Monday, February 28, 2011

Party Accents

I finally got some pictures of the decorations we made for Mom's party. I took a really great picture of Mom, probably from her early 20's, and created a Warhol-inspired graphic in 4 colorways for the cover of the invitation. I chose one of the portraits that coordinated well with the colors of the various rooms and used that as the centerpiece for all the custom designed accents. I didn't want them to be too juvenile but definitely fun and a bit whimsical. There was a scalloped "plaque" hung from white satin ribbons for the front door and little matching medallions adorning the floral centerpieces.

We hand cut and assembled a charming little garland for each room. In the dining room we hung one from the hutch, in the kitchen it was over a window, with satin ribbons, a few matching balloons and lots of curling ribbon. In the living room the fireplace mantel was adorned but I used tufts of tulle in 3 different colors instead of the balloons since they were down low where too many rug rats could get at them.

More little signs - similar to our cupcake toppers - made a nice accompaniment for the candles on the cake.

Last but not least everyone got to take away a little favor. Part treat and part tribute to the guest of honor, the bags were filled with mini Milky Way bites - Mom's favorite!

** If anyone is interested in custom party decorations we can come up with a design package to fit any need. Just send a comment and I'll contact you.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fun Stuff

I am borrowing this darling image from one of my dear niece's facebook page. I don't know her friend who posted it and I am boringly, frustratingly too old and un-hip to have any business caring. But I do love that little HK critter so much. That's the funny thing about being a right-brain kind of person: you can't rationalize what it is that will strike your fancy. I love Hello Kitty but I pretty much have no patience for all her little friends. I adore the odd piece of peeling, tarnished, splintered vintage doo-dad but a house full o' antiques makes my nostrils quiver (and not in a good way). I covet Dupioni anything but end up buying a lot of Bed Bath and Beyond. I disdain talon claws, spray tans and a smokey eye but I can spend $200 a month at Sephora. So don't judge, take it for what it's worth and just enjoy. Okay I'm going to get my nails done now.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bright Spots

Gosh what a dreary day it has been! I can't remember one this relentlessly gray in a long while. But of course there are always bright spots to be found. How about working from Starbucks with an iced caramel macchiato alongside? It sure beats the office kitchen, a cup full of the burnt end of the pot with skim milk and a packet of Equal.

A quick run to the bank in this wet mess of a day. I think I'll stay off the highway. Not so familiar with this road. Reward! How great is this? Can you see that the trim is a dark grass green and the awnings - the AWNINGS! - are chartreuse? I may not paint my house these colors but I'm sure glad someone did!

Back home...more work to do...seems like that calls for a yummy cupcake from Moxie by way of Gardiner's Village Market and Bakery! Which do you crave? Red velvet with a dollop of chocolate ganache in the middle, topped with a rich cream cheese frosting and a dark chocolate heart (Hmmm bad omen? The heart broke on the way home.) Classic vanilla cake with a pretty pink buttercream and pearl dragees. Chocolate cupcake with a tart cherry filling, whipped butter frosting, chocolate shavings and a chocolate covered cherry crown.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I was caught in another of those frustrating click and browse loops the other day when I found these pictures hiding on my hard drive. I wanted to share these inspiring works of art. Retail store windows, works of art? Well yes, kind of. Bergdorf's Christmas windows are everything you'd expect from a high end, obscenely materialistic, style-forward NYC establishment. A little garish. A bit overwhelming. A spectacle. Read the PR release that accompanies each year's offering and you almost have to laugh at the convoluted narrative that serves as the artist's statement. However to use a tired old phrase: the proof is in the pudding.

One may be skeptical of the oh so cerebral collective inspiration proffered by the windows' team of designers but the finished products do come through! Each vignette presents a richly appointed and fantastical environment, usually inhabited by a spectacular fashion centerpiece, lusciously extravagant materials and a serious amount of highly detailed often handmade props. The couture of choice provides the jumping off point for the main color or material story. From there it's definitely designer gone wild! Handmade paper props - fancifully scaled reptiles, majestically maned lions, delicately feathered birds, all made of intricately formed papers - have been a repeating motif. Jewel-like materials, with reflective, faceted, beveled or pearlized finishes are used as the armor on a crocodile. Lush braided wool, bullion fringe and silky rope are twisted and knotted into a stallion's grand tack.

