Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Successful Ending...and, a little sad!

The 2009 Bucks County Designer House came to an end today. It is always a little bittersweet when the house closes. So many hours has gone into the design and presentation, then we staff the room and "live in it" for a month. It's easy to become attached and feel a true ownership of the room. This one felt particularly warm and calm. The response was overwhelmingly good . All in all, it was a great experience and being only a few miles from home helped as well!

I lingered and took these final stills of some of my favorite areas. (Feel free to skip over, as you will see, I had a lot of favorites!) These shots are also for permanent documentation of a project I put my heart into. I really love this room.

One of my favorite bookcase vignettes, featuring vintage books, favorite framed spectacles w/button and tiny round bulls eye mirror.

Another favorite bookshelf featuring vintage books, clocks and a very fond old framed hound.

Poor lighting didn't help this shoot! More books, buttons (in abundance throughout my room, and I simply adore these old pigeon trophies. The art, a framed card of buttons from a Paris flea market.

One of the other bookshelves framing the mantle. I painted all the entire bookcase/mantle wall my favorite black-Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black. Look at these hand carved fish, more old books, an old trophy soldered, and sent by my father for one of my birthdays, and an old Polish document as framed art. These bookshelves remind me of this quote,"Sorry to appear insistent, but I must have my trinkets"!

Hanging on one of the adjacent walls to the bookcase, another collage of vintage buttons and a ladies watch face. Love this frame!

Making the bookcases complete, the mantle! Black urns, carved doves (coveted by all who visited the room!), old maps rolled up, feathery ferns, Paris books,ceramic finials, and a beautiful serene photograph that could be the Bucks County countryside. I could definitely live with this.

A cropped close-up of the carved doves on the mantle.

I had to take this photo of the firewood that I used as sculpture! Sneelock cut it from the fallen trees on the grounds with precise cuts just the right size.

Favorite painted chest of drawers (don't forget to use them in hallways, foyers and bathrooms....not just for bedrooms!

Wall of plates, mostly vintage cream ware with my assorted framed buttons and keys coll aged in amongst them. This wall was a favorite for most guests.

Closeup of the dove wall sconce plucked from my guest room as an afterthought. I sold these in my store about 10 years ago, and could have made a killing if I would have had 30 or so to sell.

The small original letters with dates in the mid 1800's from Paris that I found in some of my old books became art for the wall. Ahhhhhh. I love old documents! Beautiful colored inks and the most fabulous penmanship.

Bring me your cherished correspondence and I'll help you frame them!

Fabulous Black-eyed Susan ferns, lush and full! No water, please!

A shot of the entrance into our room from the foyer. The ferns were the perfect drama to flank the entrance into the living room. Also noted, the three iron mirrors over the front door. This is a favorite space of mine to accent.

Giant birds nest fern. I love this plant, I suppose it's the cost that others don't love. This could be one of those inventory items that I would never be sorry to end up owning!

Linen chair with monogrammed french flea market linen resting on it. Hmmm...wonder where that "T" will end up! (Don't worry, I have more in the store.)

That all too favorite silk pillow collection with pompom embellishments. There could not have been a finer compliment to the room!

That pop of color to an overall calm room--pumpkin and taupey-grey silk throws. Wow.

I used this square bolster on the floor with an old open book on it just for a bit of whimsy. WAY cute pillow!! And, not a bad shot of that extraordinary $48,000.00 rug!

Goodbye beautiful mid century rug.

There were several favorites by those who visited the room. One was this vintage frame tied into the window with a chocolate french ribbon. It served as the backdrop for books tied with raffia and a sophisticated painted dove sculpture.

The swing-arm drapery rods, linen banded panels, and sheer linen embroidered dot shades were another noted favorite. I love them as well!

A good shot of the poised swing-arm rods with the linen painted lampshade which marries the linen furniture and the wall color, in the foreground.

This dramatic and loved chandelier took center stage. I called it, "Bucks County meets New York"!

I staffed the room the second half of closing day and when the final notes played on my jazz CD, the lights were turned off for the final time and I took one last look at the room, it was with a tiny twinge of sadness!

