Monday, March 31, 2008

Visions Of A Greenhouse!

Would love to have one like this - One day!
Picture from Victoria

One day I hope to have a glass greenhouse. I have always loved them! This may have to do with the fact my first grade teacher, Miss Grove, had one. She lived around the corner from me and my good pal Susan. So naturally, Susan (who has the same taste as yours truly) and I were always over there checking out her plants. I even recall her making Susan and me lunch a few times, and us enjoying it in her glass greenhouse filled with fragrant plants in the summertime.
Picture from Victoria

To me, a greenhouse is like a six-burner commercial grade Viking stove. Unfournately I’m not a big chef, nor do I have a huge family of ten to whip up dinner for, nor do I write cookbooks! I do however dabble in the food area and will occasionally try a new recipe from time to time. But I cannot really justify going out this minute and acquiring a big Viking stove! The same could be said about my gardening—I love plants, flowers, nature, and leafing through gardening books. But as my hubby has pointed out--I don’t really have a green thumb! He’s the one who gets stuck doing most of the planting, a talent he inherited from his mother.

So having a glass greenhouse is something I can’t really justify-yet! My little potting shed will have to do for now! After all, Miss Grove was married to a horticulturalist!

I've always been inspired by Edith Wharton's Greenhouse - Sorry about the picture! Again picture from Victoria -issue April 2001. Photographed by Jeff McNamara.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Visions Of Peonies!

After being in a grumpy mood this past Friday, I was very happy when my yard guy arrived to cut our weeds. This cheered me up and got me in the mood to start our long-awaited, and long-overdue, yard work. A few days prior, I finally spoke to my good buddy Cruella, who has been quite busy herself in her own yard-- weeding, transplanting, fertilizing, laying sixty-four bales of pine straw (quite true, she is very serious), and scouring the local Atlanta nurseries for new plants to plant. Anyway, Cruella was most excited, she had finally after all these years gotten some helpful tips for peonies. Cruella knows my love for peonies, so she shared her new advice with me! She said, peonies “should be cut back so that they will grow and bloom on new growth”. Note, peonies like the southern climate a little better then Lilacs, but not much more.

After being inspired by Cruella, I thought I would give peonies a go this spring! After all, my neighbor Eula, who is eighty-something, has them. I just bet she knows a thing or two herself on caring for peonies!

Thinking Of Savannah!

I thought I would mention to the all the garden enthusiast that the Savannah Garden & Antiques Exposition show is just around the corner--April 4th -6th to be exact. I love this show and I’ve had the privilege of participating in it before--selling my rose bowls & garden antiques. I’m always one to mix business with a little pleasure! The show is held in an open-air market 19th C. Railroad station. Needless to say, I was truly in my element while being at the show. After all, what more could one ask for in a weekend--beautiful plants, colorful spring flowers, a few fragrant herbs, a little dirt, some fresh air and most of all garden antiques! And who knows, maybe they’ll be playing Frank Sinatra’s I’ve Got You under My Skin!

Picture Courtesy of Cottage Living

The camellias will be in bloom, and I’m here to tell you they take their camellias very seriously! On top of this, there are garden walking tours, so you can check out all the beautiful blooming camellias and azaleas. Indeed, a nice way to spend your weekend!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Gardening Time - Visions Of Lilacs!

Picture Courtesy Of Martha Stewart Living

Since Spring has sprung here in Nashville and I can assure you it has (I have the allergies to prove it), late last night, I sent the hubby out to fetch some Benadryl so I could get some sleep. So far, Rolle, our Basset Hound, has been pretty good with his allergies. When I first started my antiquing business and I was home a wee bit more during the day, on one particular day I noticed Rolle hyperventilating. As a concerned mommy, I rushed him to his veterinarian. She said “no problem” he has allergies, and then she prescribed him some dogie medicine. I started to think, yep its March, that time of year. But over the years, his allergies have indeed gotten better.

Back to the subject of spring (and, indirectly, pollen), I thought this weekend would be a good time to start some gardening. I have called my yard guy to come by to give it a proper (still waiting for him to return my call) mow. On Saturday, I’ll put the hubby in charge of weeding and planting monkey grass—hey, he likes it! I know how to delegate!

Picture Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

I know that I won’t be planting Lilacs. I love them, but unfortunately cannot plant them here in Nashville. I first really noticed Lilacs when Cruella and I made our whirlwind antiquing trip to Brimfield Mass. in 2002. Beautiful Lilacs everywhere! Maggie, our B&B proprietor, even cut some so Cruella and I could enjoy them with our morning breakfast.

Upon moving to Nashville, one spring morning I was out for my mid-morning jog and I noticed some Lilacs. The homeowner was out taking pictures—so I had to stop to tell her how beautiful they were. She told me the whole story on how this was the first good bloom in years.

