Saturday, October 30, 2010

Shop Blues

A group of friends on a Girl's Weekend came into the shop today.
They are celebrating their 50th birthdays.

I loved their energy and how often then would call to each other about how cute this was or how wonderful that was.  The shop is all my taste, so it felt quite validating!

 They picked out interesting items, like this fabric.
And had ideas of how and where it could be used.

My favorite customers are the ones who like the shop.
I do love to make sales, but honestly I am equally happy when I have an appreciative person, even if they don't buy a thing.
So in my usual California enthusiasm (which I know is not really appreciated in New England), I blurted out how delighted I was to have them in the shop and liking so many of my things. It went over like a lead balloon!  I felt like an idiot the moment the words were out of my mouth.    

So to make myself feel better I decided to make my "blues" into a photographic essay and  share it with you!  And it has worked!  Enjoy the pretties and thanks for listening!

For today's Pink Saturday posts go over to Bev's blog.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Full Circle Magic

Last June I went to a concert -- it was a combo late birthday & anniversary gift.  It was an amazing night and I hardly know where to start!

So maybe I'll just start at the beginning.
With photos from last June.

In 1970 James Taylor and Carole King played The Troubador in Los Angeles.  And I was there.

Carole King was the opening act, and James Taylor's pianist.
She played a set, singing new songs from Tapestry
 (which had not been released yet), and Motown hits like
Up on The Roof and Natural Woman.  

 James Taylor played a set, which included songs from the
Apple album -- Something in the Way She Moves --
 and his second album, Sweet Baby James.  

Together they sang You've Got a Friend.   JT has said little did he know that when he sang that song at The Troubador, he would be singing it every concert for the next 40 years.
Good thing it's such a wonderful song!  

 When it came time for the encore, James looked up at the balcony, said, "Hey Joni, you want to join us for this?"  And Joni Mitchell came down to add harmonies on You Can Close Your Eyes.

I went with my sister and her boyfriend and between the two of us we have a pretty perfect recollection of the night.  We sat at a table front row center.  We bought our required 2 drinks/sodas each and we were in heaven.

Nancy and I have never had a best-friends relationship and it's been strained in recent years, so it was really nice to talk to her about this and remember a time when we were hanging out together.  She has a lovely voice and I am lucky if I sing on key.  But sometime during her freshman year at UCLA, we sang You've Got A Friend together in harmony and we sounded good!   

  Jump ahead to 2007.  The Troubador is celebrating 50 years and James Taylor and Carole King get together to play there again.   Apparently they liked it so much, they set up the Carole King & James Taylor Troubador Reunion tour for 2010.  I got tickets to see them in Boston.  My sister got tickets to see them at The Hollywood Bowl.  She took my brother, who was s'posed to go in '70 but missed it due to flu.  I took my husband, who I didn't know in 1970.

The concert I saw at the The Troubador was the beginning.  It is a very small club.  Carole King was known in song-writing circles, but not as a singer.  It was one of her first gigs.  She wasn't flamboyant, but boy what a voice!  James Taylor had only recorded two albums. He was amazing and I already loved all his songs.


40 years later they are icons and luckily the concert I saw at the Boston Garden is not the end.  She still has an amazing voice, and is much less shy on stage!  He has recorded 25 albums.  They are still two of my favorite performers.  I knew all the songs.  It felt wonderful to be there, and whole and like a part of me I haven't accessed in a very long time was singing in my head -- on key.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Home By Another Way

I've been thinking about my blog a lot lately.
I want to find the right balance.
I want it to be pretty, and I also want it to be honest.

Is it honest if I don't share all that is going on with me at the time?  Do I need to explain the history, give the back-story that gets me to what I am writing about?  Does the back-story help people get close to me, or not? Sometimes I wonder . . .

Part of my history & back-story, anyway.  
I started blogging after discovering Artful Blogging magazine. The issue I bought had Heather's Pretty Petals blog.  It inspired me and really touched a chord.  That led to reading other amazing blogs; attending Silver Bella; making art & taking photos I'm proud of.

A month after I started blogging, Heather hosted  "A pretty little Christmas" blog party of Christmas decorations.  I joined in.

  My post was beautiful, but terribly ironic.
I didn't decorate for Christmas that year, I wasn't doing very well emotionally and all I could manage were close-ups of pretty things.  The bigger picture was a mess!

Suzanne did a post about blogging close-up and the messy bigger picture.  She wrote, (and I wish I had written it), " . . . every time I show you a close up of my life, just remember…that there is a bigger picture…and it’s far from perfect!"

When I started blogging, I was still healing from some painful emotional losses.  Some days getting out of bed was a real accomplishment. So there were things in my life I didn't write about.  And since then there have been other things I didn't want to write about.

Life is so much better for me these days.  I will probably never write about the things that were so painful.  But just writing this post has helped me to sort out what it means to be authentic. I don't have to tell all to be honest, and I don't have to explain every little thing to be authentic.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Big Day

 I understand why professional photographers are hired for weddings!  They aren't distracted by being a part of the ceremony, or needing to be in the photos.  So this is my view of the wedding: pretty dresses, flowers & dancing shoes!

