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October 31, 2015

I hope you have a bewitchingly fun Halloween!

Got to get one of those . . . . . but in more relevant news:
In the Halloween excitement this week I almost
forgot that tonight we Fall back an hour.
Enjoy that extra hour of sleep!

October 30, 2015

Today's Before and After Friday is bittersweet.
There are a few amazing restorations but also
several sad stories.

We're all familiar with the deterioration of historic
communities in Detroit but this picture says it all:
The top photo shows a row of beautiful homes in the early 1900's
and the bottom photo shows the same street scene today.

Located in Alton, Illinois, this 135 year old house has stood
empty for over 50 years.  How does this happen?!

The photo, below left, shows the majestic staircase in the
Gwrych castle in Abergaele, Denbighshire, Wales in 1891:
The photo, right, shows the abandoned staircase today.

Halcyon Hall of Bennett College, Millbrook, NY:

Halcyon Hall was built as a luxury hotel in 1890 but closed in
1901.  It later became Bennett School for Girls which grew into
Bennett College.  The school went bankrupt and closed in 1978.

Historic Arlington Plantation in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1934:
The decaying mansion, today:

Before we get too maudlin about the sad neglect of such architecturally
interesting homes, let's take a look at some houses that were salvaged.

This Victorian house once belonged to Nashville composer John W. Work
and was restored by the Columbus, Ohio-based firm Moody-Nolan :


A San Rafael, California, mansion, before:
 The amazing after:

This landmark was purchased and restored by a non-profit
group and is now an asset to the community:

Not all older Detroit homes have been
neglected.  This one was restored:

Thankfully this Victorian brownstone was restored to its original glory:

The top photo was taken in 1973 and the bottom
photo shows the family who bravely saved it.

This Rochester, NY, storefront received a loving renovation:

Felt mansion, Holland, Michigan, before:
 A close up of the mansion at its worst: 
The mansion after restoration:
A close up of the mansion, after:

The Governor's Mansion in Austin, Texas, following an arsonist's fire in 2008:
 The restored mansion today:

A sad decaying plantation in Bolivar County, Mississippi, before:

The beautiful house, after - stunning!

Originally, as a Halloween post, I was going to show decaying mansions
that have descended into abandoned haunted houses but it was just too
depressing.  I needed to see restoration and happiness.  The people
and groups who rescue historic treasures are true architectural heroes.

Have a fun and safe Halloween and, remember -
bring cats, especially black cats, indoors on Saturday night.
Some trick-or-treaters can be cruel to our feline friends.

October 28, 2015

Trading Spaces on TLC was one of the first DIY (under the supervision
of a decorator) reality TV shows.  It's hard to believe that the show
just celebrated it's 15th season, isn't it?

Today we're going to take a walk down memory lane and roll
our eyes and laugh at some of the show's spectacular FAILS!

Oh, dear!  Leave it to Hildi to hang the furniture on the ceiling.
The husband thought it was funny but the wife was not amused.

Remember the episode that featured The Oasis?

Another Hildi fail - she covered the basement walls in striped fabric
and filled it with sand to make a beach getaway.  Get. It. Away!

Yup, another Hildi no-no (I'm seeing a pattern here.)  She covered
one wall of a family's living room with a huge mural of herself.

But the WORST Trading Spaces room makeover ever:
The walls of a historic Craftsman style home were covered in hay.  What
was completely ridiculous about this ideas?  The couple had a baby and a
toddler.  Not smart.  It took 17 hours for the production company to
remove the hay and restore the walls to their original condition.  And,
yes, it was a Hildi Santo-Tomas design.

This didn't start out as a Hate Hildi post but you have to admit that she
had more Misses than Hits.  Like the time she wallpapered one couple's
bedroom in cardboard.  Or the episode where she covered another couple's
bedroom with feathers - and they had cats!  How 'bout the time she pasted
wine labels all over a minister's kitchen?

Yes, other designers on the show have had a few less-than-enthusiastic
homeowners with their rooms but, by far, Hildi owns the vast
majority of the show's fails. 
I'm ready for a Trading Spaces Reunion.  Bring back the original cast and
raise their budget from $1,000 to $5,000.  Except Hildi.  Lose her invitation.

Here's a bit of Trading Spaces trivial you might not know - Paige Davis, the
original host, is married to actor Patrick Page.  Yes, her legal name is Paige Page.

October 27, 2015

Today's post is short and sweet -
the same way I like my dogs!

I found this tip almost a year ago and saved it to share with you:


Here are a few no-bake snack ideas that you
can make with the kids and grandkidlets:

Pudding cups, crumbled chocolate cookie 'dirt' and Peeps ghosts - so clever!

 Here are the steps to make the Oreo Eyeballs with Gummy Lifesavers:

These are hilarious:
Gummy worm-infested flavored ice cubes!
Pick up a couple of plastic ice trays at Dollar Tree, fill with lemonade
or fruit juice, right when they're freezing insert gummy worms.
Bam!  You you look like a genius!

Halloween snacks can also be healthy:

What could be easier than mandarin orange cups and a black marker?

Cheese and pretzel witch brooms!

Deviled Eggs with black olive spiders - I love it.

I hope today's photos inspire you to make your
own special Halloween treats.  More tomorrow!