Pictures here & below Courtesy of Veranda.
Designer Kathryn Ireland, photography by Timothy Beddow

So last Spring, again while out jogging, I noticed some more Lilacs in our new neighborhood. So I naturally thought to myself—here’s my chance of finally getting Lilacs in my own yard! I know when I lived in Charleston and Atlanta they were out of the question. But with the weather patterns being different here in Nashville—and trust me they are–I thought there was some hope!

Home of Kathryn Ireland

After seeing yet some more Lilacs I immediately y spoke with a landscape designer and told her my big plans for Lilacs and she said, “Don’t even!” I of course was determined to get Lilacs so I got two more opinions and they all said the same thing. At least us Southerners have our hydrangeas. Speaking of which–I am off to check the weather forecast to make sure there’s no snow in sight for this weekend!

Next Peonies!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Kitchen Stuff Finale!

I love this kitchen with all the natural light and the beautiful Cowtan & Tout (key stripe) wallpaper. Picture courtesy Of House & Garden 2006 issues. Home of Jennifer Nicholson.

Today's kitchen pictures are simply for the mere fact that I like them! Plus I think they are a good example that's it's not always about the size!

Picture Courtesy of House Beautiful March 2008 issue.

I love this kitchen and would love to see more of it. You may think I'm a minimalist after seeing my dream kitchen, but I love a good display! It's the antiquer in me.

Picture Courtesy of Southern Accents - I've always loved this kitchen! It's red & I did say I'm a white kitchen type of girl. But after all, it is called the Zen Kitchen!

I always love glass cabinets in a kitchen!
Perhaps one day, I'll paint the back of mine! Picture Courtesy of Domino

Last but not least, who would not want to have their morning coffee here - I know I would! My personal favorite happens to be the roman shade fabric in jungle green. Picture Courtesy of Domino--issue Oct 2007-Interior Designer Celerie Kemble.

The END!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Yes, More Kitchen Stuff!

Picture Kate Spade Advertisement

Some other things I had my handyman guru carpenter guy do were install beadboard- my absolute favorite! Some may call it tongue & groove; I however, call it beadboard. This is when we had our first big disagreement. I thought we should put it on the ceiling, as well, as wrap it around the kitchen (my ceilings are lower in the kitchen); guru carpenter guy thought it would be too much—so for the sake of our relationship, I let him have his way!

Picture Courtesy of Southern Accents

Then I got my electrician guys, Dave & Jeff (always good for the neighborhood country music gossip) to install my retro pendant lights, and they fixed a lot of other little things so my house would not burn down. Then they added another power outlet so we could plug in the coffee maker. Once this was all finished, it was time for my handyman to come back and do the back splash – subway tiles—of course!

Lighting I choose - Picture from House Beautiful

So today’s pictures are pictures I pulled that are a lot closer to the reality of what my kitchen looks like—1930’s galley style kitchen, with a couple of farm animals (two canines) running around, a little architectural beadboard wrapped around and two thirds up the wall (still not on the ceiling) to give it some charm, retro lighting. Finally, some white subways tiles!

Picture Courtesy Of Country Living September 2005 issue

My kitchen looks a lot like this - now for that dishwasher!

Tomorrow--Kitchen Finale!

More On Kitchen Stuff!

Since I have made a decision regarding the floor—the next item I have to conquer is our Formica counter top. Just in case you have not noticed by now—I love carrara marble! Like anything else, I have done my research on carrara marble and I’m aware of the pros and cons it comes with. So I do indeed know exactly what I’m getting into if we install it. However, as I said earlier, hubby and I are nomadic so I don’t know if the next homeowners will love it and appreciate it as much as me! I even thought of doing a little pastry bakery area with it! But I’m still unsure. I do have the sink picked out and I’m ready to go once I have made a final decision on the countertop! We’ll see.

Yes, we have Formica and a few years ago I was quite happy to read in the May 2006 issue of Domino a feature with Vesta de Yampert Fort. She is an interior decorator from my hubby's home city, New Orleans, and she shared a tip from her former boss. Gerrie Bremermann, (whose work I very much admire), also from New Orleans. The tip had to do with Formica “She said never be afraid of white Formica –it's cheap and innocuous.” You know what, I have white Formica! One of the best little tips I’ve read and totally agree with. So this is another reason why I have just left the Formica, at least for the time being. But boy, I would love to have that carrara marble!

Picture Courtesy of Domino

So you may think, what has she done with a kitchen with no proper floor and Formica countertops and dreadful looking dishwasher! Let’s see, another kitchen I had pulled for inspiration was yet another kitchen from House Beautiful – Kitchen Of The Month. The homeowner here had painted her cabinets Benjamin Moore’s White Dove. I loved it and have used White Dove for trim in the rest of our cottage house as well. However, I used a high gloss oil based paint on my cabinets and they became a little more yellow than I actually wanted–such is life!

