June 30, 2011

What’s Up for the Weekend?

It’s hard to believe we’re halfway through the year already. It’s just flown by, hasn’t it!!

With the Independence Day weekend here in the States, and Canada Day in, uh, Canada, it’s going to be a nice long weekend. July 4th 029I made a long list of things I want to accomplish over the weekend, and I know I will get a lot of satisfaction if I can tick even half of them off.

Here are a couple of them:

  • Slipcover chair. I have a nice little arm chair in the guest room that has been faded a lot by the sun, so one of my projects is to make a slip-cover for it. Hell, if I can do a whole long sofa, the chair ought to be a zip. I’ll take some before and after pix. I am thinking of doing it in a blue linen that I have, even though I hate working with linen because it’s slippery.
  • Make a skirt for my round-table, because I want to have a skirted round table, just like Joni, Linda and Megan! I am using the pink diamonds fabric from Diamond-Barrata as the main fabric. After I finish that, I might re-arrange the main room a bit.
  • A wedding. A good friend is getting married on Saturday. We’ll be right on the water, and it should will be a load of fun!
  • Dinners – my two sisters and their husbands are coming over for a wee cook-out. Let’s just hope I can figure out how the grill works. Had to put the chicken skewers in the oven for a dinner earlier this week.
  • Add things to my Etsy shop, which has been dreadfully neglected these past few months. Now that I am all settled in, I have found my stash of china pieces, silver pots and jugs and silverware. I also have some great new fabrics, including gorgeous Chinoiseries and some Lilly Pulitzers and I am going to whip up some pillows. If there’s anything particular you’d like, do let me know!

July 4th 081 What do you have on your list for the long weekend?

I’ll Take This… Clever Fruit Bowl

Create your own masterpiece with this bowl and frame that can be arranged in either landscape or portrait format. Made of glazed earthenware, untreated solid European oak frame and brass fixing. Dimensions: 11.6cm x 6.6cm x 10cm high.vases-and-bowls-9221 Still Life designed by Barnaby Barford & Andre Klauser.  Only available for purchase in the UK.

June 28, 2011


I’ve gotten a number of requests about what’s happening with the house, and I am pleased to tell you that it’s coming along! Amazingly, I am starting my fourth week there, and it feels like home – except that I still don’t know where everything is.

The main room is shaping up well. My friends K+N gave me a round table, which will fill in the spot in the front corner very nicely. I threw a piece of Diamond-Baratta fabric on top of it for the moment, until I can decide on which fabrics to use for the skirt.

books 025 The ticky-tacky “chandelier” has got to go. As you can see, I klassed it up by putting hot pink sticky notes all over it, so people (me) don’t bash their heads on it. It’s got a load of sharp corners and I just can’t stand the sight of blood.

The seating arrangement works pretty well, and the two slipper chairs I bought at auction are super comfortable.  Even though the ottomans are the same height, it works to put your feet on them and have sort of a chaise longue.

I’ve used the little drop leaf dining table a few times, and with the folding chairs I bought, it works pretty well to have three or four people at the table.stakmore 011 I still haven’t decided on a final fabric, and I still haven’t painted the other three chairs in the set of four.

I whipped up some curtains for the first-floor loo in Schumacher’s Fireworks in mandarin. They’re perfect for the space and when the morning light hits them, they look great. The fabric is a great linen/cotton blend.  Schumacher Fireworks in Mandarin Connor seems to be settling in, but with the 4th of July this coming weekend, it remains to be seen how he’ll handle the fireworks. He’s become very attached to his babies and carries one or more with him everywhere.sunday 009 I am keeping lists of the things I need to do, and there’s a great deal of satisfaction derived from checking things off of it.

June 27, 2011

Vintage Charm (?) The French Way

As I was surfing around the Guardian this evening, I spotted a series of images whose title attracted my eye… Vintage Charm, the French Way.  Well, some of it I found completely charming, and other views of it were charmless. I’ll let you decide which is which.