Deep windowsills make my heart sing. Featured in this one, an urn filled with fantail pussy willows, collected globes, and framed seashells. Would you think to put those items together?! Sometimes, it all about color and scale. It works. Still loving those swing-arms!!

A really good closeup and I promise, that last shot of the swing-arm drapery rods!

One last self portrait of me in the room . The lights are off now. Goodbye Color of Calm.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wild Times and Good Food!

I'm sorry to say I did not document one photo at the Yardley organized wine tasting tour, which Black-eyed Susan participated in tonight. Not knowing one thing about wine and the likes , I left that part of it up to my staff and I just furnished the food!

The crowds were fun, a little rowdy (!) as the night grew on, and all in all a good time was had by all. We had lots of fun conversation and about 50 new people who had never been in my store! How could there be so many locals who have never taken time to check us out? I guess it sounds a little biased, but I just don't think I could pass by those windows without coming in! (Or at least yearning to.....).

At the request of several of our guests, I am passing on the recipe that my sister Denise inspired me to make. It's a great and quick treat, so enjoy!

Denise's Banana Chocolate Chip Bars

3/4 cup Land o' Lakes margarine (it really is the best, I promise)
2/3 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
2 medium bananas, mashed (over ripe)
2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
mini chocolate chips to taste

Cream margarine, sugars, and vanilla; add egg and bananas. Mix well. Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread into greased 9x 13 pan and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

I made a double batch ( in a slightly over sized pan). Denise advised (and I did follow.....) not to under bake! I baked the double batch almost 10 minutes longer. Everyone loved the treat and I would make them again.

For all of our new friends, please come back!

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Real World Awaits!

A great way to end a vacation is to have a holiday Monday to start the week! It is always a bit difficult to dive back into the real world of responsibility once again. Why is it that it always feels like one needs a vacation to recuperate from vacationing??!

I had a wonderfully relaxing time with family, attended an inspiring church meeting in Vail to keep me on track, tried several new recipes which I'll pass on in time, and slept most mornings until 8:00am! Woohoo! I even spent a little time shopping, hiking and game playing! I sat and watched the entirety of "Anne of Green Gables" as well as the sequel "Anne of Avonlee", (without multitasking!) Quite possibly my all time favorite movies. Anne is so full of style and imagination! I'll share with you soon one of my favorite quotes as spoken by her regarding imagination. Stay tuned!

Last night when we returned home, I made some progress unpacking and this compilation of shoes is what I ended up with!

Yes! Those are pink tennis shoes! (I actually do wear them.....)

Do any of you take this many shoes for a 10 day vacation?! Yikes! I'll admit that I did purchase at least two pair while away......but still, this looked impossible to me! I wore every pair, I might add!
I spent the day today manning our room at the Designer House for Bucks County and we were busy! I wondered if the attendance would be light due to the holiday, but I was pleasantly surprised. For those of you who have not had a chance to visit the house yet, this is the last week! Our room has been very well received. Tickets can still be purchased at Black-eyed Susan as well as at the door, so I hope you'll have time to be inspired by the style you will see!

The cruel world of responsibility and work awaits! I feel equal to the task.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Vail Style Sightings.....or not!

A walk through the quaint village of Vail, Colorado proved to be filled with a myriad of style sightings. The Village is fairly quiet this time of year, not in the throws of the season yet. Shopkeepers, groundskeepers, and UPS men alike indulged us in photo ops, as you will see!

A wonderful shop called "Cos Bar" was filled with beautiful pallets of lip glosses, eye shadows and all manner of enticing finds. Considering my entire family inherited what we call "the primping gene", it was a find to be sure.

Across from the Cos Bar, my daughter Michelle shot this great example of style documenting these coral windows, awning and shutters. So cute. Such style.

I paused to ask the local UPS delivery man if his hat was standard UPS issue! He indulged me in this photo quite willingly (!) and, the answer was "yes" having to do with sunburn protection. I intend to ask Fran (local BES delivery man) when he will be bringing his out!

Yes, even Vail has been struck with the "PEACE" trend! You may recall I documented the beginning of such last January after my winter buying trip. So, PEACE to all.

In an oh-so-cute yarn shop, we spotted countless examples of style! Color and textiles together always speak to my design heart. Skeins of fine yarn were abundant and most fulfilling to sort through and select favorites.

