June 27, 2017

Oh, Canada!

I am planning a road trip this summer and after some consideration, I decided to head to Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.imageThe route I have chosen will take me up through western Pennsylvania and then western New York to Niagara Falls, where I have booked an AirBnB just a few minutes walk from the Falls. I’ve never been to this part of New York, and never been to Niagara Falls! imageFrom Niagara Falls, it’s less than two hours to Toronto. One of the places I want to visit is the Textile Museum of Canada. I love textiles, and this museum sounds like an amazing place. I am bummed that I am just going to miss a Marimeko exhibit, but I am sure I will find enough other things to catch my attention. imageAnother museum I want to check out is the Design Exchange. Objects in its collection explore five decades of Canadian industrial design. And the most notable about this museum is its location - situated inside the historic Toronto Stock Exchange building, a wonderful example of art deco design.

From Ontario, I head up to Ottawa, the capital of Canada. According to the map, the route between Toronto and Ottawa parallels the north side of Lake Ontario. The tower at the Parliament is a replica of Big Ben in London. Ottawa is very British, so that should be fun. imageThere are also some good antiques markets in Ottawa, so I hope not to miss them.

From Ottawa, it’s off to Montreal. I’ve been there a number of times, and love the strong French influences of the city. imageOne of the main reasons I want to head to Montreal is to spend time at the Osler Library at McGill University. Sir William Osler, MD, was a huge influence at my job, although 100 years ago, and I am working on an abstract to present a paper next year. McGill also has an amazing rare book collection that I’d like to see.

And of course, I want to stop at some of the Marche Aux Puces in the region, just to see what a vastly different region has on offer. Who knows what I might find!

One of the best museums I’ve visited is the McCord Museum of Canadian Life. imageI remember seeing an exhibition on Upstairs/Downstairs life, complete with the appropriate clothing. But what made it stand out for me was the cheeky heads on the mannequins – silver teapots for Upstairs, crockery ones for Downstairs. 

From Montreal, I head back south, with a stop along the Hudson River to break up the long drive. I would love suggestions for places in any of these three cities that you think I shouldn’t miss. One person already gave me some gardens to see, but when I googled it, I found they were FIVE hours NORTH of Montreal! Uh, no.

Thanks for any suggestions!

June 21, 2017

I’ll Take This: Classic House

I grew up on a “dead end” street that only had 10 houses on it, and everyone knew everyone else, visited up and down the street, played endless games together and had the run of the street. It was a microcosm in a big city. We loved it and lived in our house for almost 30 years.

I knew that another one of the houses was coming up for sale and today, it was listed. It’s an old cedar shingle house, surrounded by a beautiful veranda and huge trees. The current owner (he’s lived there for 30+ years) is an architect and has made some modifications, but left others intact.imageThe house has seven bedrooms and six baths over more than 7,000 square feet. It’s also got over an acre of property, although much of that is steeply sloped. In the spring, it’s filled with hundreds of daffodils.imageMuch of the house’s original detailed woodwork is still intact, and in many ways, it reminds me of our old house.image

imageI love that they’ve kept the old butler’s pantry. imageThere’s a huge three-story staircase, capped with a skylight. image

imageLike our house, this one has a huge top floor playroom. We used to smack tennis balls against the end walls. imageI love the porch with feels like you’re dining in the tree-tops!imageOne of the other fun things about this property is the little covered spring on the back hill. My brother talks about jogging with our old dog, and then sitting at the spring to cool off.

The listing for the house is here, so take a look.

June 13, 2017

BIG Sale at McLain-Wiesand–You MUST Go!

My friend, the amazing and talented David Wiesand, owner and brain behind McLain-Wiesand, the furniture-makers, is having a once-in-a-lifelong-time sale! His works are sold through some of the top showrooms and are made here in Baltimore. His warehouse/workshop is a  trove of fascinating bits and pieces.IMG_2620David has an incredible eye and even his left-overs are treasures! He has gathered things over the years, some in pristine condition, (should you want to give someone last rites), IMG_2601

and some pieces in a little worse shape. IMG_2616

This grape lantern/chandelier is a lot of fun. David and I were at an auction in rural Pennsylvania, when he found it. The piece needs some re-wiring, but it could be amazing. Even the leaves are glass!IMG_2630

Should you be inclined to open your own church, David’s got you covered, from Holy Water to candles!IMG_2602IMG_2623IMG_2624

If you are a creative DIY sort, there are plenty of bits and pieces to use. IMG_2611IMG_2621IMG_2625IMG_2627

There is also artwork, IMG_2631

mirrors, IMG_2633

lighting, IMG_2617

sculptures and castings, IMG_2607

and much more.IMG_2638

What did I want, you ask? How about this fabulous trophy to add to my using-odd-things-as-vases collection.IMG_2606

Here are the details: McLain Wiesand Custom Furniture & Decorative Arts 1013 Cathedral St, Baltimore, Maryland 21201 Thursday, June 15 and Friday, June 16 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Hope to see you there!

June 1, 2017

BritFest 2017

As Americans, we LOVE all things British, from the Royal Family to Downton Abbey, from Barbour jackets to British beers. It’s so funny that there are Greek Festivals, Italian Festivals and Irish Festivals, among others, but there really isn’t a British Festival. So, my friend, Hugh, a British ex-pat, decided to create BritFest. Odd coincidence: Hugh and my father attended the same school in England, alhough about 40 years apart.FB HEADER

On June 10, the First Annual BritFest will take place at the Maryland Polo Grounds, with all things British, including music with a Beatles cover band; games, including polo and croquet; food and drink including Pimms and beers; clothing; antiques; cars, including Land Rovers, Jags, MGs and Triumphs, and much more! And of course, there will be a toast to HM Queen Elizabeth, II who celebrates her 91st birthday this week. image

My friend from the shop Yoicks will be selling Barbour jackets and other hunt and equestrian gear, vintage British art and books and other oddities he finds in his travels. There will be about 20 other vendors there selling a variety of things.

I am going to have a stall and will be selling British antiques, including cutlery, Wedgwood, china, tea-towels and other items of interest. Here are a few of the tea-towels I’ve designed for BritFest (although you can order them from me if you’re interested!). Britfest tea towels2

And how could I do an event without making some decorative bunting! brit bunting2Tickets are $20 per person and include a souvenir mug and beer samples (insert legal language here). You can order from Mission Tix, here. Hope to see you there! And if you do come, please stop by and say Hi!