Monday, October 17, 2016


It’s time to see what’s happening at the little Tudor in Seattle. Daughter Hallie and Nick are putting time, effort, and (needless to say) money into bringing the little house, built in 1929, into the 21st century while retaining its integrity. Most of our updates have focused on the exterior, but today Hallie is sharing pictures of the front bedroom/den.

But first, a little story: My sister, Joni, downsized a few years back and offered me this crewel picture which had hung over our mother's desk. As she handed it to me, Joni remarked that the mat was the wrong color, and I could see she was right. (Hmmm -- how did this happen?)

I love the subject of this needlework -- a cottage that just seems enchanted -- but I couldn’t help but think its new home should be the little Tudor, and Hallie agreed. She took it and I didn’t hear about it for a while. Then one day a few weeks back, Hallie wrote:

Here's the fun project I just did.

“You might remember giving me this embroidered piece. We agreed that the color of the mat and the frame didn't seem right.

“Nick and I want to do an eclectic mix of interesting frames in our old home. However, interesting frames can be hard to find and then expensive if attempting to buy new. So, on a lark we stopped in at Goodwill last night. We picked up two frames, and this one looked like it might be about the right size.

“A real shame to lose the artwork (har har), but this frame has a new destiny! Here's the back of the tapestry in case you were wondering. It was tricky getting it out of its frame and it was a little stuck to the cardboard, but I was as careful as could be.

“Here's the finished product! It's a little hard to appreciate the neat frame in the lighting (I am not a photographer), but it is simply beautiful! We used the same mat that had been with the artwork, which is just a tad smaller left to right than what was around the needlework. The color of the two-toned mat is a good match for the artwork and the silver-ish coloring of the frame is subtle enough that your eye goes to the needlework first. I love it!”

Hallie asked me who made the needlework, and I wasn’t sure, so I asked sister Harriet. She pointed out that the back side wasn’t neat enough to be Mother’s work. Until Harriet said that, I had forgotten that Mother took as much pride in the back of her work as the front. So, we decided it was probably our Grandmother Nina Portfors who made it (Hallie’s great-grandmother), though we can't be certain.

Hallie wrote again last night with more pictures.

“Here is my handiwork doing my very first repurposed frame WITH backer paper. I haven't used rubber cement in years, so at first I didn't think it was going to work. It just takes some time to dry and stick.

“Here is the artwork on the wall. It looks sharp!
“I bought a steel cord with magnets from an online retailer to display my national parks post cards from this summer's road trip. I love these retro cards!

“Finally, here's grandma Portfors' (best guess) needlework.

“This front bedroom/tv room is so cozy! We just need one or two more things on the wall. Please notice the finished laundry chute in the hallway. :)”

- Hallie

Addendum --
Sister Harriet provided the following this morning: "That picture hung over Grandma Portfors' davenport in her living room when I stayed with her in the third grade.  She may have made it or it may have come from an earlier relative, or she may have received it as a gift.  I wish now I had asked.  I loved to look at that picture and think about the lives of the people who lived in that little house.  I am so glad Hallie has the picture in her house.  It is a treasure, and much older than you thought."

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