Saturday, October 29, 2011


Midmorning yesterday, Susanne suggested a trip to Annville to look at leather chairs she had seen at a friend's house. Soon we were underway and stopped for lunch at Cross Roads Café, a place east of us on US 22. I have no idea what we had to eat (a whole day has passed -- what do you want from me?) but I did manage to take some pictures while there.

And here is one of them. A rather handsome whoopie pie (don't you think?) for our whoopie pie photo collection.

Here's the other, a picture of a tray of mille feuilles, sometimes called Napoleons. I've loved them when I was a student in France. These particular treats now reside in the pastry case at Cross Roads. The last one I ate was years ago in Québec City.

Leaving the restaurant, we continued east on US 22 a very short distance into Lebanon County, and then turned south toward the home of some friends we met through LEC, the French student homestay program I administer in our area. This couple has hosted both students and chaperons and are big supporters of LEC. On the day I was to drive the last group this year to the airport, I had to have eye surgery and so Paul volunteered to drive the van. I have been wanting to take him a bottle of thank-you wine since then (in fact, I bought it shortly after the trip) but something always came up when I planned to drive out there.

Anyway, I dropped off some Vouvray, which pleased Paul a lot, and had a brief chat with him and Ellen. They gave me directions to Annville from their house. We had a nice drive through the countryside until we reached our destination.
Behind this awful façade lies Kreamer's, a very nice furniture store, especially if you like early American/country style furnishings. The store is absolutely spotless. I wonder what is their secret to such cleanliness! You never see anyone cleaning. It's the same at our house, but somehow that does not work for us.

Here's one of the showcase windows along the street at Kreamer's. We liked the shape and the comfort of the little sofa at the far end. I wonder if you bought everything in the window they would just left you live there.

Hmm, there's that oblong rug again. I sort of like it! There are a number of rooms filled with the kind of furniture we like, and lots of interesting pictures on the walls.

Susanne likes the idea of a big sectional couch, but we just can't figure out how it would fit into our living room. Oh, and it costs an arm and a leg. I am trying to hand on to mine so I can leave them to a medical school.

I am hot on the trail for a cupboard in which to house some of my Lester Breininger redware pottery collection. This one might fit in the space we have available. What do you think? I think it's nice. Sort of "modest."

Susanne and I surprised ourselves by liking this black and yellow fabric on a couch. It reminded me of fabrics you might have seen in the mid-19th century, in places like James Buchanan's Wheatland.

This pattern was eye-catching, too. It resembles the beautiful woven coverlets we saw at the Heirloom Family Weavers a few weeks ago.

This wooden shelf was made by local Amish craftsmen. It looks good over a bed, don't you think?

This chest/table really attracted Susanne. I found it to be "common." Am I a snob?

Look at these wooden steps at Kreamer's. Have you ever seen anything so clean? Not a speck of dirt! And so neatly painted. I wonder if they hire out.

 Susanne pointed out this lamp to me. Do you think it would be good beside a bed for sleepy-time reading? Why do you think lamps are so expensive, except at Marshall's and the really gross ones at Ollie's, that is?

I have to admit that I have always been interested in things that are oversized (you know, those big rocking chairs) or miniature (think Matchbox cars), and in fake food! Kreamer's had a lot of fake food in its dining room furniture area especially. Here's one with a bbq sauce-covered rib, corn on the cob slathered with butter, and french fries.

A nice green Caesar salad.

 Oops, someone spilled red wine!

Salsa, anyone?

This sparkling water has special non-spilling qualities.

A second salad course.

We can have our own tea party.

I wonder if this is Vouvray by any chance.

Don't you just hate it when this happens?

But this is the worst!  Ha ha.

By now Susanne had found out that her leather chair had been a floor sample, and a new one would cost twice as much. Once again, Susanne's friend had run off with the prize, and we were left holding an empty bag! We are plotting to get even with them in the near future.

So we left Kreamer's, headed west on US 422 and turned north on Gravel Hill Road at Palmyra and back to US 22. Once in Dauphin County, we turned west on Old Jonestown Road and stopped at an antiques shop at Shellsville. Susanne had seen an old "shabby chic" cabinet that she thought might be suitable for our redware collection. We went into an outbuilding to check it out. It's shabby, alright. There's a lot of cool stuff out there.

The shop is located along the road next to the house of the owner, Dawn. She's a very interesting person to talk to and collects stuff from old houses and barns in her area.

Here's the cabinet Susanne likes.
 Do you think it's grungy enough?

This old doll was having a bad hair day.

This old wooden bench is a beauty!

Behind the main shop, Dawn has all sorts of old wooden and metal pieces. Susanne thinks she will buy the shutters and nail them to the back wall of the garage. I think not. 

We have a duck like the one here in the center. It comes apart and holds Easter candy. I didn't check the price, but I think they are worth some money now. The one we have was always part of our Easter display when I was a kid. 

