Monday, March 31, 2008

And Now Where?

With the advent of Spring and all the beautiful weather that comes with it, it is becoming a daily ritual to have at least one meal on the patio or porch. And if that doesn't work, perhaps a glass of wine as the sun goes down, or that first cup of coffee in the morning. Beginning to plan for all the "al fresco" events in the coming months is a chore everyone is glad to contemplate.
Whether it is formal, picnic style, or catch as catch can - the things we use to make the shift from inside to out are some of the most special and most festive. That favorite mug is great alongside the brightly colored flatware that just smiles at us each time we see it.
And what better bowl to have on the patio than one the fits right in beside the flowers in the garden? We don't need to wait for the April showers to get our May flowers from Mustardseed and Moonshine's beautiful and colorful creations. Our store is ablaze with the glory of the Lilies and Poppies whether they are mugs, ramekins, or beautiful bowls. Visit our website to see firsthand what quirky luxury you can add to your collection!

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Lamp

When you think about them, lamps are really such multi-purpose objects. Primarily they serve the function of providing light, either task or ambient. And when you need one, there is no getting around it. Then the task begins of hunting one down, finding the appropriate spot to place it, and then stepping back to admire it. After that lamp is placed on its perch, the real fun begins. This same functional object now becomes a work of art - setting the tone for the rest of the room. It serves as sculpture in many instances. In other places, a simple lamp creates a focal point that quickly becomes a conversational subject. The right lamp can introduce color, form, and dimension into an otherwise blank spot. Some of my favorite lamps are those created by Elaine Gleason of New Orleans. Each one has an organic feel that is at home in almost any setting - bedside, in a foyer, atop a desk, or just at hand on a credenza or chest in the kitchen or dining room. The subtle tones of the metallic finishes give a glow that is reminiscent of the sun sinking below the horizon over the river on a sultry Crescent City evening. We love these lamps and have them everywhere we can in our home and at New Orleans At Home. An Elaine Gleason lamp is one of those quirky luxuries that will help make your everyday special!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Real Lemon

Somewhere, some time ago, someone dreamt up a new utensil and out of need came the lemon fork. We can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of times we have actually used such an implement. But almost every sterling silver pattern or silverplate pattern has just such a fork in its inventory. What exactly do these things actually do? I will be attending a "tea" one day soon, and I suspect that there I might just find one hanging about with sugar tongs, tea diffusers, gallery trays, and some teaspoons.

I have used my lemon forks for all manner of stuff - from stabbing at olives in a small bowl to unravelling sardines on a plate. I am sure that we could all come up with at least 10 more interesting things we could find to do with the lemon fork. They are rather cute little things, all shiny and delicate and just waiting for us to put them to good use. I have taken some of the more interesting ones that I have here in the shop and put them out for you to see. What wonderful ideas do you have for the little lemon fork that can make it one of those quirky luxuries that make our everyday special??

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Am I Blue?

In the realm of what we call neutrals, BLUE is my favorite. Clear, clean, and vibrant or pale, soft, and heavenly - blue is the perfect backdrop for any occasion or space. There are literally thousands of blues and almost never are any two even close to being equal or "same". Here in the store we have many blues - from bed linens to floor coverings. Some of them are really special and have that magic quality about them that makes them sing to us. Each time we use these items we are reminded once again why we chose "blue" over any other color it offerred.
I have pictured some of the special blues that we have collected here and that we display often so that we can share them with our customers and friends. There is no such thing as having "the blues" too often when it refers to music or our everyday things!

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Color of Spring

Spring comes in many colors - but green is the one that leads the parade. Green calls out to us in many different ways. The green of the grass in full sun is a far cry from the green in the shade under the canopy of the newly leaved trees. A full range of green can be seen in the vista viewed across a front yard into the neighbor's gardens. Green provides the backdrop to the rainbow of flowers yet to blossom. Green is the whisper of a promise of what is yet to come. Green is the color we use indoors as well as outdoors to create an environment that is relaxing, cool, and that becomes the base for our punch of contrasting color. Green is one of the "neutrals" that allows us to paint with a bold stroke as we introduce the full rainbow onto our canvas and into our homes. Green is what we choose when we begin our quest for something that will highlight the "gem". That gem might be the perfect rose, a casual daisy, or just a small violet peeking out from under its leaves. Whatever catches our fancy, it often comes wrapped in nature's giftwrap of green. And whatever it is, it is certainly one of those things that helps to make our everyday special!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What is Neutral?

