each others company. We’s so lucky.

  8. Heidi says:

    LOVE, LOVE the exterior of that first house. I sooooo want a nice (keyword:nice) contemporary from the 70’s or 80’s. Problem is that around here, many have been bulldozed for McMansions or have been “modified” and no longer resemble their original look. Or they are tiny, crappy builder-grade starter homes that are now falling down. *sniff* I am hoping to someday find “the one”.

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