Tag Archives: England

Antiques Buying Trip: English Grandfather Clocks

Antiques buying trip Greg DrivingIf you’ve been following the story of our antiques buying trip in France and Belgium, you’ll remember that on our last stop we arrived in England where our hotel overlooked the fantastically beautiful Lincoln Cathedral.

Now it was time to hit the road and go antiques hunting!  Greg managed to drive us around all day on the wrong side of the road from the wrong side of the rental car and not hit anything!

Grandfather clocks July 11

We were in Lincoln to meet up with antique clock dealers, and we were especially on the hunt for handsome antique grandfather clocks. We found them!

Antique Grandfather Clocks

We also visited Hardwick Hall, built in the 1590s by Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, or Bess of Hardwick as she is often known. Bess of Hardwick is one of my favorite historical figures as she was the second wealthiest woman in England after Elizabeth I, which was unheard of during Elizabethan times.

Hardwick Hall, England

Bess of Hardwick“Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall” is a local saying, because it was so rare for houses to have glass windows back in Elizabethan England.  Glass was very expensive and of course it is fragile, so you had to have lots of money to afford it.

Bess of Hardwick was a shrewd businesswoman and she had both the cash and the vision for this innovative house. You can just about see her initials ES on top of the turrets of the house. This is a portrait of her.

July 13 bed

 
Inside the house there are many fine Elizabethan tapestries and embroidered textiles, Ming dynasty ceramics, 17th and 18th century tester beds and other antiques.

The Sea-Dog Table is one famous piece, made in Paris in about 1570. It is ornately carved in walnut with mythical beasts — winged dogs with fishes’ tails

Antique French Table

Bletchley ParkFast forward from the 16th century to the 20th century… During our trip to England we also enjoyed a day off with a visit to Bletchley Park where Alan Turing and the code breakers worked during World War II.  It used to be a top-secret location but now it’s open to the public.  It’s a very different house to Hardwick Hall and a very different piece of history, but just as fascinating.

I can’t wait to share photos with you of the antique clocks and furniture and vintage chandeliers we bought in Europe on our buying trip, but that will have to wait until the container arrives and we can unpack everything!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

 

 

 

 

 

Antiques Buying Trip England: Lincoln Cathedral

Sacre Coeur in Paris

If you’ve been following the story of our antiques buying trip in France and Belgium, you’ll know that our next stop is England!

At this stage in our adventure we had finished our tour around France and Belgium and returned our big rental van in Paris. It had been packed with antiques that we bought, but now we had time to hike up to Sacre Coeur for a final view of the city.

It was beautiful but hot at 100 degrees temperature!
I was definitely ready for cooler temps in England.

Meanwhile, we enjoyed the view over Paris:

View from Sacre Coeur in Paris

Then we flew to Manchester, England. When we checked in to our hotel in Lincoln, we discovered another great view. This was the view from our hotel window – Lincoln Cathedral!
View from our hotel LincolnWe were in Lincoln to meet up with antique clock dealers, but the sight of this cathedral was just too tempting. Here’s another view of the cathedral:

Lincoln Cathedral view

We had a few minutes free so we decided to go in. I have seen quite a few European cathedrals in my travels, but I have to say that Lincoln Cathedral may be the most fantastically beautiful one I have ever seen.

Lincoln Cathedral Interior

Lincoln Cathedral stained glass window The first cathedral was built here 1088 but after an earthquake (a very unusual event in England) they had to start rebuilding in 1192. The nave was built in the Early English Gothic style, as you can see in the photo above.

The cathedral was the tallest building in the world until 1549! It is still the third largest cathedral in Britain in terms of floor area.

This beautiful stained glass window is so detailed, it’s amazing to think how old it is.

 

Find the carved imp

The carvings are wonderful and they are everywhere. Find the imp! He looks like foliage at first glance but he sits in the corner above the carved head. It’s a medieval joke!

Lincoln Medieval town

We also strolled through the charming medieval town before we got down to business searching for antiques. It was all very colorful.

July 11

Greg couldn’t resist trying on this traditional English bowler hat. We’ll leave it to your imagination to wonder whether he bought it or not! In my next blog post, I’ll show you some of the fantastic grandfather clocks that we saw, and more of the English sights we enjoyed.

