“Why I Wake Early” by Mary Oliver, is a book of poems a dear friend of mine gave me many years ago. She knew I loved the early mornings. This summer, rising as the sun was barely coming up over the Green Lakes hillside, I would make my coffee and head out into my garden to water my plants. A twice daily chore this past summer that was a reminder of how precious rain is. The early awakening of wildlife is my love…and the shenanigans were all so present this year. I happened to glance out of my kitchen window one morning and witnessed two baby chipmunks emerging from their home in the ground among my garden flowers. They were very apprehensive as they took in their new surroundings. Their eyes blinking from the now bright sunlight upon them. This year, as in the first year I had my pond installed, there was a frog that “grew up” in my garden. He went from tiny to medium sized in no time. Ever present as I worked in my garden daily, he was there with me on his various perches in and out of the pond. He loved one rather large rock where numerous flowers cascaded over the rock providing the frog with his daily intake of bees foraging on the flowers pollen. Sometimes jumping up to grab an insect flying by and landing on the ground with a thud and no insect…I swear he’d look up at me saying, “I was practicing!”
My husband and I traveled to Chatham, MA the end of September for my birthday. A wonderful time of the year to travel to the Cape as the crowds have all gone, leaving behind a peaceful sanctuary of fishing boats, empty beaches and time standing still. We stayed at the Chatham Bars Inn a delightful place recommended to me by a client. Being that it was a slower time of the year, we were graciously upgraded to a suite for my birthday. Arriving back from a golf outing or a walk along the wildlife refuge shore I would flip on the gas fireplace while I worked on emails and phone calls. I sat at a small table next to a bay window that faced the ocean off in the distance. When we first arrived, we ventured out for a walk. Heading towards the beach, I heard what I thought were dogs howling. As we approached the beach, there were hundreds of seals on a small sandbar near shore. Some playfully swimming and some bathing in the sunlight. A wonderful sight to see.
Except for the color, the staircase runner to our room was the exact carpet I installed on my staircase to my office last December. It is very durable and very forgiving in a high traffic area. But so beautiful!
So many interesting projects this past summer. One I completed this summer was a beautiful “cape” home that longed to be on a beach somewhere. Fabrics of neutral canvas, soft blues mimicking the oceans hues and furniture so casual it begged to have sand upon its seats. As the furniture was being delivered, I was “staging” the new coffee table to send a picture to my client so she could see it. Her Brittany Spaniel, Noodle, decided he wanted to be in the picture and proceeded to jump up on the sofa where he struck a most stately pose…
Displayed below are the five stain colors we were contemplating for the hardwood floors. We selected the second from the left as it was just dark enough to contrast against the light feel of the home.
Soon to be completed is the Industrial Style home I mentioned in my last blog. It was a project so full of new and creative ideas it made my heart sing. Acid washed corrugated metal walls in the mudroom; the builder, Don Petrocci, informs me they actually use toilet bowl cleaner with acid in it to create the look, instead of cabinets above in the kitchen, we did free floating black walnut shelves on the walls; creatively made and installed by Cazenovia Cutblock, a metal railing with squares in the loft balcony, wonderful paint colors of navy, brandywine and shades of a cozy foggy day. I am planning on photographing the home in the spring. I’ll keep you informed.
I was recently informed by Houzz.com that a photograph of a kitchen I did had reached 1000 saved hits on it. I now have a banner button on my site stating that. If you haven’t already, please visit my site on Houzz.com to view the many wonderful photographs of homes I’ve decorated.
As always, I either start or end my blogs with pictures of my photogenic Abyssinian’s. While spending a rare full day in my office cleaning out files, organizing and doing paperwork my Aby, Remi, never left my side. He desperately needed a nap but, he was afraid he might miss something….Finally he got up on the sofa and curled up in a little ball. I turned around to look at him and as you can see by the picture he was not going to let me out of his sight no matter what!
