sunekrest

Wharton Esherick Farmhouse Sunekrest in Paoli

Wharton Esherick Farmhouse Sunekrest in Paoli

I have been busy, so I am behind in my photos. And I thought I would take a moment to share something really special: Wharton Esherick’s Sunekrest. Thanks to my dear friend Pattye Benson who is President of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust, Esherick’s Sunekrest was on their historic house tour in Septmenber – every year I think Pattye can’t possibly do better, and every year she knocks it out of the park.  The house tour is a fundraiser for the trust and it is so lovely and one of my favorite things.

From AmericanBungalow.com:

Many of the American Impressionists of the time were taking their canvasses out into the fields to paint from nature, and Esherick was longing to get away from the city as well. With a small inheritance he received from his grandmother, he and his wife, Letty, purchased an 1839 stone farmhouse that they nicknamed Sunekrest (pronounced “Sunny Crest”), situated on a five-acre plot in rural Chester County, west of Philadelphia. Esherick focused on his painting and farmed the land to feed his family. His work from this formative period was primarily oil-on-canvas and featured sites and scenes from the bucolic life that surrounded him.

If you are a Wharton Esherick fan, seeing Sunekrest is so amazing. His work, his furniture, a setting so beautiful it takes your breath away.  You can read about Sunekrest and other things in the Esherick family papers (partially online thanks to the University of Pennsylvania.)

dsc_7760A great summary of what goes on with the Wharton Esherick Museum which bough Sunekrest to preserve it in 2014 can be found in a grant proposal they completed for the Chester County Community Foundation I think this year.

I love woodcuts, the art of woodblock and Wharton Esherick’s are beautiful. I wish I had one of his prints. You can order restrikes of some of his works and amazing note cards through the museum.  

dsc_7799I also love the lines of his furniture. Simple, modern, ahead of his time and he bought out the beauty in the piece of wood he was working with.

Anyway, seeing Sunekrest was so very cool, and the people from the Wharton Esherick Museum are so nice.

Enjoy the photos!!

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things that make my heart happy

The super dedicated Willistown Boy Scouts worked hard with Al Terrell today over at Ebenzer on Bacton Hill Rd. They stopped for a moment to try to read the worn writing on a gravestone. Al and I think the old souls buried here are really happy that people are remembering them again.

ah yes…the election

Poor squirrel is utterly worn out from the 2016 election season....

Poor squirrel is utterly worn out from the 2016 election season….

I have avoided writing about this U.S. Presidential Election.  I have mostly avoided speaking about it on my personal Facebook page except to share the Saturday Night Live debate spoofs.

Why them? Because Saturday Night Live is disturbingly spot on and it is one of the few things that makes me laugh at the hot mess this country has dissolved into.

This past May after the  primary, I did something I thought I would never do: I switched my political party affiliation to Independent. I could not take it anymore.  I was until that point a life-long Republican, even if I had split my ticket a lot of the time.

Why?

Simple.

As of this past spring, I was no longer in either major party category given the polarization of American politics and the extremes on extremes we have been seeing.

This 2016 election season is the ugliest certainly in my lifetime. People are vile and hateful. All we see are the politics of ignorance. And anger.

2016 has also been the year of ugly violent protests where people are getting hurt…and dying.

What does all the ugliness accomplish?

Let’s go local.

I am in particular really tired of Jack London bodybuilding campaign mailers. Ok so Senator Dinniman? You are or should be a better human being than that. If that is the best you’ve got to put on a double sided post card, save the postage and printing charges. They are stupid and wasteful.

And Duane Milne? Tell the truth and shame the devil? On the 8th day apparently you personally invented Chester County (and everything in it), and several election cycles later, State Representative Milne I am still trying to figure out what you do besides show up for photo ops, so maybe we all should just give the other guy a shot?

So that is it on specific mailings. I am not even going to bother to dissect the Clinton and Trump mailers because they are ALL awful.

Kudos to Congressman Ryan Costello for having the least offensive mailers of a national candidate. It makes it easy to choose you. You get it.

As a registered Independent I officially get EVERYTHING.  Every nasty piece of glossy tree killing junk mail that the United States Postal Service will not let me return to sender (I have tried). So I get to pay to recycle mail I did not ask for.

And not only am I getting my political junk mail but the political junk mail of a dead woman, the lady who used to live in our home. Apparently politicians do see dead people.

