December 31, 2012

Welcome 2013!

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?
imageFor auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

Best wishes for a wonderful, safe and happy 2013!

December 30, 2012

2012–A Year in Review

It’s hard to believe it’s the end of 2012 already. This year has gone by so fast and so much has happened, that when I think of it all, and go through some of my posts, I can’t fathom that so much time has passed in the blink of an eye.burrito1

So, without further adieu, here are some highlights of 2012.

The best thing about the past few years has been having the opportunity to meet many of my readers. I frequently tell people who ask why I blog that it’s because of my readers. This year, I was lucky enough to meet some of my wonderful readers, as well as some of my fellow bloggers.

In March, while I was in the UK, I met up with a blogger who wants to remain Anonymous, so let’s call her Poppy. She and her husband kindly invited me to join them at the House of Lords for dinner. Seriously, this evening was one of the highlights of my life. To have a personal tour of the Houses of Parliament and dinner with such wonderful people was spectacular.

Catching up with former blogger and great friend, House of Beauty and Culture, was one of the joys of being in England. imageHe’s a man who fills my heart with such love and laughter and time spent with him is precious to me.

When I was in Wales, I spent the day with the delightful Di, aka Yonks. We all drove down to St. Donat’s Castle, where I used to work, and had an amazing day touring the castle and the grounds.It was such fun touring the castle with Di and John, and showing them all of the nooks and crannies at the Castle where I’d spent so much time.As a small reminder, this is the dining room!

In July, Loi Thai, who blogs over at Tone on Tone, came up to Baltimore for dinner with us, and it was brilliant to meet the man behind this incredibly beautiful blog. image

And then there was Reggie Darling! We laughed, we cried, we drank too much. And then we laughed some more. imageReggie, his partner Boy Fenwick and their pug, Pompey all came down to Baltimore for a weekend, and a good time was had by all.

The Devoted Classicist, John Tackett also came through Baltimore and did an amazing lecture at Evergreen House. imageI’ve been following John’s blog since it started, and was so pleased to finally meet him in person.

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Because of the blog, I’ve been lucky enough to be a guest or sponsored blogger at some great events.

The High Point Market Authority and Hooker Furniture invited me to be a sponsored blogger at both the April and October markets, and it was just an incredible experience. I was able to see first-hand what trends are coming to a store near you and to learn about many of the premiere furniture companies. It was also a chance to meet many of the bloggers whose work I’ve been reading for years, including Architect Design, Tartan Scot, Maison 21, Dovecote Décor and many more. It was great to put faces with names. When I went back in October, I had a much better handle on how to manoeuver around and find the exhibitors that I really wanted to see, instead of being scattershot like in April.

On a local level, I was given a coveted press pass for the My Lady’s Manor horse-races, meaning I got to watch from the vantage point of the Tower!Ladew also kindly included me in the preparations and planning for their annual Garden Festival, and I got to interview Carolyne Roehm for the blog.

As a result of blogging, I was invited to write some articles for our local newspaper, the Baltimore Sun. This was especially gratifying to me, as my father had been a reporter for this very same publication. New Years Eve (41)

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It was a year filled with adventures (seeing the Blue Angels - twice),imagecelebrations (the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee), jubilee-walkaboutsports (the Olympics),london 2012 NYT

friends, friends2 copy

more friends, friends copyand of course, my sweet Connor.

Thanks so much for all of your comments, love, support, concern, kindness and most of all, friendship during 2012. I am really looking forward to 2013!

December 27, 2012

Zara Home

Everyone knows that Zara does cheap and chic clothes, but do you know that they have a Home store, too? In the US, it’s just a website now, but hopefully a Zara Home store will be coming to our shores. imageI had stopped in the Zara Home shop in London, just off the King’s Road, when I was over in March. The stores are well designed and very contemporary, but with a decided European flair, reflecting their Spanish roots. imageWhen I received an e-mail from Zara home, touting up to 50% off, with free shipping, I spent some time surfing around their website, and found several things that I’ve added to my cart. (Click the image to see the link.)

I am always looking for pretty ways to organize my things, so I loved the look of this classic print Villa Box with the shot of yellow.image

At Thanksgiving dinner, we had butter bells on the table, and then we found them on Zara Home.image

I am a big fan of tea towels, and these few really caught my eye.  image



This rug, or maybe two of these rugs might be fun for my 20-foot long hallway.image

I love the vignettes Zara puts together so you can shop the look.image

The exotic look of this table would be great for a big Indian curry dinner!image

Remember, click on the images for the links, and then take a look around their site!


