September's House in Canandaigua, New York
This little Victorian beauty has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a front and a back parlor, two fireplaces, and a divine kitchen with pantry the size of a Manhattan apartment. It features parquet floors, crown molding, and those delicious high ceilings the Victorians are famous for. September’s house was for sale! The asking price $225,000, which can barely buy you a parking space in Boston’s Back Bay. I wanted it for that summer retreat we all think we want. I wanted it for winter too, but I hear this part of Upstate gets mighty cold. Lust is such a wicked thing!
My friend John’s amazing New York apartment was the feature for last Sunday’s Style magazine in the New York Times. What did I tell you about LUST. John’s place is remarkable. It is tasty and understated and comfortable. It is John at his best!
Thank You Boston Home!
By now, one great huge yawn might be heard from those of you who have already seen this article in Boston Home’s fall issue. I want to tell you what a treat it was working with Rachel Levitt Slade, the editor, Jonathan Kozowyk, the brilliant photographer who made my little humble house look grand, and Alyssa Giacobbe who is such a fine writer and captured the essence of a house well loved. Thank you, Darlings all…for your time and your amazing talents. It was a joy to be included in this magazine!
Boston Magazine’s style blog “Roost” paid us a visit and a lovely compliment by posting with 6 pictures of the store. You can see them all here and read the delightful things she said about us.
We adore Kara Butterfield from Roost and it was a pleasure to have her in the store!
One Night In New York City
Well, the Gift Show came along, as it does every January/February, and once again I was caught up in miles of displayed goods…most of which none of us need. The first day of the gift show is always a blur of those goods, as I whip up one aisle after another, head turning at a rapid speed just to attempt an overview of all this merchandise!
I wonder, on DAY ONE, what in the world I am doing owning a store. I think of all the things I thought I might become when I grew up and not one of those fantasies (years ago) had me as a shopkeeper. I was going to be a country/western singer (can’t carry a tune in a bucket) or a sporty type who played tennis and skied down the Sierras (don’t like to sweat, hate the cold. and once ran into a tree while wearing skis), a wife with a country home and a city house and a big car and big hair and two kids (I did some of that…ended up with two fine daughters, two divorces and no houses). Now one might think the store is a default item or a booby prize, which is not what I feel. This little store is the love of my life, but damn it is hard to find goods on day one at the Gift Show!
So, after the long days of walking the Javitz, I dine with friends I rarely get to see. I eat divine meals…one of which featured the above menu. John Derian, once again, treated for dinner at il Buco. We dined by candlelight in il Buco’s wine cellar just as we did last August, and the place, the people, the food was simply magic! Thank you, John!
I ate another amazing meal at Frankies Spuntino on Clinton Street over on the lower East Side. Now that is a neighborhood to investigate! In all of this food, wine, and evening conversation, the goods for 6 Birch surfaced during the day in booths I rarely visit. By day two, the store had a direction, and I had written some healthy orders for merchandise that will delight all of you. Who needs the skis, the big hair, the two houses, or a microphone and country band when you can own a store!
A Wee Corner of John's Studio
I am forever charmed by the bits of inspiration this man surrounds himself with. A visit to any artist studio is a peek into his or her soul.
Last weekend, my friend John invited us all down for three days at his house in Provincetown. Now, before you doze off because I have written about this place in an earlier post or two, I promise I will not go on about what an amazing host he is nor will I tell you the place is beyond scrumptious, and I won’t tell you that the “us” of us were three pugs, my daughter Maren, her husband Nathan, and the two grandkids Reeve and Bae. Nope! I won’t tell you a thing of all that. I just want to show you a few photos which, when I returned home, wanted to make me tear my own place to ribbons. I longed for less expected placement of the treasures I own…I longed for natural walls and a turn-of-the-century toaster and that Cape Cod light filling up the space in all my own rooms here in Roslindale. Thank you, John, for your generous self!
