August 31, 2008

More Flowers

I've been working hard on getting ready for the Pigtown Festival, which is Saturday, September 6th. My neighbour and I are having a booth there where we're selling our art. Or "art" in my case, since I just play with this.
Thanks to a promotion by AirTran, the festival's getting some national publicity, so we're expecting large crowds, which meant I had to double what the number of things I'll be selling. I am doing a lot of pig-themed art, including the Ville de Porc logo I created, as well as some canvases and hand-made books. Whew!
I did make some time to scoot out to the Book Thing this morning and got a real prize - a first edition of Irving Penn's Flowers. It's just a stunning book and I hope that in looking at the master's photographs, I will pick up some tips to take my flower pictures. With my new camera, I am able to take stunning close-ups of flowers, which never cease to amaze me.
I also got a copy of the 2004 book, House Beautiful Decorating School, which looks like it will be a good reference book. The images in it are lovely and present a variety of styles.
Another recent book acquisition, this time an actual PURCHASE, was Scalamandre Luxurious Home Interiors. There's an off-price book store near my office and sometimes when I am making a Starbux run, I pop in there. The Scalamandre book is just lush with loads of glorious images, featuring their spectacular fabrics.

As soon as the Festival's done, I will look forward to spending some down-time reading these books and studying the photographs. Posting may be a bit scant this week, but as always, thanks for reading!

August 26, 2008

Restoration Hardware Baby & Child

It was just about a year ago when Restoration Hardware was in a bit of financial trouble and was being sold at fire-sale prices. Sears was among the bidders, but eventually Catterton Partners won out and took the company private.
Since then, they've been having warehouse sales every other month and have closed Brocade Home. There's a note on BH's webpage saying that due to the volume of orders during their sale, they're not accepting new orders. Hmmmmm...
But they've also opened Restoration Hardware Baby & Child, which is currently only available on-line and through the catalogue, which I received today. The furniture looks like scaled-down versions of the regular items, except with lots of pale greens, pinks, blues and browns, with lots and lots of dots.
The very funniest thing about this is that on September 6th, we're having the Pigtown Festival. My neighbour and I are having a booth, so I've been working on things to sell for weeks now. Several of my creations are exactly like things I've seen in the catalogue! I hope that people don't think I've ripped their designs off, since they've just debuted this week! And my things are much less expensive and not made by some 13-year old in China.

August 25, 2008


My friend Julie and I go to the to the Farmers' Market every Sunday morning (and then out to breakfast and then to the Book Thing). Nearly every Sunday, I ooh and aah over the huge variety of sunflowers on offer. I rarely buy them though. But yesterday, they were just so stunning that I bought a bunch.
When I got home, I tried various vases and containers, but since the flowers are so top-heavy, they kept tipping over the container. Finally, I spotted an old brown pitcher and lopped off all but about eight inches of stem. Viola! Perfect container and perfect arrangement!
Somehow it all looked familiar... oh, that's right! It was very similar to the Van Gogh painting, "Twelve Sunflowers", (original title in French, Tournesols) one of a series of six paintings. One of these sold for $39 million! One of the Sunflower paintings was destroyed in a fire during the ending days of WWII. Others are in Philadelphia, Amsterdam, Munich and Tokyo.
I can't imagine what Van Gogh would think of if he saw the huge dinner-plate size Sunflowers we grow today! Here are some more pix from the Farmers' Market.

The shades and varieties of sunflowers are endless!

August 21, 2008

Brass Menagerie

When Style Court, whom I hold in the highest esteem, shared her collection of small brass animals, I thought I could share my collection with you all, too. This was actually my father's collection and they always had a place on the bookshelves in the library at our old house.
Two of the brass figures are bugs, used for advertising for a pest control company. Their wings lift up to reveal a little ad. Their bodies are hollow and can store small things like paperclips, or perhaps they might have been ashtrays. The casts of the two bugs are quite detailed; the others, less so.
I also have a brass crab, which is symbolic of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay. I can tell it's a she-crab by the mark on her underside. Male blue crabs have an apron that looks like the Washington Monument and female blue crabs have an apron shaped like the Capitol dome. Bet you didn't know that! The shell of the crab lifts off and I've stored little coral jewelry pieces in its cavity.

I also have three brass Christmas ornaments representing my favourite cities - New York, London and Paris. They're pretty heavy to hang on a fir tree, so I have them stationed on a bookcase.
Here's my little brass menagerie!

August 19, 2008

Elephant Family

There's an interesting charity in the UK dedicated to ensuring the survival of Asian elephants. In order to bring visibility to the need for more land for the elephants, The Elephant Family Trust recently toured 13 topiary elephants around England, landing first at Selfridges department store, decked out in designer shawls. Later, they had a chance to wander around some of the Royal Parks in London.