The ordinary and the extra­ordinary exist side by side in Isabelle Puech’s Paris apartment – a converted carousel workshop in the 9th arrondissement, where merry-go-round horses were once repaired. Paris-apartment-2-002The upper reaches of this vast, double-height space are accessed via a rusting spiral staircase, and three large, first world war battlefield medical kits – found, like much else, in the flea markets of Vanves and St-Ouen – are used as seating. Paris-apartment-1-001Metal girders and factory lighting add to the industrial air, which is only ­softened by a wooden rocking chair. Paris-apartment-3-003The workshop’s former office is now a kitchen, complete with distressed cabinets and charcoal-grey tiles. “Paris has been so done up that much of its texture has been lost,” says Puech, one of Paris’s best known maroquiniers (leather workers).Paris-apartment-6-006The old atelier’s concrete floor, battered brick walls and beamed ceiling have been left, alongside a glorious tiled floor in the main bathroom.Paris-apartment-5-005 A second, smaller bathroom has its original sink.Paris-apartment-7-007The bedroom has a reclaimed filing cabinet and a distressed screen that serves as a headboard – found in a flea market. The lavender bed linen picks out similar shades in the parquet floor.Paris-apartment-4-004 Animals hoofs and oil paintings – flea market finds – in the main living space.

So, what do you think?

June 26, 2011

Books on Sunday

After taking a break for a few weeks, I finally made my way back to the Book Thing today. It was as if some books were there just waiting for my arrival, and I found a couple of scores within the first five minutes of my arrival.

First up is The French Touch: Decoration and Design in the Most Beautiful Homes of France, by Daphné de Saint Sauveur. The title initially caught my attention, but then when I looked at the cover, there was something very familiar about it. books 006 Hmmmm… I wonder what it could be?  780guestroom1 Well, once I read about the house on the cover, I found that it was Manuel Canovas’ flat in Paris, exuberantly papered in his Bienaimee print of peonies in a ginger jar. books 002I had found a few yards of this at a flea market a few years ago and used it to make this wall-hanging, which I threw up on the wall of the new house to semi-disguise a wall that hasn’t yet been painted.  books 020It’s a gorgeous print, but I’d find walls and furniture with that print a bit overwhelming. 

Another great book I found is The Sisters, The Lives and Times of the Fabulous Cushing Sisters, by David Grafton. books 012 Sort of tied into that book is this one…The First Four Hundred, Mrs. Astor’s New York in the Gilded Age, by Jerry Patterson. That book looks to have mini biographies of each of the 400. books 018 I also found House Beautiful’s Weekend Homes, which I am hoping will give me some ideas for how my garden at the new house. I was given a lovely gift certificate (thanks K+N) to a garden center, and while I have some ideas, I need firmer ones before I go on a buying spree!books 017 Next up is Chippy Irvine’s Town House, which might provide some useful suggestions on space planning in a “smaller” house. books 014 While this book dates from the late 1980’s, it’s always fun to read through books like this, and learn from the masters. 

Connor seems to be settling into the new house, although there were some fireworks the other evening. He knew exactly where to head… to the shelf below my “desk” in the kitchen, which in reality is a six-foot long commercial steel kitchen counter!books 001 I am already hunting for the drugs to give him on July 4th!

June 24, 2011

U2 360… A Day Late

After a lovely and lively dinner last night with Emily Evans Eerdmans and Christopher Petkanas who were in town for Hugo Vickers’ lecture on the Duchess of Windsor (which I missed because of another engagement), I was too wiped out to edit the dozens of images from the U2 concert and then post them.

