February 19, 2011

Crossing the Pond

It's upon me and virtually nothing on my before I go "TO DO List" is complete.............my darling step-dad, Bob has taken gravely ill and we have held vigil at the hospital. All thankfully, is looking up. Guilt is my current partner as we pray for his continued improvement. 

So, off it is to the charming village of Sherborne England, south of London, in what is known as "Thomas Hardy Country" of thatched cottages, castle ruins, medieval squares and an abundance of charm.

My long held dream of writing a book is finally here.  Failure looms, trying.......well, what is there to lose other than the "what if's"

 I also need the time to reflect, to quiet my mind, to think........2010 was unlike any other. I embrace the thought of solitude.
 But, at night? First things first, I must become acquainted with the local pub. Traveling solo is a license to stretch beyond your comfort zone and usually the rewards are memory making
I say I won't, after all my new Sketchers are coming with me, but the local tea shops have scones with clotted cream. Have you ever had the real clotted cream, from Devon? OMG!
 Dearest friends, Sylvia and Joe are allowing me the use of the cottage on their grounds for 5 weeks! My gratitude is unending
(Dear Father Time....... please go slowly)
Long thoughtful walks will be in order
OH NO..............Not again!
I can feel him practically breathing down my neck, we'll be so much closer......All I have to do is.....
bring 'Pride and Predjudice'

Or write about      My own Mr. Darcy      But since I will be attempting non-fiction the fates are against me.
I love the differences between our two countries and the similarities, we do after all speak the same language........sort of.......
Having been many times and having taken numerous small groups over the years visiting gardens and antiquing, I have learned so much; and often the hard way

ME:     "oh what a charming plant what is it?"
CLERK  "mind your own business!"  was the sharp retort
ME      "I am sorry, you must have misunderstood. I was inquiring on the plant name"
CLERK   "mind your own business!" in a stronger tone
ME:     "I uh, well I uh only...."
CLERK:   "Oh it's been so long since an American asked.......bending over laughing.....that is what the plant is called here!"
Note to anyone interested, we refer to it as 'Baby Tears'. Helxine is the botanical name
MY FRIEND ANGELA:   "yes let's cross the lane and see the old house, I have a key" "just wait a moment while I get a torch"
ME:  "Isn't that dangerous, a bit overkill?" thinking to myself, this is a very old building
Note: torch = flashlight

On our very first visit, in our typical travel fashion, Steve and I rented a car and headed south without a care, nor a reservation. "Let's see what we find along the way!" was our mantra. Add jet lag and a learning curve..........driving on the other side of the road. As we headed deeper into the countryside warning signs became increasingly dire



then the ominous DANGER; LORRY'S AHEAD!

What kind of an animal is this?! How big are they???

Note; Lorry = Truck    

ME to STEVE; "How odd, this village is posting signs about a BOOT sale in this field tomorrow". "And with such fanfare!, balloons, signs everywhere......it's july how many boots can people have to sell?!"
Note;  Boot = Trunk, as in "Come, open your trunk and sell from it!"

One of the joys of the countryside and it's major past time is garden visiting. Large public gardens that once surrounded a castle and moat, a Duke's Estate, you name it...... But, I will tell you that the very best are the deeply rural private gardens. A perfect way to engage with the locals and their customs. Every proper garden open for visitors offers tea and cakes for sale. Naturally there are no strip malls (thankfully) nor many spots to pop in and grab a water for MILES. And very unlike the locals, I dislike tea, immensely.

It was hot and I was terribly thirsty

ME   "Do you possibly offer a beverage other than tea?"
ME    "Did you say Squash, as in juice?"
T. ATTENDANT;  "yes mam, I did"
ME:  "Then squash it is", ever so meekly
T. ATTENDANT;  "There you are, do enjoy!"
ME......wait this is...... o r a n g e  juice, freshly "squashed"

I adore the British; their quirky sense of humor, "proper" mannerisms, yes...the food, their history, gardens, architecture, antiques, decor.....ALL   
Stay tuned, life is an adventure and I will take you with me, vicariously.
I never traverse the straight and narrow, but the "road unseen", Consequences? ALWAYS..........


Of course! The perfect pillow
Anything I should look for over there while shopping? Do tell!

A note to my clients.........I will still be working, but that part did not make for a good story........know to contact me any time; debra@scentimentalgardens.com

February 13, 2011

NYC Gift Show....Accessories


The elements that give our environments personality are the accessories.