Here’s to a wonderful fall…..Enjoy the beauty of the colors that nature blends so beautifully together. It’s a time of inspiration, a time of coming indoors, of gathering around the dinner table and nights by the fire. Let the beauty inspire you to define a new space that’s not used, paint a new inspiring color in a room or just redecorate by rearranging. I’d love to hear from you. Marcia
As I sit here writing this, I can hear the rain as it hits upon my skylights. I think what better way to awaken the garden than a spring rain. To further awaken it, I took the winter shield off my pond to reveal mini dancing daffodils, Grecian Windflower bulbs sprouting and Chequered Lillie bulbs emerging all of which I had planted last fall. There’s something to be said about a garden in the spring that’s full of sprouting bulbs and perennials. For me, the excitement of watching the perennials and bulbs emerge makes the expectation of the arrival of spring even more exciting.
Last fall, I moved an endless summer hydrangea from the side of the house to the front island bed. It wasn’t getting enough sun to blossom so moving it will hopefully give it new life. I journeyed to Greenscapes in Jamesville, to find a rock suitable to add as a backdrop against the dominating evergreen tree behind the newly planted hydrangea. I found a 630 LB rock shimmering in hues of greens and yellows from the St. Lawrence. It was delivered the following week and became the much needed element in the island. It became center stage against the existing anemones, white and purple butterfly bushes, black eyed susans and a white cone hydrangea shrub.
“You’re invited to tour a secret garden” was the invite to view my garden from a local garden club. They are coming mid-June for their breakfast meeting. I will be offering scrumptious overnight pecan buns (so easy to make!), homemade best ever banana bread, the best gluten free muffins I’ve ever tasted along with Barefoot Contessa’s Banana Crunch Muffins, that are a bestseller at her restaurant, as well as fresh fruit, homemade granola and yogurt. I will be giving a speech and demonstration on, “Entertaining?” Decorate your table with flowers.” They will then do a walking tour of my front “secret garden” and back garden along with viewing my two adjoining neighbors’ gardens who I invited to participate as they both create beautiful gardens as well.
For the second year in a row, I chaired the Greater Manlius Chamber of Commerce’s Spring Dinner Silent and Live Auction which, was held on April 14th, at Traditions at the Links. The auction, is the Chamber’s biggest event benefiting the Greater Manlius Chamber of Commerce, FM Community Outreach in Manlius and Heaven’s Pantry in Minoa. There were over 200 people that attended the social event. As the president of the Chamber stated the other night, I actually created a production. I guess I never thought of it that way but there was live entertainment that filled the air. Brick House by the Commodores came on as the live auction opened up and the first auction item came up for bid, The Lion Sleeps Tonight played as a kayak was carried out by a Syracuse Crunch member. Megan Coleman from a local newscast modeled a bracelet being auctioned off and much more! I was glad when the event was over. It was a lot of work and worries but, in the long run, it was a fun evening and very successful! I couldn’t have done it without my incredible committee.
On one of my many walks, I happened to look back over at our condo and felt blessed to have captured such a beautiful watercolor picture. Almost as if someone had painted it. I have asked my dear friend, Lenora, who’s a very talented artist, to paint the picture for my husband and me. A few days later, I was working at my desk and noticed a storm quickly approaching. I went out on the deck to capture the approaching storm clouds. The lake, spring fed from Green Lakes, was showing it’s true colors! As I stepped back inside, there was a flash of light and a tremendous crash. I thought for sure the condo had been hit. The cats disappeared under the bed for hours. The next day as I ventured out on my walk down the path next to our condo, I saw where the lighting had struck. There was a large tree with its bark completely stripped off from the top down and the pieces were scattered everywhere.
I have posted the much anticipated professional photographs that were taken at my client’s beautiful home I recently completed decorating. I entitled it, “New York Charm” as so much thought and detail went into the process of creating their charming home. Please visit http://www.houzz.com/projects/1729115//new-york-charm to view the rest of the amazing photographs of their home.
I’m working on a marvelous “Industrial theme Guest Cottage” in Skaneateles that’s in the process of being built. We’ve selected wide planked ruff looking hardwood floors, leathered granite in the kitchen and corrugated metal on the walls. There are no cabinets above in the kitchen. Only shelves held up by metal rods. I am also working on a glorious new home being built in Fayetteville with a Cape Cod feel inside. Hues of ocean salt air and shimmering shells fill each space as the rooms unfold. A soapstone countertop on the island in the kitchen, bead board cathedral ceiling in the kitchen eating area and beautiful marble and limestone tiles in the bathroom.
I will keep you up to date on the process of these beautiful homes. I feel so lucky to do what I do. So many great clients/friends that come my way with so many diversified styles to keep my creative flow going.
