Springing Forward; Roots in Tow

We are rapidly approaching that time again; that much anticipated moment when we move our clocks ahead one hour and “spring forward”.  Despite losing a much needed hour of sleep, I relish that pivotal moment because it means that I have made it over the hump of another cold, dark winter and spring and summer’s renewal are just weeks away. 

 

 

Spring is riding into town

 

 

The appearance of Green

 

Over the Hump

 

But as I rush to pack away the coats and boots anticipating days of shorts and flip-flops, I give pause and recall the greater appreciation I have for spring and summer because of winter.  It is Old Man Winter with his short frigid days, his bare limbed trees and stormy gray skies that instills within each of us endurance and strength, not to mention the ability to make great strides in difficult times and …immeasurable amounts of snow, sleet and freezing rain.

short frigid days

 

bare limbed trees

 

 

 

stormy skies

 

 

immeasurable amounts of snow

 

 

While youth and its vitality are enchanting and alluring and surely the hope of our collective future, after all, who can resist a cute baby, puppy or kitten?  Respect and esteem for the elders whose many contributions and sacrifices have made it possible for a new generation to flourish, must never be taken for granted nor overlooked.

  

Our cute baby

 

 

our cute puppy

 

We are reminded of that everyday as we scan the Gallery and see our CF Modern benches standing shoulder to shoulder with the icons that paved the way for their success.  We acknowledge the “Greatest Generation” of craftspeople whose skill and ingenuity made it all possible and embrace our Mid Century masterpieces and the new generation they have given birth to.

 

 

CF Modern Style GP 100 Bench

 

 

CF Modern Style GP 101

 

So, as we prepare to move ahead to the longer and more temperate days of spring and summer and the bounty of imaginable opportunities the future will bestow, let’s salute and honor all who came before us and planted the roots that afford us the opportunity to “spring forward” and blossom.

 

Firmly Rooted

 


Springing forward

 

 

Our Future

 

A Midsummer Lights Dream

Ah, the beauty of summer, with its never ending warm, sunshine filled days that entice us to take the long way home and drink in the cocktail of colors.  Where annuals and perennials conspire with wildflowers to present us with a symphony of sights that are in a constant state of transformation is where I have chosen to reside. In fact, I have become so enraptured with this season, I have all but forgotten to share it with you.

Bijou Blanket brimming with color

 

Fuchsia Zinnia

 

 

 Rudbekia, a staple in our garden

 

Queen Anne's Lace

 

 Periwinkle Wildflowers

 

‘Tis the season to bring the indoors out, and enjoy every moment from dawn till dusk and beyond.  So, as the sun disappears and gives way to the cool breezes that usher in starry nights, Irwin and I like to add our own brand of illumination: candlelight.

 

 

Breathtaking Sunsets

  

What can be more enchanting on a tranquil summer evening than the warm glow of candlelight?

 

 

Simply Enchanting

 

 

We know only too well how instrumental candles are in setting the proper mood either indoors or out during any season, but candlelight outdoors during summer is absolutely sublime.                                                                                                                                                          

            

A real Connection  

                                                                                                    

A star is born

It is the season of infinite possibilities so use your imagination.  Many found objects in your home can be the perfect vessel for a candle or tea light.  An old lantern that we purchased our first summer in the house sits along side an inverted vintage capiz shell lampshade that houses a candle.

Our 1st lantern, previously owned by Betsey Johnson

 

While we employ a variety of candles, we particularly love using tea lights because they are small and can be placed in a wide array of vessels.  Additionally, these short burning beauties are readily available and extremely inexpensive.  

Shades of light

 

We have a collection of glasses that we taped and frosted ten years ago for a family event.  We continue to enjoy them especially during the summer.

 

Ten years....and still going strong

 

And a vintage silverplate bowl we picked up at a tag sale many years ago has served a multitude of uses, most recently as a candle holder.

Vintage Silverplate shedding new light 

 

And until a better solution comes along,  it is absolutely necessary to integrate citronella candles into the mix.

