Features of a Georgian home…

Staying in an antique home for any extended period of time is like peeling the skin of an onion — features just seem to unfold as you begin to take them all in.  I had visited this house many times in the past but actually staying here has made me see and appreciate so much of the home that I never noticed before.  Clodagh and her husband were fond of Buckley Galleries in Sandycove and picked up a number of pieces here and there which fit perfectly within these four walls.  Here are just a few photos of the house — one of my favorite features is the dinner bell because Clodagh’s a great cook…

Ode to a coffee mug

It wouldn’t be a Saturday morning without my trusty cup of coffee which is why I’m dedicating today’s post to my coffee mug.  I have three favorite mugs but I have different uses for each one.  This one is just for coffee…how silly is that?  I can’t even really say why but it’s been that way for a long time. When I packed up my bags to move from Boston to Dublin with just two suitcases and the shirt on my back, this coffee mug was among the carry-on luggage.

Before starting this post, I searched far and wide to find the name of the little ceramics shop where I bought this mug and I finally found it:  it’s called Lasser Ceramics and it’s in a great little town, Londonderry, in Vermont.  The website leaves a lot to be desired but this pattern is called Planet Green (good to know in case I ever need a replacement). www.lasserceramics.com

So, as one of my most trusted “companions”, here’s to my Planet Green coffee mug for helping me rally more times that I can remember.

Boho Dining from Anthropologie

I’m so digging on the “Boho Dining” tableware from Anthropologie — oh, money fairy, please rain down on me beofre it’s time to buy dishes…these puppies are on the list.

Perfect for my mix-and-match style and great in the event that soemthing gets broken as you could easily throw in a different pieces without skipping a beat. 

And since these are essentially little works of art themselves, I think they would look fabulous on those open shelves in the kitchen which I’ve been planning.  And yes, they ship internationally to Ireland…phew!

For the love of quilts

Sometime back around 1992, I mentioned to my mother (who has always been a proficient seamstress) that I would love for her to make a double-wedding-ring quilt for me. I had been visiting a friend’s house in Connecticut for Thanksgiving and his mother was making a beautiful double-wedding-ring quilt for his brother’s upcoming nuptials and I was inspired.  My mother laughed when I put in my request saying that knowing how to sew and knowing how to quilt are two different things.  Luckily for me, she moved out to Oregon about the same time and got involved in quilting.  Sadly, once she did, she explained that quilting on a curve is difficult and so it would take a bit more time for her to advance to the double-wedding-ring level.  But persistance paid off and she eventually made the beautiful quilt you see here.

I guess you could say my mom’s quilting skills advanced pretty quickly — about as quickly as her passion for the art of quilting did.  She and my father now have an online business selling quilt supply, patterns, block-of-the-month-club subscriptions and lots of other things for the quilting enthusiast (www.storyquilts.com).  It’s for this reason that I’ll probably be shot for not doing a post about them sooner as quilting is a big part of our family!  Here are just a few of the quilts from their website including their very popular “Garden Patch Cats”:

 

Purple Doors and Jessica’s Project

My friend, Jessica, has recently purchased a project of her own (well, technically, she and her husband are buying the house together but she keeps referring to it as “my house” so I keep calling it “Jessica’s House”). 

So…back to the project.  Since the day Jess first saw the house, she’s been dreaming of getting rid of the outer door and painting the inner exterior door purple.  I love this idea because it’s very Jessica — she’s full of color and personality herself so I think all would be right in the world if she had a door to match.

Photoshop and I couldn’t help but try this on for size and I think it has a lot of potential.  On the left is the house, currently, and on the right is with a little Photoshop help.

What do you think?

Grandma’s treasures

Over the last number of years (I like the vagueness of just saying “number” as opposed to quantifying it), I’ve lived in probably a dozen different apartments between Boston, Texas and Dublin.  Molly’s been to most of these and has even been a roommate in a few so it was funny this past Autumn when she was here in Dublin and she asked me what was up with this little plastercast piece that I think I’ve hung above the kitchen sink in every home I’ve lived in since I was 21.

This little piece used to honor the same spot in my Grandmother’s kitchen.  When I was younger, I always thought that this was actually my grandmother’s house — it’s not, but it does still remind me of her house (which I remember to be yellow but who knows if it actually was). 

This photo to the right is the spot in Leavenworth, Kansas where I spent so many fun times in the summers as a kid growing up.  The house is now blue and it’s hidden in the back there just behind the barn.  This was a GREAT place to visit — my grandparents had cattle and corn crops.  That red barn was dusty and full of cobwebs and stray cats and smelled of cattle feed.  There was a well with a genuine hand-press water pump just outside the barn.  I felt really lucky that I got to go and visit my grandparents’ farm while other friends’ grandparents just lived in a house on a street like anyone else.  My grandmother used to make lovely homemade bread and yummy strawberry shortcake.  We often had watermelon and corn-on-the-cob sitting outside under a big shady tree in front of her house.  She used to pop the top off of Dandelions and we’d dip the stems in a mix of Dreft and water and blow bubbles as if they were straws. Seriously, on reflection, very idyllic. 

She passed away when I was about 11, but this post is a salute to the quintessential grandmother — Ruth Parsons.  And it’s because of her that the little plastercast yellow house will always grace wherever I call home.

More on Snow Farm

It must be the time of year because I’ve been thinking a lot about the trip out to the arts program at Snow Farm.  So, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite photos from our weekend. 

I also thought I would include a photo from the first time I went out to Snow Farm in 2004 and took Richard Moss’ mosaics class.  I found a really cheap bamboo bowl in IKEA and covered it with blue and white mosaics from old plates — with just a touch of yellow.

Words to live by

I love this quote. I really love it.  It’s a big part of what I do in trendwatching for work and part of the reason why I wanted to start blogging myself so that I could capture all my inspiration in one place.  

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery-celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s you take them to.”  – Jim Jarmusch. 

And some more words to live by…

Encaustics

Molly introduced me to a great place called Snow Farm — a craft program out in Western Massachusetts which holds weekend and week-long art programs. 

In 2008, a group of my friends and I met up at Snow Farm (http://www.snowfarm.org/) and we took a mix of classes — Molly opted for glass blowing, Kris and Christine took mosaics and Christiana joined me for the encaustic painting course. 

I had never heard of encaustics until I saw it on the course listing.  If you’re not familiar with it, it’s an ancient style of painting that involves using hot beeswax and pigments.  While I was hoping to do two paintings over the weekend, I think we both did about six or seven each — trying lots of different techniques each time.  The painting of the poppies above was one of my favorites (which is rare for me to ever like anything of my own creation).  It’s a combination of paper that I embedded in the wax and acrylic paint sticks that I rubbed into the wax. Here’s a shot of Christiana working on one of her paintings and another of a statue of an angel in the Public Garden in Boston that I made.

Silhouettes

I spent a small fortune a few years ago having some Martha Stewart Living catalogs sent to me in Ireland — I thought they were going to be big chunky catalogs full of ideas but…they weren’t.  Instead of packed with ideas, they were just pieces that sell her furniture line (and I paid for that?)   Anyway, enough of my rant. 

I did end up scanning a few of the pages in each of these catalogs — this one is from her home at Turkey Hill. I like the settee and I especially like the series of silhouettes that she has framed above the settee.  It would be fun to create a series of your own featuring loved ones as an alternative to photographs for a clean-lined look.