The Dream of Owning a Vintage Typewriter—Check!

My dream of owning a Vintage Typewriter; Check!

As an author and as a writer—as well as a lover of—all things Vintage what better way to coalesce the two than owning a Vintage Typewriter. I love to communicate via writing—it is, quite honestly, my most comfortable comfort zone—in the arena of interacting with others. Although I struggle at times with the process of placing my thoughts and feelings into formatted sentences in print, without the pressure (aka fear) of diction, correct pronunciations and of distraction (causing me to lose my thought) the written word is my preference. Graciousness flows effortlessly when thoughts are presented in a well-crafted sentence, which is not always guaranteed when the words are spoken. And, the person speaking is given time to think. I like that.

Granted, while writing Lessons from the Trumpet Vine, the ability to effortlessly move words, sentences, paragraphs and at times—entire chapters from one location to another made the experience far less taxing. I cannot fathom the one-letter-at-a-time approach to an entire manuscript, and yet I am humbly aware that many such manuscripts, which still stand the test of time, were born of that method.

There is something organic in the physicality of typing on one of these relics of the past. The keys need to be struck; firmly and succinctly. To achieve an even distribution of ink from letter-to-letter, a consistency of striking those keys is desirable—a flow needs to be achieved. Writing on a Vintage Typewriter creates a musical rhythm of thoughts, tapping one key-strike at a time. The manual movement of the carriage as you gently press the lever—and slide—as you advance to the next line creating a feeling of accomplishment as you are physically moving to the next group of words. Job well done, time to pause, and your next thought?

Then, of course, there is the ding. DING! The lovely bell chimes a calm alert to you, as you are about to approach the end of a line. Pay attention now, please.

I also experience a kind of connectedness to the legions of women who came before me a generation or two ago. Depending on the era of the typewriter, I believe, most often it was women who sat before these machines. Multitudes of letters, contracts and invoices which most probably, almost always, began with Dear Sir. Women were just entering the work force (outside of the home) and were infrequently business owners or property owners. The times have changed—I thank my sisters of yesteryear for the hard work they did, bringing us to this point of having far more options.

I also feel a closer relationship to the person to whom I am writing to—as if we will share a common place once the paper is held within their hands. Handwritten notes of course provide the most intimate of written communications and I do love handwritten notes. However, similar to the spoken word, the handwritten word has a set of obstacles; penmanship, ink smears and straight lines come to mind. All challenges to this writer.

The Vintage Typewriter with its iconic print speaks volumes simply through the choice of using one. The reader, if they wish, is able to imagine the scene of the writer—sitting upright, as they work to combine the individual letters together to form a message to the reader.

I have brought all of my self here, to this place—my mind, my thoughts, my heart and my hands as I to write this to you—

I love you.

Joy Surrounds!

postscript: Thank you for the wonderful gift St.


515 Madison Avenue

We were in hour five of six—cold and damp—muddy and rusty—hours of scouting the iron yard at our favorite location for Architectural Salvage. The confusion swirled amidst the chipped and bent iron rails as we attempted to reconstruct an image that existed only in our minds—creating a new puzzle, with no straight edges to start with. Frustration set in. We were on a mission to find 50 feet of Vintage Iron Fencing that could be adapted to recreate a banister on the upper balconies of The House at Rooster Ridge. We succeeded, but this not about that—

This little story is about what you might miss—the tale of reminding us to keep our eyes and our mind open—to all of the possibilities—yes, even when you are frustrated and freezing.

There is one heated room in the expansive warehouse of our go-to Architectural Salvage spot. Fortunately, you need to pass through it in order to use the facilities. Ahhhhhh…a break from the wind, the wet, the rusty, heavy, dirt encrusted, paint chipping, bent and crooked iron—adventure of it all!

As I walked through the (gloriously warm) building I became mindful—to stay open to the soft whispering of the heart aspect of the decorating style at The Cottage at Rooster Ridge. For me, the process is a soulful experience. I try to quiet my mind, stop thinking—figuring out—measuring—planning. And the method worked beautifully—as it usually does when I get out-of-the-way.

This is what I saw—a little corner peeking out—the last item in a mass of confusion leaning against a wall. Hidden from view and obscured by a depth of four feet of iron gates and window frames some with shards of broken glass snarling; “Keep Away!”

Refusing to be deterred—like a kid in a toy store—I raised my chapped, red, frozen hand (note to self; remember to bring gloves next time) and pointed at the little glimmer of brass and asked, “What’s that?” As my inquiry was “off-point” the question was met with, well, let’s just say, it was unenthusiastic.

And, yes, I really did want to find three guys to start moving the contraption which had been amassed by the myriad of debris (in my mind) that was blocking me from what I yearned to see. What I needed to see!

The Discovery! What is it? It says something!

Hidden behind the jumble of iron and glass we found a solid brass transom that once regally pronounced the address of 515 Madison Avenue in New York!

No longer attached to a building and without the traditional installed glass—it was simply put, a brass frame. It had all of the requirements; four sides, relatively flat with an opening in the middle…sounds like a frame to me!

