There are some things you can never tire of–heated towels, the day after Christmas and red chambray. Every so often I will come across such a bleached red piece and it’s like a decades old favorite song getting radio play. More urban than western, chambray in red is a classic staple that can go from the kitchen to closet.
Archives for April 2016
Our shed in the backyard with squatting gophers conflicts me. Shingles are falling off. The roof is in disrepair. Inside the stench of gasoline is so thick–light a match and it may very well blow up. The shed goads me. This is a designer project in the making. Then I run inside. Though the possibilities do excite–a backyard getaway, writer’s studio or simply a timeout place like my son’s teepee.
With some light goggling I discover Modern Shed, a company that designs ecological friendly and spectacular looking structures. The clever husband and wife team based in Seattle had the idea to have one place to service what their vintage 1940s home lacked. As with all innovative ideas, a need was met and company was born. Thus the inspiration process begins.
Sometimes a checkered past is a good thing, if it’s filled with classic gingham naturally. Dorothy stepping into technicolor in her blue and white pinafore acquainted me with the look. Though to keep it from looking too grandma’s house throw in some unexpected colors and mix it up.
Here is a round up of great options for a thematic spring gathering. From left to right: fabric by Bemz, dress from Lindy Bop, pillow by Chloe and Olive, flatware from Didriks, plastic tablecloth from If Its Paper, paper chain kit from Dot Com Gift Shop, umbrella from Sumally and blanket from Heather Taylor Home.
For weeks I have been cleaning out yogurt jars and reintroducing my home with vintage vessels, all for showcasing the caprice of spring’s blooms. While the yard is at its most animated from the cherry blossom that stands guard before an old shed housing a family of gophers beneath, more on that later, you can’t keep all that glory for squatter animals.
What makes a good frank? One simple technique, lightly poach first. Then slice along the middle and grill with the bun. It may be the warmer temps but I definitely have hot dogs on the brain.
The same amount of brainpower goes into planning a party as in designing a room. You create a mental checklist of the colors, patterns and accents that will compose your theme. The main difference with entertaining is you get to eat your results.
My almost 6-year-old son had his baptism. (Yes, he outgrew the christening gown worn in our family for two generations but it pulled on the emotions to hear him recite his vows). A spring milestone is the ideal reason to throw a party.
Weeks before the event I absorb what’s available in the market, florist and bakery. I then correspond highlights to what I have at home. The Type A in me has my china and party pieces organized by holiday and season. If I were Tripe A I would toss the tattered boxes for large, clear plastic receptacles but I only foresee time for such a project when Luc enters middle school.
Since this was a brunch, I knew I would serve muffins, breads and spring colored pastries. The sweets overpower the substantive since a frittata is not as pretty as foiled candies. I do have a weakness for well-dressed goodies.
Similar to matching a dress to accessories, blueberry muffins work well on a navy gingham pedestal plate. I dressed Luc in a checked shirt as well as the dog’s collar because you can never stretch a party theme too far, especially with kids and pets.
Just a week till the event Luc and I visited the local bakery that monetizes their frosted items with metallic and any grade and color topping imaginable. We ordered an assortment of cupcakes with blue and pink sprinkles to correspond with the pastel movement. In storage I excavated pastel plates to complement the sweets. The flowers were simple. Since it is officially spring I went with basic arrangements of daffodils, hyacinths for their sultry scent and classic pink roses (bought 2 days before so they will have the ideal open bloom).
On the way home from the baptism I picked up miniature cupcakes adorned with flowers and petit fours from Wholefoods, my version of crash shopping. My close friend who I’ve known since rainbow mobiles were all the rage brought macarons in an assortment of flavors that rival jellybeans from a candy bin. Good friends just know.
A new home mentality is if it’s awkward gut it. That’s like saying if you have a weird toe cosmetically enhance it. A little back history, I grew up in a 1920s Normandy where we were only allotted a 10-minute shower for fear the pipes would burst and used the laundry chute to terrorize the dog. I attended a university where crumbly buildings added to campus authenticity. The idea of living in a home peeled from vinyl strips with a laminate and glue scent never appealed to me.
In every home I’ve lived in there have been the proverbial weird toes: slatted roofs, floors you could roll a marble on and mismatched wood. Rooms contoured to the shape of the home also must be dealt with. If it doesn’t quite fit embrace it. Nestle beds together, install book shelves or create a special nook.
Back to themes stripes, vintage and nautical compose the setting. Lighting and sailing flags bring to mind a ship’s cabin. The crayon colors of blue, red and yellow keep it from looking too yachting club stiff. The layers of bedding and duvet covers are both practical and show that you can mismatch patterns when they share a color or theme. You can never have enough stripes, which work perfectly with toys your father played with.
Storage is also thoughtfully considered with pieces that are both functional and attractive, such as a bedside table that stows away books, toy box of the NYC subway system that will move through the ages, canvas storage bin and rolling cart that is ideally used for function over a high speed chase with the dog.
I wish I had a milkman and not in that way–my family reads this. Every so often when I market at a specialty store I come across yogurt sold in glass jars. Forget the nutritional panel, cost or taste, though they are tasty, I yearn for the glass jar. Who thought you could lust in the milk aisle? My generation missed the milkman though we’ve heard all the lore. There are some trends you wish remained.
J. Peterman is many things. A character on a few Seinfeld episodes. The catalogue that competed with J. Crew and L.L. Bean for space in late 80s campus mailboxes. Something that will always be around and occasionally resurface like mother’s Christmas china.
The slim catalogue is written the way I imagine a flyer reads from a turn of the century mercantile. There is talk of dueling lovers, dead writers, horse racing and WWII. A combination of journal-styled illustrations and entries entertain like an excerpt from the New Yorker. For those in search of a horse collar mirror, dress for Derby day or gardening watering lance, it’s time to renew your subscription.
Silver is the precious metal of choice. The obsession began in those wide eyed teen years when silver rings went electric on Hawaiian Tropic tanned skin. It then matured with shoes and ladylike accessories. My latest Vans acquisition adds glimmer to the shoe rack–my version of Dorothy’s ruby slippers. (Vans are another obsession, Spicoli’s checked pair epitomize surfer cool).
For events when I have to play dress up and behave as proper ladies do, I paint my nails silver for a subtle shimmer.
Returning to motherhood style, the go-to bag is ideally made of sailcloth since it is the best way for electronics and juice boxes to happily cohabit.