Saturday, December 27, 2008

My "Romantic" Life...Thank You, Romantic Homes magazine!

Thank you, Romantic Homes magazine!!!

Oh how life can surprise you!
I got the surprise of my life when one afternoon last September I was contacted by my favorite magazine, Romantic Homes, telling me they would like to include me in their February"Romantics" issue.

You could have knocked me over with a feather. And of course I said YES! :)

{I was SO happy that one of the pics they chose to include was one with our sweet black Lab, Nicodemus, in it! }

The issue has just come out and I got my copy in the mail today -- what fun to not only see the little blurb about moi, but to be in the company of some really special people!

There were quite a few chosen this year and the list is quite diverse! I was familiar with all but just a few and it was so wonderful to read about the ways they try to live "romantically".

In my typical style, I submitted WAY more photos and WAY more written copy then they could EVER use, and their finished product is just wonderful, I think.

Just for fun, here are some of the pics taken for this feature that didn't make it into the mag...

{On the left, a chair next to the front door, on it are some of my prized antique diaries and ledger books. Just outside the glass you can see one of our cats, Tigger. On the right are some of my vintage wooden shoe forms...I have quite a few of them and I suppose its now time to stop buying more. Ya think?? :) }

{Just one of my many dress forms -- this one is made of a cardboard-type material and is pretty fragile. I love how the paper is aged to this mellow, golden tone. Like the shoe forms, I suppose I've reached a level where I don't need even one more of these. Until another must-have shows up somewhere!!! :) Just a note: I know NO ONE who is this size, by the way. The waist measurement on this form is must be about 10 inches. Crazy!}

{An old rattan desk situated in our dining room next to one of the massive old doors in this room -- these doors were actually one of the main selling points of this house for me.}

The idea behind this yearly feature is to cull from various and diverse individuals those ideas and ways of life that exemplify "romantic living". I had many notions about living beautifully and it was a real pleasure to have a chance to really give this topic some thought...

As the Romantic Homes article stated, my store's "motto" is 'Elegant Essentials & Sensible Luxuries' - meaning simply that even things essential to daily life should also be beautiful and elegant; and the luxuries we allow ourselves don't have to break the bank, since a luxury is not defined by its price tag, rather bythe enduring beauty it brings to our daily lives.

Think of it -- you reach for a notepad to jot out a reminder for yourself or to add eggs to the shopping list - why not reach for a lovely pen housed in an antique French mustard jar and a beautiful pad with brightly colored paper? You can pour dishwasher detergent from the cardboard box it comes in, or you can scoop it with a silver scoop from a vintage enamelware box (see, even doing the dishes can be "beautified!"). When you finally settle in for the evening with a stack of great magazines to peruse, why not fill the room with beautiful music instead of the cacophony of the TV? Fill the air with a beautiful scent from a gorgeous candle & enjoy hot tea from a lovely bone china cup.

Each one of these in itself is a small detail, but together they equal abeautiful gift you choose to give yourself that day. These days our minds run 100-miles an hour all day. If we never give our thoughts a chance to stop, and be collected in beauty, we're simply not living, we're existing; nothing could be more unromantic.

The more you incorporate beautiful expressions of living into your daily life,the more easily entertaining, even on the spur of the moment, will become. You will already have a stock of beautiful napkins, silver will already bepolished, and beautiful china will be readily accessible rather than somethingyou have to hunt through a closet to retrieve.

Here is a twist on the Golden Rule: "Do unto yourself (and your family)as you would do unto company." And believe me, when you do have guests in, they will definitely notice the ease and grace with which you host them and it will be apparent that this is more than just an occasional practice foryou - rather, a way of life.

Think of your home as your large-scale "inspiration board" -ever-changing and alive. You're in charge of what's on display, and the current trend-of-the-moment just really doesn't matter.

So what if others don't seem to appreciate the items you've chosen to collect:
vintage men's shirt collars displayed beautifully in the laundry room
next to laundry soap dispensed from a gorgeous glass apothecary jar;
displays of wooden shoe forms and charming vintage dress forms;
a lovely bowl brimming with antique skeleton keys and a scattering of
chipped enamel watch faces.

The things you love and are drawn to reflect you, and in your home that
is all that matters. Your very soul will sing when everywhere your eyes fall
in your home there is an object of beauty and meaning, dear to you and you
alone; souvenirs of a life beautifully lived.

I just love the words of
Cary Grant in one of my favorite movies, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream Home:

"A house is like a fine painting. You buy it with your heart,
not your head. You don't ask 'How much was the paint, and how much
was the canvas.' You look at it and you say, 'It's beautiful... I
want it.'
And, if it costs a few more pennies, you pay it and gladly, because you love it
and you can't measure things you love in dollars and cents."

The painted
and stenciled floors throughout the house are quite scarred from years of very large dogs running on

The vintage windows are drafty and not at all energy efficient. 

the floorboards creak and are anything but level. 

And yet, these are all
things I love about my home. 

My home, like many others, is far from perfection, but it is just right for our family.

After all, you kind of have to extend a
bit of grace to an old "gal" who is 118 years old -- she's earned the creaks
in her joints, the scars in her finishes, and the sagging foundation (as have many of us!).

Fill your home with things that you see the beauty in (even if others
don't grasp what you see in them). Rescue a vintage typewriter and
display it prominently, perhaps with a love letter or verse tucked in the roll
mechanism. Collect antique diaries (I do) and slowly read through the daily
chronicling of the life of someone who lived 100 years ago. Oh, how they
reveal how differently we live today (and we could learn a thing or two from the past!).

