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15 posts from June 2008

26 June 2008

A Day In Wallingford

So last Saturday we just hung out in the nabe.

Watched naked people cycle past.

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Went for ice cream at the new and very fabulous Molly Moon's (had the balsamic strawberry which was extremely delicious and the salted caramel which was too salty).

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And then came home to watch the setting sun bounce off the downtown buildings from the deck.

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I'm so glad we moved to this part of Seattle.

Speaking of which, very long time readers may remember me blogging ages ago about Matt whose videos of him dancing all over the world are some of the most watched on You Tube.  What I didn't know then is that Matt lives in Seattle and always finishes his videos by dancing near a Seattle landmark (the 2006 video finishes at the Troll which is also just around the corner). The final scene of his latest effort was filmed in Gasworks Park, which is just on the other side of the trees which you can see at the bottom of the picture above.

Unfortunately I found out about the filming a couple of days too late (via the new and very excellent Wallingford Seattle Blog) or else the Minx and I would have been there with bells on (in the figurative sense of course).

Watch the new video and be strangely moved.  And look out for the very nice colourful houses in Buenos Aires.

25 June 2008

Kitchen Wizard

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I've just found the kitchen (and bathroom) cabinets of my dreams over on Scrappy Girl's blog.  Danish design company Hansen Living has apparently just made it to New York.

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On the assumption that these are as expensive as they look, has anyone got any good ideas on how I can get my hands on a huge amount of money very fast?   (I would imagine getting them to Seattle wouldn't be exactly cheap either).

hanseninstantkitchen01  hansenindbygningsskab01

The Lab - Crush on Plush

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Just a quick reminder that this month's Lab is on tonight between 6pm and 8pm at Velocity's showroom and is going to feature Kristen of Plush You and Schmancy, Hansi of Hansigurumi, and Moxie of Made by Moxie, talking about the rise of the plush movement and crafting in general.

I'm hoping very much to attend, though I'm currently mainlining echinacea and zinc in an attempt to stave off an increasingly spluttery cold. But if you're in the Seattle area it should be a really fun evening as usual.

24 June 2008

Come Into My Garden - June

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The garden was looking all shiny and pretty just before we left for Mexico, but by the time we got back, after a week of rain and then record-breaking temps, it was looking like a branch of the Amazon rainforest.

I've spent every weekend since then attacking the lawn, pulling up thousands of weeds, planting new stuff and mulching everything, while the garden sort of went into suspended animation because it was so incredibly cold.

My efforts have finally been rewarded over the last couple of weeks as temperatures have risen (not that it's exactly summer yet, mind you) and things are finally starting to happen.

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It's still looking a bit messy as all the bulbs die down (and I'm not too keen on the woodchip mulch either - who would have thought that one day I would have opinions about mulch?) However, the beds have finally filled out with perennials and the lilies I planted earlier in the year (very excited to see the lilies as I can't for the life of me remember what colours I planted).

The big news is that we finally got round to constructing and planting a raised bed to the side of the garden and also planting a climbing rose to go over the arch.

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Here's a before picture from when we first moved into the house.

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I've put in some roses - being English it doesn't seem right to have a garden without them somehow. I'm wondering a bit about their garishness though.

To the side of the arch is rosa ' Zephirine Drouhin'  a hot pink which is looking lovely with the lavender at the front of the beds. At the moment it's perfect, but I'm worrying whether she'll be a bit OTT when/if she scrambles right over the arch.

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In the raised bed is rosa Livin' Easy which is the most beautiful orange (hate the name though)

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IMG_5961and also rosa 'Christopher Marlowe' which looked good in the garden centre, but which might prove to have been a bit of a mistake as I think it's too pink and sugary even for me. I may have to move him to the front garden somewhere.

Behind them is a soft pink jasmine to go with the white jasmine to the side of the trellis.  I've also planted a clematis, but it doesn't seem to be doing too well at present, mostly I suspect, because we broke the growing tip in transit.

