May 31, 2009

Peonies, Again!

My mother joined me at the Farmers' Market this morning and while she got several hanging baskets and potted flowers, I only got more peonies. The ones I bought last week lasted until Saturday, when I saw that all of the petals had fallen off overnight.
This week, I bought a few stems of open blooms and a few of buds. I will be very curious to see if/when the buds actually bloom.
I put the peonies, which were white with streaks of pink, in a pink tin from Fauchon, which I brought back from Paris.

May 28, 2009


I was fascinated to see these unusual paper works by German artist Simon Schubert (unfortunately, his website is in German) in the Guardian. He folds and creases paper to create an image. This description is a translation from his website:
In hardly noticeable interaction from positive and negative folding thereby, depending upon line of sight, is able to become again invisible however in the next moment, develops.
For more of Schubert's paperworks, click here.

May 27, 2009

Duchess of Windsor Birthday Party

As I was scanning the local city paper during lunch, a small display ad caught my eye:
June 19th is Wallis, Duchess of Windsor's 113th (or 114th) birthday and a group in Baltimore, her hometown, is celebrating with a party on Sunday, June 7th! Adele Corner House, the historic house where the party is being held, is on the street where the Duchess was born and is home to the Duchess of Windsor Museum in Baltimore.
The Duchess of Windsor Museum will beopen from noon until 5 p.m.; there will be walking tours of the Duchess's neighbourhood; and the birthday party begins at 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 and benefit the local Animal Rescue. The invitation says to wear outrageous jewelry and as the ad says You'll never make the best-dressed list if you don't carry your dog with you! (although that won't work with Connor in my arms...)

May 26, 2009

Country Life Magazine

I was leafing through some old issues of Country Life magazine and found some great images to share. If you don't know Country Life, it's a weekly houses and horses magazine out of the UK which mostly features country estates for sale, as well some columns on country life, and the weekly picture of "girls in pearls" (debutants). One of the great things about Country Life is their access to many stately homes. Their writers do an in-depth job of researching the houses, and their photographers have a great eye for detail.
These next few images are from a house called Chicheley Hall in Buckinghamshire. The house has just been sold to the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge for £6.5 million, less than its original £9 million asking price.

Detail from a drawing room Entrance hallway, raised from its original single height Column detail Another issue of Country Life featured the Rococo house, Claydon House, also in Buckinghamshire. The house was owned by Florence Nightingale's brother-in-law, but is now owned by the National Trust. This is the alcove in the Chinese Room, carved by Luke Lightfoot in 1760. Another thing I like about CL is the amazing advertisements, aside from the first 100 pages of real estate pictures, they carry. These incredible chairs, a set of four from the 1940's, made of French steel, brass and copper, were being sold by Mallett Antiques, which I wrote about here. This zink Gothic wall lantern/sconce which would look perfect outside of my front door. It's from Charles Edwards on King's Road in London.
But my favourite thing about CL is the little comic strip that appears on the last page. It's called "Tottering By Gently" and the main character reminds me so much of Lady Pen, who used to work with me in Wales, that it makes me ache for missing that place. Click on the picture to see more of Annie Tempest's Tottering By cartoons.

May 25, 2009

Shop Locally

I know that several other bloggers have written about the 3/50 Project, but it has a special meaning to me. I am the President of Pigtown Main Street, a project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

When "big box" stores such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Best Buy and Staples moved in, small businesses could not compete with their pricing structure and eventually suffered economic decline and closed. I try to support the philosophies of the Main Street and 3/50 programs by featuring small independent stores and businesses on this blog. In fact, one of the very first posts I wrote was about a small yarn shop that had provided the most personalized service - something that I never would have received at a chain store.
Groups like Main Street and the 3/50 Project are working towards revitalizing Main Streets in cities both large and small, and to helping independent stores and businesses survive, especially in our current economic climate.
In the scheme of things, the Main Streets would come first: The underlying premise of the Main Street Approach is to encourage economic development within the context of historic preservation in ways appropriate to today’s marketplace. The Main Street Approach advocates a return to community self-reliance, local empowerment, and the rebuilding of traditional commercial districts based on their unique assets: distinctive architecture, a pedestrian-friendly environment, personal service, local ownership, and a sense of community.
Once a business has been established, the premise of the 3/50 project would come into effect: If half of the employed population spent $50 each month in locally-owned independent businesses, it would generate $42.6 billion in revenue. For every $100 spent in locally-owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $48 stays here. Spend it on-line and nothing returns to your community.
Small locally-owned businesses are in real trouble in this economy, as are many other small businesses, but if we each try and spend $50 in a locally-owned shop each month, we will help save jobs, build communities and neighbourhoods and receive more personalized service.

