Friday, March 26, 2010

Signs of Spring


The crowds hanging on the museum steps.


Magnolia in Central Park


This one just about makes me weep. The (real) audacity of hope.


From St. Paddy's Day. So cute.

The weight of something is heavy right now - the winds are brutal - flags make it clear, at attention in the gusts. And, after the tease last week of 74 degree days, it is again 40. And I have no winter gear here now. I am cold and sick, in bed most of the week and always guilty when I don't get done what I need to do - or think I need to do.

But, there are the signs, in nature, that it won't be long now. Things will lighten and brighten and life will feel new, again. Here are some images.

Happy Spring.

Friday, March 19, 2010

When I'm Anxious


My clothes where I can see them. I just love the precision.


I apologize in advance because this experiment really is as anal as it looks.

I notice, when I am anxious, as I was about all of my work this week - the book I am writing for myself, the book I am writing about Ukrainian style, an article for a new Minneapolis publication (Artful Living), my first for them and even staying on top of my design work. So, when I feel out of control in all those pressing areas of my life, I have to find something completely concrete to work out in the material world. My work this week was so in my head - working on budgets, researching Chanel for the article, facing my terror about sending my own manuscript out to publishers and feeling shamefully behind the eight ball on this other book. So, all of those thoughts were making me mad - not angry, but crazy.

So I took the day off (after putting final touches on the magazine article) and dug in to purge my closet here in NY. It is a nightmare. Well, kind of a nightmare. Not a nightmare like a nuclear holocaust would be a nightmare, but it is difficult. We have one deep closet, about 3 feet wide with two rods. ONE HUNG BEHIND THE OTHER. Not top bottom where you could at least see things if you had a stepladder. MY THINGS HUNG BEHIND LEE'S and his rod was packed full of his clothes. So I felt like I was entering a sartorial forest everytime I had to get dressed. I had a machete to whack through his layer of clothing, before I finally got to my paltry collection 4 feet back without a light and all my clothes are black! I could never find a thing. I wore only what I had thrown on the chair by the bed. It was too much work to get dressed.

So, I tackled this problem with gusto. I bought a rolling rack, had it delivered and then bought nice new hangers. I put the rolling rack in the only 6 square feet in the room that we don't HAVE to walk and filled it with my clothes in a nauseatingly anal way. By color on matching hangers. Of course, by color for me means almost nothing since all of my clothes were black. This was easy. If somethiing was just too garish - like my one orange t-shirt, I just hung it in the regular closet because I couldn't stand the imperfection of the hanging rack.

I'm owning that I was nutty. I needed control and perfection in one simple aspect of my life since everything else seemed to be beyond my control. So I share with you now my closet - it looks like a damn installation or rack in a store - well, I did do retail for many years. My inner Virgo is showing. Enjoy. These clothes will all be on the chair or floor by the week's end.

I would love to hear what you all do when you get anxious!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Easter Eggs | Learning Something New


The class's finished eggs.


Where we started.


The dyes for the eggs.


Lee working on his egg.


Taking the wax off at the end.


Lee has always loved the Ukrainian Easter eggs - they are called pysanka. When I learned that the Ukrainian museum was teaching a class on making them, I mentioned it and he wanted to go. It happened to fall on his birthday, so I made the class part of his gift.

We began with a wonderful movie, a history of the psyanka. Eons ago in this part of the world, the pagan religion held that the gods showed favor to the people with the return of Spring. The people wanted to show their gratitude and decorating eggs was one of the ways to do this. They were painted with symbols - of the four corners of the earth, which later turned into a cross, a swastika, which was a solar symbol of good luck, and the star rosette, a sign of endless spring mimicking rays of the sun.

It is similar to batik, a process using wax with a small metal tool to cover the areas of the fresh egg the artist does NOT want dyed. Then the egg is dipped into the dye, pulled out and dried. Another layer of wax is added to preserve THIS color, then dipped into a new dye. The process was repeated 4 times - using yellow, orange, red, then black. Some chose to use a bit of green in special places. Well, my little egg cracked along the way - I was the only one to have that happen - I was having kind of a bad day, anyway. :-( At the very end, you hold your egg over the candle flame to melt the wax, wipe it away and reveal the masterpiece.