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

 

A Traditional English Christmas

Downton Abbey fans will already know that the popular English TV show is back for its sixth and final season soon, starting on January 3, 2016 on MASTERPIECE on PBS. The very last show in the series will be a Christmas special! But if you want your Downton Abbey Christmas fix now, I’ve also heard that PBS is re-airing the Christmas special finale from Season 5 on December 27, 2015. Downton Abbey Christmas

There’s something nostalgic about an old-time English Christmas. I guess it must be all those Masterpiece Theatre shows as well as holiday stories like A Christmas Carol. Here are some of the English Christmas traditions that stand out to me.

Christmas crackers children

An English Christmas dinner table is always set with Christmas crackers – NOT a food but the novelties that pull apart with a bang. They’re ‘cracked’ before Christmas dinner and the person who “wins” by keeping hold of the longest piece gets the prizes inside. They put on the paper crown and tell the (usually terrible) joke. Once everybody has a paper crown, the feast can commence! This illustration of two children tugging on a cracker dates back to 1878.

Yorkshire PuddingThe English Christmas meal is very similar to our own, except redcurrant jelly might replace cranberry sauce and roast parsnips are traditional too. Turkey is a favorite although in medieval England a roast peacock or wild boar might have been on the menu! King Henry VIII was the first English King to tuck into turkey for Christmas. Many families add a Yorkshire Pudding to the meal. This is not a dessert but a savory dish between an American biscuit and a savory pancake. If you want to try this tasty treat, here’s a recipe for Yorkshire Pudding.

Christmas puddingAfter the meal comes the ‘real’ pudding: Christmas pudding or plum pudding. Except that it’s not a pudding in the way we understand a pudding either! Instead of being a custardy dish, it’s more like a dense steamed cake, full of dried raisins, cherries and other dried fruit and nuts. It’s traditional to hide a silver coin (in the old days it was a silver sixpence) inside the pudding. It’s good luck for whoever finds it in their bowl. Sometimes the pudding is doused in brandy or rum and then set alight as it is carried to the table. It is served with custard, rum butter, clotted cream, or a brandy sauce of thick cream with a few spoons of brandy stirred in.

Osborne House Festive Guided ToursFor snacks between meals or to accompany a pot of tea, everyone loves mince pies! Even if you don’t have servants to bring you mince pies on a silver tray, they are easy to make if you find a jar of the mincemeat in your local grocery store. Despite the name, there is no meat involved, although when the delicacy first appeared in the 13th century it was indeed real meat, seasoned with dried fruits and spices including cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Now the meat has gone and just the sweet stuff remains, although suet is a part of the mix. If you don’t eat meat, look for products with vegetable suet rather than lard suet.

Christmas-decorations-Finally, the English take Boxing Day, December 26, as a national holiday as well as Christmas Day itself. It has nothing to do with the sport of boxing, although there are lots of sporting events on Boxing Day including horse racing. It is actually the day that people traditionally gave gifts (or boxes) to their servants and tradesmen. Nowadays most people don’t have servants but they still celebrate the day as a chance to visit friends or extended family and exchange gifts, or just relax and eat more mince pies!

This looks like a very grand and festive place to entertain visiting friends. It’s a picture of the Christmas tree at Holker Hall in Cumbria, England, the ancestral home of Lord Cavendish. Even the bust of the Greek poet Homer on the mantelpiece over the fireplace is decorated with a mistletoe wreath!

If you’ve enjoyed reading this, you might also like my post on Old World Christmas Traditions in France and Italy, or the one about Downton Abbey Kitchen Style.

Merry Christmas!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 9 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Stay at Beautiful Historic Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle in England has been called “The Loveliest Castle in the World” and it’s easy to see why! The castle is the perfect day trip from London. But if you want to stay for longer, visitors can not just tour the amazing castle and grounds, you can stay there too!
Leeds Castle EnglandLeeds Castle is in the English county of Kent, which is known as ‘the garden of England.’ The castle is nearly a thousand years old and it’s set in the middle of a fabulous moat, just like the stuff of legends.

Leeds Castle EnglandThe first stone fortification was built on this site in the 1100s and when Eleanor of Castile bought it in 1278 the castle came into royal hands. Over the centuries, it has been associated with a total of six queens of England. In the 1500s, King Henry VIII had a big makeover done on the castle to make it a truly resplendent royal palace for him and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

Leeds Castle Banqueting Hall

This is the banqueting hall and you can just make out a portrait of King Henry VIII over the fireplace. Henry didn’t travel lightly… when he visited Leeds Castle in 1520 he took a crowd of 5,000 courtiers and retinue with him! The king was on his way to France for the famous ‘Field of the Cloth of Gold’ meeting with King Francis I.

