Monday, October 31, 2011

Little Babies - Sweet Babies

The little baby is my grandmother Leatha Clarissa (Ashley) Harriman, born November 1906

The baby shoes belonged to my grandfather Gilbert Samuel Harriman, born November 1898

Both items were items were given to me by my Aunt Mary. 
Mary is the daughter of Gilbert and Leatha Harriman.

I stuffed bit of honey colored organza inside the shoes to fill out their shape.  Am I losing my mind, or can you see creases in the leather defining his little toes? 
Ah Mary, thank you so much for letting me display these wonderful treasures in my home.

My grandfather
detail of Gilbert Samuel Harriman, c1902
Lebanon, Missouri
Gilbert, age 4 - 1902
Family Reunion, Lebanon Missouri
Backrow standing: Walter Ray Harriman, Nettie Viola Harriman, Francis Marion Harriman, Benjamin Hollandsworth husband of Pearl Harriman, Pearl Harriman, John William Harriman, Harley Harriman
Seated adults: James "Howard" Harriman and his wife Edna Irene (Snow) Harriman and their son Gilbert Samuel Harriman--my grandfather. 
Center of the photograph is Mother, Mary Elizabeth (Stevens) Harriman, patriarch of the family. 
Father, Samuel Harriman (deceased, not shown in this photograph)
Next to Mother, is Anna Harriman Butts and her husband James with their infant son Ray.
Bottom right is the youngest sibling: Verna Mae Harriman Mills.  Verna had 13 children; she named her 11th children Finis (the end), but it wasn't.

detail, 1907 photo of my grandmother
Leatha Clarissa (Ashley) Harriman

1908 photo of my grandmother Leatha Clarissa (Ashley) Hariman
with her parents Annie Laurie (Miller) Ashley, and William Arthur Ashley

We are so blessed to have many remarkable images and personal family items that my Aunt Mary gave me to display in our old Victorian.
It makes me smile every time I walk by.  Sometimes I stop to touch them.

There is another trunk of family items to photograph and post (heirlooms from Aunt Mary)
And one more suitcase of old, old photographs to scan and post that Dad found and sent my way.
Oh my, I'll do my best to get the task done and load them up on

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Finding Gladys; 1902, 1903, 1906

I found Gladys . . . isn't she lovely?

Gladys 1906 - age 20

Under some unusual circumstances I acquired 12 original drawings made by Gladys.  The drawings were signed and dated from 1902-1903.  A friend of a friend sent them to me as a gift to decorate our old Victorian.

When the drawings arrived I immediately noticed the artist's signature and went right to to see if I could find Glady's ancestors.  In minutes I found two living granddaughters Rachel and Julia and sent them an email.  Next day I received a reply:

I am Julia, Gladys's granddaughter. I wonder if we have the same Gladys??!! My grandmother was born and lived all her life in Portland Maine. She was born in 1887 and died in l980 at the age of 93. She attended Wellesley at the age of 16, graduated, then married  . . .  around the age of 20 and had three children including my mother . . . who just died at the age of 100.

Gladys . . . was very well educated, traveled a good deal, and wrote poetry. She was also involved in the suffragette movement here in Portland. Our Gladys was in fact an amazing artist, and sketched all her life. I have a book she made of drawings of freshman student life when she was at Wellesley College, a copy of which is in the college art collection. I don't know if she ever actually studied drawing or drew from models.

. . . I wonder how her drawings would have made their way out to your area of the country! How do you think we could clarify if this is the same Gladys?

