Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Idiot Proof

Gosh, I didn't really think my binders would be all that interesting.  Several people asked about the process, so here goes.  I used these binders from ReBinder.  They are recycled cardboard.  I like the idea of them, but they don't seem all that heavy.  I'm a little worried about how they will hold up, but they were super cheap.  And I was too lazy to look further or send them back.

All the paper I used was from Paper Source as I could pick it up in town.  (See, again, lazy.)  I cut the paper exactly the length of the binder; I did not wrap the paper around the top and bottom.  I covered the spine and about two inches of the front and back cover.  I was concerned (as was a commenter) about how the opening and closing of the binder would affect the paper, but it does not seem to be an issue.  The paper does not gap or pull away.

I attached the paper with Spray Mount.  Easy as pie.  I did fold the paper around the spine of the binder before I sprayed the adhesive so I could set the binder down on the paper exactly where it needed to go then smoothed the paper up the sides.

The acrylic magazine holders are available at CB2.

I am looking for labels for the binders so that I can signify, well, something.  I'm not quite sure how the tear sheets will be filed.  By subject, as they currently are?  By designer?  By magazine?  Oh, gentle reader, these are the things that keep me awake at night.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Order of Things

Magazine holders ordered, check.  Magazines sorted and culled, check.   Books moved to accommodate aforementioned magazines and holders, check.

I moved all the design books to this side of the room as well so every little thing I need is right at my fingertips.  I should mention that while the design books and magazines are in a specific order, the rest of the library is a jumble with classics, biography and mystery mixed together.  This was not previously the case and that task now looms as Malcolm Gladwell becomes acquainted with Anne Tyler and Ian McEwan meets Elinor Lipman, perhaps for the first time.  They are all making the best of it.

Naturally, I entered into the spine-covering with glee.  Cutting and pasting complete, there they stand, six soldiers, spines ramrod straight, at the ready to guard the tear sheets.  Empty.  Mere shells.  All dressed up like servicemen in a parade; they look good, but they are waiting to be put to use.

All paper from Paper Source.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Team Eddie

Some folks read one blog.  You know, someone reads a blog maybe because her friend writes it.  Some people read a few blogs.  They have a specific interest, they've clicked around a little.  Some people read a lot of blogs.  Like me.  I checked my blog reader and I read seventy blogs.  That's insane.  Really.  But, all these bloggers don't post every day and, well, I like them.

But some bloggers are friends.  Real friends.  Eddie Ross and his partner Jaithan Kochar are my real friends.  I've entertained, shopped, dined, cooked (well, Eddie and Mr. B cooked; Jaithan and I stood by) and laughed with these guys.

In case you missed my pitch last week, Eddie and Jaithan are involved in a contest sponsored by Bloomingdale's and Apartment Therapy.  They've cooked up a little window dressing on behalf of Elle Decor and I wish you'd take the time to give them your vote.  Click here to vote on line AND text 89800 and put a "1" in the body to vote by text.  (I know, you can do both.  Go figure.)  And, if you would, do it every day until the 28th.  I know, I know, it's a lot of days, but it is a more is more kind of town.

Once you've done that, hop on over to Eddie's blog to see the process of framing that eye-catching piece of art work over the sofa.

All images courtesy of Eddie Ross.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Spare Change

I hate change.  I'm bad at it and even though things do "work out for the best" I drag my feet through the process.  It's not that I want things to always be the same.  I just don't transition very well.

Safe and sound?

We are fine.  Just retrieved baggage.

Over the winter break my oldest son went to Washington D.C. to spend a week with his (beloved) aunt and uncle.  It's the first time that he has been away and the longest we have been apart since he was born thirteen years ago.  I was a big supporter of the trip in concept, but filled with anxiety in reality.  Mr. Blandings's sister and her husband were here for the holidays, so our son flew back with them when they headed home.  We had bought him a phone for Christmas so he was able to text us with updates.

Caps lost :-((

Still a fun night.  Your brother let [the youngest sleep] in your bed.  Think he was lonely?


Love you.


It was a magical trip.  Beyond anything any parents would do for their own child.  In addition to the half dozen sporting events they took the train to New York for a couple of days.

On train to NY

You are going to love it.  Wish I were with you.

