Monday, May 30, 2011

Glorious Summer

In the tradition that I've come to expect in the eight years since I've lived in Boston, I was wearing jerseys (that's sweaters, dear American readers, and jumpers, I think, to my British friends) until Tuesday and then summer arrived on Wednesday. I was unprepared and had to do an emergency home job of my pedicure for Thursday. Last Sunday it was around 15 degrees C (in the 50s F) and yesterday was a balmy 30 (around 80F) and humid.

Perfect weather for a long weekend and a party.

It was Memorial Day here today, so we had the day off. And my hubby's birthday always falls around this time, so we get the chance to kick off the summer with a bash. It was great! We'd reseeded our little back yard a couple of months ago, so the lawn was lush, and we put some lights in the tree, and then we kept the neighbors up.

Also debuting this weekend, my peonies have decided to join the party. Remember how lame they looked just two weeks ago? On Friday the first blooms starting opening...

I'm not entirely sure why the pink one refuses to produce only one bud every year, but hopefully next year that will change.

Its good to have some sweat dripping off my nose as I write this. Its always a long winter in Boston... and its good to have swim towels drying on the balcony outside, and a shandy to drink. And whether the towel is drying because you were in the ocean, or a pond, or the pool at the Y, its good to be swimming again. This African kid is not so keen on long winters.

Pic from here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Worthwhile Wines

Keeping in the spirit of previous posts (here and here) on the art of wine making, I have to bring to your attention the awesomeness of Atlanta-based company, Worthwhile Wines.

Run by Tom Lynch, who used skills learned in his previous job in sales and marketing to start the company, started down the road to being a wine importer when visiting South Africa with his daughter. They put aside some time to volunteer in a rural village, and ended up starting a nonprofit called Isipho (which means "gift" in Zulu). Isipho provides that village with the tools needed to sustain themselves with food, which alleviates malnutrition and all the ills that follow it, as well as support for the local teachers. This was not enough, and a few years later, Tom left his 9 to 5 job to focus on making even more of a difference, by importing South African wines dedicated to a triple-bottom-lined business: people, planet and profit.

The company is fair trade and supports sustainable growing practices... besides that, importing South African wines contributes to the people working the farms, who own shares in the company they work for. Worthwhile Wines also purchases offsets on all their imports for a minimal carbon footprint.

I'm not much of a wine drinker, so I encourage you to read further on what Worthwhile has to offer. You can also find more on their website on where to find their wines in the US, there are a lot just near me, here in Boston. You can also read more about how Tom and his daughter were moved to start their work, and more on the wine itself.

And in the words of this fantastic sticker from Wine Riot Boston, I say Drink South African!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Not Shabby and Online

Two things for you this Tuesday morning...

A beautiful give-away on lanalou style, and although Lana is based in South Africa, the give-away is for those with a US shipping address. So, dear American readers, consider yourselves invited :)

... and then, yay!, the new digital House & Leisure is available.

At first glance, my favourite house in this issue is the Westcliff house. Built in 1902 and renovated by none other than Sir Herbert Baker, this house has character, architectural beauty and is just up my alley.

And I swear, I am not on their pay roll, I just always blog about them because I love them! So it makes only that much more happier than that House & Leisure finally has a website and, wait for it, a blog. Daily inspiration? Yes, please!

I'm looking very forward to reading the H&L blog every day in my newly won dress from lanalou style.

Monday, May 23, 2011

We Love Pictures

Part of what I do every day as a graphic designer for a business identity and personal stationery company is design wedding stationery (one of the best parts of my job). So I like to spend some time cruising around the web seeing what people do for weddings these days (I got married nine years ago), and get inspired by the wonderful things people do to make their day unique to them.

I was so pleased to stumble across SA photographers, We Love Pictures. Not only do they take fantastic pics of the day, but have a clever photo booth with props that encourages people to let loose and a goof a bit for the camera.

It was hard to stop saving pics for you to see! You need to head over to their blog and check it out... those locations! The details!

I also spotted this on their blog... a just hauntingly beautiful song by A Skyline on Fire. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ardmore Ceramics

Somehow I had not heard about Ardmore before moving to the States, and before I had entered the world of blogging. I first saw the ceramics studio mentioned at 66 Square Feet, then later David reminded me to look them up.

Ardmore was started by Fee' Halsted-Berning, after she studied ceramics and then needed an assistant. The introduction of the spirit and artistry of the Zulu soul in the shadow the Drakensberg mountains has produced something unique and beautiful.

Each piece takes roughly 6 weeks to make, and is thrown by one person, sculpted by another and painted by another... and end up selling like hotcakes in London, New York, and of course, South Africa. A definite stop on my next trip to Kwazulu Natal.

You can see more of their work (put aside some time, its hard to stop looking!) on their website and watch a video on the whole process.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring Adventures

Things have been quiet on the blogging front as I had a bit of time off last week. On Friday I was lucky enough to head to Brimfield again, but although I got a few lovely things at the giant antique fair, its raining for the next few days and there won't be good light to take pics of them.

Instead I'll take you up North, just an hour or so, to Ogonquit, Maine. Of course, it was raining but we managed to get in a wonderful walk on the sea front on Saturday with our wonderful friends.

Our friends also introduced us to Nubble Lighthouse. I know I complain about the length of New England winters but the long, wet spring doesn't bother me. I love the colours, and the atmosphere it has. (Can you see the little ferry on the line on the left? Click to enlarge the image)

It was so good to get away and be with friends (and their adorable daughter!) I did notice that while the blossoms in Boston have long since gone, the blossoms are just starting in Southern Maine.

And although I've noticed in blogs from other parts of the country, like And George in Virginia (definitely worth checking out!), that their peonies are already in full force, here are mine back in Waltham.

I have two peonies. The one above has beautiful huge white flowers with a yellow centre, and they look like fried eggs from a distance. This year it has thirteen buds, which is a bummer because last year I had seventeen (well, before the roofers decapitated them). I have another peony, which is a vibrant, gorgeous dark magenta, but it only has one bud.

The other plant that just shows how slow spring moves North in this neck of the woods is that the lilacs in Ogonquit are still in bud, or just just opening, while the ones in my back yard are already in full, glorious bloom! Not a bad display for a rainy twilight.

Can't wait for my next trip to Maine... in the meantime, when I get some better light I'll share my finds from Brimfield, but later this week we'll get back into the lovely design from Southern Africa. Back to business!