Let me know how you think we should proceed. This is so exciting! I will also try to telephone you.
Many thanks,
I scanned the drawings and signatures and emailed a few images to Julia.  Below is an image of one of Gladys' drawings
Miss Green Posing, 19 Nov 1902
I received the following response from Glady's granddaughter Julia:
  I am so excited to receive your email! The handwriting and the drawings are clearly those of my grandmother Gladys- I would recognize them anywhere. I have been going through all her letters and her sketchbooks this fall. She had a very characteristic drawing style when it came to facial features and clothing . . .
Thank you Julia.  Thank you for sharing memories of your grandmother Gladys and giving me permission to post about our "chance" meeting.  Finding Gladys was a wonderful journey.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

1907 Victorian Halloween Party

"A Halloween Party at Moss Point at the Residence of Dr. W. R. Thompson" (newspaper clipping)

By far the most interesting social event that Moss Point young folks have been treated to in a long while was the Halloween party given at the home of Dr. W. R. Thompson Thursday night. About thirty young people assembled at the home of Mrs. Fred Herrin, where the young ladies rigged themselves as ghosts to escort the young men to Dr. Thompson's residence. The crowd was met at the door by a gruesome witch, who pointed the way up the dimly lighted stairway with her broom.
The young ladies preceded the young men down the stairs into the parlor, where they seated themselves in a circle on the floor. The gentlemen were then allowed to enter and quiet a lively time was had guessing the identity of the ladies. The house was beautifully but weirdly decorated with ferns, golden rod and autumn branches, with here and there in the most unexpected corners pumkin and guord jack-o-lanterns smiled and gnashed their teeth.
In the parlor arch doorway there hung a portiere of apples on strings of varying lengths with a horse shoe hung in the midst, through the prongs of which each guest tried to throw three tiny apples. Those who succeeded were assured of phenomenal luck for the ensuing year. In another room a big pear shaped pumpkin hung, on the shining surface of which were cut all the letters of the alphabet. This was rapidly twirled and the guests in turn tried to stab some letter, thereby finding the initial letter of one's fate.
Pinned to the wall in another room was a sheet on which was mounted a large figure of a witch riding her broom. Scattered promiscuously over this were small envelopes containing fortunes. The guests in turn were blindfolded and allowed to seek and find his fortune by touching the sheet with a broomstick. The one securing the fortune placed in the witches handreceived as a prize a lovely little kitten.
The dining table was draped with a snowy white cloth. In the center of which was placed a mammoth pumpkin which had been freed from the meat and cocircled with grape vines to which clusters of grapes were attached. A large bowl containing punch was placed within the pumpkin shell, this being placed upon a lovely center piece made of autumn leaves. Running from this to each of the four corners of the table was a vine made of the conventional leaves at the end of which was placed a red apple candle stick on a mat of leaves.
Above the punch bowl hung a lovely hoop made of vines and all sizes of jack-o-lanterns with staring eyes and wide open mouthes. In one corner of the dining room was a beautiful gypsy tent where a lovely young lady told the most bewitching fortunes. Delicious refreshments were served and all kinds of quaint Halloween customs indulged in until the wee small hours.

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's Only a Bird . . .

I found Henry in a shop called Ingeborg's Cupboard, downtown Waupaca. 

He was sitting high on a shelf in the store.

I asked the store owner to bring him down for closer inspection.  Wow, he's a pretty bird. 

I call him Henry, after the previous owner's son, and because I like the name.

Henry Wrolstad 1882-1903

I put Henry the Bird in the kitchen, on top of the east wall of cabinets--about the same height as he appeared in the store.  Every once in a while, someone noticed the bird looking down at them. 
Time to give Henry some attention.

Henry is sits on a 12" post, mounted on a piece of plywood. 

This month I moved Henry to the red dining room.  Gathering some fern, and fall colored orange-gold leafed brown branches, I covered the plywood base with moss and foliage. 

Henry takes up a heap of space on the mantle,
but all dressed up here he is center stage in the dining room.

Henry Makes Special Appearance for House Guests:
I hosted a group of 70 guests August 13, welcoming the Wrolstad Family Reunion.  Their ancester John Olsen Wrolstad built our house in 1893.  The dining room table was filled with hydrangea, accompanied by trays of butterscotch oatmeal cookies, and iced lemonade made by my mother Lorraine.
I was so busy with guests, I forgot about photographing the event.  What was I thinking???

I want to thank the Wrolstad Family Reunion for taking time to tour our house, and for the kind words about the whole house restoration. 

I want to say hello today, to a new friend Junelle. 

