Thursday, June 24, 2010

Everything Old is New Again!

There are always trends in interior design. Some come. Some go. Some come back. Some are classic. Some are way out there. Some are stupid. Some are timeless. But sooner or later, interior styles come full circle. What's old is new again.

Retro style is one of those. Modernism has a strong influence in almost all room settings today. Basically, I like it! Of course,you all know how I feel about orange...a totally retro color, back in full swing. 50's and 60's chairs are cool in any book. (Remember the chairs I had reupholstered for the Princeton Designer House this year?!)

Well, tonight, I paid a short visit to my cute friends Wayne and Bonnie. I couldn't help but look around their charming home and this is what I saw!

These vintage retro chairs upholstered in,of course!! Ah, my heart sings.

Okay, so the feet take them a little out of "cool"...but that's nothing my great upholsterer can't take care of. The modern, low profile of these lounge chairs speaks for style, and fairly current I might add!

I queried Bonnie about their age. Promptly, without a moment's delay, she told me she had purchased them in 1966. Brand new when they moved into the house. Orange. Velvet. Couldn't get much better.

And take a look at this lamp in the room! Bonnie just shook her head when I told her how popular this shade was! I rehearsed with her how many times I tell a client to update their rooms by changing up their lamp shades for drum shades. Yep, once again, perfect style! And natural burlap shades-so cool!

As a designer in the trade, it was so fun to see the "real McCoy" so to speak . Bonnie loved my stories of current style and felt amazed to have come full circle.

Look around your mother's or aunt's home. You'll find treasures of your own.

Thanks for sharing a little retro style, Bonnie! I'll take them all.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day Cheesecake for Two!

After a busy day with Church responsiblities, my darling husband and I sat down to a private dinner for two as we like to call it! I miss the large family dinners we sometimes have with extended family far away, but for tonight, it was a quiet dinner with just us.

Fred's Sundays are filled from 9:00a.m. till about 5:00 or 6:00p.m. and tonight it was later than usual. I love that this service is so much a part of his life and that he is a good man with integrity and a love for The Lord. He is honest in his relationships and a man to be admired for all that he does for his family and friends. He is the supreme example to me of selflessness. I want to be more like him. All who know him love and admire his work ethic and supportive nature to my venture in Black-eyed Susan. I love this man.

Meanwhile, I tried a new recipe of flank steak with a molasses and cracked pepper glaze. It was pretty good...except for the heat over the grill in 95 degree Philadelphia heat. Baby red potatoes and roasted fresh corn completed our easy meal.

This favorite dessert topped the evening! It is one that my darling mother made for us for the last 50 years, and happens to by my father's personal favorite dessert. Look how cute it is for two! It is a frozen cheesecake (not for those faint of heart when using raw eggs!). YUM! It's fast and easy...a bit fattening to be sure.

3 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 brick cream cheese
graham cracker crumbs

Separate the eggs. Cream the sugar, salt and cream cheese together till fluffy. Add the vanilla. Beat the egg yolks in, one at a time until well beaten. In separate bowls, whip the egg whites until stiff (not too stiff, but will hold a peak). Whip the whipping cream. Fold in alternately the egg whites and whipping cream, being gentle so as to incorporate the air,but be thourough.

I like to use a double recipe for a normal spring form pan, but a single recipe fits nicely in this cute small, deep one. Line the bottom of the pan with graham cracker crumbs, then fill the pan with the mixture. Top with additional graham cracker crumbs and freeze. Make the night before serving. Enjoy!

It's a family favorite! My mother would be proud.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thanks To My Father...

On the eve of Father's Day, I feel a debt of gratitude to my own father for the drive to work hard that I learned from him. I'm thankful that I enjoy working. I enjoy so much the creative work that I do, and am thankful daily that I am physically able to do the things that I am required and push myself to do. I believe that I inherited my love of work from my darling father, who at the age of 90 still mows his own lawn, prunes and gardens, shovels his own double drive and many times the neighbors, vacuums the house, harvests from his garden, and has a Face Book account!