 

 

Citronella helps take the bite out of a summer evening

 

The possibilities are endless and only limited by your imagination.  So make the most of every evening,

 

 Divine illumination

 

 

All Aglow

 

   

Moonlight

 

and this weekend, as the fireflies make their special brand of magic in the moonlit sky, make a little magic of your own and create a Midsummer Lights Dream.

 

Pure Magic

 

 

Spring's Bouquet Awaits

If you have been a reader of our blog, you know how much Irwin and I love our country lifestyle; how we bask in the glow of that simpler slow home life surrounded by the beauty of nature in every season.  And while we adore every moment we are able to spend there, I have to admit that returning to the country this past weekend was slightly depressing.  While we were the ones who practically hearkened the plague of Snow Days that befell us this winter, we have exceeded a point of satiation and are longing to see grass, however brown or soggy it may be.

When we arrived in the country we were greeted with exceedingly muddy roads bordered by massive banks of blackened snow.  Our patio, still buried in gray frozen matter, revealed the season’s wrath with our spun fiberglass table literally crushed from snow weight and the glass top of our bar precariously perched on winter’s muddled remains.

Remains of the season: Crushed

 

 

Design: Fallen Asunder

 

But the temperature was above freezing and although the pervasive dreariness seemed to hearken back to an early English Gothic novel, rain was on the way and with it the long awaited, much overdue disappearing act of the snow.

As promised, it rained throughout the night as well as the following day, which included our entire ride back to the city.  So imagine our surprise when the alarm company called us the following morning to advise us of a power outage in the country. It seemed that the rain turned into snow and ice, devastating our entire area and leaving almost three hundred homes without power.  The highly anticipated cleansing promised by the foul weather turned into an ice storm with trees and power lines down.

A bleak trip

 

 

a wet welcome

 

 

 

A Hauntingly beautiful yet destructive surprise

photo courtesy of  J.Debonis

 

Three days have passed and we are still awaiting power restoration, which has already been pushed back four times.  We are desperately hoping to avoid receiving that dreaded “low temperature” call from the alarm company and the possibility of frozen pipes as well as extensive damage.

Which brings me to my much-circumvented point: Life is unpredictable. There are so many things we have little or no control over on a daily basis.  What we do know for sure is that we must embrace all that we have, hold on to our seats and hang on for the ride, taking the wheel whenever possible and ALWAYS wearing our seat belts.

Despite the length and severity of this winter, spring will indeed arrive EVENTUALLY, and with it, the beautiful, bountiful bouquet of scents, textures and colors that remind us all that life, despite its unpredictability, is spectacular.

Spring's Bouquet: Arriving shortly

 

In celebration and in anticipation of spring, a season of rebirth and renewal, we are once again teaming up with Komen CT to raise funds and awareness for and about Breast Cancer.  Our pair of Pretty in Pink 4 Life Mid Century Bouquet Club Chairs in a bold hot pink floral print are available individually or as a pair, and as with the beautiful Pretty in Pink 4 Life bench, all the proceeds from the sale will go directly to Komen CT.

 

Our Mid Century Bouquet Chairs: Pretty in Pink

 

 

A Beautiful addition...for life

 

Help us celebrate the beauty of springtime and the gift of life itself.  Please share this  so that everyone can be Pretty in Pink for Life.

 


Today's Forecast: Let's Put Winter on Ice

After an extended holiday/weather delay, I am back with our first post of the not-so New Year.  With yesterday’s ice storm behind us and another wintry mix scheduled for the weekend, I am taking a moment to sit back and relax before welcoming yet another Snow Day.

The beauty of a Snow day

 

Yesterday was Groundhog Day and while some of the furry forecasters of spring canceled their previews due to inclement weather conditions, it seems that two local favorites, Punxsutawney Phil and Staten Island Chuck emerged and did not see their shadows, indicating an early spring this year.  While I am not endorsing the power of their predictions, I can only pray that they are correct and that I can rid myself of the excessive guilt that has plagued me.

