All posts by Kelly F

I love nature, but despise this tree

So yeah, I am going to say it loud and proud – I despise the ginkgo tree!  Don’t worry, the tree doesn’t like me either so there is no love loss between us.

I admit, in the fall, when all the leaves turn yellow, it is stunning.  Absolutely gorgeous!  But that window is very short.  Many years (including this one), we miss it entirely.  Then the berries start to drop and rot on the ground.  Trust me, there is no other odor quite like rotting ginkgo berries – they reek!  No only that, many of us are allergic to the berries.  They have urushiol (similar to poison ivy, oak, sumac) which causes a horrible rash that lasts for about three weeks.  Ugh!

It is difficult to keep the dogs from walking near the tree since they can (and have) gotten the liquid from the rotting berries on their feet.  That in turn gets on people and we break out in a rash.

More recently, the tree attacked my vehicle.  During a storm which had microbursts – huge limbs came down and smooshed my  truck.


 Here are a few “after” shot with the tree missing a limb.


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Someday, this tree will be gone and someone, somewhere will miss it.  It just won’t be me.

Be our guest! Be our guest! Get your worries off your chest!

For quite a few years, Morton Hall had two completed bedrooms –  Laurie’s room (a.k.a. the green bedroom) and Catherine’s room (a.k.a. the peach room).   This worked well for years – coming out on the weekends to work and not spending too much time inside the house (other than on work projects).  Then, a few years ago (possibly when the temporary kitchen got started), folks started wanting to come out and stay over.    Wow!  We were flattered but then started thinking, are there enough beds?  The short answer is: not really.  This also gave me an excuse to convince Laurie that the next project should be to finish another bedroom.  The little room directly off of the bathroom was the only potential bedroom.  Luckily, most of the plaster work was already done.  All we really needed to do was empty the room, do a quick spackle job, sand, paint, and make it gorgeous (my favorite part).  Being the determined worker bees that we are, we knocked this entire project out quickly.  Then the fun part began – decorating! 

Let me recap some of the more interesting things:

  • Curtains are actually shower curtains from Wal Mart.  They were cheap, fun, and we didn’t care if they got ruined. 
  • The lamps are a fantastic clearance find from Target.  They were squirreled away in my decorating closet for a few years before being taken out to MH.  The lamp shades are actually gold lined and are soft and gorgeous when turned on.  They came from Lowe’s.
  • Little framed dog pictures (black labs) – as the “theme” for this room evolved (dogs), these tiny works of art felt like the perfect little pop of “awww”.  The frames came from a clearance from my local Safeway (weird I know).  The art is from a little book I picked up at a thrift store and cut up.
  • The awesome dog chalk board was something Laurie spotted with her eagle eye at WIN (Women in Need, Chestertown).  It is originally from Pottery Barn and it was love at first sight.
  • Reindeer hooks on the back of the door were a clearance find from Arhaus in Baltimore.  They were something ridiculous like $2 each.
  • Mirrors above the fireplace was a project we tackled last year.  We found all of the rectangular mirrors on clearance at the local home improvement store for practically nothing.   Having gotten one from craigslist/freecycle and putting over Laurie’s fireplace, we liked the look and wanted to repeat it throughout the house.  One was hung up in the living room, kitchen, peach room, and the blue guest room.
  • Little birds along the mantle came from various sources – Ross, Home Goods, thrifting, and a little tea shop in Middletown, DE.
  • The closet to the left of the bed is used for cleaning supplies and the door was removed eons ago and never replaced.  Until that chore is done, I hung up a spring rod and added a curtain with rings.  The curtain is insulated which cuts down on drafts and keeps the A/C and heater from heating up the closet.

Please enjoy some before and after photos below.

As this is still a work in progress, and anyone who knows me knows that I constantly change things, the room has already been changed.  The furniture was just too large so that got moved to the peach room and now the blue room feels larger.  And more pieces of furniture fit in!  

Thanks for reading 🙂


Frankly my dear, I *do* give a damn

Every time we pull up to MH, I feel like I’m walking back in time or a parallel universe where people still live like they did in Gone With The Wind.  The sweeping porches with ornate ironwork are just begging to host afternoon tea or a lawn party.  But sadly, it won’t be happening anytime soon as the porches are in need of replacing.  See for yourself:

For now, we dream of the future when the porches are finished and we can spend quiet evenings relaxing with a cup of tea or glass of wine.  Watching the sun rise or sink in the distance while sitting on cushioned chairs and chaises as a gentle breeze blows down from ceiling fans.  Can’t you picture it with lush green ferns hanging along the arches?  Once this project begins, you will be the first to know (well, after the contractor at least).  And we will keep everyone posted along the way.

Thanks for reading 🙂