Category Archives: Family

World’s Best Dad!

Playing dolls with your daughter after a super long day at work takes a lot of love. Son Alex (and husband Tom, too) both get my votes for World’s Best Dads <3



Thank you to my darling daughter Liv for capturing ‘that feeling when you like your Mimi’s tiramisu.’ 
Turn on the sound 🙂


Late Friday afternoon I dashed into Main Street Art and Antiques to look for teeny tiny treasures to fill Charlotte’s Advent calendar’s teeny tiny boxes with. While there, a lovely red, green, and cream antique applique quilt caught my eye. The red tulips with green stems, leaves, and flower pots is similar to quilts from the 1930s I think. The stitching is exquisite and there were no tears or holes as far as I could see. Unfortunately, the whole quilt was very badly yellowed. After talking to proprietor Kimberly Cox (David Cox’s daughter), who offered the quilt for a very fair and reasonable price, I decided to take a chance and see if the yellowing and stains could be removed.

It had been a while since I had purchased vintage textiles. On my way home I stopped at Stop and Shop and was in luck with a small box of Oxiclean. The directions are vague but after reading a bunch online and taking advice from the lovely sales girl at Main Street Art and Antiques, I first wet tested a corner of the quilt to make sure the red wasn’t going to bleed everywhere. After half an hour, all clear, with no bleeding! Then filled a large plastic tub with icy cold water and two scoops of Oxiclean. For the next several hours, I stirred the quilt very gently every twenty minutes or so. After three hours, the tub was filled with a deep orangey yellowish water. Drained all, rinsed repeatedly, refilled the tub with cold water and one more scoop of Oxiclean. The water stayed fairly clear and the quilt was beginning to look amazing. I drained the tub again, and being very careful not to let the weight of the quilt pull on its self, to avoid damaging the fabric, I put the quilt in the washing machine. The settings were on delicate cycle, extra rinse, and cold water but with no additional soap added.

The quilt washed and dried beautifully. The applique and quilt stitches are phenomenally tiny. I am so glad I took a chance with this exquisite quilt from Main Street Art and Antiques!

Thank you to my darling daughter Liv who took the snapshots and video with her new iPhone14 camera. See more from Liv on Instagram here.

This is our first Christmas with a white cotton duck slipcover and I am having so much fun changing it up for different seasonal looks. Our former sofa upholstery I absolutely loved but was 20 plus years old and somewhat limiting in choice of coordinating fabrics. The quilt goes beautifully with the red, green, and cream Colefax and Fowler block print fabrics that I made new pillows from (thank you Zimmans!) and our new winter red and white striped cotton rug from Annie Selke. The rug is wonderfully textured and cozy on the feet! Last night I made some new Christmas stockings to hang around the house with remnants from the pillows. A sort of French-Indian-American blend of fabrics and I think our little music/living room is feeling very hygge 🙂

Main Street Art and Antiques is located at 124 Main Street, Gloucester.


Friday 11am – 5:00pm

Saturday 9am – 5pm

Sunday 11am – 4pm

Kimberly Cox shares that her Dad, David, is often in the shop on Wednesdays if you want to pop in and say hello <3

There are holiday and home treasures to be had at all our local Cape Ann shops. I’ve only touched on a very few here and with Christmas just around the corner and our daughter home from LA, I don’t think I’ll have time to write more. Enjoy the lights, the coziness, the friendly proprietors and staff and have fun shopping local!

Holy and Ivy #kittens

The kitten’s names, befitting early Christmas gifts. Charlotte chose the names after one of her favorite books, The Story of Holly and Ivy (by author Rumor Godden). Her second choice was Sparkle Rainbow and Glitter Rainbow so we are delighted we landed where we did.

Any suggestions on how to keep kittens from climbing a Christmas tree would be much appreciated 🙂

Ivy, left and Holly, right

Making holiday dreams come true

After the loss of our beloveds, Cosmos the cat, and Rosie the terrier, its been almost unimaginable to think about getting another pet. But this drawing of Charlotte’s really pulled at my heart strings. If she could have anything in the world, she wished for a cat.

Charlotte knew Cosmos in the last few years of his life, and adored him, despite the sweetly 21 plus year decrepit grumpy old man cat that he had become. Cosmos and Rosie came to us when our Liv and Alex were very young. My kids were so sweet and loving to Rosie and Cosmos. Why else do we have pets but to nurture another being and to fill our homes with love and delight.

