Monthly Archives: December 2007

Wedding Inspiration Board: A French Orchard

Wedding inspiration boards are so much fun to create. In a previous post, I mentioned a contest at Style Me Pretty where I made a board for an imaginary wedding. I enjoyed doing it so much that I tried several more.

The painting “Orchard With Blossoming Apricot Trees” by Vincent Van Gogh became the inspiration for this wedding board. I love the colors he used, especially the white and pale pink blossoms and the blue touches in the tree bark.

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I picture a romantic French orchard wedding with blossom-filled trees, white linen tables with paint brushes in jars as centerpieces. An artist could be hired to set up his easel and paint the bride and groom during the whole proceedings. To keep things from being too “saccharine sweet”, I would have the groom wear a swanky velvet jacket unbuttoned. The bride would wear blue, open-toed shoes to show off bright pink toenails!

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1st: French garden; antique hair ornament (Miriam Haskell) ; white blossoms

2nd: paint brushes; Van Gogh painting; black velvet suit (Claiborne Menswear) with silver tie (2002 Ties)

3rd: blue shoes (J.Crew) ; place setting; children in white

To see more wedding inspiration boards, check out Kathryn’s at Snippet&Ink.

Words and the Woods

“When I was a child I haunted the woods. The two essential components of my imagination were my fascination with the natural world and with language. I loved especially the sounds of words. We were fortunate in our house to have an unabridged dictionary. I explored it every day for new words and I would go out into the woods behind our house and shout my latest discovery and listen to it reverberate. I considered it my duty to give my new words to the elements, to scatter them. The woods were the perfect audience.” - Stanley Kunitz (Poet Laureate)

This paragraph is from the book “The Wild Braid” by Stanley Kunitz . I love the image of a young boy going into the woods and shouting out his favorite words. It makes me think about words that I love. Imagination. Imagination. I love the sound of that word. Imagination. I think of long hours playing with my sister, creating things out of paper and clay, writing stories just for myself, or being in our pool floating on a raft daydreaming. I recently began a list of words. I refer back to it and add more words when I hear them. Maybe my next step should be to take a few words to the woods and scatter them. What do you think? What words do you love?

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(Photo- Martha B.)

One House, Two Different Owners

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sell your house and then see what the new owners did with it? That’s what happened to the owner of this house in Long Island- the architect/interior designer Steve Gambrel. He bought an eighteenth century former boarding house and began the process of restoration. He installed baseboards, mercury glass doorknobs and this…

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…historically and architecturally appropriate Federal-styled staircase. Notice how thin the newel post and balusters are. After he finished the house, he sold to Margot Brunelle and her husband- “It already had so much character you almost didn’t want to decorate it. Some of Steve’s colors worked well for us, so we kept them. Why fix what isn’t broken?”

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The color blue that Steve had painted in the foyer remained. However, the thin newel post and balusters were redone.

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Steve’s living room was painted chalk white and he hung a mirror over the fireplace. A unique black chair with a curved back and other selected furnishings showed Steve’s love of various styles.

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The wall color remains in the same living room, but Margot replaces the mirror above the fireplace with a nautical print. She also introduces stripes in her choice of chair and sofa (not shown here).

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Steve’s small library was outfitted with a colorful sofa and rug. The American Empire chair came from his college days.

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Working with the same wall color, Margot decides to use a white slip-covered sofa and chair. An antique trunk replaces Steve’s coffee table. Chartreuse lamp bases are fun alternatives to his floor lamps.

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This was Steve’s green dining room with painted chairs and bamboo blinds.

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Margot kept the green, and added similar chairs, a light fixture, and an extra table.

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Steve’s master bedroom was limited to white and light blue.

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Margot’s master bedroom keeps the white and adds shaker-inspired furniture- the bed and the table.

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Here, Steve’s guest room had a family heirloom bed reaching the ceiling.

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This room was altered by Margot the most. She installed delightful wallpaper and orange-red accessories. As new owners, Margot and her husband did a wonderful job preserving the old house Steve spent so much time and effort perfecting. At the same time, they managed to create a home uniquely theirs.

(Photos of Steve Gambrel’s home by Elle Decor, August 2001.Photos of Margot Brunelle’s home by House Beautiful, June 2007)

KidFile #6: Art Fun From A Vintage Magazine

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Art inspiration can come from many places-this time, from an old Life magazine from 1970. An article, illustrated with delightful drawings by Bob Shein and Robert Tallon, suggested several fun ways to use ink for drawing and creating hand puppets. Taking a cue from the article, I had my son and his friends draw simple line drawings of animals. Then they filled in the animal bodies with inky thumb prints.

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The work in progress.

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A wild creature with finger spots and stripes!

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Next, Curt and his friends traced their hands and made funny pictures out of them.

