August 31, 2011

September? Seriously?

I can’t believe it’s September already, although the weather since Hurricane Irene blew through has been very September-like, with daytime highs in the low 80’s, very little humidity and cool nights.

It’s been three months since I moved into the House @ Hickory Heights, and so now I will fess up as to what the neighbourhood’s real name is: It’s called Hoes Heights. Not the gardening utensil, and not the slang word, either. It’s named after an African-American farmer who purchased the land in the late 1880’s and some of his descendents are still living here. Click here for an article about the neighbourhood.sunday 010 This is another of the little farmhouses that dot the neighbourhood. It’s very similar to mine, but hasn’t been kept up as well. sunday 016 This is a really crappy shot, but you can see a little bit of one of the old barns, this one in board and batten. sunday 015 There are loads of gardens in the neighbourhood, and this one extends back and down a hill about 300 feet. Almost every house has some plantings in front of it (except mine).

I still have a lot to do in the house, including a lot of unpacking – especially winter things, which I can now start thinking about.  It was hard to do that when the temperatures were hovering around 100*F.books 002 Yes, that’s the sweater collection. My father used to say it was cheaper to put on another sweater than to turn up the heat.

I have a very long and skinny piece of property, and on the south side, there’s a run of grass that’s about 50’ x 6’ long. That’s where I plan on planting my vegetable garden next year. It’s grass now, but I figure that I can get rid of that, and plant tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, and gourds, which are lots of fun. Maybe I will even put in some raspberry canes!

In the back part of the yard, I want to put in a cutting garden along the fence on the south side. I want to get some perennial flowering bushes like hydrangea and maybe some roses to plant this fall.connor the drama dog 001 My Greek neighbour behind me has a couple of fig trees, and he’s promised to give me a large cutting in the spring. (That funny white lump in the background is Connor!)

So, as we move into fall, I still have a lot of house projects to finish.

Do you have fall projects?

August 30, 2011

La Guerre des Post-it

That’s right – POST-IT NOTE WARS!Guerre Pac-Man-012It’s happening in Paris office buildings from Société Générale at La Défense to Coca-Cola and even in classic Paris apartments!La Guerre frogIs this Michael Jackson, or someone jumping? La Guerre Michael JacksonThe battle is between presumably underemployed office workers who are devoting large chunks of their days to sticking thousands of pink, yellow, orange and green notes on their windows to recreate pixelated images.La Guerre SpongeBob-SquarePants-005Apparently, the largest of the images takes up three floors and had to be computer-generated to figure out the pattern.La Guerre Waldo It’s now La rentrée, time for everyone to return to Paris after being gone for the month of August. I wonder if the Post-It note art will disappear?

Here are some others I found on Post-It Wars

La Guerre Mona-Lisa-003 Mona Lisa in a cornerLa Guerre TinTIn TinTin, a French favouriteLa Guerre Apple-logo-004Hmmm. Wonder what kind of computers they use? La Guerre Rolling-Stones-logo-007 Rolling Stones Fan

Aren’t these fun! Would you ever do something like this in your office window? I totally would!

August 29, 2011

So That’s Why!

I get a ton of press releases each and every day, all asking that I promote their item, or asking if they can guest post on the virtues of something that I am not the least bit interested in, or wanting to trade links with me, so I can put a link to their Chinese Photoshop sweatshop, or some such nonsense. And most of them don’t even bother to address me by name… I even get some e-mail from complete strangers, mostly PR chicks, who use the salutation, “hey…”.

So when I got some random press release today, I glanced through it, and saw that the real reason that Prince William had married Kate Middleton was because of “the Royal Couple's determination to bolster the UK's economy”. Catherine Figurine

Wow. And all of this time I thought it was because he wanted to refresh the gene pool!

Most of the dolls I’ve seen are so insane looking – if that poor girl’s head was the size of her torso, she’d topple right over. And I know she’s thin, but her arms and legs wouldn’t support the weight of her head.  The purple potato chip on her head isn’t doing her any favours!kate doll And in this scary iteration, she looks like her head would snap off from the size, and dear Wills looks like he’s gone insane. kate Apparently, “William and Kate gave English entrepreneurs free rein to develop products that memorialize their wedding”, but I am sure that this isn’t what they had in mind.

I wonder if Will and Kate just sit around and laugh their heads off (ha) at these pieces?


August 28, 2011

Weekend Update: No. 211 & What I Found

Whew! Glad that weekend’s behind me now.  We had more than 24 hours of non-stop rain with the coming, arrival and leaving of Hurricane Irene, but I am pleased to report that both Connor and I made it through the storm unscathed. He was helped along by a Benadryl or two, and I, by a couple of cocktails. My 110-year old farmhouse made it unscathed as well. Luckily, we never lost power and had no damage at all. ireneHowever, by Sunday morning, I was gasping to leave the house and have a chat with someone who could actually answer my questions, so I met pal Julie for a boozy brunch at what’s rapidly becoming my new favourite restaurant, City Cafe, conveniently located just around the corner from McLain-Wiesand.McLain 002 After that, I hit up the Book Thing with DC pal, Ellen {aka I Love Lime Green}, and a friend of hers. It was great to have more actual people to talk to again! Although the power was still out at Book Thing, we soldiered through, and for my efforts, I came across a near-mint copy of this book:8-28 060 I can’t WAIT to begin reading this. It looks like it’s going to be a great biography and it’s filled with great pictures of her life in the States and abroad.

8-28 063  At a ball in 1905.8-28 064 With Cecil Beaton and Oliver Messel in Cannes in 1931.

The preface to this book is by Diana Vreeland and even that is worth reading!