May 24, 2009


After Style Court's series of posts about peonies, I've been on the look out for them at the Farmer's Market and other places. I saw some last weekend, but at $6.00/stem, I felt that was a bit much, especially since I was sure that they'd lose most of their petals before I even got them home.
This morning, the Farmers' Market was full of peonies. Some were still closed tightly and some were blousy and full. I bought a bunch of white ones, streaked with pink and some pink ones. You could have kept track of my where-abouts at the market by following the trail of dropping petals. I expect them to last a day or two, but at $3.00 for a bunch of 10 flowers, I am not complaining.

May 23, 2009

I'll Take This...House in Scotland

Argyll, Scotland... a bit remote at 14 miles from the nearest village, but what a view!!!
From the windows of this £850,000 five-bed farmhouse is a celestial grouping of peaks, woods and water, 16 acres of it owned by you. Your lands tumble down to the sea where you have your own harbour and jetty. Details are here.

May 21, 2009

Mrs. Strong Closing Confirmed

Take a look at the press release I received, and which An Aesthete's Lament has posted, about the closing of Mrs. John L. Strong. It's such a shame. Even though I posted about this almost a week ago, information about the closing has been in scant supply.

May 20, 2009

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

One of the highlights of the spring season in London is the Royal Horticultural Society's Chelsea Flower Show. The show is held on the ground of the Royal Chelsea Hospital and dates back to 1862. Each of the gardens on the 11-acre grounds is designed by a landscape architect or nursery, and sponsored by a charity or a corporation.

A radish topiary
Two Elizabethian gals in the perfume garden.
Winner of the Urban Garden Award.
A Fens garden, another award winner.Real life garden winner. (looks like it should be the one above!)
This won the prize for flower arrangements... I thought it was a hat for Ascot.
Chelsea Flower Show is sold out for 2009, but if you plan now, you can probably get a ticket for 2010.

April Food Day in May

You may remember that on April 1, Easy & Elegant Life and I hosted April Food Day to raise money and awareness for hunger in America. I received a personal request from Feeding America, who was the main beneficiary of our efforts, asking if I could tell readers about a Facebook and Target promotion.
All you have to do is click here, and vote for your favourite charity, hopefully, Feeding America. You must be a member of Facebook to vote though. However, you can cast a vote every day until May 25 - each vote adds to the dollar total for the charity you choose.
I hope that you will spread the word and let others know about this simple way to raise money! Thanks for your help.

Gore Dean Revisited

I was so delighted when Gore Dean opened a store in Baltimore. It’s in an old mill building so it has high ceilings, lots of wood beams and lovely high windows. Stylistically, it’s the polar opposite of the space at Halcyon House, but each works equally well for the goods on offer.
As I arrived, Deborah was loading a huge chandelier into the back of a car. I came to find out that she designs some of the chandeliers hanging in the store, including a spectacular one with rock crystals and beautiful red crystals.
One of the things I like about Gore Dean is the wide variety of what she sells, both in items and styles. There are lots of beautiful china patterns, including some by Hermès; table linens, bedroom and bathroom accessories including the most plush towels, and even a carefully curated selection of books. It’s both a blessing and a curse that my house is only 11.5 feet wide! Let’s take a wander through the store:

The front of the store is a huge glass wall, backed by a stone passageway. The light in the store is always glorious.
A selection of Mrs. John L. Strong stationery (RIP).
One of the many stunning chandeliers hanging from the beamed ceiling at Gore Dean.
A group of shield-back, caned chairs, just waiting for the right setting.
Beautiful chair, stunning pillow.
An amazing porcelain stove that looks Swedish, but is probably Portugese.
Probably one of my favourite pieces in the shop… who wouldn’t love this book case?
I can just imagine curling up in this chair with a good book and Connor at my feet.
A selection of books, including Hunt Country Style, Regency Redux and Santa Barbara Living.
House… this one’s for you!
The great wall of china (haha!), including some beautiful Hermès patterns.
If you’re in north Baltimore any time, stop by and check out Gore Dean. It is well worth the trip. And be sure to check out Deborah’s Gore Dean blog, too!