Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

To all of the wonderfully engaging friends I have met through PlumSiena~ you have enriched my life tremendously. 
I am amazed at your generosity, knowledge and zest for life.

Cheers to a Happy New Year!

Please- do visit tomorrow when I drop into our Lunch in Paris get together over at Splenderosa.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Stone Love

If you appreciate mosiacs and you've never visited Jeffrey Bale's blog before, you don't know what you are missing. 
Jeffrey is a builder of natural gardens and stunning garden mosaics. 
You can just tell that he is passionate about his work; he lives it and breathes it.  

He is visiting Spain right now and taking us on tours of various sites. Look at the awesome beauty of Tarragona, Spain and how its extensive stoneworks tell the story of the 5,000 years of its being.

Check out the building colors that are peaking out from behind the wall.

Such vivid textures!

These wandering mosaic streets are made of cut limestone blocks and river cobblestones, polished by centuries and centuries of use.

Gorgeous arabesque patterns...

Be sure to check out Jeffrey's blog
He explains the details behind this ancient Spanish legacy. 


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Clean and Uncluttered

I suppose it is because of our home being (happily) filled to its max with family, 
today I am in the mood for a clean and uncluttered look. 

Serene, inherently beautiful architecture, comfy furniture from the Danish catalog, Gubi... 
and did I say no clutter?

And now I am off to tend to the house!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beauty Revisited

I recently spent a wonderful afternoon with my daughter, who was visiting from her NYC home. We decided to check out parts of our hometown and dined in a newly renovated, old bank building that was originally built in 1925 as the tallest building in the area at the time. The 9-story, 1.5 million dollar United Bank Building was designed by the Cleveland architecture firm, Walker and Weeks, who also designed Cleveland's venerated Severance Hall.

The space, with its thirty-five foot tall ceilings and walls of curved windows, is flooded with natural light and a dramatic scale for its new tenant, Crop Bistro. 

Touches of gold highlight the room's coffered ceiling and moldings.

At one end of the room is a huge 1925 mural by artist Glenn Shaw, which depicts a market scene from antiquity.

Crop Bistro has an open kitchen and seating for 160. The bank's large vault is now a private party room.

The sandstone exterior remains beautiful as well.

Why build new buildings when the older buildings contain beauty that cannot be replicated today?  

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

An Accordian House

Combine creativity plus necessity and throw in a little Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry inspiration and what do you get? A cocoon. That expands. Really.

24H Architecture principals, Maartje Lammers and Boris Zeisser, out of Rotterdam, bought a small cabin built in the 1800's on the shore of Lake Övre Gla, located in the Glaskogen nature reserve in Sweden. They were limited by Swedish building regulations that prohibited structures over a certain square footage and regulations preventing any building within a four meter area of its borders. So they built an amorphous structure that extends- unfurls- like a butterfly. They call it Dragspelhuset, the accordian house.

When they occupy the summer home and want to enjoy the beauty that surrounds them, they extend the living room portion of the home out over the stream, which also happens to be one of the boundaries of the property. They literally are living over the water, with the extension staying clear of the ground.

The application of the cedar shingles reminds one of many of Frank Gehry's buildings. 

They chose to line the interior walls with silver birch laths, and draped the area that extends with reindeer skins, which acts as excellent insulation. The furniture is lightweight and modern and the lighting is powered by solar panels.

I love to see the results of creative minds. While it might not be a place most would choose to live, it sure is a cool structure! 
What do you think of it? 


Monday, December 26, 2011

Second Christmas Day

Celebrating Second Christmas Day ( as they do in Mr. B's home in the Netherlands)...

My home sure is not as neat as this gorgeous space, but I am not complaining! With all of my children and their doggies here, we are having a ball. One thing was missing, and it is very unusual for a northern Ohio winter- we have no snow! Driving was a breeze, but seeing green grass and blue skies made it feel like California instead. 

I hope you are enjoying your holidays as well!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Angels on High... Merry Christmas!

It is not known precisely where angels dwell - 
whether in the air, the void, or the planets.  
It has not been God's pleasure that we should be informed of their abode.  ~Voltaire

 Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

In The Moment...

To my dear readers,
I am so excited- my family has arrived home for our holiday celebrations! As all of you, I have much visiting and catching up to do, baking and cooking await me and those last few presents still need to be wrapped.

With that, I will be signing off for a few days to devote my time to them. 

