September 29, 2016

Instagram: Late September

I am still crushed with orders for my tea towels, including a nice order from decorator, Bunny Williams! In addition to that, and work, and board duties, I am teaching a class on iPhone photography next week. imageOf course, one of the apps I will be teaching will be the Instagram app.

We were at the beach at the end of August and were rewarded one evening by a beautiful sunset over the bay.image

And what’s a visit to the beach without a trip to Funland to play skeeball!image

Oh, my! A set of conjoined Italian prune plums!image

Huge cricket grasshopper.image

Figue left her baby hedgehog out in the rain and I rescued it.image

I have pumpkins again this year and they’re such fun to watch.image

But sometimes they get too heavy for the vines to support and fall off.image

I was walking through a meadow and found this faded Queen Anne’s Lace blossom.image

I was picking up one of Figue’s babies from the sidewalk and spotted this shed snakeskin.image

Figue got a haircut. I can hardly reconcile the before and after. It’s like two different dogs.image

See you next week, and hopefully, I won’t be as busy!

September 20, 2016

Success: Be Careful What You Wish For!

The first weekend of the Portobello Pop Up was very successful and it was such fun to see old and new friends, and family! The Portobello Pop Up is open until Saturday, September 24th.imageA while ago, I realized that I love the hunting and gathering, and research aspect of things, but once I acquire them, I don’t really care about them any more. I think I am a process person, loving the process, rather than the outcome. Therefore, it’s not painful to sell my wares.

So, that makes it easy for me to sell the things that I collect… Even when they have my monogram on them!image

One of the items I was selling was my custom-designed tea towels. I thought maybe I’d sell a dozen or two. I mean, do people really use tea towels anymore? People other than me, that is.

Well, the answer is a resounding YES! I received more than 100 orders for tea towels, and so now am working my little fingers to the bone sewing them. image

It’s a bit overwhelming, but I am pleased about it. I’ve taken the tea towels off my Etsy account for the time-being, but they will be back on there in a few weeks, as soon as I’ve gotten over this batch of towels. If you look at the side-bar to the right on this page, you can see what’s listed on my Etsy shop.

September 12, 2016

Getting Ready!

I know you’re probably sick of hearing about the Portobello Pop Up, but it’s coming up quickly, and it’s been all-consuming of my time for the past few weeks.

Over the weekend, my friends Stiles and Jonathan, who own Halcyon House Antiques, worked to make my inventory look amazing. Both of them have an incredible ability to stage and style. While I was unpacking some things, Jonathan set up this vignette in about two minutes! When you dissect the photo, you can see the red from the plates playing off of the red in the curtains, and the symmetry, with the central focus on the Queen’s plate and the lamp behind it.IMG_2605

There are more than 200 items in the sale, and it was like a puzzle finding the best place for everything. IMG_2599

This combination of blue and white evolved into centering this huge ironstone basin under the table, to balance the white tray.IMG_2620

While I love my friend Sam Robinson’s painting above the fireplace, we replaced it with an extraordinary embroidered image of numerous British flags, all executed in fine silks. IMG_2601The three plates are reproductions of the famous Wedgwood “Frog Service” originally made for Cathering the Great.

Another quandry was finding a place and a way to display all of the mother of pearl cutlery that I’ve collected over the past few months. We laid some of it out on linen trays, IMG_2610and bundled them with ribbons, courtesy of my friend, Andrea at Bosom Buddy Bags, and placed the lots in mini silver buckets. IMG_2614

One of my favorite vignettes is this corner display of a set of silver, along with three classic prints, in incredible frames. I picked these up at a recent auction and found that they’re actually quite good prints and frames. Score!IMG_2612

As we headed out after a full day of staging and styling, we saw some members of the local deer population grazing in the meadow in front of Halcyon House. IMG_2624

The Portobello Pop Up opens on Friday, September 16 and rund through the 24th. Hope to see you there!

September 6, 2016

My Portobello Pop-Up and Other Things

Whew! The past few weeks have been super busy, and the next few aren’t letting up at all.

First up was a trip to the coast, just before the arrival of Hurricane Hermione Herman Hermine. Although we missed it by a day or two, the waves were so rough, that it was hard to be in the water and the high tides covered the beach. imageThat said, my Burkini, in reality, a top to toes sun-guard suit, worked perfectly. Despite being on the beach all day, I didn’t get burned at all. I really try and stay completely out of the sun.

A few days later, I headed down to a cottage on one of the many rivers close to Baltimore to spend time with my family and cousins here from England. One of the stars of the trip was my brother’s new puppy, Phoebe. image

Of course, in the middle of all that, I am prepping for my Portobello Pop-Up, starting on September 16 at Halcyon House Antiques.Portobello Pop up I am sorting through amazing china, image

polishing tons of silver, imageimagecataloguing dozens of pieces of Wedgwood, image

and researching back-stamps on china.image

I am working on both designing and sewing my tea-towels, which are also available on my Etsy shop. I love the original illustrations from Alice in Wonderland, and have used them for some of the

I also love maps and the Maryland flag, as you may have gathered, and have used some of them for the tea towels as well.blog2

One of my favourites is one I did of the Cape Cod region. If you’re visiting someone there, these make perfect house gifts. I did one for our family’s gathering this weekend and marked the house with a star. nantucketOf course, I can customize these for you.

