Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Art Of The Matter

As I wound my way throughout the local ReStore I caught a glimpse of this painting in passing. I turned the corner from the room it was in not having fully taken note of what I had seen. Suddenly, I stopped in my tracks. All that ran through my mind was Black. Gold. White. Bold. I turned back.
I stood in front of it mesmerized. Hanging high up on the wall amidst decaying china cabinets and no longer loved 80's formica it looked strangely out of place. It looked fine. Grand almost. Perhaps because an oversize Mona Lisa hung a few feet down framed by a selection of poorly done florals. More likely because the frame alone was worth 10x the price tag hanging from it. The gold and black combination was indeed beautiful but those quirky little flowers are what truly stole my heart. Like a strange little bouquet of sea anemones, their stark whiteness bursting from the dark background like fireworks on the Fourth of July. I was smitten. I was in love.
I have never felt emotion from a piece of artwork. I have admired paintings, found them to be lovely at times, but never felt captivated or so moved by a piece of art. I am the woman with a home full of framed black and white photography. To me, they tell a story. Candid photos capture emotion and make my heart swell with their beauty. But brush to canvas? Never.
I paid no mind to the idea of where I would put it. Where I would hang it. When something moves me this powerfully, all those minute details have a way of working themselves out. I just knew I could never forgive myself if I walked away without it. It was meant to be mine.

P.S. When they took it down from the wall I was thrilled to discover it is an original oil painting! Now, to make out the artists name....

Monday, August 4, 2014

Obsessed With: Iced Tea Spoons

All summer long we've been brewing our own unsweetened iced tea. There is really nothing quite so refreshing on these hot summer days. But each time I squeeze a lemon slice over the top then dip a teaspoon in to give it a quick stir I think about how I could really use a set of iced tea spoons. My fingertips always get wet trying to give my drink a thorough stirring and then a short while later I find myself on Etsy looking for the perfect set.
From simple to superb, these four are currently my favorites. I just have to decide which one to pull the trigger on ~ and I feel like it might have to be gold set with the twisted handle. They are c'est magnifique!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Suppers

Summer suppers have no boundaries or rules. Early morning trips to the garden let us quickly decide what will appear on our plates that very evening. The farmer's market is bursting with everything we do not have in our modest suburban garden and as we peruse the bins our baskets and bags fill up quickly with all the possibilities. Meals aren't planned but rather dictated by what is ripe and ready to be devoured. Side dishes become the star of the plate, no longer the costar of an A-list entree.
There is solace in things as minute as trimming beans and slicing fruit for a last minute pie. Sitting outside in a shady spot to shuck ear after ear of corn is rhythmic, soothing and good for the soul. The smell of the charcoal filling the air might very well be one of the best scents ever. We spend all week dreaming of the things that will grace our table over the weekend and the memories of those moments are just enough to get us through the five days in between.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Girl's Road Trip!

Sunday morning my best girl and I jumped in the car in the wee hours of the morning and headed towards that Mason Dixon Line. We made a quick stop in Ashburn, VA to meet up with my sister, niece and nephew then jumped back on the road, caravan style, to see my mama in Greensboro, NC.
From lazy breakfasts to delicious dinners, each day began and ended on Mom's dreamy screened in porch. We spent one afternoon at the Greensboro Science Center petting stingrays and watching the sharks and another sitting poolside at the Bur Mil Aquatic Center.
 My time with mom and my sister was amazing, but having these moments with my very best girl has been priceless. I've completely disconnected from work this week (no checking the Blackberry!) and it has felt so good. So good. Sometimes I don't realize how much my job occupies my thoughts and literally controls my life in the way it can impact my mood. When I saw the Blackberry hit almost 400 emails I almost checked it. With hands on her hips, head cocked to one side, she looked at me disapprovingly and said "Put it down Mom - you are on vacation." I put it down and haven't touched it again because she's right. I am. Sometimes she's so much smarter than me.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Setting the Table With: Votive Candleholders

As I passed by the sale section of Pottery Barn one afternoon I spotted these little votive cups from the corner of my eye. At first I wasn't sure what was more appealing, the different colors and sizes or that clearance tag. Regardless, I grabbed a few four or five. A stop at another Pottery Barn yielded a few more then a trip to West Elm uncovered a few plain glass ones with the most adorable whale on the front. Before I knew it I had amassed a small collection of the sweetest little votives.
 Last weekend I pulled them out to use for an intimate dinner party with friends.  I disassembled an inexpensive supermarket bouquet and used my vintage mustard crocks to anchor the entire setting. A simple tealight illuminated a few while others held one large blossom or a few small blooms.
With a lot of impact for a very small price, these votives will be decorating my dining table all summer long.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Shades of Blue~berries

It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside. ~Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib, 1941

Oh, summer!
Emerald green lawns with grass so long and lush. Bare toes meeting the cool earth below. Skin glowing and warm having been kissed feverishly by the sun. Fireflies flicker in the twilight as daylight drifts away a little more slowly each day. Everything seems alive - the sights, sounds and smells let us know that the whole world and every creature that inhabits it is soaking up the beauty that is summer.
And the blueberries.
The blueberries!
As we filled our buckets we dreamed of jams, pies, muffins and bowls full of these little bits of bliss. I'm not sure there is anything better than a few happy hours under the sun picking the fruits of summer. Picking becomes rhythmic ~ one in the bucket, one in my mouth as I wind up the rows around each burgeoning bush.
We headed home buckets full and dear friends in tow. Working together in the kitchen we preserved nature's bounty for those cold winter days when summer seems so very distant and so very far away. As the last jars were dropped into the boiling pots we sat down to enjoy a meal; well deserved and much needed. The wine began to flow as easily as the conversation and I couldn't help but wish in that perfect moment that summer would never, ever end.

Blueberry Lime Jam Recipe
Blueberry Jam Recipe
Blueberry Infused Vodka

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Decorating with: Demijohn's

def: demijohn: a large narrow-necked bottle usually enclosed in wickerwork.

I think my heart might have actually stopped the first time I saw them sitting on the floor of my local ReStore. I rushed over with every intention of snatching them up and heading straight to the cash register. As my mind raced with thoughts of how I would display them, I gingerly flipped over the price tag. $99. Each! Maybe at an antique emporium, but at my local dingy ReStore? I think not.
You see, sometimes I can be a little "cheap"  "frugal" when it comes to thrifting. Unfortunately, the ReStore closest to my house was going through this phase where they would print out eBay listings of similar donated items and hang it on said items to justify an exorbitant price tag. Such was the case with this pair of demijohns. For months I would stare at them each time I popped in, shaking my head in disappointment at the price tag while silently delighted they were still sitting around.
As I was milling around the house one Saturday morning putting out little touches of summer here and there I thought about those demijohn's. I looked at my teak buffet and thought about how perfect they would look anchoring each side of it. A single tropical stem inside of each one might just equate to summer perfection in the dining room. I silently chastised myself for being too cheap to buy them when I had the chance. I had missed my opportunity. And friends, regret is a powerful emotion.
Darn frugality!
About a week after all of this remorse and lamentation I stopped by ReStore and lo and behold, one of them was still sitting there! I began hunting stealthily through the maze of rooms for it's twin. Voila! Still there! I hoisted it up into my arms and with a new found determination I sought out the manager. She told me that she was going to mark down the pair to $50 a piece. With nothing to lose I asked her if she would take $50 for the pair. Right then and there. Cash money. You know, on account they had just been sitting there so long.
She agreed.
I kindly thanked her while I really wanted to run a lap throughout the whole place, cheering wildly and high fiving each and every person shopping in there but I kept my poker face. I hadn't paid for them yet people, game was still on.
I displayed them just as I had envisioned on my dining room buffet and to me, they are perfect. These vintage demijohns will be forever pieces. Whether clustered in a corner or on a hearth; displayed on a broad dining table or atop an old cupboard, incorporating  vintage demijohns into any kind of home decor is not hard to do. Just don't hesitate to buy them when you see them like I did. You might regret it.