Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Summer!

To all my northern hemisphere readers, it's officially summer! Woot! Here's to long, beautiful evenings, days in the water, watermelon, flowers, the smell of freshly cut grass....

Here is this year's crop of peonies in my front yard (you can see last years here, sadly no pink ones this year)... they remind me of fried eggs!

And they fold up like little pastries when the sun goes down.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mid-Coast Maine Cottage

Dear Fiona Hooper

I saw your lovely Maine cottage on remodelista, and I was wondering if I could come visit. I see that you have connections to South Africa, too, so I know we'd get on famously. If we both love South Africa and mid-coast Maine, we must be kindred spirits.

Looking forward to it!

You can rent this beautiful property. More info here. (I would still like to know how the owner has a South African connection! If you find out, let me know!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Our Table

And then my dream came true!

On Saturday, our wonderful table was delivered.

I couldn't be happier - the top of the table has all this lovely character to it. Little indents, circles, shapes. The legs are just so wonderful .. the shapes, the colour on the legs. My photos can't do it justice.

We had the table made by a wonderfully talented furniture maker and carpenter in southern Massachusetts, David S Edgerly. I cannot recommend him highly enough - he really went beyond what I could imagine, and really listened to what my husband and I asked for. About a month ago, we spent about an hour in his workshop, discussing wood choice, stain colour, shapes of table legs, how hardy the wood needed to be, the size and shape of the table. Every little detail. He took what we said we wanted and made it perfect. If you are in the New England area and want a handmade table, especially a farm style table, he's your man. You can reach him at his website.

Now I can think the dream can expand a bit. I'm imagining a big Thanksgiving feast, maybe some nights around the table with girlfriends, maybe someday there'll be some little bottoms on seats next to that table...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tables, tables, tables

Ten years ago, when I imagined where I lived it was a small, open concept space, with the living room right in to the dining room, with the kitchen just behind... I was thinking we'd end up somewhere small, we'd make it cosy. A blend of modern touches and things with patina. My dining table? I imagined a rustic farm table, with metal or fabric-covered chairs...

Now granted, not all of these images are of dining tables, but they all have the same feel. Casual, warm. Patina. A touch of elegance.

And so I dreamed.

(Image sources: apartment therapy, Emily A Clark, Habitually Chic, Mod Vintage Life, Tommy Smythe, Elle Decor, sfgirlbybay, Erin McLaughlin, Jenna Lyons ... and you can see all these and more on my pinterest board)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New Treasures

As promised in my last post here are my latest finds - this first one was discovered in Marblehead (if you're ever in Massachusetts, make a stop. Its a beautiful old New England seaside town, with tons and tons of charm). I am a huge Royal Copenhagen fan, but unfortunately it is insanely expensive. I don't think I would realistically ever be happy to put down so much cash for what is essentially pottery.

So I found this guy - yes it's chipped, but my thinking is I will always keep it out and enjoy it. If it were perfect (and priceless!) I'd be more inclined to hide it away in case it breaks.

Isn't it beautiful? And it was only $8. And the little mark on the bottom indicates it was made between 1894 and 1900.

Then this weekend was Brimfield - we took a friend along who had never been... she seemed to take so long to look around! And then we realized that that is how we used to be the first few times we went there. There is SO MUCH to see! But once she realized how much ground we had to cover, she sped up and started keeping a look out for things that caught her eye, and she came away with some great finds.

Here are mine (and the hubster's) if you'd like to see. The last thing we bought (but first on this list!) is a Bank of England chair. The hubster needed a new desk chair, and this shouted his name. Designed to be sat in for hours at a time, it's perfect. And really comfy!

I also spotted something I wasn't planning on buying - an almost matching set of light fixtures. What my American friends call sconces :)  I'm imaging these in a soft, neutral bathroom, with a beautiful mirror, where these girly additions will flank the mirror and add a little sparkle. They are not perfectly matched, which I think will only add to the charm.

Maybe in a bathroom like Sarah Richardson's design?

 Last but certainly not least was a purchase that has been on my mind since my first couple of years of living in Massachusetts. In a magazine I read about Dedham Pottery - lovely Arts and Crafts pottery that was created in a town near me, Dedham, with a beautiful signature crackled glaze and rabbit design. The pottery was made between 1896 and 1943. I've seen this pottery a few times at Brimfield, but it was always quite expensive. So I hoped that I would find it for a reasonable price one day, so that I could have my little piece of Massachusetts crafting history, and that if I moved back to South Africa one day I could take it with me.

Well, I found it. A reasonably priced beautiful bowl. It's tiny. And quite unique. I haven't seen photos of anything else like it. The marking on the back (although partial because the space is so small) seems to indicate that this was made between 1896 and 1928.

 What great finds - things I will most likely treasure forever.

Brimfield 2012

So although I've been quiet on the blogging front, I have certainly not been goofing off. With two parent visits coming up (my lovely mom-in-law next month and my folks in August) we needed to get the guest room organized. Done! Because our families have so far to come, they stay for a few weeks at a time to so we try to help them be as comfy as possible.

Besides that we did some exploring in Marblehead (wish I'd taken more pics to show you!) where I really struck it lucky. We also returned to our favourite antiquing adventure, Brimfield. It's so much fun that we can't stay away - if you want to see more, check out last year's treasures.

But now for some scenes from this year (pics of our takings will be posted later!). The first pic is one of my favourite I've taken there - not a great photo but with the red barn, church steeple and American flag flying it is really what I think of when I think of a large US antique market.

So many interesting things to see! My favourite scenes from this year? This guy's booth, and his companions.

Monday, May 14, 2012

New York Times Loves Africa

What's sweeter than opening the paper (and I mean that in the virtual sense) and reading two articles about how chic Africa is? Hells yeah.

Read about Merchants on Long's pop up shop in London (wish I could go!) here. If you'd like to read more about Merchants go here or here. What a beautiful shop.

Then, continue your journey to read how Africa is re-branding itself through fashion, using its vibrant and beautiful style.

Friday, May 4, 2012

All Africa Vogue

Charlize Theron graces the cover of May's UK Vogue, and this gorgeous image is the supplement inside the mag - featuring Zimbabwean Londoner Nyasha Matonhodze.

Slowly taking over the world.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

More Cecile & Boyds

I don't like making promises I don't keep, so true to my word here is more Cecile & Boyds (check out the little tidbit back here)...

Absolutely, without doubt, one of my favourite interior design companies. Hands down. I love most of their projects, but the Hout Bay Manor is probably my favourite, favourite. I am so sorry I wasn't aware of it when I drove through Hout Bay a short five months ago. I would've have loved to make a stop for a cold draft or gin and tonic on the terrace.

Feel the African flavour... Makes me want to listen to this!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Inspiration: Table

I am a huge fan of Tommy Smythe (I bet you are too!) - I first fell in love while watching him on Sarah's House (I would LOVE to meet her) but have since subscribed to Canadian House & Home, and have become more familiar with his own work. So he's a double whammy - lovely guy and great taste. He's on my mind today... well, more accurately, his table is on my mind...

You can like him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter... I'm kind of obsessed. I'm not alone... right?

... and you will hear more about that table soon!