Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

I had big plans for the Christmas tree this year.  I ordered a Silvertip 
and had it shipped from California.  Itplanned it to arrive the first week of 
December and after my office move I was going full-on in to Christmas decorating.

The office move went perfectly and the next day I came down with the flu.
I am thankful that the flu waited until the move was done I was 
disappointed I just didn't have the energy to do everything I wanted to.

Silvertip trees grow naturally in layers, very much like
the tree I created a few years ago.  Pottery Barn uses these trees
for their catalog, although looking at this post about their trees, it's
clear they must still do some trimming to get that spare feather tree look.

So I've done a much scaled back tree using some things I could easily
get my hands on.  It's mainly pine cone garlands, birds, and leftover
flowers from Thanksgiving and flowers and leaves from the garden.

Even though it wasn't the tree I planned, I still love it.  As much as 
I cherish all my collection of vintage, shiny ornaments, there's something
about using all natural materials that just feels right on a tree.

I hope that everyone is well and preparing for a wonderful time
with your family and friends.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Rooibos Cranberry Sauce

As I was finishing up my Thanksgiving cranberries and enjoying 
a cup of chai, I thought the chai flavors would work realy well with the
cranberries.  So I dunked a rooibos teabag in the bowl of hot cranberries
and left it in for about 10 minutes.  I was really pleased with the results.

I thought I'd make another batch by making the chai first and using
it as part of the liquid in the cranberries.  Here how it goes:


12 oz. bag of cranberries
3/4 cup of strong chai rooibos*
3/4 cup of orange juice
One cup sugar
Pinch of salt

*Make chai rooibos using 3/4 cup of boiling water with
two teabags of chai rooibos.  I used Yogi brand.

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes until thickened.

Pour into a bowl and bring to room temperature.
Cover and refrigerate when cooled.

The spices in the chai are subtle but add a warm, almost
floral quality to the cranberries.

I love cranberries and will eat all I can for the rest of the year.
I always make extra and enjoy them on toast (or even on ice cream)
after all the Thanksgiving leftovers are all gone.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend
with their family and friends.  Let the holidays begin!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm happy to have a few days' break to relax, to cook and share
time with friends and to be thankful for everything I have.

I might even get in another post.

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Flowers are from my friend Shelley at Bow Street Flowers.)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Around the House, Kitchen Update

I don't know how I ever found the time to blog so steadily for three years.
It just doesn't seem to be happening lately.  My office is moving in about five
weeks and designing the new office, planning the move, building a new
corporate identity and building a new website has really taken up a lot of
time the past several months.  But here it is November so I've been
trying to get the house and kitchen ready for Thanksgiving guests.

In particular, I wanted to get the floating shelves stained before the holidays so when we
had a few warm days where I could have the windows open, I decided to get them finished.

Above was the before.

And here they are freshly stained to match the old bin drawers.

I'm happy with the color but I think I want to ding them up a litttle
bit and apply some dark wax that I'll leave in the dings.

My mom visited last week so we drove out to Hudson, NY to pick
up a few new things for the shelves.  If you haven't been to Hudson, NY,
it's really worth the trip.  The town is just packed from one end to the other
with great antique shops, art galleries, restaurants and cafes.

My mom also has great knack for arranging things.
I caught her a few times moving things around on the shelves.

I'm sure these will evolve but I'm really happy with how this looks right now.

I still have to paint the windows before I can call the kitchen done but the snow
outside tells me that I'll have a lot of time indoors coming up to get that done.

Hope to show you around Hudson, NY sometime soon.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Happy Fall

It's hard to believe that fall has arrived.  It seems like July 4th was just a few weeks ago.
But I will say I really enjoyed summer.   My job is requiring a lot more of my time and
attention and something really needed to give.  I took a vacation from the house even I
didn't  take a vacation away from home.  I appreciate all of you who left comments or sent
e-mails wondering where I was and how I am.  You're all the best!

Backing up a few months I was experimenting with stains to match my old bin drawers.
I thought a good match was somewhere between golden oak and golden pecan.

So a couple of weeks ago, I mixed up a 50/50 mix of golden oak and golden pecan
and just went at it.  This was right after I had stained one of the little
floating shelves.  And I was pretty happy with the outcome.

And then on to the upper cabinet next to the fridge.

This is the before...

...and this is after.

I didn't want the wood to end up too shiny so I decided to finish
off with just a coat of wax.  I've done the little shelf on the left
which you might notice ended up just a little darker than the cabinet
from the wax finish.  In the end, I'm happy with it,

Having the upper cabinet stained may seem a little unusual but I
think it's necessary to balance the bin drawers on the other side
of the kitchen.  And it's unexpected which I like.

You might also notice that I painted the panels around the fridge
the same color--BM Chelsea Gray--as the lower cabinets.
I really like how this turned out.

I have this constant internal battle between wanting
everything to be edited and spare on one had, and wanting
to display all my collections on the other hand.

Right now, edited is winning.

Next I'll be moving on to the shelves that flank the stove.

And I need to paint the windows.  There's plenty of time
to be indoors though coming in the next several months.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Out of Office Reply

It seems like the world is on vacation.  Over the past three weeks
as I e-mail things to clients (this is in my real life, not the blog life).
I get the same thing:  Out of Office Reply.   While things have slowed
down a bit, I find myself unable to get any time off.  A website to build,
an office blog to launch, a new office space to find and an employee
to hire. It could be much worse, I could be one of the hundreds of
overqualified people out of work and looking for an entry-level position.

Yes, it's a blessing to be busy even in the summer.

In my little but of free time, I've been chipping away at the
outdoor painting...lots to do on the back porches.

While the front porch ceiling is sky blue, I've taken
a different approach to the back porch.