 

 

  Welcome to Groundhogs Day

(photo courtesy of freecomputerdesktopwallpaper)

You see, Irwin & I feel somewhat responsible for this winter’s worrisome weather patterns.  I can’t help but wonder what the past six weeks might have been like had we opted for a tropical inspired holiday for Holiday House NYC this past December, rather than our family’s beloved non-calendar Holiday: Snow Day.  

 

 Snow Day at Holiday House NYC 2010

 

While "Everyone Loves a Snow Day", this season to date has proven to be too much of a good thing and after learning that age old lesson, “be careful what you wish for”, I am going to press my luck and return to the well one more time to request that a freeze be put on winter.

 

Yes, I am digging my way out of winter’s glaze and setting my sights on a different kind of ice to carry us through the balance of this brutal season. I am focusing on the crystalline beauty and majestic glow of these timeless gems that offer us sparkle and warmth and put a positive spin on the phrase “ice in the winter”.

Winter's Icy Glaze

 

The Dark beauty of a winter's gloaming

 

So, as we wait patiently for spring and additional daylight hours, feeling the warmth of the sun baking through our windowpanes please accept our apology for the awful weather and join us as we enjoy the icy beauty of these Mid Century masterpieces.

I am substituting this glistening beauty:

Crystalline remains of an ice storm

 

With theses glistening beauties:

Amazing Mid Century Glass & Chrome Chandelier

 

Spectacular Venini Doria chandelier

 

And these icicles:

droplets frozen in time

 

with these icicles:

 

Icicle sconces attributed to kamer (one of a pair shown)

 

And these super-sized frozen wonders:

a weighty discovery

 

with these super-sized masterpieces

Large Mid Century Lucite Sconces

 

And, as we forge ahead galoshes in tow, ever ready for the next relentless, bone-chilling blizzard or ice storm, a glimmer of color and the promise of springtime are always within reach.

As Irwin welcomed spring into the gallery with these:

 

yellow tulips: a preview of what lies ahead

 

We welcome you to begin to conjure up spring-like thoughts with these:

Sascha Brastoff Covered Egg

 

 

 

Figurative Silkscreen by Xavier

 

So stay safe and warm and remember, as winter's reign comes to an end and spring emerges, the warm glow and beauty of our favorite brand of ice will remain.

It is another Sunday morning in the country.  As I welcome the first light of day, I am reminded that October has come to an end and Halloween has finally arrived. Most of fall’s cavalcade of color is now just a memory and the howling wind is a prophetic reminder of the months ahead.

 

 The last of Fall's Color

 

 

 Reaching for the sky

 

 

 convergence

 

Even as the first frost inches closer, the summer bloom continues to stand bravely and resolute, defying autumn’s ever-encroaching position.

 

 our burning bush aflame with pink roses still in bloom

 

 

 Cat nip holding on

 

 

 our roses: Pink Power

 

As I have said before, these late and continuous blooms are no coincidence but rather a sign of: Pink Power.

On a morning that feels more like Thanksgiving than Halloween, I marvel at nature’s continuous attempts to remind us that although October is over, the continued support of Breast Cancer Awareness is not.  Our vigilance and commitment must continue until everybody is “Pretty in Pink 4 Life”.

So, as we welcome in November, and the kick off of the holiday season, let us remain focused on a cause that is season-less.

Our beautiful “Pretty in Pink 4 Life” Bench remains unsold.  Don’t you know somebody who would love this gift that continues to give? Priced at $1800 with all proceeds to benefit Komen CT.

 

 Pretty in Pink 4 Life Bench

photo: courtesy of Landino Photo

 

 

 Charlie: The keeper of Pink Power

 

As our friend Charlie says:

Let’s kick off the holiday season with the gift of life!

As the moon set I set the alarm for two am, yet by midnight I was still awake.  I could not shake the events of the past few days and I could not get this phrase out of my head: “More being, less doing.”

 

The moon setting over "our" mountain

 

It is no secret that we love our life in the country. We have managed to rebuild a slow home that we have furnished with vintage and mid century pieces and live an intentionally slower life that we fully embrace.  We even held off bringing internet into our home for over ten years, fearing that it might inhibit the quality of life we enjoy here.  I write about it all the time, the slower pace, the thoughtful lifestyle, paying attention to the little things, making memories, taking the time to smell thethe rebirth of spring, but never had the importance of this lifestyle become clearer to me than this past week.

