Monthly Archives: February 2008

Spools Of String, Twine And Thread

At the hardware store today I came across a bin full of twine. What caught my eye were the fun colors. I was tempted to buy a couple just to put in a bowl and set it on the dining room table. Spools of string, twine or embroidery thread can provide some fun craft projects or simply be appreciated as they are.

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Skip the oranges and buy twine. Wouldn’t these be great in a big wooden bowl?

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Hang a spool of twine above a workbench or potting table where you can reach it.

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A simple package made special by the addition of red and white twine.

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In place of a vase try using a pile of embroidery spools and slipping in a test tube to hold flowers.

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I’d love to try this- a vintage spool of twine made into a lamp.

Update: More ideas for twine here.

(Photos-  Hen and Hammock, Loop, Every Day With Rachael Ray, French Maison)

The Family Dog

For years our son led a campaign for a dog. He showed us pictures, researched dog breeds, and on our walks gave us the top ten dog names he had come up with. And like all good campaigns fought with diligence, he won. We bought a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and our lives have never been the same. The name we voted on as a family was Jasper. Jasper is over a year old and he continues to delight and frustrate us. I guess that means he’s a member of the family now.

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We picked Jasper up from the breeder’s home when he was ten weeks old.

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A boy’s best friend!

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Our puppy quickly turned into this hairy monster! Jasper is eighteen months old and weighs thirty five pounds.

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Instead of Christmas cookies last year, we gave “Jasper Cookies”.

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I did this quick water color painting of Jasper during the summer.

If I Were A Color…

As a frequent visitor to Barnes and Noble, I enjoy looking through the Interior Design section for new releases. One odd-sized book caught my eye. It was “Dressing The Home: The Private Spaces of Top Fashion Designers” by Marie Bariller. I flipped through the pages that had lots of great pictures, but it was the text that was the most interesting. The author had asked the designers thought-provoking questions and then had simply recorded their answers. It felt as though I were eavesdropping on stimulating and revealing conversations. Here are six of her questions along with my answers.

1. If you were a color, what would you be?

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I would be the color green. Green is like gardens filled with plants that under the right conditions thrive and grow. I love to learn and grow.

2. If you were a piece of furniture, what would you be?

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I would be a well-loved family chair with a white slip cover. I’m not an elegant or fancy chair. I’m straightforward, reliable, and comfortable. My quirkiness is the purple floral stencil on it.

3. If you were a house, what would you be?

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I would be a 17th-century English cottage. One of my dearest friends told me I have an old soul. I think that’s true. I appreciate modern design and conveniences, but my heart loves the past.

4. If you were an era, which one would you be?

Now! I can’t imagine being in a different one.

5. If you were a painting, what would you be?

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I would be a drawing of a mother with her child by painter Mary Cassatt. I feel there are many paintings that I could be, but this is who I am now. There has been no greater joy for me than to become a mother.

6. If you were fabric, what would you be?

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I would be simple cotton.

Now it’s your turn. Let me know what you would be.

Masterpiece + Designer = Original Wedding Gown

Art and fashion often go hand in hand, each pulling inspiration from the other. Now more than ever, designers are delving into the library of masterpieces looking for fresh ideas to create something original. In this month’s issue of French Oui magazine, bridal designers presented their gowns based on a popular artist. Most of the dresses are spot on with their inspirational paintings. Others are a bit of a stretch. But they all are unique!

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An Impressionist painter, Edgar Degas (b.1834-d.1917) painted outside of his studio searching for the effects of natural light, realism, and movement. Some of Degas’ best known works are of ballet dancers preparing for and during a show.

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Using Degas’s ballet paintings, Nathalie Durieux designed this taffeta dress with a blue satin ribbon.

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Claude Monet (b.1840-d.1926) began to experiment with the effects of natural light. In 1883, he rented and later purchased his house at Giverny. He spent the next forty-five years designing and painting his gardens. The Gardens at Giverny are some of the most beautiful in the world. Monet’s painting above is called “Poppies near Argenteuil.”

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Inspired by Monet’s red poppies, Julien Thomas has created this organza wedding dress with hand-painted flowers.