Hi Junelle, 
When will you come visit us at Wrolstad-Quien Victorian? 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

East Room Revisited

I pass by the East bedroom every morning.  As a guest bedroom it is spacious and comfortable.  Decorated with some personal items from the previous owners.

Above is the entrance to the East bedroom (from the hallway, I'm currently working on).
The entire house has same woodwork style--a sawtooth crown with a spoon carved daisy.

Let's go in, and take a look.

A walnut dressing table holds some vintage and antique items.  A statue of Chattelaine found in an second-hand bookstore caught my attention.  I walked by her for three years.  I asked about purchasing her over the years but she was not for sale. 

If you ask, sometimes you receive.  I must have asked about the statue at least 10 times.  The last time, the clerk felt motivated to call the owner about my request offer.  She shows a bit of attitude--that must be why I like her.

Toile fabric for sewing the drapes and pillow shams.

Cheap and Free
Good Bargains

I purchased the comforter at a second hand store for $25.

Then I found a bolt of the same fabric at Hancock, $6 per yard
and made the drapes and pillow shams.

The Cream and Black Toile comforter was the jumping off point for decorating the East bedroom.
I selected a dark charcoal wall color, and painted woodwork in cream.

Things I love about this room:
The winter white antique bedspread from St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shope - $49 barely covers pale yellow sheets.   Grandma Eva's hall phone still has her number imprinted on the dial, Dickens 35-123.  The scalloped bedside table $10

Detail of the antique bedspread

Another thrift shop find--an antique foot rest.  For me, a short person hopping up on to a tall mattress, the foot rest is THE BEST.  I didn't recover it, even though the ivory fabric is stained. 
I like it stained.  I appreciate its function. 

The sleigh bed sits on a large off-white area rug over an expresso painted floor.

On another treasure hunt, I found a pair of old lamp shades in such ragged shape, I forgot about photographing them before ripping off the tattered stained remains of what used to be ivory satin.

Using left over drapery fabric, I covered one of the shades in linen, a cream and black toile.
It took forever to hand sew this shade.  And truth be told, I covered it first in white brocade and didn't like it--and tore it off, to start all over again with the toile. 

I always have good collaboration with Hancock Fabrics employees, and they helped me pick out two layers of fancy black trim.  We get serious when we get down to the details. 

You know, I had nice toys when I was a kid.
BUT, now I have awesome toys at age 60!

 My friend Kathy and I found a little whole in the wall shop during one of our weekend treasure hunts. 

In a corner sat this dusty vintage lamp base.  And the lamp base said to me, "come here, we need to talk."

The price was $25.  I almost didn't buy it because $25 is twice what I usually pay. 

Then I rubbed my hand over the high relief design on the glass base.  Yup, gotta have this one. 

Washing it up, adding missing crystals--its just a fabulous piece.  That's why I fussed over it, pairing it with just the right shade, fabric, and trim.

Check out the scroll work on the base holding the glass.

This 9' x 12' off white area rug was $99 at . . .
wait for it . . .
Fleet Farm, Stevens Point

What a shocker.  Quality on the Cheap.
Believe me, this rug has a sumptuous feel on bare feet.
A great bargain

I purchased more of those large area room rugs in different colors
at Fleet Farm for the other bedrooms.

In the corner is a rather fine looking floor lamp, purchased in a  Poi Sippi thrift shop for $35.
I'll attached some detail photos.

I love the walnut 4-drawer dresser, won at auction (holding my breath) and getting it for $100.  The drawer operates without flaw, and the finish is remarkable.

Ragnhild Bertine Quien's teacher's briefcase sits on a chair in the East bedroom (her room when she lived in our house). 

It was quite a surprise to receive an email from Laurie, owner of Reflections Antiques, questioning me about a briefcase she had acquired with intials R.B.Q.  I jumped at the chance to buy it and bring it home to Ragnhild's room. 

I found a couple of Ragnhild's handwritten letters and keep them inside her briefcase.

Above and Below are details of the floor lamp.  The base reminds me of a decorated cake.

The bridge of the lamp is way cool. 