Pictures Courtesy of House Beautiful

Yes, more on kitchen stuff tomorrow!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Kitchen Stuff Continued!

Picture Courtesy Of House Beautiful

After writing yesterday’s blog I thought it would be nice to mention why I love that kitchen so much! Here they are my Top Ten Reasons as follows:

1. Perhaps it’s the very large beautiful Carrara honed marble island
2. Or it could be the open airy feeling with no upper cabinets
3. The retro industrial lighting helps - of course!
4. I love the fact that it’s just clean and simple with no clutter!
5. On top of this, I’ve always been a white kitchen type of girl
6. I’m definitely a huge fan of bead board!
7. I have always dreamt, even before I could cook, of having a Viking stove!
8. Have always dreamt, even before I drank coffee, of having a high-tech cappuccino machine!
9. Plus, who would not want all that natural light!
10. Overall, the end result—timeless classic elegance!

That truly captures me!

All the kitchens I gravitate towards, big, small and somewhere in-between, do have certain elements -which you will see. A few of these elements I have already incorporated into my own small kitchen.

Picture Courtesy of Southern Accents

Now, after freezing this past winter and putting on my mittens and scarf to fetch my morning coffee—I am in desperate need of a proper floor. Both the cold air and the dust from the basement just seep through the prominent cracks in the pine right now! I know last week, I said spring has sprung here in Nashville; however, the weather here in the South can be very deceiving, and especially here in Nashville! You can get all four season in one single day—I kid you not! Like today for instance. This morning—sunny, slightly cool and Springy. On my mid-morning jog—bitterly cold, snow flurries. Now, as I’m writing this blog—overcast in the early afternoon. In just this one day, it was wintry freezing and sunny comfortable all within a few hours.

So today’s pictures have to do with floors

Above Picture Courtesy of Cottage Living

Above Picture Courtesy of Domino

Picture Courtesy of Martha Stewart's " Decorating With Color"

For the sake and cost of my flooring installation I am leaning towards VCT tiles. Some of you may ask what VCT is. Vinyl Composition Tile is used in commercial installations. I have had installed VCT tiles before, I like the price, and with this type of flooring, I can keep my checkerboard floor pattern. If the hubby and I were not nomads and if I weren’t already planning our next house—I would probably splurge and do wood, which we had in our very first house.

More Kitchens tomorrow!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Kitchen Stuff!

All Pictures Courtesy of House Beautiful 2007 isssue
(Kitchen Of The Month)

Last week, I spoke of how I was going to call my beloved handyman so we could continue where we left things off this past fall. First, I should explain why I love my beloved handyman:

1. He returns my phone calls!
2. He shows up!
  • He shows up on time.
  • He even shows up early!
3. He knows what I like & can read my mind
4. He goes the extra mile!
5. He brings me flowers (just kidding)!

With that said, I now need to put him back to work in my kitchen. And you know what? A floor would be nice! I do have a floor, if you want to call it that—wood plank sub flooring that we painted (hubby actually painted & I told him what to do) in a checkerboard pattern. This was done to buy us some time until we could figure out what we wanted to do with our kitchen, expand, counters, etc... Before moving into the house the seven layers of existing flooring (asbestos, linoleum) had to go! Plus, the top layer peel & stick tiles was indeed very ugly and looked liked it had been installed by a five-year-old. I do love my checkerboard floor and the hubby does have talent for drawing and painting. He has quite a steady hand and should have been an ophthalmologist-oh well! Now it’s been a year, and time to make a decision on the kitchen floor- I would hate to spend another winter with sub flooring. Winters here in Nashville get mighty, mighty cold, and turning my oven on first thing in the morning is not going to cut it! I truly envy people with proper kitchen floors but also the ones with heated flooring—how nice!

Last year, around this time I pulled the following kitchens for inspiration, the first one being my dream kitchen (House Beautiful -Kitchen Of The Month) with a butler’s pantry—which I’ve always wanted. Granted, you could put my kitchen in that butler’s pantry! Hey, it’s always nice to think big!

The Kitchen belongs to Judith Barrett, cookbook writer - No Doubt!

Above - Her Pantry That I Love!

Some Nice Touches To Capture The Look

More on kitchen stuff tomorrow!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Has Sprung Here In Nashville!