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

See you on Monday.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Twin... Trees, That Is

I couldn't help it.

It was a cold, rainy/misty day and the only day I had available to drive the hour out to the tree farm. The gentleman farmer kindly offered to drive me in the pick-up out to the back forty, where he said the "good" trees were. We had both agreed that we preferred the trees with their natural habit, rather than those that are pruned perfectly.

I was grateful for the ride as he had to employ the 4 wheel drive to get through the mud. This has been the wettest year on record up here in northern Ohio, so dry patches of hard ground simply do not exist. We bumped along for quite a ways before he finally parked his rig. He was correct- this was where the "good" trees were. Blue spruce, Fraser fir, noble fir, tall and majestic and fit for a grand villa, small and straggly and fit for Charlie Brown and everything in between.  The first (I know, how silly!) tree I fell in love with. Open, narrow and with "character"- it yelled out my name. I, of course, pretended that I didn't hear it and trudged onward. 

After perusing probably fifty trees, at least, I spotted one with clusters of cones at the top of the tree. How cool was that! Decision made. Its size was exactly what I was looking for. Mr. Farmer/Tree Man got out the saw and cut it down. Quick and easy. He's done this a few times before!

We made our way back to the truck, which also happened to be where the first tree stood. Right next to the truck. Because the tree that we had cut was so inexpensive, I decided then and there that I would simply purchase both trees and use one for boughs around the house. They both fit into the minivan, so off I went.

When Mr. B returned home that evening and helped me remove the tree from the car, he only expressed mild surprise at the sight of two trees. What I didn't expect was when we put up the first one with all of the cones at the top, he suggested also putting up the second tree with it. Would it even fit? We had to wait until the next day to test his theory as we needed one more tree stand. 

You can see the results. It did and we both loved it. Only one tree received the tree topper; the second tree, we decided, already had its own cone topper. The kids are returning home today- I just know the eyes will be rolling when they walk in and see the twin trees standing closely side by side. 

Sometimes you just do what you have to do.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Wish I May...

Sharing how I like to decorate for the holidays, with lots of simple items from nature. I am not very big on glitter, although there is usually a place for it somewhere! 

 A sweet kissing ball

 Who says you have to use white and red?

 Always love pods and berries, even better combined with fruits and veggies

An elegant arrangement featuring white anemones

What are your favorite flowers for the holidays?


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Crystal Trees

I was told it was a sight to behold- a fifteen foot crystal Christmas tree standing under a huge Swarovski crystal chandelier. Our good friend, who happens to be a flight attendant, photographed the tree in the lobby of her hotel, the Harbour Grand, in Hong Kong. The signature crystal Christmas tree is placed in the center of the oval-shaped lobby of the Hotel.


For those who think bigger is better, you might have liked this Swarovski crystal tree that was in the Siam Paragon Shopping Mall in Bangkok, Thailand last year. The stunner contained over 2,000 crystals.

Another of this year's Swarovski crystal Christmas trees is a beauty standing in the Christkindli-Market at the ShopVille-RailCity, located at the train station in Zurich, Switzerland. It holds over 7,000 crystals. You can view the list of Swarovski's 2011 crystal trees here

Personally, I don't know how I ever missed this chocolate Christmas tree last year from chocolate artist, Patrick Roger!

Which is your preferred?


Monday, December 19, 2011

A Setting for the Soul

I highly recommend visiting your local greenhouse right now. Besides all of the bright colors of the poinsettias, just breathe in the scent of soil and nature. 
Hmmm..... it does the soul good.

If you've not had the chance to pot up paperwhites yet, chances are you'll be able to locate them ready to go.

Just to see healthy, growing plants during the cold months makes me smile.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Perfectly Plaid

A continuing appreciation for plaids seems to be everywhere these days. 

Loving this mohair plaid by Lelievre

And I am finding them growing on me. There have long been the plaids and tartans of Scotland and Ralph Lauren's rustic use of plaids, but lately they are not only in clothing, but on our walls and covering our furniture.

A charming holiday table with a masculine twist

For those with warm weather this week, bring out the wool blanket and celebrate!

Distinctively modern uses of plaid:

Mac Leod tartan

Have you ever tried to paint a plaid pattern? A few years ago I painted this plaid mailbox for a crazy-about-plaids client and whew- trust me, it takes a lot of very precise measuring and taping!

Summer Thornton's restrained use of gorgeous color in plaid: just enough.



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