Oh! Before I forget, I wanted to let you know about a few shop-update things:
Our huge 2-foot square burlap pillow covers & giant burlap market bags are back in stock. They sold out SO quickly before and we now have them back in and ready to ship!

  • Our new supply of the French metal bottle drying racks is in, too! These were a huge seller before the holidays and we finally got some back in the shop and ready to go!

  • There are new items that are going to be up on the site soon (just need to take pics) such as some INCREDIBLE French aprons -- bistro-types with great graphic qualities and done in a fabulous line-type fabric, that you will LOVE!!

  • Some gorgeous black/white French "Eiffel Tower" napkins and kitchen towel sets (if you like the ones we had in pink and in turquoise you'll adore these -- just wait!).

  • Drumroll....Our own exclusive "Mathematicus" pillows are almost done and will be available to ship in the next couple of weeks! We chose three complimentary fabrics/thread colors and three different numbers (12, 34, & 56) for the number pillows and when purchased together, it will look like 123456 when laid out together! Trust me, initial reactions to the pillows that have been completed have been overwhelmingly POSITIVE and I have a feeling these are going to be a huge hit! Coming SOON!

Well, thanks so much for letting me tell you about my "news" of being in the Feb. issue of THE MOST AWESOME mag out there -- get your copy today! Better yet, if you don't already have one, get your subscription! I've never been disappointed with even one issue in all the years I've read won't either!
Yours Beautifully (and I suppose now "romantically", too!),

Ruth Harsham


Sharon in NE said...

Congratulations! Well deserved!

Jackie said...

Congratulations, Ruth!! Not surprising - your home is so lovely and warm in all the pictures I've seen - perfect for a romantic home!!I can't wait for my issue to arrive! Your post was perfect - I have lots of things in my home that I worry if people will "get", but you're so right - if we love them, that's all that matters. Thank you for the reminder that everything can be useful and beautiful - we just need to take the time to think about it!! Happy New Year!

Jeanneoli said...

After all the pictures you recently posted it is no wonder they asked you to be in the magazine. Your home is so lovely. I got a subscription for Christmas, but I don't know when it is starting. I will pick it up tomorrow.

French_ee Le Trip said...

Felicitations, Ruth! Great article. I will ask my mom to pick up a copy for me so I can read it when I get to the US.

Happy New Year!

Kasey said...

Looks just beautiful!

Joy Zaczyk said...

OH MY GOODNESS GIRL! Is this what you were holding out on me?! I can't wait to see this issue. I really love that magazine!

Happy New Year to you and yours!


Tracie~MyPetiteMaison said...

Congratulations Ruth on your romantic feature. How wonderful Nicodemus made it into the feature too, now that's the icing on the cake!

I am so with you on doing what you love as far as houses/life go. Ours is an old house too and has many sags but character too. There's a true romance in old houses I believe too. I was really inspired by your post and love all the photos you shared.

Here's to a New Year of continued Romantic Living in Old Homes with Large Dogs!

dlh said...

you are an inspiration. I love getting a peak inside homes and yours is just lovely. It must be quite a labor of love.

KayEllen said...

Happy New Year Ruth!!
Oh how exciting can't wait to pick up copy!!!
Such a pleasure to have met you on flickr and in blogland:)
Blessing to you and your family,


kath@retromantic antiques said...

Ruth, Congrats on a the well deserved recognition! I have loved your site and Blog for awhile now and now the World will! Can't wait to see those pillows.kath

Rebecca said...

Congratulations Ruth, I just read your feature tonight and how beautiful.
Wishing you continued success in the New Year!

Teri said...

I'm so excited for you Ruth. I feel so blessed to have met you.

Your most recent post was...inspiring! As I check the Euro-USD exchange rate, and wonder about the economy, my husband is busy planning another trip to Paris. Your blog helped me adopt a new motto, with a few Parisian changes...

"If it costs a few more euros, you pay it gladly, because you love that city and you can't measure things you love in euros, (or dollars)."



Hi Ruth,

What a wonderful compliment to be included in Romantic Homes. I absolutely love that magazine. I'm so glad you popped by my blog and I do hope to see you again. I'll have to keep my eye on The Beautiful Life's beautiful blog.

All the best,

cheryls fascinatingfinds said...

Congratulations Ruth! How exciting....and your post was so beautifully written and so true. We can all take lessions from you!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your magazine feature. That's such an awesome feeling.

Daisy Cottage said...

Congratulations Ruth!!!

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous article. I actually just finished reading the magazine. I can't believe they left out that picture of the bust with that gorgeous "H" hannging from it. That is such a great picture and truely romantic.

Barb said...

Hi Ruth,

Happy New Year to you!
I was so excited when I saw the article. You are a very special lady and certainly well deserving of the honor. You can feel the love in your home.


Urban Farmhouse said...

Hi Ruth, thanks for stopping by and leaving me a message on my blog! Congrats to you also for being featured in The Romantics line up in Romantic Homes magazine. So much fun and what an honor for us both!! I have visited your website and blag many times in the past year, saw an ad in RH I think. Both are stunning and I always enjoy my visit to them. Nice to "meet" you!

Sue Groffie-Gregg said...

What a fabulous post...I was searching on Romantic Homes Magazine (their website seems to be very out of date...still showing their December issue), when your blog showed up on my search results. I LOVED what you said "The painted
and stenciled floors are quite scarred from years of very large dogs running on
them. The vintage windows are drafty and not at all energy efficient. And
the floorboards creak and are anything but level. And yet, these are all
things I love about my home.
My home, like many others, is far from perfection, but it is just right for our family." I have a 106 year old folk Victorian (now a B&B) and this old gal is always "jogging in place". But, I LOVE HER! Blessings!