Friday, October 16, 2020

Nine and Sixteen Home Hurricanes


Rarely does a week go by where I'm not asked by a client how to style a mantel, bookcase, coffee table or an unused dining table.  Accessories are tough.  I strongly discourage people from going to Homegoods or Target or even Pottery Barn and loading up their home with tchotchkes just to fill up empty spaces.  (An item, here or there, from those shops is perfect, a whole bookcase or foyer console table - not so much)  When you shop for a room all at once just to get it "finished" you run the risk of what I like to call model-home-syndrome.  It's all a little too perfectly coordinated and styled.  It's not necessarily bad but you miss out on the chance to add your personality and life story to your home.  The very things that give it soul and make it special.  I'd much rather an empty shelf that fills up over time with beloved books, ceramic projects from my children and vacation souvenirs.  However.... sometimes you just need something to put in those empty spaces as your other collections grow and that's when I turn to my tried and true favorite accessories that always manage to add warmth, interest, and beauty.  My three favorites are antique blue and white pottery, books, and glass hurricanes. 




I'm pretty certain I owe my love of hurricanes to Ina Garten.  Whenever she featured a grouping at the end of her island or on her outdoor table, I would take note and admire.  I now use them in almost every room in our home and have bought them everywhere from craft stores to little boutiques on Nantucket. After an autumn trip to the Hamptons with Jimmy a couple years ago, I fell in love with the large sale, hand blown glass hurricanes found in Sag Harbor.  They were minimalistic in design and had charming insert for candles - like Ina's.  They were sadly out of my price range but I've been on the hunt ever since for something that comes close.  I recently found these for a client and felt like I'd struck gold.  Thick, chunky, handblown glass, with those pretty (hard to find) glass inserts for candles and that classic utilitarian style I was after.  I ended up ordering them for myself and knew I wanted to make them available to you as well.  They are the current favorites in my home.  While I don't have an online store, I'm making these available for pre-purchase for the next week.  They will ship to you within 2-4 weeks. Click here to order.

Please note: These are handmade in Europe and are heavy, substantial glass pieces. The diameter candle needed for the pillar hurricanes is 2.8" or less, so the standard 3" diameter pillar will not fit.  You can purchase smaller diameter pillar candles on amazon or these from Ikea which I'm using in the photos,.   For the taper hurricanes, the standard Ikea taper works great!  If you have tapers that are too narrow you can use a candle grip to keep it straight, purchase here.   If you have tapers that are too wide you can use a wax shaver to taper the end.  Sold here.



Monday, August 3, 2020

Travel Diary | Harbor Springs, Michigan


Like most people, our summer travel plans completely changed this year because of the pandemic.  We had momentarily resolved to just stay home until I was persuaded to check out Harbor Springs, MI by one of my girlfriends who has vacationed there for many years.  It is an easy drive for us, so no flight or over night in a hotel required.  We were able to find a rental on somewhat short notice (thanks again to the same friend) and were excited to explore someplace new.   We all welcomed a much needed change of scenery and a bit of a summer adventure. What we weren't  prepared for was how utterly charming and beautiful we would find Harbor Springs to be!


There is a classic Americana feel to the town, full of Victorian era summer homes with lush lawns and sprawling front porches.  Wicker chairs, gardens full of white hydrangeas and American flags fluttering against the lake breezes everywhere you turn.  A historic downtown with a Main Street full of local treasures, like the sandwiches from Gurney's Bottle Shop, the handmade cream caramels from Howe's Fudge (which I'm eating as I write this!) and the ultra quaint American Spoon with the prettiest jars of Michigan grown produce turned into jams, salsas and honey.   The town is set against the backdrop of the harbor with glimpses of turquoise blue water and sailboats down every side street.  There are art galleries and antique shops and a Farmer's Market a couple times a week in front of the church that smells of dried lavender and fresh crepes.  





We started and ended each day with a bike ride along the water.  Our favorite was biking through Wequetonsing, a historic summer resort community built in the 1800's full of the dreamiest homes.  It is semi private, so you are allowed to walk and bike through this part of town.  There are quite a few private clubs, associations, communities, etc. in Harbor Springs, something I saw less of in other towns.   We had 6 straight days of picture perfect weather - I don't think that's ever happened to us on a trip before, so we spent every moment outside.  We spent a lot of time in the water, which is warmer and easier to swim in than the Atlantic Ocean, we also did a lot of biking and hiking too.   Throughout the course of the week we rented a boat on Crooked Lake, kayaked to the point in Harbor Springs (which is the only way to see the light house because it sits on private grounds), and rented a wave runner on Walloon Lake. We hiked the bluff in Harbor Springs, which is must for a pretty sunset, keep walking all the way to the high school once you reach the top, a tip the police chief gave us (friendliest police chief we've ever met.  He really takes pride in his town and goes out of his way to make visitors feel welcome).  We picnicked several times at the park along the harbor, dinner from Turkey's Pizza one night and lunch from Gurney's one afternoon.  We picnicked on the beach at Petoskey State Park and the on the village green in Petoskey's historic gaslight district.  We also had more meals at "home" than we normally would on vacation because we weren't comfortable eating inside a restaurant, but it worked out great since we had a grill and a cute little patio area at our rental.   I think the only time we were inside was when it was time to go to sleep, which we did very well since we were so busy during the day.  We've retuned with lots of happy memories of sunny days spent along the shores of Lake Michigan, visits to old fashioned small towns that made us momentarily forget we were in the midst of  pandemic and evenings chasing sunsets. 