In the same shop, we came across these plastic tubes of buttons! Most of you know that I have a real penchant for buttons, old and new. I couldn't resist purchasing pairs of several of my favorites. The shopkeeper was delightful and fun to chat with. We mused together over the joys of retail

Another collection of beautiful texture and color in the yarns my niece, Emily was knitting with. I composed a photo of our perfectly wound balls as she began her work. Great color selection, Emily!

And to end with, my example of "or not" style!! Bear carvings and sculptures seem to be a favorite of the local residents. This one we found to be particularly spooky.....I guess style cannot be everywhere. We deemed him "werebear."
All in all, a very stylish visit has come to an end. We did do a good bit of stylish cooking while we were here. Link to my daughter, Michelle's recipe blog for more information on that!

Goodbye, Vail. Hello to Bucks County soon. I'm looking forward to getting back to sea level. Not so much to getting back to normal life.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rocky Mountain Style!

It's quite difficult to document via photo the true majestic nature of the Rocky Mountains. As you know, my blog is all about style, and my all too brief visit to Vail, Colorado, has already been the source of many real sightings of style!

From the new recipes we are trying to the mountain homes supreme, my time here has been wonderful, relaxing, and full of entertainment from my darling family (grandchildren, daughter, sister, brother in law, nephew, nieces, and, of course.....Sneelock!)

I'll see if I can share with you just tiny look at the style that surrounds me in the next few posts.

Our mountain retreat for the next week! A stylish mountain home with a mere 10,000 sq. ft. that will house the entire family members who could meet, with room to spare! Interior knotty pine gourmet kitchen so apropos for this area. The knotty pine was used for all the interior trim and doors as well. The evenings are fabulously cool and with windows cracked, it's the sleep of the all dreams. Mornings come early with the sun rising above the mountains, with crisp, clean air not known to us in the East! (I will say that this 9000 ft above sea level elevation has been a challenge with my asthma...)

The Colorado aspen are just beginning to leaf out! These native trees, flanked by the beauty of the pines is breathtaking.

Each afternoon we find time to walk around the area and I always spot some interesting and stylish homes that I try not to covet! Look at this mountain cottage of log cabin construction, with stone appointments. I can picture myself at home in the charm of this home.

I simply adore the arched roof over the front door. Who could live here? I certainly could!

On our walk this afternoon, I spotted this fence made of tree cuttings! Perfectly charming.

Along the path, we came across this stream (which are plentiful!) with what looked to be a former beaver dam, deserted. There is still a fair amount of snow at this elevation, which adds to the beauty.

I love the skyline of the pine trees and distant mountains as pictured here.

The sun setting behind the Rocky Mountains, the perfect ending to our brisk walk for today.

Stay tuned for more style sightings to come.....and possibly some documentation of not so stylish local decor!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Where I Got My Start!

You've heard me speak about my Mother, Charlotte Jane, often enough. Here she is with my darling sister, Denise.

At age 82, Mother stands as my standard for all things beautiful and impeccable style. My love of these things was influenced by her. She has always been the perfect example of service, unconditional love, integrity, refinement, and purity. Her beauty comes from within and is enhanced by her wit and entertaining way.

Growing up, our home was filled with cutting edge style! Uncommon color, linen draperies with fine passementerie trims, stylish room settings and the smell of fine baked treats welcomed all.

Today, she is the envy of all of her daughters and granddaughters, when she dons her size 2 jeans and freshly pressed white shirt, well appointed jewels and shoes....just pure style!

My sister, Patricia , is a fine composer, lyricist, and writer. Years ago, she composed a song for my mother . I know that I don't have all the lyrics just right, but this is the best I can do for now! I love these tender words that tell so much about the mother that I love and cherish.

With a way too willing, and a silent unrepose
She could turn a day gone wrong to he advantage!
With a tape measure ribbon and a cushion full of pins
There was nothing in the world he couldn't manage.
With a gift to entertain
Still there's no way to explain
How she could turn a day of sorrow into gold!
Always in above her head
And wise beyond her years
And overall, an angel underpaid!

