March 23, 2017


As you might know, I designed a line of tea towels (you can find them on my Etsy page), last fall. It was a lot of fun thinking about the designs, working them out and then selling them… A lot of them!

A few months ago, I was poking around an antiques store with a friend and spotted a box of old engravings, some hand-coloured, and some not. Probably late 1800’s or early 1900’s. I love looking at these old prints and thinking about what I can do with them. I leafed through the pages until I found this adorable little girl. OberonI knew she would become something fun! She’s a tiny little thing, about 3x4 inches. But she needed a little work before she achieved greatness.

I scanned her in at high resolution, so that I could play with the dimensions and make her bigger without losing a lot of detail. I added an old print of a globe that she could stand on instead of just a simple ball, and photoshopped it so that it would look like she was standing on top of the world. Vintage-Globe

But the print still needed something. I played around with some different sayings in different fonts, but nothing struck me. I had one towel made up, but it wasn’t just quite right. Then I was listening to the news, and heard Senator Mitch McConnell chastising Senator Elizabeth Warren, and in recounting it, he said, “Nevertheless, she persisted.” I knew that’s what I needed to add to the design to make it work.

I amped up the colour a little, cleaned up a few spots on the background, added a border, and came up with this:nevertheless SMALL

Funnily, when it’s printed out on cotton/linen, the background looks like an old parchment-coloured linen fabric, complete with the small imperfections. It’s really amazing what we can do with digital printing!

The tea-towels are 50/50 cotton/linen and are printed with water-based, non-toxic inks. They are fully washable and can be thrown in the dryer, but I like to hang them on the clothesline. The towels measure about 18x24 inches. A few people I know are buying them to frame for their daughters and grand-daughters. Over this past weekend, I received more than 25 orders for this tea towel, and if you’d like to order one, click here.

March 21, 2017

Domes and Cloches

I was at the beach this weekend – brutally windy with some rain – and so we went shopping. I found something that I seem to have started collecting. Yes, I do collect some things, I don’t just sell everything. I found a great glass dome, the third one I’ve found in a few weeks, remarkably!image

The two glass domes on the left were the start of the collection. The smaller one is about four inches and the larger, about seven inches.

The one on the right, with the lights in it, is actually a cloche. These are little bee or fairy lights, and are electrified, not battery-operated like so many other sets. They throw off an amazing amount of light!

My friend who wrote the late, lamented blog, House of Beauty and Culture, and who bought and sold Victorian taxidermy, gave me this explanation: Domes are of a higher quality glass and were used to display and protect. Cloches were utilitarian and much thicker and heavier and usually have a topknot.

The cloche with the lights is a heavier glass, which is engraved with vines, leaves and flowers, and it has a topknot. Although the footed glass plate under it came with the cloche, it probably wasn’t original to it.

About a week or so ago, I was in a thrift shop and spotted a hideous plastic-gold clock inside a tall glass dome. So I chucked the clock into the trash and kept the dome and the wooden base. The new dome is about ten inches. image

Finally, over the weekend, I spotted another glass dome, this one about 14 inches high and much “rounder” at the base than the others! It came with a wood base, and I am actually thinking about painting all of the bases black, just so they are a little more uniform. I didn’t add the base to the top-most dome, as I thought it might be overkill!

I wanted to add something inside. I had a dead rose in a tiny silver vase, but it was too tall, so I took the rose out, cut off the stem and laid it inside the dome.image

I still have one more dome! It’s wider and taller than any of these, and is in another room with a late 1800’s hallmarked English teapot under it. IMG_0711

Here are some other great-looking domes from my blog:

Creel & Gow in NYCimage

Multiple domes with bee or fairy lights lights. Ditch the antlers though!image

Garden cloche from Trade Secrets a few years ago.image

Cake stand cloche from Halcyon House antiquesimage

Cloches in clear and blue at Ladew Garden Daysimage

At John Derian in NYCimage

Victorian domes at John Derianimage

Some of the Victorian ones skeeve me out a little, imageand others I have seen are so twee as to make you ill, imageso I am trying to find a balance in using mine. Any suggestions?

March 15, 2017

What to Wear… Or Not!

This is one of my favourite weeks of the year – it’s the week of the Cheltenham Festival, a series of horse races in Cheltenham, in the Cotswolds. I was in the UK during the big Gold Cup race last year, and watched from a betting parlour in Mayfair in London.

What I really love is seeing what people are wearing to the races, both good and bad. Generally the good is really good and the bad is pretty horrific. So, be prepared from some snark below and keep in mind that it’s March in England, so not warm and sunny.

Well done! Great tweeds & tattersalls, low key hat, good boots. The skirt is a mite short, but otherwise pretty terrific.image

Tail-gate parties aren’t as common at horse races in the UK as they are here, but that’s changing. Good hats, lots of tweed & tattersall, badges showing, and the food doesn’t look too bad.image

Zara Phillips on two days of the Festival. 
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Ok, this is NOT what you wear to the races! You just can’t drink too much in an outfit like this. image

Red, white and blue and doing it well. image

Bless her heart.image

Fun hat, great outfit, sturdy boots.image

Gotta tell you, I’d murder for this coat.image

Love the colour combination here. image

The purple just makes this sing.image

It’s not the outfit, it’s the ears.image

There’s a bit too much going on here, from the hat to the scarf to the coat.image

More than 20,000 people come over from Ireland to watch the Irish horses and Irish jockeys. It’s a HUGE deal!imageimage

Personally, I prefer the tweeds and tattersals to all this.image

As usual, I will be watching the Gold Cup Race on Friday, live via Tunnelbear! And if you want to see some amazingly frightening outfits, check the Daily Mail. Or check out my Pinterest page on what to wear to the races.

March 6, 2017

On a Sunny Sunday

Sometimes, you just have to hop in the car and take off somewhere! That’s what I did on Sunday. After being super scheduled for the past month, things are beginning to clear up a bit and I found myself with a free day. So, off I went to explore.

I grew up in a neighbourhood designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the famed landscape architect who created Central Park in NYC. One of his hallmarks is using the land as his guide, following the curves of the hills and valleys to create non-linear streetscapes. Roland Park, where I lived, has a lot of hills, but the neighborhood I wanted to explore, Sudbrook Park, is basically flat with winding streets, open spaces and large historic houses. You enter the neighbourhood over a one-lane bridge and then the streets branch out before you.


Most of the houses were in the shingle cottage style. I was particularly taken with these two, which are similar, but the two-story windows are a little different.
IMG_5820 IMG_5823

And I adored this one.IMG_5819

I couldn’t quite figure this one out. Nothing seemed quite right about it. IMG_5827

From Sudbrook Park, I headed up the road to see one of my favourite buildings. It’s the current HQ for the Maryland State Police, but at one point, it was the Home for Confederate Veterans where my many greats-grandfather was exiled after the Civil War. Processed with Snapseed.

I think it’s such a handsome place, looking more like a house in New Orleans than Baltimore. IMG_5845

The whole property is fascinating.home It’s sort of Georgian in design, with what were originally barracks for the old soldiers, surrounding a courtyard. IMG_5833IMG_5839IMG_5837

And the details are so interesting. This is sort of a turret with an eagle and shield on it.
IMG_5840 IMG_5841

From there, I headed over to a nearby thrift shop where I always have great luck! I picked up this Emma Bridgewater Union Jack mug for a pittance. IMG_5850

And this antique apothecary bottle for slightly more than a pittance. IMG_5858IMG_5859

I still haven’t quite figured out what Ol. Gaulth is, although I think gault is a heavy clay. Hmmm. Any ideas?