I attended the memorial service of a friend’s sibling, an extraordinary individual who passed away too soon. Although the situation was tragic, the celebration of his being was stunning and I walked away wishing I had known him in life. His wife’s words resonated in my head as she reflected upon their life together, wishing that there were “more being and less doing”.

More Bee-ing

 

So simply stated, it was profound: More being, less doing. Which brings me back to Friday night.  Setting the alarm and getting up at 2am would probably have not been a priority two or three years ago.  I would have probably set the alarm with good intentions and then shut if off and gone back to sleep.  I now know better.  Given the finite amount of time we are privileged to be here and how quickly it flutters by, every day & every experience is a gift to be savored. The time spent “being” is why we do all the ”doing” in the first place.

Life Flutters by

 

Although I know that inherently, and write as well as talk about it, I often forget to do it.  My children remind me of this all the time and to be honest, I am not always the best at practicing what I preach, but I am going to try each and every day as I chant my new mantra: More being, less doing.

So, Irwin and I took a blanket outdoors after 2am and lay under several more as we faced the Northern sky awaiting a five thousand year old event that did not disappoint.  We spent over three hours gazing at the meteor shower and the enormity of the heavens; just being, not doing.

Perseid Meteor Shower

 

The other day our country neighbor and good friend Jeanne stopped by with her delightful dog Zippy for a collaborative dinner and we once again began the discussion of where to eat.  It is not that we have no place to eat, but rather the opposite.  The number of places in and around the house available for sitting and especially eating has become somewhat of a joke amongst our friends over the years.

Charlie's good friend & neighbor, Zippy

 

It is true, we have many places throughout the house, both indoors and out to sit and relax and…to eat.  What can we say? Maybe it’s because we both come from families where food is so important, or maybe it is because in our city apartment, we have no outdoor space, and our formal dining room was eliminated years ago and combined with our living room to make way for a much-needed den.  Whatever the reason, if you are looking for a place to relax or…eat, we have a place for you!

 

dining in the great room under ceiling fans is a great alternative on warm evenings

 

We love spending time in the country and when we are not working on the house, we are usually relaxing and/or entertaining at home.  Irwin loves to cook and set a table so we rarely eat out and because Irwin is a creative genius whose mind is constantly churning out new ideas, it is essential that different venues are available for him to work in.

My favorite way to begin an evening: a pitcher of cocktails

 

Alfresco dining under a tree

 

Our Dining Room: A thanksgiving favorite

  

Most breakfasts are served in the kitchen or on the porch, where the usual fare is either my famous blueberry or banana pancakes or Irwin’s world-renowned breakfast frittata made with whatever is available in the fridge.

 

Our kitchen: open 24/7

  

 

the porch: No  Reservation needed

 

irwin's famous frittata

 

Lunch and dinner can happen almost anywhere but always feel special.

 

dining on our deck is lovely in the afternoon

 

So, whether you are two for dinner or serving twelve, have one eating area or more, little changes can go a long way in making  “at home” dining special.

For example:

We always use an abundance of candles, votives and tea lights.  They add warmth and make everything sparkle and glow.

 

Authentic atmosphere

 

Tea light in vintage cup with fish tank gravel

 

 

light, light and more light

 

When possible, we use cut flowers from our garden; they are easy and inexpensive and always look and smell wonderful.

Fresh garden flowers-always a hit

  

We usually mix and match glassware, dishes and flatware to create interest.

This mix on our patio is fun

  

AND…we primarily use cloth napkins with napkin rings.  I know, nobody wants to spend time ironing napkins- and the truth is, I don’t.  We use lovely cotton and linen napkins that just need to be folded warm from the dryer.

 

Lovely napkin rings a gift from good friend Maybelline Te

 

 

Another feast cooked by non other than Irwin

 

I know these suggestions seem very basic and they are, but with a little imagination, you too will feel like you are dining out…at home.