I do too

Next time.

K.  How r the boys and rosie?

The funny thing was, I felt like we got more information, and emotion (and emoticons) via texting than we would have gotten on the phone.

Checking in @ hotel.  Hope the boys have fun  

Have a blast.  What are you doing first?  Antique shops?  That's what I do - want a few suggestions?

Finding food would be a priority.  Then staying warm

I know a great lamp guy if you want the address.  Need any Indian textiles?

We r definitely in the market 4 indian rugs

They did not follow up for any of my recommendations and instead went to the Natural History Museum, Time Square and Dylan's Candy Bar.  Where they were for what seemed like hours.  He did check in relatively often to make sure his brothers were not having fun without him.

What r u doing

Believe me - you are having more fun.  It's FREEZING here.

Doubt its colder.  I bought an indian rug 

Can't wait to see it.  I'll blog all about it.


JK = just kidding

Yeah, thanks for that.

And so it went for a week.  I was fine for five days.  The last two days were a little tough.  I'd had enough of texting and needed to hear his voice.  He complied, but he was busy.  And brief.

He flew home by himself.  It was a direct flight and his uncle was able to walk him to the gate.  They texted up until the point that the plane took off.

He did great.

Of course he did, as he usually does.  He was never worried. And the plane did not crash, nor sit on the runway for eighteen hours.  A terrorist did not try to blow himself up across the aisle.  A woman did not go into labor causing the plane to be diverted to Minneapolis.  He was not seated next to a pedophile or a drug dealer.  Nothing bad happened.

Except everything changed.  It was coming,  I know, and this trip only provided the bookmark between what was before and what is after.  He wants his own room.  He wants a Queen sized bed.  He most assuredly wants to live with his aunt and uncle.

So this last weekend we moved the "baby" out of the nursery and moved the teenager into his own room.  For two weeks we have negotiated on wall colors and bed sizes and where all the junk will go.  In the process of moving, I packed up all the linens and tchotchkes and baby clothes that had been enshrined in the bottom drawer of a dresser.

By Monday everyone was settled and fine.  But I am not fine.  I am so sad and it is manifesting itself in grouchiness.  I am so sad that I have to paint over those buttons.  And I am so sad that all of our babyhoods can be packed into two plastic containers, their contents irrelevant to anyone but me.  Me, who is so fragile and unwilling to let it go that I am holding on to booties and Halloween costumes and teddy bears that will stay in my basement for the next twenty years until someone throws them away with an eye roll.

It is all changing and I cannot believe that this is gone forever.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Letter to the Editor

Graydon Carter
Vanity Fair
New York, New York  10036

Dear Mr. Carter,

I know I haven't been in touch, but after reading February's issue I felt I must drop you a line.  I enjoy reading Vanity Fair as its superior, snarky, devil-may-care content makes me feel like a gal in the know.  However, A. A. Gill and his perspective of the Creation Museum was a stand-out.

I'm not from Cincinnati, but I have visited there a few times.  Being from the midwest, and not knowing better, I found the town delightful.  Truly embarrassed now I have corrected my thinking and realize "they have meager pickings to boast about."  Referring to the pilgrims visiting the site arriving in their "surreys with the fringes on top" is a particularly clever and fresh way to describe - ha! have you heard this before - the "flyover states."  And, you sly dogs, making fun of people for their clothes and weight, it's so fresh!  So amusing!  I simply cannot get enough.  But then again I am from "Nowheresville" myself and do find the thought of being in the presence of an English actor startling.

To that point, flying Paul Bettany to Cincinnati to take the pictures does seem a wise move.  The overweight woman on the stool!  Poetry!  With ad pages down a mere 30% or so it's just the kind of thing to hook new readers.  A justifiable expense, no doubt.

It's just terrific that you are using your pages to show the right people, you know, the ones on the coasts, a true picture of what goes on in the middle.  Thank heavens I have your magazine to show me the real New York as well.  It helped so much when the gypsy cab driver yelled, "Fuck YOU!" in my face at the Gift Show last year.  If I hadn't known better, I might have assumed that all New Yorkers were rude.  Or worse, provincial.

Do give Mr. Gill my best.


Mrs. Blandings

p.s.  The Monkey Bar does look fabulous.