Bathroom Door, Old Paint, Hand-Woven Towel, Mercury Knob
Seed Pods on Silk Ribbon
Pink Paper Hollyhocks on the Guest Room Mantel
I woke each morning to the sight of these hollyhocks made of the finest pale crepe paper. One night the wind blew with such fierceness, I was certain I might be swept out to sea…of course, I would have grabbed these pink hollyhocks on my way out had that been the case!
Living Room Mantel with Canvas, Waiting the Artist's Brush
In the evening, John lights much of his house with candles. Oh, there are a few wall sconces with the dimmest of bulbs, but it is the light from those candles that is forgiving for those of us over forty.
John at the Stove
One night, we ate the most delicious pasta from Amy Chaplin’s blog “Coconut and Quinoa.” The ingredients were dead simple…roasted cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red onions caramelized in olive oil, spelt pasta and a terrific feta cheese to toss it all. Check out Amy’s blog, there are some superb recipes for vegetarians. What a wonderful weekend it was!
Same Spot This Past June!
Well, here we are again…more snow, add some ice, maybe a little bit of rain and you got yourself February 2011! This lusty little corner of my back porch reminds me to think Spring. And, as I slide around on icy walks, I remember to pray. Now you should all know I am not a praying type of gal but this winter has done it to me! I just returned from New York and the Gift Show…which is usually a whole lot of fun…though even New York City had snow and slush and icy puddles that I could have used a canoe and a nice set of paddles to get across. I prayed there too…maybe in all this, I might find religion!
What I do want to tell you is this…the Gift Show was divine. There were the usual tempting goodies and the favorite booths and the very favorite artists and vendors. I bought amazing things I believe you all might enjoy.
The best part of it all in New York is the after-hours! I love the delicious nonsense of eating out each night with friends old and new. This time in New York was different and maybe even better. I dined, once again, at Bombay Talkie on Ninth Avenue with dear friends who own Bon in Tucson. And I ate, once again, at Malatesta on Washington Street in the Village. There was snow (piles of it) outside our window, worn wooden floors under our feet, and in front of me, a dish of spinach gnocchi with gorgonzola cream and sage leaves! Bottles of wine, the company of good friends…who could have asked for more? One night, my friend John and his friends from Astier de Villatte in Paris gave a buffet supper party. The meal was catered by a chef named Amy Chaplin. This was the most amazing food I have eaten in a very long time! Amy has a blog called Coconut and Quinoa. This blog is a must for anyone who loves to eat! Please check it out, and did I mention…there are recipes. Each one sounds more delicious than the next.
New York was a wonderful adventure with a great deal of work and the best ever food! Now… if only we can get past this winter and into spring, hang up the snow shovels, and put away the fleece…imagine!
A Favorite Corner of John's House
One very wet weekend when the whole of New England felt as if it were heading out to sea, my friend John invited me, my daughter Maren, her husband Nathan, the two grandkids Bae and Reeve plus the collection of pugs (Dino, Lulu and Moss) to his amazing and wonderful house in Provincetown. It was the day after Wally’s death…my choice was to sit and sob at home or to wander off to P.Town with this delicious cast of characters and be caught up in great food, wonderful friends, lovely ambiance…do I need to tell you what I chose!
One of Many Cabinets in John's House
The whole of John’s place is akin to a Cabinet of Curiosity. Around each corner is something that surprises or delights. The bedrooms with their peeled wallpaper, exposed raw plaster and furnishings of antiques make you want to stay forever. I had the front bedroom on the second floor and from my bed, if I leaned in just the perfect way over to the left, I could see the beach and watch the waves whip over the hull of several small boats moored out there off shore. The storm raged for three days…water collected in puddles the size of wading pools down Commercial Street. We ate fine meals, played a game or two and read books by candlelight.
