Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thank You For Being a Friend

Words cannot begin to express how grateful, humbled, and thankful I am to have such wonderful friends, both in the blogging world and in my every day life!

To know that you all would be there to leave me words of encouragement (some of you who've never left a comment on a blog ever before...thank you Helen!) during this tough time is really not surprising to me.  

Though we may live far away from one another, speak different languages, or the fact that most of us have never met really becomes irrelevant, it's the compassion and kindness that we all share that allows us to reach out to perfect strangers across the miles.  And for that I am truly inspired and grateful more than you will ever know!

As each new day dawns and the dew kisses the green grass (ok weeds) Ms. M seems to get a little stronger, and seeing her make strides each day brings me great joy!

When I woke up this morning the sky looked like a Monet painting and that made me smile!

Mr. Tide is halfway around the world at the moment for his work so yesterday my son Bugs went with me to the funeral of my friend's father.  Funerals are always solemn occasions, but there was great strength and happy memories amidst the sadness.  And there was the knowledge of a life well lived and one devoted to the service of others.

I saw many old friends, some I hadn't seen for years, and we were all reminded that we shouldn't wait for a funeral or a wedding to reconnect.  Our pasts are all intertwined and we share a history that makes us lifelong friends, no matter the time or distance, and that in and of itself is comforting.

Last night I watched a movie with my daughter and reflected on this past week and all of the highs and lows it has brought with it.  When the tally was made there were more highs than lows, joy found in spite of sadness, and more friends than I had ever really realized.  Can any one of us really ask for more than that?!

So to all of you who have taken the time to let me know that you care...thank you for being a friend!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What A Crazy Week and A Giveaway

Since last Wednesday my life has been topsy turvy to say the least!  On top of Ms. M's stroke, a dear friend's father passed away suddenly and completely unexpectedly due to a heart attack!  

With everything going on at the moment it will be a little while longer before I'm back to my regular blogging schedule...real life has crept in to remind me that life doesn't always revolve around the internet!

Last night before collapsing in to bed, I went out and just stood on our dock for awhile and watched the full moon rise above the water.  It was nice to just have a quiet moment to reflect on this past week's craziness and to stop and be thankful for family, friends, and good health!

I had promised you all that I would show you a gorgeous waterfront home, and I haven't forgotten!  When life slows back down a little I'll be sure to show you more of this lovely won't want to miss it!

And along with a fun house tour, I'll also be introducing you to some beautiful bedding that will be in stores this fall.  I know you all will love it, and here's a tiny sneak peek at just one of the collections!

But because life has been so crazy, and I haven't been around to work on my own blog, reply to your wonderful comments, or visit anyone else's blogs...I thought a wonderful Giveaway might tide you all over!

You may remember a while back when I featured a giveaway of some beautiful beach glass jewelry made by my friend Julie of Frosted Trash.  Well she has kindly offered me these stunning earrings to use for another great giveaway!

I love everything Julie creates...I'll be showing you a pair of earrings she gave me recently that I LOVE and have already worn almost daily!  Once again Julie has outdone herself by designing these gorgeous earrings that combine pale turquoise sea glass with crystals and pearls to create something you'll want to wear every day too!

All you have to do to enter to win the earrings pictured above is to visit Julie's blog Frosted Trash 

1.  Then come back and tell me which pair of earrings (that she has featured in her latest post), you can't live without!!

2.  For a second chance to win let me know that you are a follower of my blog, or Julie's (I know she would love to have a few more friends and followers of her blog!) and you'll be entered for a 2nd chance to win! (Be sure to leave a separate comment)

3.  And for a 3rd chance to win, blog, tweet, or post on facebook and then leave a 3rd comment for yet another chance to win!

The contest will be open until Tuesday, August 2nd at midnight PST and is open to everyone!!