The Smith Corona typewriter - do you have an idea what year it was manufacturered?
This Westinghouse electric fan has original paint, and someone's original finger prints that had some white paint that stuck to the finish.  The fan works great; I gave it to Jon a year ago (gift).
Someday the fan will leave the East bedroom and make its home in Jon's man cave.

Isn't it wicked how heavy the old typewriters were?

Beaded shade.  I call it a hula shade.  Is there a special name for this type of shade?

This is Ragnhild Quien's sister.  Her name is Bessie Pauline (Quien) Pasternacki.  Bessie married Leon Pasternacki a dentist, and known as the youngest mayor ever of Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
Bessie married Leon Pasternacki in 1914.

I was in a local antiques store.  The shopkeeper told me, "I believe I have a couple photographs of women who used to live in your house."  I was happy to see they were a 1906 Scandinavia Academy graduation class photo--students with their teacher Miss Ragnhild Quien,
The other photo was this very lovely photo of Bessie Pauline, probably taken around 1915 after she married Leon Pasternacki.  I keep it in the East bedroom where the light is low and I can shelter and display her beautiful portrait.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Best of the Best

Every once in a while I stumble across a great website.

Here's one of the best I've seen: My 1923 Four Square, by JC from Ontario.

JC's journal is loaded with magazine quality photographs giving us close inspection of his skill and knowledge.

Please join me as a follower of JC's website.  Leave a comment for him.  He sure deserves applause for his stunning work.

I think we're in for quite a year of fascinating posts from JC as he restores his home.  He is a good teacher, and is quick to share his successes as well as "those unexpected lessons learned". 

I recently left a comment on this site about the moldings he fabricated to match the original.

Hi JC,
Wow. A jaw dropping wow! You do amazing work, and I just had to drop a line to congratulate you (your determination to find the exact profile for the moldings) Oh how sweet it is. Fabulous photos by the way. I agree with you, I love how the light defines the moldings. Your place is a magazine article in the making. Push for an opportunity to do that.

Mrs. D

Saturday, July 23, 2011

New Project - Restoration Upstairs

Here's the front foyer door.

We're starting a new project.  Repairing walls in the front foyer, walls going up the stairway, and down the upstair's hallway.  I'm dividing this project into sections, beginning with the upstairs hallway.

The painted yellow walls in the foyer are in rough shape.  While the plaster keys appear to be in good shape, the texture of the walls is rough as a cob.  That's my Grandpa Bert's line, "rough as a cob".  Makes me laugh because I can still hear him say it and see his smile.  I wonder where Grandpa Bert heard that expression, and how many generations said it before him.  I've heard my Dad use the expression too. 

Detail of the Front Foyer Door

Original hardware on the front foyer door.  The lock mechanism still works.  Jon took apart the mechanism two years ago, cleaned it, and it with the skeleton key--works great.

Detail of mechanical door bell. 

Check out the wood grain on the door.  This is faux bois woodwork--a handpainted faux finish on pine by an artisan in 1893 to make the wood look like quarter sawn oak. 

The doorways are also faux bois and and because of traffic over the years have chips in the faux bois paint, requiring touch up with a small artist brush.  I use oil paints: yellow ochre, raw sienna, burnt sienna, burnt umber, and several artist brushes to make touch ups.
This is our very yellow foyer.  To the left and right of the light fixture you can see golf ball size holes in the wall.  That's where Jon blew insulation into the walls.  The insulation made quite an impact on cooling, heating, and noise dampening.

The insulation was one of the first things done to the house in 2007 when we bought the house.  Installation was very dirty work.  We were able to move into the house in April 2008.
Above is a closet door in the foyer, located underneath the stairway.  Again, all the woodwork is faux bois--handpainted to look like quarter sawn oak. 

John Olson Wrolstad is the original owner/builder of our 1893 Queen Anne.  John was a successful businessman in logging, and could have afforded expensive woodwork for his house.  Instead he chose to have an artisan faux finish the pine woodwork throughout the house including the floors!  Faux bois was all the rage in the 1800's. 

The front foyer stairway

View from the base of the staircase

Ascending the stairs.  Above is the temporary scaffold Jon built.  The scaffold will help me repair the wall cracks.