If you’re in or around Baltimore while the show and sale is going on, I hope that you will stop in. I will be there on the Fridays and Saturdays.

August 23, 2016

Instagram: Late August Edition(!)

How is it possible that it’s late August already? This summer has flown by, mainly because it’s been so busy. But it’s never too busy to snap some pictures for you and for Instagram!

Dill flowers from the garden at Halcyon House Antiques. I love this image.image

After a massive rainstorm, we had the most vibrant rainbow!image

Who knew pumpkins had thorns! This will be a tiny pumpkin, a volunteer from one a threw in the garden last fall.image

I think this is one of the most beautiful buildings in Baltimore. Another reminder to look up!image

Just in the last week, we’ve had several big storms, which come with great clouds.image

Getting very excited for the Portobello Pop Up in September. image

Late 1800’s flow blue cup and saucer. So modern looking!image

It drives me crazy for Figue to have her hair in her eyes, so I chopped it off. It didn’t work too well.image

Alice’s White Rabbit – one of the designs for a tea-towel for the pop-up sale.image

I am heading to the beach for a few days with one of my English cousins who’s visiting, so I will see you next week!

August 17, 2016

Summer Suppers

I love this time of year mainly for the fact that two of my favourite things are in ample supply: Tomatoes and Peaches. As children, we always had plenty of both and they evoke such great food memories of picking and eating tomatoes straight from the garden, and going to a farm and getting bushels of peaches. image

To me, there’s nothing better than a simple tomato sandwich. Just white bread, Dukes mayonaise, freshly picked and sliced tomatoes and some salt and pepper. You have to eat them immediately or the bread gets soggy. I could eat these for supper every night during August.

I also love Insalata Caprese, which is just tomatoes, good mozzarella and basil leaves, drizzled with some good balsamic vinegar, and sprinkled with salt and pepper. image

Additionally, if you’ve got a huge bounty of tomatoes, you can make sauces, or do like I do and dry them in the oven until they’re leathery, and then preserve them in olive oil. Simply slice them, put them on a cookie sheet in the oven at about 200*, and leave them for several hours. An added bonus is that your house will smell amazing!

On Saturday mornings, when I work at Halcyon House Antiques, I stop at a farm stand and pick up provisions for the week, including peaches. While they don’t always look picture perfect, they are delicious! image

Again, my favourite thing to do is wash them and cut them into quarters or eighths, sprinkle them with a tiny bit of vanilla sugar, and eat them, skin and all. I know that some people can’t stand the fuzzy skin, but if you wash them and rub them a bit, the fuzz comes off.

If I have a couple of pounds of peaches, I love making peach and bourbon jam.image I wrote about it here, and think that it tastes amazing on a good vanilla ice cream. It’s fun to make enough to share with friends as a host/hostess gift at a summer supper.

What’s your go-to summer meal?

August 8, 2016

Bizzy Bizzy Me!

Yikes! Last week was the first time since I started writing the blog that I didn’t post at all. I kept meaning to, but things kept getting in the way.

To start, I am busy preparing for my Portobello Pop-Up in just about a month. It’s being held at the fabulous Halcyon House Antiques, just north of Baltimore, beginning on September 16th, and running for about a week.image

In addition to vintage and antique china and silver, I am also designing a line of tea-towels that we will be selling at the Pop-Up.
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All of the towels are printed on a 50/50 blend of linen and cotton, and the details in the images are really amazing. It’s been such fun playing with a lot of different designs and finding fascinating old images. Of course, in addition to designing these, I am also sewing them into towels.

Another related project was finally, after five years, finalizing the Toile de Baltimore print. Literally, five years of playing with this pattern, trying to get the repeat to work out. I have added a trellis background, but want to play with it a bit more. However, for now, this will work for some small pieces, and pillows. imageThe images are the Patterson Park Pagoda, the Pride of Baltimore, Fort McHenry, the Washington Monument and Homewood House, all icons of Baltimore.

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Dear sweet Figue is also taking up my time. imageShe’s a scamp and finds a way to get into everything. After having two dogs who never got into anything, I really have to keep on my toes and make sure anything that ever had some food in it, is put away immediately. Between the time I walked into the house, let her out, went to the loo and walked back to the living room, she’d snatched a packet of prosciutto!imageAlso none too fun was giving this little wiggle-worm a bath and a wee hair trim! Her hair is very curly and I brush it every day, but a bath was in order after she rolled in something stinky!

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My new favourite summer drink is F’Rosè! You have to say it out loud to get it. It’s frozen rosè, sort of like a slushy. image

The Wall Street Journal’s Off Duty section had the simplest recipe the other week, which was the one we tried. It’s just 3 oz. of rosè, 2 oz. of simple syrup and ice. Blend and drink. We questioned the need for simple syrup and tried it without, which was fine. But the addition of maybe two tablespoons, not two ounces, of the simple syrup really made it sing. Of course, we couldn’t leave well enough alone, so we added some fresh peach puree! Magical!

Hope your summer’s been great. Hard to believe we’re in the second week of August!