Thursday, June 30, 2011

I'll Be Seeing You

I'm at my favorite getaway spot on the Cape for a few days,  hoping for a little bit of relaxation, but honestly feeling like the maintenaince man for the last three. 

Painting furniture AGAIN, (somehow not a day goes by without a paintbrush of some sort in my hands), general cleaning which feels like it's never done, washing 12 over 12 double hungs which have 10 months of salt spray blurring their panes,  calling for repairs on things I can't fix myself, etc, etc, etc.  I know I shouldn't complain, but . . . 

 Every year there's always one huge situation at the beginning of the season.  Our first season back in '91, it was the October No Name Storm . . . aka the Perfect Storm.  In addition to the horrible loss of the Gloucester fishing vessel and crew, it took out every last coastal dune shrub and beach grass clump we had planted and sent them all out to sea before we even got the bill.  Small change in comparison to the human devastation, but nevertheless it was a sign of things to come living in a coastal area.   Another year it was the oil tank leak.  Then another a well replacement.  Did I mention the electrical storm which shorted out the furnace, blew all our major appliances and froze the pipes which caused a major flood in the kitchen?

This year it's the irrigation system.

The landscapers inadvertently cut the line to the pump, so the lawn had been getting zero water for about a month before we found out about it.  Needless to say, the sight of the ugly brown 25 square feet or so of dead grass in the middle of the lawn was not making me feel relaxed, especially since a houseful of people were due to arrive in a few days.  

My biggest fear was that my best garden bud Jackson, who tears through the yard after rabbits at lightning speed, would make a pothole heaven anywhere there was bare dirt.  Which would NOT be a good thing for my Jack, who (all that b-ball has taken a toll) has ankles which turn over on a pebble.  This could be a nightmare.

Some would say I am a bit of a nut when it comes to the look of my garden anyway, and, since this could not have happened at a worse time, the sod has been called in.

The good news is that the guys doing the work are amazing, and almost finished . . .

thank you Rick & Rob . .  

so, I decided to take the rest of the day off, stop worrying about everybody and everthing, and do some relaxing work in the garden.
As I was moving some plants around,  

and deciding where to put these roses . . .

 I was thinking about moving some of the garden ornaments around as well.  Just to SWITCH things up.

 Then I got the call from the shop.  Bittersweet.
She's gone.  I knew we wouldn't have her for long.  And I never even got to say goodbye.

Our beautiful Greek Statue, yet unamed, was being carried out the door.  SOLD.  Just like that.  Somehow, I knew she wouldn't stay around too long.  But I'm just so happy that her lovely new owner, a gardener and an artist, will be placing her exactly where she belongs . . . outside in a gorgeous garden. 

 Things happen right?, but despite all the mini disasters that eventually resolve, I really LOVE this place and am SO grateful for it:)

I'll be coming home with some incredible things for the shop.  I just know it.  Stop in one of these days and say hi!

In the meantime, wishing you all a wonderful July 4th weekend!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The New Girl

Our recent estate sale was pretty uneventful in terms of lots and lots of stuff for the shop . . . BUT we did manage to grab (literally if you ask Mary) one wonderful new acquision for SWITCH. 

Here she is, all wrapped up and waiting to get to her new home! 

 She's already been photographed, veiled, and has had her first taste of controversey in the last few days, but we love her.  We don't know how long we'll have her with us, and she is yet unnamed, (aside from the obvious big vote getter Diana, the possible Clara, and the maybe ????, but with or without a name this Greek goddess is a great addition to our shop, and may be a wonderful piece to add to your home, bath, pool or garden.  Come see . . . she'll go for a good good price! :)

Garden statues, sculptures and ornaments can add so much to a garden setting when used with care.  Not too many . . . just one will often bring serenity and life and interest to an area which is already beautiful on it's own.

Here's a simple piece I've set on a tree in my woodland garden.  I love to walk through it and see the peace in her face.  

 She sits amid the roses all through the month of June.

 This guy and his brother stand stoically on my front steps.  I love the intensity and character in their faces.

 Dear St. Francis watching over the woods and wildlife.

 This one is not mine, but a favorite anyway.  He stands at nearby Johnson-Davis Park in Tenafly.  Courage is still a virtue, isn't it?

We've got some interesting sculptural elements in the shop now. 
Not for everyone, but definitely for someone . . .

 Authentic Arizona Bison Skull

We're told this lovely lady is the wife of Bacchus, the God of Wine.

The back room has had a make-over. . . lots of summer color and gardeny things.  Stop by and see what's new!

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, June 17, 2011


Mary and I are heading out today, early, before we open at 1, to shop for the shop.  We don't get to go hunting nearly as much as we'd like these days,  but sometimes the process of scouring the listings and the words "too much to list' or "you can't miss this one" are way too tempting.  Anyone who does estate sales and garage sales and open flea markets knows the feeling . . .  what's out there waiting for me to find it?  Will it be the one thing that I need or want at the right price and will I get there before some one else gets it first?  There's nothing worse than seeing something you wish you picked up being carried out to the car by another lucky person who didn't stop on the way there first for a coffee.  

Arriving early is not always a good thing.  Not unless you like walking right past the ticket location, getting on line only to find you walked right past the ticket location, being told where the ticket location actually is, and upon getting there finding out the tickets have all been stolen.  Or, hearing some really obnoxious person with a ticket when you don't have one, offering to sell it to the highest bidder.  The thing that broke my heart a few weeks ago was the elderly woman who upon realizing that only the people who had gotten their tickets WAY early (before they were stolen) were going in the door, cried out: "but what about us?'  Somehow it felt like the rest of us were 2nd class citizens, and, if I'd had a ticket I think I would have just given her mine.