My plan had been to visit the Hillwood Museums and Gardens with friends, but a sudden and unexpected snowstorm caused us to turn around mid-trip and return home. The object of our visit to Hillwood was the exhibit by Isabelle de Borchgrave entitled Prêt-à-Papier.imageAmazingly, all of the pieces in this exhibition, which ends January 20th, are made from paper.image“Crumpling, pleating, braiding, and painting the surface of simple rag paper achieve the effect of textiles and create the illusion of haute couture…”imageIsabelle de Borchgrave deftly crafts a world of splendor in trompe l’oeil. Cutting, gluing, and painting with imagination and exceptional mastery, she creates the illusion of lace, brocade, delicate silk, and sumptuous embroidery.image

From the 17th century to the early 20th century, these dresses cross many of the key periods in fashion history. imageSome of the pieces are paired with the paintings that inspired them. imageIt’s quite amazing to realize and understand that these gorgeous dresses have all been hand-crafted out of paper. imageI am so disappointed that we didn’t make it to DC to see the dresses, and given my schedule over the next few weeks, I doubt I will have time to see it. But if you’re in DC, go see it and let me know whether you liked it.

December 26, 2012

White-ish Christmas

What a huge surprise on Christmas Eve when it started snowing… 2012-12-24_14-48-07_932and snowing…2012-12-24_15-12-31_200 and snowing.2012-12-24_15-46-17_978We got a bit more than a dusting, which was way more than anyone had ever thought – in fact, there was no snow at all in the forecast. But it was fun to have the tiniest bit of snow on the ground for Christmas.

Especially when a visiting pal came over to play reindeer with Connor. Our noble friend, Halas!2012-12-25_10-03-24_169

He’s spending a little time with us, and although Connor loves him, 2012-12-25_10-03-37_89and they were thrilled to show off their antlers, 2012-12-25_10-04-13_812he did get a little perturbed when Halas appropriated his favourite chair.2012-12-25_22-24-20_305Connor went over to get into it a few times, and seemed startled to find Halas there. He came over to me, sighed deeply, then laid down on the floor, a poor substitute.

I hope that you got what you wanted for Christmas.

December 24, 2012

Happy Christmas to All!

xmas 2012

The Christmas House

My friends, Andrea and Jimmy, are usually a quiet, charming and unassuming couple, until Christmas, when they go crazy!

First, Jimmy assembles his collection of inflatable figures on the front lawn of their beautiful Victorian shingle home, which is especially funny, since 1) it’s on a major road, b) this is a fairly stuffy neighbourhood and c) these things are HUGE.The cow reindeer figure is about 15 feet high, and moves his head back and forth.jimmy

Inside, it’s all Andrea’s work… well starting right at the front door. 

She’s been collecting ornaments and trees for years and has two main trees. The first is a confection of pinks, blues and purples on a white flocked tree.

Wired spangles reflect the lights, while picture-perfect penguins hang along side them.

Even the fireplace is decorated in these jewel tones, as are the swagged curtainsand the side table.

In the dining room, Andrea has strategically placed mirrored balls to reflect the lights. The dining table has a centerpiece of a tree decorated with smaller trees. On the sideboard, there is a veritable forest of trees of all shapes, sizes and colours. Andrea said that she found these little bottle-brush trees at Michael’s and then bleached some and dyed others.

She was delighted at the way they turned out, even matching one with a large pale turquoise ball.

Here’s another sideboard vignette.

And more trees on one of the enviably wide windowsills.

Here’s a detail that you can barely see in the image above… A wonderful mirrored star with gilded magnolia leaves. I love this!

In the sitting room, the second full-size tree is decorated in blacks, whites and reds, with a Mackenzie-Childs influence, including a number of black and white checked Christmas balls, and a black and white checked Christmas tree.

The ornaments on this tree are more traditional, if you think a sock monkey cowboy is traditional!But there really are some trad ornaments, like this glass Santa,and this irate pirate from Newport, RI, this wise old owl, and this vintage ball.When I asked how many trees she had, Andrea told me that she counted about 220, but that there may be more than that!

Thanks to Andrea and Jimmy for showing me their great house, and for sharing their Christmas spirit with everyone, both inside and out!