But, sitting in the room with 10 people, working quietly, talking, hearing about where people live and work - it was a very sweet thing. And here you see our eggs, even my unfinished one.

It made me realize how inspiring it is to learn something new - and I wondered about you, reader, if there is anything you have done anything like this - something you learned that was fun, relaxing - and what it was like for you? I am thinking we should set a movement afoot to learn something new at least once or twice a year!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

How Time Flies


One of the projects I was working on in my blogging absence. I love this place and the owners, Jeff and Sabena - they have such darn good taste!


You know you haven't been posting enough when your mother calls and says, "Honey, are you okay? You haven't been blogging."

She's right and I hardly noticed. I am now back in NY (after 2 weeks in Minneapolis during which time I posted once!) What can I say? I'm busy. Down to the wire racing to appointments writing orders and selecting last minute lighting before the Baker, Knapp and Tubbs sale ends. My design work is alive and well and it makes me oh so happy to see people excited about their spaces.

So, give me a few days to catch my breath here in soggy NY and I'll come up with some entertainment one way or another.

Best news? I'm on vacation! I'm on a self-declared writing retreat at the New York Society Library for the next two weeks. I'm also on deadline, which makes it work, not a vacation, doesn't it? Oh, well. I can pretend.

Happy Birthday to Lee today, love of my life, pain in the ass sometimes, too. We're going to paint Ukrainian Easter Eggs. Ya gotta love it. It's what he wanted to do. Will send photos later.

xo
a

Monday, March 1, 2010

Out About Town


New Yorkers out in the sloppy mess on Saturday - undeterred by the slush.


The Pavlova at Balthazar - sitting on the plans....


The great French Bistro mood at Balthazar.


William Switzer - the entry?


For the powder room - from Vaughan.


Whew. Working is exhausting!

So, it's a good thing I love it. I have been absent because I have been working in that very external, out in the city, poking around on material things, whipping out the tape measure, snapping photos part of my life - interior design.

My clients extraordinaire, Chris and Annie O'Brien, came to the city with my talented friends and colleagues, Mark Larson and Jean Rehkamp (the architects for this project) to do some serious work and play. We did both.

Starting at Amy Perlin Antiques on Thursday, we found a beautiful 19th Century buffet right off the get go. On to Ann Sacks for tile. I felt like we sort of took over the place, but Setta Tavitian, my sales rep, is like a master conductor. She just knew how to move around this entourage of designers with such grace and we found fantastic tile for the project.

John Roselli and A. Rudin rounded out the afternoon where we found the family room sofa and a charming light fixture for the kitchen table - a branch of gold with tiny lights. What kid wouldn't love it?

Dinner and drinks on Thursday night. Or, maybe that should be drinks with a little dinner. Wink. Wink.

Up to work during the blizzard on Friday - after Jean and Mark took their morning run in Central Park after Bloomberg suggested staying OUT of the park because someone was killed by a falling tree - heavy from the wet snow. They missed the morning news. :-)

The best was Saturday - we started at Balthazar for brunch and a meeting about the electrical plan. Over cappuccino, croissants, Eggs Florentine and a Pavlova with warm berries for dessert, I think I have rarely had a more enchanting and productive meeting. We think that meetings should always be this way. After a couple hours, we went out to shop in SOHO, finding one object after another that someone coveted. A table at BDDW, a water bottle at Ochre, a pair of drop gold earrings at Ted Muehling and a 1950's French velvet lounge chair at Flair.

Dinner at Freeman's Alley where we had a star sighting. Anderson Cooper was at a table near us. He is extraordinarily handsome and seemed quite charming to stand for photos with gawkers. (I promise I was not gawking!)

After walking probably five miles each of the three days they were here, I could only vegetate on Sunday. But, it was quite a treat. I felt so happy to share what I have learned about New York with my friends. It's why I'm here. It is a treasure chest.