Lots of wooden boat owners can not afford the major refit option here in New York. Many of us realize that plugging away in Martha Stewart style is the way to go. Some of us keep lists with structure being the priority. Not to many, plunk money in the cushions and varnish while ignoring bleeding fasteners, broken ribs and cheesy looking planks. Every wooden boat owner has a plan and we often stick to it.
Urbanboatworks ( thats us Julien & dana) is honored and pleased to keep these New York Wooden boats alive & sailing. Check us out at www.urbanboatworks.com if your in need of help and live in New York or CT.
Hand Made Clothes of Days ago. Not many people do it today. Hand spin, hand-loom, hand knit, hand weave, hand stitch and hand dye one’s own clothes. Imagine the time and patience involved. I love hand-made clothes and hand stitch some clothes when I can. But to do the whole process must be daunting. It takes me a whole winter to card and spin 15 big blobs of wool or one whole sheep fleece. I can not imagine weaving and then sewing it into a garment.
Khadi is hand spun and woven in one’s own home. It is amazingly durable cotton that i wear spring, summer, winter and fall. Its keeps you cool and warm because of the air that is trapped into the cotton when hand spun. You can’t get this on a machine spun cotton. I love the variegation or slubs ( short cotton staples or sheep hair chunks) that is found in humble home spun textiles. My wool has plenty of them. In fact I strive for that chunky than skinny look in my wool. The khadi I am selling in my shop is hand loomed and hand spun in india. more and more kids are leaving the villages to work in the city and less and less khadi is being made. Many Khadi producers have no one to teach the skill to.
Broad fall Pants are buttoned in the front with a wide flap. They also have suspender buttons. They are comfortable and are still made by the Amish. www.gohnbrothers.com
Some one has to be wearing hand made’s in that crowd!
I have a thing for simple fire cooked foods and lonely old country kitchens.
This year we had our friends and neighbors over for fire cooked meals every Wednesday for the month of june. It was fantastic getting outside and cooking the real way. ( the way i did for so many years on a beach) I was lucky to have taken a class at PLYMOUTH CRAFT where the founder cooked us lunch on a clay pot. She has written a fabulous book that is praise worthy. What I love about “Cooking with Fire” is that Paula gets down to the nitty-gritty. She explains how fire cooking is done round the world and show you how to do it. She teaches you the history of the technique and throws in tid bits of information that make we wonder. You can see the book here.
I am in the midst of creating an old kitchen in a new wing of an old 1880’s house. The way I am keeping it old looking while using new materials is to use raw natural materials. Nothing from home depot if you get my drift. The walls will be lime plastered. The counter tops wood and the shelving open. The timber frame post and beam structure also adds to the look. Its an easy way to build and it shows the craftsmanship of the makers.
Kitchen sinks can be stone basins, wood sinks or cement laundry troughs.
I wont have so much stuff lying around my old slop kitchen. That is what the pantry room is for. Just plop the ingredients, pots and pan on an open shelf where you can see it. Close the door if you’re a slob. The good old country kitchens with open fireplace pits and open shelving really have a utilitarian feel that I love.
For the past three years I have been collecting old wooden boat photographs. I scour ebay and etsy, as well as spend hours thumbing thru boxes at junk and antique stores . Most often there is no indication of where or what vessel it is. Sometimes i can find a sail number or something scribbled on the back.
They are all snap shots. Taken by everyday people. They all tell a story. Why am I obsessed with these little tiny photographs of people and places and boats that I do not know?
When sandy blew thru the Hudson Valley in 2012 a few 100 year oaks parted way with the earth. Julien and I had to mill them up for timber in our new addition. We called in Johnny who worked them down the hillside with his bob cat. Then he transported them to an Amish neighbor who milled them for us. Next we mortised and tenoned the frame. In this movie you see the gable end wall going up. ( 30 feet long 18 ft high) We assembled the wall down on saw horses and then let the sill plate down to skids. We dragged the whole wall within two feet of position. Then we stood it up with a come a long from the existing bathroom ridge.
What we learned: The Amish do amazing mill work. Any person who uses the kitschy word sustainability must study the Amish.
We learned that old tree’s absorbed minerals from the earth and deposit it in there checks to prevent disease. We had gorgeous green cooper deposits in the wood.
We learned old Toyota pick up trucks make for good demolition.
We learned mortise and tenon joinery is a pleasure in green oak.
The patina is what catches me. every time. when looking at houses or antiques, when watching sailboats sail by. Those glistening perfect specimens are never what they seem to be. They certainly do not hold a soul. Patina is frequently destroyed in restoration projects. We cant seem to resist the urge to paint over the past. And when paint is so cheap we are tempted. It is in the patina where i see and feel the soul of the house, the antique the cloth.
When we bought our house ( 1880’s) and removed the two remodel we got back to the patina. The rough aze hewn beams and lime worn lathe marks. The pine floors were covered over and with it all the stories. Planks worn so thin you fell in the grove.
In keeping with the soul of the old house, we built a plank door 3 inches thick, with old strap hinges. We restored the one guillotine window that remained and fixed up the two over twos. We added a Rumford fireplace using slate and stones found on the property. We peeled away the modern renovations to find soul! We used the principles of conservation: repair and patch. Don’t remove restore.
A well worn home has soul. keep an out for those neglected homes. Under all the layers you will alway find soul.
Headed out this last weekend for Woodstock Vermont to spend a day with 60 painters who are obsessed with Fine Paints of Europe. Not only is fine paints of europe ( John Lehey) the best available paint in america but Woodstock is one of those best american towns.
We stayed at THE GRIST MILL HOUSE. This very old mill became my home away from home for the weekend. Peter & Carol are both super interesting and super alert to all needs. The house is kept in great shape and the soul has not been destroyed by mass-produced objects. Everything was placed just so to tell a story of the mill and its occupants. From the collection of lanterns to the mills original stencils hanging on the door. My favorite parts of the house were the various built-in furniture that conserved space and created a boat like feel.
I have always enjoyed old things, people and places. The idea of cherishing and keeping – restoring not removing is built into my being.
Heirloom fruits have been on my radar. I like the idea of fruit that has not been altered or spliced. I like that when I start to research fruits for my orchard I am completely learning new. Cherish the old fruits that may produce less but are intriguing.
My house ( late 1800’s) had no evidence of knob and tube lighting. Many old homes do. I spent hours bidding on ebay. We are now installing our knob and tube system. All is exposed so you really feel like you know how your lights work. Knob and tube is low voltage and uses exposed copper wire. We have hooked ours up to a 12 volt battery and solar panel. We really cherish this old way of lighting.
Cherish & Keep all that old simple DIY hardware. It works and you can easily fix it yourself.
Cherish & Keep your little bit of wild yard. It is where the butterfly’s & bee’s hang out.
Always cherish your front door.
Keep & Cherish your antique tools- always
Most people cherish their old built-ins because they were made well, thought out and placed in corners or un utilized spaces. They also tend be hard to take out.
Hand sewn clothes are always cherished. Check out this heart!
A cherished beam from this old whaling house made into an outside bench.
Bait Shacks litter the Maine Islands. Some have been converted into seriously small homes or weekend getaways. My friends on Little Cranberry Island converted their bait shack years ago. Bait Shacks are long shacks on piers with a huge hole in the floor. Live bait was pulled out when needed. The Avery’s bait shack now houses one composting toilet, one bedroom and bed loft, a kitchen and living room with a back workshop office.