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Lastly, I had the kids create hand puppets as suggested in the same article. Lucky for me, I had a box of fabric scraps, bits of yarn, ribbon, buttons, and other assorted things for crafting. I let the kids go through it and choose what they wanted to use.

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The kids had fun experimenting with different ideas for their puppets. The results are below.

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Rebecca’s fashionable lady hand puppet complete with yarn hair, black eyes, and pink lips.

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Abe Lincoln, on the right, designed by Curt has pencil eyes, fur beard, and black paper hat. Daniel’s puppet, on the right, is a man with paper eyes and fur hat.

(Photos- Life magazine, Martha B.)

The Day After Christmas

The day after Christmas is a mixture of relief and sadness. Relief that the demands of that day are done and I can at last relax. Sadness that another Christmas has come and gone. The picture below is a painting done by Jamie Wyeth. It expresses how I feel today.

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(Photo- Life Magazine, 1971)

The Christmas Light

When our son Curtis was a toddler, he always liked getting up early- very early- sometimes 5:30 a.m! We told him that he could do this as long as he stayed in his room. We showed him how to switch on his overhead light, find his books, and read quietly until we got up. Around the Christmas holidays, he asked when Christmas was. I came up with the idea of the light in his room. I told Curt that when he turned on his light in the morning and if it was red then it was Christmas. Every day he would check it. When we did this on that first Christmas, he was so excited and called out, “It’s red! Today is Christmas!” Of course that woke us up! Curt is older now and doesn’t need to be told what day Christmas will be, but nevertheless asks me to go ahead and put the red light bulbs in. It has become a Christmas tradition.

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On Christmas eve, we install these red light bulbs into Curt’s bedroom ceiling light fixture.

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In the morning he turns on his light and the room is bathed in red. “It’s Christmas, Mom and Dad!”.

(Photos-  Martha B.)

Wooden Christmas Stocking

Instead of hanging woven stockings try this alternative. Take an antique wooden sock dryer and back the holes with old photographs. If you don’t want to use actual photographs simply scan the ones you want on your computer. You can do color, black and white, or sepia pictures. Add colored ribbon to the top and you have a Christmas stocking and a place to show your photographs. Other options for the cutouts could be computer printed Christmas words like Joy, Peace and Love. Also try vintage holiday cards, post cards, wrapping paper, or fabric.

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Ribbons used here available at the Container Store.

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(Photos- Martha B.)

StyleFile #15: Oh, Dear! No Deer!

There seems to be a lot of interest in taxidermy like the deer head below. Deer, moose, elk, and wild game heads are showing up on walls in both traditional and modern homes. If you like the idea…

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… but can’t get Bambi’s mother out of your mind, try these alternatives.

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These heads are crafted of plywood that’s harvested from sustainable forests. Available at Vivre.

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The Curiosity Shop offers this carved wood deer head.

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A deer head sculpture by Michael Combs hangs on the wall of this foyer.

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For the modernist, try the Vivre polished aluminum deer head.

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A custom deer head from Hinson & Company.

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It looks like alabaster but this deer head is made of resin. At The Curiosity Shop.

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Put this inflatable deer head in your child’s bedroom. He’ll love it. From Baron Bob.

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Another option for children and adults is this faux fur covered one from Animal Head.

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If you’re the artist of the family, you could purchase a canvas and paint the silhouette of a deer.

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I couldn’t help adding these last two pictures. A collection of vintage deer figurines under a potted Christmas tree…

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…and this wonderful deer card from Greenwich Letterpress.

(Photos- British Elle Decor, Living Etc. Elle Decor, Domino, Martha Stewart Living)

StyleFile #14: Vintage Wedding Dress Patterns

While at an antique store in North Carolina, I came across a box filled with vintage wedding patterns from the 1940s to the 1990s. I pulled them out of the box one by one and marveled at the designs. So many of them could be worn as bridal dresses today. I didn’t purchase any of them, but when I got home I checked eBay. I found a lot of them are available including my own. Can you guess which bridal dress pattern I used?

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circa: 1940-1950

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circa: 1940-1950

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circa: 1950-1960

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circa: 1960-1970

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circa: 1970-1980

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circa: 1970-1980

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circa: 1970-1980

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circa: 1970-1980

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circa: 1970-1980

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circa: 1980-1990

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circa: 1980-1990

KidFile #5: A Letter To Santa

In the excitement of Christmas, I sometimes forget to take pictures. As Curt has gotten older, those pictures of past Christmases have become cherished memories. When Curt was eight, he wanted to leave Santa some cookies. I had given all the baked cookies to neighbors. All that was left was a container of Trader Joe’s alphabet cookies. At first Curt was upset until I explained the cookies we had were healthy ones. Better for Santa’s weight problem. Here is his sweet note to Santa on Christmas eve.

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And Santa’s reply to him.

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(Photos- Martha B.)