I have no personal beef with Mr. Gill or his take on this attraction.  I am not fat.  I do not wear bib overalls.  I am not a creationist.  In fact, I'm not a member of any organized religion and while I do not believe in the creationist doctrine it doesn't seem any more far-fetched than the religion of my youth.   We, here in the middle, just get enough of this nonsense.  Sure, we've got some wingnuts; it's just not a reflection of our entire town/state/region.  Any more than Jersey Shore is.

I apologize for my language.  It seemed fitting.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Spy

I'm changing things around in the dining room and went back to hunt for this image from Mariette Himes Gomez's Rooms.  I'm considering ordering brackets to go under the Chinoiserie mirrors.

While on the search for the image I noticed this for the first time.  (I have looked through this book, truly, dozens of times.)  I have that.  No, not the frieze, the wine cooler.  Yes, those wine coolers were available through Williams Sonoma when I got married.  I have one.  I don't love it enough to put it on my mantle.  Heck, I'm not sure I even like them placed here all that much, but I think this is a nice reminder that everything doesn't have to be precious.  I keep forgetting that.

Vote Early and Often

Perhaps you've heard Bloomingdale's flagship store in New York is hosting the Big Window Challenge.   I know a few New York bloggers have been sneaking peeks on their blogs.  Starting today you can vote for your favorite window (truly a room-sized, well, room.)

Eileen Joyce, Operating Vice President for Interior Design for Bloomingdale's has curated their entry, the perfect abode for The Urbane Traveler.

Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, founder of Apartment Therapy, has cooked up a little something for The Writer's Romantic Supper.

And, my buddy, Eddie Ross, designed a spot on behalf of Elle Decor for The Modern Woman to call home. 

Voting begins today and you truly can vote early and often.  Daily voting here is encouraged.  I can't wait to see the actual rooms and who wins.  And I will.  Bloomingdale's is hosting a party to celebrate the event January 28th and I will be there shamelessly toasting Team Eddie cheering everyone on.  For information on the designers, the contest and the event, go to Apartment Therapy here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Best Wishes, EEE!

Emily Evans Eerdmans is an author and historian and very dear blog friend. I was delighted to find her recent blog post announcing her wedding - hooray! Emily is gracious and lovely and smart and generous with her time and knowledge. As is often the case with this type of person, she has gathered many friends and admirers. Today, a few of us celebrate Emily's wedding by offering up virtual gifts.

Emily and Mr. EEE, one of the things Mr. Blandings and I enjoy most is entertaining together. We are at our best as we prepare a meal at home. We are rarely happier than we are surrounded by friends at our own table. Mr. Blandings and I wish you many years of happy occasions in your home; whether you celebrate wonderful events or mundane Tuesdays will matter not. And, just to make sure everyone has a spot to sit, I offer a set of T. J. Robsjohn-Gibbings klismos chairs. Gibby would approve, I think, as you've done a lot to advance his cause.

Great happiness! Good health! And here's hoping you never have to attach your hair with an elastic strap. We couldn't be happier for you.

Best Wishes, EEE, from Magnaverde!

I figure since Emily & Mr. EEE spent their honeymoon amid tropical breezes, when it’s time for their first long weekend out of town, they’ll want a change of scenery. And pace. What could be better for that than a stay at Minnesota’s Naniboujou Lodge, a secluded Art Deco gem hidden away on the shores of Lake Superior? Pine-scented breezes, sparkling blue skies, clean & cold water surround the historic lodge itself, opened as an exclusive private club a scant three months before the market crash of 1929. Inside, the d├ęcor is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before: a jazzy cocktail of Native American ornament mixed with the rustic architecture of the great camps of the Adirondacks, all garnished with a brilliant (& woozy) 1920s palette. I don’t know what was in the illicit hooch that the designers of this place were drinking—illicit because the country was officially “dry” at the time--but it must have mighty powerful stuff, because someone clearly conjured up the Great Spirit of Sonia Delaunay.

