Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Of Heart and Stone

It’s that time of year when the lure of a crackling fire in the hearth warms the soul. The grand stone masterpieces created by Lew French have that same effect on a person with or without the fire blazing. There is movement and power in his designs. Their energy draws you in visually and while entranced you instinctively run your hand over the rocks.

While my house does not boast a fireplace it is full of stones and decorating with them happened quite by accident. However, they have become permanent appointments of our home. With good reason French needs to store his rock and stone in rented fields. Luckily, our collection is not as extensive and I am able to fill bowls and tuck them into shelves throughout our home.

How many times have you bent down to pick up a rock to admire it’s simple beauty? Maybe while you were on vacation or just your daily walk? Or do your children do this? Mine did and still do albeit they are young adults now. My parents have a cottage on the south shore of Lake Erie and all three of our children grew up vacationing there.

My mom and dad’s house is filled with rocks from the lake that their grandchildren have collected over the years. As soon as they could walk they were always bringing rocks into the house and eventually the overflow began coming home with us, our truck riding a little lower on the way home. I have two huge stacks in my garage of large black rocks laced with pyrite. Our son Zach had a passion for the ‘fool’s gold’ and would swim for hours in water well above his head searching for rocks that apparently spoke to him. Some of them are 18″ around and weigh 10 pounds or more. My dad, would always say “Zach what are you going to do with those?” to which our 10 year old always replied without fail “I don’t know, I just like them”.
As Lew French stated to Emily Zeugner of NPR Radio, “I find it interesting that people will almost like ‘confide’ in me that they have this thing with stone…they go to the beach, they pick up stones, or they are out in the field they pick up a stone, it’s like we have this secret thing with stone. I think it’s a lot deeper than that, I think there is this real connection. There is something about stone that is powerful, it seems to have this energy or purpose where it has this emanation of power, almost.”
His comments truly struck a chord with me and made me smile because it’s so true. These basic, inanimate objects do have an energy. The ones scattered all through our house also have memories and a permanent place in the decorating of our home…and my heart.

Churning Up Memories

During my childhood it was a requirement in my family that reunions or
summer cookouts had homemade ice cream on the menu. I remember the
agonizing wait for the flavorful and brain-numbing concoction. The wait
was even more agonizing if the host had the hand crank type of freezer,
which I seem to remember the adults finding this humorous, not so much
for us kids.
While my mom would prep the ingredients, my dad would search for the
orange bucket freezer in our basement or garage. Once found, he would
clean it, give all the accoutrements a test run and then wait for my mom
to finish the soon to be morphed cream based elixir, usually mixed with
strawberries fresh from a farmers market.

Dad would pour the mixture into the metal canister, attach the
electrified paddle and then let my brother and I help fill the bucket
with ice. On one occasion we filled it so fast he didn’t get a chance to
tell us about the salt layers. That bucket was emptied and we started
again, this time layering coarse salt with the ice until the top of the
canister was buried in a miniature glistening, chunky glacier. (I always
thought it hilarious when some unsuspecting kid, obviously a virgin to
the chemical aspects of the homemade ice cream process, would run up and
grab a piece of ice thinking he/she could quickly quench their thirst
during our hide & seek games only to have to run into the house for a

After it was properly assembled my dad would do the
honors of plugging it in and making sure the motor assembly could freely
rotate in the ice. After some final adjustments the crunchy hum of the
motor shifting the ice and salt would play in the background of our
family’s summer soiree like some carefully chosen play list.
I guess sometimes it’s as much about the process as it is the end result, which by the way, was always worth the wait. 

[July is National Ice Cream month. If you start searching antique shops and flea markets now I'm certain you'll unearth an old ice cream machine in time to mix up memories for you and your friends and family. Of course, why wait until July?]

Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady, pt. 3

My third and final installment of Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady where I style a chippy, two door cupboard in three different manners.

This one is my favorite and epitomizes my love of the sea and beach which I get to visit usually one week a year.

Why enjoy it just one week? Many years ago I decided to bring the relaxing feel of a beach cottage vacation home to our living room. Our home has beachy-ness everywhere. After all, this is where we spend the other 51 weeks of the year.

Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady, pt. 2

 Black, white, cream, sepia. Basically...ironstone porn.

Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady, part 1

If you follow me on Facebook then you know I purchased this crackly lady a few weeks ago. I thought it would be fun to style it three different ways for you and this is the first installment of the three photo shoots.

“I love it when a plan comes together” is one of my father-in-law’s favorite sayings. He always throws it out there when in the middle of chaos (usually a card game of Shoot the Moon) everything just suddenly falls into place (read he gets a loner, comes from behind and wins the game for his team). That is the phrase that came to mind when I stumbled on these hand painted sled and ski pole dishes from Belgium.

They are absolutely perfect for mid winter! My antique sled is a perfect accompaniment, the icing on the cake…the plan coming together.

For the rest of the cupboard I went clean and edited. After putting away all the holiday decorations my eyes crave simple and sparse. A shed moose antler is repeated in a  splash of green from the stag horn fern. The baskets hide mittens and leashes for walking the dogs.

A toasty sky blue sweater throw and a mug of hot cocoa awaits your return.

I’ll restyle this cupboard two more times. If it were in your home how would you fill it?