Now let’s talk about the calls.  Robo calls galore.  And not so robo calls from the terminally bored reading off scripts usually in an up-talk sing-song tone.  The live people are so much fun….tell them you are an anarchist.  Go ahead. It’s funny because every single one of them will stop dead and say “What? What’s an anarchist? This call isn’t about religion.”  (Then I hang up.)

wut

Social media.  Some people should just stay OFF of social media until after the election.

Why?

Because the proverbial villages are being overrun by rabid ridiculousness.  If half of the people even understood what the heck they were posting about it would be good.  But most do not.  And they spout and share angry vitriol from both sides that does nothing except foment hate.

And the political hypocrites. Do not even get me started on them.

I am just tired of this election season.  We are a country of Ugly Americans because of the insane polarity and divisiveness. Friends are attacking friends over political talking heads that basically at the end of the day regardless of the party do NOT give a damn about any of us.  The game is about the vote, a giant game of whomever gets all the toys wins.

After election day, will they know Jane and John and Sam and Cindy who shook the candidates’ hands at rallies?

NOPE.

This country is a hot angry mess.  The election has been whittled down to choosing the lesser of two evils and how is that even a choice? After November 9th will berating your friends and strangers over their choices have been worth it?

And the sign stealers. Grow up. You don’t have to like your neighbor’s sign, they don’t have to like yours. But at this point between the stealing and the corners everywhere that just have too many signs and the highways which will wear political signs for months after the election because no one took them down, I wish there were NO POLITICAL SIGNS. OR ADS. OR BILLBOARDS.

When it comes to politics, I know we will never all get along, but we have collectively lost the ability for civil discourse. And so have the national campaigns.

To quote the Washington Post from this July:

With about 6 in 10 Americans disliking each of them — and as many as one-quarter saying they dislike both of them — the 2016 campaign will almost undoubtedly be a race to the bottom. In such a situation, campaigns will almost always focus on making the case that their opponent is unacceptable rather than making a positive case for their candidate. And that was certainly the case in Clinton’s and Trump’s acceptance speeches.

It’s become cliche to decry each election as the most negative of our lives; the atmospherics of this race, though, are completely unique in recent American history — and uniquely conducive to negativity.

Polling shows voters indeed are already more prepared to vote against something than for something in 2016…

 

If you have a brain and aren’t afraid to use it, no matter who it is you will vote for on November 8th, you should be terrified. We are a country of haters and some days it feels like we are on the brink of yet another Civil War, and we all know how well that worked out the last time.

Please, for the love of what Americans used to be, do your part to dial back the vitriol and rhetoric. Remember the people who died to give us our freedoms, and try to respect them.  I do not think election season 2016 is what they fought and died for. I rather think they were trying to escape hateful behavior like we are seeing from coast to coast.

blueberry fig preserves 

I was given the gift of figs off of a friend’s fig tree yesterday, so even though I wasn’t sure I was going to be putting anything up this fall, this morning I made blueberry fig preserves.

2 teaspoons baking soda 

8 cups fresh figs stems removed or 2 pounds of fresh figs 

2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1 1/2 cups fresh apple cider

1/2 cup water

1 cup turbinado sugar

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

5 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract – pure only

1 lemon thinly sliced into rounds seeds removed

Juice of one lemon

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Half teaspoon ground cloves

Half teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

Healthy pinch of salt

Three cinnamon sticks

First dissolve the baking soda in about 2 quarts of cool water and immerse the figs in the treated water either in one half of your kitchen sink if you have a double sink or in a really large bowl. Gently stir to wash the figs using your hand in the water.

Drain the figs and remove all stems and cut in half and place in a bowl.

In a big stewpot or jam pot (depending on what you have) slowly dissolve the sugar, maple syrup, butter, vanilla extract, water, apple cider, spices and a pinch of salt.

Now that you have created a sort of syrup add your fruit – figs, blueberries, lemon slices.

Toss in the cinnamon sticks. Add the lemon juice. 

Bring up to a boil over medium heat and stir a lot because the stuff will stick to the pan. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir gently occasionally and cook down until the figs are golden brown and the blueberries are so deep they almost appear a purple black.

As the figs are reaching the right color, I use an immersion blender to break everything up while continuing to cook down. I have friends who don’t do this at all and the reason I do it is because I like to serve fig preserves with cheese when company comes over and when there are big chunks of fig it makes it clumsy.

Truthfully this all cooked a couple of hours. 


While your jam is cooking sterilize your jars and lids in your canning pot. I actually broke down last year and bought a real big canning pot – black granite ware.