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The logistics of the 360 tour were massive – there are more than 400 people in the road/stage crew, the tour carries its own generating plant, the top of the stage is more than 160 feet tall – and once I saw everything in situ, it was clear that is was an incredible feat to get the show on the road.U2 063 In each of the four legs, there were three guys who were hoisted up to control the lights and cameras. You can see them hanging below, before they settled in place. Although they were tethered into their seats, you’ve got to be pretty fearless to do this job!U2 071 The evening started with a fun performance by Florence & The Machine, who were great and had the crowd singing and dancing along to her tunes. U2 064 Finally, the sky started getting dark, the stadium began filling and anticipation mounted. A huge screen descended and started showing times around the world, and random facts and figures (Elevation of Baltimore: 38 feet).  These were fun for me, since I adore random things like that.U2 070 All of a sudden, the smoke machines turned on, the lights turned off and the screen showed the band walking from the bowels of the stadium onto the stage. U2 075 The noise was deafening, and got even louder when the band kicked into their first song “Even Better than the Real Thing”. By “I Will Follow”, everyone was on their feet, singing along and dancing.

One of the fun bits was having astronaut, Mark E. Kelly, introduce “Beautiful Day”, recorded on the Space Station, send greetings to Baltimore, and say how much he loves his wife, Gabi Giffords. Hokey, perhaps, but moving.

From our seats (no seats, just feets), on the field, we actually had a brilliant view of the band. Short as I am, I could see the guys playing and moving across the stage, and the bridges that went out over the crowd. U2 083 U2 088 U2 101 But if you couldn’t see as well as we could, the 360* screens gave you an incredible view. Most of it was live footage, but some was overlaid by graphics and video from other sources.  And after a little while, the huge screen became even more massive as it spread apart – and still continued to show the show!U2 131 The whole time, the tower on top of the stage was streaming out smoke, flashing with lasers which pierced the smoke, and turning into a giant disco ball, sparkling lights all around the stadium. U2 136 U2 196 U2 200 The band played for a little more than two hours, and managed to get in a lot of everyone’s favourite tunes, including one of mine, “Miss Sarajevo”.  U2 111 Here’s the set list.

Even Better Than The Real Thing
The Fly
Mysterious Ways
Until The End Of The World
I Will Follow
Get On Your Boots
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
Beautiful Day
Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Miss Sarajevo
City Of Blinding Lights
I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Walk On
Where The Streets Have No Name
With Or Without You
Moment of Surrender

“Moment of Surrender” was played as a tribute to the late Clarence Clemons, and it was just incredible when the lights were dimmed and Bono asked everyone to hold up their cell phone, a la the old rock concert days of holding up your lighter!U2 203 I have to say I am super-proud of the pictures that my little Canon SD1100 Digital Elph camera was able to take, including this little series of Bono on the acoustic guitar. U2 182 U2 183 U2 184  It’s got a 12x digital zoom on it, and with our location and the zoom, I got some decent shots. U2 191Thanks so much to my dear friend Cat for inviting me to join her! U2 189It was a memorable night spent with 75,000 of our closest friends!

U2 211 THANK YOU!!!

June 23, 2011


More than 75,000 of us gathered Wednesday evening at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium to listen to Bono and The Edge and the rest of U2 play dozens of their most well-loved tunes for more than 2 hours in the 90+ degree heat. It was a spectacular show. However, it’s after midnight and I just rolled in, and I am waaay too tired to post any of the myriad images I shot during the show. Look for them on Friday.md-U2-0623p7.jpg Florence and the Machine opened for U2 and they were excellent as well.

June 21, 2011

This is Summer to Me…

To me, hydrangeas are emblematic of summer. And this year, the hydrangeas seem to be particularly gorgeous and showy.

This is a lovely bush on Woodbourne’s campus.summer! 001 As I drove home, I spotted this house with hydrangeas all along the front summer! 003 and side walls.summer! 004 Here’s a great bush of massive white hydrangeas.summer! 006 Even though I like the blue ones best, I’d still take some pink ones.summer! 007 This bush has some pink and some blue – even in the same flower-head.summer! 008 As I took Connor on his evening walk, I spotted some in my new neighbourhood.summer! 015 And here.summer! 014 Along with this old out-house!summer! 016 And the great water-tower.summer! 017What is the thing that says summer to you?