Here are our recommendations, some we didn't get to on this trip, but were suggested by others:

Rentals:

Bike rentals: Bahnhof Sports

Boat rental: Marooner's Rock Marina, 231-373-2265, Angela is the owner and very sweet!

Kayak rental: The Outfitters of Harbor Springs



Harbor Springs Places to Eat:
Gurney's Bottle Shop: The BEST sandwiches, the white bread and Gurney's sauce are the stuff of dreams.  Don't wait too long to order, they will run out of bread!

Tom's Mom's Cookies:  The original chocolate chunk and the cinnamon sugar were our faves!

Farmer's Market Crepe Truck - get the honey crepe! Think they are there on Wednesdays and Saturdays but you might want to double check!!

Turkey's Pizza - Really charming pizzeria and good pizza!

(Suggested but we didn't go: The New York, The Depot Club (private, membership required), Stafford's, Small Batch,  Bar Harbor for burgers, Little Traverse Bay)




Outside of Harbor Springs:
The Back Lot Food Trucks, Petoskey - Get tacos from Happy's Taco Shop, best we've ever had!!

The Douglas Lake Bar and Steakhouse - very limited outdoor seating, make reservation, really good!

Toski-Sands - small grocery store, to buy white fish.  Their meat was good too! Close to Petoskey State Park.

Bills Farm Market - didn't go but was recommended, close to Petoskey




Places to Visit:
Petoskey - We loved it here too.  Bigger than Harbor Springs, but great small town feel.  Loved Symons General Store - a must visit!

Pond Hill Farm - Go for lunch during week or dinner on Saturday night.  Known for their Parmesan grilled cheese.  My favorite was their kale salad.  We also hiked their Gnome Trail.  Probably meant for younger kids but it's really well done and a fun hike.  We all got a kick out of it.

Lavender Hill Farm - Another pretty place to hike.  The Lavender Lemonade was yummy!

Petoskey State Park - for beach and hiking

Skate Park in Harbor Springs - Charlie went three times and had a BLAST.  Can rent everything there!

If we would have had more time...
Mackinaw Island for a day trip
Sleepy Bear Dunes for a day trip - 2 hours drive south


note: All pics taken with my iPhone. I wish I would have used my camera but the phone is just so easy.  The one picture taken with a good camera is the one of Jimmy and I that Andrew snapped.  Next trip (whenever that may be) I will be better about using my proper camera!! ;)

Saturday, July 18, 2020

My 10 Favorite Sources for Block Print Tablecloths

Has it really been 4 months since I last blogged?!  Can I even really claim to be a blogger anymore with that sort of hiatus?!!  Regardless, here we are, it's July, and we are still in the midst of a pandemic that seems to have missed the memo that it's summer and virus' need to take a back seat.  Jimmy and I haven't been on a real date since March, though our after dinner convertible drives and backyard cocktail hours are traditions I will happily keep once this whole mess is over.  We've also had very small gatherings in our backyard with friends in place of going out to dinner, which I don't think I will do till this is behind us.  Carry out, yes, for sure and often, but sitting inside a restaurant, no thank you.  Even outside, being served by waiters in masks isn't the sort of escape I'm looking for, rather it's just a reminder of the predicament we are in.  I can make a delicious dinner that can be enjoyed in the comfort of our own backyard, and while it is a little more work, I prefer that sort of ambiance and summer alfesco dining anyway.   When I share photos on instagram of my table settings, I always get a lot of questions about where to buy pretty tablecloths, even my friends in real life ask me too!  So, I'm rounding up 10 go-to sources where I have purchased pretty table linens in the past.  I also love to find them when we are on vacation and buy them from cute shops as pretty souvenirs because they are easy to pack and they remind me of happy memories when I use them at home.



I discovered this gorgeous shop last year when Jimmy and I were in Paris and happened to be staying at a hotel across the street.  I bought a tablecloth for myself and another as a gift for my Mum.  
They will ship to the US, so no travel required.  Click on the store name to go to website.

Kerry has beautiful, airy, block prints with a laid back California coastal vibe. 
Her quilts are amazing too!


This tablecloth from PB is one of my most used and I have the napkins to match, but I mix and match them all the time with other patterns (see the napkins on my table above with the WS tablecloth linked next). I have the PB tablecloth on my table further down in this post.

This one from Williams Sonoma is another frequently used tablecloth, which is pictured being used above for a girls' movie night.


The pink tablecloth pictured above is from India Armory, but not available at the moment.  She has lots of other beautiful options like the blue and white one here. Great options for round tables too, which aren't always easy to find in full lengths. 



Truly for the biggest selection and the best prices, Etsy is where it is at!  Most ship from India. The quality and craftsmanship on all the linens I have purchased has been top notch.  Sometimes they even ship surprisingly fast for overseas.  I linked three sellers above, but there are 100s with pretty options!



I could easily buy one of everything in her online shop.  She has a smaller collection of tablecloths, but what she does carry is absolutely beautiful!

Recommend following on instagram because they often have sales and show items not pictured online.



I bought some pretty quilted placemats when we visited but they also ship to the US.