She even did my eye makeup!

 The ladies of the wedding party.
I love the flowers.  Wish I could have taken them on the plane home.

The bride loves shoes.
While this picture doesn't quite do them justice, these are truly amazing  & match the dress.

 Head Table

The flowers match the cake.

 Beautiful and Restrained.

The bride & her younger brother.
I've known him almost as long as I've known my friend and I love watching them dance!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Day to Play

In the midst of this wedding week, we took a day off.

 With the bride's cousins we visited Vizcaya.

Each room in the mansion is decorated in a different style. 
The inner courtyard looks a bit like the Gardner Museum in it's Italian styling.
The bedrooms are amazing.
Indoor photography was not allowed,
so you'll just have to take my word or go yourselves!

A Venice Influenced patio.

 What a great place for a tea party!

A calming view.

 Much of the stonework was quarried on the property.
It was cut to show off the coral look.
 This part of the garden is in the French formal style.
But the plants are tropical.

 After Vizcana, we went to the beach.
The water was warm by New England standards

I got out early, sat in the sand and took photos of the happy couple

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wedding Cake

This post is a bit heavy on words.  Too busy for photos! 

As my closest friends & family will tell you, I don't cook or bake much.  I do know how.  I'm not even bad at it.  It just doesn't appeal.  I enjoy eating if someone else fixes the food, otherwise I don't care.

So when I arrived in Florida, I found it terribly ironic that my friend announced we would be baking the cake.  She was using a recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook.  And we had to make some measurement modifications.  The recipe was for 2 - 9" round pans and we were using 8", 12", & 16" square pans.  While baking may be a foreign language, math is not. 


When I finished my calculations I told my friend I needed to call my mother!  Noooo, she wailed.  (my mom can make me crazed).  Yessss, encouraged the groom - he is fascinated by mother-child interactions and wanted to see mine.  Lucky for everyone I know what kinds of things to ask my mom's advice.  Baking cakes is one of them.

What the bride and groom noticed is that she took charge of the conversation and  interrupted me quite a lot.  What I noticed (since she always takes charge and interrupts) is that she confirmed I had gotten the calculations right. 

We baked 2 - 12" cakes & 12 - 8" square cakes (the 16" pan wouldn't fit in the oven and the #@%& dog ate part of a layer).  The bride put apricot jam between the layers of each tier, then frosted them with lemon zested buttercream frosting. 

Next we fondanted the 3 tiers.
The groom rolled the fondant out.  We both gently laid it over the layers and I discovered it was an art project!  I was in my element.
The tiers all fit in the small bar refrigerator.
Baking/Frosting took us two full days.

The day of the wedding, I went over to the restaurant where we were having the reception.  The groom had a photo of what he wanted.  He & I decorated the cake with flowers which coordinated with the table decorations made by the an amazing flower arranger!

The finished cake.

The bride & groom cut the first piece.
It was delicious!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Friend's Wedding

I'm leaving today to attend my best friend's wedding.

The bride will definitely have fabulous shoes.  She loves shoes!

 I'm going to be her maid of honor.
I'll be wearing my own dress -- either a clingy pale pink number I got last year on my Silver Bella trip or a raspberry linen bias cut shift.  I'm bringing both, the bride gets to choose.

Here's to the happy couple.
I'll be back in a week with pictures of the real thing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Estate Sailing

A few years ago neighbors invited us to their Christmas Open House.  They also invited an auctioneer & his wife.  We talked and he stated calling me to work auctions and estate sales.  Turns out neither of us were invited back to the neighbors again, but we became friends and a couple times a year I work for him.

This was a wild sale.  Upon first look there was a lot of junk.
These cool curtain clips were from the very smelly basement.

I can never pass up vintage coat and skirt hangers!
Because I get to go in before the sale begins I think it would be unethical to grab all the best stuff.  Luckily for the people in line, I never see the "best" stuff until someone else has snagged it and I am adding up their slip and taking their money!

Mostly at his sales I chose the quirky things, the things no one here will fight to get; the things my friend running the sale always wonders why I am even purchasing!
Though we all think the green handled thermometer from the 50's is very cool!

I love old tape measures.

The small one on the end is made by Zippo --
my husband thought it very collectable.
The cup hooks were in the jar of curtain clips and I've been meaning to get some at the hardware store.

I put this pink stool out in front of the shop to attract the attention of passing motorists.
Customers always want to buy it.
And I don't want to sell it.

A new-old stool I can spray paint pink and offer for sale.

I found these flower frogs.
The round one comes apart.
The square one has a connector sticking out the side.
I thought somehow I had missed the rest of them. . . 

Luckily my husband is even better at puzzles than I am.
He saw how they fit together to make this oval.

The journal is blank and would make a great altered book!

The fabric is mine, not from the sale.
I'm trying really hard not to buy any more linens until I get the many I already have cleaned.  I'll let you know how that goes (chuckle!).