Leeds Castle Drawing Room

Leeds Castle is full of original European antiques and exquisite architectural details. This is a wood-paneled drawing room.

Leeds Castle

What a lovely library! Look at the row of large porcelain vases lined up above the bookshelves as well as the urns on the mantelpiece over the fire. The old books look so handsome but I wouldn’t want to have to dust this room!

Leeds Castle Maidens Tower Bed and BreakfastIf you plan to stay at Leeds Castle you have various choices including B&B, holiday cottages, and glamping. This is one of the bed and breakfast rooms in the 16th century Maiden’s Tower, decorated in period style with modern touches. Breakfast is served in a 17th Century oak-beamed restaurant.

Leeds Castle Knights Glamping Fantasy Camping

Or you can try glamping (glamorous camping) in one of the Medieval style Knight’s Glamping striped pavilions in the castle vineyard. The pavilion tents are so posh that they sport four poster beds with cotton linens and you can keep warm on a chilly night with a wood stove.

Leeds Castle is about an hour from London and there’s a lot to do on the 500 acres of formal gardens and parklands. Try punting on the moat, watch a falconry display, or explore the maze formed by 2,400 yew trees.

Check out my posts on other English Castle Hotels and French Castle Hotels for more unique and historic European vacation ideas. Send us a postcard if you go!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

English Castle Hotels

If you love the romance of English history, lore and legends, you’ll be pleased to know that you can experience the romance for yourself by staying in an English castle! I blogged before about how to take a castle vacation at Château de Bagnols in the Beaujolais valley and in other French castle hotels. But today we’re hopping across the Channel to sneak a peek at the English castles that could tempt us to put on our wimples and go for a visit.

Hever Castle, Kent

Stay at Hever Castle in England

Hever Castle is famous for being the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the second of King Henry VIII’s six wives. Henry was never going to win “Husband of the Year” and poor Anne came to a very unfortunate end. But first she made her mark on history by giving birth to a little girl destined to be the future Queen Elizabeth I.
This impressive double-moated medieval castle was built in 1270. It’s thanks though to the American William Waldorf Astor that the castle is so well restored today. He gave the castle a facelift and to keep it authentic his workmen use the same materials and tools that the Tudors used!

Hever Castle Inner Hall

You can stay at Hever Castle or just visit to enjoy spaces like this amazing Inner Hall with walnut panels and columns. During the Tudor years it was the Great Kitchen, cooking up feasts for the household after their hunting parties, no doubt.

Augill Castle, Cumbria

Augill Castle CumbriaIf you’re visiting the Lake District or the Yorkshire Dales in the north of England, you’ll find Augill Castle a convenient and mighty impressive place to stay! It’s been named English B&B of the year and it offers Gothic towers and turrets, antique furnishings and 20 acres of grounds with a tree house!

Augill Castle room Queen Victoria

Built in 1841 as a country residence for a Victorian gentleman, Augill Castle has a library, its own cinema, and 15 guest rooms for travelers to stay in.

This is the Pendragon room and it is said that Queen Victoria stayed in this room on her way to her Scottish country castle of Balmoral.

In addition to that stunning four poster bed, the room has a carved oak fireplace and arched leaded windows. The bathroom boasts stained glass windows and a Victorian cast iron claw footed bath.

 

 

Amberley Castle, West Sussex

Amberley Castle

Visitors should be safe in this 900-year-old castle… it’s surrounded by a 60-foot-high castle wall and a twin-tower gatehouse with a portcullis that is closed each night! During the 14th century the castle was the Bishop of Chichester’s Summer Palace. Now it’s a hotel including a restaurant with suits of armor and a 12th century barrel-vaulted ceiling.

Amberley Castle hotel room

Bedroom decor includes antique furnishings, original fireplaces, and four poster beds – one room even has access to a tower! Peacocks roam the 12 acres of grounds with 1920’s topiary and statues, and you can play tennis, old-fashioned English croquet, or golf on the 18-hole putting green.  It’s easy to stay at Amberley Castle if you are traveling though London as it’s less than 60 miles from the city. It’s also near the seaside town of Brighton which is well known for its antique shops!

If you’ve ever stayed in an English castle – or a castle in France or anywhere at all – we’d love to hear from you!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Portobello Road Antiques Market

Portobello Road street signMany of our customers enjoy trips to Europe as much as we do, and if you’ve ever been to London you might have visited the Portobello Road antiques market. If you haven’t been to this famous antiques market, then it’s worth thinking about for your next visit, if only for the very British experience! Portobello Road claims to be the world’s largest antiques market.

