Happy New Year!

Wishing all of you and yours the absolute best in 2015.

May it be healthy, happy, and prosperous. 

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As for everyone, it’s been a busy year. A good year. Preservation in Pink told its story through photographs (my undying infatuation with Instagram), with travels throughout Vermont and to Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New York, Washington D.C., and Montreal, QC. Of course, many of those included coffee and flamingos. 2014 was a photogenic year, as opposed to essays and tutorials. Check out the latest Instagram post for the most liked Instagram posts of 2015.

What sort of content will 2015 bring for Preservation in Pink? Time will tell as adventures and lessons materialize, but you can be sure that it will be filled with images. That’s the affliction of a preservationist: addicted to documentation and fascinated by images. If you like photographs of buildings and landscapes and details, then you’ve come to the right place. And if you like historic preservation lessons, ramblings, and otherwise, you’re still in the right place. Rather than highlight the most popular posts and recycle posts, I’d encourage you to browse through the Series page for educational preservation posts, as well as Abandoned Vermont.

Anything you’d like to see in 2015? Let me know. The social media world constantly evolves and it is my hope that Preservation in Pink continues to reach its audience and connect, whether through words, images or something new. As will always be the case, I’m grateful for the friends, the colleagues, and the opportunities that I’ve found through Preservation in Pink and the social media world. Maybe it’s due to an abandoned building or a historic playground or someone looking for grad school information or someone who loves flamingos – thank you for stopping in and sharing a bit of your world with me and allowing me to share some of mine.

I’m looking forward to 2015, and I hope you are, too. Cheers!

Preservation Photos #213

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A vineyard with a historic farmstead in the background in South Hero, VT. The sun sets over the horizon, and the future looks bright.

The end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 swiftly approaches. A new year brings a fresh start, a clean slate, and good reasons for taking on new challenges. We savor the good, reflect on the less-than-good, and do our best to bring our best selves into the new year. I love a new year.

What are your thoughts on 2013, or your resolutions for 2014? Wishing you the happiest, brightest, and healthiest new year.

Merry Christmas Eve

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Flamingos live in my Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have time to relax, unplug, enjoy good company, and spend time around a beautiful Christmas tree. If you’re looking for some holiday entertainment, check out a few Christmas links.

The original 1966 How the Grinch Stole Christmas (watch the entire film for free).

The most recent dialect quiz from The New York Times. (Good family fun, avoiding politics and religion.)

 A photo of the first (1931) Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. (Have you been to Rockefeller Center?)

An O’Shea family Christmas tree (with my sister Sarah for scale, before we decorate).

Speaking of trees, did you catch the post on Christmas Tree sale typology?

A delicious cookie recipe: candy cane twists. (Always a favorite.)

Eggnog news story and recipe. (Yum!)

Past Preservation in Pink posts about Christmas.(Shopping to trees, carols, decorations, and more.)

Merry Christmas to you and yours. Enjoy the holiday. 

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Christmas on Ice

Five winters in, and this is my first Vermont ice storm. So far, most people seem to be spared. Almost one inch of ice blankets northern Vermont today, resulting from an ice storm that moved across the region over the weekend. Some are without power. Some are covered in ice. Lucky ones have snow. And some just have rain. The weather is crazy. On Saturday afternoon, the temperatures in Burlington and Montpelier (only 38 miles apart via I-89) was incredibly different – see below.

Saturday's varying temperatures. Not only is this is in reverse, but it's also extreme.

Saturday’s varying temperatures. Not only is this is in reverse, but it’s also extreme.

Freezing rain continued to fall off and on Saturday and Saturday night, into Sunday morning. Burlington and the rest of northern Vermont was one sheet of ice, especially my street, driveway, and front steps. Here are some photos from the ice weekend.

Every little branch remains covered in ice.

Every little branch remains covered in ice.

The front steps became a slide of ice!

The front steps became a slide of ice!

I had to chisel out my car...that is no exaggeration.

I had to chisel out my car…that is no exaggeration.

Even the flamingos were iced over!

Even the flamingos were iced over!

Eventually I made my way downtown for some Christmas shopping. Church Street is beautiful this time of year.

Eventually I made my way downtown for some Christmas shopping. Church Street is beautiful this time of year.

Christmas in Burlington.

Christmas in Burlington.

This week’s round of posting will be Christmas-y. Hope you and yours have fun days planned, safe travels, a warm house and no ice!

Christmas Tree Commerce Space Typology

Preservationists discuss and observe how space is used in communities, from parks to historic buildings to infill development or more recently, pop up spaces such as parklets and the food truck phenomenon.  Use of available space varies by season. Following Thanksgiving, space in and out stores displays and sells Christmas décor, including trees. (Okay, corporate America begins peddling Christmas paraphernalia in September.) Christmas tree sales are common sights this time of year, but are not noticeable for the rest of the year.