So, what’s to do at Naniboujou? Well, let’s talk about golf. If Emily & her new husband love a challenging 18-hole course, well, they’re out of luck. There’s no golf course. Tennis? Forget it. Pool? Nope. Cute toddlers squealing with delight at big-headed cartoon characters from the movies & TV? Wrong place. In fact, the rooms don’t even have TVs--or phones, so there’s no internet. When the Ramey family that’s run Naniboujou Lodge for twenty years calls the place a getaway, they mean AWAY. But you can eat in the beautiful dining room, you can talk, you can walk in the woods, you can sit on the shore & watch the line where the sky meets the water, then you can go back to your room and, um...nap. Basically, a stay at Naniboujou is as close to time travel as you’ll ever get--a vacation as our well-off grandparents might have known it eighty years ago--which is exactly why I like it. I hope the happy couple will like it, too.

P.S. I’m hoping someone else will give the happy couple a cool Art Deco travel bar, with room for a few bottles, chunky crystal cocktail glasses & some sterling silver olive picks, because they’ll need it. The place is still dry. How authentic can you get?

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I received an email from Charlotte Moss today letting me know that her organization has made a generous contribution for aid in Haiti; she is encouraging the blog community to get on board. If we can't donate ten thousand dollars we can donate something - and spread the word.

You can see Moss's post on her site here. You can give directly to UNICEF here. Even easier, you can text 90999 with the word "Haiti" to donate ten dollars to the American Red Cross; the charge will appear on your phone bill. Right now. You're sitting right there. It will hardly take a minute.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Swing Shift

Henry Wilson, of yesterday's post and the wonderful walls, has a day job; he's an interiors photographer.

And then at night, sometimes until three in the morning he cuts stencils and paints.

"All my wallpapers here have been stencilled on the kitchen table with my own hand. I have petit-pointed the cushions, acid washed the windows and patterned the roman blinds - and everything has been informed and inspired by my intense bond with what I have seen in India."

While his mother had worried that all this energy wasn't exactly lucrative (mothers are that way) a little commercial venture came along.

Wilson designed a collection of wallpaper for Osborne & Little that was released last year. You can find the complete Sariskar collection here.

This last pattern is in honor of Penelope, who comforted me about the loss of my faucet with tales of product lost and images of her peafowl. It worked.

Images of Wilson's photographs of his home appeared in World of Interiors, December, 2009. Last three images via Osborne & Little.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Carnival for the Eyes

"What's the matter?" "Oh, nothing, really, I just can't find the picture of those snake sconces. I feel like I just saw them. Somewhere. Didn't I show it to you?"

"Yes, but it wasn't in those books; it was upstairs." No, no it wasn't, but I didn't want to say that, so I just didn't lift my eyes from the book and mumbled a reply. But Mr. Blandings was right. It was upstairs and I am publishing his triumph on the internet as he said, "I hate to be so excited, but I'm not right very often."

This is the home, and the snake sconces, of Henry Wilson. Henry Wilson is quite an ordinary name for a quite extraordinary man. Wilson, who lives in London, is a photographer and artist who has a great love of India. Before I was on my snake hunt, the needlepoint pillows in this room captured my heart. Wilson designed and stitched them. Petit point. I can see five on the sofas and if you stitch you know what an incredible amount of time and care has been spent here. (If you click on the images, you can see them bigger.)

Ah. And he has stenciled the walls as well. In nearly every room are fantastic designs.

For fun, you know. Because he likes it.

I've been kicking around the idea of re-doing my tiny powder room again. Wilson's is dreamy with its silver leaf walls and stenciling. That he did himself. Really, if I hadn't found my soul mate, music would be swelling.

"Having stepped over the threshold of my small Victorian terraced house in Chelsea [my editor] summed up my surroundings fairly swiftly: 'obsessive'. For once in my all-too-slow-witted life, I came back in a flash: 'No, Rupert - focused.' But, of course, I know it is obsessive. I'd go further: it's compulsive and without an iota of intellect - it's instinctive."

Oh, Mr. Wilson, I would like to meet you.

All images World of Interiors, December 2009; photography by Henry Wilson. The title of the post is taken from the text and describes how Mr. Wilson sees India.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Snow Day 3 of 3

As predicted, three snow days. And, no, the boys did not want to stay in on Friday and read or even play Wii for the third day. It was so cold. Too cold to go out certainly. Until their grandfather called and offered to take them to lunch when I realized that, yes, lovely, an outing might do them good.