The daffodils are in full bloom, the birds are chirping, our new little Chow mix (Ellie) is having fun barking at the squirrels (highly annoying our neighbors in the process) and Rolle the Bassett Hound is expecting his daily walk to the park. Last but not least, the painters, the handymen and the real estate agents are all out in full force and patrolling my neighborhood! With that said—it reminds me of all the stuff I have left undone since the fall. This past fall, I had to give up my beloved carpenter (pity, and the relationship was going so well). I was hoping to bring him back in January for my much-awaited closet reconfiguration; But, alas, it wasn’t meant to be—mostly because of many unplanned, near-disasters, such as furnace issues (no heat) and shower & plumbing issues (no water)!

Picture Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

Anyhow, now that spring has sprung, I’m calling my beloved handyman! And what a find! After all when you find a really good one, you will sit by the phone and anxiously await his return call. And yes, he does plumbing too! In the meantime, until he gets here, I told the hubby to shut up and take baths, and pretend he was at a quaint European bed & breakfast! More on house stuff next week! Happy Easter!

Picture Courtesy Williams-Sonoma

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Easter Time!

Last night I was leafing through my Williams-Sonoma catalog and noticed they were offering several complimentary technique classes this month—that I unfortunately have already missed with the exception of Cooking with Balsamic Vinegar, which is scheduled for March 30th. However, the two that I would have enjoyed were Easter Cupcake Decorating or Easter Egg Decorating. I always say I’m going to take a class but somehow never seem to find the time. My neighbor Sandy—the type who makes her own ravioli noodles (which she gladly shares with me and my hubby) worked for Williams-Sonoma over the holidays, and even brought me over a schedule. I even missed those classes. Perhaps Mother’s Day!

All Pictures Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

Anyway, I love Easter and I always try to color eggs and do Easter baskets for my thirty-plus- year-old husband and twelve year old basset hound, Rolle. Now, I’ll get to add one for our new addition, our one-year-old Chow mix, Ellie, whom we just recently adopted from the Humane Society. However, cooking a full Easter Brunch just depends on our mood, where we are, etc... Thanksgiving & Christmas we almost always cook!

A few years ago Michael and I did cook Easter Brunch; actually it was dinner by time we finished. I put Michael in charge of Ina’s (Barefoot In Paris) Roast Duck and I was in charge of the Williams-Sonoma’s Coconut Cake with lime curd filling. I forget who handled the asparagus and all the stuff in between. The point is we had a lot of food for just two people and a hound dog who cannot even eat sweets. Yes! I overdo the thirty-plus-year-old’s Easter basket.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy Spring!

Picture Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

A few weeks ago as I was coming out of Starbucks with my tall Misto (in New Orleans they would call it a Cafe Au Lait, coffee & cream) in hand, I was stopped by a reporter from the Tennessean -she wanted to know if I was feeling the crunch and cutting back on luxury things. With the word luxury, several things began spinning around my head!

So the first thing I said to her was, -“Luxury means different things to different people”. I did not tell her this but for some - such as my friend Cruella—it means buying makeup from the drugstore and splurging on a $150 black Papier Mache crumber – she would not even know what a black Papier Mache crumber was so I did not go that route. However, I did tell her one thing that I could not cut out was my hair, I did not go into great detail because it would have taken more time then she would have cared to have heard; after all, it has taken me several years to explain it to my Hubby. I do know some women consider hair a luxury, especially every three weeks; even Cruella thinks that is luxury - but trust me, this is not because I must have Golden Chestnut Brown with red sparkling highlights - it’s because I refuse to look like Miss Daisy way before my time! Plus, deep down, I know if I attempt it myself, it will turn out bright orange and cost me more money in the long run. So yes! This actually saves me money! Also, as many of you know, a lot of women take their hair very seriously. While living in Charleston, I once bumped into women who traveled once a month from Atlanta to Charleston to have her hair done. After telling my hubby this, he then cooled it with the hair cost -after all, I could walk to my hair dresser.

Since I was holding my Starbucks, I thought I would should share with her my story from circa 2001 –I told her I felt the crunch back then, and cut out the pricy skinny lattes and the cappuccinos after my hubby had noticed that the month of January my Starbucks bill was close to 400.00.

After leaving her and talking about the luxury of coffee -I was able to ponder the question a little more – luxury and feeling the crunch! So here are my thoughts, which I could probably write a whole book on, but for the sake of this exercise I’ll keep it short and to the point.

Picuture courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

Flowers are probably considered luxury. I enjoy fresh flowers in the house - not expensive floral arrangement but very simple arrangements that take me five seconds to do. This is an argument my hubby gave up a long time ago, and now he comes to expect them by his bedside and in his bathroom. One flower I love that I won’t buy too much anymore are tulips. I bought them for a garden show in Savannah --huge, huge mistake -they don’t last very long (when I do buy them I want to last for a week or so). However, daffodils don’t last very long but I can cut them from my yard, and free is always good in this economy! Happy Spring!

Pictures Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living