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Jacques-Louis David (b.1784-d.1825) was an artist and one time director of art during the French Revolution. His paintings were characterized by heroic and classical themes. This painting entitled “Madame Recaimer,” done in 1800, was of a young and beautiful socialite at the time.

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Olivier Freine designed this lovely white gorgette dress based on David’s painting.

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Jean-Honore Fragonard (b.1784-d.1825) showed early talent in art and pursued it with passion. Wealthy patrons encouraged him to paint scenes of lavish lifestyles and frivolity such as “The Swing” above. It’s interesting to note that soon after the exhibit of such works, the French Revolution began. This war caused major social and political upheaval with peasants pitted against their rich landlords.

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Having Fragonard’s painting has her muse, designer Ana Quasoar created this two piece ensemble. It’s made up of a rose-colored satin bodice and a chiffon skirt.

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John William Waterhouse was born in Rome in 1849 to artistic parents. Their influence led him to pursue a life of painting. His early works were of Italian themes and scenery. Later he focused on works based on classical mythology and English poetry. Waterhouse painted “The Lady of Shalott” in 1888 inspired by Alfred Tennyson‘s poem of the same name.

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In the spirit of “The Lady of Shalott,” Monique Germain made this beautifully draped silk dress.

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Alfons Mucha was born in 1860 in what is now the Czech Republic. He followed his dream of joining the Parisian art community only to become penniless until he was asked to create a poster for a play that starred Sarah Bernhardt. This painting, called “The Seasons” depicting the seasons as women, revealed a new way of painting that met with great critical acclaim.

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Atelier Manon Pascual captures Mucha’s painting in this lovely blue layered wedding dress.

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Coming from a wealthy family Edouard Manet(b.1832-d.1883) didn’t need to earn a living from his paintings. Nevertheless he poured himself into his work and created wonderfully realistic art. Thus he was known as a “Realist Painter.” Sadly, his paintings met with little recognition until late in his life. His friend and fellow painter Paul Gauguin said of him, “Painting began with Manet.”

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This model could easily be sitting with the family in Manet’s portrait. Her dress is designed by Perry Ah Why.

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Tiziano Vecellio aka Titien was born in 1490 near Venice, Italy. He was a talented Renaissance artist who later became Venice’s official court portrait painter. This painting was done for Nicholas and Laura Bagarotto Aureli’s wedding day.

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Looking at Titien’s works, creators Costantino & Ravaillac designed this taffeta dress.

Then&Now: The Sound Of Music

Call me a hopeless romantic, but I love musicals. My favorite has always been “The Sound of Music.” I remember seeing it on television as a kid and wishing for a large singing Austrian family to adopt me! When I saw this layout in Bazaar Magazine based on the musical, I went looking for my parent’s old record album. A booklet inside the album gives production information on the film and shows lots of pictures. I’ve placed some of those with the recent Bazaar magazine photographs.

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The opening scene of “The Sound of Music” with Julie Andrews singing her heart out!

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Model Eva Herzigova plays the role of “Maria” in this fashion shoot. She’s wearing a black dress and blouse by Chanel.

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Maria is late again. What are the nuns to do?

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“How do you solve a problem like Maria?” Perhaps a dress and belt by Fendi might help.

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Maria struggles to gain confidence through a song, a tweed suit and a hat.

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“I have confidence in me…and Michael Kors!” His tailored jacket, blouse, and skirt. Tracy Watts created the hat.

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Frightened by thunder, the van Trapp children gather in Maria’s room.

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“A few of my favorite things…” would include this dress from Roberto Cavalli.

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Here they come! The van Trapp children on bikes and wearing clothing made from Maria’s bedroom curtains!

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Model Eva Herzigova joins the bike brigade! She wears a dress, blouse, and tights all by Prada.

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The most romantic scene in movie history is when Captain van Trapp (Christopher Plummer) and Maria confess their feelings for one another.

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Being in the arms of the one you love and wearing a beautiful dress- what more could you want?! This one is designed by John Galliano for Dior, the necklace is from Kara Ross.

StyleFile #27: Desk Set

A desk set is really nothing more than a table with a chair pulled up next to it. Ahh…but the numerous creative combinations of the two are endless!

