November 29, 2015

Winter Containers 2016

This was last week..........
At the Ritz in Naples, celebrating our accomplishments with an interior client. The warm breezes, Margarita's and the scent of the sea
This is now........
Ahhh, the crisp fresh air and scent of evergreens. Hard to believe it is that time again. 
 We have just begun filling clients containers, hanging garland, lights.......

Here are a few examples, and how-to's to get started.

This is your easiest composition; red twig dogwood set upright (in the remaining soil)with numerous boughs of cut boxwood stems set in an irregular, informal fashion. Come spring, this will be as intact and colorful as when originally composed
The entrance to a man's office; masculine and naturally woodsy
 Set amoung spruce tree toppers are upright birch poles
Up close, a saved birds nest found on the ground last fall, and pheasant feathers. The greens consist of the tree toppers, variegated Oregonia and Blue Spruce
A late day sunset highlights these whimsical posts set in front of a candy & popcorn shop. The ornaments on sticks are plastic and will endure all winter, or leave the sticks in until thawed and pop off the balls
Faux Holly berries, en masse. The rim of the urn is a boxwood WREATH, laid down

 The berries are re-usable year after year because they are hard plastic. STAY AWAY from any berries with a styrofoam core, mid winter they will explode! Real berry stems such as Ivy or Winterberry turn black and fall off
Consider the space. A black urn in front of dark green conifers = a dark space. The white birch sticks calls attention to this corner
 In addition to the sticks is another form of hard plastic berries, in this case "Viburnum berries". They twist, they form, they last for YEARS! Other greenery used is Oregonia (variegated) and blue coned Cedar for a great drape
 A white home is a wonderful setting for the pop of red and green
Massive. When complete 4'+ tall out of the urn and 3'+ wide
A home with Teutonic leanings, requires the same of it's containers;
Spruce tree toppers
Red twig dogwood sticks
Blue Spruce, the underside up as it's blue is more vibrant
Birch Poles; tightly wired together in a cross fashion, then wired to the upright tree toppers
 Same home; Spruce, Faux berries, Silver Bell Eucalyptus
WARNING; These Silver Bell Eucalyptus add  gorgeous color and texture to your outdoor containers. Indoors, as they dry, the strong scent of cat urine will alarm yourself and any guests!
 Another white house, adorned with wreaths and containers. Wherever the roping came to a peak i added pre-made swags of greenery, pine cones and faux holly berries
Ribbon. This bow is from last winter. Real red velvet with an underside of green silk, the plaid ribbon is faux Duponi. 
NEVER use the stiff, faux, 'velvet' ribbon....not when the real thing works so beautifully

 Your first step in creating a winter container is to choose your variety of greens, seeking a complimentary variety of differing textures and tones
 Here we used both blue and green Spruce, dark green boxwood and silvery blue of Silver Dollar Eucalyptus. Once your base is in place, using the same principles of summer containers; "Thriller" (tall), "Filler" (center) and "Spiller" (cascading down), you are ready to add any elements to personalize your composition
 We simply added the faux berries and extra large white tipped pine cones
See the red twig dogwood to the far right of this photo? That is not a shrub but vertically inserted dogwood sticks to anchor a blank corner while adding winter interest
And when the day is complete, add this....Salted Caramel Vodka Hot Chocolate


....LOCAL NEWS....

Here is a clever Gift Idea; A gift certificate to one of our AMY HOWARD paint classes that includes; one sample pot at no additional cost. A value of $69.00

November 9, 2015

England......the goods......the bad.......and a recipe

                                                      The Goods.......

Antiquing in the UK is particularly noted for leathers, blisteringly shiny brass, transferware, great art, signage, and equestrian........, all with a masculine bent. I'm smitten!
My particular joy when overseas is the antiquing with my friend Sylvia. We have the same 'eye', and love for the hunt. As she graciously drives me here & yonder we take time for fairs and markets, antique shops and auctions. I never ever have time for auctions once home.

Here's a peek at a few of the finds, all destined for the shop.
My penchant for concrete and china is a dreadful mix. We named this one Humphrey, actually hand- crafted in stone, gloriously patinaed with moss and lichens. Humphrey stands about 2' tall and weighs a ton, his ocean cruise begins shortly.

Birds seemingly were the theme this year........this pair was spied across the room, excitement barely contained, I felt myself strolling /racing across the room. Temporarily perched on a panel, the pair was rescued from a Tudor home in Minehead England. They were part of a fireplace surround. The Tudor era was between 1485 to 1603, imagine!

The panel wall they are displayed on is also coming. This piece was one of many that once encircled a room
 Loving men in art, my collection is growing. Be it whimsical as the gentleman advertising Guinness beer

or pensive like the lad below in pencil. Male art dating from the 20's through the 50's, particularly, piques my interest

The young woman below is another pencil that captured my attention
Notice the lovely pencil rim encircling the gold edged mat

 Missed it!!  A charming chalk on craft paper
Then it occurred to me that artist Sandra Mehl, in the shop, can duplicate this little guy perfectly.
I have asked
 Those old brasses........nothing like what is found in the states or newly minted. These are chestnut toasters and suffice these days as decorative accents.
Real brass or plated, how to know? With a piece of metal, scratch an inconspicuous area. If the scratch stays yellow, it is brass, it a dark metal appears, it is plated. These are solid brass with rivets in copper.

Parisian Urns. I currently have the large version in the shop, this is the small and dainty size. Imagine these on a large harvest table in a tall-ceilinged room, chock full of stems, divine!
The British dislike of 'brown furniture' is experiencing a turn-around so when I can find a piece with interesting lines, and still reasonable, I pounce.
Slated for a clients project; a Scottish pub
If I were able to manufacture, this Victorian piece would definitely be reproduced. Did you guess a wine pourer? In the shaft are several holes, simply screw into the cork, open the spigot and pour. The spigot then closes to preserve the wine. Brilliant I say!
As an aficionado of an earthy, fruity red this was found in an English supermarket. My new favorite that I am busy sourcing here

The Bad.........
Look at what I did! Drats, hair oil in my luggage spilled and permanently stained this settee! That's the gratitude extended to Sylvia for letting me use her little cottage! A quick call to the shop asking for an emergency supply of Amy Howard paint to be sent.
Yep, this paint works beautifully on fabric, simply dilute a touch with water, paint, then wax over the painted portion and viola! Has the feel of fabric, not paint

The recipe........

The Bakery Cafe Mushroom Bruschetta

Should I include this I asked myself? My image is not exactly drool-worthy. I must, it is easy and remarkably me!

One thick slice of artisan bread
A splash of olive oil & sea salt, toast for a few minutes in the oven
Top with.........
Sauteed portobello mushrooms cooked with a few greens of choice
Crumbled stilton cheese
Dash of Olive oil
Broil until the cheese melts

                                               As always, thank you for visiting!

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