But my favorite over the years has been the gorgeous gingerbread window. A charming winter white dress with contrasting undercut detailing adorns a seated figure. She is surrounded by a baker's dream: every manner of white-frosted gingerbread-colored confection populates her world. There is a table covered in lace and laden with treats. A large glass breakfront, sporting a gingerbread version of Moroccan pearl inlay, is full of cakes large and small, on stands and plates. The foreground features a stunning Victorian-style gingerbread dollhouse. Another model, the wallcovering and additional furniture carry the theme while offering a bit of contrast with more of the spicy tan color. I love this display. If you are in the area between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day make sure to stop by and see this New York treasure. Leave enough time to browse the killer jewelry department as well! (Bergdorf Goodman, 57th Street and Fifth Avenue).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Two Lovely Places

I have 2 new favorite spots to visit when I've time to spend roaming around "the County". They are each quite different from the other but - don't be a hater - each has its own unique pleasures. Hi Ho Home Market, in Gardiner NY, is a really charming shop in a picture book setting, with a personal touch that cannot be duplicated. The product mix of vintage and new, precious and practical, surely reflects its owners sensibility. I've gotten to know Heidi just a bit by following Hi Ho's Facebook postings and her "all-in" approach is what attracts me to this gem of a shop. Check it out at

Jasmine Imports is a whole other story. Converted by the owner from import-export warehouse to retail shop in 2008, Jasmine stocks all the hot and trendy merch you'll ever need. From scarves and purses to bath salts, baby gifts to glitter balls, hand made jewelry to concrete garden ornaments there is nothing subtle here! But many of the items are so pretty and fun that one can easily be seduced. And (in this one little way) like HiHo, this shop's owner is it's heart and soul. If you are taking the slow way down to the city any day of the week, stop in and take a look (route 17S in Southfields, NY opposite another Orange County treasure The Red Apple Rest).

Happy Birthday Miss Evvie!

I am catching up on last week and posting about Mom's 85th birthday party.Yes, 85. And, after the situation we had in December (which seemed decidedly bleak for a short while), that feels particularly great to say. The invitation I made is one of my favorite motifs - Warhol, of course. "Miss Evvie" is a throwback to the eighties...when "Dallas" was all the rage and Barbara Bel Geddes' character, matriarch of the Ewing clan, was called Miss Ellie. We adapted it for our own and my sister and I have used it on and off ever since. I'm not sure anyone else in the family realizes it but no one questioned us either! The party, on the Saturday after her actual birthday (February 9th), was a lot of fun. Gina made her usual array of delicious and interesting dishes - this time with a cozy winter's eve theme. Everyone who was invited came and it was the first time in a long time both sides of the family were together. Mom had her hair done and wore a flattering all-black suit so she looked wonderful - healthier and happy. People came and went, everyone had fun and we ended up talking with the cousins until 1 in the morning. Thanks to all who attended and helped to make Mom's day a special one.

A Year Later

Oh my, is it really nearly a YEAR since I posted? Hard to believe. At least I've proven true to my word - not much to say! But really I am trying to muster some energy to power me through the dog days (wait that's summer, isn't it?). I love all the seasons so I cannot be a traitor to Winter and complain how about how wretched (some say) it has been. I've loved every single snowy, gray, icy minute of it! However for other reasons I've been feeling stymied, lethargic, stalled, stuck, lost. Paging through a new mail order catalog the other day I was completely captivated by a few images that screamed "Summer". I absolutely adore the combination of colors, finishes and graphics in the above vignette. So cheery and warm with some depth lent by the weathered frames and rustic table base. So maybe it's just the shocking nature of these bright colors against my own muted palette, or maybe it's the rock-bottom-ness (?) feeling of my current job or maybe it's just about time but in any event I want to make it mean something. So gaze upon this happy image and please remember me - I promise to be back soon! P.S. - the image is courtesy of: