Friday, June 29, 2012

Project: dinner al fresco

You may have read my post on the disappointing outdoor umbrella from World Market. I returned that umbrella and they were very nice about the return without a receipt. I did a lot of looking for an orange (not rust) umbrella that had a crank mechanism.
No luck.
So I settled for blue, making my outdoor color scheme blue and white and orange. Ballard Designs had the best price on a 9 foot umbrella ($199) and it also had an auto tilt feature.

The pole and fabric part were separate and had to be put together. Not a difficult task but I procrastinated for nearly a week.

The quality is far superior to the previous umbrella. So far we are very pleased with this Ballard umbrella.

 It is generally windy where I live so this tie feature is helpful.

I did have one "heart attack" moment. My outdoor set is vintage and I really love the smaller scale but for a second I thought the umbrella pole was too big for the hole in the table. Luckily, it is simply snug.

I have slowly been repainting each piece. It is a bit rusty. My goal is to get the chairs finished this week. The dining table is done. The side tables and bench above will have to wait.

I realize that my deck will never be on the pages of a shelter mag but I am so glad that this year it will be useable thanks to the umbrella.
Now I am on the hunt for accessories that won't blow away or melt.
Any ideas?

 I don't totally hate World Market for the umbrella fiasco so I was thinking this Garden seat might work. Its on sale too.
Maybe cork placemats?

I have scoured Home goods and other stores to no avail.
I found this fab beast for $30 at Lowe's

I hope to have the whole thing zhushed and styled in a few more days but I am having a hard time finding the supposedly fashionable Tangerine Tango anywhere.
I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Here's to another happy year.

Hooray! Today is my birthday and I can't imagine a year much better than this year has been for me.
Seriously, it is has been one of the best and happiest years for me.
My husband's big day is on Saturday so we celebrate doubly.

Last year's champagne

We generally celebrate with a bottle of Moet and

a crazy awesome cake with "Granny Steele" frosting.

I prefer to stay at home for my birthday dinner and we will be having cheese fondue.

It wouldn't be my birthday if I didn't get myself a present!

I bought two of these from The Pink Pagoda's shop and

I was shopping for my husband and a few things followed me home.
This plant to brighten up a corner of my deck plus a few outdoor things that will be in tomorrows post.
The irony is that it will be too hot to enjoy my evolving outdoor space on either of our birthdays.

This is a photo of my 5th birthday. It was taken at our beach house in Rehoboth, Del. and I remember that fantastic cake, the green checked bathing suit and my dear grandmother. Her birthday was on July 1st and in the photo it looks they were having a week long party from the numerous wine and liquor bottles in the background !

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Get your art on

This cute little clutch isn't just from Antropologie it is based on a Claire Desjardins painting.

If you are not familiar with her work check out her "my paintings" Pinterest board.

Her abstracts are wonderful. She has a blog and sells originals through Saatchi online.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Design crush

OK, crush maybe is not the right word but I must tell you that I met a local design rockstar and he is as disarmingly sweet as they get. His name is Loi Thai and he is the proprietor of  Tone-on-Tone in Bethesda, Maryland.

French mahogany chest HERE

I had the occasion to venture a bit more than an hour north and figured that it would be nice to stop into his shop and say, "Hello" to a fellow blogger...
 and an hour and a half after the greeting...
 I stepped away feeling very happy.
Loi Thai is a nationally known designer and a master of styling perfect vignettes, among other things, 
like styling a perfect house. HERE

I must say that the Swedish/Belgian/French look has been done a disservice by stores like Restoration Hardware that  produce bland washed out bits of expensive crap. 
One step into Tone on Tone makes that abundantly clear.

Photos cannot tell the beauty of this vignette. If I saw it in a catalog of mass produced stuff I would keep flipping but in person I can honestly say that I was gobsmacked... there was the perfect amount of crusty patina and messed-upness to make it really marvelous.Everything in his store was amazingly gorgeous. Little alabaster beauties were calling my name. It was difficult for me to leave without buying anything. Yup, not one thing. 
Some friend I am!!! Ha!
 These photos are all from his site.
Yes, I had my camera. 
No, I did not take a single picture. 
The reason is that Loi expressed his discomfort with having his picture taken and  published and honestly I totally get that. I hate to have my photo taken so I was happy to oblige.
 If you are a D.C. local, I urge you to visit. If not, read his blog, Tone on Tone Antiques.
Lets all crush on Loi Thai.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Memory lane

This weekend I spent an hour or two flipping through the jumble named "old photo" on my computer. They were organized before I got a new laptop and now baby pictures, first days of school, relatives and inspiration files are one. I looked at my inspiration photos and was amazed at just how much my taste has changed in the last 2 1/2 years.
I think they call that fickle.
Here is a random assortment of shots that I may or may not still like.

this one makes me want to gouge my eyes out especially with that rug that needs to be fixed
I still want to sleep here
Are there looks that you loved a few years ago that you just can't stand anymore?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Pinners and boards to inspire your weekend!

