Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hot day

This hot day calls for something refreshing...


Something to dive right in....


Or to stay cool like that...

Vintage fan unknown source


Images as indicated. Not mine!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

In and out

Arrived have the weeks, when I almost forget, that interiors are my foremost passion. 

I am occupied with all the others: my family
(as always), the garden in spring, cooking, reading and writing. I feel like these busy birds in my backyard: RUSH to make it all happen, before the season ends....
I have planted roses and enjoy the lilacs, which are at the height of their splendor, as are the azaleas. 

The young oak tree has grown another foot or two and stretches way above the fence. 

Blackbird singing in the bush under my window at 5 AM

I wake up at 5 in the morning and watch the cardinals flit between the branches of the Japanese maple, the robins with their youngster hoping on the lawn, test flying....

And the neighbor's cat needs to be kept in check, I watch out for him all the time, last year he ate the nest full of chicks when I wasn't looking. : (

But still, I have been also silently watching the interior design books at my local store and online and, as always, I find some, which have drawn me in....

I have had again a late night affair with  Susanna Salk's 'Be Your Own Decorator', a book which I have had for a while and always go back to. It so encircles my own design philosophy and style. A wonderful mix of old and new, precious and mundane, flee market and heritage pieces. Fabrics and wallpapers. It's like finding a soul sister, again.
Could that be my house? Yes.... but a little enhanced, I have to admit : )))

Well, I've got the tulips....

And another enticing one, which I am waiting for, being on route... Nicky Haslam's 'Folly De Grandeur'! I feel like flying to England and spending the summer in this house.

What else have I been reading?
Gwyneth Paltrow's latest cook book, which has gotten already much use:

Her recipes are largely vegan or vegetarian based, often gluten and dairy free. There are a couple of great meat dishes and splendid deserts. But all are so appetizing and the book is also wonderfully written.   

I just met Alexandra Aldrich at a book reading in my neighborhood and have been devouring her unusual story of her childhood, filled with memories of the faded glory of the once grand Astor family. At least her family branch is the faded one....  It is very interesting. 

Another find is this one, 'The Camomile Lawn' by the British authoress Mary Wesley. I am fascinated by her writing. She began in earnest to publish when she was over 70! Yes, you read that right. She died at 90 in 2002 and had more then 9 novels out in the years between.

And the latest RH catalog arrived at my doorstep, weighting a ton, but having a few treasures of it's own, worth a post by itself. But since I am so very busy, I will send you here, and show you a few images to wet your appetite.

There are different sections, for which I am grateful, like Small Spaces (which still seem rather large...) and Objects of Curiosity. Which I love! Check it out...

So long, I am off to shop for our cooking session this afternoon: My daughter  and her friend will make Gnocchi
from scratch.... Hmm. I'll give them a hand...or two!


Images by V.Zlotkowski and the RH website (last four).

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Guitar play woke me this morning and the smell of freshly brewed coffee. There were beautiful tulips blooming on the breakfast table and my lovely mother-in-law and I share this day together, which is rare and I appreciate it the more for it. There were phone calls and hand written notes, hugs and kisses...
Being a mom has taught me so many things:
To love without conditions, to take myself back and let my children lead, to trust, that my work as a mother has done something, which has bloomed, just like these tulips have grown seemingly without help from the soil.

This is how I feel:  It's my job as a mother, to give my children the support they need to face the world, a world, which feel so much more demanding and challenging then when I grew up. It's a world, which surprises me and sometimes scares me too, a future which seems more uncertain and  often feels frail, yet full of adventures for them to discover and to conquer.

It's the love I give, which is the fertilizer to make them grow, make them believe in themselves, which makes all the difference. 

Life is uncertain and as I grow older, I realize how much the strong, loving bond means between parents and their children, something I only begun to see, when I had my own. 
My childhood was overshadowed by events, which unfortunately altered my relationship with my parents permanently, yet I still feel connected and miss them in my life...This is irreplaceable and I am so aware of the importance of being there for my children, despite huge distances, continents away, despite different opinions about the choices they make and to know that they are strong and smart and capable, and being young and inexperienced is not a handicap, but a wonderful chance. The power of youth is to dream and hope, I see myself as their biggest fan.....

My guidance, the teaching is often half hidden, yet my life and my own dreams are what helps my children live their own life. We teach by example and I strife to be an example they can look at sometimes and feel inspired, but mostly deeply loved! And I learn from them as much as I hope they take from me....

As long as I shall live my children will have a harbor with me, a safe place to land, a hand to support and an open heart, a cheerleader and a dream catcher, a base and a jumping board!

Happy Mother's Day...

Image by V.Zlotkowski

Saturday, May 4, 2013

My week in pictures

On some weekends I look back on the just passed days and I wonder what I have been doing. These are the weeks where I routinely cover all the necessary spots, drive more then I walk, run errands, pass out meals on accord and, washing the piles of laundry my family regularly produces, makes one day look like the next anyway.
And yet I still look back with satisfaction: This is our regular life, peaceful, all the steps are needed and I wish I could record the fleeing moments, the days we often look back and do not remember.
I take pictures all the time of things I love, things I want to remember, things which fill me with joy...so here is the week which just has passed.
Do you record the passing of time in your life? 