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The most glorious iris has just finished blooming. It was so dark as to be almost black when in bud. The garden is so shaded now that I think I'm going to have to rein in my predilection for black flowers because you just can't see them.  Also pretty and very unusual were the little bell-like flowers of the enkianthus by the side of the patio

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The helianthemums at the front overlapping the stone walls have been flowering well, but I think they are a bit of a mistake.  I should have listened when the designer specified orange helianthemum 'Ben Nevis', instead I asked if we could have Ben Ledi  instead and although they look very pretty when the sun shines through them, from the front the just look too RED and don't go so well with the lavender. 

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The bright pink geranium Anne Folkard is also doing her thing and bringing a bit of colour to the shade garden at the back, where nothing much is happening at present, and the first oakleaf hydrangea caps are starting to come through.  I think they're going to be beautiful next month.

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IMG_5996 The herb garden at the side of the house has also filled in nicely - all ready for the grilling season.  If it ever gets here.

21 June 2008

Always Judge a Book by its Cover

Aren't these nice?  I'm very late to the party with these, but I've just seen (via Brocante Home) that last month Virago brought out a Special Edition of eight of its Modern Classics to celebrate its 30th anniversary, each with beautiful covers courtesy of celebrated textile designers.

Virago was set up by Carmen Callil to rescue out of print works by female authors and when I was growing up it had the reputation of being a very daring and feminist enterprise.  Which is why I read a lot of Virago books, particularly in my teens. Today their pine green spines are a hugely beloved part of the English literary landscape.

I actually quite fancy buying a couple of these (I love the Biba Valley of the Dolls and Orla Kiely Barbara Pym particularly) but can only find some of them (and not the ones I want) on sale here.

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Cover design by Orla Kiely
Cover design by Celia Birtwell

9781844085224  9781844085279

Cover design by Cath Kidston
Cover design by Lucienne Day

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Cover design by Barbara Hulanicki
Cover design by Marion Dorn

9781844085231 9781844085286 

Cover design by Jacqueline Groag
Cover design by Lois Mailou Jones

15 June 2008

Free magazines

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I'm having a massive clear out ahead of the imminent arrival of my crazy Italian rellies (who hopefully do NOT read this blog) and have decided to limit myself to only a year's worth of magazines. 

So if anyone in the Seattle area fancies getting their sticky mitts on back copies (from before June 2007, going back to 2005 in some cases) of Elle Decoration UK, Homes & Gardens UK, Vogue UK, Domino, Real Simple, Elle Decor then please contact me quick before they go in the recycling bin.

14 June 2008

Stairs

Note to self.  When you finally get round to painting your very similar and currently diarrhoea-brown wooden staircase it doesn't necessarily have to be white.  It could probably do without the little diamonds though.

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Image from Benjamin Moore (I think)

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I've posted about fabulous Seattle-based company glassybaby a couple of times before - I absolutely adore their little votives - so you can imagine how thrilled I was to see in the latest issue of Seattle Magazine that they are now branching out into glassware proper.

These glasses just reek of summer.

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I wasn't so thrilled by the price though. Unfortunately the glasses are going to cost $50 each, so I can't see me collecting many any time soon. If they are anything like the votives though they will be handblown and of exquisite quality.

(Image from Seattle Magazine).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They also don't seem to be up yet on their website. In the meantime here are some gorgeous pictures of the original glassybabies to drool over.

(Images from the glassybaby website).

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It appears from their blog that next Saturday(21st June) they're holding one of their regular 'seconds' sales.  Just don't buy the colours I'm after. 

12 June 2008

Hat-tastic!

Someone invite me to a wedding quick, so I can get one of these scrumptious hats.

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From British milliner Georgie Carss.

11 June 2008

Ideal Home - Iconic Chairs Tea Towel

We got a very lovely piece of coverage in Ideal Home magazine just recently.

 Ideal Home suppl cover July 08

Ideal Home July 08

They had the clever idea to FRAME the Iconic Chairs Tea Towel by Grace & Go, which looks superb in this rather lovely kitchen (might be a bit inconvenient for the washing up though).

Thinking about it, some of the other teatowels we stock, most notably the colourful screen prints from Atelier LZC would also look fabulous framed. Cheap artwork! (I bet that gorgeous frame they've used cost a bit though).

10 June 2008

Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment - Love or Hate?

