Saturday, April 23, 2016

A Home Ornament

There are some random hooks around our house. Instead of removing them, I'm going to work with them. 

One of these hooks is in our stairwell that wraps around so there is a landing and window in the middle of it.
So I sat down at my work table with no plan but knowing I wanted to make something with color for the otherwise drab area. 
At first I thought I would be doing something with gemstones but I changed my mind when I came across these shells in my stash.
The concept slowly came together using the fun patterned copper and brass wires I carry in my findings shops!
With some coils, I was done! 

Here is the view walking up the stairs.
Here is the view walking down the stairs. I had to use my flash for this one with the window light!
It may have a wind chime effect in the summer when we open this window. We will see! I feel like the space needs something more substantial but I will give this a little time to decide.

I painted our front porch black! It was light gray but the black works better.
The black and white combo is quite tricky since any little spot you accidentally get on the opposite color shows up like crazy. So I know why it was not painted black before!  Thank you for stopping by! ~Val

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Fire of 1882

As a follow up to last week's post of the gorgeous old buildings downtown, many read 1882 on them. A fire devasted the main street along the river here in February 1882. 

2,000 people lost their jobs. Here were factories for shoes, leather goods, woolens and hats. In total 10 acres were destroyed and 300 businesses affected.  Luckily no one was killed since it was overnight and the area managed to rebuild very quickly

An old photo after the devastation.
 Here is the rebuilt fire station.
What does it look like now? It is a beauty!
Like so many other buildings, it has gorgeous details.
It now houses businesses.

When reading up on this event I was touched by a poem by Haverhill poet William T. Dwyer written in 1885 summing up the dreadful occurance. 

Washington street was bound in flames of fire that o'er it rolled. It was a cold and windy night, and the hour of twelve was near, When the shrill sound of the fire alarm, our citizens did hear. Though some lay quiet in slumber, they soon arose and found, That the business portion of the town, was burning to the ground. The firemen soon rushed to the spot and struggled hard to save Our city from destruction, and the grasp of Satan’s wave.  But the fire fiend then was raging, and its course they could not stay, Till neath its hand, fine structures in a heap of ruins lay.  It really meant destruction, as it leaped up to the sky, And those buildings fell beneath it, like the grass before the scythe. It was a sad and thrilling scene to witness, I am sure,  And it sent a feeling to the hearts of both the rich and poor. For the poor man from employment, was thrown upon the world, And the rich man with his thousands, into poverty it hurled. But still there's men undaunted, who will build again with speed,  While charity lends a helping hand to those who are in need. And the day is not far distant when, our city you will see,  A thriving business center, as once it used to be. And now to end my ditty, kind friends to you I say, Bear this blow with a smile of hope, for soon it will decay. And prosperity again will shine, on that you may rely; Here is to old Haverhill, may its name never die.  

Thank you for stopping by! Have a fabulous day! ~Val

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Downtown Haverhill

While taking a stroll in downtown Haverhill, MA it is a treat to look up at the beautiful buildings.
Potter Block

Whittier Building

Whittier Building
The brick work is wonderful!
Webster Building
Prescott Building
I love seeing old business names still showing on buildings.
As well as building names etched into the facade.
Some have windows boarded up at the top but I have confidence they will all be back to their prior glory someday.
Most of these buildings now house restaurants, pubs and shops.
The old First National Bank above is now an ale house with amazing food and ales! We have only been once but will definitely go back.

I never thought I would be so into this downtown. We were simply looking for a great family home that would be easy to resell if and when the time comes. Two things are for sure, we made the right choice in location and house!

Thank you for stopping by! Wishing you a fabulous week ahead. ~Val

Saturday, April 2, 2016


We received this beautiful houseplant at the real estate closing from the sellers.
These 3 siblings grew up in our house so I'm sure it was difficult to see it go to someone else. We can tell they are a wonderful family so our house was filled with love before us!

I had the urge to separate the 5 plants so they could grow and be enjoyed for each individual's beauty.

This one has the cutest little flowers that opened after replanting.
 This plant makes me think of the tropics!

I have always adored variegated leaves.

This grassy plant has beautiful hot pink outlines.
It has been a few weeks since replanting and there has been complete success. They are all quite happy! 

I love plants as an inexpensive way to decorate a home and make it feel more cozy. For now they are hanging out on our fake hearth since we are still lacking in the furniture department!

Thank you for stopping by! Have a happy day. ~Val

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Art Market

So I attended my first Haverhill Art Market last weekend! I am really loving living in a city only 5 minutes from downtown where all the fun is. This is held monthly and you never know what you will find!

Here I met fellow Etsian Sue of Bead and Weave. I treated myself to her beautiful spiral beadwork!
One can't go wrong with classic black. This will be an easy piece to dress up or dress down.
I enjoyed browsing her shop and work. This turquoise number is stunning!
textured peyote bracelet
This necklace is amazing!
embroidered necklace
Starfish earrings for summer!
starfish earrings
If you are in the mood for treating yourself or shopping for a gift, stop by Bead and Weave!