When we did the evening dishes, she would teach us some old song
Through soap and steam, we could feel the cold earth warming.
Am I skimming all the cream off a vague and distant dream
Or is time the surest looking glass for lif
Am I all too sentimental? Do I go to an extreme?
Do the good times overshadow all the strife?
That's what I always called her, but her name was really Charlotte.
Charlotte Jane Hunter Petersen

Happy Mother's Day, sweetest mother of mine. I love you.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall

We had a wonderful event last night at the retail store, "Mirrors Make the Space". Lots of darling Black-eyed Susan customers and friends came to enjoy the evening and it was really fun for me to see some long time design clients in the crowd!

I'm not quite sure how I neglected to get our the camera to document the large crowd(!) and the room full of stylish ladies, but alas, I did. We had a great discussion with handouts and examples of mirrors as art, collaged walls with mirrors, my previous uses of mirrors, all shapes, sizes and styles. Then we shopped and ate the miniature chocolate cream tarts I had made.

I promised the recipe last night, but at the late hour I returned was just too pooped!!

So, here it is....a boring old recipe with not a single photo!

Give me one more chance. Thanks to all those who came out to support and join our fun evening in the store! I hope more of you will come and be inspired in the avenues of style next time.

Susan's Chocolate Cream Pie
(really, my Mom's!)
Combine in a heavy saucepan:
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 tbs flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups whole mile
1 1/2 squares unsweetened chocolate
In a separate bowl slightly mix 3 egg yolks
Cook sugar,flour, and milk mixture on medium heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil one minute, continuing to stir. Remove from heat. Add a small amount of the mixture to the egg yolk mixture, stir and add to the cooked custard, stirring constantly. Return to heat and boil one more minute. Add a few tablespoons of butter and 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla.
I use a water bath to cool the custard in, stirring often enough to not allow a skin to form on the custard. When it is cooled enough, cover and refrigerate overnight prior to using in a baked pie shell. Fill shell just before serving and garnish with whipped cream.
Yum! Enjoy.
Photos next time, I promise.....

Monday, May 4, 2009

I wasn't prepared for....

It's been too long since my last post! All serious bloggers know what I'm talking about. Since my last post, I've completed the Bucks County Designer House room, taken a quick but full trip to the High Point Furniture Market, and worked a full long week catching up and designing the Las Vegas project we are involved in. Whew!
It's the Las Vegas part that I want to post about tonight. I've never been very keen on the whole Las Vegas scene. was such a departure from everyday life that I quite enjoyed it!
One night, after attending LE REVE, an intriguing water/acrobatic love story (!), we strolled around the high end distinctive shops of The Wynn hotel. Luckily, I had my camera to document what I shall call "a whole lot of style".

Get ready for some serious style:
A very large container of fresh orchids and calla lilys with monstera leaves! Striking.

Shoes, shoes,and more shoes. All to be coveted.

Black and white patent shoes....

My client wanted to try on these rhinestone super expensive shoes!

Not my style, but I thought they were interesting...very "runway" looking.

Fabulous color--lots of patent leather everywhere. Love the platforms too! (Any little extra height for me is a plus).
More versatile black and white stiletto platforms.

This ones for you, Linda! (My very cool pink-all-the -way friend).

Way cool color blocking with this chartreuse on the soul!!

Another cool sole, this one, a stripe!

I fancied these charcoal gray patent wedges. They looked very small and I was coerced into trying them on by a saleswoman hoping for a $650.00 sale! They fit! (I wear a 4 1/2 size shoe and have quite a difficult time finding a good fit) . Alas, I left them behind........

Cool orange gladiators!

I'll give this one to my sister, Denise! I nearly died wanting this's a REAL twirler!

Last style siting for the night....the ladies room! Check out the marble stalls and mosaic floor! I don't often see chandeliers like this in the bathroom, either!(View from my stall....)

And this was the stylish end to our live show! A tent of sorts that rose up and formed floating flowers over the water. This one was one of many others. Cool!

At the end of our very stylish night, we had this dessert with total style! These donuts were served on this "fixture", rather like iron sticks. The sauces are dark chocolate, vanilla creme, and caramel for dipping! YUM. I could use some right now....

Well, these are the style documentations for the evening. As you can see, it was one night chalk full of style!
Stay tuned for interior style soon to be coming to the pad!