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Love TOO Wallhanging by Paul Smith (seen hanging inside Carrie's entrance hall, I haven't been able to find a photo of this in situ)

So there's been lots of chatter recently about Carrie's apartment makeover in the movie.  It's not too much of a spoiler (and by now the the whole world and her girlfriends have seen the movie anyway) to say that Carrie is apparently earning enough from her books to be able to afford an interior decorator to makeover her apartment.

It's no secret that the producers of the show go to immense trouble to reflect the characters' personalities and lives in their clothes and surroundings, so it does make sense for Carrie's apartment to get an update as she becomes more successful and 'grown up'.

The most obvious change - which really stood out in the cinema - is the colour of the walls throughout the apartment (custom-mixed, but apparently a close relation of Benjamin Moore's Electric Blue). It's a pretty colour but I thought it was just a bit too much. I'd have gone for something very slightly more muted and soft and not quite so, er, electric. (It also looked brighter in the film I thought than it does here).

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Carrie's apartment AFTER

Her bedroom has been hugely smartened up.  The blue walls and white trim really bring out the brown floors, which again unify the space throughout the apartment and stop the blue from being too overwhelming. I also really like the billowy curtains, which soften the space and, because they are hung to each side of the window, really make the windows seem more imposing. However I really don't like that bedspread, which looks like something you'd find in a seedy hotel.

I also don't like the artwall.  Firstly aren't art walls a bit over done now? And where did all this art come from?  Does Carrie have a secret Etsy/Ebay addiction which has never been mentioned? She's never shown any interest in interior decor before. Or, heaven forbid, did the decorator just buy up all this art in one day?  And why is some of it tucked behind the headboard of the (rather uninspiring) bed?

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Carrie's apartment BEFORE

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Big kudos to the Rug Company - one of my favourite UK design companies - for providing the rugs.  Such a good way of building up their profile in the US.  A big thumbs up from me for the purple one they've used here, which is the Overleaf by Marni. However I don't think it really goes with either with the bedspread or with the little chintzy floral couches.  I'm all for mixing patterns - and on their own the couches are lovely -  but these patterns don't have any relationship to each other at all, and if you're mixing patterns I think there needs to be some sort of unifying thread (and throwing in a blue ikat pillow doesn't really help matters).

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The huge TV seems hugely out of place here.  When does Carrie ever watch telly? Unlike Miranda, when you see her on your own she's reading a book or magazine, which brings me to another bugbear.  Where are Carrie's books? How is she going to reach her magazines? And where is the hugely comfortable chair/sofa for curling up and reading? Those floral couches are meant for perching, not snuggling.  And if she is going to settle down and watch the enormous telly, is she really meant to sit bolt upright on that incredibly uncomfortable-looking white chair?

I also wished that they would have kept a few of Carrie's familiar old things around.  One of the key components of her personal style has always been her ability to mix new and vintage stuff. So wouldn't she have kept that great coffee table and credenza?  And was it callous or inevitable that she ditched Aidan's chair? And why not keep the fabulous Bakelite phone?

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I suppose ultimately my complaint is that while it is definitely a much more beautiful apartment, it ends up not being Carrie's apartment. All the personality has been sucked out of the place and replaced with interesting decorator pieces (and product placement opportunities).

What did you think?

09 June 2008

Under my um-ber-ella, ella, ella

Remember how last year I spent ages trying to find affordable brightly-coloured sun umbrellas and lounger cushions for the deck and then had to settle for white umbrellas and red cushions because everything else was SO boring?

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Our deck in happier times 

I was obviously a year ahead of my time, as these are some of the options now available from Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware.  Grrrrrrr! I love those stripy brollies particularly, but can't remotely justify replacing our boring old white ones.

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I don't actually know why I'm worrying about the deck, as we're currently experiencing monsoon-type conditions here in Seattle and I am spending all my time under an umbrella of a very different kind.

07 June 2008

The Two Pots

I've been trying to do an update on the garden for ages, but have been somewhat hampered by it a) having turned into an Amazonian rainforest while we were in Mexico and b) having been cloudy and rainy and thoroughly miserable for the last two weeks. 

We'd actually made a lot of progress tidying everything, planting some new plants and hacking down the mountain of weeds which had sprung up while we were away but I just haven't been able to photograph it as I don't much enjoy standing outside in MONSOON-like conditions. (The recent horrendous weather is all our fault for pressure-washing the deck obviously).