This is one of my favorite photos of him taken in 1942. He is at his desk in a small apartment in Boston, Ma., where he attended MIT. That was several years before I was born. This handsome man worked his way through college entirely on his own. Born into a large family and being the last of 7, his parents died when he was a young boy. Raised by his brothers and sisters, he milked cows to earn his way through school. He was a successful student and graduated with honors, overcoming a lot of obstacles with drive and perseverance.

As a child, I never recall seeing my father sit in front of the TV. He worked all day at his office, or on the road traveling, came home and worked again, either repairing, building, or serving as a church officer. He was talented with his hands and a fine musician! And, like my own darling husband, he's a pretty good Sneelock!

My love of all things creative was instilled by him. My love of productivity was learned from him. My drive to push a little harder has certainly been passed down from him. If I can learn to give of myself, arise early and work through the day (and into the night), give selflessly of my time and talents, and be as tender as he is, I will have taken the best from his example.

I love you, Daddy. Happy Father's Day 2010.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cutest Gift Ever!

While visiting with a new client today, after touring Lisa's beautiful home and consulting on several areas she wanted to work on, we came across this:

I commented on the well-worn toys, obviously loved by someone. Turns out that Lisa's mother gave her the diaper bag and favorite toys that she, herself, treasured as an infant, for her 40th birthday! How cute is that! Yep, I call it! Cutest 40th birthday gift ever. Pure sentimental style.

I left with a smile.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Black-eyed Susan in Bucks Living Magazine!

Bucks and Montgomery Living Magazine has written this wonderful article about Black-eyed Susan! You can read it here!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Graduation Gala

Sweetest Sophie, my dear friend Linda's daughter, graduates from High School this month . When in the world did she get this old? She has been part of my life since her birth and wasn't that just several years ago? Linda is my main support friend in the face of my most overwhelming tasks, and we (Sneelock and myself) could be no less to her as she faced the daunting task of preparing a party for the 100+ guests invited to honor Sophia at a backyard barbecue.

So, we packed the car with...

20 bags of Herr's ketchup flavored potato chips (a requested favorite from the graduate and not available in the Charlotte area). 10 were for the party guests and 10 were for a "Sophia stash"!

Two giant loaves of Susan's sheepherder's bread (archive back to find the recipe).

Fresh gerbera daises in hot pink and orange delivered from Susan's wholesale florist.

Along with these items were multiple boxes of glass straight-sided vases to use on the tables, (Good thing we were driving!) aprons, silver serving trays, samovar for our cucumber drink..the list goes on!

After arriving in Charlotte at about 2:30 a.m. , we got started bright and early the next morning to begin the baking marathon. Linda and I donned our aprons and knuckled down for a day of entertaining chatter , baking and kitchen prep for the next day's event.

First of the schedule was the making of two more of the giant loves of sheepherder's bread for the many guests expected. Each loaf will serve about 20-25! The loaf is impressive as a centerpiece as well. The first batch was rising by noon, and another shortly behind it.

Combined with the two I made ahead of time and brought from Philadelphia, we now had enough for the masses.

I think we must have used at least three giant bags of limes. On the menu was a lime based marinated chicken for grilling, my favorite "green-green salad" with a lime based dressing and an accompanying side salad of black bean, corn and tomato with avocado, also with a lime dressing! We gave Linda's citrus juicer a workout that sounded like she may need to invest in a new one!

While the bread was rising, cookies were being baked , and I whipped up two double batche of my mother's famous brownies (later to be frosted with chocolate butter cream frosting). We were "really cooking" I guess you could say.

We steamed large bundles of asparagus (seen here in an ice water bath) and put them aside to chill for the salad recipe.

Among the tasks for day 2 was shelling and cleaning lb after lb of fresh shrimp.

We set out the serving trays, utensils, table cloths...Linda made a large batch of dill potato salad, and we started praying for good weather. The forecast was for scattered thunder showers right about party time.Oh, dear.

I cut the long stemmed gerberas down to scatter in assorted vintage glasses that I had brought from home. Those colors are just happy!

Linda brought out a darling candle holder/vase that she had purchased years ago on one of our buying trips for Black-eyed Susan. I used hot pink roses along with several of the orange and pink gerberas. I mounded them low and tight to be used as a centerpiece on one of the serving tables. It's hard not to smile when you use these cuties!