What appears to be a three-drawer chest is actually a trunk on the top two-thirds and one drawer. It's a great-looking piece, called a mule trunk. It actually tried to kick me when I walked behind it. We need a bigger house so we can buy stuff like this!

If you're doing a kitchen restoration, maybe you'd like this little gas stove.

Susanne bought me a birthday present! Here she pays Dawn for my newest piece.There were some Breininger redware pieces, some by Becky Mummert, and one Colonial Williamsburg combware platter (I call it combware but I am having doubts that that's its correct name).

And here it is -- the combware from Colonial Williamsburg! In some ways it reminds me of the mille feuilles decoration, which is made in a similar fashion. I took some close-ups of the combwork, and it has amazing depth. Check out these last two pictures.

How cool is that? Combing through trailed slip, a liquid clay, makes a simple design very complex in short order.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Since we had not seen our daughter and grandchildren in western Pennsylvania for a while, we decided to go out there last weekend and see what they were up to. And let me tell you, there was plenty going on!

Susanne acted as fueling technician at our local Sheetz (earning a 3-cent per gallon discount using the Sheetz card!), and then we had an uneventful trip on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, stopping once for lunch and a second time for a dip of Hershey's finest ice cream for the little woman.

The welcome committee.
Upon arrival, we were greeted curbside by Cole, Chloe, and Sarah. Chloe had even made a welcome sign for us! After a couple of hours, we had dinner and then headed out into the boonies to watch Chloe take a riding lesson on a nice little horse. She's been doing this for a couple of weeks, having shown interest since helping her cousins with their horses when Cole was in the hospital earlier this year.

She looked pretty darn good, grooming the beast and then guiding him to the practice barn. She was sitting up nice and straight, guiding the horse right and left, around the track, through some paths laid out on the ground, and even getting him to trot a bit. It was a lot of fun to watch, and mercifully there was a propane heater to stand near, since it was chilly after dark.

Cole lets one fly.
On Saturday morning, it was Cole's turn to show off. He has been bowling for a season or so and seems to have fun with his little cronies. The poor guy was having a bad day, though. After a few not-so-hot throws, he declared, "I stink." The thing is, if you watch him, you see he can do what he should to knock down all the pins but was specializing that day in gutter balls instead. I think he was in a hurry to get back to his seat and goof around with the boys. Several of the boys are pretty good, but the two girls on the team "really stink."

The coach is the dad of Cole's best friend, Eddie. The whole family has become friends with Sarah's, so after the bowling, they all decided to go out for a bite to eat. We had lunch outdoors (it was pretty pleasant, actually) at Hank's, a famous local landmark featuring the odd combination of Mexican food and frozen custard.

Wild Bill wears the ribbons.
The next morning we got up nice and early and headed back to the horse stables to watch Chloe in a "show" of sorts. These are scheduled for students to get them used to riding in front of others. There was a short practice session, and then it was "let the games begin." Chloe went first and put "Wild Bill" through his paces. Two others girls around her age also rode. The older girls rode later.

Then the judges announced the first place winner: Chloe Darnley! She rode in to applause to collect her blue ribbon. Her nemesis Zoe came in second and followed her into the ring.

Next came another round of moves, for which Chloe collected the second place ribbon!

More moves around the track and a third place ribbon. Once the girls had reassembled, Chloe was awarded a "Reserve Champion" ribbon. That was sort of puzzling, but we just assumed it was like "first runner up" at the Miss American pageant. If the champion is unable to fulfill her duties, Chloe will be summoned forth to muck out the stall, or something like that.

Anyway, it was lots of fun, and both kids had a good time petting the horses and giving them treats.

Sarah and Chloe went to do a little shopping, and Susanne and I took Cole and Sarah's friend Brian, who had just mowed the lawn and trimmed, down the hill to the Brighton Hot Dog Shoppe, another popular eatery. Brian had chili dogs, Cole and I had cheeseburgers, and Susanne had something I cannot remember! We had just beat the crowd, as the after-church set filed in to get their fill of the famous fare.

We spent a leisurely afternoon reading the papers. I spotted a nice looking house for sale in Beaver, a beautiful town across the river from New Brighton, so I decided to go take a look at it. Who knows, we might want to buy it and move out there. It was a 1930s Tutor, quite impressive from the front, but needing some cosmetics inside. There was a small yard, most of which was consumed by a gross-looking above ground pool. And all this for only $400,000.

Street scene in Beaver.
I passed on that one and stopped nearby to see another. It was nice at first glance but would need lots of improvement. We'll skip that one, too. I did drive around through several neighborhoods and saw some very nice places, including a Hostess bakery outlet! Who wouldn't want to live near a building full of Twinkies?

