Monthly Archives: June 2008

Garden Note #20: Dahlias

Summer wouldn’t be the same without the vibrant color of dahlias! I love how the owners surrounded this painted garden bench with several different kinds- Requiem, Inglebrook Jill, and Red Velvet.

(Photo- House and Garden)

Modern Dollhouse- 1948

I enjoy dollhouses and books or articles about them. I found an old used book at B&N recently. It’s a wonderful children’s guide called “How to Make Dolls and Dollhouses” written by Tina Lee and published in 1948. It has simple and sweet drawings showing how to make fabric dolls and shoebox dollhouses. One chapter shows how to construct a modern dollhouse. Since the term ‘modern’ was in its infancy in ’48, this was so intriguing! Here’s some selected excerpts about the “modern” doll house design:

They are simple in line, free from all ornament, and everything in them is supposed to serve a definite purpose. This absence of ornament does not mean that these houses are devoid of beauty. The very simple lines are sometimes beautiful in themselves…

…Always keep the outside as simple as possible. Use no unnecessary trimmings…

…Use lots of windows, and make these as large as you can. It’s not at all unusual to have one side of a room opening onto a garden…

...Paint the outside of your house white, light gray, or soft pink. Combine this with a bright color…

...Furnish a modern house with simple modern pieces. Boxes with details drawn on them…made to look like built-in pieces are exactly right. Cover the floors from wall to wall with felt. Pictures should be simple and not too many should be used. Remember not to use too much furniture in any one room, as an uncluttered open-space look is what you should always have.”

Isn’t it amazing how advanced the author, Tina Lee, was in her understanding of modern design!

Lil’Pix #53: Playing With Legos

A team of Italian artists led by Jan Vormann have taken it upon themselves to improve several crumbling building exteriors with legos. That’s right legos! Those brightly colored plastic construction toys that we and our kids have been playing with! The response has been positive- there are plans to work on three more villages! I say “Andare per esso!”

A Little House In Holland

As a child I loved to find little places to hide- a deep closet, a tree house or a potting shed. When I came across this small house that Miep Jukkema, a freelance fashion photographer uses as her country home, I fell in love. Just two hours from Amsterdam the cottage is as quiet and secluded as when the simple carpenter first constructed it in the 1930’s. Miep has done little to change it- keeping the rooms small and retaining the wood paneling. What is her decorating style? “I love old things. I like to be able to make them my own and be creative, whether it’s by changing a piece with new fabric or painting it. I also like to enter someone’s world, to be able to see the history of a piece.” She has no plans in selling the sweet little house in Holland. “To be honest, I want to be here all the time.” I don’t blame her one bit!

The brown house almost disappears amongst all the trees.

In Miep’s living room there’s a daybed that once belonged to her parents. The walls are filled with assorted pictures most of which come from second hand stores. The table and vase are favorite antiques.

The original paneling in the house is a wonderful background for an unusual grouping of objects- an old German clock, a striped Moroccan vase, and her own photos.

Placing her desk here helps with a favorite pastime- looking out the window at the forest beyond.

Much like the rest of the house, the bedroom reflects the country simplicity that Miep enjoys.

(Photos- British Elle Decor)

P.S. Another Cake Decorating Tip

A terrific idea to add to my post on cake decorating- this one is done in cut paper by artist Jeffery Rudell. You can learn to make it here.

Garden Note #19: Oakleaf Hydrangea

I took a small clipping from our oakleaf hydrangea bush that I planted last spring. I wasn’t sure if it would make it through last summer’s heat, but it has filled out with huge leaves and has eight blossoms…now seven!

Recycled bottle from Anthropologie. Blue and white paper at Martha Stewart Crafts.

(Photo- Martha B.)

Mary Jane Shoes

We’re all familiar with Mary Jane shoes- the style that typically has a single strap over the top of the foot, but are you familiar with their history?

Mary Jane and her well-known brother, Buster Brown, were the comic strip creations of Richard Outcault in the early 1900’s. They were so popular that Outcault sold his characters’ names to several companies. One was Brown Shoes who designed a simple leather shoe and called it “Mary Jane.” The shoes gained fame when the company used midgets as Buster and Mary Jane in national advertisements.

Mary Jane shoes have now become a classic among women. Here, a fantastic handmade pair by Hetty Rose.

Does anyone remember the name of Buster and Mary Jane’s dog?