Detail of a Favorite Stoneware Bowl
Bae with Lulu and Dino
Beech Forest Trail
Before the rain began in earnest, we went to the Beech Forest Trail which was a pure Mary Oliver experience. Mary Oliver is one of my all-time favorite poets; she lives in P.Town and has written of this trail and the surrounding dunes. There were birds of all kinds in the bare trees, many of which swooped down and ate seeds from our open hands. We saw a small nuthatch, the plain titmouse and a number of chickadees with an occasional cardinal. The sky was a threatening grey, the wind was just beginning to perk up but in our little corner of the path all was right with world.
A Day of Writing
Diane Hanna did it again! That girl, in all her tulle and flounce, came to the store for two remarkable days of writing. We filled the table with eager and fine writers; we filled the room with life stories! Thank you to all of you who attend these workshops! They would not be possible without you. We will do it all again, for the fourth year, next February 2011!
Roseland Cottage circa 1864
The last Wednesday of February was not only a wet and windy one, it was also the day that had long been scheduled to head out of town for an adventure! These road trips can’t be put off! The Patch boys (Don and John) and I had cooked up a plan for what could only be expensive trouble. We decided to travel to that little hidden corner of Connecticut called “The Quiet Corner.” Oddly enough it isn’t all that far a journey from Boston. The countryside is positively beautiful…even in a driving rain storm. There are hills and fields and estates and lovely winter structures with amazing old barns in their tumble- down state and ancient old and grand trees whose spines were quite naked and bone brown. We went first to Putnam, the home of several antique shops. Most were closed that day but one: a huge collective with some great treasure kept the three of us very happy for several hours! I found nothing to buy and that is most unusual…the guys did just fine! The whole of our time in the collective, the storm pelted the windows and streets. Rain water rushed down the stone curbs joining forces with roadways…giving the whole of Putnam and our not so little antique shop the sense of an island! Almost as if we had washed up there!
We loaded up Big Jane (my car) with their purchases and then headed into Pomfret for lunch at The Vanilla Bean. Now that was utterly delicious…complete with a huge slice of German Chocolate Cake (served with 3 forks)….I hadn’t had a slice of that cake since my Aunt Bella who would have served a huge piece on a brown transferware plate and there would have been one fork!
On our way out of town, we passed through Woodstock, CT, and it is here that we came upon this coral pink “cottage.” This was just plain jaw-dropping, breath-taking splendor. What a gift for a wet, grey day, the last Wednesday in February!
A Booth on Pier 94
A Tad of Paris at the Javits
John Derian at Work!
John's Wall of Blue Decoupage
John Derian’s booth is always one of my favorites (as is John). It is nearly impossible to resist his work, but then, why would any sane person want to! I bought several pieces out of this blue story for the store. How I would have loved buying the whole group! If only I had a bigger store! John created some truly remarkable pieces for Spring. They will be in soon and featured front and center once they arrive!
Denise Fiedler, the designer of Paste, is an old friend from early South End days in Boston. She has created Paste and lives now in San Francisco. I bought the chair series and some dogs and several wilder animals…though, we all know nothing could be wilder than Pugs and I bought a few of those too! I thought these would be good for kids’ rooms, and the chair series in one, two or threes would be terrific on a dining room wall. These pieces are created from torn and cut papers culled from antique books and embellished with vintage gold bits. Quite charming and very affordable!
Tatine was a favorite over the winter. They have several new scents, which I loved and ordered, along with Creeping Moss, which sold out early last November.
I want to mention here that the PatchNYC booth was jaw-dropping as it usually is…I bought several pieces of Don Carney’s drawings in antique frames and two new needlepoints in vintage frames…from these two genius men will also come new linen scarves. PatchNYC has also created a number of candle fragrances with the women at The Soap & Paper Factory. These women are brilliant at fragrance, and the Patch men designed the packaging. What a combination!
Coming to the store will be new and amazing books…odd titles, wonderous reads, nonsense and must haves! I adore books… I find them hard to resist, and I assure you that you will too! In the assortment of goods will be new soaps and lotions. 80 Acres has come up with a lavender scent for their hand cream and soap that will sooth the weary soul. Lavender is tricky…this one works! I found a new group of greeting cards and journals I loved. We will have more Lucky Fish for children…those little nippers deserve a chic cotton t-shirt in the best ever sludge colors! I could go on, but I won’t, I want you to have some surprises when you come into the store!