I was so enchanted with the photographs of the event, from the Guardian, that I wanted to share them with you. Enjoy!

Elephant in a Calvin Klein shawl

Elephant in a Ralph Lauren blanket

The herd looking out to sea

The herd walking through Selfridges, heading towards Chanel!

The herd leaving London, driving by Whitehall & the London Eye in their bio-diesel lorry.

For more information on the tour, click here.

August 17, 2008

Golden Boy!

I was at the Farmers' Market this morning and all anyone was talking about was Michael Phelps' incredible string of gold medals! We are all so proud him and happy for his family. We love the positive light he's throwing onto Baltimore.
Last night at the pre-season Ravens v. Vikings game, thousands of people stayed to watch the race. At one point during the game, the words "Go Michael" flashed on the screens and the fans chanted it. Since Michael's a huge Ravens fan, it was shown to him just after his victory.

We are all so proud of Michael and his accomplishments and we can't wait to have him back home in Baltimore.

Image: NYTimes

August 16, 2008

Decorating is Fun WINNER!

Connor's just exhausted from having to choose one from among all of the fun comments. He does this funny thing where he just thumps the end of his tail when he's happy... I was able to decipher the code and it spelled out MRR... which I interpreted to be Marnie of MRR Designs. Congrats, Marnie! E-mail me and we'll work out the details!

August 15, 2008

I Love A Good Sale

Earlier this month, I mentioned that my friend David, owner of McLain Weisand, was having a sale. I had planned to camp outside the shop to be there when they opened at 10 this morning. Unfortunately, work got in the way, so I had to wait until lunch. Luckily, my friend Lulu did some reconaissance work and reported that it would be well worth my while to get down there, post-haste!!
The first thing I snagged was the wonderful mug with the engraved pictures of chairs on it. It's by Christopher Vine Design out of Australia. The mugs come in a nice round box and would make a great little gift.
As I browsed around, Lulu grabbed me and told me that the treasures were out in the workshop. David makes a lot of beautiful reproduction furniture and this sale was clearing out some floor samples, as well as some of his accumulated "stuff", so there were some great finds! I picked out two pieces of wrought iron swirls and and then later went back to look at some other architectural ironwork from Miss MA. These are about 2.5' long and were $2/each.

There's also a wonderful sink that I found that might work in Miss MA's beach house that she's building. This sink is porcelain and has gold ribbon and reed pattern surrounding the bowl. It's by a company called Sherle Wagner and they have some other gorgeous bathroom fittings and fixtures.
However, the real killer piece was the most incredible square chandelier that was hanging in the workshop. It's covered with a scrim of dust because it's hanging in an actual working workshop.
My other favourite part of David's shop is his amazing curved book-cases, filled with design and decorating books that he uses as references when building furniture. Here, David and Lulu are discussing David's dog.
Great sale, lots of fun and I could have bought a ton of stuff!

August 14, 2008

Be a Winner!

We've got a couple of medalists and contenders here in Baltimore. Our Katie Hoff grabbed a couple of Bronzes (YAY KATIE) and Carmelo Anthony is still playing b-ball for the Redeem Team. But the biggest winner, aside from the incredible Michael Phelps, can be you!
Be sure to add your name to the comments, either below or here, and be entered to win a first edition of Dorothy Draper's Decorating is Fun! I will be picking the winner tomorrow evening during cocktail hour and Connor will thump out the winning comment number with his tail.
Thanks for playing along, and good luck!

August 13, 2008

Restoration Hardware Warehouse Sale

There's a Restoration Hardware Warehouse about 25 miles outside of Baltimore and every three or four months, they have a sale, which is well worth the drive. As I wrote last year, the place is huge and the bargains were plenty. This is my surreptitious shot, since they didn't allow photography.

They had lots of their summer furniture on sale, as well as furniture for the bedroom, living room and bath. Most of it was more than 50% off. Since my house is only 11.5' wide, not a lot of RH's furniture fits in it.

I found the deepest discounts in the area where the smaller items were. They had loads of crystal Christmas ornaments, originally $12.00 and now a mere 49¢! Needless to say, I bought a bunch of them. They will be a great thing to add to bottles of wine that I take to holiday parties.

You know I love decorated tin plates, and RH had a great set of four of them decorated with vintage circus motifs, which will be perfect for giving to my brother's three children (3 and under!).The plates were 75% off their original price.

The best buy of the day were the four Belgian linen pillow covers that were originally $44, but that I picked up for a mere $1.99. They're a great honey colour, and will be perfect with my yellow living room furniture.

When I was leaving, I checked license plates in the parking lot and they were from all over the mid-Atlantic area. If you're looking for something from RH, I think it's worth the drive.