Portobello Road London Alices antiquesThe main market happens every Saturday when dealers set up their street stalls to join the shops and arcades spread out along the road. Get there early if you want a bargain. The market generally starts at around 8:30 am but some customers start haggling even earlier, asking dealers “what’s your best on that?” even while the antiques are being unpacked! In winter, the dark mornings can be “a bit nippy” as the English say. Sometimes dealers have stood on piles of newspapers inside cardboard boxes, to insulate their frozen toes from the cold sidewalk. Portobello Road is a colorful sight to see, in so many ways!

Portobello Road antiques marketBy noon, the street is packed as everyone comes out to browse. You can hunt for everything from antique furniture to ceramics, antiques clocks, vintage jewelry and clothing, and all kinds of bric-a-brac. The hundreds of stalls can be overwhelming, but hey! That’s what makes Portobello Road antiques market such fun. Even if you come away empty-handed you’ve had a good time chatting with the locals.

Portobello Road pubWhen you need a break from the crowds, retreat to the old Earl of Lonsdale pub on the corner of Portobello Road and Westbourne Grove. This traditional Victorian pub has plenty of intimate nooks to take a rest and a big beer garden too for sunny days. Order a pint of beer and some steak and ale pie to refuel!

The Portobello Road antiques market began in the 1940s in a very humble way. London’s ‘Rag and Bone’ men began selling used household items and curios to the wealthy people who lived in the fancy terrace houses. My, how it’s grown!

If you’ve been to Portobello Road antiques market, we’d love to hear your stories about it. Tell us in the comments box below. And if you plan a London trip, check out my blog post on Historic Hotels of London!

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Old World Christmas Traditions

Greg and I aren’t taking an antiques buying trip to Europe during this holiday season because we’re too busy filling customer orders for gifts. But I love thinking about interesting Old World Christmas traditions – especially the food! It’s fascinating to see the different ways people in France, England, and Italy celebrate the holidays. While some of these Old World Christmas traditions are familiar to us too, at least in certain regions of the USA or Canada, others are less well-known.

Old World Christmas Traditions in France

Old World Christmas Traditions: FranceDid you know that instead of hanging up a stocking for Santa Claus, children in France often leave shoes out by the fireplace for le Père Noël to fill? Around the holidays, French bakeries are busy making Galette des Rois or King’s Cake. The puff pastry cake is filled with frangipane or almond paste to be enjoyed around Epiphany on January 6. That date is also known as Twelfth Night, to close the twelve days of Christmas. The Galette des Rois traditionally had a lucky bean hidden inside it. Over the centuries that changed to a little charm. If you are served the slice with the charm in it, then you are crowned King for the Day!

Old World Christmas Traditions in England

Mince pies: Old World Christmas traditions

It isn’t an English Christmas without a plate of mince pies! The pies are filled with mincemeat — despite the savory-sounding name the tarts are actually a dessert treat. The mincemeat is a sweet blend of dried fruits, spices, and usually a hearty dash of brandy or rum.

Robin and mince pieThe photo of the robin taking a nibble of a mince pie is just so cute, but also the robin is symbolic of Christmas in England. You often see robins on Christmas cards there. European robins are much smaller than our American ones, and they have a deep red breast. Some say the robin’s red breast is associated with the blood of Christ. Others tell the nativity tale, where the night of the holy birth was so cold in the Bethlehem stable that Mother Mary asked the animals to help warm baby Jesus as the fire near the manger started to die out. Then Mary heard the flapping of wings and looked down to see a tiny plain brown bird fanning his wings at the fading embers, till the fire burst up brightly again to warm the Christ child. In the process, a flame burned the robin’s breast a vivid red, the color it has been ever since.

Old World Christmas traditions: Christmas crackersChristmas crackers are also essential to English celebrations. They are ‘cracked’ before Christmas dinner begins, by one person pulling on each end. The cracker splits apart with a bang, and a trinket, a joke, and a paper hat fall out. You often see Christmas crackers in American stores now too. It’s important to realize that you don’t expect the joke to be very good. It’s usually some kind of groaner!

Old World Christmas Traditions in Italy

Old World Christmas traditions: PanettonePanettone is one of the most delicious Italian Christmas treats. The light and fluffy sweetened fruit bread is shaped like a tall puffy chimney. It originated in Milan and some say its long history stretches back as far as Ancient Rome. Panettone appeared in a 16th century Bruegel painting, and was baked for emporers and popes!