The statement/question followed, “It’s gorgeous, but what would you do with it?”

Anything! My answer didn’t seem to be assisting me at arriving at the conclusion I was hoping for—time to think quickly—as sometimes partners need concrete answers. I’d put a gorgeous mirror in it with a 1′ inch bevel and hang it in the dining room!

At The Cottage at Rooster Ridge we attempt to allow ourselves—the privilege to forget what something is, or has been—and focus on the possibility of what it could be!

With heart, Art Lives!


Illuminate with a Unique Pairing!

The farm table in The House at Rooster Ridge is richly illuminated with a trio of lights—creating a visually interesting balance to this long rectangular room! The two lights placed on the outside end of the trio are composed of a unique pairing—designed at Rooster Ridge!

We began with two vintage brass and copper ship lights. Commonly referred to as a “fox lights” these lights were positioned several feet above the working deck area and were only used during loading and unloading operations. The beauty of the beehive design, the rich color and sheen of the copper and brass is wonderful! The lights have a latched glass lens which once protected the internal electrical components from salt and sea creating an industrial feel.

Rather than hanging the “fox lights” directly to the ceiling by suspending them from a chain or a using a pole extension an unusual pairing was made with a Vintage Iron Pulley. A theme was loosely interpreted by connecting the two with heavy rope, a standard in the world of ships and remaining authentic to the original use of a pulley! A natural fit for a unique pairing!

With our ever present desire to remain vigilant to the attention to details two additional nuances were addressed. With a cheeky irony, the hooks attached to the ceiling to hold the lights are mermaid hooks! The other detail is the wire we used, we researched vintage style wiring and selected a gold cloth-covered braided wire. We agree with the adage; the whole is the sum of the parts, we believe it is the attention to the smallest of details that creates an overwhelming design.

At Rooster Ridge we make every attempt to illuminate life—shining the brightest light that we possibly can—on creativity and…

Art Lives!


Vintage Paper Cutters: Re-Purposed for Many Purposes! Part Three

Welcome to The Studio in The Cottage at Rooster Ridge!

The renovation of the 100 year old cottage was directed with the intention of creating this studio. We wanted to create a space where I could feel comfortable, inspired and safe to write, paint and create. The result was more powerful than we could have imagined—The Cottage at Rooster Ridge became more than just a space—the result became a way of creating, designing and being! The goal was met with success…within the comfort and safety of The Cottage at Rooster Ridge I was able to complete writing my first self-published book, Lessons from the Trumpet Vine as well as finish the twelve oil paintings which serve as the illustrations.

The Vintage Paper Cutter in the studio, brings us to our third and final (for now) paper cutter. This Vintage Paper Cutter is equipped with a 24″ roll of heavier weight recycled craft paper which is perfect for use in the art studio. The Vintage Paper Cutter has been bolted to the restaurant grade stainless steel work table for ease of use. In this venue the paper is used to cover work surfaces (tables, floors and walls at times!) The paper is also used for quick sketches of inspiration and to wrap, secure and transfer pieces of art.

As the paper is much heavier in weight we additionally have used the craft paper as a tablecloth on buffet tables and casual dining tables. On one event we purposely crunched the paper, then smoothed it back out. The result was a creative texture which added a visual interest!

The Vintage Paper Cutters at Rooster Ridge are a perfect example of the fun and functionality of renewing vintage pieces and incorporating them into everyday life. We find these relics of the past bring charm, history, function and inspiration to our lives!

Art Lives!


Vintage Paper Cutters: Re-Purposed for Many Purposes! Part Two

We discovered this fabulous double Vintage Paper Cutter which holds a 12″ and 24″ roll of paper. We elected to use traditional white butcher paper and our favorite look of natural recycled craft paper. We built a custom shelf with supportive legs to create a paper-roll station in The House at Rooster Ridge!

We love the charm of these wooden spools of velvet ribbon.

While on the continuous search for incredible Vintage pieces to restore to use this vintage cage-style string holder is gorgeous. The details are simply wonderful with lion paw feet, intricate leaf pattern design and is cast in iron. There are four places to enable the holder to be attached to the surface of a work space for additional ease of use!

We have placed a ball of yarn rather than the traditional ball of string; this yarn is made from recycled silk threads from Sari’s. The magnificent colors and rich texture exude creativity!

Recycled silk yarn is the by-product of colorful Saris that women wear in South Asia. It is the loose ends of Saris collected from industrial mills in India that is hand spun into yarn in Nepal. The vibrant colors and unique texture of these silk fibers and silk yarn are inspirational to designers, knitters, and artisans. The popularity of recycled silk yarn has extended beyond Nepal and India and has created an empowering cottage industry primarily benefiting women. This yarn is made of completely recycled Sari material from recycled clothing in Nepal. It is as green a fiber as you can get, awesome!.

In addition to using the paper for place mats, wrapping cookies to go, flowers and herbs from the garden as discussed in Vintage Paper Cutters Part One, we also use the paper rolls to create our signature wrapping paper! Gifts seen under the tree or placed upon the gift table are automatically identified as being a gift from Rooster Ridge.

