Friday, July 29, 2011

My husband LOVES yellow mustard

Not spicy brown, not gray poupon - only plain yellow mustard. It is a problem on the east coast where, even in New York, you cannot find Yellow mustard - only spicy brown mustard. I have considered buying him a holster and belt so that he can carry his own bottle of yellow mustard around with him. This has been a lifelong love. His brother Gary says this: "That mustard jar is the size that Lee used to go thru everyday after school!!"

Today Isabelle, making wise use of her time, went to the National Mustard Museum in Madison. This is what she found. Hey, she's a foodie. I guess you could consider this research?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Progress Report: SE Loft in vintage commercial building

The owner of this property has won kudos from the city for restoring and reusing an old commercial building in SE Minneapolis. The project is such a great example of re-purposing vintage architecture. Bravo to him.

Although the ground level is zoned for commercial space, the owner has his own living quarters above - so "new urban" from (what?) centuries ago.

Just finishing this summer. He's got amazing, quiet taste and it's really fun for me to do a man's home for a change. Inspiration? His closet. Here's a sneak peek.

Aubry Angelo Mineapolis mohair rug is just delicious. Navy blue Silk / wool mohair A. Rudin sofa piped in brown French grosgrain (from Scherping Westphal at IMS Minneapolis), vintage French 1940's leather club chairs from NYC, that a BDDW credenza in bronze and leather? Christian Liaigre pair of tables in teak and custom brass and marble side tables - by Bo Jacobssen, metalworker extraordinaire. Lamps are Baker and McGuire. (They always have the greatest lamps.) Add the wonderful CW Smith 19th Century British Colonial mahogany bookcase's almost a wrap.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A little guest retreat in the attic

Just finished today - love fest with the client! She just trusted me. Is there anything better? We used most of her furniture - which can make for the most interesting project - (okay depending on the client and their collections!) but I added wallpaper and the great jute carpeting and then had the good luck to find a great chaise at Hunt & Gather from the 1940's (?) with all down cushions. Just yummy and so vintage and interesting. Perfect scale, which is difficult to find now.

Add a little Restoration Hardware Belgian linen bedding and they are good to go.

Sorry this is dark. Gives you the feeling...

Moroccan rug at end of bed from Aubry Angelo. Can you stand this crazy chaise? Satin!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Photos from Villa Borghese gardens in Rome

I had such a great time with my camera in Italy - and, upon my return, found this group of photos I had taken at the wonderful "Central Park" of Rome. So, I blew them up and had them framed - gallery style - with a nice 4-ply mat and museum glass (not so much reflection) and voila! I like the size as it seems more modern.

Here they are. Now we can live with a little bit of Rome every day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

22 years ago today - Isabelle Donovan was born.

I swear...the world has never been the same. She is a force of nature. God love her.

Here is a photo of Izzy (age 2) and me, at Camp Lawton (our church camp.)

Happy Birthday, Iz. Though I know you'd never read your mom's blog. I love you, anyway. :-)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Moroccan on Minnetonka

Hosts David and Lucy Thatcher Penfield.

Lucy and Rob

The Table.

Brenda and an apparition.

The melon and mint "starter".

Andrew. Happy as usual.


Okay....well....a little love, a little talk, a little cry, a little wine and I want to write!

Hosts Lucy and David Penfield could not have been more generous - in spirit and in the kitchen - on Thursday night. Lee and I were invited to a dinner party at their home in Deephaven which included Andrew Flesher and his partner, Rob and Brenda Scherping and Fritz Westphal (Sherping-Westphal at IMS.) It was soooooo unbelievably romantic and elegant that I will have to undergo thousands of hours of therapy to ever give a party again - I will feel so inadequate!

We are talking rose petals on the table cloth, a surprise appearance by Lucy's charming, entertaining, and well-traveled father, R. Paul Thatcher and an interactive closing (hostess gift!) that involved the making of "preserved lemons."

Oh, yes... we each received the recipe for the Moroccan chicken and couscous that we had for dinner. Here's the back story: Lucy and David went to Morocco on a Culinary Adventure last year to celebrate Lucy's birthday. How good is that! People who travel and learn are my heroes because it is just so darn thrilling to be at this stage of life, still learning new things and traveling with your beloved. It just rocks!

Here are photos. It really should have been featured in Elle Decor or W. It was exquisite. Unfortunately, I was way too busy drinking wine, eating olives and apricots, partaking of the mint tea and talking to the interesting guests - these are the best photos I got. Sorry! A little fuzzy - too much vino!

I feel really bad about this but I can't write right now.

I'm doing something like burnout - fried - overwhelmed and since I think that is one of my M.O.s I'm working on changing that pattern. Dr. Hafner is a big help with his needles and his wise counsel.

A little meditation - or probably better called "muddletation" for me. It is not so easy to quiet a mind, is it?

Exercise - which now sounds like just one more thing on my to do list.

Putting one foot in front of the other instead of tripping all over my self and sometimes others. (Ask Isabelle - :-)

And laughing again. I'm not laughing so much.

Lee thinks its grief. Okay.

But I miss feeling like writing.

I'll be back. I promise.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Too tired to write but here is some inspiration from NYC!

NEW YORK JUST ROCKS. All from ABC except the guy...can't remember where I saw him, but love his look. More later. I saw the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met and I am mostly speechless about it. Shook my world. Will tell you more soon!

I think this is made of cardboard...a la Frank Gehry.

Love this guy's look.

Hand thrown pottery dishes. So sensual.

On the shelves.

Saw lots of this instead of flowers on tables. Sort of retro '70s to me.

Crazy shelves that remind me of something Italian, but I don't know what!

Lovely 18th C. French bench in muslin. You can feel the horsehair under it!

Italian chair (not sure how old ... did not seem to be gold leaf to me) but the blue worn silk velvet was gorgeous!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


It's hard to find the words to say much right now. So, the best I can do is talk about food.

Izzy at work at Kelly and Tom's - placing avocado on the gazpacho.

The panzanella - without question one of my summery favorites! Top it with a grilled tenderloin!

Izzy's gazpacho.

My plate with the proscuitto-wrapped shrimp. Bliss.

First, Isabelle Donovan can cook. My almost 22-year old daughter wowed us with her capacity to just take charge of the kitchen, the food, the presentation - and even the clean up.

After Dad's funeral on Thursday, she orchestrated his famous macaroni and cheese, Clancey's brats (which are the most delicious things you can imagine - made fresh each week at Clancey's in Linden Hills), a kitchen sink salad (about which I've posted before), roasted asparagus with olive oil, lemon and garlic. For 16 people. She did it like she was rolling over in bed.

Last night, we had dinner with my dear "brothers" Kelly and Tom at their place. We are all fried from the last few weeks, so we offered to bring food if they offered their home. Deal. Izzy made gazpacho, proscuitto wrapped shrimp on the grill and a Panzanella salad with fresh bufalo mozzarella from Broders. Jeesh! It was 95 degrees when we arrived and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect summer meal. All without a recipe...just her own sense of how to put the ingredients together.

Lee was still talking about it today. I'm just so stunned to get food at home that is so much better than almost anything I can buy out. It is such a treat.

So...all you readers...if you know of a cool job for an amazing caterer / cook, party planner AND an amazing blogger, tweeter and facebooker ABOUT FOOD (social media for a restaurant, food company, etc.) I've got your gal!

Plus, she can arrange flowers!