Friday, September 24, 2010

Taking a break

I am taking a bit of a blogging break. Off to pursue new projects and go on new adventures!

I'll be checking in to occasionally visit your lovely blogs. 

See you soon!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Harvest moon flower

Here's to the harvest moon on this first day of fall.

The neighbor's moon flowers smelled great and awaited the moon's rise. 

Before the moon arrived, we were treated to a lovely evening sky (with extras like the overhead wires)!

Then the moon did its thing:

The funny thing is, summer is back for three days with the highs in the 90's.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's all in the nose

As many of you know, my main passions are for flowers and paint. Anything to do with them interests me. It is time that I own up to my other passion: perfume. Scent. Fragrance. Mmmmmm.
Rarely do I purchase fragrances at the mall or box stores. In fact, I cannot remember when I did last! I have been spoiled by the internet. Shop around, click a few times and, within days, the new treat arrives on my doorstep. Splenderosa's Marsha loves fashion. I go for the latest scent creations instead.  

My favorite go to source is Lucky Scent. I know it as an online store, but they also have a physical store in LA called Scent Bar. It will certainly be a must-see when I next visit LA, along with Giannetti Home, the shop of Velvet and Linen's Brooke Giannetti.  

At, boutique fragrances are available from around the world. If you choose, you can be notified by email of the latest additions to their offerings. Each perfume has a wonderfully written description. If I could compose thoughts like they do, I'd have a best seller for sure. 

One of my favorite things about the site is that each scent also has reviews posted by customers. Some are hysterical, most are sincere and helpful.
Bath, body and skin care products are offered, along with scented candles, diffusers and room sprays. 

And, no, they did not ask me to write this! I just wanted to share with you and urge you to check out their website.

I always purchase samples first at a very moderate price. How else can you tell? Often I am surprised at the combinations that I am drawn to. 

My latest finds were honeysuckle and jasmine scents. No wonder- they are beautiful summer scents. I am now in the market for a fall / winter perfume. 

I would love to know- what scents are your favorites? Do you know of any fabulous perfume stores?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

In the moment

Yesterday's wedding was a blur of activity. The ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner / dancing all took place in a very long tent that was partitioned into three distinct areas. The goal was to create an elegant woodland setting totally lit by candlelight, except for the dance floor. 

The table linens were a gorgeous purple, set on rectangular tables. The centerpieces consisted of various sized containers and candles, all covered with moss, so that one only saw the flowers and the candle glow. The overhead lighting was created with nine circular frames, covered with branches, moss, flowers and hanging votive candles.

A beautiful night... which was very hard to photograph in a hurry. I leave you with a few tempting bits and pieces.

Some of the garden roses...

Isn't this a great color for a rose? A taupey, blush rose color.

This bucket of roses is full of scent. The darker red is called The Prince and smells heavenly; one of my favorite rose scents.

 The guests were pampered by these lovely pashminas to ward off any chill in the air. 

Have a lovely Sunday!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

From tiny to gigantic

That is how my garden grows this year. 

The roses are making a small comeback and sending out a few new blooms. Here is a new coral rose in formation:

When you are choosing your plants for the home next spring, I highly encourage you to consider a plant that has never failed me. It not only lives through drought and rain, warmth and coolness, it blooms all summer and fall. Check out the angel wing begonia. I place it in partial shade and water daily (as all container plants) and then watch it explode. My front door is partially blocked at this point in the season by these wonderful shiny, green leaves and red blossoms.

On a lark, I decided to try planting elephant ears this summer in a few areas of the yard. They must have loved the heat, because they really took off. They are 5 feet tall and the leaves are amazing. 

What veining!

Last, but not least, I thought I'd share the view out of my kitchen window. The passion flower vine is taking over! I chuckle every time I look out. Actually, I like the privacy it gives us, as we rarely close any curtains.

A big congratulations to Crystal and Anne over at Rue magazine for their online debut today! Pick up a glass of wine and enjoy!

Linking up with Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
  with Jessica, at A Few of My Favorite Things, for Favorite Things Friday.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Would you do the color pink?

Although usually thought of as a feminine color, the color pink is being seen frequently as a color of note for 2011. Fortunately, it is not just the conventional girly pink that is being presented. Many shades of pink abound, including salmon, fuschia, coral, blush and rose. Of course, a pink ribbon is the international symbol for breast cancer awareness.

Pink can be thought of as energetic and sexy. Combined with bold colors, it demands attention. Presented like this, it can raise the blood pressure and heart rate. It can even have the same high energy as red.

Pink and orange, an unconventional pairing.      

Architectural Digest   Photo by Paul Warchol

 Pink and green, a traditional combination. Both are strong and confident.

Architectural Digest   Photo by Paul Warchol

Becoming softer, this pink leans towards blue. This tone-on tone damask looks fresh and clean with the light trim.

Here, the pink wall is dusty and mottled. This wonderful room was painted by decorative painter, Kris Kuchavik. The wall finish is a result of layers of custom-colored acrylic waxes over a deep red basecoat. 

 This combination of pale blush and deep raspberry (with the green, of course) projects a cheerful environment.

Color Made Easy

Pink can also be considered a calm, soothing color. In the bedroom, it can present a serene environment.

