Friday, November 26, 2010

The Day After Thanksgiving

Here we are The Day After Thanksgiving - otherwise, my kids and the newspapers say, Black Friday. I have a question....where do all of these people get the energy and how did they get cleaned up after Thanksgiving so fast?  I still think it is the Day After - just like all of those other day after when the washer is whirling, the dishes are scattered and those turkeys are reduced to soup and the pumpkins are no longer so darned cute. That is where I am today- as I merrily clean on my thoughts are just barely beginning to turn to - can I say the word....Christmas.

There is a vague summoning of a need here in New England where the fall leaves are no longer beautiful but a chore to rake and pick out of bushes as we ready for those other nasties,snow and winter, to begin to note where the winterberries are growing,to see the wreaths and trees flocking in and to -I did say barely- think about the next holiday and what to do about it...decorating -wise.

There are so many options for the most basic of all winter decorations, the wreath. Boxwood is my favorite and in our cold winters it will stay green and pliable for months as will most evergreens. Here are examples of the beautifully simple green wreaths you can easily pick up along the way or make from existing evergreens which abound most everywhere.(wreath on a fence,wreath on a door and wreath in a window...3 evergreen)



Magnolia is another beautiful and enduring green which has the advantage of a leaf which is brown on the back and can be oiled to be a very glossy green which greatly contrasts to the flat brown. Magnolias are also very long lasting and are beautiful in combinations with many natural elements



Both magnolias and fir evergreens, as well as boxwoods, combine readily with many seasonal favorites as berries,pomegranits, apples,pinecones of all shapes and colors, thistles and interesting branches. I feel this is a great time to both search out local goodies and let your imagination run wild....at least in the yard.Here are some examples of using natural and found objects which combine into wreaths to grace any doorway and welcome guests into your home for the winter season.



Remember that wreaths are not just about Christmas but are more an act of bringing into the gray and barren days of our long winters a burst of color and life. Anyone who has glimpsed a living wreath through on a welcoming door in the dead of winter will know what I am talking about - hope and a sense that life is here and te green will bloom again.

This  is such an elegant statement about the season and the home- a simple wreath adorned with gold ribbon,an earthenware pot and a simple chair...beautiful and quiet.


 Here is a doorway which is very simplistic in terms of materials used but what style and imagination. Walking up to this one must smile -Happy Holidays.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Daylight Savings...

Daylight Savings has begun and the winter days here in New Hampshire have also begun to wrap their darkened wings around us.  The warmth of a fire, a candle and a welcoming porch light are intertwined with our needs of a warm winter home. As the dark lengthens and we are inside more throughout these winter months, I think our winter home dreams really need to be nurtured.  What do I mean by this?  I think that winter is depressing and in this economy sometimes it's hard to find ways to cheer and nurture ourselves and our families. One of the ways humans have always cheered and warmed their families is by fire. The gas fireplace in my kitchen is the source of so much comfort ... I find myself ensconced beside it in the mornings with Max the dog and a morning coffee- then again in the late afternoon with - natch, Max and a cup of hot chocolate. What is it about fire?   It has a glow - warmth and if it's real, wonderful sounds and reassuring pops and crackles.....and we decorate around it for our increased pleasure.

I actually did not mean to sound off about fireplaces and the comfort of fire in our lives but,now that we are on the subject,I will further say that, if you have a fireplace,use it. Here is a photo of a very large fireplace in an historic home with very cheerfully painted yellow/gold walls.This color acts as a second warming agent and is a delicious to add a glow to your room. I have often used a color I call "egg yolk" on walls- divine with a black and white floor- to cheerfully anchor a room.


 This photo is a double whammy - fire and candles. Notice the herringbone brick design of the fireplace's interior.  This is a very French look and achieves interest whether the fireplace is in use or not. This mantle is by Old World Stoneworks and is beautiful in and of itself.  Mantles and the decoration of will be another blog post but for now let's look inside the fireplace. The nest fireplace does not have a fire -but that empty look of a blank has been mitigated by beautiful birch logs.  Birch is so textural and practical (it burns quickly) but any logs placed in a fireplace will at least give the feeling that you are only a match strike away from a glorious blaze.



This is the fireplace in my kitchen where we gather. It is alas propane (yeah! )and I think that it is a great way to go. I really love being able to stumble- and I do- down in pj's, grab a coffee and start the day before a comforting and cheery fire...not to mention that it can go away at the flip of a remote switch.  Luxurious and worth every penny. It is one of my pleasures. A kitchen fireplace and room to gather around it is very convivial...maybe even required.

Monday, November 1, 2010

High Point!



Alex and I went to the annual High Point Furniture Show in mid-October where, I am happy to report, the general mood was up, up,up!  There was a lot of new and exciting product and every one's spirits were as good as I have seen in several years-what a relief. One of the new events,new products and uplifting news was the introduction of BeeLine Home by Bunny Williams. Bunny was there signing her new Scrapbook For Living and visiting with all of us who were soaking in her beautiful and inspiring settings Here is an example of her use of blue with white as the accent color. This mirror I have seen her use before but now it available to all of us..it is very soft and pretty with a hint of the exotic
In this photo is another great mirror which I think could be used almost anywhere. I like the branch motif combined with the leather ottoman (notice the tray insert) and ikat pillows. It is this contrast of textures which adds richness. I would use this mirror in a farmhouse or a rustic setting with slightly dressy textures to contrast between the twiggy motif and the gold finish.
Here is another look from BeeLine Home and a quick snap of Bunny and me just before she signed my Scrapbook. Doesn't she look fabulous?.
Love her top.
Another showroom we loved again - not a first visit but an old favorite - was Somerset Bay. The only drawback to these pieces is that the wait can be long - as long as 18 weeks to arrive in the U.S. and than more time to ship domestically.I must say, however,that that is not so long for these special pieces - and they will be custom colored in a variety of delicious colors.

This blue and white painted chest would be so deliciously cool in a beach house with a painted floor(blue and white, of course and this white bed:

or...my favorite, this white faux bamboo four poster.
The last bed has a special feature in the tuck away trundle on wheels with a twin mattress. This would expand that guest room - give those spend the night parties an extra bunk - be fine for a grandchild or whatever. This was shown in a soft butter yellow - but can be,again any color from key lime green to red - oh, the possibilities

This bed is the best! It comes in many colors and in any size. At the last market it was featured in zesty green as twin beds with no rails at the top and paired with a navy chest - how divine for a boy or a guest room....add navy and white or green and white linens and you're just about done. Here the bed is shown in white. Panels could be added in the back or along the sides but the bed is dramatic enough to stand alone and classic enough to never tire of. Does it get any better?