A million photos from Italy await

But blogger just wont let me post any. See you back here on
June 7th!


barn boards & the perfect patina

My favorite barn in all of Vermont sits a half-mile down the road from my parents' home.

Drew and I spent the weekend in Boston. It was a beautiful weekend, warm and active. I ate my favorite tart ice cream, had wine with a friend and picked up thai take out (in that order). Walking home from the restaurant, I carried mango & sticky rice soaked in condensed milk, stopped at every rosebush and agreed with a stranger who was talking to a date on a street corner (her to him: "you know who's a great crime writer, Michael Connelly" Me, walking by petting her dog: "you're absolutely right!").

I love the city; the anonymity and energy, having so many things at my fingertips. But at the end of the day, or the next morning - no matter how lovely - I'm ready to go back to Vermont.

To the air and the hills and these barns; wood painted red then white then worn to the perfect patina. There's really nothing like it.


Clear Skies

A few weeks ago Casey the girl dog and I took a walk out to the Middlebury Organic gardens, one of our favorite spots. The panoramic views are incredible. And while I'd planned to take photos of the tilled gardens and trees, Casey is an enthusiastic walker and after being roped up and twisted around, I basically pointed my camera skyward and shot.  For me, Middlebury can leave a bit do be desired interpersonally, but it revives itself with some of the most painting-worthy landscapes and skies I've ever seen.

Speaking of beautiful skies, picture these for us, if you will, next week when Drew and I head to our belated but eagerly anticipated Italian honeymoon. Though we can't wait to be there, neither is a huge fan of the getting there. (What? You have extra sedatives in your medicine cabinate? Of course you're welcome for dinner, but you can leave the meds at home, we've both already had the "I'd actually like to not know I'm on a plane at all" conversation with certified doctors.) And away we go!



rhubarb, dogwood and flamingos, revisited.

Last year we visited friends in Brooklyn and I got this breakfast. It was so good (hello rhubarb!) that I took a picture. Also, I l.o.v.e.d the lion's head bowls:

 I thought the closest I'd get to recreating this dish was buying frozen rhubarb, putting it in the freezer and willing it to make itself into something. (So far, it has only willed me to move it around as I grab for frozen mango). But then, I found the exact same bowls. They don't stack well but they do make me incredibly happy, and make for a great still life, so you may see them around. Like here & here.

This is all to say, the rhubarb is still in our freezer, but we have a 2 hour layover at JFK next week and it's starting to seem really reasonable to schedule a visit to that Brooklyn restaurant during that window.

In truth, the whole rhubarb/lion's head bowls loving thing probably wouldn't  have happened if we hadn't had breakfast in this courtyard. With this wall:

Brick, patina & dogwood blossoms. I had to run back to the car to get the camera. Part of me thinks that wall really launched my desire to capture small moments and fetching images into a collection of lovely things. Look at this wall. Perfection:

Speaking of perfect, I ate this breakfast one year ago with my lovin' husband, who at that point was just a good lovin' man.

I didn't mean to subtly imply that he's like a harlequin romance novel man.  I did mean to imply that he should consider how much I deserve a flamingo.



there's no romance like a harlequin romance

We're doing a major house clean out, so I'm trying very hard not to acquire things.  But then this happened:

Grocery store, late in the evening. Table of 'free' books. Wait, does that sound too classy? That's because it was actually a grocery cart full of free books. I walked safely by, but look what caught my eye.
Impossible to resist, just like their love....

You must read the back. (Yes, I'm putting them in soft focus, because that's how they were meant to be viewed. )

That's right, she's going to care for two kids and  a pet flamingo. I already can't believe I didn't get a pet flamingo with my wedding.

And just in case I didn't already have the strange sensation that someone used the basic framework of my life for a harlequin romance book, hold on, because there's a romantic trip to Italy coming up. I kid not. 

I'm already drafting a strongly worded letter to my alma matter suggesting a course in the feminist theories of the harlequin romance.

Tomorrow we'll return to the regularly scheduled blogging about pretty things, but how could I not share these gems, which I am absolutely going to be reading on the plane while someone else reads Outside magazine and pretends not to know me.

ps. I really wanted to call this post: ain't no romance like a harlequin romance, but writing ain't pains me almost as much as using emoticons.


Farm to Table

May: the month of farmers markets emerging.

Yesterday Middlebury's opened. I wandered over after a yoga class and these eggs were the first thing I saw.

Colours like cape cod pebbles, creamy blues and peaches.

At home they had egg cups waiting. Perfect. Peas in a pod, if you will.

I probably could have sat at the table and photographed them all day.

But it was nearing noon and I was hungry.  So beautiful shells became a sweet little sandwich.



favorite things (four): velvet ribbon

Luscious and sweet. My velvet ribbon coils fill old mason jars.

Just looking at them is a quick trip to happiness. After all "velvety" is nothing if not the perfect adjective.

Have you ever heard it used to describe anything other than delight? 