In Europe, pink has long been a color associated with both men and women. Farrow and Ball has many wonderful shades of pink to choose from, with all being subtle and complex. The pink is made more masculine with the deep, rich, saturated hues. Here is Farrow and Ball's Architectural Pink.

 Farrow and Ball     Paint and Color in Decoration

 Farrow and Ball's Viceroy Pink leans a bit more toward the browns.

Farrow and Ball     Paint and Color in Decoration

Farrow and Ball's Pink Ground was the color chosen for their master bath by Brooke and Steve Giannetti (of the Velvet and Linen blog).

I have been using this lovely tablecloth's combination of a subdued pink and silver combination as an inspiration for an upcoming wall finish for a client's master bath. I think it is so elegant.

Dwellings by Stephen Sills and James Huniford  Photo by Michael Moran

This gorgeous piece of silk taffeta would be fabulous as a window treatment or toss pillow.

 Harlequin fabric by Christopher Hyland as seen in Veranda Magazine

This circa 1900 Oushak carpet pretty much reads as a delicate, neutral tone-on-tone underfoot.

This wonderfully patinaed stucco exterior presents a perfect backdrop for the almost gaudy hydrangea colors.

French Style at Home by Sebastien Siraudeau

Carolyn Quartermaine, Maison et Objet's Designer of the Year in 2008, showcases pink in a clear and feminine manner. Her pinks are clean and happy.

Carolyn Quartermaine Revealed

This pink looks fab with the gold accents.

Carolyn Quartermaine Revealed

Even the pink splotches on the floor look good!

Carolyn Quartermaine Revealed

Wouldn't you love to have this corner of the room all to yourself? Or, it would make a great setting for a cocktail party. I'll take both canvases, please. And the chandelier!

Designer's Guild offers many fabrics and accessories in pink. They combine the lively colors in a striking way.

If pink is too much as an overall room color, you can always add accessories in pink's numerous shades.

Have you used pink in your own home? In a client's home?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Corn chowder and a painted canvas

My favorite image this week was this vignette at The Urban Seed in San Diego. I spotted it on Katie Denham's blog, Katiedid. I fell in love with this obviously well-loved, painted canvas. The colors, the cracks, its patina and shine- mmmm.

I also would like to share this corn chowder recipe with you while the fresh sweet corn is still available. If you would like a corn chowder that actually tastes like corn (not bacon or red peppers) and is lower in fat than most chowders, this is for you. However, lower in fat does not mean lower in flavor. It calls for a tasty broth as its base, rather than milk or cream. I use my own chicken broth, which I occasionally make in big batches and then freeze in quart size freezer bags for use down the road.

Corn Chowder

4 ears sweet corn
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and sliced thinly
2 medium sweet onions, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh basil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 cups chicken broth
4 new potatoes, finely diced

   Cook the ears of corn in whatever manner you prefer: grill, broil, boil or microwave. (I prefer to microwave the corn by placing the ears, unshucked, into the microwave, cook on high for 2 minutes per ear, turning the ears over to the opposite side and cooking on high again for two more minutes. It's fast and easy and never fails.) Cool the cobs. Cut kernels off cobs, then set aside both the corn and the cobs.

   Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the leeks, onions & celery, then saute a few minutes before adding the garlic. Continue sauteing until softened, about ten minutes. Add bay leaves, thyme and basil sprigs and corn cobs. Reduce heat, cover and cook gently for ten minutes. Add chicken broth. Simmer partially covered for ten minutes. Add potatoes and simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves, thyme and basil sprigs and corn cobs. Add reserved corn and simmer for 1-2 minutes. 

   Serve immediately. This chowder can also be frozen, after cooling, to savor later. It seems to taste even better when it is cold and dreary outside! 
   Serves 4-6.

I do not have a photo of the chowder as we ate it before I remembered to take the picture! Maybe next time...


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday in Bay

Saturday morning seemed to be a good time to practice my photography skills, so I decided to visit my garden. In the next month or so, we will need to move the many containers into the unheated warehouse, where they will overwinter in front of large windows.

In the meantime, here are a few items in my garden that are still thriving and one that is not.

We've slowly been collecting fruit trees. This is our grapefruit. The fruits are so large, they are funny. I don't think they will ripen outdoors, so we'll have to check them weekly in the warehouse to reap our harvest.  

We also have Meyer lemons and a few varieties of orange trees. This is the Meyer lemon, which you can glimpse over to the left. At the base of the topiary, we are temporarily housing some orchid plants that thrive here, but would not be so happy inside of our home. This orchid is a Grammatophyllum orchid.


Here is a slightly different pattern:

Four weeks ago, we decided to try to prolong the basil season. We sowed these seeds, which are progressing nicely. We cut the tips off for salads.

When the basil grows up, here is what they will look like. These are the Italian seeds (Basilico bolloso napoletano from Franchi Sementi), which have rippled leaves and are sweeter than the usual basil. You can see that we are sure to cut the flowering tips off; leaving the flowers on to maturity means the basil leaves start to become bitter and the plants will go to seed and stop producing new leaves.

 A buddleia bloom past its peak. The butterflies have been frequent visitors to this bush.

The poor lily of the valley has totally dried out. The heat and lack of rain did them in until next spring. Have you been hit with dry conditions like we have?

I leave you with two stars in our dahlia plantings this year.

In remembrance of those who died nine years ago today in New York City and their families.