Ribbon, string, yarn and twine are kept nearby for spontaneous creative gift wrapping. With the colored pencils which are kept on the table close by, gift tags are created on packages by hand! We also keep a Mason Jar filled with simple tags for a last minute rush!

It is always a wonderful experience to give a gift—with the additional experience of creating a one of a kind presentation the joy is expanded!

Part Three of Vintage Paper Cutters will bring you into The Studio in The Cottage at Rooster Ridge!

Art Lives!


Vintage Paper Cutters: Re-Purposed for Many Purposes! Part One

At Rooster Ridge when an item serves a useful purpose we often continue to discover more and more uses—and at times, one doesn’t seem to be enough! We have three, yes three, Vintage Paper Cutters which have been re-purposed and lovingly brought back to a functioning and valued aspect of life at Rooster Ridge! We have discovered many uses for the vintage work horse of yesterday! We can’t imagine being without one of them…or all three! The paper cutters have become a signature piece at Rooster Ridge.

The first of the trio is mounted onto an industrial steel work table which serves as the center island in the kitchen of  The Cottage at Rooster Ridge. The paper roll is easily attainable and comes in various weights, colors and dimensions. We always place a ball of twine, spools of ribbon and string in an easily accessible location as the paper is often used to quickly wrap cookies to go or to wrap herbs or flowers which have been freshly picked from the garden. A string dispenser is charming and has a string-cutter built in for convenience.

Our favorite utilization is the quick and easy place mats we create with a simple pull and tear! These disposable paper mats are quick and fun! Colored pencils are kept as a permanent fixture on the table and therefore  encourages scribbles, illustrations and impromptu “place- seating designs and assignments.” Often children who are our guests are given the honor of decorating the mats and creating seat assignments!

It is commonplace to hear an appreciative sigh when anyone, at any age—sits down to find their name hand written on their place mat.

This is one of three of the Vintage Paper Cutters at Rooster Ridge. Stay tuned for Part Two and Three!

Art Lives!


The Art of the Collection: Vintage Plummets

Juxtaposed to yesterday’s article; Linear Thinking…Prohibited! with the fullest intent of irony at it’s core, we wish to share the ultimate in linear thought…The Art of the Collection: Vintage Plummets!

A plumb-bob or a plummet is a weight, usually with a pointed tip on the bottom, that is suspended from a string and used as a vertical reference line, or plumb-line. Truly…it doesn’t get any more linear than that!

In our first article discussing collecting; The Art of the Collection: Vintage Soda Bottles we spoke of the myriad of reasons that one begins to collect. Artistic appreciation—the lines (pun intended,) shape, form or material. Historical perspective—it’s original function, history and the rich stories as we attempt to answer the who, what, when and where.  Other times it is the simple beauty of something or what it evokes in us—at times, it is our memories that becomes the fuel that propels us.

A memory was the key-note in the collection of Vintage Plumb-bobs at Rooster Ridge. With Steven’s original brass plummet that once had belonged to his Dad having spent decades in a toolbox it was at long last brought indoors. The comfort and warm emotions had created the stir to collect more, and so it began—A Collection of Vintage Plummets. Who would have guessed?

Research ensued and the hunt began! It is interesting to see the various shapes and sizes of the multitude of plummets. The variations seem to be dependent upon different factors; the particular use, the age and the country of origin. We have recently added a retro-top-style plummet which came to us from England. Another plummet came from Greece; in order to increase its’ weight while limiting additional expensive brass, lead bearings had been placed inside. We were able to unscrew the top to discover the source of the metallic rattling noise. Yes, they spilled out everywhere…along with some antique Greek dust!

How elaborate the design is, the uniqueness of the shape and the level of sophistication of engineering all became part of our education and discovery.

Some collectors choose to display their collections behind glass, in a fixed and stationary presentation. At Rooster Ridge most of our collections are out, sitting on shelves—and yes, often rolling off them as well! The plummet was held in the hand—cupped by the craftsman and in the case of vintage plummets they have been used for decades. We have found, quite charmingly, our visitors are compelled to do the same, often asking if they can hold them! While experiencing the solid weight one cannot help imagine the particular task at hand when the plummet was utilized. I would venture to guess if one were so inclined, a story could be written for each and every one of them…if only plummets could speak!

Our collections are also used! They have survived to current day and we see no reason to retire them! At times, they carry on in the tradition of their original function. Other times they are used in decorative displays; on mantles and in table settings. Discreetly nestling a row of plumb-bobs amidst beautiful ceramic dishes, flowers and cloth napkins can be an interesting conversation starter! Questions often begin meekly with the obvious direction, as to the beginning of the collection—we have found the transgression to personal stories and memories of people and wonderful things being built follow shortly thereafter.

At Rooster Ridge we find the richness of life often comes in the depth of character of what surrounds us—and always from the beauty that comes to our door—through the hearts and stories of our visitors…or from the stories of those, who at one time, visited us—we miss you Sid!

Art Lives!