Photo by Stephen LamTate
Hand-made card by Stephen.
Tate, 6 weeks old, April 25th, Murfreesboro, NC, Summer, 2011.
From zero to sixty in a heart beat, feeding time. Waking up from afternoon nap.
We keep track of bottle feeding because sometimes being so sleepy I forget!
View from the breeze way looking toward kitchen. The hand-made quilt is a special gift from Aunt Sherry, embroidered with patience and love. Thank you Sherry! The rocking chair Kenny found for ten bucks in Franklin, Va. Ikea pillow, cheap! Cleo seems to always end up in my photos, my shadow. Portrait of Jim Thomas, circa 1950s, on top of hutch.
Food Exchange sign we found at Brimfield Antique Show in Maine. For years, I heard about Brimfield, where all the serious vintage buyers from NYC go to find their cool stuff. Kenny's haunt from his men's clothing design days at Polo and RRL. I was dying to see what treasures I'd been missing out on. Finally, just before we moved to North Carolina the summer of 2009 we drove from Manhattan to the coast of Maine with a rented UHaul in tow. Vender after vender laid out their wares, reminded me of Woodstock for antique/vintage collectors! A sight to behold but WAY over priced! Kenny's a pro at bargaining. He did all the talking and we scored our biggest deals at the end of the day. Corner cupboard, farm table, hand painted signs, 1800s basket, step back cupboard and a few trinkets for me. Eastern North Carolina has some pretty decent auctions and estate sales which I prefer, local, fun and way cheaper. The Gift shop sign in the background, was given to us by a member of The Murfreesboro Historical Association. It was left out in the elements, forgotten and forlorn until it found it's perch a top my french door.
Recently we put in storm windows to help insulate the house, a huge expense but necessary with a big drafty house like ours. Built by Jacob W Holt 1875 the kitchen was set back from the house in those days for fear of fire. In the 1950s it was enclosed by a breezeway that connects to the main dining room and butler's pantry. Designing the layout of the kitchen was a bit of a conundrum with it's cottage like windows and no wall space.
My kitchen really is the heart of our home I savor the warm aroma of a roast chicken with rosemary wafting through the house or the sweet smell of Kenny's magic bars all hot and gooey in the oven. When it came to choosing a good stove we wanted to buy well. Kenny found this Blue Star gas range in a showroom on Ave A in the East Village. NYC. Unpacked it weighs 400 lbs and had to be delivered via semi-truck. It took four sweaty men to move it to it's final resting place. What a moment to have my first real grown up appliance!
In the morning it greets me like a shining coat of armor. I polish, I wipe, I scour. It takes two hours, not including soak time, to remove all the parts, clean and put back together. Love is: a good stove. My equivalent to a fancy sports car. Resting on the top right burner is my old Alessi kettle coveted from a ratty East Village junk shop circa 1980s when I wore Dr Marten's and black tights walking around the streets of NY. I negotiated and paid twenty bucks. It seemed a fortune. New today, I saw one at the Alessi store on Madison Ave -for three hundred dollars! It's lost it's whistle and I almost melted the handle one night making tea. But it still lives and works as well as the day I brought it home.
For cooking, I have some great All Clad pans which I love, to be honest I prefer cast iron. I was the last of five girls and my mom's one good meal she cooked for me was breakfast. Home-made hash browns panfried to a perfect golden crunch and eggs that popped and spattered when she dropped them in butter. The cast iron bubbled them over easy. It was all about that blackened pan. I'm searching a potato shredder like the one she used. It stands solo on the counter with a big handle that you turn. I'll find one somewhere, then I can make Tate the same breakfast.
I collect vintage utensils. In all their oddities and primary colors, they possess untold stories of family holiday dinners, summer picnics and birthday parties. Wooden spoons especially. Their history lies in all their nics and burns. I put mine in the window, back lit so that I can admire their shapes. I bought these for three bucks each at the General Store in Seaboard, NC. To me the story behind the object and how it is found is as meaningful as the object itself. My Salt and Peppers, for example will alway hold the memory of driving across america and the ghost towns we encountered. If the american landscape is changing and disappearing so is a good junk shop. They are now filled with an overflow of Old Navy and Walmart. I mourn a loss. I'm a thrift shopper at heart. Ebay is my Salvation Army.
Detail of my Metroshelves, previously installed in our Brooklyn photo studio. Glad they found a purpose in my kitchen opposed to holding photo boxes and relic film backs. The open air shelving means staying organized but it's great see everything instead of reaching into a dark abyss. In anticipation of large dinner parties Kenny and I ordered a huge set of dishes from Fishes Eddy. I combine them with my vintage colored plates and bowls. We visited their main showroom on Broadway, off Union Square, NY to get an idea about what we wanted, easier than just seeing things online. We purchased standard white american made restaurant-ware that you can add to: oversize plates, chargers, deep soup bowls, cups that swirl hot creamy coffee and skating rink size turkey platters (all not seen here, next shelf down which I didn't photograph) When we finally finished our kitchen renovations it all got put to good use!
