September 29, 2011

At Last!

After more than 19 inches of rain, three straight weeks of grey rainy days, 100% humidity, one hurricane and one tropical storm, a front finally blew through this afternoon bringing us cool crisp weather and clear skies. 9-5 030 Fall is here now, and it’s my favourite season of the year. The weather has cleared for all sorts of events over the next few days including Art for Land’s Sake at Halcyon Farm, and the 2nd Annual John Gutierrez Memorial Walk on Saturday.

I’ve pulled out my cashmere blankets and throws to drape over the edge of the sofa to ward off the chill… cashmere throws I have a couple of these that I’ve acquired over the years, each in a different weight. The cream one is very heavy and feels fabulous. The pale blue one is huge, so I like to wrap up in it, and the sage green one, a little moth-eaten, is the one that Connor loves.

Do you like the return of fall and the cooler weather? I do!

Grant’s Knockers

Fellow blogger Grant Gibson, has a piece in the New York Times about selecting a door knocker for your front door. knocker1“The design of the door can be pretty basic, but then a door knocker is like a piece of jewelry.”knocker2As I continue the hunt for something for my front door, I will keep Grant’s wise words in mind.

September 28, 2011

Sale @McLain-Wiesand

A little bird at dinner told me that there’s a sale happening at McLain-Wiesand in Baltimore. 01-27 017 Their gorgeous Wedgwood-style table was featured in this month’s Veranda Magazine!Veranda - WedgewoodThere are always such interesting pieces in the shop, so stop on by and check out what they have and what’s on sale!01-27 003Tell’em I sent you.

September 27, 2011

OKL Madness, Part 1

I am starting another category called “OKL Madness” with some funny, over-priced item I’ve spotted on the OKL site. As I’ve said numerous times, I do love this site and buy from them. I think they can have very good prices on some items, especially when they’re from a specific manufacturer. However, I think that some of the Tastemakers in the Tag Sales are delusional.

To wit:OKL booksA set of four old, barely vintage books, of no real value, all available on Amazon for pennies each, coupled with a piece of Cavallini wrapping paper. Wrap and match edges, et voila!

Originally $316, now for the low, low price of $159. Just in case you’re sad that you didn’t get this one, there’s another set, consisting of three old Reader’s Digest books from the 1950’s.

I guess I am just not the kind of person who would have books on my shelves that weren’t for reading and loving. 

September 26, 2011

Hiding in the City

Have you seen these images of and by Chinese artist Liu Bolin?  They’re really quite extraordinary.Liu_Bolin1 In 2005, Liu Bolin was one of dozens of artists forced to move out of a commune to the north of Beijing when the government decided to dismantle the settlement to make way for redevelopment; Liu-Bolin-002 Bolin painted himself into the scenery in protest.Liu-Bol-009Liu stands still for more than five hours while his assistants paint him into the scenery. Liu-Bolin-004 Nothing is photo-shopped into the picture. One false move and the image is ruined. Liu-B-004 He’s done these “paintings” in cities as varied as New York, Venice and Beijing. Liu-B-007 These and other images are at the Eli Klein Fine Art Gallery in New York until Wednesday, September 28th.

Bryan Ferry: Man of Style

I saw over on To The Manner Born that today is rocker Bryan Ferry’s birthday. If you don’t know, Ferry was the frontman of the band Roxy Music, whose Love is a Drug, Avalon and More Than This rank among the anthems of my college years. bryan-ferry After Robert Palmer, Bryan Ferry was one of the most well-dressed men on the 80’s rock scene, and as Nicky Haslam said, Ferry was more likely to redecorate a hotel room than trash it. bryan-ferry2 His London apartment was featured in the WSJ. Magazine last year and it featured a long interview with Ferry, images of the flat and a video about his newest album, Olympia. bryan-ferry3 Ferry lives in a block of flats in Chelsea whose former residents included some of the most well-known artists of their time, including Whistler, Sargent and Turner. I did a piece on this block of flats, here.

Happy Birthday, Bryan Ferry, and thanks for the memories!

September 25, 2011

Weekend Update + An Art Show

It was a quiet weekend around Hickory Heights, mainly because I wanted to spend some time with Connor to see if I could discern what’s been bothering him. Naturally, he was a little lamb all weekend and as good as gold. 3-27 003

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I’ve been invited to an art show, Art for Land’s Sake, next weekend to benefit one of the most special places around – the Green Spring Valley and The Valleys Planning Council.  The Green Spring Valley is a mostly undeveloped area just 20 minutes north of downtown Baltimore. In order to maintain and preserve the nature of this area, the VPC was formed. The art show will raise funds to support the VPC. picture3 This year’s show will be held at Halcyon Farm, a 122 acre horse farm owned by Stiles T. Colwill, a well-known interior designer and chairman of the board of the Baltimore Museum of Art, as well as the proprietor of Halcyon House Antiques, one of my favourite places!11-13 064 Dozens of artists will be participating, including one of my favourites, Meg Page, whose work is incredible. melon For more information on the Art for Land’s Sake, please click here.

I hope your weekend was much more exciting than mine!

