Wonderful Things For Spring... A List and Giveaway!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wonderful Things for Spring....
A List and Giveaway
1. Antique Tiles
As someone whose every day was once occupied with creating beautiful rooms for clients, I’ll let you in on a little professional secret.  Every room needs old things.  Rooms that are filled with sparkling new, just out of the crate items can seem sterile as a hospital nursery.  Take my word for it, for a room to beckon you in and make you reluctant to leave, it needs some patina of age - a faded cushion, an old painting, a lamp with a questionable past.   Antiques ground a room, they give it secrets to uncover, a bit of mystery, a bit of history.  (No doubt it would be interesting to hopscotch this line of thinking over to antique people and the value they bring to society, but we’ll save that for another day.) 
 Just take a look at the antique tile above..  Isn't it wonderful? 
 I have a fascination for antique tiles, they are like little works of art.
  Just imagine a collection of carefully chosen ones around a library fireplace, above a red Aga, or perhaps surrounding a picture frame in a high-ceilinged foyer with a Versailles patterned floor. 
 Love them too?
  See more HERE.

2. Little Creatures
Just off Carnaby Street in London is a tiny little shop for people with decidedly quirky tastes.  How do I know this?  It’s one of The Songwriter’s favourite stops each time we are there.  While I’m floating through the scarves at Liberty, which is just around the corner, he is off to visit this world of little creatures, usually selecting a new one to accompany us back home. 
 I think he’d love this little fellow, too.  I certainly do. 
 Just look at the details in his little outfit - the wee little buttons on his waistcoat, that perfectly turned collar.  
His name is Floyd, he lives in Staffordshire and, most delightfully,
 he likes to reread the collections of John Arbuthnot.
Meet him HERE.

3. Tea Towels
Ever since the release of the film Something’s Gotta Give, a certain type of kitchen has seemed to gain greater and greater prominence here in the states.  Copious amounts of white subway tiles, dark countertops, white cabinets - it quickly became the kitchen to have.  I loved that kitchen, too, though my own is quite different. 
 The cabinets are old, distressed and painted with trees. 
 The tiny little ones above the stove are painted with faces exactly like the door knockers Maxfield Parrish created.  Benevolent conspirators, they grin down at me as I cook.
  And I have rotating tea towels that hang on the arm of the oven. 
Each one special, each one provoking a smile first thing in the morning. 
Just like the one above, that just happens to be hanging in my kitchen this morning.
I found it on a marvelous site.
  They even have commemorative ones for the Queen’s Jubilee. 
 Such fun!
Pick up one for yourself HERE.

4. A Handmade Hat
Put this on your head and have your picture taken!
Incredibly, beautifully handmade.
Find it HERE

5. Strawberries
I am ravenous for this time of the year, for this is the season of the perfect strawberry. 
 Fat, juicy and red all the way through.  
Strawberries are my desert island food.  You know, “if you were stranded on a desert island, what food would you wish to have?”. 
 Forget chocolate. 
 Throw out ice cream. 
 For me, it would always be a divine strawberry, eaten very slowly to best taste that sweet essence of red.  
 Of course there are so many ways to enjoy them. 
 Strawberry cakes, strawberry pies..... strawberry jam! 
 I saw this fabulous recipe, more like a tutorial actually, on the blog of the glorious French Basketeer and I almost swooned! 
 Andrea walks us through all the steps of creating strawberry jam, very clearly and with pictures.
 You just know you want to make some!  
Follow along HERE.

6. A Summer Knitting Pattern
In a divine shade of blue cotton yarn.
With white trousers, white shirt, and white moccasins.
On a sailboat off Cape Cod.
In July.
Knit it for yourself, HERE.

7. A Summer Throw
The windows are open wide and there’s a view to the sea.
There are pillows on the white sofas in the palest colour of pink.
And this throw is tossed on the ottoman for naptime.
Love it!
Find it HERE.

8. Family Love
Though they did remove a tooth once, Edward still loves his veterinarian.  He trots in the office with a smile on his face every time we visit.
  Not so for the poor chap in the photo above. 
 Seems he’s quite frightened about the whole idea. 
 I absolutely adore this photograph. 
 Those hands tightly clasped around his back.  
That furry paw hanging over his friend’s arm. 
 True family love. 
 Which, of course, is what every dog deserves to know.
  Much more preferable than being strapped to the roof of a car, don’t you think?

9. Watering Can
With fifty-four hydrangea bushes and beds and beds of flowers, I do my share of watering this time of year.  
Love this fairy-tale watering can.
I imagine blue and yellow butterflies would drift lazily around me every time I picked it up.
Find it HERE.

10. Something To Look Forward To
Like every devoted reader of American Vogue, I am besotted with the divine Grace Coddington.  Yes, Anna Wintour may run the show, but as Vogue’s longtime creative director, Grace is the one with the eye.  I just read this week that she is finally publishing her memoirs in November and I simply cannot wait.  Not a salacious tell-all, but the tale of her life and art.
How long till November??
Pre-order it HERE.

11. Shakespeare
Have you ever referred to yourself as a “night owl”?
Have you ever been “up in arms” about something?
  Have you gone on a “wild goose chase” or perhaps had “too much of a good thing”?  
Then my friend, you have quoted William Shakespeare. 
 So much of our everyday speech originates with this Elizabethan writer, his words are woven into our language so seamlessly we hardly recognize it anymore. When we walk the “primrose path”. When we see something “vanish into thin air”. When I “have not slept one wink” or when I “wear my heart on my sleeve”. “Fair play.  Good riddance.  High Time”.  Even when we are “dead as a doornail”, we are still quoting Shakespeare.
April is his birthday month and in honour of dear ubiquitous Shakespeare, Edward and I are giving away a gorgeously illustrated copy of his sonnets.  
Perfect for a Springtime reverie.
Easy to enter, just leave a comment on this post.
We’ll draw the winner at the next full moon.
That’s Sunday the sixth, at midnight!
Good luck and Happy Spring!

Update:  May 6th - Congratulations to "Pondside"!
Winner of the book.