In this, 'Part Two' of the gift show series, I could not wait to share these noted trends and personal favorites
Felted Wool  My long time favorite is everywhere.......love these colorful cushions

Actually this is a small area rug, can't wait to share what I will be doing with this....... and no, not on the floor

Tongue-in-cheek pillows with many charming sayings and colors feel like felted wool but are not. Embracing the heavy theme of renewable, these pillows are made from recycled plastic water bottles. Even better.....so it the insert!

Over the Moon for this product!  Dinner and cocktail napkins plus place mats all dispensed from a   "paper towel like" roll. See the beautiful binding and all the colors? They actually feel and look like linen but are a renewable material that you can wash up to 8 times without ironing and toss.....they are biodegradable. 
Great for an impromptu, a picnic, on the boat, as a hostess gift.................. 

Recycled wood bits formed into a mirror. Yes, we
have seen these before, however the addition of
hammered silver on the tips and interior are new.

Stunning 7' mirrors lined in hammered silver plate
Favorite?  Hands down!!! This chandelier has made it to the Chicago shop and is already up and beaming
The diameter is 30" and makes quite a statement, smaller sizes available but I opted for drama

Lacquer and orange were mentioned in part one as a huge hit. As a perennial favorite for pops of color  mix it with pink. Pull it off with minor changes, that is if your palette is neutral, via pillows, lamp shades and accent pieces.

Very lightweight and fresh for Spring  

Faux Alligator, Ostrich, Cobra..........
Many booths still focus on the bus blind/subway graphics......EMPTY, OVER and DONE! Mind you I say this with a touch of regret. Having sourced real bus blinds from England and having them mounted, way ahead of the curve, leaves me (and possibly several clients) well, ticked e v e r y time I look at mine........

KILLER!!  Remember my mentioning how hot Lucite and Acrylic are? These had me at first glance. I ordered the clear and frosty acrylic horns for a brilliant display when blended together.
Do you know the difference between the two materials?
Acrylic is poured, Lucite is "sheet-like" which is molded and bent.

Wanted to share this gorgeous display.
 John Derian plates overlapped, create dimension, shadows and depth of interest 

Hemp/Sisal area rug but oh that pattern! Reminds me of a rug Nate Berkus owns. Not from personal experience, sadly. Wasn't this on an Elle Decor cover?
PS:  everytime i think of nate i also think of Jenny at MFAMB blog, her song immediately plays in my head....you too?

Fiberclay;  pots, urns, fountains and this. Imagine the possibilities......indoors, outdoors, holding flowers,
candles, especially torch like with all the hardware.

While in NYC I stopped by a RUE launch.
A friend already commented on the "oh so 80's" look of the party cocktail....and he would be correct. However, the subtle taste and scent were divine, floating in a concoction of rum and citrus juices.


                       Nearly every item will make an appearance in one or both of our shops

February 5, 2011

Trends from the New York gift show

Twice a year the gift show draws shopkeepers and designers who descend upon the show like worshippers to their mecca. Overload prevails while inspiration is drawn.
I wanted to share with you part one, the furniture. Part two will be accessories

Leather.......does it ever go out of style?
I don't believe so, just the shapes and forms differ. This chair makes the hair on my arms stand at attention; Hermes orange with brown piping. Do you love this as much as i do?!

The slim profile, quilted back and loose quilted down filled cushions in a rich tobacco finish.

Linen;  Stronger than ever as it represents the natural and organic

Salvaged, post consumer materials, are all the rage.  Reclaimed wood, particularly from Europe, creates an ambiance of age with fresh designs and a nod to bygone era's

 Salvaged wood and chic concrete bases.
 Typically these boards are thick and strong unlike todays lumber. This tabletop is actually 4" thick
 with beveled edges that scoop inwards

Reclaimed railroad materials are renewed into a bench. The base is salvaged steel.

Blurring the indoors with the outdoors. Individual concrete "books" stacked to form a stunning end table

The prominent color..... Orange!
Case goods, fabrics, accessories and leathers. This drawer glows in the warmth of orange and a seamless lacquer finish.  Not just relegated to drawers, the high gloss of lacquer was everywhere.

 Wool covered drawers

Lucite remains RED HOT.  Look closely at the legs of the chairs.......the khaki chair is upholstered with salvaged Brazilian truck tarps. A closer look at the ottoman reveals a base of lucite

KILLER............a lucite cube with contrasting rustic handles

Swoon................See anything you like?

French side table circa 1770's. A perfect patina of age as the colors and florals lightly fade. The top opens with the original key. But what really spoke to me was the profile....and...... oh those legs!

In our Geneva shop contact;  sarah@scentimentalgardens.com

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