April 18, 2017
Anyway... spring has finally arrived in Baltimore, better late than never. And it's simply glorious here. It's hard to see, but the hedge in front of the carriage house is all lilacs!
Figue and I took a walk with our friends MacKenzie and Andrea through the gorgeous Sherwood Gardens, one of Baltimore's most beautiful public spaces. Andrea tried to bribe Figue to stop barking with a treat...
The tulips at Sherwood Gardens are at their peak this week, aided by 80* temperatures on Easter.
And the gardens are surrounded by some of the most beautiful and elegant houses in Baltimore, so a walk through the area yields some great architectural treats.
In addition to seeing flowers in public spaces, I've been lucky enough to get some spring flowers for my house. My neighbours have two camellias and told me to help myself to some of them. I was sure I was being greedy taking four of them, but they assured me I wasn't!
And then the gal who helps me with my sewing told me to cut some of the lilacs in her front yard. So I did! These are the deepest purple, rather than the paler purple that you see more often.
Last week, fellow blogger, The Devoted Classicist was in Baltimore to give a lecture at the esteemed Evergreen House. Last month's lecture took place a day after a snowstorm, but spring is in full effect now.
One of the things I adore about this time of year is the soft light, and the soft evening air. I took this just before the lecture, and think this is emblematic of a spring evening in Baltimore.
I am so glad spring is here and hope that it doesn't get too hot too quickly!
April 3, 2017
Although the day was overcast, and we'd had more than an inch of rain the day before, the field was perfect for the horses - very soft, with a lot of fresh grass.
A few local friends, as well as friends visiting from Atlanta, joined me for the races, and soon more friends found us, and we joined forces and food to have a great afternoon.
First up are the pony races with the kids on board. They are lead around the course, complete with jumps, by a field master, and then at the last straight-away to the finish line, they're cut loose to go as fast as they can. It's such fun to see the traditions continue with the younger generations.
You can just glimpse me and my handsome date, just between the two jockeys, who are about 14 years old!
Because it wasn't sunny and warm, only the most die-hard race fans came out to watch, and almost everyone was wearing a version of the same thing: corduroys, sweaters, down or wool vests, barn coats or Barbour jackets and a hat!
We packed a picnic of fried chicken, crudite and some other things, but decided not to day drink as we were headed to a cocktail party after the races. But our friends brought some booze, so we indulged.
The spring card of races continues for the next four Saturdays, and tickets, which are required, can be purchased through the Maryland Steeplechase Association.
My great thanks to Mike Wharton who did an exemplary job organizing the races for the Green Spring Point-to-Point, and for including me in the day!
March 29, 2017
(Shhhh… I was totally trespassing for this shot!)
March 23, 2017
As you might know, I designed a line of tea towels (you can find them on my Etsy page), last fall. It was a lot of fun thinking about the designs, working them out and then selling them… A lot of them!
A few months ago, I was poking around an antiques store with a friend and spotted a box of old engravings, some hand-coloured, and some not. Probably late 1800’s or early 1900’s. I love looking at these old prints and thinking about what I can do with them. I leafed through the pages until I found this adorable little girl. I knew she would become something fun! She’s a tiny little thing, about 3x4 inches. But she needed a little work before she achieved greatness.
I scanned her in at high resolution, so that I could play with the dimensions and make her bigger without losing a lot of detail. I added an old print of a globe that she could stand on instead of just a simple ball, and photoshopped it so that it would look like she was standing on top of the world.
But the print still needed something. I played around with some different sayings in different fonts, but nothing struck me. I had one towel made up, but it wasn’t just quite right. Then I was listening to the news, and heard Senator Mitch McConnell chastising Senator Elizabeth Warren, and in recounting it, he said, “Nevertheless, she persisted.” I knew that’s what I needed to add to the design to make it work.
Funnily, when it’s printed out on cotton/linen, the background looks like an old parchment-coloured linen fabric, complete with the small imperfections. It’s really amazing what we can do with digital printing!
The tea-towels are 50/50 cotton/linen and are printed with water-based, non-toxic inks. They are fully washable and can be thrown in the dryer, but I like to hang them on the clothesline. The towels measure about 18x24 inches. A few people I know are buying them to frame for their daughters and grand-daughters. Over this past weekend, I received more than 25 orders for this tea towel, and if you’d like to order one, click here.
March 21, 2017
I was at the beach this weekend – brutally windy with some rain – and so we went shopping. I found something that I seem to have started collecting. Yes, I do collect some things, I don’t just sell everything. I found a great glass dome, the third one I’ve found in a few weeks, remarkably!
The two glass domes on the left were the start of the collection. The smaller one is about four inches and the larger, about seven inches.
The one on the right, with the lights in it, is actually a cloche. These are little bee or fairy lights, and are electrified, not battery-operated like so many other sets. They throw off an amazing amount of light!
My friend who wrote the late, lamented blog, House of Beauty and Culture, and who bought and sold Victorian taxidermy, gave me this explanation: Domes are of a higher quality glass and were used to display and protect. Cloches were utilitarian and much thicker and heavier and usually have a topknot.
The cloche with the lights is a heavier glass, which is engraved with vines, leaves and flowers, and it has a topknot. Although the footed glass plate under it came with the cloche, it probably wasn’t original to it.
About a week or so ago, I was in a thrift shop and spotted a hideous plastic-gold clock inside a tall glass dome. So I chucked the clock into the trash and kept the dome and the wooden base. The new dome is about ten inches.
Finally, over the weekend, I spotted another glass dome, this one about 14 inches high and much “rounder” at the base than the others! It came with a wood base, and I am actually thinking about painting all of the bases black, just so they are a little more uniform. I didn’t add the base to the top-most dome, as I thought it might be overkill!
Here are some other great-looking domes from my blog:
Multiple domes with bee or fairy lights lights. Ditch the antlers though!
March 15, 2017
This is one of my favourite weeks of the year – it’s the week of the Cheltenham Festival, a series of horse races in Cheltenham, in the Cotswolds. I was in the UK during the big Gold Cup race last year, and watched from a betting parlour in Mayfair in London.
What I really love is seeing what people are wearing to the races, both good and bad. Generally the good is really good and the bad is pretty horrific. So, be prepared from some snark below and keep in mind that it’s March in England, so not warm and sunny.
As usual, I will be watching the Gold Cup Race on Friday, live via Tunnelbear! And if you want to see some amazingly frightening outfits, check the Daily Mail. Or check out my Pinterest page on what to wear to the races.