In Patricia's studio

Sunday began with a visit to my dear friend Patricia of PVE, who again took part in the annual
Studio Tour of the river towns on the Hudson, Hastings, Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley and Irvington, NY. A wonderful institution which I have been looking forward to visit for a few years now. It was again more then inspiring to see so many artists displaying their works of their own creative year.

Roses, given to me by Beryl

My wonderful friend Beryl, whom I see not too often due to her traveling schedule and her life split between India, Ireland and the US, came over for a Sunday afternoon filled with stories and laughter and later shared dinner with us all. Together we cuddled up on the sofa and watched 'Call the Midwife'  and 'Mr.Selfridge', TV series we adore. We both have  worked as midwifes in our lives and being addicted to the BBC masterpiece classics, the last one is just a delightful must. Sunday nights are booked for time being...

Country home

Monday, Tuesday: Spring has finally arrived in our part of the country and I absolutely adore this little country scene of a red painted tiny house not far from us and its lovely little garden, tulip filled and adorned with something like a remnant of a mill stone. 
I pass it often and each time I smile and thank the owners in my mind for this moment of beauty in my day.

My miso soup

Miso soup is something I make regularly, its super healthy and quick to make, at least once a week. I use Brown Rice Miso Master Organic, using water, some carrot slices, broken up wakame (a type of seaweed) and scallions, simmer this for 5-6 minutes and then add some firm tofu (do not boil) and my miso paste, stir and eat. Sometimes I add a teaspoon of raw almond butter and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Yum!

Rolling out the green carpet

Wednesday: A part of our front lawn needed replacing after two years of fighting a nasty infestation of fungi and weeds. We care for our greens organic, but this was something we could not seem to manage anymore, after the winter everything was pretty dead! So we decided to take the plunge and get roll out grass and it looks splendid. Now I water the land twice a day for a good 1/2 hour. I think we will eventually need a sprinkler...

Unbelievable green

Which reminds me that we also have planned a second Zelkova tree to match the one planted two years ago. It is a fast growing shade tree, resisting common tree disease and we had gotten this one free of charge by the  town after the large, earlier existing tree needed to be taken down. At the time we felt bereaved and were happy to learn, that upon request the town would replace a cut  town tree. They did it within a few months and actually an arborist came and discussed the options with me. I was very impressed. Together we decided on the Zelkova serrata. (Japanese Zelkova) And although this tree is not the flowering beauty I had originally in mind in front of the house, I am very happy with this quiet beauty now growing. So, a second one will be planted, hopefully this autumn.

Pink explosion

 Decorative cherry blossoms?

Thursday, Friday: These amazing clusters of pink blossoms can be found on some trees along the Aqueduct, a historic walkway above the Hudson between Yonkers and Croton-on -Hudson. It is a well preserved path, sometimes narrow, sometimes wide, tree covered and leading along parks, back yards and quaint neighborhoods. Walkers, joggers, bikers, kids and dogs share the space and it is almost like a secret garden, where, on a weekday morning, only the initiated find themselves alone with the birds... at least the lucky ones not to be in an office at that time.
I walk with my friend Paola, I walk with Patricia, I walk with my husband and alone, and apart from the exercise it is a wonderful place to brainstorm plans for the future and hatch out ideas which would perhaps otherwise never see the light of day....this place always opens one up in unexpected ways.
I meditate while walking. The most wonderful experience.

My thirsty boy

Saturday: Seeing my youngest boy out and about on his bike, the trampoline and with his friends playing soccer and basketball after the long winter months is priceless. 
Today is soccer practice, tomorrow another game and hopefully the boys win another round, the team has been doing great so far.

Picking up my son's lunch sandwich

I also chatted with one of my older sons in Berlin, such a lovely thing to have Skype and to see him, all into his studies and plans for the future. 
I enjoy the little moments, the connecting moments, the time we can spend together, even if it's thousands of miles apart, sitting opposite each other, sharing a cup of coffee and stories of late.

I had also time in between, while waiting in the car in the school pick up line to read the latest in Architectural Digest, beautiful homes I would like to share with you to, this being a Design blog....

AD magazine

This is the bedroom of Vogue Brazil style editor Donata Meirelles, designed by the South American tastemaker Sig Bergamin... Ahh. Such delights in color. Pick up a copy, this or any other, I usually have a moment at the bookstore....

The best of everything

Now I am sitting on my deck, feet up, sipping on a green machine juice, freshly made and I will read some of the  New York Times, Wall Street Journal and have another look at Gwyneth Paltrow's latest cook book, It's All Good.

This has been my week, nothing breathtaking, but just a quietly fulfilling one, with all the good things in life:
Family, friends, health, good food and work.  I am so thankful!

Wishing you all the same, happy weekend!

All images by V.Zlotkowski apart the last via AD magazine.

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