Remi, my Abyssinian cat, seems quite content buried under fabrics being shown to me by one of my fabric reps.
I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. With all the disturbing events happening close to home and overseas, I linger longer than normal looking at the small, individual efforts that people make to embrace the season. These efforts seem to touch me the most….The single lit tree outside, the Christmas tree peeking out through a front window and candles reflecting in the windows for us all to see. I look in those windows and imagine families gathered around the dinner table laughing and sharing stories and the little ones anticipation of morning to come. Excitement and peacefulness fills the air while all the while shutting out the world around for that brief moment of time.
Visiting from Massachusetts, my grandniece and Godchild, Kaleigh, spent the morning with me. We had fun making ornaments for Mommy and Mimi (Grandma).
As winter settles in, I dream of the afternoons my husband, Rick and I played golf. Enjoying the game of golf and becoming more proficient at it, I found myself taking an afternoon and playing nine holes by myself. To me it’s not about the game but about a chance to walk and get exercise, to enjoy the fresh air and de-stress as I’m focused on the game and surroundings. Lucky were we when, my husband and I donned in shorts, played golf at The Links at Erie Village on December 24th. That was a memorable day.
We were able to get away the first of December to celebrate my sister’s birthday. My sister, her husband, Rick and I flew into Miami and stayed at the beautiful Thompson Miami Beach Hotel where we sat on the beach soaking in the sun’s rays. As Rick and I strolled down the beach, we happened upon the Miami Beach Art Fair or commonly known as the” Art Basel Week” that was taking place. There were amazing exhibits. One exhibit, showcased wooden crates placed sporadically around the beach. Upon opening them, one could select a free art poster showcasing the various artist’s work. Continuing on our walk, there was an actual rollerskating platform that had been erected on the beach. With skate along music playing, one only had to put on rented skates and skate along with the music and rolling waves. Being that it was a year ago I had broken my toe so badly, I opted out on venturing into the arena.
The next day, the four of us jumped into the car and drove the Overseas Highway sometimes called, “The Highway that Goes to Sea,” to Key West. As we came upon the island, I felt an urge to sing Jimmy Buffett’s song, Margaritaville. Noting this to the other three in the car, don’t you know shortly thereafter, as fate would have it, the song came on the radio. As the four of us sang along; I think they were singing…I know I was… we had now entered into another world. We stayed off island at the Sunset Key Cottages. A seven minute taxi boat ride from Key West. You felt as if you were in paradise. Life was good as we had our own cottage on the water complete with a hammock and a beautiful view of Key West in sight. Every morning I walked the brick lined streets passing homes that reminded me more of the cape than Florida. Being there during the holiday season heightened the senses to overload. Awaiting us on the front porch every morning was a basket filled with fresh fruit and homemade muffins. Can I retire here!!??
Below are a few pictures from the cottage we stayed in.
A few of the homes on the island where we stayed.
The beautiful lobby at the Sunset Key Hotel.
So different was the Island itself. With so many bars, restaurants, stores and wild chickens and roosters roaming around. We, of course, had to take a tour of the Ernest Hemingway House Museum complete with 57 polydactyl (six-toed) cats. About half of the cats at the museum have the physical polydactyl trait but they all carry the polydactyl gene in their DNA. Ernest Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship’s captain and some of the cats who live on the grounds are descendants of that original cat. We also visited the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory which I loved. I told my husband when and IF I ever retire, that would be something I could do. As I meandered around the conservatory, three butterflies decided to hitch a ride on my legs. After seeing the butterflies on me, one of the employees came up to me and said, “they don’t land on people very often but, when they do, you know the person has a gentle and soft spirit.”
One of the polydactyl cats poses on a rock while the tour guide wraps up his speech.
Butterflies clinging to my legs at the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.
Very soon my photographer, Jonathan Beach, will be photographing a few of my client’s homes for me that were recently completed. Keep your eye on my site on www.houzz.com to view the photos. One of the beautiful homes I completed recently will be photographed in February as my clients were recently married and are off on their honeymoon. My husband and I were in attendance at their wonderful wedding. We wish them much happiness in the years to come.
I love David Bowie’s wife, Iman’s Instagram she posted after David’s death, “Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” Enjoy every moment!!!
Wishing you a Wonderful and Glorious 2016!