I've used semi-gloss Decorator's White (Ben Moore) so it's
an extension of the kitchen ceiling.  I love it.

I'm also trying to figure out what to do with the dining room.
Now that the table is in the kitchen--and it's working wonderfully--I
don't really have a use for this room.  For now, I centered a gate-leg
table I recently picked up...

..and I've set out a few things that I enjoy looking at.

This changes almost daily.

I've also moved a large painting from the front hallway to
the dining room.  It was almost impossible to see in hallway
and at least I get to enjoy it in here while I contemplate what
this room will become.  I'm strongly considering a keeping room...
a nice home office...or museum room.  

So my apologies for not being around much. 

I hope you've all got your out-of-office reply turned on
and are out enjoying summer! 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy Independence Day

I've been doing a flag series on Instagram this week and I thought I'd share it with all of you.

I love old flags and anything George and Martha Washington so it's fun to pull them out
this time of year and give them a place of prominence.

Old parada flags decorate the kitchen light.

The Langham Hotel in Boston decorated for the holiday.

Boston City Hall today.  It's so humid you can see it in the air.

The Old State House with bunting on its balcony.

The Declaration of Independence was "proclaimed" from this balcony in July 1776.

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Arthur is coming up the East Coast and will rain out
the 4th so Boston pulled together and is hosting its annual Boston Pops concert
and fireworks show tonight.

Wishing you a safe and happy Independence Day!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Provincetown Prints

Blanche Lazzell, Anemone II

A few years back I did a post about white-line woodblock prints.  It's a printing process that's
uniquely American; in fact, it was invented in Provincetown so the prints are often referred
to as Provincetown Prints.  Unlike traditional woodblock printing where each color requires a different block, this process uses just one block with a tiny groove cut between each section to divide the colors. This method leaves a thin white line separating the colors, hence the name
white-line print  You can see a few of my own white-line prints in this old post about my artwork.

Blanche Lazzell advertising print

The invention of the process is credited to Bror (B.J.O.) Nordfeldt and it was developed by a
small group of artists who were in Provincetown (unable to travel to Europe) during WWI.
The two prints above are by Blanche Lazzell who, arguably, has become the most famous of
the practitioners of this process.  She taught the printing process to the next generation of
artists and it's still practiced and taught today.

The Provincetown Art Association and Musuem, celebrating its 100th anniversary
this year, is now showing an exhibit of Provincetown prints made over the last century.
I wanted share a small subset of that exhibit, the prints from those earliest days that 
show the life and times of people 100 years ago.  The scenes, the dress, the styles
and lifestyles captured in these prints is wonderful.  

Harvest of Sea by Flora Schofield, 1933

Woman Sewing by Maud Squire (etching) ca. 1915

"The Pianist" by Ethel Mars, ca. 1918

Tea Time in Morocco, Bror Nordfeldt, ca. 1916

The Party by Ethel Mars, ca. 1920

"Mother Love" by Edith Wilkinson, 1914

Figures and a Dog, Ada Gilmore, ca. 1916

This is my favorite one.  I've also seen this print titled "Gossip" which I love.
Aren't the outfits great?

Untitled, Mildred McMillen, ca. 1916

This is a great Provincetown scene before automobiles that now line the streets.  A horse and
buddy are perhaps delivering fish or ice.  The sailboats in the harbor seem to be floating the sky.

This amazing show of Provincetown prints work is on exhibit until August 10th, 2014.

Provincetown Art Association and Museum
460 Commercial Street
Provincetown, MA  02657

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

More from the Tip of Cape Cod

So here we are again where we last left off.  Low tide on Provincetown Harbor.

The water is quite shallow in much of the harbor so when the tide goes out, the sun heats the water
and sometime by the end of the day, the water is incredibly warm when the tide starts coming back in.

Provincetown is filled with textures.  Weather worn clapboards, shingles and a sculpture
in front of the museum are well contrasted here.

You may remember this house from a post I did in all black and white about
 a very gray day in Provincetown.  I have to say, it's unfortunate the hedge
doesn't allow a view or path to the front door.  I suspect it's a privacy hedge but even
a solid white gate would look better.  That's my critique for what it's worth. 

I just happened to be lucky enough to be there on the day when this beautiful
Gothic Revival was getting a whitewash.  There's so many things I love about this photo.

I think it was Erin from Whaling City Cottage who pointed out on Instagram that the 
trim looked like shark's teeth.  Isn't it great?  I love Tom's straw hat and and the crooked chimney.

And here's Huck, in a great action pose, having been convinced to use a wide brush.
No rollers, no sprayers.  Completely old school.

The town has unfortunately become overbuilt but it does make for some pretty nice compositions
of gray shingles and white trim...

...mixed with lots of cottage charm...

...pretty gardens with white picket fences with a view of the harbor from almost everywhere.

Roses seemed to be the flower of the week.

Although Provincetown has been a fishing village for centuries, it's main wharf
is now a mix of fishing and pleasure vehicles.

The beach at low tide.

Provincetown's main street, Commercial Street is lined with shops,
galleries and restaurants.

John Derian's little shop is a hidden gem.  It's a cute little shack packed with his signature
decoupaged wares and some great one-of-a-kind pillows, lights and other homes
accessories.  Look for it on Law Street right near the center of town.

And the famous Lobster Pot.  It's become an icon with all of it's fun vintage signage.
(Note:  Get the lobster-avocado cocktail!) 

There's a show at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM)
of woodblock prints that represent 100 years of print work in Provincetown.

It's open through August 10th so if you can make it, it's worth the cost of admission.

This is a print by Edna Boies Hopkins whose work I love but I'll show you 
another subset of prints in another post.