Thank you to everyone for your continued support and understanding!  I hope to be back to blogging full time very soon!  See you then my friends!!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragonfly

Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky.
~Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Silent Noon

Thank you everyone for your kinds words and healing thoughts for Ms. M!   She appreciates each and every one of them!

Mr. Tide worked more of his photographic magic, and captured the dragonfly above which is the most gorgeous shade of green! I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Flowers Make Everything Better

Thank you to everyone who sent healing thoughts and well wishes to the Divine Ms. M.  I'm sad to report that she has suffered a fairly significant stroke.  The last few days have been a bit of blur, with long days spent at the hospital and trying to second guess what will come next for a woman who has lived such a full and very independent life up until now.

While I was at the hospital yesterday, Mr. Tide held down the fort and was sweet enough to take some pictures for me to use in a post.  I was reminded of how wonderful it is to have thoughtful and loving people around you in good times and bad, and Mr. Tide and my children have certainly seen me through the highs and lows life has to offer.

As we sat helplessly in the hospital waiting room to hear the test results for our dear friend, I was also reminded that sometimes family isn't who you are related to by blood, but they can also be those who are closest to us and who have shared so much with us over the years.

Ms. M is so very fortunate to have the love of so many.  Like her very dear friend and fellow florist Doug Vogel, who upon hearing the news of Ms. M's fall and subsequent stroke, rushed to be by her side.  And who spent the entire day with her at the hospital today and brought her a beautiful floral arrangement to lift her spirits.

I am fortunate beyond measure too with close friends who will come to my aide on a moments notice.  Like today, when I called my friend "J" and asked her to meet me for lunch so that I could have a shoulder to lean on after an emotional few days.  Without hesitation she said yes, and gave me the strength and support to face the tough days that still lie ahead.

Sometimes devastating events bring out the best in people.  You find out who your friends are, and who you can count on.  It's too bad that we can't just reach out to one another in good times and embrace one another under the best of circumstances and not just when life is going badly.

The mind is a very resilient organ, and it can also be our greatest enemy.  I hope that the enemy will eventually become the ally as Ms. M struggles to regain everything she has lost over the last few days.

But although she has lost some things over these last few days, there are other things she has gained.  Most importantly she has realized that no matter what the distance, or how many years have elapsed, some bonds can never be broken, and for that I know she is truly grateful.  

Flowers have always brought her happiness, been her escape, and I can only hope that she will once again be able to use flowers as a means to make everything better.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Women of Atticmag

I've been wanting to do a series of posts about the three talented women behind Atticmag for quite awhile now.

Atticmag is a blog/online magazine which is very near and dear to my heart!  I stumbled upon it a few years ago while planning my kitchen remodel, and I've been hooked ever since!

Every time I had a question about which direction I wanted to go with my own kitchen remodel, I knew I could click on the Atticmag link I had saved in my favorites and peruse any number of all white, black and white, or whatever style and color kitchen (like the one pictured below) I wanted.  Having that resource helped me achieve the kitchen I have today, and I will be forever thankful to Jane F, Jane T, and Allison.

Not only do these three women share their varied talents and expertise on a myriad of design topics, but they are simply nice people to boot!  So what's not to like about that?! 

I decided to start my three part series on Atticmag with a post about Jane F, the editor of this wonderful online magazine and blog.

Because Jane and her family split their time between their New York City apartment and their wonderful country home, and along with all of her duties for Atticmag, Jane is a very busy lady.  But she was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions, and she also sent me all of the wonderful photos in this post from both of her great properties.

Jane doing product testing at a recent Home Design Show.

Besides Atticmag, Jane has had a number of successful careers over the years.  Right out of college, she worked in a major contemporary art gallery in NY, and then moved on to what’s now Sotheby’s auction house.

There I first saw antique furniture, china, English silver and rugs, chandeliers. I had never seen old things -- I had grown up in L.A.

From the galleries I went into art book editing and working with contemporary artists – that took me to France for the summer – my first time abroad.  Meanwhile, cooking had become my hobby and I began to take classes at night with James Beard.