Hopefully, we will be surprising Charlotte tonight with not one, but two, new family members!


Driving in the car with Charlotte while we sing and converse, there is never a dull moment. On a recent trip to Russell Orchards traveling along Rt. 133 in Essex –

Me – Look at that beautiful field of goldenrod honey.

Charlotte – Monarchs must live there Mimi (normal tone of voice). Then she shouts, Monarchs livin’ the dream in the goldenrod patch!

Kid’s brains are endlessly making wonderful connections. She learned that expression from her Bops (my husband Tom), I think. He is always saying thing like “we live in paradise,”, or “we’re living the dream.” It was just funny thinking about Monarchs in the context of living the dream in a field of wildflowers, but of course they are 🙂


Wishing dear friends and readers Happy Easter, Happy Passover, and a Joy-filled Spring 

Beauty everywhere you turn in these first few weeks of spring – the return of songbirds, shorebirds, and Osprey, blossoming trees, beach bunnies, and garden helpers.

Beach bunny, Piping Plovers courting, neighbor Melissa’s flowering plum tree, Charlotte, Osprey, Killdeer eggs, Piping Plover eggs, Cedar Waxwings courting, and male Eastern Bluebird wing waving


How Charlotte dressed herself to come help in the garden <3


Happy Girl in the snow with World’s Best Dad <3 – recent tube fun photos.



Four feet, thigh high snow drifts, and still falling. Stay safe friends <3


Holiday wreath made from supplies purchased at Wolf Hill still holding up!


Because all Christmas elves wear their purple princess crown when helping decorate the house for the holidays. Not seen in the photo are the much beloved gold glitter sparkle ballet slippers.


We love Russell Orchards throughout the seasons, not only for their wonderful array of fresh fruit, including peaches, strawberries, raspberries, plums. pears, and an infinite variety of apples, but because they have the sweetest farm animals. Ruth and Rosie have to be the cutest pair of goats, but it it Thunder and Cloud, Russell Orchards resident pair of black and white sheep that have won Charlotte’s heart.

Little Lulu is also a top contender for cuteness (on the rare occasions we see her up and about).

Apple picking at Russell Orchards is at the top of our list of fun things to do in autumn.

Russell Orchards is located at 143 Argilla Road in Ipswich. They are open from 9am to 6pm, Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, go here.

Artichoke flowers


At the top of my husband Tom’s birthday wish list was a schooner ride aboard the Thomas Lannon. His birthday is still a week away so we had a pre-bday celebration last night. My kids and I treated and we met our friends Jade and Will, and their adorable kids, for the Schooner Challenge.

Although not much of challenge with super calm seas, it was a gorgeous night to be sailing around the harbor with family, friends and the wonderful Captain Heath Ellis and his topnotch crew. Former Lannon Captain Tom Ellis was aboard, making the sail even more perfect.

The night could not have been more magical and I think my husband is super pleased. What a way to start off the 37th Annual Gloucester Schooner Festival weekend and husband’s birthday week!!



So very much missing Saint Joseph Day friends. The following post is from last year, the first St. Joseph Day not shared with friends and family due to the global pandemic. Hopefully, 2021 is the last.

Viva San Giuseppe! March 19, 2020

I think it’s especially difficult for senior friends who look forward each year to ten days with loved ones. I sure missed seeing my “granny” that I’ve come to love while celebrating and honoring St. Joesph at the Groppo home.

Here’s a happy St. Joe story for you – When my husband and I were looking for a home to purchase in Gloucester we were in a terrible bind. We had to be out of rental home suddenly and unexpectedly. I found what seemed like our dream home but then learned It had sold only days earlier. We heard the woman had perhaps purchased the house without the intention to live in it. We approached her and she said yes she would consider selling it to us, but then over the course of the next month, she raised the price three times. The house was wreck, a true fixer-upper, but still it had great bones and I was in love with it.

My friend Claudia gave me a Saint Joseph necklace with the instructions to pray to Saint Joseph and to bury the necklace in the ground of our dream house. Patron Saint of Sicily, of homes, carpenters, artists, and all workers, she said it would bring us luck.

All that time ago, and this beautiful old house has provided us with 24 years of joyous memories, and a place to call home. Happy Saint Joseph Day friends <3

The photos are in no particular order and also include a few snapshots from Ann Margaret Ferrante and Maria Cannova’s beautiful Saint Joseph altars. Click on the first photo to view slide show.