I also got this adorable succulent in a vintage teacup and saucer. This will be brought as my hostess gift on Easter.
This is from Garden City Planters. Due to the nature of the pieces, these are not sold online.

Thank you for stopping by. Wishing you an amazing week ahead! ~Val

Saturday, March 19, 2016

A City Mural

Our new city has plenty of artwork to enjoy. Most prominent is the Essex Street Gateway Mural that encompasses the side of a building. This is not an easy thing to photograph, but you get the idea!

This 4 story landmark contains images of notables from the city of Haverhill, MA. Its theater concept is based on the building itself which was once a theater at the beginning of the 1900s.

The person most people would know in the U.S. is Tom Bergeron, host of Dancing with the Stars and formerly of America's Funniest Home Videos. He is located in the middle image in the window.
The person I could pick out looking at the image was Rob Zombie, also born here. Those of you with a soft spot for heavy metal like me would know who he is. Clearly he is the second person in from the right on the balcony!
For you shoe lovers, that is Stuart Weitzman projected onto the movie screen. I had no idea he was connected to this city!

John Quincy Adams had presented the Haverhill Petition to Congress calling for dissolution of the Union in efforts to completely abolish slavery. He is represented in the top window.
In total there are 52 individuals represented!

Most interesting to me are the objects important to the city such as Ulysses. This ship was built here in Haverhill in the late 1700s first use for merchants, then later an armed vessel that went to France (never made it back though). The chandelier in the artwork represents how the buildings downtown have been been re-purposed from old factories to modern residences and businesses.
The fish pictured near the top right below is the shortnose sturgeon. This fish is meaningful because is is an endangered species  and one of the oldest existing that still comes to spawn each year in the river here.

Another fun fact if you ever read Archie comics growing up....that comic was originally set in this city since its creator Bob Montana lived here! The CW is releasing a new tv show called Riverdale based on the comic and its characters. The Riverdale school in this comic is now Haverhill Town Hall. I have a feeling the show will not be set in this city, but we will have to wait and see where they base it.
Shoes are shown because this city was a hub for shoe making back in the day. The overall architecture in this painting depicts the architectural elements of this city. Credit for this piece goes to MLS Studio of Phildephia, PA as well as the artists who executed the mural.

Thank you for stopping by! Wishing you all a marvelous week ahead! ~Val

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Merrimack River

I cross this bridge over the Merrimack River multiple times, to and from the post office. 
So it felt like I should take a closer look!
Yes there is a pylon in the tree!  A typical city bridge.
With typical local graffiti. I don't know how the kids get into some of the high cubbies!
This city was a hub for industry back in the day using the river for water power to create textiles and footwear.
Many old mills buildings still stand and have been re-purposed for commercial and residential use

This river was also made famous by Henry David Thoreau in his book A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. This was about about a trip he made up and down the connecting rivers with this brother in 1839. No I haven't read it but now I'm curious since I enjoy his work and would love to read what is was like along the river at that time.
Or course it is a place to seagulls to chill out and poop.
Along the river was an old railroad that is now a rail trail. It is not scenic and peaceful like the ones I used to live near.
However I have read of plans of making this an art walk which will create an enjoyable stroll. 

I was curious about this mural I see from the bridge.
I believe this is the first and only piece so far. It was dedicated in loving memory of a resident who adored the city, its parks and was a huge supporter of this endeavor. I believe the work signifies all the wild life in the region.  

Going Gray
I got a pixie cut this week! This is officially the shortest I have ever gone with my hair!
I thought I would have everything cut up to the gray but I went the with the stylist's advice of leaving some hair on top. This is due to cow licks and the fineness of my hair. 

I actually love how the gray shows on the sides. Kind of funky in a good way! So I will rock this cut until I'm all gray. Then maybe keep it or grow it out.

Thank you for stopping by! Wishing you a fun creative week ahead. ~Val

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Lake Pentucket

One of the things Jim and I love about our street is that Lake Pentucket (aka Round Pond) is at the end of it. 
This is Alfred DiBartolomeo Memorial Park named after a late city official. He must have been pretty special.
A stroll by 4 houses and I'm here!
A peaceful place to take a work break while enjoying the sun and rippling water.
Nature is dormant here during the winter months.
Everything will be coming alive again soon!
I look forward to seeing it in the other 3 seasons.
This sweet talkative couple greeted me.
I'm not sure if it can be completely walked around but I think it maybe considering this trail (at least I think its a trail)! I will have to ask a neighbor to find out.
There is a lot to explore. We actually live in a city rich with history but also with plenty of nature to enjoy. 

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the relaxing photos. ~Val