 Jane heading out to do some antiquing!

When I got married and moved to Chicago, I decided I wanted out of art and decided to teach cooking. I built my first kitchen there – it’s on Atticmag as Hommage to James Beard's kitchen via photos that appeared in Home Magazine. 

I had started writing about restaurants for the Chicago Tribune – my first newspaper.  I also wrote a food processor cookbook and after moving back to New York, in 1983 (after a divorce), I finished my second cookbook, Dinner Party.  I spent a year as consulting editor at Cook’s magazine (now Cook’s Illustrated) and then moved to New York Magazine writing the Underground Gourmet column.  After that I spent six years as the restaurant critic at New York Newsday. 

 Jane's country house

Unlike her very urban New York apartment, Jane's country house is set on wooded acreage in upstate New York.  It's an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of busy city living.

Again, I was ready to move on and decided to become an editor instead of a writer. At  the New York Daily News (for 8 years), I was an editor responsible for all the lifestyle, entertainment and celebrity coverage but I always wanted back into magazines. 

When I left the News, in 2003, I spent more than a year renovating our house and at the time went back to school, to Parsons to study interior design. Both my Mom and Grandmother had been designers. The house renovation really led to the Atticmag concept since it essentially pulled together everything I had ever done – art, food, publishing, design and especially kitchen design. 

I’m basically in my fourth career phase – I’m one of those people who becomes intensely interested in something, jumps right into the deep end and keeps going until I’ve digested it.  Then I’m ready to move on. But I for me, moving on also is adding on.

Crisp white cabinetry, dramatic tiles taken up to the ceiling, and hardwood floors add a modern country feel to Jane's country house kitchen

A plate rack and Ann Sacks Sur La Mer Tile (no longer made) in Jane's country house kitchen

An antique hutch in Jane's kitchen provides the perfect place to display colorful dishware.  The walls are painted Farrow and Ball's House White

As you know, Atticmag has been such a wonderful resource for me personally.  Could you tell me a little bit about how it came to fruition?

Atticmag is my creation. It began as a print magazine concept that I developed after leaving the New York Daily News. I had spent nearly a decade there, eventually becoming a Managing Editor where I spent a good amount of time redesigning the features (arts, lifestyle, celebrity) areas, both daily and Sunday.  But I always wanted to edit my own magazine again. I had spent a year as the acting editor at Cook’s (now Cook’s Illustrated) and really loved doing magazines. My original concept for Atticmag was Attic Magazine, which would be devoted to pop culture and collecting.

I developed a prototype for the magazine and took it to one of the major publishing houses here. The CEO there suggested starting it on the web since the start up costs otherwise would be prohibitive. That was shortly before the magazine industry started to implode. So, having no idea what I was doing, I began groping through the process of starting a website and Atticmag was born.

A charming screened door at Jane's Country House

I know that Atticmag isn't technically a blog, was there a reason why you chose not to design your site purely in a blog format?

Well, technically Atticmag is a blog – it operates like a blog but it has a magazine concept. Plus it’s a community blog because there are 3 of us who contribute.

The country house property boasts beautiful hydrangea bushes, perfect for creating impromptu floral arrangements

A ginger jar lamp coordinates perfectly with the Swedish blue and white color scheme Jane has created in her country house

The lamp sits atop this gorgeous glass topped verdigris table

Do you think that having three creative women working on Atticmag is an advantage?  Do you find that you are able to brainstorm about which areas of design to write about, and does it help to lessen the load when one of you gets busy and needs a break?

Having blogging partners is terrific. We’re both colleagues and friends, we consult with and talk and laugh a lot, albeit via email because we all live in different parts of the country. 

Since we each have our areas, we come up with our own ideas but we discuss them with each other if we have questions or want to talk something through.  Also, we will backread posts for one another before they are published – it’s hard to see your own typos, especially if something is long. 