Once inside, you forget all this.  If you've ever done an Easter Egg hunt as a kid you understand.  You know the eggs are all out there, and your goal is to find as many good ones as you can.  

But here the treasures aren't hidden . . . open season on good stuff awaits, piled on on tables, in cabinets, on beds and really everywhere you look.  Mary and I are lucky to have made some really good connections with some really good sellers, so once inside, the fun begins.  We'll keep you posted on what we find today,  and you'll see some of it the shop soon.   As always, feel free to drop us a comment for something special you're looking for but haven't been able to find.  We'll do our best.   See ya later!

A fun buy. . . Check out these great chairs painted up in luscious cerulean, raspberry & leaf. How cool on a summer porch with kids and lemonade?

BTW, as for the answer to the identity of this beautiful flying creature that I posted on Monday. . .

  . . . I think I can confidently say, that thanks to two very smart blog readers named Lynn and Richie, what I was looking at is known as a luna moth.  A MOTH.  Moths have always been my absolute most hated insects, but now, that's all changed.  Just goes to show that there is beauty to be found in some way in almost everything.  So thanks everyone for your comments . . .  Adena, come on in anyway (good guess), and . . . it might be a good time to say I think I have the most FANTASTIC group of readers ever!  Love you all! 

Get some shopping done . . . :)

Monday, June 13, 2011


While I was in the studio one night last week, something came fluttering against the window, almost like what happens when a bird doesn't realize there is glass between inside and outside.  It came to rest on the outside ledge, and when I went to look I HAD TO run and get my camera.  

 If anyone knows what this beautiful flying insect is, I would love to know!  It was the most gorgeous shade of grass green,  and I could not stop looking at the way it was shaped, layered and designed.  Very aeordynamic and sleek, but the thing that blew me away was the little markings on the wings. . .   it looked like there were eyes peering up at me, but I realized that those designs were a great example of nature's camouflage at work.  I guess this particular unnamed creature would be perfectly safe sitting in the grass or in some foliage appearing to be something other than it really was in order to escape a bigger predator. 

Most of us know how to use makeup and clothing to get the best look we can.  It got me thinking about the ways that we use some things to change or camouflage the appearance of our homes and interior space as well as our bodies.


This was one of the first finds we picked up for our shop as a freebie from a neighbor.  Had great height, shape and shelving inside for all our shop stuff, but it needed a makeover. 

After 2 complete paint jobs on our found shop desk,  we decided on pure white and LOVE how it turned out. 

Bad walls?  Sometimes just a bit of creativity can fix that.  Underneath this sconce and behind these columns is what I would call a sheetrock disaster.  But the doorframe looks much better without the expense of a major overhaul of the wall area around it.

I don't have a picture of this table before it was sanded and re-painted, but it looks amazing now,  after a beautiful coat of fresh beach house color! 

Some things don't need ANY re-working to be beautiful  . . . like these great shutters I found in an old Cape barn recently.  Color layers of blues and greens reveal the character of this pair better than a new paint job ever could!

If you stop by the shop this week you'll find some some great inspiration for your home and garden!

Have a wonderful day! 


Sunday, June 5, 2011


Something about being on the beach is so soothing for me.  Early morning, when the only sound is the rythymic lapping of the waves, the occasional call of the soaring gull, or the far off tone of the foghorn, is when peace begins to settle in and transportation to another world, far from the news and the cell and yes the computer, comes into focus.  I think I love it so because it brings me back to childhood, when life was SO much simpler.

Last weekend Jackie and I took our first beach walk in months.

This is a actually a pic from last summer, but it's one of my favorites of him.  He's truly my very best beach bud.

At first glance, this could be a beach scene . . .water in the distance, froth as the tide rolls in.  But it's a close up of a section of weathered wood.  I find it amazing how the sea sometimes replicates nature itself just by the process of churning things around.

What I LOVE . . .  the simple joy of finding a treasure which the sea has offered me at no cost.  Years and years of churning waves and sun have sanded, smoothed and bleached the roughest of all edges, until all that is left is a perfect, clean and different object than it was before.  Maybe this process is similar to the one we all go through as we live each day, each week, each year.  Peeling back the layers, discarding the superfluous in our lives, and finally coming to understand that the circle of life can lead us back to the simple pleasures of our childhood if we let it.  Some people call it aging, but I prefer to think of it as weathering.  And weathering is a very good thing.


I'm always on the lookout for a beautiful piece of mermaid's tear (aka beach glass), or some interesting piece of weathered and bleached beach wood which may have washed up . . .

This piece of driftwood would have made a cool low table.  I saw it at dusk, uncovered it from the seaweed and wrack, but it was way too hard for me to move by myself.  About 5' long and super heavy, but such a great sculptural piece.  I decided to wait and get help moving it in the morning.  Too late. Gone. Somebody else with help must have come along, and now they've got MY amazingly wonderful piece of wood.  I knew I should have covered it up again.

When I saw this last summer from a distance it appeared to look like two dancers (birds maybe), on the beach, frozen in time . . . it really was standing just like this at the crest of the dune.

Every summer, off and on I re-read Anne Morrow Lindburgh's Gifts from the Sea.  Don't know how many times this classic has been reprinted since published in 1955, but I do know that Anne's amazing ability to express her own life stages is still inspiring and restorative, no matter how many times I pick it up.

A few years ago I made this from my collection of driftwood.  I love the way it reminds me of beach simplicity.

In the shop now are some summery simple beach things for your home . . . more coming this week!

Have a relaxing restorative day!