Make a Wish and....

With much anticipation and little fanfare, Irwin & I packed a bag or two, grabbed Charlie and headed for the hills last week to spend some much needed time in the country.  This is what we live for and we celebrate our good fortune every day that we are able to spend in our home surrounded by nature.

Of course, the first thing I did upon arrival was walk the property and check on our seasonal guests.  I was so excited to see the nest that had been built Memorial Day and had eggs hatched on the longest day of the year now housed a robust brood of six babies that were preparing to depart, leaving us as “Empty Nesters” once again.  The added pleasure of finding that a beautiful pair of cardinals had built a precious nest of birch bark in our beloved lilac bush almost sent me over the top.

Five of six of our latest brood

 

Our cardinal

 

the cardinal nest made with birch bark

 

From the beginning our house has attracted wildlife, a topic I have addressed in previous posts and am constantly in awe of.  Irwin and I often joke about how we have willed the arrival of our feathered and furry friends and perhaps we have.

It could be argued that our purchase of a painting of a large black dog, initiated the arrival of Charlie, our big black dog and the sketches of birds nests along with the glass eggs in nests displayed in our home have heralded the abundance of nests on our property.

the painting that heralded charlies arrival

 

The "man" Himself

 

sketches of nests

 

 

glass eggs in nests

 

One could further agree that a sketch of a raccoon, the only valuable gift left by the previous owner of our house, was single-handedly responsible for last summer’s Raccoon-Fest, and finally, the placement of the wooden bunny in our “Wish Basket” which to our utter shock and amazement, brought bunnies to our property.

our raccoon sketch

 

 

Our raccoon-Fest

 

 

our "wish basket"

 

our bunny

 

We believe that the universe will give you what you ask for if you put it out there so our wish basket is always on display in the den.  We keep the wooden bunny and Charlies broken collar in it at all times as a reminder of the enormous wishes we have been granted.

Now I’m not saying that we always get exactly what we wish for, I did NOT ask for a woodchuck, especially after last summer’s raccoon-fest and our sealing up all the openings under the porch, but nevertheless, Woody, as we’ve come to call him, not only resides on our patio in a gargantuan cave he has built, but has an extended family of baby woodchucks living under our porch.

Woody

 

woody's home

 

I’ve also put several small winning lottery tickets and handfuls of dollar bills in the basket and have yet to win Mega-Millions or Powerball but there is always the possibility.

So why not make a wish or two? Who’s to say how messages are communicated in the universe or how things are heard in the heavens?  What is important is that we put our message out because…you never know.

We just added our latest wish in the basket….I’ll keep you posted!

 

our latest wish is in the basket

 

Capture the Flag...And Memories Too!

Last year, right before Memorial Day, I wrote a post about our flag tradition.  Well, with the Fourth of July practically upon us, I thought it would be a good idea to re-share this lovely tradition with all of you.

Our Annual Flag

As we all know, summer is fleeting.  Even as we are preparing to begin the celebrations of the season, back to school items and early fall fashions are hitting the shelves and windows of our favorite stores.  While this has been going on for quite a long time, it seems that it worsens every year.  Irwin and I always joke about it, saying that it is difficult to find summer items in mid-July because stores are filled with Halloween items and sleds, which by the way, is not very far from the truth.

As more of our goods became imports and delivery times increased, retailers had to make earlier commitments to goods and ….well, you know the rest, we are about two and a half steps away from Christmas in July-literally.

So, while that ephemeral summertime window is open, we should take every opportunity to savor the sweet smells and vivid colors of the season, and do all that we can to capture this season’s memories so that they can be enjoyed throughout this year and for years to come.

colors of the season

 

 

A happy fellow in yellow

 

Coleus Foliage

 

Vivid in Violet

 

Our flag tradition allows us to do just that.  It began three years ago when:

our flag, which we had hung from our porch in the country, was ruined in a storm and Irwin and I were unable to find a good quality replacement in time for our upcoming Fourth of July celebration with friends. In a quest to create last minute, patriotic décor, Irwin grabbed a handful of small, cut out, color copies of a beautiful American flag, which we kept in a jar in the kitchen and placed them in planters all over the porch.  He then hung one flag on one of the posts as well.  Our celebration was a success and even after the holiday ended, and the other paper flags were put away, the flag on the post remained.  Irwin suggested that we leave it up there until the following July 4th, as a tribute to our country and as a reminder of the wonderful celebration we had.”

