Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Design Therapy: Ann Kelle

"Simple, sweet and sassy" is how Kelle Boyd describes her Ann Kelle designs, which adorn fabric, personalized stationary and paper goods that I adore.

Her designs are beautifully simple, bold and colourful using geometric shapes, florals and fruit to create a range that includes fabric, note pads, notecards, journals, gift tags and much more.

I particularly like that her designs grace store shelves such as Target, Barnes & Noble and Staples, making great design available to everyone.

Kelle's newest fabric collection for Robert Kaufman, Remix, will soon be launched and I couldn't wait to share it with you. Want a peak?

Her Sophie Flannel fabric is also completely fabulous.

Sophie Spring...

Sophie Summer...

Don't you just love a bit of flannel?

Labour of love

I have been dreaming of being able to renovate our little garden shed, and spent the past week browsing images of the gorgeous out house/garden sheds you can buy (with the fantasy that I could start from scratch rather than overhaul the relic we have).

Step 1: Move the beehive FAR away...

As if by fate, I then picked up the New York Times and read an article about this Victorian Cottage created out of a tiny run down hunting cabin by Sandra Foster, in the Catskills, N.Y.

This talented woman has scoured flea markets and salvage yards to put together an ethereal refuge from the world. Building on a porch using reclaimed pillars, collecting Limoges china and old books in her dreamy white colour scheme, saving and reusing old doors, and carrying all of it over the stream that provides the only point of access. I am in awe! Take a look...

Isn't this inspiring? It made me realise that there is so much I could do with the shed we have. The possibilities really are endless with a clear vision, a heap of passion and the determination to create a little slice of loveliness, a perfect refuge from the world.

(Images of Victorian Cabin, Trevor Tondro for the NYT)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Get your calcium

"Drink Milk" Print by Belle and Boo

Monday, June 28, 2010

You can never have too many...pairs of shoes

The Anthropologie catalogue dropped into my mailbox today, and I am smitten with their latest shoe collection. I try to ration my exposure to Anthropologie as I know I could blow my life's savings on most of their wares, but I had just been browsing their collection online, then the catalogue appeared. Help!! Well, I figured it was destined to be.

I am not strictly a heels kind of gal, but when the occasion calls they are a deal breaker.

Hallowed Halls Oxfords

As for flats, I have too many to count...

Frocks for the Fourth

I always think that the 4th of July is an occasion to get a little old school. Like when your parents made you wear a dress to go to church, this is an event that calls for a little effort. I am not strictly a dress wearing kind of gal, but I can make an exception for the right occasion.

Nothing too formal, just a classic summer dress fit for a parade and picnic. Comfort and colour are the order of the day.

Nadja Dress, Lilly Pulitzer

Andover Dress, Lilly Pulitzer

Chromatic Canvas Shirtdress, Anthropologie

Amalfi Dress, Boden

Tea Dress, Boden

Coolidge Corner Dress, Ivie Made

If you really want to show your true colours, get into the stars and stripes.

Striped Swing Party Dress, Audrey and Grace

Bowline Wedges, Anthropologie

Star Lock Necklace, Bunny Logic

Friday, June 25, 2010

Just when you thought it couldn't get any better...

An anthem, the original is stellar but this version by Florence and The Machine is superb. x

Could listen to this on a loop. x

It's Friday and it's "Beer O'Clock"

Hell, it is "Any Alcohol O'Clock"

Thirsty yet?

(Images linked to source, courtesy of Lovely Package)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I woke up today and just had to bake these...

I love cupcakes, and even more than that I love red velvet cupcakes. There is something delightfully gory about their blood red flesh and the pure virginal white icing. Too much? Anyway, they taste like nothing else and though I am not a chocolate fan, their distinct colour tricks me into thinking I am eating something beyond the normal chocolate vein.

Let me start by saying I am not a baker by any stretch of the imagination. I am a good cook, great at times, and I have a natural tendency to want to improvise with any dish and rarely (never?) use a recipe. That doesn't work for baking as far as I can see, so I am ashamed to say I used a packet mix. Sure fire way to get the result I want with no tears. If you want a from-scratch recipe use Smitten Kitchen. Far in way the very best recipe resource out there in my opinion (besides the hallowed Julia Child and Fanny Farmer, natch).

These weren't all for me, and honestly after I have baked I never really feel like eating the result, but I needed an excuse to use one of my cupcake stands (thanks Mutt!). And a good strong cup of earl grey tea was just the ticket to wash one down (just one I promise).

And it was "bloody" good. Sorry...

The Sugarbush Hill Diaries

It is about time I gave you all more of a glimpse of life here on the farm, or Sugarbush Hill as it is officially called. Great name right?

The term "sugar bush" refers to a maple syrup production farm, and/or an area of forest that is dominated by trees used to make maple syrup (sugar maple or black maple). Most everyone knows by now that Vermont is the biggest producer of maple syrup in the US. I am not getting into the Canadian v. US maple syrup debate here, no contest my friends...Vermont every time.

Our house is situated in the picture perfect New England town of Peru, Vermont (check it out on a map) and may well have been the site of large maple syrup production farm, back in the day. Failing that it is built at the base of a hill that is topped and surrounded by Maple trees. So, Sugarbush Hill it is!

So from now on I will be writing the Sugarbush Hill Diaries, based solely on the things that happen right here on the farm, and what delights are to be had in this beautiful part of Southern Vermont. Sound good?

Vermont is not all about, artesanal cheese, the best beer on the planet (hello, Magic Hat!), traditional crafts like quilting, and home grown delights. It is that and much, much more!

So I plan to celebrate those things from my own perspective and with a whole lot of love. x

Design Therapy: Zutano

Based in Cabot, Vermont, Zutano has been making baby and toddler clothing that rivals the best in children's wear design, since 1989. "Comfort and originality; sweetness with sophistication; classic structure with a modern flare" is how Uli and Michael (the company's founders) describe their clothing. They have a great back story to the inception of this brand here.

The beauty of Zutano clothing is that it is practical, versatile and designed to be mixed and matched, providing endless outfit combinations for any child. It is not overtly cutesy or sickly in the colour palettes or the motifs used, on a par with the very best Scandinavian children's wear (e.g Katvig, Plastisock and Holly's to name a few favourites) and with the same design ethic.

Have a squiz at some of my favourites...

For more information on these items (images linked to source) and the entire baby and toddler line, visit the online Zutano store. Itzy-Bitzy is the Zutano newborn collection, found here.

Sadly, there was a large fire in April this year that destroyed and damaged much of Zutano's production but they are building this back up as we speak. I wish them all the best in their endeavour to overcome such a tragic event. Luckily, you can get your mits on some Zutano goodness at their Montpelier store, online and in many fabulous and unique children's boutiques. Search for your local vendor here.
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