I popped into a little junk shop after the Book Thing, and came away with this gorgeous little silver bowl, English from 1920, according to the marks. 8-28 003 I love the detailing around the edge.8-28 006 Look for it and some more great pieces on my Etsy shop this week!

Hope your weekend was a little calmer than mine!

August 27, 2011

C’Mon Irene*

*with apologies to Dexy’s Midnight Runners

The waiting begins. We are several hours away from the arrival of Hurricane Irene, and there’s nothing left to be done. The lawn furniture is stashed up against the fence. All of the lanterns on the posts surrounding the garden have been taken inside. I have enough water and food for several days, and I have plenty of reading material and things to do.

At breakfast this morning, I had the chance to peruse the WSJ. Magazine, which is only available this weekend. There are a couple of articles I am saving for later, perhaps after the power goes out and I am forced to read by candle-light:

  • A look at the stunning $720 million, six-year renovation of the Bolshoi Ballet Theatre in Moscow.WSJ Bolshoi
  • An intricate view of how Cartier makes their signature panther bracelet.WSJ Cartier
  • A story about how Hermès has remained independent in these days of mergers and acquisitions. WSJ Hermès

If you’re in the path of Irene, I hope you remain safe, and if not, have a great weekend!

August 25, 2011

I’ll Take This… Pashley Bike

When I saw this item in the auction catalogue at Alex Cooper, I thought I’d look hilarious pedaling around my new neighbourhood with Connor nestled in the basket. Pashley bikeBut then I remembered that I live at the bottom of a valley, and am surrounded by hills, and that Connor weighs in at about 65 lbs. But I am sure that he’d be quite cozy in the basket.Pashley bike3This is a bike by the venerable English firm of Pashley, which was founded in 1926 and is located in the Bard’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon. This bike looks to be their “Delibike” style. Pashley bike2 Maybe I could take it to the Farmers’ Market on Sundays and fill it with fresh fruits and veg. What do you think?

August 24, 2011

Open the Newspaper!

It’s amazing how many funny contraptions the Victorians had… everything from ice cream forks, to asparagus tongs, to specialized utensils for myriad foods.

Today, I found a new piece – a newspaper opener. God forbid that you get that nasty ink from the paper on your hands (New York Times, I am talking to YOU!). I think that one of my great-aunts had someone iron her newspaper. This simple little contraption allows you to flip the page and then smooth it down, without ever touching it. opener Most of the newspaper openers are about a foot long and have a handle and a blade-type end. This one is silver and ivory. opener2 This one is carved ivory at one with a silver ferrule in the middle.  opener4 Another silver and ivory newspaper opener. The ivory on this one looks a little damaged. opener3 I liked this one made from olive wood and shagreen, which is shark’s skin. opener5 Another elaborately handled opener.

opener6 This one has a fox’s head on it, and is marked Foxcroft. It’s up for auction this weekend at Alex Cooper in Baltimore.

I am endlessly fascinated by auction sites, and try to attend when I can. You always learn something!

August 23, 2011


When I lived in Wales, I used to tell the children about our weather in Maryland. We have hurricanes (see: Irene, arriving this weekend), blizzards, tornados, and temperatures from 0° to 100°F. connor in a snowbankNow we can add earthquakes to this list, as a 5.9 earthquake just hit the area, resulting in lots of people who are "all shook up” and not much damage. Naturally, I was in the car, driving along a bumpy road and didn’t feel a thing, but when I got back to the office, everyone said our 150+ year old stone building was shaking. Lift 028 EEK!

August 22, 2011

A House in Colour

A few years ago, I wrote about some houses that were close to the house where Billy Baldwin grew up, and just a few blocks from where I am living now.

One of the houses that I featured is now on the market. What attracted me initially to this house is the incredible use of colour in a very traditional neighbourhood. 204 1It starts with the bright citrine front door. 204 18 I love the arches that are echoed through the front and back of the house. Just the thought that went into the design of this house is amazing. 204 13 But the inside of the house is every bit as colourful as the front door would lead you to believe. Let’s step inside…204 2 Wow! Pumpkin walls in the center hall… A stunning center staircase, and to the right of that, a back set of stairs! Love back stairs, we had them in the houses where I grew up.

And look at the landing at the top of the stairs.204 3 We had one at our house and I whiled away many hours there reading.

204 5 This looks like a darker shade of the pumpkin from the front hall. Look at the citrine door just out the windows, and the cabinet colour in the kitchen behind.204 12 While I am not wild about the stone kitchen floor (unless it has under-floor heat), the cabinets and cupboards are fabulous. 204 6 Holy smokes! I would KILL for a butler’s pantry like this one. I am about 99% sure it’s original to the house. Our house at St. John’s, had two pantries which had cypress doors . 204 11 The bright colours continue into the bed- and bathrooms. I am sure this is one of the children’s baths. We had great clawfoot tubs in our bathrooms, too.204 14 And one of the children’s bedrooms.204 8 I am not sure which is the master bedroom, but there’s colour everywhere.204 7 This might be on the top floor because of the windows. The coved ceiling is amazing.204 9 I am thinking this is also the top floor, but in the front of the house because of the Palladian windows. Love the grey, and the white trim.204 10 One of the things I love about this house is the sunroom on the second floor, which is probably very hot in summer, but lovely in the winter, as it’s on the west side of the house which is at the top of a hill. It’s also got an open porch on the side of it.204 4 There are porches all around the house, some sunny and some shaded. 204 16 Perfect for having breakfast in the cool morning or drinks late in the afternoon. 204 17 As you can see, the house is in the tree-tops and looks out over the Jones Falls Valley. 204 15 The house is on the market for $1.95 million, and you can see the amazing details here or here.