Boon Grass Counter Top Drying Rack.Toys hanging in the breezeway.Detail of quilt from Aunt Sherry which will find it's home in Tate's crib. Farmhouse cupboard from hardware store in upstate NY, and my never ending pitcher of iced-tea.Guest book and Beatrix Potter series, rock found on the beach with Kristen in White Rock, BC.First book I read to Tate. He loves The Cat in The Hat, Horton Hears a Who, Runaway Bunny and Guess How Much I Love You!Hadiah! He sits on the farmhouse cupboard and is very much a part of our days. My sister Norene a mosaic artist commissioned friend and sculptor Kerry O'Gorman to create something for Tate. Click on her name and you'll be taken into her magical, award wining blog FarmLass or buy one of her incredible pieces on on Etsy. And check out Norene's site!Orchid in breezeway was given to us when we moved here two years ago, it's still thriving.The first roses from my garden, thick glass vintage bottles and meditation stone given to me by Norene.Kenny and Lucky bring the afternoon mail! A big excitement these days.Oh boy, my favorite candles I found on Ebay for half the price in stores. Purple Basil & Lime and Fresh Tomato Leaf, Votivo Garden Collection.What a wonderful surprise for Tate! A beautiful box full of clothes and presents from friend and fellow photographer Mackenzie Stroh, her son Julian and husband Chris Dixson.So incredibly thoughtful Mackenzie, many thank you's. Tate fits into everything!Soft knit rattle from a fantastic shop in the East Village, Pink Olive. It really was like Christmas opening this carefully packed box from Mackenzie. Clothes passed on from her son Julian. Couldn't resist trying the western shirt on Tate.Just in time to go for a stroll out by the barn and pecan tree.Card from Kenny's cousin, famous costume designer, William Ivey Long.More ebay finds. Deadstock Bass oxford's I scored for $15Rogan jeans. I used to be "their best customer" at the Franklin Street store in Tribeca. Spent a small fortune. Bought these for $30 EbayaI'm mad for indian skirts! Ebay .99 cents each, shipping $20. I had to spend a bit of time searching in different categories: Vintage Clothing, Indian Cotton, Indian Clothing. It was fun and worth the effort.The day I shot all these images, April 25th, Gertrude Revelle came by for a visit and brought this piggy bank for Tate."Hey there you" up from a nap.Baby products I love. I used Sweet Cheeks after Tate got newborn baby acne. A little goes a long way, I rub a bit on his cheeks every morning and night. Worked like a charm. He loves the scent of lavender and vanilla and smiles and coos. It's made by Dimpleskins a Canadian company based in New Westminster, BC. Their line is 100% natural: Coconut oil, pure beeswax, apricot oil and I've actually been using it on my face. Baby Kisses is the perfect lip balm. Made by Bourdreaux famous for their Butt Paste. I put it on first to warm it up and then Tate puckers his lips didn't know babies stared to mimic at 2months! Penaten a german product since 1904 is a classic zinc cream for common skin irritations. My mom used it and I remember seeing a big tin of it in our bathroom for years. Something about the design like Noxema and Vicks makes me feel comforted.Somebody has sweet cheeks and soft lips!This CD of Ambient and Nature sounds was given to Tate by my good friend Caroline from Canada. We snuggle in and listen.It works it really does!Tate is growing so fast he's outgrown almost all of his sleepers. Thank you Sarah Jenkins Valentine, Rachel, Elicia and Mackenzie for all the sleepwear. I orderedthese Hanna Anderson thick cotton pjs, $5 Ebay.Everyday a gift arrives for Tate, he's a popular baby! This beautiful engraved silver baby cup, Gorham since 1831, is from the all the distinguished gentlemen at Coffee Club, a "men only" meeting that Kenny goes to every morning at 9:30am.Taking all these photos made me hungry -time for a sundae break! I made the usual: 3 strong arm scoops of Neopolitan Bryer's, fresh banana not mushy, cashew nuts or whatever nut I have in my pantry, drizzled with raw honey and sprinkled with ground coffee, topped with mint from my garden. Breezeway entrance, outbuilding and Cleo. Tate and I walk in the field many times during the day. Kenny was up to something and we went to investigate.Looking up over the side west porch paint job and detail work is finally finished!Historic marker for our house in the front yard.Front view of house, still looking for Papa and Lucky.Old Magnolia, front yard.Dogwood tree given to us by Elizabeth and Dewy Phillips, planted in Tate's honor.Hey there's Papa! Taking an iPhone photo and directing where the bricks should go for the front entrance walkway.Salvaged bricks from Chowan University, good deal!Kenny from Benchmark Builders brought a full load of bricks on his flat bed. A bit of a special favor, Thanks!
And now to go rouse my sleepy baby from slumber and feed him in my arms, maybe the hammock in the back yard or the rocker in the breezeway. I've missed him in the time it's taken to post this. xLeeta