We began the task of our "special recipe" for the color of the tinted water to be used in the vases for the tables. Food coloring is added to the water to tint it the desired color, and it takes a little finesse to get it just right! (It's a bit like a science experiment). A drop of green, a drop of yellow...more of this, less of that, a bit more water to dilute the color when needed, and so on. Finally, we arrived at the perfect hint of lime colored water to surround the inner vessels. My cute friend Jan brought fresh ferns from her yard and we picked bright colored green hosta leaves from Linda's yard to add to the water lined glass vases. I love using this glass/glass idea with candles. It's magical and you can choose your water color. Try it!

Of course, Sneelock didn't just come along for the ride! In between playing the ultimate Grandfather role to our darling granddaughters who live in the neighborhood, he found time to run multiple errands, do some pruning, and hang these tiny glass hurricanes from a large tree surrounding the tables. They were lit just before the guests came and added quite a magical glow to the party scene.

Linda stayed up the previous night till the wee hours of the morning going through years of school year photos with Sophia's friends. We printed them and put them on the tables slightly under the glass and candles for all to reminisce about. The small glasses with bright gerberas dotted the tables.

Paul (Linda's husband in blue) and Timm (my daughter's husband) manned the grills and started the chicken, shrimp and chili dogs. The rain was holding out.

A shot of the masses!

A few of Sophie's younger fans! ( My two grand daughters and Sebastian)

Early in the evening, Bella (granddaughter) had mishap with a soccer ball and was in distress. She reluctantly posed for her grandfather to take our photo.

The darling graduate and not so darling lifetime friend. (I agreed to use this only because it was so darn cute of Sophia!)

A photo of the darling mother and daughter team together! How could she have a daughter that age?

The guests lingered. The weather held out. The food fed the multitude. The candles died.

All in all, the event was a success and enjoyed by all.

Sophia has grown into a beautiful young woman of integrity and a joy to all who know her.

Congratulations, Sophia!

The next chapter of life begins.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sneak Peek!

After only one more night until the wee hours of the morning...Black-eyed Susan (retail division) has been thoroughly flipped and we've ended up with a whole new look! And I will tell you that it's quite a bit different than giving my little Yardley 900 sq. ft. store a new look. Good and bad.

I haven't taken any fun shots of the new inspirations yet, but tonight at dusk I took a few shots of the new window display. Take a look!

I promise the window mullions are not royal blue! Whatever! The vision started with these three dining room chairs that were past their prime for everyday use. Several cans of favorite paint colors were scouted out from the stockroom-voila! A few coats later, darn cute props!

My new windows are proving to be quite challenging to work with. The visual distraction of the muntins and mullions are difficult. Having established quite a reputation for striking windows that are changed on a monthly basis, it's a bit frustrating. I guess time will help me figure out the best way to configure my displays.

I'm finding that daily, we have new customers stopping in saying "I keep passing by the store and wanting to stop in! Today's the day I finally pulled in." The windows are a big part of the draw. I decided to use my tag line of "MORE SPACE MORE STYLE"...

along with "YOUR COLOR" framed in an old baroque frame to suggest creative thinking.

The windows are a challenge, for sure. I"ll keep you posted every time I make a change and we'll see how I work it out!

And, for the record, Sneelock is very frustrated with photographing the windows as well. I'm pretty sure he would want me to admit that I'm the one who took these snapshots.


Note to self-new store challenges=bigger footprint/longer hours/difficult windows/hotter in summer/colder in winter...what else will I discover? Still, basically, it's all good.

Come see the magic.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Face

I just finished a total flip-flop of the retail least 6000 sq. ft. of the 10,000 sq. ft. footprint. Holy moly....I was missing my little 900 sq. ft. darling of a Yardley store about half way through!

After the manpower went home about 9:00p.m. it was a one woman show.

My arms are sore.
My feet are aching.
My brain is hibernating.
My legs hurt.
My eyes are tired.
My stomach is growling.

After 16 hours on my feet, I'm dead.

I might be missing my little Yardley boutique, but at midnight, I'm loving the 5 minute ride home.

I'll try to post some of my favorite vignettes in the next few days. I didn't think to capture the chaos.

Come see the magic!