Turrets, dormers and tchotchkes

Jeff relaxes at the Petite Auberge in San Francisco, January 2004

Jeff relaxes at the Petite Auberge in San Francisco, January 2004

“I hereby proclaim that I love turrets and dormers, and massive wooden staircases and fireplace mantels, and curvy old antiques and Oriental carpets and crystal chandeliers and even velvet curtains. And yes, I love tchotchkes. I have a house full of them.”            — Zofia Smardz

One of the things I most enjoy about the blogosphere, or the online site Pinterest, is finding out how many others share my enthusiasm for many things that aren’t favorites of my all-male-but-me household.  I’ve written a good bit here about simplicity, and the calming effects of quiet, uncluttered environments.  But I have to come clean about my love for romantic French country, “shabby chic” or Victorian decorating, especially when I’m not the one who has to do the housekeeping.

That’s why I love bed and breakfast inns.  My husband, who would much prefer a good large-screen television with ESPN to an antique four poster bed, is nonetheless occasionally willing to indulge my love of discovering quaint lodgings when we travel.  He usually enjoys the breakfasts enough to make it an agreeable option for him, provided I don’t overdo it.

But thanks to the wonders of the internet, I don’t have to wait for a vacation to get my frilly fix.  Hundreds (maybe thousands) of talented ladies who visit Pinterest have compiled an abundance of engaging and delightful visual treats for anyone who admires art applied to everyday life.  Fair warning: visiting Pinterest is like following Alice down the rabbit hole or through the looking glass.  It’s a wonderland out there, and you might not get back to reality as quickly as you think you will!

Feel free to post links to, or photos of, your favorite B & B, fun online shop or Pinterest site in the comments below.  Even for those of us who keep decidedly plainer homes, it’s always fun to make a virtual visit to more florid abodes.  Today I invite everyone to savor a cup of tea or coffee while making a quick imaginary trip to a lovely, equally imaginary online parlor where we can chat about our next craft project.  In moderation, daydreams are sometimes almost as good as reality, and infinitely more practical as a quick getaway.


  1. This is cute. I was pondering the other day that I like a clean simple small home but via the internet, WordPress etc I have access to a mansion full of wondrous delights which I can enjoy without worrying about how to clean and care for. It’s brilliant 🙂

    • Isn’t it wonderful that now we can get our vicarious “frilly fix” online at pretty much NO expense? Now if I could just use that rationale to help me part with some of my aging, hoarded “treasures” as well as all the reading material that piles up around here! Thanks for visiting here, and for your comment!

  2. I love turrets. There is a photo of mine and my recreation in food here – http://eclecticlamb.com/2012/11/15/thankful-bento-blog-hop/

    • Thanks so much for sharing this link! I have always dreamed of living in a home with a turret. Being able to stroll past all the wonderful Victorian homes is one of the things I miss most about living in Northern California where I could go into San Francisco whenever I wanted. Living in a hope with a turret is one step away from living in a castle – it must be wonderful! Thanks for being here!

  3. Michael Bertoglio

    This in regards to yesterday. I can’t believe you have not read,”Gone with the Wind.” How can you call yourself a child of the South?- just kidding. I heard it is a very difficult read and not sure I want to attempt, though it might be a help to my work in progress. I would like to know what you think of Conroy’s chapter about the book. I think I tried to read it and got into about fifty pages. He also has a chapter about librarians I think you would like. I may have mentioned Nancy Pearl’s avice to read as many pages as your age before giving up on a book. So in my case it is around 60 pages now.

    • Hi Mike, I have a copy of GWTW that I’ve had for years and one day I intend to get to it. I very, very rarely give up on a book, as I find that sometimes even those that are hard going all the way through leave me with a lot to think about. The only time I quit reading a book is when it becomes so profane or offensive that I do not want my mind to be subjected to the foul content. However, I have no problem, with a nonfiction book, with skipping around and reading different essays not necessarily in order. Sounds like Conroy’s book would be one I could do that with, and I’d love to read his thoughts on both GWTW and also librarians. Thanks for telling me about it.

  4. Sheila

    Julia, hope you had a nice day and were able to get outside. We have never stayed at a bed and breakfast. Bill’s thinking is that as long as there’s a Hampton Inn available he will opt for that. Tried and true! I catch a glimpse of Pinterest every chance I get. Both daughters are on there so that’s fun to follow. I’ll email a photo of the wind chimes, hopefully soon. I’m keeping your family in my prayers. Sheila

    • Hi Sheila, Jeff and I both worked outside today in what we jokingly call our “lower 40” (the wooded part of our lot behind our fence at our York home) and it was wonderful to be back there; I had to tear myself away from the sound of the wind in the trees and the birds singing. The morning was sunny, but cool enough to be perfect. Hey, we love Hampton Inn too and there’s one in Lexington, VA that is in a historic building and is almost like a B&B itself! We have found some lovely B&Bs at great prices here and there, and some of the breakfasts are truly marvelous. But when we are pressed for time and just want something near the interstate, Hampton Inn really fits the bill! Since you have an RV you probably can use it a lot of the time and skip the hotel. I could get LOST on Pinterest, it is so full of “chick” things like crafts, decorating, cooking, etc.! A real oasis for a woman who has lived with all men for over 30 years!! Thanks so much for your prayers, you are in mine as well!

  5. Michael Bertoglio

    The last Philip Roth book I read I found offensive and should have stopped reading it. Will not read any more of his stuff.

    • Yes, I have read just enough of Roth to imagine that might be so. In fact, he might be one of the authors I decided not to finish reading, although I’m not sure. Some of what he writes is good, though…I love his short story called “The Conversion of the Jews” — if you have not read that particular story, I highly recommend it.


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