May 31, 2007
May 29, 2007
May 28, 2007
In the eulogy my brother gave, he used the line "an ordinary man who lived an extraordinary life". I told him that it was the same line I use on the title of my blog, and that is the way I try to live my life. Obviously, a lesson well-learned from my father.
May 23, 2007
Dad enjoyed many hobbies, especially reading, gardening and collecting. He was president of the Maryland Horticulture Society and the Baltimore Bibliophiles. He was very interested in history, cooking, travelling and classical music and opera. He loved to read and at one point had more than 4,000 books in his library. He read the Sun, New York Times and Washington Post every day.
May 21, 2007
May 20, 2007
Then from there, to the real grocery store to pick up the booze for the Southsides, good cheeses and some staples. Final stop was the local city market for thick butcher-sliced bacon for the tenderloin and some black-eyed susans. I was briefly prepared to paint the eyes of the flowers like they do for the blanket of flowers at the Preakness. Zipped back home to make the cupcakes, which were mini and had black-eyed susans piped on them in lurid yellow, with brown centers (it's green and red that you combine to make brown icing). I made the salad and then my superhero friend, Dog, came to the rescue and came over and cooked the tenderloin for me. He poked around the cabinets in the kitchen and found some ingredients for a brilliant sauce. I set the table with a hot pink tablecloth, and used parts of my collection of willow-ware in blue and pink. I had gorgeous blue napkins with went wonderfully with the willow and contrasted with the hot pink. Lots of glassware, with only one broken! After I barricaded Connor, aka Houdini Dog, upstairs and everyone began arriving, it was time for the fun surprise to arrive, too. I had arranged to have a pony tethered to the tree in front of my downtown city rowhouse when the guests arrived. It was hilarious to see their reaction to Cash the pony, courtesy of Tony, in front of the house.
Then it was time for the featured race... I had almost fainted when Curlin's jockey took a fall in an earlier race, but he was ready for the big race. I had printed out slips of paper with each horses' silks on them, along with their post position. We went for the big purse, with each person chipping in the grand sum of $1.00. And they're off... and Curlin won!!! Much excitement and cheering and to the winner went the spoils of $9.00.
Here's an excerpt from the post-race interview with part-owner of Curlin:
Q: George Bolton, as a Baltimore native, can you discuss your feelings winning the Preakness?
GEORGE BOLTON: It is a dream come true. I grew up on a farm that my father owns, only about ten miles from here, across from St. Timothy's School on Greenspring Avenue. So very close. The team was all there last night.
You never think you are going to ever be in a race or win a race like this. This is something that is very surreal. The Derby was surreal. The Arkansas Derby was surreal. I am just very proud to be associated with this group, and to win a race ten miles from my father's farm is a great, great honor.
After leaving the hospital, my brother had a chance to spend some time at the Bolton's farm with the families, who were all in town for the big race. This has been a nice bit of fun during a very trying time for our family. Congratulations to George, his partners and to Curlin. Well done!
May 16, 2007
May 14, 2007
May 13, 2007
Anyway, today's swoop through the BT unearthed Carleton Varney's 1971 Book of Decorating Ideas (BODI). Check out the hair and sideburns!! I glanced through the book, chucked it in my bag and danced a little jig. Of course, I kept looking and came up with another few books.
As soon as I got home, I zoomed through a little of BODI, and came up with an idea. The book is divided into about 125 sections, which sounds like a lot, until you see that they're about a page or two each. As I was scanning the titles, I picked out a couple to read immediately and wondered if the ideas that Mr. Varney had in 1971 would still hold up today.
Here's the plan: Once a week or so, I will post one of the 1971 BODI ideas and then see how it translates into 2007 design. About half of the stories are illustrated with black & white photos, so I will do a then and now comparison with a little bit of text from the book. Here goes:
The See-Through Look: "When you are looking for new tables, chairs, lamps, accessories - consider the see-through look for the look of today." The colours in this room are pretty incredible - citrus yellow shag-plus carpeting, sheer white draperies, shocking pink walls and white ceiling and trim. The upholstery on the chairs is also shocking pink.
One of the see-through designs that shows up a lot in 2007 is the Louis Ghost Chair by Phillipe Stark, introduced in 2002. There were some examples in the Kips Bay Show House in New York and you see this chair a lot in design magazines. Visually, it doesn't take up much room, so it works in many places. Stark also has the Victoria chair (charm without arms) and a bar stool.
So, I think that the see-though look has held up for more than 35 years. What do you think?
May 11, 2007
World Market has more than 290 locations around the US, and many of them sell beers and wines along with the fun imports.
May 8, 2007
May 7, 2007
May 4, 2007
May 3, 2007
May 2, 2007
When we opened the furniture warehouse at Second Chance, the two guys who ran that warehouse had everything jumbled up with no rhyme or reason. One day I went in and started organizing things. I made vignettes with dining room tables and chairs, china and glassware, silver and napkins. I took antique beds and made them up with old quilts and blankets, added dressers and lamps. I worked so people could imagine the items in a home-like setting. It worked very well and sales went up.
Looking at catalogues is a great way to educate yourself with an eye toward layout and display. See how things are arranged in a room. The bed may be on the diagonal or in the center of the room, or the sofa may be facing away from the main entrance to a room.
Think about the stores you like. Consider a generic Hallmark store, with rows of cards and gifts stacked on shelves, with an overlay of corporate mandated layouts. Then think of a little boutique with fun cards on spinning racks, gifts arrayed in thoughtful ways, personally selected items, all displayed with thought and intent by the store owner.
Where would you rather shop?
May 1, 2007
Logos are so important in sending the right message to consumers. Recently, as Hue reminded me, the Maryland Institute College of Art redesigned their logo. Several years ago, they made the quantum leap of removing the comma between Maryland Institute and College of Art. Their old logo was the name of the school in an all-caps typeface, with some sort of splash of paint below it. They just paid a consulting firm $75,000 to come up with a new logo.
When you see the logo up verrrrry close, the diagonal slash spells out Maryland Institute College of Art.
Think about the logos you see everyday and then think how they represent their product.