Seriously, who doesn't love Claire Desjardins? I stumbled upon her Pinterest boards today. Her board with her own art is swoon worthy and "my inspiration" board is a taste of heaven, in terms of art.

Too hot? Too boring where you live?
Real life destinations that will make you want to hop a plane are on this board.

The ultimate in decorating and chinoiserie boards is none other than The Pink Pagoda.
I am sorry if I have further enabled your Pinterest addiction! hehehe.
Happy Pinning.
* P.S. In other news, the winner of the small commission yesterday is Jean of Flower Hill Design. She was the first to mention the movie based on the novel Being There by Jerzy Kosinsky, that my painting of the same name was inspired by. *

Friday, June 22, 2012

Finished...finally and a contest of sorts *Updated*

"Being there" by Kerry Steele acrylic on 36 x 48 canvas
I posted about this painting the other day showing the unfinished state at the time. It took a ridiculous amount of time compared to most of my paintings.

It is large. 36 inches wide and 48 tall.

Nighttime photo of "Being there" shows the iridescent highlights
 There is a touch of iridescence that looks great in low light. It is very hard to capture in pictures but it shows somewhat in the above photo where there are bright whites.
I did not use the Tobacco leaf china as inspiration but the colors are the same. Hmmmmm.
There is a the prize of a small (11 x 14) commissioned painting for the person who can figure out the title of that painting and its inspiration.
It seems that there is confusion here. The title of the painting is "Being there" I just wondered if anyone got the reference and could explain it. It is not ridiculously obscure.
Mom, don't tell!   LOL!
It is for sale, email for pricing.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

50 shades of green

Queen's green or Princess green china

Nothing titillating here. I have been wondering why I have so much green china and just bought more. I don't like green all that much unless it is in plant form.
Several years ago I bought this Varages French Country set of plates at a yard sale. I was majorly into French country style at the time but it has a lot of green.
I haven't seen this since I packed it up 2 1/2 years ago for my kids when they move out
The reason is that I inherited all this china.
I love the Princess green formal china ( first photo) that my great-grandmother received for her 1920 wedding mostly because it is simple and because I already have it.

Metlox California Ivy

My grandmother used this more casual California Ivy pattern for both holidays and less formal family dinners. It has grown on me. Sorry, I love a silly pun.
I have her dinner and salad plates along with a few serving pieces. 
I recently saw some at my local Salvation Army store and though it was overpriced until I got home and checked out what was on eBay and realized that it is a mid-century collectible.
I search on eBay every so often just to see what is out there.

 Last week, I got these pieces for $40.. a steal!
I have a few of the platters but was thrilled to get the pitcher and that darling little divided dish in the center. I actually use the pieces that I have but never seem to have enough serving pieces.
Now I do even if it is green.

In my next life I think I want this...
Mottahedeh Tobacco Leaf
it makes me weak kneed. It might even work with the Princess Green china.
 I wouldn't kick this out of the dining room either.

Motttahedeh Red Dragon
Do you like your china? What pattern is it?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Everyone needs a little funky fun sometimes

Last night I opened this fabulous birthday present from my mother. It's not my birthday yet but I knew she would want to hear about the gifts before she heads of to Russia.

I knew instantly that my lovely but uptight dining room was the perfect spot for a bit of funky fun from Zimbabwe. I have been meaning to find just the right textile for that table and I wanted it to be a total departure from the very traditional surroundings but also not trendy. Not trendy meant no ikat or suzani fabric.

Maybe I should move the soup tureen

The colors are the same as in my oriental rug so it works in the room even though the feel is completely different.

Speaking of funk.... I am in a bit of a painting funk.

This painting is still a work in progress. I struggled with it for much longer than normal and then just plopped in my mantel so I could decide what it needs and free up my easel.
I am working on sailboat paintings now.

What kinds of funky projects or shopping have you been up to?

Monday, June 18, 2012

World Market fail

I have been sort of piecing my outdoor space together this year. I bought some orange cushions that actually fit my vintage furniture, at Home Goods. Hooray! This vintage wrought iron furniture was previously on a screened porch and was protected. It now needs to be painted and I have been slowly tackling that. We also needed an umbrella for the table since the deck is on the west side of our house. Without some cover our deck is un-useable.
 Retailers take note: try making outdoor umbrellas in fashionable colors. I do NOT want a beige umbrella!
I found an orange one at World Market for $79 and took my time putting it out since it took me even longer to paint the table and buy an umbrella stand.
When we finally got all of those things together and took out the umbrella there was disappointment. The places where the vent attached to the larger part of the umbrella were ripping and the seams unraveling. This is right out of the package!
It goes back today.
 I am leaning towards an umbrella from Ballard. 
Anyone have any experience with those?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

This me and my Dad napping, although he seems to be the only one sleeping, in 1972. I thought it was a good Father's Day picture.
My daughters always liked snuggly naps with their Daddies and I was no exception.
Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

As seen on....

A big thank you to Karen for featuring  my art and an interview with me in her 2012 Artist Series.

Read it HERE
Thank you all who have left such sweet comments too.