Some of my favorite Christmas memories are searching for the perfect Christmas tree with my parents and sisters. Inevitably, it took hours.  It was cold. And we always chose a tree that was too big for the minivan and too tall for our 12’ high ceiling in the living room. And, of course, the tree always had some strange shape to it. But with enough ornaments and lights, the tree looked perfect in the end. Most years we cut down a tree at a tree farm, except for off years when trees were sparse and too expensive. Then we’d head to the local garden center and wander around the lot of trees there, standing them up to get opinions and compare and contrast our options.

Where do you buy your tree? Do you enjoy trekking through the woods or do you prefer choosing a tree that is already cut? There are many options if you’re looking for a live Christmas tree. Christmas trees are sold everywhere. Find them at the corner gas station, in the town green, outside churches and schools, outside retail stores, on front lawns, at farmers’ markets, on a farm, in a store, and more.

Christmas sales are operations of seasonal business. Trees are sold in seasonal conversion of flexible space. These spaces come in varying styles and subsets. These are seasonal conversions of flexible space. I offer this typology for your consideration as you are out and about this holiday season.

 Type One: Retail Stores

Retail stores selling trees are easy to find. Convenience stores, local hardware stores, garden centers, and big box stores are most likely to sell trees. The format will vary, depending on the subtype.

  • Subtype A: Quick & Convenient. Trees will be lined up against the building, with a sign advertising the trees for sale. Choose your tree and pay inside. This would be good if you’re in a hurry.
Retail Store. Subtype A: Quick & Convenient. These trees are leaning against the convenience store building at a gas station in White River Junction, VT.

Retail Store. Subtype A: Quick & Convenient. These trees are leaning against the convenience store building at a gas station in White River Junction, VT.

  • Subtype B: Tree Shopping. This type is affiliated with retail stores, from your local garden center to the big box store. With this type, the trees are usually sold within an enclosed area and there are more trees available than Subtype A. You enter through the store and pay inside. You can choose a tree quickly or browse amongst the aisles of trees.

Type Two: Tree Lots

Tree lots are converted spaces, more specifically spaces that do not serve any retail purpose during the remainder of the year. These spaces are simply constructed.

  • Subtype A: Tree farmstand. This type can be thought of as a Christmas tree farmstand. A farmer could have trees leaning on wood supports with a sign advertising trees for sale. These trees are locally grown and harvested.
Type Two: Tree Lots. Subtype A: Tree farmstand. These trees are for sale on a  farmer's front lawn in White River Junction, VT.

Type Two: Tree Lots. Subtype A: Tree farmstand. These trees are for sale on a farmer’s front lawn in White River Junction, VT.

  • Subtype B: Streetside tree lot. Type B is space converted in an open lot or open space on a lot, other than a residential property. The lot might be the gas station down the road or the church parking lot. Trees are supported by 2x4s nailed together to form bents, and are arranged in aisles. Work lights or Christmas light strands strung together light these lots, offering a festive glow to Christmas tree selection. Signs advertise trees for sale.
Type Two: Tree Lots. Subtype B: Streetside tree lot. This tree lots is set up adjacent to a gas station in Burlington, VT. For the remainder of the year, there is nothing in this space.

Type Two: Tree Lots. Subtype B: Streetside tree lot. This tree lots is set up adjacent to a gas station in Burlington, VT. For the remainder of the year, there is nothing in this space.

Type Three: Tree Farms

Tree farms, where you can cut-your-own tree or choose a precut tree, come in all shapes and sizes. Some farms spread for acres and acres, baling trees, serving hot chocolate, selling wreaths. Others are small operations without any frills.

  • Subtype A: The no frills tree farm. This type offers tree hunters the opportunity to cut down their own trees, probably providing saws and assistance for tree loading, but nothing else. Signs will direct you to the tree farm. Drivers park on the grass and head into the tree farm. Trees are not previously cut.
Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. Subtype A: No frills. This farm offers cut-your-own trees, but no other festive activities.

Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. Subtype A: No frills. This farm offers cut-your-own trees, but no other festive activities. This one is located in Charlotte, VT.

Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. Subtype A: No frills. This tree farm advertises from the road. Turn down the driveway, drive behind the farmhouse and the trees are near.

Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. Subtype A: No frills. This tree farm advertises from the road. Turn down the driveway, drive behind the farmhouse and the trees are near.

  • Subtype B: The Christmas extravagance farm. – This type of tree farm brings out all the bells and whistles: sleds, wagon rides, Santa Claus, Christmas gifts, a tree baler, hot chocolate & cider for sale. It’s a Christmas outing for the whole family.
Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. You're looking at a 14' Christmas tree, a classic O'Shea choice.

Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. You’re looking at a 14′ Christmas tree, a classic O’Shea choice.

Don’t be fooled, however. The size of the operation does not necessarily correspond to the price of the tree. Cost is reflected in geographic location and the availability of trees. What do you think? Do you have additional types or subtypes to add? Perhaps your area of the country is different for Christmas trees. I’d love to hear. Happy tree choosing!