September 22, 2011

More OKL-ness

I was looking at the OKL site today and Thom Filicia’s goods are on offer. I have some of his fabrics, and love them. They’re just beautiful and the colours and prints are fabulous. I’ve made pillows from some of the fabrics, and even sold some of them at Gore-Dean. Thom Filicia 1 I adore this print and have it in a few of the colourways. My sister has cushions on her porch benches in this print and colour. Thom Filicia 2 Here’s what I don’t get.Thom Filicia 3 A really blurry, unidentifiable image of some random city. Could be anywhere, no distinguishing features… This is what OKL has to say…

The art on your walls says more about you than almost anything else in your home--it's a pure expression of taste. This vibrant giclĂ©e work is a celebration of expression and personal style, straight from Thom’s iPhone® to your wall.

I would worry about what this piece would say about me.  It’s a crappy iPhone picture of New York, ink-jetted onto canvas? Seriously? It’s not even an original signed print.

At least they’ve reduced it from $450 to $299.

September 21, 2011

I’ll Take This… House in London

I talked about the eye-watering prices of the Oxford Collection, but this price made me sob… E1-2 This amazing house in a funky neighbourhood in London is available for £1,800 a week! That translates to $2,821.68 a week, or $11,286.72 a month!E1-1A charming 18th Century house steeped in history and restored to its former glory offering 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. E1-7 Further accommodation includes 3 reception rooms, large kitchen/breakfast room, guest cloakroom and wonderful garden, E1-9 unusually large for the area, with an artist's studio to the rear.

Here are a few more pictures:

E1-3 the second loungeE1-7 the second bathroomE1-4 a bedroomE1-6 another bedroom, not wild about the blue, but love the woodwork,E1-5 the third bedroom, with built-in book cases.

Hmmm… no pictures of the kitchen, so I wonder what’s up with that space.

So, if you have a spare $11000+ a month, you could rent this place!

September 20, 2011

Oxford Blues

I realize that all colleges and universities have to do what they can in these tough economic times. But it’s rather shocking that Oxford University, with its current campaign to raise a minimum of £1.25 billion, has licensed the use of its name to a firm in Hong Kong which will be making a range of Oxford furniture.oxford2I always think it is strange to claim a place that’s not your own. As someone put it, “you either look like a sad sack for trumpeting your credentials with furniture (as opposed to intelligence) or a fraud for buying furniture with the crest of somewhere you never went.”oxford3The licensing company puts it this way, “Each piece in the range has a relevance to the University, its Colleges, buildings or the unique heritage of the place, and has been produced to the exacting standards of quality and craftsmanship that one would expect for a range that carries the name - The Oxford Collection.”oxford8The prices I’ve seen, although they’re not on the Oxford Collection’s website, are rather eye-watering. The tutor’s chair is £780 ($1277) and the Radcliffe desk is £1,700 ($2675). oxford6 But saying all that, there are a couple of pieces I rather like.oxford4 This rug reminds me of the front hall of the first house where I lived in Wales. oxford7 This suitcase is fun, but I can’t imagine lugging it around. oxford1

For the rest of the collection, click here.

September 19, 2011

*UPDATE* Madonna to Re-edit WE Film

Reports say that Madonna has agreed to re-edit her film on Wallis+Edward after ghastly reviews at both the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals. edward-viii-and-wallis-simpsonAs you might remember, the reviews were scathing, including this great line, “Madonna’s direction is so all over the shop that it barely qualifies as direction at all.”

Madonna said, “Maybe it needs a bit of this and a bit of that, and maybe it is still a work in progress," adding: "For God's sake, I hope it's over with soon!”

Word has it that the film may lose as much as 10 minutes of running time.

You can read some details here, and be SURE to read the comments… They are hilarious.

*UPDATE* It’s Passionflower!

Thanks so much to everyone who let me know that the amazing flowers I showed are passionflowers or passion fruit. It occurs to me that after living downtown and then abroad for the past 20+ years, my plant knowledge has suffered greatly. I used to know the Latin names of so many plants and trees.

I went back this morning and looked at the plants again and realized that they actually have fruit on them. passionfruit 001 I am given to understanding that the fruit is generally not worth eating, and can be toxic, so I will give trying it a pass.passionfruit 002 I’ve heard from a number of people that this vine is very invasive. I am sure that the birds eat the fruit and then drop the seeds all around. Below, you can see the remains of the flower and the now-tiny fruit emerging from it. passionfruit 005 For more information on passionflowers and the legend behind the name, click here.

September 18, 2011

What is This?

I was walking Connor this weekend and noticed a very unusual flower blooming in a hedgerow. It was so interesting, with so many extraordinary features, that I thought I’d share it with you and see if you had any idea what it is.  flowers 011 The flower has purple and white squiggly petals, leading to a center section. However, below the purple petals, there are some white petals and an outer layer of green petals, as you can see from this shot of the stem side.flowers 008 Each of the green pieces has something that looks like horns on it.flowers 007 The center of the flower is almost orchid-like. flowers 005 It has five of the “freckled” looking bits and above that there are three more pieces sticking out.flowers 004 It’s really the most amazing and elaborate flower I’ve seen in a long time. Finding it growing wild in a hedgerow in the middle of the city astounds me. flowers 012 It almost looks like a blown glass piece from Murano, Italy. But it’s real.flowers 006Do you know what it is? I sure don’t!