I'm not sure there's much more to say. I just love velvet ribbon. Especially in small pieces. A full garment is almost too much, but give me a swatch any day.

My mason jar spillith over with love, velvety love.



I've been distracted. In part because our trip to Italy is al.most.here. Last week we made pizzas. They looked super good going onto the grill. We still haven't mastered the part where they come off.

Back to Italy. Please send along your best suggestions for little stops and towns. We're doing a nice circle tour: Flying in to Rome, up to Florence, up more to the mountain towns (someone needs a Giro D'Italia fix), down through Verona, along the coast to Tuscany down to Sorrento and back to Rome).  I lived in Florence in '95 and am not sure I have a single picture. That will change.

Also, I'm leaving half of my suitcase empty. There's nothing like space to fill.


favorite things (three): mom

I don't have a collection of moms, but I have my collections because of my mom. No question. Pitchers and vases, pears and fabric. My mom knows how to put it all together (sometimes with thumb tacks and safety pins but it always looks fantastic).

I wouldn't be here without her, but frankly, neither would this blog. My mom, more than anyone, taught me about color and contrast, lines and shadows. She's the best present wrapper, house decorator and granola pancake maker I know. She believed in make-believe with me, let me stay up late to watch kittens be born and made tiny dolls for me and my friend Sophie when we were awesome nefarious kids (Sophie was more bad, for the record). She gave me bangs, taught me to love calico (cats & fabric), didn't let me get out of the car until the Beatles song was over, is my best critic and advocate, and dressed me in that awesome poncho (see photo above). I totally love her. And while today is just a day, it's a good day to note how much of me is from her. And how much I love her. In my bones and in my soul and in all of my best moments. Love love love. All you need is.
xo, momma, xo.


favorite things (two): tiny sterling salt & pepper shakers

I went through a serious Salt n' Pepa phase in high school. This is apropos of absolutely nothing and will undoubtedly result in some marital ridicule, but I have to bring it up because I can't say salt and pepper (even when referring to vintage shakers for actual salt and actual pepper) without thinking of the girl hip hop group.

But I (de)digress.
Number two: miniture sterling salt & pepper shakers

I found these tiny sterling silver salt and pepper shakers at the tail end of my egg cup collecting phase and had absolutely no functional reason to buy them.

So I left store, sans shakers.
But, like all of my favorite things, I couldn't stop thinking about them.

I returned quickly and purchased set # one.

They are delightful to hold, light and airy but with the inescapable weight of real silver. They clink together like chimes and feel almost buttery.

The first set led to a quick conviction that someday I will have a lovely dinner party and on the eve of that day, I'd surely regret not having individual shakers for each guests' place setting. After all, who needs only one set of tiny salt and pepper shakers?

 Suddenly other little sets popped up like tiny buds in the corners of several antique stores. One, two, four, six. The more the merrier (especially when they all fit in the palm of my hand).

And that, dear readers, is how a collection is born.


brown paper packages tied up with string. favorite things one: egg cups

My sewing machine took a bit of a respite during the beginning of 2010. Thanks to a wayward patch falling from O's cubscout uniform, I finally pulled it out again last week.

My plan for this week was to update with the new mini-sewing project I'm working on - full of bits and pieces of lace, vintage cotton & silk.

But the morning and afternoon light lately have been soul swelling and I've pulled out all of my favorite things to photograph.

And so begins a series I've been meaning to start anyway:
my favorite things (, a few of).

Number One: Egg Cups

I began collecting these a few summers ago. There is something about the sweetness of their shape that always catches my eye. Especially those with that tiny gold rim.

Though the simple plain ones are just lovely.

This set came as a pair though they have a crooked symmetry.

My mom says I used to love what she called an "eggie chopped up in a cuppie."

If nothing else, I still devour the cup.


hunt, gather & sew

I have bits and pieces of silk and lace that I can't bear to throw away.

Little finds and gifts that end up in tiny piles wondering when they'll be used.

I think this is the week....


arrest me.

On Wednesday, it snowed; huge sopping hunks of snow. Today it was 80+ degrees, or, as I used to tell my mom, it was "sweating hot."

Somewhere between then and now, everything popped. The flowers burst open. We have cascades. Full, pregnant branches, heavy with perfection.

I can't think about anything else.

On Friday night, it is possible that I slipped into shoes and leashed the dog in a flurry; that I whispered to my sleeping husband: "I found an tree that just blossomed on the side of the road. Come and find me if I'm not back soon."

Let's be clear: I wouldn't ever go into anyone's yard and take branches from their trees. I wouldn't trespass (knowingly). But I know every empty lot with a lilac bush, every roadside apple tree.
In the spring, I drive with scissors in my car. 

I come home with arms full.  Maybe giddy. I pull vases out. I pour water. I prune. The kitchen sink becomes a procession.

This is what I love: that we can have a home that's too small, a rug that's too dirty, walls that are uninspired. But with five labored snips, a little water and our wedding vases, I can walk into our home and my heart skips. Every time I come through the door.