Above, you can see the cleats supporting the temporary scaffold floor.

As we near the top of the stairs to the right you can see the cleat where a portable section of scaffold attaches to the wall.

At the left you can see the opposite cleat at the top of the stairs where a section of temporary scaffold floor can be added.

At the top of the stairs is the east hallway wall.  Jon started to repair the cracks in the hallway sometime back.  We are at a place now where we can continue repairs. 
Once I am on the second floor landing I turn around to take photos of the temporary scaffold Jon built.

We hired Tom and Bev Lederhaus to finish the ceiling drywall installation, mudding, and sanding.  Here are parts of the restoration that require more attention and ceonomical decisions.  We did not rip out existing plaster and lathe but in some instances we've added new ceiling drywall to fight against new cracks, gravity, and furture maintenance.

You can see the temporary scaffold causes cosmetic damage to the stairwell walls which we will have to repair as we go along.  Number 1 issue is safety, and so the scaffold fits the situation.

Laying across the scaffold platform is the second section with cleat.  The cleat fits into the metal wall hangers.  Next photo, you can see left and right--the metal hangers to hold the second scaffold section.

Below I'm standing in the north end of the hallway looking south to the upstairs bathroom we installed in May 2009.

View of the north end of the hallway landing.  Beyond the etched glass door is a Juliet balcony.  Last summer I started scraping the balcony but got distracted by another project--can't remember now exactly what it was. 

For $200 I bought a pait of light fixtures for the hallway.  You can't see the scrollwork etched into the glass shade, but it has similar etching as the etched glass door.

Here's the etched glass Juliet balcony door

The upstairs hallway is 28ft long, and at it narrowest about 5' wide. 

Tom and Bev Lederhaus finished mudding and sanding the ceiling drywall July 14 this year.  Two days later we hosted a tour of our house for the Voie Quien Reunion.  The Quien family owned our house from 1917 until 2007.  We purchased the house April 16, 2007.

Walking down the hallway to the new upstairs bathroom.

End of the hallway, entrance to the bathroom

We are so pleased with the upstairs bathroom.  The door at  the left is a huge walk in closet where we added a laundry room.

Just a reminder, below is a photo of the upstairs bathroom when it was just a storage room/small bedroom (Jan 2009).

Turning around now, and walking back to the stairway landing (looking north at the Juliet balcony door).

The east wall of the hallway.  The brown painted line is decorative, but also shows where the picture rail might have hung.  There is quite a bit of picture rail stored in the attic. 
We are thinking about re-installing it. 

So, as this project begins I'll track every suttle crack and secure it with web tape embedded with durabond.  There are many cracks you can't see clearly in this photo.  So let me give you an example of the number of wall cracks that were repairs in the west bedroom upstairs.  You'll be surprised.  See next photo.
Example:  West Bedroom Upstairs During Repair of Wall Cracks (Dec 2008)

Example:  West Bedroom Upstairs After Repairs of Cracks and Skim Coats (Jan 2009)

Above photo--descending the staircase

The pie shaped steps on the staircase

 Traveling down the steps into the front foyer.

Peeling painted wallpaper (yellow); plaster painted green, and web tape embedded with durabond--beginning wall crack repairs.

Walking down the stairs, straight ahead are three golf ball size holes where Jon blewn in insulation.

The photographed light in the foyer makes it possible to see part of the Blue Heron etched glass front door.

Opening the front door - to show exterior view

How lucky are we?  to have original doors, woodwork, and hardware

Here's a good photo of the etched glass front door

Imagine this.  There are Five Doors in the front foyer.  Two double doors here.  One leads to the sitting room (living room), and the opened door here leads to the dining room.

I stopped to close the door to the dining room for this photo.

Now the door to the dining room is open again, and you can see a bit of the kitchen beyond the dining room.  The door under the staircase is a closet.  Across from the staircase (to the left) is another door (entrance to a parlor with pocket doors).  Currently used as a bedroom.
I'd like to know more about these hangers in the wall at the base of the staircase.  Can you tell me about them?