And, once they were gone, my getting out seemed less daunting and I did some memo sample and Christmas gift returning. Doing so allowed me to tear myself from on-line shopping which had unearthed these snake sconces. Mr. Blandings and his grandfather used to hunt snakes in Colorado when Mr. B was a boy so they seemed fitting flanking the old gentleman's portrait. The tails can be maneuvered which is particularly delightful. However, the same investment might be better spent on an entire session of braces for the middle or even a car for the eldest. They remain at 1st dibs if you have a spot and a pocketbook for them.

So, I donned my coat and hat. No, no I didn't. I never wear a hat. If I looked like this in a hat, I would.

However, after a good bit of running around a particularly stylish friend called and said "Ihavetogetout - howaboutamovie?" Her husband thought it such a good idea he offered to drive us.

Speaking of snakes, we went to see An Education. It is the perfect combination of scintillating script, wonderful acting and divine sets. I don't care for sets that become the star of the show. I like movie sets, but ultimately I'm there for the story. It matters. This one hits every note just right.

Surely to goodness today I will actually get something done.

All images of An Education via Sony Classics.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow Day 2 of 3

When Megan and I had first reconnected through blogging, I emailed her an image of these Fornasetti tables and said, "Don't you want these for that beach bungalow?" And she emailed back, "Someone would just be playing Polly Pockets on them." To which I replied, "That's why I'm not getting them; at my house it would be Legos." The fact that here they sit (as I said they would not) covered in Legos (as I said they would) shows that I know my children better than I know myself.

In other news, this Waterworks faucet is discontinued. However, the Chicago showroom was incredibly helpful and sent three other options for my powder room that will likely flounder for another year. (Are you noticing the twin reflected in the mirror above? Why didn't I keep the whole feature? We'll never know.*)

I'm quite sure today will be equally scintillating. Perhaps more so as the boys are insisting we leave the house. Had I not watched the last of the six Thin Man movies that I recorded New Year's Eve I might put up a fight. As it is, we may indeed have to head out. For Piero's sake if for no others'.

* Great thanks to Things That Inspire who let me know that this home, which was featured in Veranda in the July/August issue of 2007, is on the McAlpine Tankersley website here. The photo is by Peter Vitale.

Post Script: Mr. Blandings informed me, while never taking his eyes from the football game, that William Powell grew up in Kansas City (he was born in Pittsburgh.) Apparently the elder Mr. Blandings met him at a golf tournament and declares, "He was a very nice guy." Do you think he saves these things? I mean, we've been married eighteen years and nary a peep about William Powell. Who knew?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snow Day 1 of 3

The boys went back to school on Tuesday then were home yesterday for inclement weather. The snow did not start in earnest until afternoon, but the temperatures were (and are) in the single digits. Frankly, I'd rather be inside anyway. And likely will be for the next two days. Say hello to school in June.

We did go to the Nelson-Atkins in the morning and sort of kicked around. The youngest Blandings had made a poor choice for breakfast and was "starving" but has somewhere gotten the idea that one has to whisper in the museum, so with the large rooms and high ceilings it was hard to hear the complaining.

When we arrived home, peeling off coats and hats and gloves, my eldest asked me why I don't like to play Wii with them and I said, "You know, I don't really like to mess around with electronics." He responded with a bug-eyed double take.

It's true that toward the end of Christmas break I was clicking around on the computer every now and again. I forget about things for a while then they occur to me and I will go on an interested but half-hearted quest.

One day started with a quick look for sconces to flank the portrait of Mr. Blandings, Jr., then morphed into a peek into painted French dining chairs and landed squarely with a perusal of Gio Ponti.

I blame Thomas O'Brien for my Ponti pining as the pottery in his apartment was my first glimpse of such treasures. Though I hear he is a nice guy, and not at all a cad, I don't think he feels a bit of responsibility for introducing me to this wickedly enchanting substance. As if I needed another inky black something to covet.

There is a wonderful, wonderful vase (top) on 1st dibs, the perfect piece to begin any collection. Delightful, indeed, is Ponti's porcelain for Robert Ginori as well, but these tiles! Oh, how they sing.

All images courtesy of 1st dibs; Gio Ponti pieces seen here can be seen here.