After Dinner at Freemans
One reason for trade shows, in my book, is the dining. Not that you will find fine dining at the Javits Center! Each evening it was a new feast with great friends…the youngest of which was just over two months old! Lucien’s mother and grandmother own Bon in Tucson so each night he joined a rather fine group of diners in rather fine places to dine! If you haven’t had a chance to eat or drink at Freemans, make that a must when you’re in New York. With Don and John from Patch, we ate at Bombay Talkie, which just might have the best ever cocktails in all of the Big Apple (that might be a bit of a stretch!), but for sure, it has the most delicious Indian food! We also had a splendid meal at Cook Shop on Tenth Avenue. So, now my passion for fine food, great friends and a wicked trade show is out in the world and public! Sometimes I think I own the store just to do the food, friends and New York thing!
Wally & Lulu sleep away the month!
It is true…this is a month that one needs to take a long rest. It is the month I turn a year older, the month I question all those resolutions made just days before, the month I question owning a store (didn’t I tell you to talk to me in January about all that love of retail!). January just isn’t pretty, no matter how much you might love the cold!
This bag says it all! Pictures to come.
Don, John from PatchNYC & Maren Rossman at Oleana!
If you haven’t been to Oleana, in Cambridge MA, you must go today…this very minute! It is one of my favorite places for the best ever food! Ana Sortun, the chef owner, also owns Sofra. Which is my other favorite for coffee, pastry, a wee treat of exotic luncheon fare. Ana teaches a few cooking classes a year at Sofra and, on occasion, hosts tours to celebrate the cuisine of other cultures. Though I have taken the classes, I have yet to do the food tour…not yet anyway!
Diane Hanna at Kiskadee Coffee shop in Plymouth, MA
So here is what I want to tell you about Diane…other than the fact that I am a big fan of her work. She is a poet, a special and unique teacher and a remarkable talent who wears layers of netting and practical shoes. She hosts a writers’ workshop each February at the store. The dates this year are the 21st & 22nd…limit is twelve lucky people per day. If you’re on my email list, you will be hearing about the event, if not, check out the website for details. Join us with your blank notebooks and your pens for a day of magic!
Day One, Twenty Ten
This is just about as good as it gets! Two dear friends, Don and John, for a New Years Eve dinner and slumber party….I can’t imagine a better way to see out the old and celebrate the new! We were, three (unwashed) adults, four dogs (three of which were Pugs!), great food, Apricot Egg Nog, and twenty two years of back issues of The World of Interiors! Now, first I must tell you, these issues have traveled from attic to attic with me, all tapped up in their own boxes…just waiting for a snowy night and enough Egg Nog to see us all through the stacks. Here is the deal…we have become critical and maybe a tiny bit jaded…the old issues are not all we had dreamed them to be…not that they will be placed curb side, for next weeks trash pickup, any time soon….they were savored, with a somewhat clear eye, then placed back into their boxes, carried into the attic, put way over in the far corner, under the eves. These boxes will be shifted around for, most likely, another 22 years!
Apricot Egg Nog
10 eggs separated
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream (which you will whip)
46 ounces of Apricot nector
1 cup Rum (you could use Brandy)
1/4 cup Cointreau
fresh grated Nutmeg
In double boiler, mix egg yokes with 1/2 cup of sugar, salt and the milk…cook, over gently boiling water, until thickened…about 15 minutes. Cool
Beat egg whites until frothy, add the balance of sugar then beat until stiff…pour cooled custard over the beaten egg whites…fold in gently…add whipped cream…fold in gently. Add nectar, Rum and Cointreau. Mix to blend, cover and chill over night…Stir with wire whip, when about to serve, sprinkle each serving with fresh grated Nutmeg. Enjoy! I cut this recipe in half, for the three of us, and could easily have treated the whole neighborhood…were we willing to share!