December 31, 2015

2015 Instagram: My Best Images

It’s a rare day that passes without me taking a photograph or two. I’ve carried a camera with me since I moved to Wales more than a decade ago, and with the excellent cameras on phones these days, it’s simple to always be ready to take a photo.

I have gone back through my Instagram feed and picked a few of the images that I think are the best.

A friend and I had lunch and by the time we left, the snow had coated the trees in the park across from my office.image

This is the oldest shopping center in the US.image

L'heure bleu over the icy harbour.image

The B&O Railroad Building, now a Hotel Monacoimage

The most gorgeous stove! It’s a Molteni.image

The grounds of the Evergreen House Museumimage

Union Mill, an urban revitalization projectimage

The Peabody Library dressed for July 4th image

Baltimore, not Mexicoimage

Reflections of a chandelierimage

Baltimore, not Londonimage

Baltimore Museum of Art, Silver Roomsimage

Japanese Maple Groveimage

My Toile de Baltimore gift bag, used for a holiday present.image

December 29, 2015

2015: Year in Review

As I have slowed down on blogging a bit this year, I have ramped up on the Instagram posts, mainly because they’re so visual and immediate, and this makes my life simpler. I hope that you will become a follower on Instagram.

Regardless, I still managed to write more than 120 posts, and these were some of the most popular. Click on the link to see the original post.

The most popular post of the year was the one that I hated to write. My beloved dog, and source of much entertainment to my readers, died in April. As heart-breaking as the decision was to put him to sleep, it was the absolutely right and correct thing to do. I still miss him every day, and am still searching for a dog who can take his place in my life.connor summer

Another popular, but sad post was about the incredible boat-lift on September 11, 2001 in New York. While most people forget that Manhattan is an island, that became immediately clear on that bright morning. image

A house I have loved for years went up for sale over the summer. But things are now always what they appear to be, and the house was a huge disappointment once I got a closer look. image

A funny and popular post was about the congressman, since vanished off the radar, who “decorated” his office to look like Downton Abbey. That red paint is going to be a pain to cover.image

One of the big design events of the year was Lilly Pulitzer’s collaboration with Target, which turned out to be a huge nightmare. At the beginning, it all seemed good. image

For nine years, I have been working on presenting the good parts of Baltimore to the “outside” world, and to those whose sole impression of Baltimore comes from either John Waters movies, or The Wire. All of my efforts were negated by the uprising in April after the death of Freddie Gray. It makes me sad for the city.image

What were your favourite posts?

December 24, 2015

December 23, 2015

Christmas House – 2015 Edition

My friend Andrea has an annual open house for her friends and friends of her friends, to benefit the local SPCA, and last night was it. She begins working on the project over Thanksgiving weekend, and with a big family wedding over the weekend, this year’s party was a little later than usual. But it was no less spectacular, with a final count of more than 375 trees, ranging from one inch to six feet!Christmas House (42)

A few weeks ago, Andrea and I had been driving around looking at lights and discovered this year’s “must-have” decoration – starry laser lights. After much searching and no finding, I located a set on eBay in Kentucky and had them shipped overnight as a present to Andrea. Christmas House (19)

Of course, the house wasn’t the only thing these lights lit up!Christmas House (34)Christmas House (51)image

Once we got inside, the house was magical!Christmas House (7)Christmas House (37)Christmas House (40)Christmas House (13)

One room was black, red and white themed, one was greens and roses and the third was hot, bright shades. Andrea has such a great eye and although there’s a lot going on, it’s fun.

There was great food, including these beautiful cookies, made by a friend’s 11-year old son! Christmas House (5)

And as always, stunning flowers.Christmas House (6)Christmas House (39)

Andrea’s husband also takes part in the decoration – but he focuses on the outside with a menagerie of blow-up figures in the front yard. Christmas House (2)Christmas House (45)

Of course, no holiday party would be complete without a visit from the Big Man himself, in this case our friend Mark, here with Andrea’s newest pup, Mackenzie!  imageBut the very best part of the party was the fact that it raised more than $3,000 for the Maryland SPCA,image and huge boxes of food and toys for the animals at the shelter.

Thanks for all you do, Andrea!

December 22, 2015

Decorating for the Holidays

I am pretty low-key with my decorating at home, just a few LED starry lights on my gardenia, which gets moved inside at around Thanksgiving, a wreath on the front door imageand maybe some greenery. image

I was looking at the UK House & Garden magazine on-line and found a load of gorgeous holiday decorating ideas. A little too late for this year, but I’ve saved them to Pinterest for next year. I thought I’d share a few of my favourites with you.

Totally impractical for me, but lots of fun.image

These look like they’re made with embroidery hoops.image

Totally over-the-top, but if you’ve got the space, why not!image

Something for the Feast of the Three Kings.image

Bringing the outside in. And I love the lit bookshelves.image

Who doesn’t love a Staffordshire dog?image

Simple. Ribbons, bows and brooches. image

I love the rainbow of candles, and the pink pillars!image

Do you have any holiday decorating tips that you use year after year? Or is every year a new idea?

December 16, 2015

#ThisIsBaltimore December Edition

With all of the news out of Baltimore today, I thought I'd do what I intended this blog to do: show people that there's more than one side to Charm City. 

The city is really quite lovely now, with so many places decorated for the Festive Season. I thought I'd share some of my favourite Instagram images... although it's much harder now that I can't cut and paste them. I have to save every image and insert it. 

We went to Terrain again this weekend and they were setting up for a party in one of their event spaces. I managed to sneak this shot. It looks fabulous!

A friend and I were doing a little sleuthing up in the country, and came across this church which reminded me of so many in England and Wales.

Nothing I love more than stalking gorgeous houses! Even though this one's not decorated for the Festive Season, it still looks amazing.

One good thing about having a dog again (even if only for a day), it gave me the chance to walk through the neighbourhood adjacent to mine, and discover this stunning little garage. 

I took a tour of a local seminary which I've driven by all of my life. I couldn't get back far enough to capture the whole facade! It's massive!

Last, but not least. A true sentiment.

Thanks, as always for reading. It means the world to me!