When your jam is ready to jar ladle it into your jars, leaving about a quarter inch at the top of room. Put your lids and rings on completely seal super tight and put them in your boiling hot water bath for 10 to 15 minutes. I will note that I looked at several recipes when developing my own recipe and people were processing anywhere from six minutes to 15 minutes in the hot water bath. I would say I processed mine about 10 minutes maybe a little less.

Pull your jars out and place on a cloth covered or wooden surface several inches apart until they are cool. Once the jars are completely cool press in the center to make sure they are sealed. Store in a cool dark area and wait at least two days before opening. I personally like to let my preserves said a couple of weeks before I try them.

Another important note is this is a recipe without using pectin. So it will probably be more loose than a jam made with pectin. You can make it both ways. I have always made fig preserves or fig jam without pectin. This is also the first time I’ve actually ever written down or looked at recipes for the jam – I’ve just always winged it and it’s turned out fine

fa la la la la…pssst! want to help sponsor something awesome?

No, they did not ask me to post this and truthfully they won’t know until they see it. BUT Malvern’s Victorian Christmas is a little slice of old-fashioned awesome!

So I hear they are looking for sponsors:

malvern-vic-xmas

Here is the link you can follow for the sponsorship form.

Me personally? I am thinking of sponsoring a Lamp Post Christmas Tree!

thieves destroy staircase at union league

A friend of mine just posted this photo.

A friend of mine just posted this photo taken today in Philadelphia at The Union League.

What is WRONG with people? Would they get so much money selling metal for scrap that they had to destroy the iconic sweeping outside staircase at Philadelphia’s Union League? I hope police release the video showing the theft soon.

Disgusted with humanity. This will be VERY expensive to replicate properly.

Metal thief topples staircase rail at the Union League

Updated: OCTOBER 24, 2016 — 2:39 PM EDT

by Mari A. Schaefer, Staff Writer @MariSchaefer

Police are looking for the thief who removed a brass handrail from a curved staircase at the iconic Union League of Philadelphia early Monday, toppling the its stone balustrade in the process.

A surveillance camera captured the deed as it unfolded at 3:02 a.m. on the north stairway to the leagues main entrance on Broad Street.

“As a result of ripping the brass railing, most of the stone staircase fell,” the league said in a statement. “We will work to restore the staircase to its original condition as soon as possible.”

 

the hunt for eastlake

My Eastlake table once I got it home! I think it’s beautiful!

I have a DIY antique hunter heroine- Victoria Elizabeth Barnes . I live vicariously through her Victorian home restoration and furniture acquiring and objects d’art acquiring writings. (And if you don’t read her blog you really should, it’s delightful!)

Today I think I channeled my inner Victoria Elizabeth Barnes when I went to pick up an Eastlake table I found.

I have always had a love affair with Eastlake furniture and I finally found something that could fit in my house. I will never have a large Victorian, and sometimes Eastlake furniture can be quite substantial in size.

What is Eastlake? Eastlake was considered a furniture movement:

The Eastlake Movement was an American nineteenth-century architectural and household design reform movement started by architect and writer Charles Eastlake (1836–1906). The movement is generally considered part of the late Victorian period in terms of broad antique furniture designations…
His book Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery, and Other Details posited that furniture and decor in people’s homes should be made by hand or machine workers who took personal pride in their work. Manufacturers in the United States used the drawings and ideas in the book to create mass-produced Eastlake Style or Cottage furniture…

Eastlake furniture can be quite beautiful.

But Eastlake furniture is very still popular today and it is hard to find pieces reasonably priced that are in good shape at the same time. 

So when I saw this table advertised I jumped on it. I was second in line and  I did not think I was going to get it, but the woman ahead of me found it too large for her purposes so it came home with me.

A lot of Eastlake furniture is made of woods like walnut or maple also. It’s not all just heavy oak furniture like a lot of Victorian furniture.

It was a gorgeous day so I set out on my pilgrimage across part of Chester County to pick up my table.   I am not sure that this table was living in Chester County before I bought it, I seem to think it came out of a house in Lancaster County.

My table needs a little TLC but I don’t think I’ll need to refinish it. I will however have to rearrange other furniture in my house to place it.

Of course I wasn’t quite sure if it was going to make it home today or not, because I am somewhat limited by a sedan in as far as how much furniture I can actually place in it.  The person I bought it from and I definitely had some giggles maneuvering it into my car. But it fit! And I drove home with a table in the front seat next to me. 

My new table makes for a great end to the week!

Enjoy the day it’s absolutely gorgeous!

The Eastlake table just fit in the front seat of my car!