Panettone is tasty on its own, usually served with sweet wine or liqueur. You can also make a quick and sophisticated dessert dish by toasting slices of Panettone, and topping them with a fruit compote. Make a compote with frozen or fresh fruit cooked with a little sugar and water, plus some cornstarch to thicken the syrup if needed. Any fruit will work, but frozen mixed summer berries add a festive splash of color and the tart flavor complements the sweet bread. Pears poached in wine would be wonderful too! Then sprinkle some snowy confectioners sugar on top and add a dollop of whipped cream.

Children shepherdsAnother sweet Old World Christmas tradition: Italian children dress up head-to-toe as shepherds when they go carol-singing. Bless them! Then on Christmas Eve, Italian households bring out the Urn of Fate. The Urn of Fate is a large bowl that holds lots of small presents.  Family members take it in turn to take their chance in a kind of lucky dip.

Do you have any favorite Old World Christmas traditions that you enjoy in your family? Tell us about it in the comments box below.

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her husband and best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Historic Hotels of London

We know many EuroLuxAntiques.com customers enjoy travel to Europe, so today’s blog post is about some of the most famous historic hotels of London, England. It might inspire your home decor too. Those Brits sure know how to live the antiques lifestyle!

Even if you don’t stay in any of these hotels, drop in for cocktails or dinner to soak up the atmosphere. Or get a taste of British heritage with a scrumptious afternoon tea. These three historic London hotels are within a few minutes walk of each other.

The Ritz

The London Ritz is built in French chateau-style, a great place to take afternoon tea! The French chateau-style architecture of The London Ritz is a sight to behold! Cesar Ritz opened the hotel in 1906, although this Piccadilly site was a stop for travelers seeking hospitality right back to days when a coaching inn stood here. The interiors are designed with a Louis XVI theme. It’s opulence all the way! The restaurant is so festooned with chandeliers that The Ritz had to reinforce the ceiling to bear the weight.

 

The London Ritz Hotel interiors are designed with a Louis XVI theme, and it's opulence all the way! When Charlie Chaplin visited The Ritz in 1921, he needed 40 British Bobbies (police officers to you and me) to escort him past the fans crowding the hotel. Churchill, de Gaulle and Eisenhower held World War II summit meetings in one of The Ritz private dining suites. In the 1950s, Tallulah Bankhead sent gossip columnists wild by sipping French Champagne from her slipper during a press conference at the Ritz.

If you visit, take afternoon tea in The Palm Court. (Make a reservation.) It’s a legendary and lavish treat. The Palm Court is a great place to watch swanky Londoners “Putting on the Ritz.”

The Dorchester Hotel

How's that for topiary? Outside London's Dorchester HotelHow’s that for topiary? Giddy up little polo pony! He looks pretty happy outside The Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane, one of the most glamorous spots in the posh Mayfair area. The hotel opened in 1931, and in its early years the famous Foyles Literary Luncheons met here. Ernest Hemingway wrote here too. Elizabeth Taylor frequently took a suite with her various husbands, and other VIP visitors include Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross. Prince Philip also celebrated his stag night here on the eve of his marriage to Queen Elizabeth. I guess if it’s good enough for a royal…

But the most important piece of history ever made here was during the Second World War. General Eisenhower set up his HQ at The Dorchester to plan the Normandy invasion.

The Lanesborough Hotel

The Lanesborough, one of the historic hotels of LondonThis 1828 building on Hyde Park Corner was once St George’s Hospital. The hospital was located here so patients could get plenty of fresh air. Hmm, that was back in the day when Knightsbridge was considered the countryside! The building was restored in the 1990s as the prestigious Lanesborough Hotel. You can peek into Buckingham Palace gardens from some rooms, and the hotel stands opposite Apsley House, the Duke of Wellington’s former home, also known as “Number One, London.” That’s an easy address to remember.

London's Lanesborough Hotel was restored to evoke 1820's EnglandThe historic hotel is packed with hand-crafted reproduction furnishings copied from original 1820s furniture, chandeliers, and textiles. (The Royal Fine Arts Commission, the Georgian Society, the Victorian Society, and English Heritage supervised the renovation to make sure they got all the details right.) Each guest at The Lanesborough Hotel gets their own personal butler. How very Downton Abbey! If you stay in the Royal Suite, you get a chauffeur too, to drive you around in a Rolls Royce. (Tip: It’s cheaper to take the Tube!)

There are so many more historic hotels of London I’d love to share with you. They will have to wait for another post. Meanwhile, tell us any of your favorite London haunts in the comments below.

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina.  Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!