The flag remained there until the following July 4th, when we took it down, noted the names of the guests from the previous year on the back and placed it, once again, in the glass jar on our kitchen shelf.  We replaced it with a new flag that already had the current year’s guests’ names on it. And the tradition continued.

 

 

our Captured Flags

 

 

This year, we will replace the flag, once again and save the current flag along with its memories for years to come.

 

 

 

Memories in a jar

 

 

While Irwin and I have been trying to capture summertime in a jar since we were little kids by collecting fireflies & caterpillars, our “Capturing of the Flag” is far more humane and longer lasting.

 

So, while you are preparing for your family celebration this weekend, consider including our version of “Capture the Flag” in your festivities.  With best wishes for a happy and safe Fourth of July from our family to yours!

 

 

our newest family members

 

 

The Sweet Smell of...Roses

I can’t help myself.  When springtime explodes in the country and we are on the cusp of summer my heart literally skips a beat.  When hummingbirds visit while I have my morning coffee on the porch and fireflies light up the night time sky like fireworks, I am in heaven because I know that this is the season when we become more than transient guests in our own home.  This season, however fleeting, is the one that literally forces us to stop whatever we are doing and smell the roses.

While Irwin and I try to get away for at least one night a week during the year and spend part of the winter holidays in the country with the family, it is not quite the same as the late spring and summer when we afford ourselves the luxury of spending considerable blocks of time in our rural retreat.

And…what better way to welcome us for the season than to be greeted upon arrival on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend by a sweet little bird finally building the nest I had been pining for since the start of spring; the nest that has been there every spring/summer since we bought the house, the nest I was so disappointed not to see on Mother’s Day.

 

The perfect building project began on Friday-moved in on Sunday

 

It is part of my ritual.  When I arrive at the house, I walk around and examine the changes in our plantings and check on our seasonal guests including the Robin’s nest in the gutter and the other in our beloved Dogwood.  Imagine my utter surprise and sheer glee when I saw the first specks of mud on the porch roof. At that moment I exhaled, knowing that all was right in our little piece of the universe.

We all know that is so easy to get caught up in the complexity of daily living and lose sight of the time we need to spend enjoying the beauty we are surrounded by.  But acknowledging it and doing something about it are two incredibly different things.  Just the other day, I had that very discussion on Twitter with two good Twitter friends, @tandemantiques and @jonathanlegate.  We all acknowledged the fact that because summer is fleeting, we must take time to “smell the roses”, a priority that we often overlook.  I said that I needed to enjoy EVERY moment of this precious season and take it one day at a time.  Hilary (@andemantiques) agreed adding “It's true - I know that I sometimes squander my now because I'm focused/worried about down the road”, something we are all guilty of and Jonathan added: I’m “always thinking of the future but taking time to enjoy the present while respecting the past.”   A truly beautiful statement that says it all and is something we should all allow ourselves to do.

So, here is to summer and the beauty it reveals to us everyday.  Let’s all make a commitment now to stop and enjoy "the sweet smell of... roses” this season before it is just a memory.

Some of "the roses" we have stopped to smell this season so far: Enjoy!

Superb Spirea

 

 

colossal Catnip

 

Color-fusion

 

 

relaxing Goldfinches

 

A statuesque Iris

 

 Breathtaking Day Lilies

 

A humble bumble bee

 

The beauty of another sunset

 

The Golden glow of evening's approach

 

 

The warmth of a tea light

 

Only nature's song can be heard

 

the dance of the flames

 

Waxed beauty

 

 

Our mentor Charlie, who inspires us everyday & reminds us of how sweet the roses can be!

 

 

 

More Entries

IRWIN FELD DESIGN COPYRIGHT 2009 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED  Contact Blog Owner