Thanksgiving and Home

It’s Thanksgiving morning, and in the O’Shea household we’re busy watching the parade, drinking coffee, baking, talking, and hanging out, enjoying one of the few times per year when all of us are together. Morning sunshine in this small 1957 suburban ranch house – my childhood home – is always a loving place to be, no matter how old I am. No matter where you are – your own home or the home of friends and family, I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. Take time today to give thanks and count your blessings.

Last week we began talking about home (here and here), and many readers left comments discussing how they think about home. Everyone’s thoughts were interesting to read, and collectively they show the importance of home and similarities between us all. Check tomorrow for more.

Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you, all, for being a part of the Preservation in Pink world and a part of my life. I’m grateful to live in such a wonderful time and to know, whether in “real life” or social media life, all of you.

Previous Thanksgiving Day posts:

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, however and wherever you celebrate! I hope your tree is trimmed, your hearts are full and you are all happy and healthy and with people you love.

Did you trim your tree? Here are a few classic ornaments that always find their way to the O’Shea family tree. These were my mother’s ornaments from her childhood. My sisters and I always think the elf is a devil!

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And we have some of my grandmother’s ornaments, too. Sadly a bunch of them broke when our tree fell over – years ago. Our trees are so large, it sometimes happens! But we have a few survivors and the original box.

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Merry Christmas one and all!

Christmas Heirlooms

While the Christmas spirit is not about material items, we can all admit that a bit of visual Christmas cheer emphasizes that Christmas feeling. Whether it’s your small town Main Street decked out in lights and trees for the holidays or the city’s storefronts elaborately decorated, the sight of candy canes, or your own Christmas tree, we all have our favorite pieces of holiday elements.

December has long been my favorite month of the year, partially because I have dear memories of my childhood home turning into a Christmas wonderland. My mother has acquired many Christmas items over the years, enough now to redecorate every room for the Christmas season. Plates, framed photographs, snowmen, Christmas trees, candy canes, towels, wreaths, tchotchkes, snowflakes, candles, blankets, books — it’s like living in Christmas. Combine all that with our standard 12′ Christmas tree, and our house was and is always a welcome place for Christmas guests. My sisters and I love it, and Mom continues to decorate, with help from whomever happens to be home. The exterior is less complicated, but Dad has settled on lights and garland around the porch railings, nothing of the lawn ornament kind.

My Christmas collection is only a fraction of my mother’s, but I have a few treasured pieces. These featured below belonged to my great-grandmother Ethel. A few years back when my grandmother was still alive, I was visiting her around the holidays and I took out a basket of Christmas decorations. Included in that basket were a few ceramic figurines that hadn’t been displayed in a while. My grandmother began telling me that her mother always brought these out at Christmas, and she kept them because she always liked them (which is significant coming from a woman who never kept much). When my grandmother passed away, I made sure to keep these Christmas figurines because I knew they were important to her.

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Mrs. Claus and Santa Claus are actually salt and pepper shakers.

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This snow angel figurine has a twin, and both are bells.

Now I proudly display these Christmas heirlooms, knowing that so many of my family members have seen them over the years. To me, knowing that something belonged to my family makes it significant. I’d rather have those heirlooms than something new. I’d rather add myself to the story of the heirloom.

What about you? Do you have a favorite Christmas decoration or any favorite family holiday heirlooms?

Thankfulness

Though we all have much to be thankful for throughout the year, there is something special and comforting about paying extra attention and dutifully remembering to count our blessings each year about this time. Wouldn’t you agree? For what are you thankful, big or small, person, place, or thing, memory or faith or hope?

Fresh air and pretty views.

I am thankful for optimistic people and communities, for those that believe in themselves each other, for the vibrant main streets that get involved in the holidays and all seasons. Success stories of preservationists and non-preservationists, all working to improve quality of life and sense of place, can all have a positive influence. I am thankful to live in a country and an age when almost anything is possible.

Montpelier, VT: a good place to be.

I am thankful for my family and friends and our collective strength and love, and to be able to see them for the holidays, a rare time of year when we are all together under one roof. I am thankful for our home, good memories, and for our Point Lookout house that survived the storm and will recover. I am thankful for good communities, personal and professional to know and to work with as we all make our way in the world. I am thankful for my health. I am thankful for little things like a good cup of a coffee, a cuddly cat, sunny days, snowy days, sitting by the fireplace, baking for the holidays, my grandmother’s necklace, and frivolous things like pink nail polish (of course).

Cookies for the holidays.

And of course, I am thankful for readers of Preservation in Pink and the growing community around this blog. Thank you everyone. I wish you all the best holiday, safe travels and time to reflect on what is good in your life.

Izzy, my cuddly cat.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Independence Day

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For the land of the free and the home of the brave. I hope you had a great Independence Day, however you chose to celebrate our freedom.