Back at New Brighton, I found a birthday dinner waiting for me, including pasta alfredo and a wonderful pumpkin loaf with chocolate chips that I had unwittingly helped to bake the day before! Brian came back for a while in the evening, but we couldn't even talk him into a piece of cake.

Papi wearing the cake hat.
The next morning it was back to business as usual for the Darnleys. Everyone gets up early and gets ready to leave the house. It was anti-bullying week, so Cole and Chloe both wore red and black, the official colors. Once ready, out the door they went -- after hugs, of course. Susanne went back to the warmth of her bed while I camped out on the recliner for a while.

When we were ready to leave, we headed first to Beaver again (unfortunately in the opposite direction of my favorite donut shop) and stopped at Café Kolache  for coffee and a three-pound cinnamon bun for breakfast. We drove through town and continued on past the Beaver Valley Nuclear Generating Station at Shippingport, through a patch of Ohio, and crossed the river into West Virginia via one of those old metal "humming bridges."

We were in three states within 15 minutes or so.

At Newell, West Va., we visited the famous Homer Laughlin China Company, most noted for its restaurant ware and for the ever-popular colorful Fiesta ware made since 1936. It is celebrating its 75th year in 2011. We have a number of the vintage pieces at home.

Mountain of broken dishes.
As we drove in to the plant, we passed a huge pile of broken dishes like the giant slag heaps you find near a steel mill or coal mine. We visited the factory store, with lots of beautiful new stuff and a "second quality" room where each of the thousands of pieces in bins had a flaw of some sort, some tiny and others ghastly. Susanne bought an oval serving plate, I think. Next time we visit, I want to take the factory store and see how the stuff is made.

In the store we learned that the company owned a second pottery named Hall China Company, back in Ohio, on our way back to Beaver. So we stopped there and picked up a few things, as if we needed them. I was taken by a little black teapot, and for $2.00 I could not resist it!

Nuclear power plant at Shippingport.
Back past the power plant and its mammoth cooling towers, we stopped once again in Beaver for lunch at the Town Square Restaurant, a homey little place where the food was good and the prices reasonable.

Then we got serious about getting home and headed for the turnpike. We ran into rain on and off, making for a somewhat stressful drive, but we arrived home safely as darkness fell, happy to be back in Harrisburg with fond memories of our days with Sarah and the kids.

Soon we will head in the other direction to see Matt, Marylee, and our Baltimore cutie, Ian Benjamin!

Reminder: You may click on any photo in this blog to enlarge it.

 We left this giant bubble in the sink when we
set out for New Brighton. I wonder how long
it lasted.

 Chloe is doing well at reading.

 Cole is still into Legos.

 Enjoying a nice meal thanks to Sarah.

 On the way to the horse lesson, we dropped
off Cole at the home/cemetery of his best
friend Eddie. Don't worry, he got out alive!

 Before lessons, Chloe must groom the horse.

Removing horsey toe-jam!

Last minute adjustments from the trainer.

Moving along...

Cooling down at the end of the lesson.

Leading the beast back to the stable.

On Saturday, Cole and Eddie bowled at the nearby
town of Baden, Pa.

 Cole's up.

Boys in a row.

 The scoreboard tells it all.

Artsy view of the shoe.
An outdoor lunch at Hank's on the way home.

Phoebe the boy-cat won't come near me!

The program for Chloe's first-ever horse
show on a chilly Sunday morning.

Back in the saddle again. As you can see, Chloe has 
trained Wild Bill to pick up an orange cone with his mouth.

A champion in the making poses with her biggest fans.

 Ready for "anti-bullying" day.

 Red and black shows support.

After the kids left for school and Sarah for work, 
we headed out, too, and stopped at the Café Kolache
in Beaver for coffee and a roll.

A colorful display of Fiesta ware greets us at the
Homer Laughlin factory store in Newell, West Virginia.

 These items were in the "seconds" category.

 There were thousands of pieces with flaws,
but probably a small percentage of their total output.

 Need a bowl with a little errant speck on it?

 I wouldn't mind having one of these bins at home.

At East Liverpool, Ohio, we found the Hall China Company.

 The "Hall Closet," as the factory outlet is called,
was clean and bright and full of bargains.

 I liked these "donut" pitchers. The color, not so much.

We came across this roadside monument and marker on the border between Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The text: Near this site on Sept. 30, 1785, Thomas Hutchins, first Geographer of the United States, drove a stake: This was the "Point of Beginning" of the Geographer's Line for the survey of the first "Seven Ranges" of six-mile square townships in compliance with the Federal Land Ordinance of 1785. This survey served as a prototype for most of the western United States (except Texas) and many countries of the world.

Back on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, we stopped at the
South Midway travel plaza for a drink. I've always admired this
"Colonial tavern," now modified, in one of the last of
the original turnpike restaurant buildings.

 As we approached home in the rain and coming darkness,
we enjoyed a glimpse of the beautiful sunset behind us.