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Retro fun comes with this desk outfitted with cool collectibles like the typewriter, metal stool and the over-sized clock.

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A perfect spot for a desk- a bank of large windows!

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This set was squeezed into a guest room. The owner displays her quirky collection of portraits.

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I love how this desk is nestled in between the built-in bookshelves. Note how pictures are hung on the shelves as well as the walls. Very chic!

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Simplicity is key to this arrangement. Just the essentials but they are great ones!

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A wall in the living room serves as a spot for a vintage desk and tubular chair. Above the desk is a star constellation map.

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The bold use of color makes this combination work. The graphic rug was the jumping-off point for the painted shelves and furniture.

(Photos- Living Etc., House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Blue Print)

Then&Now: If We Were To Do It All Over

My husband and I celebrated another wedding anniversary this past January. It got me thinking about our wedding day. Then Kathryn and I began our fun bridal posts… and Anne at Perfect Bound asked me to put together a bridal registry. With all my waking thoughts being wedding related, it inspired me to think about what we would do differently if we had to do a wedding all over again. Here’s my list of what we did Then and what we would do Now.

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Then: custom invitation Now: Esty card

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Then: diamond engagement ring Now: pearl

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Then: January wedding Now: June

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Then: blue dinnerware Now: white

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Then: large wedding Now: small, intimate

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Then: Vintage 1972 Volkswagen Beetle Now: 2004 convertible

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Then: silk floral bouquet Now: real

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Then: three tiered cake Now: dessert table

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Then: long hair Now: pixie cut

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Then: white shoes Now: metallic

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Then: bridesmaid- Oscar de la Renta skirt pattern Now: J.Crew dress

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Then: blue suit Now: khaki suit

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Then: vogue wedding dress pattern Now: Priscilla of Boston

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Then: honeymoon in Vermont Now: Maine

Then: worry Now: relax and enjoy!

Photos- Etsy(invitation), Sundance (ring), Crate and Barrel(table setting), Snippet and Ink(church), Perfect Bound(car), Real Simple(flowers), Style Me Pretty(dessert table), Stiletto Shoe, J.Crew(dress), Tommy Hilfiger(suit), The Knot(bridal dress)

Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Warm regards,

Martha B.

StyleFile #26: The Hat Scene Of 1968

In the late 1960’s teen-age idols like Francoise Hardy, Mia Farrow, and Geraldine Chaplin were shaking up the fashion world by wearing hats- not just any hats, but men’s hats- derbies, caps and ten gallons. These photographs from a 1968 Look Magazine claim that “like the popular mini-skirts, hats are making their way up the fashion ladder.”

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A wide-brimmed felt hat by Halston is worn by Penelope Tree. Her white linen sashed dress designed by Stan Herman sold for $45.

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Reading the current “Police Gazette”was Prue Hooper looking rather Chaplinesque in her straw derby hat by Halston, Mister Pants suit, and a polka-dot tie from Tie City.

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The model Murphy Damron talked with artist Peter Max while wearing her bright yellow felt derby from Mary Quant.

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Designer Diana Dew showed off a pair of striped pants of reflecting orange and gray that sold for $25. Check out her felt cowboy hat and jacket that have a light-up star. The motorcycle was a Harley-Davidson Sportster XLH.

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Wearing an outfit of her own design- matching checked pants and cap, Suzi Murphy relaxes with her dog named “Broadway at 46th Street.” Behind her is co-owner of the Elaine restaurant, Donald Ward.

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Under a Bergdorf purple wool crepe cap worn to one side is Penelope Tree.

Snazzy Suits For Men-1967

In the summer of 1967, fashion designer John Weitz encouraged men to buy suits- not navy blue or gray- that wouldn’t do! He promoted suits in high visibility colors and patterns using his pitch- “Brother, look at the peacock! Men will love them.” American men, or at least their wives!, listened to this German-born designer. They bought not only suits, but his newly licensed socks, ties, and cologne.

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Cocktail time at the Weitz home. John is on the right wearing the blue suit with red dots.  In the foreground and at left are Worsham Rudd wearing red and white checked suit with his reclining wife, actress Julia Meade. In the background Jerry Allen wears another Weitz suit in stripes.

(Photo- Look Magazine)