Almost any discussion of design or color composition includes "neutral" either as an identifier for a specific color or as a catchall for something that has no loud voice of its own. During previous generations of fashion and architectural design, the term neutral was used to tag the central color around which all others were placed, as in "black is the perfect neutral - anything goes with it" or "ivory is the perfect neutral, you can't go wrong with something so quiet". Neutral has become the spin-word for any color that doesn't scream at the others standing nearby. Neutral has become the vehicle upon which the "excitement colors" ride into a picture and steal the show. In my personal definition of neutral I include any color - period! When you really think about it, we start off with 3 neutrals around which any other color can live with grace and harmony. These three are green, blue, and brown. Odd choices, you may think. Well, not really - blue is sky, green is grass and leaves, brown is dirt or soil, and there is almost no color that we recognize that isn't embodied in a flower somewhere on the planet. Neutrals to me create a sense of harmony so that the colors in any palette don't end up overshadowing one another. Neutrals are the intermission between acts. Neutrals are fresh "tastes" between courses of a meal. Neutrals are the "times out" between clashes of personality and muscle. We use neutrals everyday in our lives. When we take a "breather" to escape the intense concentration of a long discourse or the tediousness of detail work we are actually seeking our mental neutral. It is where we go before we change gears, so to speak. This week I will spend some time elaborating on my concept of "neutral" and where and how it fits into our everyday life - and how it is the "neutral" that can be what makes our everyday "special".

Monday, March 10, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake...or Pie

Sometimes it isn't what you are serving that makes the difference, it is the way in which you serve. And that brings us to the topic of flatware serving pieces. Pie servers, cake servers, serving spoons, meat forks and pierced serving spoons. There is just something rather magical about the shine of sterling silver and silverplated pieces. They can take the ordinary into the realm of the truly mystical. Imagine your pleasure at picking up that spoon or knife and feeling the smoothness of the silver. Imagine the tickle on your finger of the pattern that is carved or etched into the surfaces and made even more impressive by the years of patina and , yes, tarnish that slides into the deep recesses of that pattern. Brand spanking new silver is always a treat, but it is the time worn pieces that truly show their beauty. A bit of history at the table each day only helps to center us in the "right now" of the present. When we receive such pieces as gifts it is almost a part of the routine that we won't really appreciate them until much time has passed. One day we dig into the drawers that shelter our treasure and we bring them to light. At once, we see something that we can use - perhaps for its intended purpose, perhaps not. And what difference does it make? To enjoy them most, we must use them more. And each time we do, that same smile slides across our face.
I have shown here just a few examples of the wonderful pieces that we have collected and hope that they are passed on to future recipients with a good wish and a good recipe. I can think of no finer gift for a new bride, a new homeowner, a budding chef, a dreamer of dreams, or just the guy next door! Give us a call and we will be happy to help you discover new and exciting ways to use your old and treasured pieces. These are some of the best ways to make everyday special!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Spring Is In The Air

This morning it is a drizzly, overcast day. But here in the store, Spring is in the air! I am photographing faux flora to upload to the website for the ecommerce part of the design. In the process, I am enjoying playing around with the hint of what is to come after those April showers come and go. Here in Louisiana Spring is a mystery. We are never sure when it has actually come or gone. Just a few days, or hours, ago the temperatures were in the high 60's to high 70's. Predictions for tonight take us down into the very low 30's. Without the snows of Salt Lake City to firmly anchor my seasons for me, I am left to fabrications conjured up by the weatherpersons!
I have included a few pictures of the stems that I am featuring on the website so that you can enjoy a brief whisper of what is to come also! This will certainly go a long way to making this "everyday" special! Enjoy!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Think Spring

Spring is in the air - at least that is what the weatherman said the other day. However, today is another story. By late afternoon the wind will have blown through bringing with it those showers and colder temperatures that tell us Spring was just a dream. As I walk around the shop ( this morning I see that I don't have to be at the mercy of the weatherman or the weather itself. Almost everywhere I look I can see the promise of another fluffy white cloud and ray of warmth from the sunshine.
Inside we can still have that faint hint of warmer weather and clear blue skies in almost any room we choose to look. Make that bed up with some soft green and pink sheets sprinkled with leaves and small flowers, such as this lovely one by Yves Delorme ( Put a bucket of Lily of the Valley (yes, they are "faux" but for the effect they produce they can't be beat) in a corner and watch it light up the room. Open a drawer in a dark old storage chest and lay down some liners that just sing Spring each time you glance inside. And the wonderfully fresh scent of Verbena will convince you that Spring can't be all that far away ( Lastly, who can resist a beautiful bowl when it is one from Mustardseed and Moonshine ( - and especially when it is the beautiful Day Lily bowl. Surely this will make you smile each time you use it or just pass by where you have placed it on a low table to show off its brilliant color. This everyday will indeed be special!