We also sub in for each other.  We all have busy, active lives and responsibilities so it’s great to be able to back each other up.   

Wicker rocking chairs in a soft gray from Crate and Barrel provide the perfect spot to relax and read a book in the sunroom

By removing an old screened porch and doubling the size, Jane was able to create a dining area and extra space for overnight guests in the new sunroom

Do each of you have other jobs aside from the work that you do with Atticmag?

I was writing professionally for Shelterpop, the AOL Home home design website, but left recently because Atticmag is getting so large it needs my full attention.

A mix of imported European furnishings add instant history to Jane's country house.  
Most of my pieces in the living room came from the same dealer, Lani Sternerup, of Real Gustavian in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.  Jane purchased the sofa at the Rhinebeck Antiques fair.

The lovely Swedish clock was another lucky find

By bumping out the wall, Jane was able to create cozy window seat and reading nook

Where do you find the wonderful content that you provide?  Do you have to contact designers or do people contact you to have their homes featured?

Content is everywhere. I like to go out and meet people, take pictures and find stories.  I get ideas from everywhere – magazines, designers, individuals, stores, the street, design stores, expos and the wholesale market.  If I see a kitchen I like I’ll save the photo but my interest always depends on the ideas I find.  I suppose there’s a lot of material out there because we have about 700 pages on our blog.   

18th Century Stockholm made Gustavian Armchair with original paint in Jane's Country House Living Room.

Soft pale blue walls, painted in Ellen Kennon's Seaglass, unify the TV room and living room and create a soothing color palette throughout Jane's country house.

Treasured collectibles sit atop a beautiful antique painted table

How would you define your own personal style?

I feel my style is edgy, urban and eclectic.  I like tension – something just a bit off.  I like monochromatic color schemes that flow.  I don’t like dark rooms or dark spaces or clutter but I do like super-ultra-modern. I could easily live in a loft with concrete walls, antique floors and one of those black glass kitchens.  

I have lived in a Victorian house.  When we bought our place in upstate New York and renovated, I actually aged the house to look as if it was old and had been renovated (it was built in 1991).  I don’t really own much new furniture except for upholstered pieces. I prefer antiques, reupholstered things and old rugs.  

I don’t care for studied rooms that look like someone’s life began the day they met their decorator.  But I totally admire professional rooms by designers like Jeffrey Bilhuber and Juan Montoya.  I know that’s as much of a contradiction as my buying a new rug this year from Odegard.  My life is contradictory in many ways, as is my temperament. I’ve come to accept those inconsistencies and hope they make me a more interesting and open person.  

Jane's NYC Apartment Kitchen 
NYC Kitchen

Jane's NYC Dining Room (still a work in progress)

Do you ever think that Atticmag will become a hard copy style magazine or do you plan to keep it as an online entity only?

Find me the publisher and we’ll talk about it!

I would like to thank Jane for taking the time to tell all of us a little bit more about Atticmag and herself, and for sending me all of the wonderful pictures of her NYC apartment and her gorgeous country home!

Be sure to pop over to her great blog, Atticmag , where you'll find plenty of design know how and inspiration!

*On a separate note, please keep the Divine Ms. M (the wonderful florist I've spoken of so often) in your thoughts.  She fell at her home on Monday morning and wasn't discovered until yesterday afternoon!  She is suffering from dehydration, and they are running many other tests to find out what caused her fall and why she was unable to get up or to a phone!  As you can imagine, we are all very worried about her, and I'm heading back to the hospital to find out more this morning!  So please send some healing thoughts her way, I would greatly appreciate it!*

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Down By The Bay

Down By The Bay...

Where The Watermelons Grow...

Back To My Home...

I Dare Not Go...

For If I Do My Momma Would Say...

This video is for my daughter...

And thank you to everyone for your wonderful comments about my kayaking post...we'll have to go again sometime soon!