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Anyway, here's a small garden tidbit.  I planted up a pair of Bill and Ben flowerpots a couple of weeks ago which have been relishing the thorough watering they've been receiving.

I tried to keep both of the them to a similar 'theme' but using different plants.

The central plant in the pot above is a heuchera 'Obsidian' which I think is one of the nicest plants out there.  It's a perennial, so I'll try and keep it alive in the middle of the pot and plant different seasonal plants around. 

Round the edges are several hot pink trailing verbenas (verbena magalena ultra Strawberries 'n Cream) and nestling in between the leaves are a dark purple leaved begonia 'Harmony Pink' , a sutera Copia Dark Pink (confusingly the pale pink plant to the left) and a diascia 'Flying Colors' Red. The orange you can glimpse behind is a California poppy which has sprung up in the herb garden.

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The central plant in this pot is a daphne Carol Mackie which I again hope not to kill and she is surrounded by some more begonias, diascias and suteras with a very beautiful dark-leaved clover Dark Dancer mixed in.

Here are the two pots at home with the three chairs

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I'm sort of wondering whether these flowers are too 'pretty, pretty' and old-fashioned. I always think I'm going to get things which are a bit more edgy and structural, but then I end up being seduced by all that is pink and girly. Maybe next year...

04 June 2008

Sex and the City - The Movie

Things I Learned Last Night (Only Very Tiny Spoilers)

The movie is like watching five previously undiscovered back-to-back episodes with a much bigger budget.  No more.  No less.  Which is my idea of bliss.  I note the reviewers who thought the movie was too long are mostly male.

- The plot is so creaky it should be in an old people's home.  I have no idea how they're going to rehash things again to make a sequel.  This doesn't actually matter.

- Judging by the packed-out cinema and queue for tickets (in fabulous monsoon-like conditions - how I love Seattle in June), there will definitely be a sequel

- As we suspected from the photos which have been all over the Internet, green feathers and bright red lipstick (especially lipstick which is feathering round the edges - too much smoking Carrie!) does not work

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- The blue Manolos in the lead role are totally upstaged by these fabulous Dior Extreme Gladiator Platforms, which I would buy tomorrow if they a) didn't cost $770 b) wouldn't cripple me in about 5 secs c) wouldn't give me appalling cankles.

- J Hud is woefully underused

- As is Stanford.  More Stanford please!

- Charlotte is fabulous when she's angry

- The movie included a completely gratuitous trip to Mexico which suited me just fine

- I still think Miranda could do better than Steve

- However, Miranda and Steve made me cry

- As did Charlotte

- Carrie didn't

- The interiors throughout the movie are fabbalicious.  I may have to see the movie again to focus on them more closely :)

- Carrie's iconic apartment gets a makeover. I'm not sure about it, but it deserves a post all of its own

- Samantha is a fool

- Cynthia Nixon is looking stunning

- Smash in Wallingford was a surprisingly great place for a pre-match cosmopolitan

- For all the critics bitching and moaning about the lack of reality in the film, this is PORN, girl porn, pure unadulterated fashion, accessories and interiors porn (and some lingering shots of hot Italian male totty which were not exactly unpleasant). And since when have porn films been realistic? 

02 June 2008

Evidence that movie moguls don't read blogs...

So SATC  - The Movie generated opening weekend receipts of $55.7 million in the US alone and a further $39.2 million overseas, which has apparently shocked movie execs everywhere, who were predicting an opening more in line with The Devil Wears Prada''s $27 million.

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Well, colour me surprised.  OF COURSE it was going to do well. Anyone who even reads blogs just a little bit would have hooked into the palpable anticipation surrounding the film and noticed just how many people were planning to go and see it.

If you read the news articles today it seems that finally all the male (of course!) moguls are acknowledging that maybe there is a market for films for grown-up women which deal, even obliquely, with grown-up issues and which are genuinely witty and funny; instead of the usual dreadful slapstick Cinderella remake starring J-Lo or Kate Hudson.  Or heaven forbid all the CGI-ed superhero claptrap aimed at teenage boys.

Which has to be a good, if somewhat belated, news to start the week.