and then a peek into the Ham Yard Hotel which is fabulous.
November 30, 2014
and then a peek into the Ham Yard Hotel which is fabulous.
November 26, 2014
November 23, 2014
I am heading off to the UK on holiday, and I am not taking along my computer. The last time I went, I lugged my laptop along, and realized that it kept me chained to my real life. So I am only taking a tablet, and iPhone, neither of which is conducive to doing a lot of writing. So, over the next two weeks, you might check in for sporadic posts, which will mainly be images. You might also check my Instagram account, where I will be posting the majority of images.
For those of you who receive the blog via e-mail, I am going to try and set up an RSS feed, but I haven’t had much luck with that in the past, so I hope it works this time! I will know when you know, and there will be enough time before I leave to make some adjustments if necessary!
I will be back to the regular posting schedule of Monday, Wednesday and Friday beginning December 8th!
November 21, 2014
If you want to see John speak, he’s heading off on a 17 city tour next week for his annual Christmas show! In Baltimore you can find tickets at Sound Stage, here. He is a great raconteur and weaves funny stories in and out of his lectures. His newest book, Carsick, tells about his adventures hitch-hiking across the USA last summer.
Although I see John around town all of the time, it was a lot of fun to spend an evening listening to him reminisce!
November 18, 2014
I am a perpetual reader and I can hardly sit still without reading something, even the cereal box. So when I received the “Interiors” catalogues from the Sotheby’s Auction of Mrs. Paul Mellon for my birthday (thanks, STC!), that was reading material for hours and days.
I wrote about the collection here, but the catalogues just blow the Sotheby’s website out of the water, coming in at something over 1,000 pages – almost 400 in the smaller catalogue, and 600+ in the larger one. They must weigh about 15 lbs.!
One of my newish fun reads is the Town & Country’s on-line magazine. They’re always running fun, but short pieces and I just read a great one entitled How to Collect Things Without Going Overboard, wherein they reference Mrs. Mellon’s collections
Some of the other recent pieces have been 10 Things You Need To Buy When You're In France, What Black Tie Means in 2014 (some people should have read this before last Saturday’s party!), 8 Reasons We Love a Camelhair Coat and many more. They’re not earth-shaking or rocket science, but they are fun to read!
November 16, 2014
Over the weekend, we celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the opening of the Baltimore Museum of Art, with a gala party in the museum’s galleries. It was the most amazing party, and I am so lucky that I had an opportunity to attend the dinner and then the after-party.
It’s highly unusual for a museum to allow food and drink in the galleries with so much valuable artwork, but the BMA made an exception for this “Party of the Century” and allowed a number of the galleries to become small dinner parties. Each gallery’s décor echoed something in the paintings – the cloths and the flowers were all coordinated.
This is such an incredible example of a gallery wall done right! The Museum has pulled paintings out that haven’t been displayed for years, and it was fun to see what they’d chosen and how they were hung.
The dinner was terrific and I had two great dinner partners who kept me entertained through the evening. One of the fun pieces of dinner was the luscious dessert which was a raspberry chocolate bombe, decorated with a picture of the Museum.
The after-party started about two hours after the dinner and featured two things that fill me with dread – interpretive dancers and performance art. There’s a lot of that I don’t understand, and certainly don’t even pretend to understand, like this guy in toe shoes sprawled down the Museum’s front stairs, or any of the other characters. There seemed to be an inordinate amount of bubble and saran wrap used in their costumes.
My village came together to help me get ready for the party, especially after an early morning phone call from the hair stylist saying she was sick. A few frantic phone calls later scared up a local salon who could fit me in during the late afternoon. Dozens of hair pins and a half a gallon of hairspray later, my up-do finally held, complete with diamond brooch!
I lost an earring within five minutes of arriving, but it was a cheapie, so I just took the other one out and didn’t bother looking for the one I dropped. People weren’t as dressed up as I assumed they would be, given the occasion. If I had known that, I might not have expended the effort and energy to have pulled my outfit together. Oh well!
Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make this such a wonderful night!
November 13, 2014
While I am in the UK, I plan on stocking up on one of my favourite things: bone-handled cutlery. I started collecting it years ago, when I’d find one piece here and another there, always knives. On the very rarest occasion, I’d find a fork, but not often. Martha Stewart started collecting this type of cutlery and sort of cornered the American market on it, and what pieces I did see, were way over priced.
Sets like the one above are very rare in the US, but quite common in the UK. The handles are either French Ivory, which is a form of Bakelite, Ivorine, bone-effect or bone. The striations on the French Ivory are more regular than on bone or ivory. I have some of each.
You can find new pieces like these, but without the soul and character the old ones have. In fact, I found some similar-ish pieces at Target!
One one trip back to England, I thought I’d hunt for some spoons to go with the knives and forks, only to find they never made spoons. If you’ve been reading Pigtown*Design for a long time, you will know the story of one of my London friends having a set of spoons made for me. You can read about the spoons here.
My friend Yonks and I are going to an auction in the Welsh countryside, and she assures me that there are a lot of old country-houses and farms in the area, so I am hoping that it means a lot of this silver! I would frequently find sets in cases, called caskets, which were in perfect condition and had rarely been used.
What’s also interesting about these, is that while the blades and tines are EPNS (Electro-Plated Nickel Silver), the collars are actual silver, and therefore hallmarked, so you can tell the date of the pieces.
I’ve sold nearly all of the pieces of this that I once had – seriously, I had more than 70 pieces of it when I moved back to the States – and thought I’d try and replenish my stocks in the UK. It will be easier to bring this back than a set of china! I still have a set of knives and forks that I use for my everyday silver and I love it.
Check my Etsy sidebar on the right to see when I am selling some of it!